What's Cool In Road Cycling

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The Santos Tour Down Under is well under way, results and video. Chris Froome has a new ailment – Top Story. Lots of other cycling news in EUROTRASH: Brussels 2019 Grand Départ, race news from the Vuelta a San Juan and Dubai Tour, Rally Cycling to Europe, BMC with Swisse Wellness and new jerseys for the Giro d’Italia.

TOP STORY: Chris Froome’s Health Problems
It appears that Sky’s Chris Froome not only had bilharzia and suffers from chronic asthma, it is now claimed that he had a kidney malfunction on the day of the test that found twice the permitted level of salbutamol.

According to French sports paper L’Équipe; the legal and scientific experts assembled by Team Sky and Froome to mount his defense are building their case around the possible malfunctioning of the Tour de France winners kidneys.

L’Équipe reports that on the days before and after the spike that triggered the adverse analytical test show the levels of salbutamol were very low. The report goes on to say that the defense will argue Froome’s kidneys malfunctioned and accumulated the metabolites of salbutamol instead of excreting them over a normal period of time. When his system started working again, his kidneys excreted high levels of salbutamol leading to the elevated test results.

The case will be heard by the UCI and if accepted then WADA and the UK Anti-Doping Agency can appeal the decision in which case it will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If it is not accepted, then Froome can take it to CAS. Whatever happens it will all take time and if Froome rides the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France with a decision hanging over his head we could have a repeat of the Contador case where his Tour and Giro wins were taken away.

Chris Froome managed this attack while suffering from asthma and a malfunctioning kidney:

Santos Tour Down Under 2018
André Greipel won Stage 1 of the 2018 Tour Down Under, the first WorldTour race of the year. His seventeenth stage win in Australia.

The stage between Port Adelaide and Lyndoch was a traditional sprint stage. After two kilometers three riders escaped the bunch for a maximum advantage of 5 minutes. Nicholas Dlamini got his professional career and Team Dimension Data’s 2018 season off to an excellent start, by pulling on the King of the Mountains jersey at the end of the opening 145km stage. Dlamini made the 3-man break of the day, escaping with Will Clarke (EF Education First) and Scott Bowden (UniSA).

With temperatures above 30°C the riders took it easy the first two hours. The sprint teams controlled the gap. Clarke managed to stay in front until 8 kilometers to go. Jens Debusschere then dropped off André Greipel perfectly for the sprint. The stage ended with a bunch kick in Lyndoch as Greipel sprinted to a record-extending 17th Santos Tour Down Under stage victory ahead of young gun Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe).

More photos from stage 1 in PeloPics.

Lyndoch - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during 20th Santos Tour Down Under (2.UWT) stage -1 from Port Adelaide to Lyndoch (145KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage 1 winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “I am very happy with this victory. This was the first official UCI race of the year and the first WorldTour race too. That I take the win here, feels really great. Not all top sprinters are here, but I do beat guys like Ewan, Sagan and Viviani. Jens Debusschere dropped me of with 350 meters to go, in the last corner. Instinctively I chose a wheel and that turned out to be the perfect position to start the sprint. I got out of the wheel of Caleb Ewan pretty smoothly and won quite easily. It’s wonderful for the team and me to start 2018 with a victory. I’m also very happy with today’s power data. In the past I often set good results at Tour Down Under and that was the start of a good season; I hope that is the case this year too. I was disappointed after my second place at People’s Choice Classic, but on the other hand it also gave me the feeling that it would be possible to win a stage this week. Tomorrow the stage finishes in Stirling where I got second in 2011. With riders such as Ulissi and Sagan it won’t be easy to set a high result though, but never say ‘never’.”

3rd, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Although it wasn’t as hot as last year, we raced in a very warm Australian summer day. The race played out as expected with a big sprint finish and the team followed the plan the sport directors had set in the morning. I finished third in the sprint, probably not the result we would have liked, but still good for the start of the season. I feel in good form and I will give my best during the rest of the week.”

