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Siena - Italy - Cycling - Cyclisme - Radsport - Wielrennen - Wout Van Aert (BEL - Verandas Willems - Crelan) pictured during Strade Bianche 2018 from Siena to Siena 184 km - 03/03/2018 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos ©2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Things have gone wrong between Wout van Aert and the Veranda’s Willems-Crelan team – Top Story. Lots of racing to catch up with: Giro della Toscana, Madrid Challenge, Textielprijs Vichte and the Brico Cross Geraardsbergen-Eklo. In other cycling news: Statement from MPCC, Worlds TTT riders, Quick-Step Floors to Tour de l’Eurométropole and Grand Prix d’Isbergues, Milano-Torino, Tour KOM jersey, more contract news, Truls Korsaeth retires, Cervélo Bigla team and the best of the Vuelta video. A big EUROTRASH Monday.

TOP STORY: Wout van Aert Goes Solo
World cyclo-cross champion and budding road star, Wout van Aert, has split from his team (see team announcement bellow race reports). It has been well known that Van Aert has been receiving lucrative offers from top road and cross teams since the spring and the Belgian has been less than happy with his (now ex) team, Veranda’s Willems-Crelan. When it was suggested that the Aqua Blue team would take over he was not keen on the move, then with the announcement of the team merger with the Dutch Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij team, the World champion said he had not been consulted. The final straw was something that happened at the weekend’s Brico Cross Geraardsbergen-Eklo, where Van Aert finished second after a mechanical.

According to VTM News, team manager Nick Nuyens asked several people within his team to put a damaging statement on paper against their former rider Wout van Aert. On Monday it was announced that the Belgian had broken his contract with Veranda’s Willems-Crelan unilaterally. Walter Van Steenbrugge – the lawyer of the 24-year-old rider – indicated that a ‘serious incident’ led to the break. Belgian media has reported that Nuyens wanted to put a statement on paper, in order to gather the necessary evidence with a view to a later lawsuit against his former rider as Van Aert had his contract terminated on ‘urgent reasons’.

Apparently the crosser/road rider hopes to avoid having to pay a severance payment. There is a good chance that the case will go before the labor court. “It remains to be seen whether the management of Sniper Cycling (team owners) agrees with the reason,” says Van Steenbrugge. “If this is not the case, then a labor court will have to give judgment”, predicts the lawyer, who has confidence in a good outcome. “I’m not going to make a statement in the place of the judge, but it’s about weighty facts. An employee is entitled to full commitment from his employer and that is not the case here.”

The contract break between Wout van Aert with his team is causing a lot of trouble. Luc Versele, the Crelan company boss said; “Whether I am disappointed in the team or in Van Aert is not the right question,” says Versele. “I am particularly disappointed in the situation. As a sponsor you invest in a team with the intention to create a positive story. Long-term. That has always been our vision. Now this is suddenly broken from one day to the next. No, I’m not happy about that.” Versele claims to have heard the news of the split via the media. “I have not yet been able to consult with the team management, nor with Wout himself (Van Aert is on the plane to the US, ed.), so he does not want to take a position here yet.” What about the merger with the Roompot team, will the departure of Van Aert change anything? “We are not going to make a decision about that. Crelan can get on if Van Aert leaves the team, that’s right. But let us first look at it quietly. I also do not know what the Roompot contract with the Sniper Team looks like. Crelan certainly does not have all the cards. That is work for the coming days, when we have sat around the table with all parties and the situation has been clarified.”

Van Aert had agreed to ride for LottoNl-Jumbo in 2020, what about 2019?
Baal - Belgium- wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Van Aert Wout (BEL) of Crelan - Charles team pictured as he crosses the finish line after a nasty crash pictured during DVV Trofee of Baal (GP Sven Nys) - in Baal, Belgium - photo GvG/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Giro della Toscana – Memorial Alfredo Martini 2018
Gianni Moscon (Sky) claimed a second victory in a week with an impressive ride at the Giro della Toscana on Wednesday. The Italian out-sprint Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) in Pontadera, finishing 1:22 ahead of Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) who brought in the chasing peloton. Moscon must have benefited from his enforced break at the Tour de France as he also won Saturday’s Coppa Agostoni.

Sky stagiaires; Mark Donovan and Ethan Hayter combined well to pull hard and keep control of the day’s breakaway. Iuri Filosi and Alessandro Fedeli (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Cofidis), Michele Gazzara (Sangemini-MGKvis) and Ettore Carlini (D’Amico-Utensilnord) escaped after 10 kilometers and built up a maximum lead of over 7 minutes.

New member of the Sky team, Eddie Dunbar, covered an early attack before his teammate, Kenny Elissonde set about splintering the peloton on the climbs. Dunbar then took over and blew the group apart, riding clear with Moscon on his wheel, they were joined by Bardet and Pozzovivo. Moscon accelerated towards the summit and the trio forged on to the finish. Moscon closed down a late attack from Pozzovivo and then watched the others in the final kilometer. The Italian put in a strong sprint and held off Bardet to the line.

Race winner, Gianni Moscon spoke to TeamSky.com: “I’ve worked and trained really hard during the last five weeks. To be able to come back like this is really nice and makes all the hard work worthwhile. The shape is really good and I hope to keep this shape up to the World Championships. Even after that there are still a lot of races and the season is still long. In both races the team have done a really good job. The young guys have surprised me as they are super strong. Everyone is doing their job, going deep and there is a big commitment from everyone. Today Ethan pulled the whole day, right from the beginning. It was a hard day for him and everyone did a great job. Also a special mention for Eddie – he did an impressive job on the last climb setting the tempo. The biggest part of this win is for the guys. These wins are really good for the morale and they give me confidence. In the World Championships everyone is at the maximum level. But I feel ready and you never know, with a bit of luck anything can happen.”

2nd, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I am very happy with my day because throughout the season, there are not so many one day races for climbers. And this one suits me well and takes place in a region of Italy that I like very much. The sensations are good, which validates all the hard work that I have done in recent weeks. And I was able to have fun; I was an animator of the race with a very strong team around me. I am happy because I feel that my form is improving since I started my preparation for the World Championships. There is still a race tomorrow, and then most of the preparations for the World Championships will be finished. All that will then remain will be to refine things before joining the team for France.”

