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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The 2017 World Championships start on Sunday with the team time trial – Top Story. Race reports from the GP de Wallonie, Coppa Agostoni, Madrid Challenge and cross action from Eeklo, all with video. In other cycling news we look at the Giro della Toscana, Vincenzo Nibali injury, UAE Team Emirates at la Vuelta, Tyler Farrar retires, Movistar up-date, more contract news from Trek-Segafredo, Quick-Step Floors, Katusha-Alpecin and Bahrain-Merida, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig WorldTour Youth Winner, teams for Paris-Tours and promo video for the Worlds in Bergen.

TOP STORY: World Team Time Trial Championships 2017
The 2017 UCI World road championships start on Sunday in Bergen, Norway with the team time trial events. Women first followed by the men, both races are held on the same course over 42.5 kilometers on an undulating route. Unlike the individual time trials and the road races, trade teams fight it out, not national teams.

Over the years the TTT has been a battle between BMC, Quick-Step Floors and Orica-Scott, with Sky and Movistar taking 3rd place once each. Since the reintroduction of the team race for professional teams in 2012; Quick-Step have won on three occasions and BMC twice. This year Sky will be lead by Tour/Vuelta winner, Chris Froome and might upset the BMC/Quick-Step apple cart.

Race report and results on Sunday on PEZ.

Askøy will be the starting point for the Team Time Trials. Both the Women’s and Men’s teams will face the same course. The Team Time Trial course will depart from Ravnanger on Askøy, just outside Bergen. The finish is at Festplassen in the middle of the City.

The Team Time Trial course will depart from the Askøy archipelago just outside Bergen. Askøy will give the teams a perfect welcome in nice and friendly surroundings. The Sports park at Ravnanger west on Askøy will be start area.

Close to the start we find the Hanøytangen business park. The facility is the home for big offshore projects and include one of Europe’s biggest dry-docks. We can expect to find oil-rigs at the dock, and this will once again give a unique perspective on the Norwegian oil-based economy.

The teams will depart from Ravnanger and head south. This part is rather flat, and will offer the teams a good chance to find a good rhythm early in the race. Thereafter the course turns east and takes the teams out to the fjord. The course will then follow the fjord into the Askøy centre at Kleppestø and over the breathtaking Askøy Bridge. With a total length of 1057 meters and a free span of 850 meters, it’s the second biggest suspension bridge in Norway.

On the Bergen side of the bridge the course will have a 4 km technical section before the riders face the first climb at Loddefjord. The climb is at 600 meters at an average of 10%. The next 10 km is flat as the course takes the riders along Lake Nordåsvannet and the Royal Residence Gamlehaugen. The castle was home to the first Norwegian Prime Minister Christian Michelsen.

Then comes the second climb of the day up towards Birkelundsbakken. It is 3 km with an average percentage of 6 %, but some parts will have 16%. It will surely demand the best of the teams that wants to be in contention for the medals. A rather flat part will then follow until the riders will face a short section of cobblestones around Bryggen. This section is around 0.6 km. The last 1.5 km will see the teams battling for the seconds around the harbor and the historical buildings at Bryggen. The finish is at Festplassen in the middle of the City.

See Worlds team time trial line-ups on ‘NEWSWIRE’ HERE.

UCI Women’s Team Time Trial
Date: Sunday 17th September
Time: 12:05 – 13:55 (Local time)
Place: Bergen sentrum/Askøy
Start: Ravnanger, Askøy
Finish: Festplassen, Bergen.

UCI Men’s Team Time Trial
Date: Sunday 17 September
Time: 15:35 – 17:25 (Local time)
Place: Askøy, Bergen sentrum
Start: Ravnanger, Askøy
Finish: Festplassen, Bergen.

GP de Wallonie 2017
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) won in great fashion the 58th edition of the GP de Wallonie. Wellens, Gallopin, Benoot and Maes were part of a 21 riders echelon which opened 40 kilometers from the finish and the group was then reduced to eight riders. Wellens accelerated with sixteen kilometers to go and no one of his fellow escapees seemed able to respond. In the finale, he extended his lead over one minute and secured the win. This is the sixth victory this season for the 26-year-old Belgian. Tony Gallopin finished second one minute later, Tiesj got Benoot fourth, Jelle Vanendert seventh and Bjorg Lambrecht ninth.