9th on the stage, Ramunas Navardauskas (Bahrain-Merida): “I am happy that I finished, I was about to follow the wheels, had a nice position, and tried to go fast. I think I still have the feeling to follow the wheels. I was not like finding the best position, but stayed behind the sprinters, jumped from one wheel to another to get into a good position. It was not easy. It’s still the beginning of the season, I am looking forward to how I will improve the best of the season! Still there are hard days to come, it’s one of the easy days. I will see stage 3 & 4 when we have some climbs. I think that will be big challenges for me. Because even today the small climbs were not so easy. But I’m looking forward to testing myself. It’s the best place to explore yourself and to see where you are.”

Break rider and KOM, Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data): “The day started off really well with a relaxed start because the peloton just let us go when we attacked. There was one experienced rider in the move, Will Clarke, so I had to keep an eye on him, but he was actually a really good guy to ride alongside. In our stage tactical meeting the plan was always for me to make the break and take the Mountains jersey. In that type of situation, I have the best kick in the team so I am happy it all went according to plan. We have some bigger objectives for the race with Tom and the GC, so we’ll have to see what happens about keeping the jersey but it is great to have it for now. This is the highest level of the sport so I am really excited to be wearing a leader’s jersey in my first race, I hope for more of the same during the rest of the season.”

Break rider and Most Competitive Rider, Will Clarke (EF Education First): “It wasn’t a hard move to get into today, I managed it pretty easily. The goal actually was to try to get the KOM jersey, which I made a pretty big blunder of chasing. I sort of waited a bit too long and then totally stuffed it up really.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 Result:
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 3:50:21
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Sunweb
7. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida
10. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 1:
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 3:50:11
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
3. William Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:06
5. Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) Dimension Data
6. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:09
7. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:10
9. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Sunweb.

Stage 1:

Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan has added to his stage tally at the Tour Down Under, with an impressive win on Stage 2 into Stirling, whilst teammate Daryl Impey capped off the perfect day for Mitchelton-Scott finishing in second.

The full Mitchelton-Scott train could be seen near the front of the peloton in the final five kilometers with Ewan taking the victory with a clear back wheel on a stage that wasn’t expected to suit him.

There was little resistance from the peloton as a breakaway of four went away in the opening kilometers of stage two. Yesterday’s three escapees of Will Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac), Nickolas Dlamini (Dimension Data) and Scott Bowden (UniSA) were once again out in front, this time joined by Jaime Castrillo (Movistar).

Castrillo showed the freshness in his legs, spending the second half of the race solo before being caught in the final 15km.

Not in the favorites for the day, Mitchelton-SCOTT were spared of the workload for much of the day as other teams took responsibility. With five kilometers remaining the full team was in the perfect position towards the head of the peloton and they maintained it right to the finish.

Unsure of his ability to finish off on an uphill sprint, Ewan left his call for the final couple of hundred meters before calling Impey to launch. As Ewan came through on the far side for the victory, Impey also sprinted hard for the line – mistaking Caleb’s best young rider white jersey for that of Peter Sagan’s world championship jersey – to complete the one, two for Mitchelton-Scott.

More photos from stage 2 in PeloPics.

Stirling - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Caleb EWAN (Australia / Team Mitchelton - Scott) pictured during 20th Santos Tour Down Under (2.UWT) stage -2 from Unley to Stirling (148.6KM) - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and overall leader, Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott): “I am very thrilled, it is probably more exciting winning on a stage that you’re a little bit unsure about going into. It was a tricky finish because I didn’t know if I would get up there or not and I didn’t want to make the call from the bottom. I just sat in there and tried to conserve as much energy as possible and I saw Daryl sitting up there nicely so I told him to go with about 300 meters to go and then he got us out and then I had a clear run at the line. I think this is probably my best Tour Down Under win because it was on a finish that didn’t suit me and probably suited Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) more, so to get one up on him here, on this finish, is a bonus. The last few Tour Down Under’s I have had the Ochre jersey but then gone straight into a mountain stage so I haven’t had the chance to hold it for more than one-day so this is great to try and keep it tomorrow.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott): “I didn’t know it Caleb was next to me, I just saw a white jersey so I thought it was Sagan, then finally once we got a bit closer I saw it was him and that we were in that position so it was really good. It just shows how fresh we were at the end to go one, two. The team did a great job so we didn’t have to do too much all day and we could conserve quite a bit of energy. It was nice to run second, it was unexpected and I think from that point everybody is certainly very happy, we couldn’t do much better than that.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today there was probably a bigger group in the finale than the last time I did it. We went today with two goals, to look after Peter and for me to hopefully gain some seconds in the overall. The plan was that I was going to try to open early so that Peter could come over on top of me. With 300 meters to go, one of the FDJ riders came around me and closed my line. Caleb and Impey got past while Peter was behind them. I started opening but once I saw Peter couldn’t go for the win, I went for the bonus seconds that will be important later on in the week. I moved to fourth overall and I have to fight every day. Yesterday, I was fighting with Nathan Haas for the one second that was available in the sprint. Last year, I was only on the podium because of the time I gained during the week, so we’ll take any seconds available.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a very hot day and the race went as we had expected. We did our best but in the finale, Caleb Ewan was stronger. I’m happy that Jay got some valuable bonus seconds and we now have another four stages to try our best.”