3rd, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “Near the summit of the climb I was slightly distanced, but knowing the downhill very well I preferred to control my pace and then managing to chase them on the descent. Both my rivals are stronger than me at the sprint, so it would not have been easy to defeat them. I just tried to go clear approaching the final km, but as expected, Moscon and Bardet were faster than me.”

Giro della Toscana – Memorial Alfredo Martini Result:
1. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky in 5:13:03
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:05
4. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:22
5. Marco Tizza (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
6. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
7. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.


WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta 2018
One week before defending their title, reigning world champions Team Sunweb claimed the first Stage 1 team time trial in the history of the WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta on the 12.6km rolling course at Boadilla del Monte as they bettered the time set by Wiggle High5 before Mitchelton-Scott settled for third. The Dutch squad positioned Canada’s Leah Kirchmann on top of the overall ranking ahead of the circuit race in Madrid on Sunday before the peloton of La Vuelta 18 comes to town.

106 riders from 19 different teams took the start of the 4th edition of the WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta. The first team on the starting ramp was the Spanish national selection at 15.30 with sunny weather conditions, hot temperatures up to 30° and very little wind. After one hour of racing while teams rode four minutes after each other, Cogeas Mettler Pro Cycling Team set the best time in 18:50. BTC City Ljubljana rode faster in 18:32 while the much awaited local Movistar Team clocked in 18:54, the same time as Valcar-PBM who came with high ambitions for Italy’s Elisa Balsamo.

The last four teams were the favorites. Just as expected, the five members of Wiggle High5 smashed the time of the Slovenian-registered squad. They were the first to cross the line within 18 minutes as they covered the course in 17:58. But their joy was short lived as Team Sunweb reached the finishing area in front of the Palacio del Infante Don Luis in 17:40 at the average speed of 42.8km/h.

Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott couldn’t do any better than that and scored the third best time in 18:26. First on the line for Sunweb, Kirchmann will wear the lilac jersey in the capital of Spain for stage 2 of the WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta.

Overall leader, Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb): “We are very pleased to take the victory here today in Madrid. It was a short and very technical circuit that we had to complete. It was honestly not the best race we have executed as a team, as we were down to only four riders quite early on. However, we adapted to the situation on the road, and still managed to keep it together to ride a fast time to the finish. It was a good final race before we race the World Championships in Austria and there are a lot of learning points that will only make us stronger in the end.”

Madrid Challenge Stage 1 result:
1. Sunweb in 17:40
2. Wiggle-High5 at 0:18
3. Mitchelton-Scott at 0:46
4. BTC City Ljubljana at 0:52
5. Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling Team at 1:10
6. Valcar-PBM at 1:14
7. Movistar
8. FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:22
9. Parkhotel Valkenburg at 1:24
10. Ale-Cipollini.

Madrid Challenge Overall After Stage 2:
1. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb in 17:40
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Sunweb
4. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb
5. Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Wiggle-High5 0:00:18
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle-High5
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle-High5
8. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Wiggle-High5
9. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Wiggle-High5
10. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:46.

Stage 1:

Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling) announced the WNT Madrid Challenge would be her last World Tour race… and she made the most of it with a prestigious win on Sunday, as Stage 2 offered a thrilling show in the streets of Madrid. The 35 year-old Italian champion won ahead of Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) after a successful breakaway. Ellen Van Dijk (Sunweb) wins the overall classification after her team dominated the opening time trial on Saturday.

The Sun was shining high for the start of the second stage of the WNT Madrid Challenge and witnessed intense action in the streets of the Spanish capital with 17 laps on a 5.9km circuit through the Paseo de la Castellana, Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado featuring iconic venues such as Plaza de Cibeles and the Neptune fountain.

The Spanish rider Iurani Blanco (Sopela Women’s Team) was the first attacker of the day. Many other attempts would follow but the bunch controlled the first ones to challenge the intermediate sprints. Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) won the first one to move into the virtual overall leadership after her team won the time trial on Saturday, with Leah Kirchmann wearing the lilac jersey. The American sprinter was second on the second intermediate sprint, behind Emiliah Fahlin (Wiggle-High5).

Rozanne Slik (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) took the third intermediate sprint from the breakaway. She was caught with her companions after an attack from Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) with 8 laps to go. A group of 19 attackers featuring Ellen Van Dijk (Team Sunweb) then jumped ahead of the bunch. They enjoyed a 50 seconds lead with 27km to go.

The gap stabilized and Malgorzata Jasinska (Movistar) and Coralie Demay (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) accelerated with 16km to go. The gap increased to 1 minute before Ale-Cipollini reacted at the front of the bunch. 10km away from the finish, the gap was down to 20 seconds.

The attackers got back together with 7km to go and the pack was only trailing by 12 seconds for the last lap. It was still holding with 2km to go. The attackers resisted until the end and Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling) edged Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) on the line. Ellen Van Dijk (Sunweb) stayed at the front to claim the overall win ahead of her teammate Coryn Rivera and Wiggle High5’s Audrey Cordon Ragot.

Overall winner, Ellen van Dijk (Sunweb): “Our original goal was to go for the intermediates with Coryn but when the big break went, we had to adjust the plan. We still wanted to have the breakaway back before the final to sprint with Coryn, so the girls tried to chase in the bunch but there wasn’t enough help, so me and Lucinda stayed away in the break until the finish. We can be really happy with 1-2 in the GC and the other girls close behind, especially after our TTT win yesterday. It’s been a good weekend with the team with lots of good points to take forward to the worlds. I’m really happy to win a WorldTour race for the team and to finish my time here on a high note.”

Madrid Challenge Stage 2 result:
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling in 2:17:28
2. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Charlotte Becker (Ger) Hitec Products-Birk Sport
4. Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-PBM
5. Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Wiggle-High5
6. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Sunweb
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb
8. Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar
9. Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Ale-Cipollini
10. Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana.