The riders left Chaudfontaine at twelve o’clock for a ride through Wallonia. Edward Planckaert, Cordeel, Devriendt, Delfosse, Tasset, Leveau and Ruijgh established the day’s breakaway after fifteen kilometers of racing, and they were granted a maximum advantage of 4:15. Lotto Soudal trainees Mathias Van Gompel and Emiel Planckaert were among those who kept the front group under control. AG2R came to the front with 40 kilometers remaining and opened echelons in the peloton, which led to the creation of a front group of 21 riders, which included Tim Wellens, Tony Gallopin, Tiesj Benoot and Nikolas Maes. After Benoot and Teuns tried to go clear, it was Wellens and Bakelants’s turn to make a move, but six other riders jumped on their wheel. Tim Wellens saw an opportunity with sixteen kilometers to go and attacked from the last position in the group. From that moment onwards, the Belgian never stopped increasing his lead and he was able to enjoy his triumph in the last kilometers on the Citadel in Namur. Wellens will come to the World Championships in Norway in brilliant form.

Race winner, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “I already felt great in the two WorldTour races in Canada, and I’m happy that I was able to show my good form and to translate it into a good result. We came here with three leaders, but I said this morning that I wanted to have a go for the victory. I want to thank my teammates for all the work they did today. Tiesj and Tony were in a perfect position in the chasing group, the trainees worked hard in the early part of the race and Nikolas Maes gave it all in the echelon to build a large gap. Our objective was to ride hard on the Côte de Lustin in order to come to the next climb with a much smaller group. The last sixteen kilometers felt like a time trial, I immediately tried to open a gap, and then I made sure it remained stable. Sports director Marc Wauters told me that I could enjoy the last three kilometers and that the victory was sealed. I trained really hard for this period, with an eye on the World Championships and I hope I’ll be able to show the same kind of condition in the following weeks.”

In La Gleize (KM 35) Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) crashed heavily. Baugnies hit a pole at high speed. He was stabilized and taken to the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Liège in Sart-Tilman by helicopter. A fracture of the 8th thoracic vertebra was detected. Baugnies was immediately operated on. His condition is stable and he never lost consciousness.

GP de Wallonie Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 5:26:00
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 1:22
3. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis at 1:23
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:25
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 1:28
7. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:37
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
9. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Belgium U23
10. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC.


Coppa Agostoni – Giro delle Brianze 2017
Michael Albasini (Suisse National Team) won the Coppa Agostoni in a reduced bunch finish in Lissone. The Orica-Scott rider was racing in the colors of the Swiss national team, and he delivered a fine sprint to beat Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Francesco Gavazzi (Androni-Sidermec).

The race was animated by a seven-man move that forged clear in the opening hour of racing. Shane Archbold (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Luca Wackermann (Bardiani-CSF), Angel Ruiz Madrazo (Delko-Marseille-KTM), Samuel Mugisha (Dimension Data) and Matthias Krizek (Tirol Cycling Team) combined well to build up a maximum lead of six minutes before Androni-Sidermec and the Italian national team marshaled a chase.

The repeated ascent of the Colle Brianza eventually whittled the breakaway down to three riders, as Padun, Madrazo and Perichon forged clear of the rest with 70 kilometers to go. Padun later slipped away alone, but on the next ascent of the Colle Brianza, Egan Bernal (Androni-Sidermec) attacked from the bunch, catching and passing Madrazo and Perichon as he bridged across to Padun.

Bernal and Padun combined well together and held an advantage of 50 seconds over the peloton with 40 kilometers remaining, but the intensity of the pursuit behind meant that they would eventually be caught on the finishing circuit in Lissone. In the finalé, Perichon returned to the fray once again, going on the attack in the company of Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina), but they were never more than 10 seconds clear of the peloton, and they were swept up on the final approach to the line.

Androni had strength in numbers ahead of the bunch finish, but Albasini sensed his opportunity with 250 meters to go, launching his sprint from a distance and holding off Canola and Gavazzi to take his third win of the season. The Swiss rider will be 37 in December but confirmed that he will continue his career into 2018.