7th on the stage, Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a hard stage, the weather was also very hot. We worked hard staying in the front, didn’t win but that was a good job.”

8th on the stage, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a fast finish, I already knew because I did it 3 times, and always you don’t know it’s a stage for sprinters or not. For me, as a non sprinter, it’s a good result to finish in Top 10. It was a great work of our team today, so I think on Friday and Saturday we are optimistic.”

Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data): “Today was a hard finish but we knew that. I was surprised how big the group was in the end for the sprint. I was there but we kind of lost each other in the final lap, and got a bit mixed up. So, I tried to float from team to team in the last 3km and it went pretty well actually but with 500m to go I was a bit far back. I started sprinting and improved some positions but then the whole group moved left and I had to brake. I was caught up against the barrier and lost positions so unfortunately the result could have been a lot better.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 4:03:55
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
7. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana
10. Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Spa) Movistar.

Santos Tour Down Overall After Under Stage 2:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 7:54:00
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:10
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:12
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:15
6. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:16
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Spa) Movistar
10. Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

Stage 2:

Viviani gets his first victory in the Quick-Step Floors jersey. Despite having to come from a long way back, the Italian proved his class and scored a spectacular win in Victor Harbor on Stage 3.

Elia Viviani was the man of the day in the Tour Down Under, capitalizing on his teammates’ excellent work as well as his fantastic speed and cunningness on the way to a maiden stage victory at the Australian World Tour race, where he returned for the first time since 2014.

It was the hottest day of this year’s Tour Down Under, with temperatures hitting 47 degrees, and for that very reason the organizers decided to reduce the stage between Glenelg and Victor Harbor by 26 kilometers. Despite the scorching heat, three riders broke clear from the outset of the stage and enjoyed a three-minute buffer before the peloton pegged them back one by one, with the catch being made on the final lap of the Victor Harbor circuit.

With under ten kilometers to go, Dries Devenyns, Fabio Sabatini and Michael Mørkøv brought Elia Viviani to the front of the peloton, knowing the final part of the stage was a very technical one, with one roundabout and two tight corners packed in the closing 1500 meters. The experienced Dane dropped off Viviani with 200 meters to go and the Italian blasted past race leader Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) despite the ground he had to make, taking a convincing victory by two bike lengths.

More photos in PeloPics.

Victor Harbor - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Elia VIVIANI (Italy / Team Quick - Step Floors) - Phil BAUHAUS (Germany / Team Sunweb)  pictured during  20th Santos Tour Down Under (2.UWT) stage -3 from Glenelg to Victor Harbor (120KM) - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors): “Today it was very hot and that only made the stage harder. For that matter, it was very important to keep hydrating and make sure there’s some energy left in the tank for the final 200 meters. The guys did a perfect job today and I want to thank them for helping me get this win. The victory is important not only for the confidence, but also because it shows that I had a good winter preparation.”

3rd on the stage and overall leader, Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott): “I’m pretty disappointed with that to be honest, my team gave me an absolutely perfect lead out and I stuffed it up in the end. It was a bit of a headwind so I didn’t want to go too early, I waited a little bit too long and Viviani got the jump on me. I can’t fault the team they were absolutely perfect and they did exactly what I asked them to do. There’s been four different winners over the last four races here so it just shows he depth of the sprint field here at this race. I can still take confidence out of all my sprints the last few days. I haven’t quite nailed them all as I would have hoped but I am super confident with how the team is riding and I don’t think I have ever had lead outs this good before. The times I haven’t won it’s been more because of myself rather than the team.”