Madrid Challenge Overall Result:
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Sunweb in 2:35:03
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb at 0:11
3. Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Wiggle-High5 at 0:15
4. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:18
5. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb at 0:24
6. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle-High5 at 0:29
7. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Wiggle-High5 at 0:36
8. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:41
9. Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC-City Ljubljana at 0:57
10. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:04.

Stage 2:

Textielprijs Vichte 2018
Quick-Step Floors’ incredible season continued on Tuesday afternoon, when our team made use of the numerical advantage it possessed in the hectic and selective finale of the 86th Textielprijs Vichte and claimed another win, just 48 years after concluding Vuelta a España in style on the streets of Madrid.

This time, it was Florian Sénéchal who got to enjoy his moment in the spotlight, with a powerful sprint in the closing 100 meters of the Belgian race which was blown to pieces as soon as the second lap, where twelve riders made the cut in the strong crosswinds, opening a one-minute gap.

Quick-Step Floors were well-represented there, with reigning champion Iljo Keisse, Sénéchal and Danish stagiaire Mikkel Honoré, who drilled it at the front, helping the group increase their margin to two minutes, from which moment on it became clear the victory will be played between the leaders. On the last lap, Honoré attacked together with Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), but it wasn’t long before they were joined by Florian and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac).

It looked like it will be a four-man sprint, only for Keisse to come strong from behind after a phenomenal late surge which took his opponents by surprise. The Belgian didn’t stop there and immediately moved to the front, leading out Sénéchal, whose rapid acceleration couldn’t be matched by Naesen and Vanmarcke, as he blasted to his maiden victory for Quick-Step Floors at the end of the 175km-long race which both Mikkel and Iljo concluded in the top five.

Race winner, Florian Sénéchal (Quick-Step Floors): “I am so happy, especially as this success came in a race which had a strong field. We rode full gas from the beginning and in the last laps the attacks poured in, but our team shut them down every time. Then we tested the waters with Mikkel, and when he was reeled in, we decided to go for the sprint. Iljo did a great job and all I had to do was to kick out 100 meters from the finish. I am very happy with my maiden win for this fantastic team and already looking forward now to Tour de l’Eurométropole and Grand Prix d’Isbergues, this weekend.”

Textielprijs Vichte Result:
1. Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick Step Floors in 3:50:51
2. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac
4. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
5. Mikkel Frolich Honore (Den) Team Virtu Cycling
6. Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal U23 at 0:06
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:13
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:20
9. Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal U23 at 2:35
10. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Congratulations for team boss Patrick Lefevere:

Brico Cross Geraardsbergen-Eklo 2018
Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) looked like he had Sunday’s Brico Cross Geraardsbergen-Eeklo race in the bag when he crashed and broke the rear gears of his bike. Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) passed the three-time world champion and rode to the win. Van Aert managed to finish second ahead of Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) in third. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) wasn’t down to start.

Brico Cross Geraardsbergen-Eklo Result:
1. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) in 59:32
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) at 0:18
3. Daan Soete (Bel) at 0:24
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) at 0:36
5. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) at 0:50
6. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) at 0:59
7. Quinten Hermans (Bel) at 1:10
8. Jim Aernouts (Bel) at 1:13
9. Tim Merlier (Bel) at 1:21
10. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) at 1:24.

The finish line:

Wout van Aert Unilaterally Terminates Contact with Sniper Cycling
Wout van Aert has unilaterally terminated his contract with Sniper Cycling on Monday evening September 17 2018. This decision came despite the fact that the team management tried to unblock the situation last week, e.g. by offering him an improved contract for 2019.

Van Aert did not accept this proposal and has opted to terminate his contract unilaterally with immediate effect. The team management regrets that decision.

This matter is now in the hands of our counselors. No further comment will be made in the meantime.
However, as pointed out repeatedly, we wish to clarify that we will be a ProContinental cycling team in 2019 regardless.

World cross champion Wout van Aert:

Statement from MPCC
Froome’s abnormal control, a procedure that came to an end only a few days before the start of the race.

The Movement highlight the urgent nature of its previous suggestions to WADA regarding the principle of automatic non-active status in case of an ongoing procedure concerning a positive or abnormal control to a specified substance or a non-specified substance.

It has been 12 years now that the Movement has been committed to these rules on a voluntary basis, with the same purpose as before : promoting transparency, and thus the image and health of the riders, but also the image of the teams and, as a whole, the image of cycling.

The MPCC reminds all the teams involved in such cases and who are not part of the movement that nothing prevents them from making the choice of not to line a rider up on a race, no matter what the anti-doping rules currently are.

The MPCC also hopes that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) will endorse in 2019 its project regarding new regulations for corticoids and tramadol. The Movement renews its request on this topic and wish to see these substance on the prohibited list.

The vigilance of the Movement and its members remains the same regarding the fight against mechanical doping. The success of this fight is essential for the credibility of our sport.

The MPCC commits itself to a process that aims at making cycling the most credible it can be on a global scale, meaning that it goes even further than the sole fight against doping, which was the core of the Movement when it was created in 2007.

The draft reforms of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC), planned for 2020, needs to be focused on the ethics and the credibility of cycling. The Movement has high hopes in the coming month and acknowledge the difficulty of the decision that needs to be taken, and will support any measures promoting credibility.

Finally, the Board is glad to see that, as of today, 261 riders have committed to the MPCC. Soon enough, the staff of all the teams (managers, directors, coaches, medical staff, etc) will be able to be part of the MPCC and embrace its philosophy.

Chris Froome – Giro’18 Winner:
Roma - Italië - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Fori Imperiali - Christopher Froome (GBR - Team Sky) pictured during the 101st Giro d’Italia 2018 - stage 21 from Roma to Roma (115 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

UCI Team Time Trial World Championships
Speaking of the women’s race, Team Sunweb coach Koen de Haan (NED) said: “The course is longer than last year at 53.8 kilometers and mainly flat through the valley. It will be a long, hard race but we’re looking forward to it. We’ve done lots of good TTT training sessions throughout the year and made some really good steps. After last year’s victory we’ve decided to invest even more to develop this discipline – organizing several good TTT sessions throughout the year to work on the dynamics and we’ve made some really good steps. It’s always hard to defend a title but whatever happens, the team have done the rainbow stripes proud this year with strong TTT wins at the Giro Rosa, Norway and Madrid.”

