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Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Sonny COLBRELLI (Italy / Team Bahrain - Merida) pictured during the Flanders Classics cycling race The Brabantse Pijl with start in Leuven and finish in Overijse on April 12, 2017 in Overijse, Belgium, 12/04/2017 - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Sonny Colbrelli has thrown his hat in the ring for Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race with his win in the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday. In a full EUROTRASH: Top Story – Giro Rosa presentation, Amstel teams preview, Michele Scarponi to lead Astana at the Giro d’Italia, Mark Cavendish sick, Specialized Foundation’ Frame Adventure and Paris-Roubaix in numbers with on-board camera. Coffee time!

TOP STORY: Giro Rosa 2017 Official Route
The 2017 Giro Rosa was presented yesterday (Wednesday) morning at the Car Show Room System Cars in Meda (Monza e Brianza). The 28th edition of the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile Elite will take place from 29th June to 9th July and is a Women’s World Tour Race.

In a very full room (about 500 invited guests), the curiosity about the new route of the Giro was extremely high, as Race Director Giuseppe Rivolta announced the route of ten stages: The route begins with the Team Time Trial from Aquileia to Grado (11.5 kms) (which had already been announced). Stage 2 is still in Friuli, from Zoppola (PN) to Montereale Valcellina (PN), then Veneto hosts the next two stages (San Fior – San Vendemiano and Occhiobello – Occhiobello, which has been named as DeltaPo OutletFamily Stage). One of the hardest days will be in the Region Marche, where the very tough Individual Time Trial in Sant’Elpidio a Mare will take place and includes two short but very hard climbs. The sprinters will fight in the next day in Roseto degli Abruzzi, but the next stages Isernia – Baronissi and Baronissi – Palinuro include tough climbs which are close to each finish line and have a race distance of more than 140 kilometers. Polla hosts the penultimate stage finish after 122 interesting kilometers but it’s Torre del Greco with Vesuvio to decide who will wear the final Pink Jersey.

Some of the athletes who will race the Giro, like the sprinter Barbara Guarischi (winner in 2015 in Lubiana), the former Junior European Champion Anna Trevisi and the bronze medal of Tuscany 2013 World Championships Rossella Ratto were present. As were some of the strongest, former cyclists like Djamolidine Abdujaparov from Uzbekistan, Evgenij Berzin from Russia and the Italians Claudio Chiappucci and Gilberto Simoni took part with great interest. “The girls will race where we fought some years ago. It will be very interesting to see their sporting achievements. The Giro is always a great fight” – declared ‘El Diablo’ Chiappucci at the end of the day.

RAI will be the Official Television of the Giro Rosa: The ten stages will be commented on by Stefano Rizzato on Raidue. Paolo Sangalli, as collaborator of the Italian National Coach of the women teams, commented: “I like this Giro, it hugs Italy from north to south. The riders will fight very much.”

Ambrogio Romanò, amateur cyclist and owner of the Ssangyong Showroom System Cars welcomed everybody, launching the event as car supplier of the race. “Cycling is my sporting biggest passion and it’s an honor for my family and my company to host an event like this, the presentation of the most important women’s cycling race.”

Giro Rosa 2017 Stages (29th June – 9th July):
Stage 1: AQUILEIA – GRADO TTT 11.5km
Stage 2: ZOPPOLA – MONTEREALE VALCELLINA 122.25km
Stage 3: SAN FIOR – SAN VENDEMIANO 100km
Stage 4: OCCHIOBELLO – OCCHIOBELLO 118km
Stage 5: SANT’ELPIDIO A MARE – SANT’ELPIDIO A MARE ITT 12.73km
Stage 6: ROSETO DEGLI ABRUZZI – ROSETO DEGLI ABRUZZI 116.16km
Stage 7: ISERNIA – BARONISSI 141.98km
Stage 8: BARONISSI – PALINURO 141.8km
Stage 9: PALINURO – POLLA 122.3km
Stage 10: TORRE DEL GRECO – TORRE DEL GRECO 124km

More Details on WWW.GIROROSA.IT


Brabantse Pijl 2017
“What a win! I’m really happy for myself and my team,” was the first comment of Wednesday’s race winner Sonny Colbrelli (Bahain-Merida), after a fabulous sprint at the finish of Brabantse Pijl. The 57th edition of Brabantse Pijl race was the final one of this season’s Flanders Classics. A race with 20 hills and a race with character.