5th on the stage and overall, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was an extremely hot day and a fast stage because of the tailwind. We worked to help Jay get bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint. He picked up one, so that was good, but the final sprint didn’t go the way we wanted. We stayed safe today and we will try our chances again in the following stages.”

10th on the stage and 4th overall, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a very hot day, it is nice the organisation came to us and decided to cut some of the laps and shorten the stage. I was able to get another second on the road, which will be important coming into the final few days. It was a good day overall but very hot!”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors in 3:04:40
2. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Sunweb
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
7. Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) UniSA-Australia
9. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
10. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Santos Tour Down Overall After Under Stage 3:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 10:58:36
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:10
3. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:14
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:15
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:16
6. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:17
7. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:19
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:20
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
10. Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

TDU stage 3:

Tour de France 2019: Brussels Introduces the Grand Départ
Brussels can’t wait for its Grand Départ. The Tour de France 2019 will kick-off from the Belgian capital on July 6th. The Brussels-Capital region will welcome two stages, according to the route introduced Tuesday at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Brussels. This will be the fifth Grand Départ from Belgium, the second set at Brussels 61 years after the first one.

The first stage will visit some of the hotbeds of Belgian cycling history and places that fully illustrate the deep relationship between the country and the Tour de France. The riders will cross Flanders and Wallonia, with the Mur de Grammont as one of the main highlights of the route. On their way back to Brussels, they will pass through the city of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, where Eddy Merckx wore the Maillot Jaune for the first time ever, on route to the first of his five overall success, back in 1969.

Sprinters will have a serious shot at glory, nine years after Alessandro Petacchi claimed victory on the last Tour visit at Brussels. The next day, a team time trial will highlight the most iconic monuments of the city. Between the Royal Palace and the Atomium, this will already be a key moment for the champions who want to earn their place alongside Eddy Merckx as legends of the Tour.

The key points:
The 106th Tour de France will begin with two stages around the Belgian and European capital, including a team time trial.
Ø The Grand Départ will be the opportunity to celebrate two landmarks as the Maillot Jaune will become a centenarian in 2019, 50 years after Eddy Merckx claimed his maiden Tour victory.

More information on https://www.letour.fr/en/

Brussels - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Christian Prudhomme directeur of the Tour de France with former five times winner Eddy Merckx pictured during the official presentation of the Brussels Grand Depart for the 106th edition of the 2019 Tour de France cycling race on January 16, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Vincenzo Nibali will head lineup for Vuelta a San Juan
The Vuelta a San Juan will start next Sunday. The most important South American stage race is now at its 36th edition. Seven stages, one more than last year, with a route that will offer many sprint finish but also a 14-kilometer individual time trial and the queen stage with the arrival at the 2,560 meters of the Alto de Colorado, in which the riders will have to tackle a difference in height of over 1500 meters over the last 70 km.

At the start our captain Vincenzo Nibali: “As for some years, I have chosen Argentina for my seasonal debut. It’s a good race to start: the route is not too demanding and the weather is perfect. And then it always brought me luck….”

The young Mark Padun is at his official debut with the Bahrain Merida jersey: “I am very happy to be here in San Juan and to be able to run close to such experienced riders as Vincenzo and ‘Kosta’. My task will be to help the team and maybe try some breakaway.”

A bit of emotion also for Kanstantsín Siutsou who returns to the races after the fracture of the left femur that cost him seven months of stop. “The recovery was quick enough but I preferred to wait until 2018 to return to the competitions. I must admit I can not wait to attack my number on the team jersey.”

The Italian sprinter Niccolò Bonifazio will have different opportunities to win a stage: “In this Vuelta there are at least four sprint finishes. I worked well at home and I will try to beat strong opponents such as Fernando Gaviria and Giacomo Nizzolo.”

Team BAHRAIN MERIDA’s line up for Vuelta San Juan: Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Mark Padun, Niccolò Bonifazio, Ivan Cortina, Kanstantsín Siutsou.