Team Sunweb’s coach Adriaan Helmantel (NED) said: “Last year our Men’s program surprised with the title and this year we are very eager to once again chase a medal. The course is totally different compared to last year, but we believe that we have selected a super strong team that are able to complete with the best teams. The competition is strong, but if we have all a top day then hopefully we can take a medal.”

UCI Team Time Trial World Championships
Line-Up Women:
Lucinda Brand (NED), Ellen van Dijk (NED), Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Liane Lippert (GER), Pernille Mathiesen (DEN), Coryn Rivera (USA).

Line-Up Men:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Michael Matthews (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED).
Coaches: Koen de Haan (NED), Adriaan Helmantel (NED).

Sunweb in the Worlds’17 TTT:

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to World TTT Championships
This Sunday, Austria will host one of the most important races of the season.

For one last time, the trade teams will battle for glory and medals at the World TTT Championships, scheduled in Innsbruck, and Quick-Step Floors – the only squad to have won the event on three occasions (2012, 2013 and 2016) – will field an outfit consisting of three former winners – Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert and Niki Terpstra – who will be joined on the start line by neo-pro Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus and Maximilian Schachmann, all riders who have impressed in this season’s races against the clock, be it at the Nationals, in Grand Tours or at the European Championships.

Sports director Tom Steels, the man who guided the team to an impressive haul of five medals between 2012 and 2016, shared his opinion on the route of the 62.8km race – the longest since the discipline was introduced at the World Championships, six years ago – which will take the teams from the Ötztal valley to Innsbruck.

“It’s a challenging course this year, starting with 40 kilometers of flat roads, where you really need to have the big engines that can drive a high speed. After this long section, you tackle 5 kilometers of climbing, which means the guys need to be able to hold on uphill too – and we even need to have a few guys who can set a high tempo. Our roster is therefore a balance between riders who can go fast on the climbs on a TT bike and are quite strong on the flat as well, and heavier guys, who are very good on the flat and will suffer more uphill. It’s not a very technical route, but after the hill, especially in the last 5-6 kilometers, we will face sections with traffic islands and roundabouts, which require more focus from the guys to keep a good rhythm in the relay. It will be fast though and we will have to go flat out after the climb until the finish.”

Valkenburg, Florence and Doha have an important thing in common: all three have witnessed a Quick-Step Floors victory at the World Team Time Trial Championships, and Tom Steels hopes that Innsbruck – a former center of European politics and culture and two-time host of the Winter Olympics – will be added to the list on Sunday afternoon, although he is well aware that the competition will be a fierce one.

“The Worlds TTT is a discipline that means a lot for Quick-Step Floors, we have won it three times and have always been up there in the top, so of course we hope we can finish with a strong result in what will be the last edition for trade teams, although we know it’s not going to be easy”, explained Steels. “We have a solid roster comprising riders who rate this appointment as one of the most important races of the season and are ready to give everything out there. It’s a pity that the time trial for trade teams is coming to an end, but we are motivated for this final edition and we will go for the best.”

23.09 World Championship Team Time Trial (AUT)

Kasper Asgreen (DEN), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Maximilian Schachmann (GER), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL).

Quick-Step Floors TTT in the Tour’18:

BMC Racing Team with Sights Set on Final Team Time Trial World Championship
BMC Racing Team today announced the six riders who will line up at the UCI World Championships Team Time Trial this Sunday, 23 September in Innsbruck, Austria.

Hailing from six different countries, Patrick Bevin, Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Stefan Küng, Greg Van Avermaet, and Tejay van Garderen will take to the start line of the 62.8 kilometer race against the clock.

Sports Director Jackson Stewart highlighted the riders’ strength in individual time trials and their collective power in the team time trial discipline.

“It is a long course and with the significant climb, we had to design our roster accordingly. We are a team with a lot of time trial talent and therefore it is always difficult to select the six riders for the World Championships Team Time Trial. This year, I think we have selected the right six guys for the job, riders who are the best in the business on the flatter sections but can still tackle the climb as well,” Stewart said.

“The difficult part of this last World Championship Team Time Trial is how to pace into the climb and still do a good climb to have enough riders together for the final kilometers. I think the course is much simpler from a technical standpoint than last year’s course, but the climb will be a big factor and we selected riders accordingly.”

Having won in 2014 and 2015, and twice runner up in 2016 and 2017, BMC Racing Team will target the title for the last time in a tribute to late team owner Andy Rihs.

“It is no secret that the team time trial is one of our favorite disciplines and one that we have targeted for many years. For us, it is disappointing that this will be the final trade team time trial at the World Championships but this will serve as extra motivation to claim the gold medal for the team, and particularly in memory of Andy Rihs,” General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“Andy gave us, and the sport of cycling, so much, so to win the final Team Time Trial at the World Championships in the BMC Racing Team skinsuit would be incredibly special.”

UCI World Championships Team Time Trial (23 September)
Rider roster:

Patrick Bevin (NZ), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Reserve: Miles Scotson (Aus).
Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Allan Peiper (AUS) and Marco Pinotti (ITA).

BMC in the Tirreno-Adriatico TTT 2018:
Lido di Camaiore - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Team BMC pictured during Tirreno-Adriatico stage 1 TTT team Time Trial from Lido di Camaiore to Lido di Camaiore (21.5KM) - 07-03-2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Team Time Trial World Championships in Innsbruck
Two riders entered for the team time trial at Innsbruck finished on the podium of their individual time trial National Championship this year. Gediminas Bagdonas won in Lithuania while Silvan Dillier took second place in Switzerland.

Alexandre Geniez: “By winning a stage on the Vuelta, I achieved the goal I had set for myself. We experienced three great weeks where the team really melded together. And for myself, I am quite pleased with my season where I have taken four wins, which has never happened to me before, and then also 11th place at the Giro. I am still motivated for the last races of the season. The course for the World Championships in Innsbruck is reputed to be very difficult, but we are going there without any pressure and with the ambition to work well together. Gediminas Bagdonas, Silvan Dillier and Alexis Gougeard have already proved that they can be very strong in individual time trials, so we will start without worrying about too much. This chrono will be a fantastic way to launch the Austrian week. And for the first time in my career, I will be competing the world road race championships. I am very proud of the trust they have in me.”