Race winner, Michael Albasini (National Suisse Team): “I thought the finale would be more animated without the sprinters, but it was quite controlled. I put myself on the wheel of the Androni team because there were three or four of them. I was sure they’d do a good lead-out and that’s how it played out. I got to the finish quite fresh. It was a bit of a long sprint but it went well. Yes, I’m going on. It’s the job I always wanted to do, and I’m still enjoying myself. It’s nice to ride with younger riders like I did today. I’ll just keep going as long as I am able to get some results.”

2nd, Marco Canola (NIPPO-Vini Fantini): “My goal was the victory also to reach the personal success no.6 of the season. To be in the 15 riders of the Italian pre-selection for the World Championship is yet a great thing, but if I will have the chance to be among the 11 of the final selection, even if in the role of reserve, it will be a great honor. I would like to launch an important signal with a victory and I went really close to this result. This second place comes from a real team-work in particular way in the final part of the race thanks to Alessandro Bisolti and Ivan Santaromita that closed on many attacks, demonstrating to be an important and experienced rider of our team.”

Coppa Agostoni – Giro delle Brianze Result:
1. Michael Albasini (Sui) National Suisse Team in 4:48:37
2. Marco Canola (Ita) NIPPO-Vini Fantini
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia
4. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) National Italian Team
5. Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
6. Marco Tizza (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
7. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Nicola Gaffurini (Ita) Sangemini-MG. K Vis
9. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
10. Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Coppa Agostoni:

Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta 2017
Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-High5) won the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta for the second time on Sunday. The Belgian national champion dominated the bunch gallop in front of Plaza Cibeles ahead of Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) and Roxane Fournier (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) after an action-packed race in the streets of the Spanish capital for the last World Tour event of the season.

The third edition of the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta was ridden over 87km, with 15 laps on a 5.8km route around the iconic Plaza Cibeles. 100 riders from 18 international teams were up for the challenge, most of them looking for a sprint finish on a flat terrain. The battle was immediately raging, with many riders trying to get ahead of the bunch. Cylance tried to control the bunch while Chloe Hosking (Alé-Cipollini), one of the favorites, suffered a puncture in the fifth lap.

The main breakaway of the day was formed after 31km, with a group of 15 riders. Among them, big names such as Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb), Thalite de Jong (Lares-Waowdeals) and Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-High5) were too much of a threat of the bunch. They were reeled in with 48km to go. Attacks kept flying, with Giorgia Bronzini still among the most aggressive riders.

Irena Ossola (SAS-Macogep) managed to break away on her own 34km away from the finish but she was reeled in with 29km to go. The tight race situation saw Rachele Barbieri (Cylance) dominate the intermediate sprints. Her teammate Malgorzata Jasinska went for the last move of the day and enjoyed a 10 seconds lead over the peloton with 10km to go. She was joined by three riders for the last lap but they were caught with 3km to go and Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-High5) dominated the bunch gallop.

Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta Result:
1. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Wiggle-High5 in 2:02:31
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
3. Roxane Fournier (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
4. Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana
5. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Cylance Pro Cycling
6. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle-High5
7. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Ale-Cipollini
8. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Hitec Products
9. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb
10. Alba Teruel Ribes (Spa) Lointek.

Wiggle-High5 in Madrid:

Brico Cross Eeklo 2017
Yes, the 2017/2018 cyclo-cross season has started already and Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) took the Brico Cross in Eeklo on Sunday. Van der Poel split the large group with an attack early on the second lap and by the end of lap he had a 10 second lead which eventually became 30 seconds by the end of the race.

Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) strung the race out from the start for a seven man group to split by the end of the first lap. It was then it was time for Van der Poel to make his move. World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) watched as Van der Poel rode away and by the end of the lap it was too late to pull back the 10 seconds.

Four riders got together to chase the Dutchman: Sweeck, Van Aert, Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games), by the end of the fifth of ten laps, Van der Poel had 26 seconds lead. They were eventually joined by Gianni Vermeersch (Team Steylaerts) and Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions).

Michael Vanthourenhout attacked on any occasion he had and with three laps to go he and Sweeck broke away from the others with two to go with a 5 second lead on Van Aert, Vermeersch and Pauwels. Van der Poel’s lead was 30 seconds with 2 lap and the race was over for the others.

Vanthourenhout and Sweeck attacked each to hold off Van Aert, but the World champion worked his way back to them in time to see Vanthourenhout jumped away early in the last lap for a 6 second gap on Van Aert and Sweeck. Van Aert dropped Sweeck early on the last lap and then started to pull Vanthourenhout back. Van Aert caught Vanthourenhout in the sand section and then beat him in the sprint. Sweeck took 4th ahead of Kevin Pauwels and Gianni Vermeersch.