Preview Vuelta a San Juan with DS Mario Aerts
This year Lotto Soudal will participate in the Vuelta a San Juan, an Argentinian stage race from Sunday 21 January to Sunday 28 January. The riders need to cover six stages and one time trial, there’s a rest day on Thursday.

The Vuelta a San Juan offers a lot of opportunities to sprinters. In the second stage the leading role will be played by the punchers, the time trial of 14.4 kilometers is scheduled on day three and the fifth stage is a mountain stage. That day the finish line lies at the top of a fifteen kilometers long climb with an average gradient of 4.5%.

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Four out of the seven stages are sprint stages. Fernando Gaviria will be the man to beat on those occasions. Enzo Wouters is the sprinter in our team. As a neo-pro he pulled a lot at the head of the bunch last year, after his first race needed to be postponed due to knee surgery. When he could have a go of his own at the Tour of Britain in September, he claimed two top ten places. His teammates will try to get him to the finish in the best possible conditions. The sprints in Argentina are often chaotic, then the steering skills of Tosh Van der Sande can come in handy.”

“This is the first race of the year for the riders present and we start without any pressure. We want to set some good results with Enzo, but for the others this race is a preparation for the spring races. A good overall classification isn’t a goal. The fifth stage and the time trial will determine the GC. The final climb on stage five isn’t very tough, but at the beginning of the season such a climb can feel tougher than usual. In the sprint stages the riders will need to be attentive for echelons, as we often ride through plains.”

Line-up Vuelta a San Juan:
Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire, Nikolas Maes, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Wallays and Enzo Wouters.
Sports director: Mario Aerts.

Tosh Van der Sande:
Sallent de Gallego. Aramon Formigal - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tosh Van Der Sande (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during stage 15 from Sabinanigo to Sallent de Gallego. Aramon Formigal - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2016

Dubai Tour team line-up Announced: 16 teams of 7 Riders at the Start
The 16 teams invited to the fifth edition of the Dubai Tour – taking place from 6 to 10 February 2018 – has been officially announced.

Nine UCI WorldTour Teams, five UCI Professional Continental Teams, one UCI Continental Team and the UAE National Team will be at the start of the five-stage professional cycling race organized by the Dubai Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport. Each team will consist of seven riders.

Marcel Kittel of Quick-Stepp Floors team jubilates on podium  after winning the Dubai Tour 2017 cycling race. United Arab Emirates, 2 February  2017. ANSA / MATTEO BAZZI
Marcel Kittel, winner of the last two Dubai Tour editions


Astana is part of the Astana President’s Professional Sports Club, which was created by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, N.A. Nazarbayev, in 2012. Astana’s palmarès includes an Olympic gold medal (Alexander Vinokourov, now General Manager, won the Men’s Road Race, London 2012), eight Grand Tour victories (three Giri d’Italia with Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador, three Vueltas a España with Fabio Aru, Vinokurov and Alberto Contador, two Tours de France with Contador and Nibali), 41 Grand Tour stage wins, and 185 others victories. The man to watch in Dubai should be Colombian all-rounder Miguel Ángel López.

Founded in 2016, Bahrain-Merida is a team supported by a consortium of businesses and partners from the island of Bahrain and His Highness Sheikh Nasser. This is the second season under the reign of Brent Copeland, the team’s General Manager. In its inaugural season Bahrain-Merida got 12 wins (including Il Lombardia, the Italian Monument race) and two prestigious podiums with Vincenzo Nibali, third at the Giro d’Italia (behind Tom Dumoulin and Nairo Quintana) and second at the Vuelta a España (behind Chris Froome). For Dubai the roster could include Sonny Colbrelli, who would be in contention for all of the stages.

This UCI WorldTour team, headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, was formed in 2006. A founding member of Velon, last year BMC Racing Team recorded 48 race wins, the most important were the Paris-Roubaix and the Gent Wevelgem won by Greg Van Avermaet, the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Romandie won by Richie Porte and the Vuelta a España’s Team Time Trial.