After the presentation of teams in Overijese the race started in good conditions – a partially cloudy sky with 20km/h SW wind and dry roads. The Bahrain-Merida riders started the race highly motivated, with Sonny Colbrelli as their first leader and Enrico Gasparotto as the second. All of them were aware of their role and importance of helping the leaders to achieve a good result. Just a few kilometers after the start a group of 6 riders went in a breakaway and held an approximate gap of 3 minutes. After 120 kilometers the breakaway was caught.

With three laps to go to finish, each 20 km long, Bahrain-Merida’s Grega Bole and Sonny Colbrelli escaped in a group of ten riders, as Gasparotto controlled the peloton. Bole and Gasparotto kept their eyes on favorite Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step), but in the last few hundred meters to the finish, Colbrelli showed his great strength, style and class in a fabulous sprint, taking his second race victory of the season.

Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Sonny COLBRELLI (Italy / Team Bahrain - Merida) pictured during the Flanders Classics cycling race The Brabantse Pijl with start in Leuven and finish in Overijse on April 12, 2017 in Overijse, Belgium, 12/04/2017  - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “What a win! I’m really happy for myself and my team. I wanted to win so much after such an aggressive race. I was nervous during the race because I did not want the peloton to caught us and in the sprint I was worried that I’d lost it because Vakoc squeezed me into the barriers, but finally I found the space and managed to win. I’m building confidence from this kind of races. Last year I was close to win and this time I succeeded. Year by year I’m growing. My aim was to do well today and then on Sunday on Amstel Gold Race. Let’s see, how it will go.”

2nd, Petr Vakoc (Quick-Step Floors): “We had two guys in the front group, so we just kept an eye on them and controlled the others in case they would try an attack in order to close the gap. When Tim went, I followed immediately and we joined the leaders inside the final kilometers. I tried to surprise the group with an attack, but couldn’t drop them. Then, Dries did a perfect job leading me out and I was confident in my sprint, but unfortunately there was a stronger rider than me today. I won’t hide that I’m a bit disappointed, because Brabantse Pijl is my favorite race of the year and I really wanted the victory, but at the same time this give me even more motivation for Amstel Gold Race.”

3rd, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): “Before the start, Sean De Bie and Tim Wellens were the leaders in our team. Sean had specifically peaked to this race and Tim is made for these kind of races. It was my first participation ever in the Brabantse Pijl and I wanted to race aggressively, as I had told the sports director before the start. At the Ronde van Vlaanderen I was racing too calculated and that turned out badly for me. That’s why I wanted to approach it differently today. In the Flemish spring races early attacks and aggressive racing were successful and that was the case today as well.”

“With just over two laps to go, I followed Victor Campenaerts when he attacked. Several riders joined us and together we rode towards the front group. On each hill the peloton came closer, but between the hills we rode away again. The cooperation in the break was far from perfect. Bahrain – Merida, LottoNL – Jumbo and Quick-Step Floors all had two riders at the front. I had to make sure they didn’t surprise me. In the peloton several teams tried to take control, but the attempts were unsuccessful. In the last lap it was important to take the right position when riding onto the Schavei. Of course I hoped to win, but it’s not easy to beat Colbrelli in a sprint. With these opponents I can be happy with the third place. This performance gives me confidence for the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. The Cauberg is no longer the final ascent in the race, so we have to see what that gives. I am sure though that it will be a beautiful race.”