Brico Cross Eeklo Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charles
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games
4. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus
5. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games
6. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts
7. Corne van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions
8. Dan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
9. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
10. Diether Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games.

Brico Cross Eeklo 2017:

Moolman-Pasio reaction after winning Giro della Toscana
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio won the final stage and overall of Giro della Toscana on Sunday. The move was a repeat of 2016 where the South African achieved the same feat. In a perfectly executed tactic, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was second on the stage and overall classification.

Lisa Klein escaped 12 kilometers into the stage and was joined by another rider. With Klein high up in the overall classification, the onus was on race leaders Ale Cipollini to control the move. Klein was eventually brought back after 80 kilometers and Uttrup Ludwig used the opportunity to attack, enforcing more pressure. In her race report below, Moolman-Pasio explains how the day worked out.

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio race report
Today was perfect. In general, the tour was a great experience for the team. We started off the prologue really strongly but then yesterday we made some mistakes which were quite hard to digest as a team. Today we were very motivated to fix all the mistakes and everything was just perfect. We executed the tactic 100%.

Lisa did an incredible job by going into the breakaway early into the stage. The move put Ale under pressure and it opened up options for us as they had to chase. When Lisa came back, Cille attacked and they had to work again. When I sensed the time was right and they were under a lot of pressure on the steeper parts of the climb, I attacked and joined Cille. One rider came with me and Cillie and I had a team time trial to the finish. We didn’t want to give the Polish rider a free ride to the finish so I attacked on the last climb.

We’re very happy, this is perfect preparation before the world champs. We learnt a lot of lessons during this tour.

It’s always great to win in Italy. I love racing here, it’s a beautiful country and the racing is always hard here because of the terrain. I’ve lived here before and to win on home soil for our partners Kask, KOO and Vittoria makes it special. It’s great to give them something extra by winning at home.

The final stage and overall to Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio:

Vincenzo Nibali Medical Up-Date
Vincenzo Nibali underwent X-rays to determine the extent of the injuries which he suffered after the crash occurred on stage 20 of La Vuelta a España, when he slipped on the wet road during a downhill.

“The radiological examination confirmed clinically suspected micro-fracture of the left 7th rib cortical bone” explains Dr Emilio Magni, Bahrain-Merida Team Medical Staff. “Vincenzo should rest for a few days, with subsequent clinical re-evaluation.”

Nibali at the end of Vuelta stage 20:

UAE Team Emirates Reflects on Successful First Vuelta a España
After more than 3,000km of arduous racing through France, Andorra and Spain, UAE Team Emirates wrapped-up their first Vuelta a España on Sunday, marking the culmination of a successful debut for the new team at the three historic Grand Tours. The third and final of the three most prestigious races on the UCI WorldTour, the 2017 Vuelta provided 21 challenging stages and saw UAE Team Emirates achieve a stage victory, several top five and top ten finishes, and a 12th place General Classification (GC) finish for South African rider Louis Meintjes.

Stand-out performer for the team was Matej Mohoric – the Slovenian rider produced some exceptional displays that saw him to a famous win on stage seven and a top five finish on stage five.

Also in fine form in Spain was Mohoric’s compatriot, Jan Polanc, who earned a podium spot with second place on stage eight, a top five on stage six, and a top ten finish on stage 12.

Following on from his breakthrough performance at the Tour de France in July, UAE Team Emirates’ Colombian climbing specialist, Darwin Atapuma, continued his impressive summer with a series of strong attacking displays. The 29 year old was first to the summit on two of the five categorized climbs on stage six (the Alto de Chirivilla and Puerto del Oronet), and later secured a creditable top ten finish on stage 11 where he led the breakaway on the penultimate climb up the Alto de Velefique, only to be caught by the chasing peloton on the ascent of the Calar Alto.

Elsewhere, there were notable performances from Portuguese Rui Costa and Italian Sacha Modolo. Costa picked up a top five finish in the restricted sprint at the end of stage 19, while Modolo finished fifth on stage two and sixth on stage four to help contribute to a positive first week for the team.