This WorldTour team is based in Wevelgem, Belgium, the heartland of Flemish cycling. At the helm is Patrick Lefevere, one of the most successful managers in the history of cycling. Since 2003, the team has recorded more than 600 victories and last year’s achievements includes five stages at the Tour de France, five at the Giro d’Italia, six at the Vuelta a España, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Amstel Gold Race with Philippe Gilbert, and Paris-Tours with Matteo Trentin. The Dutchman Niki Terpstra and Italian Elia Viviani, who has won two previous stages in Dubai (in 2015 and 2016), will both be at the start on 6 February.

Founded in 2007, Dimension Data became the first ever African cycling team to gain a WorldTour license, in 2016. The team’s palmarès includes a Milan-Sanremo victory (Gerald Ciolek in 2013), seven Tour de France stages, one Vuelta stage victory, one Giro d’Italia stage, two Tour of Britain overall classification wins (Edvald Boasson Hagen, 2015; Steve Cummings, 2016). The team was originally known as MTN–Qhubeka. The 2018 roster is built around its main sprinter Mark Cavendish. The Manxman won the 2015 Dubai Tour and he will definitely be focused on achieving a Dubai Tour double.

Katusha was originally a Russian-licensed cycling team, becoming a Swiss outfit in 2016. Team Katusha Alpecin’s palmarès boasts 22 Grand Tour stage wins. Among last year’s 17 victories, the major achievement was the Tour de Suisse General Classification with Simon Špilak. For 2018, Katusha Alpecin hired one of the best sprinters, Marcel Kittel, back-to-back winner here in Dubai and with a record eight stage wins in three editions. The German will be the favorite to win the Circle of Stars and the Point classification too.

This Dutch cycling team was founded in 1984 under the name Kwantum, anchored by Jan Raas, and since 2015 the head sponsor has been Lotto-Jumbo. Last year Team Lotto NL-Jumbo recorded 26 wins. The most prestigious of those were the final stage of the Giro d’Italia with Jos Van Emden and two Tour de France stages with Primoz Roglic (Stage 17) and Dylan Groenewegen on the Champs-Élysées (Stage 21). For the Dubai Tour the probable roster will include Dylan Groenewegen. Last year the Dutch sprinter featured on the podium every day and finished third in the General Classification behind Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.

Founded in 2011 as Leopard Trek, this US team’s biggest achievements are the Vuelta a España victory by Chris Horner in 2013, two Tours of Flanders and a Paris-Roubaix win, thanks to Fabian Cancellara. Last year’s victories included one Tour de France stage with Bauke Mollema and one at the Vuelta a España with Alberto Contador. John Degenkolb and Giacomo Nizzolo could be the Trek-Segafredo riders to watch in the Dubai Tour. The German has always done well in Dubai: he won the Hatta stage in 2015 and the sprint in Fujairah last year (Stage 2). Without the cancellation of Stage 4, he would certainly have competed with Marcel Kittel for the General classification. In 2016, the Italian sprinter wore the blue jersey for one day and finished second in the General Classification behind Marcel Kittel.

Known for 20 years as Lampre, last season the team was rebranded as UAE Emirates. Managed by the former Italian champion Giuseppe Saronni, in 2017 the team recorded 19 victories, including one stage at the Giro d’Italia (Jan Polanc) and one at the Vuelta a España (Matej Mohoric). For Dubai look out for the Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff, in his first season in the UAE Team Emirates jersey, and the Italian puncheur Diego Ulissi.

Peloton ride during The Nakheel stage, the First stage of the Dubai Tour 2017, 181 km from Dubai International Marine Club to Palm Jumeirah. Dubai, 31 January 2017. ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI


Ireland’s first UCI Professional Continental Cycling Team, set up by businessman Rick Delaney, made its debut in the 2017 season and won four races, including a Vuelta a España stage with the Austrian Stefan Denifl. For Dubai look out for the English Adam Blythe and the American Larry Warbasse.

Founded in France in 1996, last year this UCI Professional Continental team recorded 13 wins. Seven of those were thanks to the 27-year-old sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, who will be included in the 2018 Dubai Tour roster.

Founded in the US in 2008, Rally Cycling recorded 19 victories last year; most of them on the American or Canadian race circuits. 2018 sees Rally Cycling make its debut in Dubai.