14th, Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida): “Today it was a team victory because we all performed great. During the race we decided to play differently – Sonny was in the breakaway where normally I would be and I waited in the bunch with Mathew. That was the key for our success. Different races are ahead of us, longer, even harder, but we are here to play our cards.”

19th, Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I felt good at the start of the race. Hilaire told us to wait for the final local lap. The gap with the leaders was not too big with 20km to go. Everything was possible. On the final climb I was positioned in the wheel of Gilbert. I lost his wheel at the end but I was anyhow satisfied to be there in the final. We still had three riders from our team in the group of the favorites, not bad. I finished top 20, a good result for my first big race after Circuit de la Sarthe. My form is improving. I have to continue like this. The change of the circuit in Amstel Gold Race gives me more opportunities. The race will be more open. This scenario should suit me.”

Bahrain-Merida DS Tristan Hoffman: “I am happy with the performance of the team and everyone else – the staff, mechanics, masseurs. Sonny did a fantastic sprint, he showed he was the best among all the teams. Other riders did a fantastic job and I am really happy for them.”

Brabantse Pijl Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 4:44:22
2. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
3. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-Scott
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
8. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
9. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:06
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors.

Brabantse Pijl:


Amstel Gold Race 2017
Race Organizer, Leo van Vliet: The Amstel Gold Race weekend is just around the corner again. After 12 months of preparations, it is always fantastic to welcome so many cyclists and fans to Limburg. and this year they will get to revel in our two new highlights. Not only are we unveiling a brand new final lap for the 52nd Amstel Gold Race, but after a long hiatus, the women’s event is back on the programme.

After more than three years of preparations and countless discussions with different parties, we have come up with a concept that will do justice to the ladies edition of the Amstel Gold Race. The women’s teams will be presented at the same time as the men, start from the markt in Maastricht 20 minutes after the men, complete four passes of the Cauberg and finish at the same place as the men. We are also proud to report that NOS will broadcast the last 45 minutes of both the men’s and the women’s race live – a first for the international cycling world. Further, with Leontien van Moorsel as race director we could not wish for a better figurehead for the women’s peloton.

As of this year, the men will ride a revamped final lap of the Amstel Gold Race. The finish line will be at the same place, but we have scrapped the fourth and last ascent of the Cauberg. The race has undoubtedly seen worthy winners in recent years – Kreuziger, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski and Gasparotto – but the Cauberg can play too decisive a role in the closing kilometers. By deleting the last climb we hope to open up the race, rewarding attacking riders and making the race more appealing. It is now up to the riders and the teams to seize this opportunity. For hundreds of thousands of cycling fans from all over the world, all eyes will be on Limburg once again this Easter weekend. Many are set to flock to this cross-border region from not only the rest of the Netherlands but also nearby Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, including some 15,000 participants of the Tour Version of the Amstel Gold Race. Those who can’t make the trip to Valkenburg in person will undoubtedly be glued to the television. With this unique sporting event, we are breaking down borders!

TEAMS MEN 2016:
AG2R La Mondiale FRA
Astana Pro Team KAZ
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling team BRN
BMC Racing Team USA
Bora – Hansgrohe GER
Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team USA
Dimension Data RSA
FDJ FRA
Lotto Soudal BEL
Movistar Team ESP
ORICA-Scott AUS
Quick-Step Floors BEL
Team Katuscha – Alpecin SUI
Team LottoNL-Jumbo NED
Team Sky GBR
Team Sunweb GER
Trek – Segafredo USA
UAE Abu Dhabi UAE

Wildcards:
Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij NED
Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise BEL
Wanty – Groupe Gobert BEL.

Read the PEZ Amstel Preview HERE.


Quick-Step Floors Team to Amstel Gold Race
Netherlands’ sole World Tour one-day race puts on the table an altered parcours for the 52nd edition, scheduled this Sunday.