Passing through three countries – France, Andorra and Spain – riders who completed all 21 stages covered a total of 3,324km. This year’s Vuelta featured nine summit finishes, including the 13.3km long ascent to Alto de l’Angliru on the penultimate stage of the race. Setting off from Nîmes, the first two stages of La Vuelta were contested in France before the peloton crossed the Pyrenees towards Andorra and across the northern Spanish coast ending in the stunning Spanish city of Madrid.

Tyler Farrar Retires from Professional Cycling
Tyler Farrar has called time on his 15-year career after completing the GP Montreal with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka last Sunday.

Farrar joined our African Team in 2015 and was part of our 9-man squad that made history by racing the Tour de France that year. Farrar was an integral part to our lead-out and classics team, but it was his value in mentoring our African riders and captaining our team on the road which made him a priceless asset to our team.

Farrar is credited with 29 professional victories and the 33-year-old American is also one of the very few riders to have won stages in all 3 grand tours. Congratulations Tyler Farrar on a fine career and thank you for your contribution to African Cycling.

Tyler Farrar: “The last 15 years have been a surreal adventure, but the time has come for me to call an end to my career. Cycling is a beautiful sport and it has been a dream come true for me to be a part of the rolling circus that is the professional peloton. I have been honored to be a part of great teams and work with many amazing people throughout my career. I am leaving with wonderful memories and I would like to sincerely thank everyone, the fans, staff, family and friends who have supported me over the years.”

Tyler Farrar:

Movistar Team to launch Women’s Team in 2018
New Endura kit unveiled today set to be worn next year by the Blues’ two rosters: the long-established men’s WorldTour outfit and the new UCI women’s squad.

Few hours after the end of the Vuelta a España, Telefónica opened the doors of its central headquarters in Madrid to the media and VIPs for an overview of the Movistar Team’s 2017 season – to finish at the Tour of Guangxi (China) in late October – and announce two important news regarding the squad’s future. The event was headlined by the presence of Carlos López Blanco, Telefónica’s General Director of Public Affairs and Regulation; Eusebio Unzué, General Manager of the Movistar Team; and Alejandro Valverde, still recovering from his injuries sustained at a crash on stage one of the Tour de France.

Season Overview
Unzué commented on the results obtained at the opening nine months of the 2017 season –including 31 victorias; success at top-ranked races like País Vasco, Catalunya, Tirreno-Adriatico, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flecha Valona, as well as a second-place overall finish in the Giro d’Italia- and the difficulties suffered during the second part of the calendar, with a gamble on the youngest riders in the roster as a result.

Alejandro Valverde also shared with the media present in Madrid on the progress of his recovery process, as well as his excitement about getting back to his top form in the upcoming 2018 season. By the Spaniard’s words, his own recovery, combined with the quality by Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa and the potential shown by the youngsters, all combine for the Movistar Team to be a candidate for success in the biggest competitions next season.

New 2018 Endura kit
One of the fundamental parts of the event was the unveiling of the new Movistar Team kit for 2018, designed and hand-made by Endura in Scotland. The shorts remain in the same dark blue chosen for previous seasons, standing out from a resplendent, new light blue used for the jersey, in compliance with the new image of the Movistar brand.

Another reason why the Movistar Team is changing colors in 2018 is to favor visibility of the riders on the road (both team pros and recreational cyclists), another principle behind the #RodamosJuntos campaign which Movistar activated during the Vuelta a España.

The initiative, supported by the Spanish High Sports Council, the Directorate General of Traffic, La Vuelta, RTVE and the Spanish Cycling Federation, has drawn audiences over 20 million people during the three weeks of racing, and will continue during the Movistar Bike Day in Madrid on October 1st.

Women’s Team
The biggest news from the day was the confirmation of a new women’s Movistar Team being established in 2018. The birth of this squad is a boost from Telefónica and Abarca Sports to the strength of women’s cycling in Spain, committed to offer Spanish riders the best conditions possible to compete in the international peloton, with the same equipment the men’s team uses.

Movistar will also collaborate with the Spanish Cycling Federation into several projects to foster grassroots cycling in the country, aiming to reach 1.9 million women on bikes in the future. An official statement from the Federation considers “this project will revitalize women’s cycling as a whole in Spain, offering more visibility to both races and sportswomen and attracting new sponsors.”