As a reminder, Alexandre Geniez will join Tony Gallopin and Romain Bardet for France. Nico Denz (Germany) and Ben Gastauer (Luxembourg) will also be at the start line for the road race. Aurélien Paret-Peintre will line up in the U23 race.

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Tour de l’Eurométropole and Grand Prix d’Isbergues
Both Fernando Gaviria and Philippe Gilbert will be in action at the end of the week.

This weekend brings not just the start of the World Championships in Innsbruck, but also two hard one-day races, Tour de l’Eurometropole (206 kilometers) and Grand Prix d’Isbergues (199.1 kilometers), held in Belgium and France, respectively.

Taking the riders from La Louvière to Tournai (which played host to the start of the very first Flèche Wallonne, back in 1936), Tour de l’Eurometropole has a tougher route than in the past, with no less than 13 hills peppering the course after the first 60 kilometers. With the last of these climbs featuring with only 5.5 kilometers to go, it’s pretty sure the attackers will want to have a say in the finale, just like last year, when the winner emerged from a severely reduced group.

One day later, Grand Prix d’Isbergues – which this season runs its 72nd edition – will be more to the sprinters’ liking, despite the presence of seven hills in the first part of the race. After this frantic start, the race should calm down once the peloton will enter on the 12km circuit around the small town located in the Pas-de-Calais department, which they will cover nine times.

Tim Declercq, Fernando Gaviria, stagiaire Mikkel Honoré, Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli, Maximiliano Richeze and Florian Sénéchal, victorious recently in Textielprijs Vichte, will be at the start of Saturday’s race, with Philippe Gilbert – who is returning to action after recovering from the injury sustained two months ago at the Tour de France – set to replace Keisse on Sunday.

Sports director Rik van Slycke talked of the two races and the team’s ambitions: “Eurométropole is a tough race with a very challenging parcours, and if we’ll have the same crosswinds like in Vichte on Tuesday, it could turn into a savage one. Regardless of what will happen, the plan is to be in the thick of the action, and the same goes also for Isbergues, where at least on paper it should be a bit easier. The morale is high after the string of results we had in the past week, we are happy also to welcome Phil back into the team, so you can be sure we’ll try to shape the race and get some more good results.”

Tour de l’Eurométropole (BEL) 1.HC

Tim Declercq (BEL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Mikkel Honoré (DEN), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Florian Sénéchal (FRA).
Sports Director: Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Grand Prix d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais (FRA) 1.1

Tim Declercq (BEL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Mikkel Honoré (DEN), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Florian Sénéchal (FRA).

Fernando Gaviria, Tour’18 stage winner:

Milano-Torino: From the City of Magenta to the Colle di Superga, To Become Part of Cycling History
The 99th Milano-Torino NamedSport, the oldest classic in cycling, will start from the city just outside Milan to finish, like recent editions, on the Colle di Superga after 200km. The last two editions were won by Colombian riders: Miguel Angel Lopez in 2016 and Rigoberto Uran in 2017.

Now at its 99th edition – but older than any other bicycle race, having been first run in 1876 – Milano-Torino NamedSport is 142 years old. This year the race will start from Magenta, a city in the Milan municipality, to end, like the most recent editions, on the Colle di Superga climb in Turin, which is to be climbed twice, after 200km.

The Course
The route starts in Magenta and rolls across the Po Valley along flat roads, all the way through the Abbiategrasso, Vigevano and Lomellina plains, up to the Monferrato, where the race profile becomes wavier, with gentle climbs and descents with some punchy short climbs (such as Lu, Altavilla Monferrato and Alfiano Natta) that lead to the final circuit.

The route rolls past San Mauro Torinese and all along the Po River in Corso Casale, where it takes in the first climb to the Basilica of Superga. The road then drops down into Rivodora on a technical descent (diverting 600 meters before the finish) that leads back to San Mauro. Here the route goes up again, all the way to the finish, with gradients exceeding 10%.

Final kilometers
The last 5km (to be covered twice, with the exception of the final 600m) start in Torino, in Corso Casale, at the foot of the climb that leads to the Basilica of Superga. The average gradient is 9.1%, with a mid-climb peak of 14% and long stretches featuring 10% gradients. There is a left-hand U-turn 600m before the finish that leads to a short 8.2% climb, with one last bend 50m before the finish.

Stefano Allocchio, the Mayor of Magenta Chiara Calati and the Head of Sport of Magenta, Luca Aloi

Stefano Allocchio, RCS Sport Race Director, said: “This is the oldest bicycle race in the world, an international Classic that has seen some of the sport’s best names among its winners in the last few years. This year’s new addition is the start from the beautiful city of Magenta, a place rich in culture, history and cycling tradition that immediately became part of our project. The finish in the shadows of the Basilica di Superga, a symbolic place in the world of sport, will come after a race that I expect to be spectacular and hard fought until the end, as it has been in the last few years, with a high caliber winner.”

Milano-Torino 2017:

99th Milano-Torino – Wednesday 10 October (21 teams: 15 UCI WorldTeams and 6 UCI Professional Continental Teams).

Milano-Torino 2017 – Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)

E.Leclerc to Take Polka-Dot Jersey to New Heights
Joop Zoetemelk pulled on the first ever polka-dot jersey of the Tour de France on 27 June 1975. The mountains classification had existed since 1933, but it had lacked a distinctive jersey until then. The “jockey outfit” — as Jacques Goddet described it tongue-in-cheek at its launch— has marked several eras: after Belgian Lucien Van Impe, who fought for it eagerly and successfully (six victories), the polka-dot jersey went to several generations of Colombian mountain goats (Herrera, Soler, Quintana, etc.), was won a record-breaking seven times by Richard Virenque, and again aroused the cheers of the fans on the shoulders of Julian Alaphilippe last June.