The Ardennes Week is here, and as usual in the last years, Amstel Gold Race will have the honor of lifting the curtain. The 261km-long race starts from Maastricht 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’s novelty is that the last part of the course has been revamped by the organizers, who decided to take out the fourth ascent of the iconic Cauberg (800 meters, 6.5%), meaning that now Bemelerberg (900 meters, 4.5% average gradient) will serve as the final hill. Crested by the riders inside the last six kilometers and followed by a descent and a flat section, Bemelerberg could change the dynamic and complexion of the race, bringing more riders into contention at the end of the day, while at the same time forcing others to go out on the attack from afar.

Known also as “The King of the Cauberg”, Philippe Gilbert is a rider for whom Amstel Gold Race has no secrets; a three-time victor at the Dutch classic (2010, 2011, 2014), he also won the World Championships over a course more or less similar, five years ago, all results that make him the living symbol of the famed climb.

The Quick-Step Floors rider, a winner of Ronde van Vlaanderen this season, will be motivated to leave his mark on the 52nd edition, even though the final part of the route is different than in the years he came out on top, and Cauberg role’s – which features for the last time with 16 kilometers remaining – is expected to be downplayed.

Quick-Step Floors’ strength in numbers has been put on display on several occasions at this season’s spring classics, where the team took three victories and five 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 Belgian Champion for the event which will take place in the Limburg region are Gianluca Brambilla, Dries Devenyns, Bob Jungels (best young rider of Tirreno-Adriatico), Daniel Martin, neo-pro Maximilian Schachmann, Paris-Roubaix runner-up Zdenek Stybar and Petr Vakoc, who showcased his good form recently at Brabantse Pijl, where he finished second.

16.04 Amstel Gold Race (NED) 1.UWT

Riders:
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Daniel Martin (IRL), Maximilian Schachmann (GER), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Petr Vakoc (CZE).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL).


Lineup & Preview: Amstel Gold Race
On Sunday, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka takes on the first of the Ardennes Classics, Amstel Gold Race.

From the start in the city of Maastricht, 261 km await the peloton in the province of Limburg with no less than 35 short climbs to overcome. The main attraction of the Dutch one-day race is the infamous Cauberg climb. Despite its length of only 800 meters, the average gradient of 12 % means this ascent is not to be taken lightly.

Usually, the race finishes shortly after cresting Cauberg. This year however, the organizers have changed the final part of the course, meaning that there are now 16 km to go after the riders cross the finishing line for the third time. This final lap isn’t completely flat though. On narrow and twisty roads, the peloton still has to overcome first Geulhemmerberg (1 km / avg. 5.8 %) and then Bemelerberg (900 m / avg. 7 %) before taking on the last 5 km of the race.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka lines up with a very motivated team led by Nathan Haas who showed great shape in the Ardennes warm-up race Brabantse Pijl earlier this week. For support, the strong Australian can rely on Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Ben King, Serge Pauwels, Youcef Reguigui, Johann Van Zyl, Jaco Venter and Kristian Sbaragli who too is in very good shape at the moment.

Oli Cookson – sports director:
“The plan for the race is to look after Nathan [Haas]. We want to put him in the best possible position for the final. However, due to the changes in the racecourse, I think we may see the favorites open up earlier than usual, as we have seen in the previous races this year. We need to be ready to react to that. We know that Nathan can do a good race and that Kristian [Sbaragli] has good legs as well. We are going to use our assets the best we can”.


Amstel Gold Race Next on Van Avermaet’s Agenda
After standing on the podium at Paris-Roubaix with his Monument title to his name, Greg Van Avermaet will be back at the start line for Amstel Gold Race this Sunday, 16 April.

Van Avermaet, who is eyeing his first podium result at Amstel Gold Race, is brimming with confidence after claiming victory at Paris-Roubaix.