Big Data at La Vuelta
In turn, Elena Gil (CEO LUCA – Telefónica Data Unit) and Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (Director of Big Data for Social Good) presented the results of the Big Data analysis conducted during the recent Vuelta a España. The studies included Big Data and advanced analysis techniques over three relevant sources of data: Mobility of people (based on activity generated by their mobile phones), TV Audiences and Social Media (Twitter).

The analysis shows clear results about the massive impact La Vuelta has on sports and society, as well as on those municipalities and cities which are part of the race’s route. It also confirms that the attractive route designed by the organizers has improved audiences stage by stage, keeping interest until the very end of the race. The LUCA team will help La Vuelta’s managing team assessing their routes and establishing new patrons for the upcoming years.

Movistar 2018:

Gianluca Brambilla Joins Trek-Segafredo for Two Years
Trek-Segafredo is happy to announce that Italian climber Gianluca Brambilla will join the team for the next two years. Brambilla, 30, has shown an aptitude for one-day races and stage races, winning stages at both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España last year.

Brambilla, currently racing with Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team, turned professional in 2010 and showed early promise in his first years, finishing fourth in the mountains classification at the 2011 Giro d’Italia.

Brambilla: “I am super motivated to join Trek-Segafredo! I have learned a lot over the past five years at Quick-Step Floors and I am really grateful for that, but now I feel it’s time for me to take the next step in my career. I am looking forward to changing teams, to see how another big team works, to meet new people, and to continue improving.”

“As a kid, when I saw the Giro on television for the first time, I immediately knew I wanted to become a cyclist myself. The Giro d’Italia is really my all time favorite race and next year I definitely want to make a big result there. I hope to arrive there in the shape of my life and will give it my all during three weeks to hopefully take home a really good spot in GC.”

“Obviously I also like the Classics in the Ardennes and especially Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but if I am honest, the Monument I like the most is Lombardy. Being an Italian it would be a dream come true to be able to win that race one day.”

General Manager, Luca Guercilena: “I am convinced Gianluca will be of great added value to the team. He has already proven to be a force in stage races, and will be one of our spearheads in next year’s Giro d’Italia. Gianluca can win stages and go for the GC, but he can do well in one-day races too. We are excited to have him join Trek-Segafredo next year.”

Gianluca Brambilla:

James Knox turns pro with Quick-Step Floors
Opportunity knocks for the 21-year-old climber, who’ll step up to the World Tour as part of the most victorious team of 2017.

One of the brightest prospects on the U23 scene, James Knox has inked a deal with Quick-Step Floors, which will see him sport the colors of our squad until the end of 2019. Hailing from Levens, a small town in the county of Cumbria, James has built a reputation as a solid climber ever since his junior days, when he won the National Hill Climb Championships.

Over the years, Knox proved he’s cut for both tough one-day and stage races, the results he earned this season speaking for themselves: runner-up at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the young Briton impressed also in Ronde de l’Isard, Giro della Valle d’Aosta, Tour Alsace or Tour de l’Avenir, finishing all these events in the top 10 overall.

But maybe his most outstanding display of talent and character came in April, at the Tour of Croatia, where James mixed it up with the pros and fought relentlessly on the race’s tough climbs, before concluding the hard six-day event in eighth place, around one minute and a half behind the winner, multiple Grand Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali. All said and done, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Quick-Step Floors have decided to add the promising 21-year-old rider to their 2018 roster.

James Knox spoke of the opportunity he’s been given and his goals as he opens a new, exciting and challenging chapter of his career: “It’s amazing to join Quick-Step Floors, who is a team that excels in so many areas, from having the best classics riders in the world to the best stages racers and best sprinters. On the whole, it’s a great outfit that always gets the most out of every rider, and personally I especially hope to develop my character as a climber, because it’s where I can excel the most. When that is said, I would like to develop every aspect of what it means to be a top professional rider and I think Quick-Step Floors provides the best opportunity for just that.”

“I am really happy with my season so far. I have managed to take a step up from knocking on the door last year to be close this year with a few second places”, said James when asked of his solid run of form and results. “Runner-up in Liège – a race I dream of winning as a pro – was great and from there on to get good results over the whole season gives me motivation and confidence to take the next step up the ladder at Quick-Step Floors. I’m very happy and proud that the things I’ve achieved have attracted the attention of a team like Quick-Step Floors”.