The mountains are the jewels of the crown of the Tour de France. Climbers who wear the polka-dot jersey share strong emotions with the masses, which appreciate the panache and bravery of the mountain men. This emotional connection with the fans appealed to E.Leclerc, which also targets a wide public and works hard to strengthen its ties to the various regions of France. This aspiration, which it already shared with the Grande Boucle, will now find expression on the roads.

Michel-Édouard Leclerc, General Manager of the E.Leclerc Movement: “It is the third most watched sports event in the world. It puts the spotlight on our beautiful regions with three weeks of jaw-dropping panoramas. Millions of people who are passionate about cycling or simply revel in the festive atmosphere come together on the roadsides to celebrate cycling in good spirit. For E.Leclerc, which has been working for 65 years to promote the culinary heritage of our regions and the best their artisans have to offer, the partnership with the Tour is only natural!”

Christian Prudhomme, Head of the A.S.O. Cycling Division: “I am delighted to welcome aboard the Tour de France a brand that is as close to its customers as the Tour is to its fans. The polka-dot jersey is extremely popular because it stands for courage and a down-to-earth character. I am sure that E.Leclerc and the fans of the Tour will make a perfect match. Bringing the wealth of the French culinary and sporting heritage to as many people as possible has the same symbolic importance for both our companies.”

Key points:
Ø The polka-dot jersey of the Tour de France will display the colors of a new major sponsor starting in 2019, as the leader of the French retail market, E.Leclerc, joins forces with A.S.O. to reward the best climber in the peloton.
Ø E.Leclerc, which is throwing its weight behind the Tour de France to consolidate its strong regional roots, will also support elite cycling on the roads of Paris–Nice and Paris–Roubaix, as well as the Étape du Tour cyclosportive events.

Michel-Edouard Leclerc, General Manager of the E.Leclerc Movement and Christian Prudhomme, Head of the A.S.O. Cycling Division:

Adam Blythe Returns to Lotto Soudal
The 28-year-old Brit Adam Blythe will join Lotto Soudal again in 2019, eight years after he started international cycling career at the Belgian team. For the past two seasons, the Brit rode for the ProContinental team Aqua Blue SPORT and in 2015 also for Mitchelton – SCOTT, where he already worked closely with Lotto Soudal’s new sprinter Caleb Ewan. Adam Blythe is very excited to be part of the WorldTour team again and wants to help his former teammate in winning as many races as possible. He has signed a one-year contract.

Adam Blythe: “At the age of twenty, I did an internship at Lotto Soudal – Omega Pharma – Lotto back then, and was able to join the WorldTour team afterwards. I’m really excited to return to the Belgian team and it’s definitely a real privilege to be racing for this renowned cycling team once again!”

“I’m looking forward to helping Caleb Ewan in winning as many races as possible. Bringing Caleb in the best position to sprint, will be my main role coming season. We already rode together at Mitchelton-SCOTT, so I know him quite well. I hope to achieve new successes with him and believe we have a solid team to do so in 2019. Besides my role in Ewan’s lead-out, Lotto Soudal can also count on my support in the Classics. Even though I didn’t ride a complete Classics season for the last two years, I did ride those races many times before during my time at the other WorldTour teams. Next season will be my ninth year as a professional cyclist and through the years, I was able to gain a lot of experience – also in the Classics.”

“Winning the Prudential RideLondon Classic is one of my biggest achievements so far. Not only because of its importance on the cycling calendar, but also because of the way I won that day. If you told anyone ahead of the race that I would be the first to cross the line at the end, I think no one would’ve believed it. We were with five of us in the final breakaway, including big names like Philippe Gilbert, Ben Swift and Julian Alaphilippe. My strong final sprint enabled me to cross the line just ahead of Swift. So I won closely, but I won. And of course, beating Mark Cavendish in the sprint and taking the national title in 2016 is also one of the victories I’m most proud of. Wearing the jersey of your nation for an entire year is always very special and worth cherishing.”

“It’s hard to describe myself as a specific type of rider as I’m quite a good all-rounder. I see myself as a clever cyclist. I save my energy wisely, so I still can push myself to the next level on the moments that really matter. Whether that is for the team or for myself. If I’ll get the opportunity to take my chance and add another victory to my list of achievements, I’ll of course take that opportunity with both hands. Yet, the main focus will be on Ewan and on helping him and the other leaders in the team win as many races as possible.”

“I love the fact that Belgians are really passionate about cycling. You could compare Belgian cycling to what soccer means in the UK, it’s really big. Though, the last years cycling did win in popularity in Great Britain thanks to the successes on the track as well as the performances on the road by riders like Geraint Thomas. Each year, new events are added to the cycling calendar. There’s the Tour of Britain, the Tour of Yorkshire, the Prudential RideLondon Classic,… Next year will be another huge step for Britain as a cycling nation as the country hosts the World Championships. So, I hope cycling will one day be just as big in Britain as it is today in Belgium.”

“Through the years, I was able to win a few races in Belgium, like the Circuit Franco-Belge and, more recently, the Elfstedenronde. My victory of the Franco-Belge dates back to my time at Omega Pharma – Lotto so it’s a good memory. I really enjoy racing in Belgium as the atmosphere and the cheering crowds alongside the road are just incredible. So, I’m very excited to return to Lotto Soudal and it’s definitely the next step forward for me. I rode for several other teams in the past, but I think Lotto Soudal has been the best team for me as a rider. The team suited me back in 2010 and 2011 like I know it will suit me in 2019. I’m sure we can work well together again and achieve some nice results!”

Adam Blythe with Tinkoff in 2016:
Hamburg - Germany - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Blythe Adam (GBR / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov) pictured during the Euro Eyes Cyclassics Hamburg 2016 - photo HR/Cor Vos © 2016

UAE Team Emirates Capture Colombian National Champion on Two-Year Deal
UAE Team Emirates is proud to announce the signing of Colombian National Road Race Champion, Sergio Henao Montoya who will join on a two-year deal starting in 2019.