“My best result at Amstel Gold Race was in 2015 when I finished in fifth place. A lot has happened since then, a lot of big wins, and with my win at Paris-Roubaix I’m definitely going in confident. I’ve said it many times; winning breeds confidence and when a leader is confident, the team is also confident,” Van Avermaet explained.

“This year the finale has changed, without the final ascent of the Cauberg, and that may change the way the race is won. But, the strongest guys will always be at the finale, no matter what the parcours is. I have the legs and I expect another tough race this Sunday. It’s not an easy race to win but I’m really looking forward to lining up at Amstel Gold Race again, especially having missed the race in 2016, and I hope to I’ll stand on the podium for the first time in my career.”

Sports Director Valerio Piva said motivation is high ahead of Amstel Gold Race.

“We know that we have a champion in Greg Van Avermaet. He is having the best Classics season of his life and we hope to continue this success on Sunday. At Paris-Roubaix we saw how well we could work as a team to protect Greg and position him well in the finale. I hope to see this team spirit again at Amstel Gold Race,” Piva said.

“We have a lot of strong climbers who are well-suited to the short, punchy climbs of Amstel Gold Race. There are 35 climbs on the menu and in a race like this anything can happen.”

Amstel Gold Race (16 April)

Rider roster:
Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Daniel Oss (ITA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Allan Peiper (AUS).

Greg Van Avermaet:
Roubaix - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) Step - Floors) pictured during the 115th Paris-Roubaix (1.UWT) - foto PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 017


Wanty-Groupe Gobert Heading to Amstel Gold Race One Year after Glorious Victory
On Sunday Wanty-Groupe Gobert heads to Maastricht for the start of Amstel Gold Race (1.WT, 16/04), one year after the glorious victory of Enrico Gasparotto. The organisation adapted the final of the race, with an unchanged finish but without the Cauberg climb at the end. Hilaire Van der Schueren selected following riders to defend the title: Jérôme Baugnies, Thomas Degand, Guillaume Martin, Xandro Meurisse, Marco Minnaard, Andrea Pasqualon, Dion Smith and Pieter Vanspeybrouck. Impressions of sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren.

Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director): “Last year we obtained a great victory in Amstel. But we have to recognize that was an exceptional day. We only experience events like that one once in a lifetime. I see Amstel Gold Race this year more as a preparation for the Ardennes classics.”

“The new final brings a lot of changes to the race. The organisation hopes to provoke a more open race. What will happen on Sunday is difficult to foresee. I think many teams will want to arrive with a big group, but we saw on Wednesday in Brabantse Pijl that isn’t easy to obtain. I prefer not to reveal too much, we will do what we can to score. Dion Smith is a fast finisher, but we have to see what he can do after 260 kilometers of racing.”


Sunweb to Amstel Gold Race
On Sunday the WorldTour peloton heads to the start line of Amstel Gold Race, opening the first of three Ardennes Classics. The route is similar to previous years, with a slightly different finish set to shake up the action. Starting in Maastricht, the route totals 261 kilometers and takes in a total of 35 climbs. Instead of four ascents of the Cauberg, this year the final climb shifts to the Bemelerberg.

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: “The course change will for sure change the dynamics of the race. We will see more riders and teams attacking, meaning that anything is possible in the finale. We aim for a good result with Michael but we are prepared for every scenario and have other strong cards to play such as Simon and Warren if the race requires their strengths. Wilco is also back again from injury after five weeks off race. After lots of preparation we all share the same goal and start feeling prepared and motivated for a good day.”

Line-up:
Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Michael Matthews (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Aike Visbeek.

Warren Barguil:
Morzine - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Warren Barguil (FRA-Giant-Alpecin) pictured during stage 20 of the 2016 Tour de France from Megeve to Morzine, 146.00 km - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2016


Direct Energie team for Amstel
Riders:

Lilian Calmejane, Bryan Coquard, Fabien Grellier, Jonathan Hivert, Tony Hurel, Paul Ourselin, Romain Sicard and Angélo Tulik.
Directeur Sportif: Lylian Lebreton.