The Brit didn’t forget his previous teams and the role they’ve played in his development: “I owe all the staff at Team Wiggins a huge thanks for helping me reach my achievements over the season and progress as a rider over the last two years, and I also want to mention Flavio Zappi, who has meant a great deal and really sized my career as an under 23. He has a big part in that I am today able to sign the contract with Quick-Step Floors.”

Patrick Lefevere – Quick-Step Floors’ CEO – spoke highly of the soon-to-be 22-year-old, the team’s sixth recruit for next season: “James was on our radar for some time and we closely monitored his progression this season, but it wasn’t only his results that caught our attention, also his right attitude and commitment towards the sport were equally impressive. He’s a very promising climber and we’ll carefully nurture his talent in the years to come, while at the same time helping him adapt to the demanding pro life.”

James Knox:

Steff Cras, Another Young Talent to Sign with Team Katusha Alpecin
Team Katusha Alpecin is happy to announce that it has reached an agreement with young Belgian talent Steff Cras. Cras (21) is a climber and currently riding for BMC Development Team. Steff Cras recently finished 5th in the Tour de l’Avenir. Earlier in 2017 he obtained other Top 5 Overall placings in Ronde de l’Isard (3rd), Tour Alsace (4th) and Peace Race (5th).

“This is really what I want. I feel that Team Katusha Alpecin is a team that suits me perfectly. The conversations I already had with José Azevedo have convinced me. In the end I am, and I will be, a stage race rider. After three U23 years, 2018 is also the perfect moment to make the step to the highest level of cycling. I feel that I am ready for it. This season I had a lot of racing days and I still feel very good. I look forward to join the team,” said Steff Cras.

Tomorrow Steff Cras will race the Grand Prix de Wallonie (1.1) with the Belgian national team before heading to Italy for the U23 Giro di Lombardia.

“We have been following Steff for two years. I am delighted to have him with us in 2018 and 2019. He is a not only a very talented climber, he is good as well against the clock. We want to make a great GC rider of him. We are working on our future. Last year we brought young talents and classics riders Mads Würtz Schmidt and Jenthe Biermans to the team. Now it’s time for some young climbers. Ilnur Zakarin is our leader for the Grand Tours. With our latest transfers we are working on good support for Zak and the team’s future,” said Team Manager José Azevedo.

Steff Cras:

Ryan Mullen and Alex Frame Sign with Trek-Segafredo
Trek-Segafredo is excited to announce it has reached an agreement with 23-year-old Irish cyclist Ryan Mullen and 24-year-old Alex Frame of New-Zealand for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. With these two signings Trek-Segafredo continues to build a solid base of young talents for the future.

Ryan Mullen is the current Irish National Champion, winning both the road and time trial titles, and joins Trek-Segafredo from Cannondale-Drapac. A strong time trialist, Mullen placed third in the European TT Championships last month.

Ryan Mullen: “I’m so excited to be joining Trek-Segafredo. Since my initial conversation with them in the summer, we shared similar ideas and ambitions for the future. I am really excited to continue my development at Trek-Segafredo and am confident it will be a successful combination over the coming seasons.”

Alex Frame and his fast legs arrive from British UCI Continental team JLT Condor. Frame, a gold medalist in the team pursuit at the 2015 UCI Track World Championships, won 4 races this season (stage 3, New Zealand Cycle Classic; prologue and stage 3, Istrian Spring Trophy; stage 2, Tour du Loir et Cher) and is ready to step up to the World Tour.

Alex Frame: “Joining Trek-Segafredo is a massive deal for me, I cannot wait to put on the jersey. I know I can be competitive at this level. I want to start 2018 well and prove what I am capable of. This is the perfect team for me, I’m looking forward to a great year next year; I could not be happier.”

Trek-Segafredo General Manager, Luca Guercilena is thrilled to have Frame and Mullen onboard for the 2018 and 2019 seasons: “Ryan (Mullen) and Alex (Frame) are both young and very talented, and with them we want to continue investing in the development of young riders. They are both very strong guys and we are convinced they will be valuable assets for the team. Mullen will reinforce our time trial squad and Frame, with his experience from the track, is obviously a very fast rider who will be of great help in the lead-out and as we hope, also in the Classics. We strongly believe that they still have a large margin for improvement. I am confident that they will be a solid option for the future.”