This global sports team made up entirely from athletes with diabetes comprises more than 100 cyclists, triathletes and runners from 20 countries, and is spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, based in the US. Founded in 2005 by Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge, Team Novo Nordisk’s mission is to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes. The cycling team has amassed more than 30 victories since 2008.

Founded in 2008, the team managed by Angelo Citracca has an interesting palmarès, including four stage wins at the Giro d’Italia. Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia recorded 18 wins last year, 14 of them with the Italian sprinter Jakub Mareczko.


This Chinese-licensed team was set up last year as a Mitchelton-Scott development team and recorded eight wins during the 2017 season.

UAE National Team – UAE

A team of riders representing the Emirates will be a big draw for the local supporters and ensure that some of the highest-caliber Middle-Eastern racers rub shoulders with the best cyclists in the world at the Dubai Tour.

Dubai stages:

Pro Conti Team Wastes No Time in Gaining Prestigious Race Invites
Tour of Oman, Volta Valenciana and Ruta Del Sol

Just as our men’s team settles in at their Southern California training camp, races from across the globe are beginning to announce their invited teams. We will be sending nine riders to Europe to race Jan 31-Feb 4 in the 650 km Volta Valenciana (UCI 2.1). The race starts with a 38 km team time trial followed by four hilly stages. On a demanding course like this, team strength will come into play.

After two additional one-day races they will finish up their time in Spain with the 700 km, five-stage Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol (UCI 2.HC) Feb 14-18. Last year’s race was won by Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde. The riders will need to be in top form on the climbs and in the individual time trial to remain in contention.

With UCI races reducing roster sizes to seven, the team will rotate two riders each race based on course profiles and fitness levels.

The remaining seven riders are headed to the Middle East where they will tackle the 900 km, six-stage Tour of Oman (UCI 2.HC) Feb 13-18. This is a race suited for the sprinters until the penultimate general classification day where they finish atop the infamous Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain). The team awaits confirmation of another key Middle Eastern race but rest assured, this will not be a one and done affair.

We will continue to update you on our early season race schedule as organizations announce their 2018 teams.

Das Fahrerfeld durchquert die schoene Landschaft entlang der Algarve - Landschaft - Landscape - Feature - Natur - Hintergrund - Illustration - Impression - Uebersichtsbild - kompaktes Fahrerfeld - Aktion - Rennszene - Querformat - quer - horizontal - Event/Veranstaltung: 43. Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta 2017 - Stage 2 / 2.Etappe: Lagoa to/nach Alto da Foia 189.3 km - Location/Ort: Portugal - Europe/Europa - Date/Datum: 16.02.2017

BMC Racing Team Announces International Partnership with Swisse Wellness
Today in Adelaide (Australia),on the eve of Australia’s greatest cycling race the ‘Santos Tour Down Under’, at a press conference held at the Hilton Adelaide, BMC Racing Team announced Swisse Wellness as the team’s official wellness partner.

Joining forces to unite a partnership that champions pure passion, movement and wellbeing, Oliver Horn, Managing Director of Swisse Wellness ANZ, joined BMC Racing Team representatives at the press conference with Georges Lüchinger, BMC Director of Business Solutions and BMC Aussie world-class cycling line-up including Richie Porte, Simon Gerrans, Rohan Dennis and Miles Scotson.

Oliver Horn explained how delighted the brand is to be partnering with one of the most successful cycling teams at the WorldTour level and to be able to launch this partnership in Australia, the home of Swisse’s global head office is a great celebration for the company.

“This partnership with BMC Racing Team is another ingredient in Swisse’s global marketing strategy and we are excited to introduce our brand to the world of WorldTour cycling and engage with the global fan base. Signifying what we champion here at Swisse, health, happiness and wellbeing, we are proud to partner with a team that celebrates universal movement.

“Providing us with significant brand awareness during the global cycling tour, this partnership celebrates the values that make Swisse Wellness so successful; pure passion, a devoted team committed to seeking the best ingredients to ensure maximum performance and drive to achieve our mission of making billions of people around the world healthier and happier,” says Swisse Wellness Managing Director Oliver Horn.

Jim Ochowiczhonored, General Manager of BMC Racing Team explained how thrilled the team was to launch the 2018 season in Australia with the unveiling of the team’s partnership with Swisse Wellness.