Bryan Coquard:
Sevilla - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Bryan COQUARD (France / Team Direct Ernergie) pictured during the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2017 - stage - 4 from La Campana to Sevilla, 179.30 km - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017


New course: Swift with Rui Costa and Ulissi
UAE Team Emirates are heading to the first event of the Ardenne Classics, which is the Amstel Gold Race (264,4 km).

The Dutch race will be even more uncertain than usual, because of the change of the final part of the course: Cauberg won’t be anymore the key point at the end of the race, because this year it will be covered at 19 km to the arrival.

Before the arrival, which will be in Berg en Terblijt, the riders will climb the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg, the two last of a series of 35 “berg”.

In the line-up of the Emirati team, which will be directed by Marco Marzano with the support of Simone Pedrazzini, there will be: Matteo Bono, Rui Costa, Marco Marcato, Matej Mohoric, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Ben Swift and Diego Ulissi.

Rui Costa is one of the most awaited riders: “This year I’ll participate in the Amstel Gold Race for the 8th time in career. This is a race I like, it requires that you can manage your energies in a proper way and that you succeed in approaching the hills in the best positions, without crashing or wasting energies in order to recover positions.”

“I was 4th in 2015, this means I could aim to be protagonist: the last passage on the Cauberg used to be the most important moment of the race, however this year the course will be modified and the last climb will be Bemelerberg at -7,3 km, so probably the fast riders will have more chance than in the past.”

Ben Swift is the fast rider from UAE Team Emirates: “The new final part of the race course could be more suitable for riders with my characteristics, so Amstel Gold Race could be a new interesting challenge for me. This race is always so difficult to predict that it won’t be easy to be in the front position in the final part of the course.”

Rui Costa:


Cannondale-Drapac team for Amstel Gold Race
TV viewers are the main reason for changing the Amstel Gold Race finish again, with not the Cauberg but Bemeleberg as the final ascent of the day. After the top, there is still five kilometers to the finish line. DS Tom Southam doesn’t necessarily believe the change in the route will have the impact organizers intend.

“The race organizers are banking on the removal of the Cauberg making it a more aggressive race,” Southam said. “I think it could still go either way. From the top of the Bemeleberg now you still have several kilometers to ride to the finish, and if a strong team really wants to ride for a sprint, then there is enough road to make that happen.”

The new course won’t significantly alter the plan for Cannondale-Drapac, Southam said: “We don’t have an out-and-out sprinter who will trouble other teams’ sprinters, but the fact that the route has changed does open up the possibility that things are misjudged and something a little bit interesting happens. It’s been a few years since the race has finished on the flat, so an element of the unknown will play into our hands.”

Skujins agrees with Southam that it’s the unknown that will be key at Amstel Gold Race: “The riders make the race, so it’s up to us to make it exciting and maybe spring a surprise. There will be a worthy winner this year too, no doubt. ”

For Skujins, the Amstel Gold Race will be mostly in service of the team. He said: “I’m just hoping to enjoy the day and the fans while making the team proud and doing my role for the team’s best result possible.”

Cannondale-Drapac for Amstel Gold Race:
Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Brendan Canty (AUS), Simon Clarke (AUS), Alex Howes (USA), Sebastian Langeveld (NED), Toms Skujins (LAT), Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED), Dylan van Baarle (NED).

Sebastian Langeveld on the Roubaix podium:
Roubaix - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Zdenek STYBAR (Czech / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Sebastian LANGEVELD (Netherlands / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team) pictured during the 115th Paris-Roubaix (1.UWT) - foto NV/PN/Cor Vos © 017


Tim Wellens looks ahead to the new finale of the Amstel Gold Race
On Sunday, the 52nd edition of the Amstel Gold Race is scheduled. The organisation has made an important change: the Cauberg is no longer the last hill in the race.