Regarded as one of the best Colombian climbers, 30-year-old Henao turned professional in 2007 and has achieved 19 wins to date, including two consecutive National Championship victories (2017 and 2018), as well as taking home the highly-coveted Paris-Nice win in 2017. His attributes will bring a new dimension to the team, making them a contender in short stage races, stages in Grand Tours and one-day races. He recently finished 28th in the Vuelta a España General Classification (GC), and his stamina and consistency will be extremely valuable to the team, particularly on long three-week tours.

Henao will be joined by fellow Colombian, neo-professional Cristian Muñoz. Muñoz is the latest in a host of young rider to sign with the team this year, and at just 22-years-old is one of the most promising prospects in cycling. Muñoz stepped into the limelight after giving consistent performances in international competitions, winning a stage in the Giro d’Italia Under 23 and maintaining the lead position in the peloton along the climbs in the Tour de l’Avenir – a race that was won by his future team mate, Tadej Pogačar.

Sergio Henao:

Víctor de la Parte Makes the Move to Continuum Sports in 2019
Víctor de la Parte is the latest addition to the evolving Continuum Sports roster in 2019, joining Spanish countryman Francisco Ventoso in the team’s line up.

The 32-year-old gained recognition by winning two stages and the overall victory at the 2015 Tour of Austria while racing at the Continental level, before moving up to the Professional Continental ranks with CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2016, and making his WorldTour debut with Movistar Team in 2017.

“We are pleased to welcome Víctor de la Parte to the team in 2019. Although he is 32-years-old, Víctor has had a relatively short professional career and we believe we can help him to reach his potential at Continuum Sports, while playing a key support role for his teammates and taking his own opportunities,” General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“Víctor has impressed in the last few years with some solid performances in stage races and time trials. This year, he was third at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali time trial which shows his potential in the discipline. With our focus on time trials and the expertise of Marco Pinotti and our performance team, we can help Victor to improve further in 2019.”

De la Parte is relishing the opportunity to join Contiuum Sports in 2019, which coincides with Polish shoe and bag manufacturer CCC becoming title sponsor.

“For me, Continuum Sports is one of the biggest projects in cycling with big riders and many victories throughout the years, so it is a great pleasure to be part of the family. The 2016 season was a big step in my career and I will always be very thankful to CCC Sprandi Polkowice so it is also exciting to see the CCC brand step up to the WorldTour. CCC has been in cycling for many years and I think it is fantastic to see them become title sponsor of Continuum Sports,” de la Parte explained.

“I hope to play an important role in the team and continue to enjoy my career as a cyclist, while learning more and always improving. I’m looking forward to getting started with the team in 2019.”

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Víctor de la Parte:

Maximilian Schachmann Joins BORA – hansgrohe
The move from Schachmann is another remarkable step for Ralph Denk and his team. With Ackermann, Buchmann and Schachmann, three of the biggest German talents are now united under the umbrella of the German WorldTeam BORA – hansgrohe.

“There is not a lot to say about Maximilian’s big potential, he already proved it several times this season. I am super happy that with Ackermann, Buchmann and Schachmann we now have three key riders of German cycling united at BORA – hansgrohe. In our first two WorldTour seasons, people quite often looked at us as the “Sagan-Team”. Of course, Peter is the biggest star of our sport and draws a lot of attention, but in his slipstream our young guys proved this year that BORA – hansgrohe is more than “just” Sagan. This move is also important to me as we want to underline our German roots. We want to be successful in the future, but not only with Peter, also with our German speaking talents. Maximilian has potential on all terrains, yet he will need some time and patience to develop within the team. I am really looking forward to that common path.”Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“I am really happy about this step. As a German pro, to ride in a German team is perfect. My colleges told me that the team, its structures and the spirit is great. I am really happy to join them for the next two years. How the team has developed the last years is promising, especially for German cycling, and I am happy to become part of this journey. I also think that this highly professional environment will help me to develop as a rider. Now it’s up to me to become part of the BORA – hansgrohe success story with some results in the future.”Maximilian Schachmann.

Maximilian Schachmann in the 2018 Giro:
Prato Nevoso - Italië - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Maximilian SCHACHMANN (Germany / Team Quick - Step Floors) pictured during the 101st Giro d’Italia 2018 - stage 18 from Abbiategrasso to Prato Nevoso (196 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Giulio Ciccone Inks Two-Year Deal with Trek-Segafredo
Trek-Segafredo is pleased to announce they have reached an agreement with Giulio Ciccone, 23, who joins from Italian UCI Pro Continental team Bardiani CSF. With his signing Trek-Segafredo continues to build a solid base of young talents for the future.

Ciccone is an agile climber whose first professional season was in 2016, the same year he soloed to an impressive win in stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia. It was his first professional victory and one that drew attention from many WorldTour teams, including Trek-Segafredo.

Luca Guercilena, General Manager of Trek-Segafredo: “Few riders have the abilities to win a stage in the Giro as a neo-pro, so we started following him more closely from that moment on. In the end, I am happy that we could find an agreement with Giulio’s current team to give him the opportunity to take the next step in his career.”

“He is a talented climber who I believe will be an excellent helper for our main GC contenders, Porte and Mollema. We have confidence in his support in the mountains and that he still has a large margin for improvement. He is still young, only 23, and we are certain he will be a solid option for the future.”

Giulio Ciccone: “I have been riding and racing my bike since I was eight years old. When I turned pro in 2016, I was over the moon! It was everything I had been dreaming of since my first bike race. I have learned and improved a lot over the past years with Bardiani CSF, and I am very grateful for that. Now I feel I am ready to step up to the WorldTour and I am very excited about that. I am really looking forward to racing with Trek-Segafredo next season, and I am thankful for the confidence they have put in me. I will give it my all, I promise.”

Giulio Ciccone:

Grega Bole Renew his Contract with Team Bahrain-Merida
Grega Bole joined Team Bahrain Merida in the first year of its establishment and he showed a great performances and help to his team mates. This year, he showed his ability to win the stages. He won two stages in Japan where he finished 5th overall and, also, he was 1st by Points classification.

Head of sports director Gorazd Štangelj commented on Grega’s role in the team: “Grega is a significant help and a guarantee in day-long races, Belgian classics and one-day stage races. He has repeatedly proved that he also finds himself in the role of a leader when this role has been assigned to him. We are very pleased he extends our cooperation with us because he is always well prepared and reliable from start to finish.”