“Swisse Wellness is an iconic Australian wellness company with a global presence and a brand DNA that is perfectly aligned with that of BMC Racing Team and our network of high level partners. They have a long history of celebrating health and happiness through partnerships with elite sporting teams and athletes in Australia, including cycling, and we are honored to join some of Australia’s most decorated sporting teams as Swisse ambassadors. At BMC Racing Team, we have a strong affiliation with Australian cycling with four of Australia’s most prominent cyclists in our 2018 roster and of course, as the former team of Australia’s only Tour de France winner. We are excited to introduce Swisse to the world of WorldTour cycling and promote their products and philosophy to our global fan base.”

In 2018, BMC Racing Team consists of 24 riders from nine nationalities, including four Australian cyclists in the roster which is the most in the team’s history. Australian riders include; Richie Porte (Winner of the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under, 2017 Tour de Romandie, and Paris-Nice in 2013 and 2015), Simon Gerrans (Four-time Santos Tour Down Under winner, winner of Milan-San Remo in 2012, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2014), Rohan Dennis (Winner of the 2015 Santos Tour Down Under, and a Tour de France stage winner) and Miles Scotson (2017 Australian National Road Race Champion).

Driven by a passion for cycling and desire to be the best cycling team in the world, BMC Racing Team recorded 48 wins during the 2017 season and is home to some of the greatest cyclists in the world, from one-day classic specialists to Grand Tour contenders.

As a major sponsor of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race, Swisse Wellness will be on the road again supporting BMC Racing Team in late January.

BMC team:

Giro d’Italia 2018: The New Jerseys and the “Madrina” Presented
On the last day of the Milan Fashion Week, the Giro d’Italia presented its collection of the new 2018 jerseys, at the presence of its new Madrina: Alice Rachele Arlanch, Miss Italia 2017. The leader jerseys of the Corsa Rosa (4-27 May 2018) were presented in the prestigious Gessi Milano, in the heart of the city, during a vernissage hosted by La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist, Nino Morici, and Alice Rachele Arlanch. The event countdown has been provided by TAG Heuer, Giro d’Italia Official Timekeeper.

The jerseys of the Giro d’Italia 101 are produced by Manifatture Valcismon – with the famous scorpion brand, Castelli, who designed the jerseys – all made with the special SITIP fabric.

The 2018 jerseys are designed to be lightweight and aerodynamic. The cut follows the ergonomics of the athlete on the bike and guarantees a perfect fit. The jersey weighs just 124g and features 3D relief logos of “Giro d’Italia” and “Trofeo Senza Fine” on its sleeves and back, both iconic of the famous race.

MAGLIA ROSA (pink) – General Classification leader, sponsored by Enel
MAGLIA CICLAMINO (cyclamen) – Sprinter Classification leader, sponsored by Segafredo
MAGLIA AZZURRA (blue) – King of the Mountains classification leader, sponsored by Banca Mediolanum
MAGLIA BIANCA (white) – Young Rider General Classification leader, sponsored by Eurospin

Paolo Bellino, RCS Sport Managing Director, said: “The return of such a prestigious and internationally popular brand like Castelli at the Giro d’Italia makes us very happy and highlights once again the global appeal of the race. On the new wonderful jerseys we will showcase prestigious brands such as Enel, Segafredo, Banca Mediolanum and Eurospin, our partners for a number of years and an important part of our project. We would also like to thank them, and I would like to mention TAG Heuer, the Giro’s Official Timekeeper, who, since last year is our companion in the national and international scene and who today, in this amazing location, has provided the countdown to the Giro 101.”

Foto LaPresse -Stefano De Grandis 15/01/2017  Milano  presentazione Maglia 101° giro d'Italia  con Alice Arlach, madrina.

Alice Rachele Arlanch said: “Being chosen as the ‘Madrina’ of the Giro d’Italia is really a special honor. I am very happy, excited, grateful to the organizers who have made this magnificent gift to me and to the Miss Italia contest. It is a unique experience that I accept with great enthusiasm. The Giro, for its history, for the efforts and great achievements of its protagonists, has a very special and unique charm, there is no comparison with any other sporting event.”

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