The riders need to cover 261 kilometres and 35 hills! This WorldTour race starts in Maastricht. After just over 56 kilometres, and a first ascent of the Cauberg, the riders will cross the finish line in Valkenburg a first time. The finish is on the same place as previous editions. Then the peloton starts a big loop of more than one hundred kilometres, with eighteen hills. The Cauberg is the last in the row. Next, there is a smaller loop of about seventy kilometres with nine hills, the Cauberg being the last one before crossing the finish again. Finally, one last lap needs to be covered. This one is only sixteen kilometres long and only takes the riders over the Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg. After the last hill, it’s only five kilometres till the end of the race.

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “With the Brabantse Pijl, a new part of the season has begun. We hope to animate the races of the Ardennes triptych. The team had a good start at the Brabantse Pijl, where Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens rode a strong finale. That was encouraging for what has yet to come. Our team for the Ardennes races is different than for the Flemish spring races, so we start with new expectations. Most of the riders did a last preparation at the Vuelta al País Vasco.”

“The change that has been made to the course of the Amstel, means some riders will need to race differently. Hopefully many will take initiative. That’s also necessary for us and we hope others will do that too. We saw a strong attack from Tim Wellens last year, but he couldn’t stay ahead unfortunately. He did show that the course suits him. It will definitely be no bunch sprint on Sunday, but it can be a sprint with a larger group. Although the past races proved that attacking can be rewarded and we hope that is the case in the upcoming races as well.”

Tim Wellens: “This morning we did a recon of the Amstel. Not much has changed, apart from the last kilometres of the race. It’s always nice to ride on the course a few days before the race, especially when the weather is as good as today. I had a good preparation, almost identical to the one of last year. I considered the Vuelta al País Vasco as a last preparation on the Ardennes races, so I would not peak too early. I noticed in the past that it is otherwise too difficult for me to hold on to that top shape until Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

“At the Brabantse Pijl, I attacked once and that gave a good feeling. I was able to close the gap on the leaders. That gives me confidence for the Amstel. It is hard to predict the race. Riders who waited for the last ascent of the Cauberg in the past, will have to attack earlier now. I expect attacks in the section of the Kruisberg, Eyserbosweg, Fromberg and Keutenberg. Several factors can influence the race, like the wind or the fact that the roads are wet or not. I hope we ride strong as a team and animate the finale and that I or a teammate set a good result. We are aiming for the highest possible.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Tiesj Benoot, Sean De Bie, Bart De Clercq, Tomasz Marczynski, Rémy Mertz, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.

Tim Wellens:
Coín - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tim WELLENS (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2017 - stage - 5 from Setenil de las Bodegas to Coín, 151.50 km - photo Gomez/Cor Vos © 2017***SPAIN OUT)


Michele Scarponi will Lead Astana at Giro d’Italia
Astana Proteam communicates, that Michele Scarponi will lead the team at the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia.

Scarponi (37), 2011 Giro d’Italia winner, is one of the most experienced riders of the modern peloton, who knows very well how to get a strong result at the Giro.

“We decided to come to the Giro with Michele Scarponi as our leader. He will replace Fabio Aru, who is forced to skip the race due to the knee injury. As we already communicated yesterday, Fabio has to pass the full treatment and recovery from his injury, so he won’t be able to start in his home race. For all of us, his good and full recovery is on the first place, while his further calendar will depend on the time of recovery and the results in the first races after it,” – said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

In the same time, Astana Proteam is following its general plan, made in the beginning of the season. So far, any big changes in training program or race rosters are not on the table.

“Despite this unhappy situation, we don’t talk about any great changes in our program. We are looking forward to the Giro d’Italia with the team we have as well as to the Tour de France, where Jakob Fuglsang, like it was planned, is preparing to take a leading spot,” – added Alexandr Vinokurov.