Ryan Mullen:
Harelbeke - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Ryan MULLEN (Ireland / Cannondale Drapac Professional Cycling Team) pictured during 60e Record Bank E3 Harelbeke UCI World Tour - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Rik Verbrugghe will join Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team as Sports Director
Experienced Team Director and former Belgian pro cyclist, Rik Verbrugghe, has signed to be one of the Sports Directors in Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team in season 2018.

Rik Verbrugghe, born 1974 in Belgium, became a professional road racing cyclist in 1996. During his pro career, he become a Belgian time trial champion, competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics, won a stage at the Tour de France, three stages at the Giro d’Italia, and the one-day Ardennes classics—La Flèche Wallonne, and the overall and two stages of the Critérium International. His remarkable accomplishments were the result of his hard work and passion for cycling that stayed with him even after his retirement as a professional rider. In 2008 he announced his retirement but stayed tightly connected to the world of cycling. He was the team director at Quick Step during the 2009 and 2010 seasons and in 2011 he became team director at BMC Racing Team until 2014. In 2015 was the sport manager from IAM cycling until last year when the team stop end 2016. But in 2017 Rik work for the RTBF Belgian television as commentator during the classics and Tour de France.

Bahrain-Merida is looking forward to have such an experienced and professional sports director joining the team. He will significantly contribute to our team and play a major role in preparing strategies and tactics for the races in 2018.

Brent Copeland, General Manager of the Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team expressed his thoughts about Rik Verbrugghe as the new Sports Director: “We at Bahrain-Merida are very pleased to have such an experienced sports director join our team. Rik is an important asset to us, not only at the races working with the riders and staff but also in the organization of various areas of the team where his vast experience will be valued. His years spent as a rider as well as a sports director and manager is something respected by all as well as Rik’s many different languages he speaks will bring an even more international feel to the team which we believe is an important topic. We welcome him and looking forward to starting a new and exciting season together.”

After signing the contract Rik Verbrugghe commented: “I’m very proud to work with an ambitious and motivated team like Bahrain-Merida next year where I will work with big riders as Nibali, Colbrelli and so on. Looking forward to give my experience to the all team and making the riders goal’s and planning but also giving my experience during the spring classics and Grand Tours.”

New Bahrain-Merida DS, Rik Verbrugghe:

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig Confirmed as World Tour Youth Winner
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was confirmed as the winner of the UCI Women’s World Tour youth classification yesterday. The season-long series which started in March ended on Sunday with the Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta.

Uttrup Ludwig first earned the jersey after finishing in the top ten in Strade Bianche, the first event in the series. After briefly being tied on points in the second race, Ronde van Drenthe, the Danish time trial champion led the series for the rest of the season.

“It really means a lot to win because we were competing again some talented young riders,” she said. “I’m really proud to win this jersey in the end. I remember Strade Bianche because when we finished I couldn’t believe I was in the top 10 in my first World Tour race. Then the organization called me to tell me I need to go to the podium as the best young rider. I told them no, they’re making a mistake, it can’t be me.”

As a team passionate about young rider development, 22-year-old Uttrup Ludwig signed to Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team to develop and grow her natural talent. She says, “The team is a base for young talented riders and we want to attract more young riders. We want to showcase how young riders are developed here so the jersey is a perfect advert for that. I want to thank all the team partners who not only supply the best technical support but also with their time by flying to training camps and races to support us.”

The 2017 season has been the team’s most successful season to-date, winning 20 races with multiple victories in the UCI World Tour.

The past weekend was made more special in Giro della Toscana. Cervélo Biga Pro Cycling Team made a complete sweep of the podium in Friday’s prologue with Lisa Klein winning, followed by Uttrup Ludwig and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. Moolman-Pasio ended the race like she did last year by winning the final stage and the overall. She was followed by Uttrup Ludwig who also finished second on the general classification.

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig:

Paris-Tours 2017: 22 Teams Selected
22 teams that will start take part in the 111st edition of Paris-Tours on Sunday 8 October 2017 in Brou (Eure-et-Loir).


2016 Paris-Tours:

Best of – Paris-Tours 2016 por tourdefrance

UCI World Championships 2017
The World Champs start on Sunday with the team time trials (see above) and here is the promo video to get you all excited.

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