Michele Scarponi:


Mark Cavendish diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr Virus
Recent blood work has revealed that Mark Cavendish suffers from infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr Virus. This means that the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka sprint ace will need a longer period of rest than originally anticipated, as he is currently recovering from an overuse ankle injury simultaneously.

The main goal for Cavendish remains the Tour de France this year. Our African Team and all its partners are in full support of the Manxman and his ability to bounce back from this unfortunate set back.

Jarrad Van Zuydam – Team Doctor: “Mark has been experiencing some unexplained fatigue during training. Recent blood analysis has revealed him to have infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr Virus. Unfortunately, there is no effective specific treatment against the virus but rest will be required to aid his recovery. His training load and symptoms will be monitored very carefully and he will make a gradual, step-wise return to full training and racing. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of when we can expect him back at full fitness but we are hopeful of a significant improvement of his symptoms over the next 2 weeks.”

Mark Cavendish:


The Foundation’ Frame Adventure Starts – Tom Boonen Signs On
Tom Boonen is the first professional rider to sign a special Tarmac frame that will be autographed by pros throughout the 2017 season before being auctioned off to create awareness around The Specialized Foundation.

The Specialized Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes cycling as a tool to improve the social, emotional, and physical well-being of school kids, particularly those with a learning difference like ADHD.

Determined to end his decorated 15-year career on a high at Paris-Roubaix, Boonen became the first pro rider to leave a lasting mark on this unique frame-set.

“It’s a nice project and I like that cycling has proven to be one of the best sports to help with this kind of issue,” said Boonen. “Kids will not only learn a discipline and rules, which are important in life, but also learn how to co-exist with their hyperactivity. I also support other projects involving kids. I am very attentive and sensitive to these kinds of activities and am always happy to help.”

It will take a mighty effort to win the Hell of the North on Sunday, but if he pulls it off, Boonen will catapult himself into history as the only man to have won this cobbled classic five times.

Just 20 champions have won Paris-Roubaix more than once: of those, 11 have managed to double up, seven have taken a hat-trick, and only Boonen and fellow Belgian Roger de Vlaeminck have won four.

With a fifth Paris-Roubaix title and one of the main goals of his career still beckoning, Boonen is both on the brink of history and in the last hours of his time as a professional bike rider. Victory would seal his reputation as one of the greats of his generation, both as an athlete and a team leader.

But as one journey full of triumph and emotion ends, another adventure begins. The Boonen-signed Tarmac frame will now travel to bike races around the world as it gathers the autographs of some of the biggest names in the sport.

The frameset’s journey forms part of the #RidingForFocus campaign run by The Specialized Foundation.

Back in 2012, Specialized teamed up with RTSG Neuroscience Consultants to explore how aerobic exercise, specifically cycling, could become an integral part of a comprehensive therapy program for children with ADHD.

The initial study measured the effects of cycling on the attention capacity of 47 students, aged 11 to 14, from two Massachusetts schools.

For one month, the participants rode outdoors for 30 minutes, five days a week, before school. The project examined cognitive, emotional and social changes, as well as balance and physical changes before, during, and after the program. The results were spectacular. They showed that after kids with ADHD started riding, the experience positively altered brain activity towards more ‘normalized’ brain patterns, increased attention span, boosted mood and, of course, improved fitness and BMI. Even better, it only took one ride to start seeing results.

Inspired by the success of the pilot project, Mike Sinyard, founder and CEO of Specialized Bicycle Components, created The Specialized Foundation in 2014 to fund more research and to establish cycling programs at schools.

By signing the one-of-a-kind Tarmac frame, pro riders will now be able to show their support for using cycling to create a healthier future for kids. The auction date for the autographed frameset will be announced by The Specialized Foundation in the fall of 2017, at the end of the pro season.

In the meantime, check out the #RidingForFocus journey on Facebook and other social media.


Paris-Roubaix 2017: The Numbers of a Memorable Race

Go-Pro Onboard Camera – Paris-Roubaix


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