Grega commented on his renew for next 2 years: “I am very happy to be part of the team in the next two seasons. The team breathes as one and it is nice to be part of such a positive atmosphere. I have always put my maximum for the good of my team, performed all tasks to the fullest and so it will remain in the next seasons. I thank the team for having faith in me and I look forward to the upcoming successes.”

Grega Bole:
Hvar - Croatia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Grega Bole (SLO - Bahrain - Merida pictured during photoshoot - Bahrain - Merida 2018 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Łukasz Wiśniowski Targets Classics Development with Continuum Sports
After a breakthrough performance at the opening weekend of the 2018 spring classics, Łukasz Wiśniowski is set to continue his classics development when he joins Continuum Sports in 2019.

Wiśniowski turned professional four years ago, during which time he made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia in 2016 and has six Monument participations to his name.

General Manager Jim Ochowicz acknowledged the 26-year-old’s future as a classics rider and his opportunity to learn from some of the best riders in the sport.

“Łukasz Wiśniowski has emerged as one of the up-and-coming Polish talents so we are excited to welcome him to Continuum Sports in 2019. After a strong performance at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in 2016, Łukasz’ breakthrough results came earlier in the year when he was second at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and backed that up with eighth place the following day at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. With Greg Van Avermaet as our team caption, Łukasz will have the opportunity to learn from Greg and play a key role in the classics team next season,” Ochowicz explained.

“Łukasz will gain more experience in the Grand Tours and have his own opportunities at stage races throughout the season. At 26-years-old, Łukasz has a long career ahead of him so we are looking forward to helping him to reach his potential in the coming years with Continuum Sports.”

Łukasz Wiśniowski joins the growing number of Polish riders to sign with Continuum Sports in 2019, to coincide with Polish shoe and bag manufacturer CCC taking over the title sponsorship from BMC Switzerland. “I am really happy to join Continuum Sports next year. It is a team with strong riders and of course, I am especially looking forward to the spring classics as it is a big focus for the team. It will be really nice to race with CCC as the new Polish title sponsor and with the Polish riders in the team,” Wiśniowski said.

“Greg Van Avermaet will be our leader for the classics so I want to support him as much as possible and help the team to have some nice results during the season. After the classics, I am excited to do a Grand Tour next year and fight for a stage victory.”

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Łukasz Wiśniowski in Amstel Gold’18:

Fournier becomes Movistar Team’s first signing for 2018
Young (27), yet experienced French rider to cover fundamental area for Jorge Sanz-led squad with her world-class sprinting abilities.

The Movistar Team confirmed Wednesday that Roxane Fournier (Sannois, Val d’Oise, FRA; 1991) has signed a contract for the 2019 season with Jorge Sanz’s squad, and will be a member of the Telefónica-backed outfit in its second year of activity.

The team managed by Eusebio Unzué will enjoy the services of a top-quality sprinter, who already accumulates -despite being just 26- nine years of international racing experience, the last five as part of a UCI squad at FDJ-Futuroscope. Out of her twenty pro victories, eight have been obtained at top-category events, including two stages of the Route de France (2016), the GP Dottignies (2015) as well as stage victories in the Tour de l’Ardèche (2015), the Trophée d’Or (2014) or the Tour of Chongming Island (2015).

Crashes and injuries -two of them of significant importance at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (April) and the RideLondon Classique (July)- overshadowed Fournier’s 2018 season. The Frenchwoman still fared well at the early-season classics (8th at Drenthe), Germany (2nd, 3rd and 4th at stages of the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour) or the summer’s biggest races (5th in the French RR Championships, 6th in a Giro Rosa stage).

Roxane Fournier:

David Bailey joins Team Bahrain Merida as Head of Performance
David Bailey, British sport scientist will become a part of the Team Bahrain Merida performance staff in the next season. His role is to deliver scientific support to elite cyclists competing at the highest level. In addition to managing key performance projects, he is a performance coach for riders on the team.

Due to his prior work in professional sport, he was a senior research scientist at the Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland where he lives. He held R&D project management responsibilities in the field of performance nutrition for the sports food brands. This included collaboration with internationally renowned research groups in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand on research projects that contribute to development of Nestlé products.

Throughout his career he has sustained a specialist consultancy role with professional endurance athletes providing sports science support to high-level professional cyclists and triathletes. This includes training programs and performance interventions born out of his research interest and experience in professional elite sport. He has worked with multiple World Champions and Olympic Medallists for the past 12 years and enjoys the mix between research positions and applied practice role.

Brent Copeland, General Manager of Team Bahrain Merida commented on new Head of Performance: “It is with great pleasure that we make this announcement. David will bring a wealth of experience to the team. He has worked with some of the worlds best athletes and we feel he can bring many values in various departments to Bahrain Merida, not only in the general training performance but also in the Time Trial area where we have seen from David’s past that he has always assisted the teams he has worked with to excel in this area. The importance of making the team even more international is something we have been investing in and the presence of David shows this. We welcome him and are looking forward to many exciting seasons ahead.”

David Bailey commented his new role: “I am delighted to be joining Team Bahrain Merida as Head of Performance from next season. Since its inception, the team has grown to become one of the best World Tour teams in the professional cycling and I look forward to working with them as the success continues. From the outset was clear that we have a shared performance science philosophy and I look forward to leading this aspect of the team as well as collaborating with their partners to maximize the team’s race performances.”

David Bailey at work:

Truls Korsaeth Retires from Professional Cycling
Since the 1st of September, Truls Korsaeth is no longer part of Astana Pro Team as he decided to retire from professional cycling. The 25-year-old Norwegian rider wants to focus on his study and future career, so the management of Astana Pro Team terminated his contract in sound consultation with Korsaeth. The team accepts and supports his decision, and wishes him all the best in the future.

“I have struggled with illness for a while, and this summer I realized that I was not going to come back to racing before the season was over. Next to cycling, I always had an interest in other areas of life, and the possibility to study full time has been tempting. I think that in my years at Astana I’ve realized goals and gained experiences for a lifetime. It is therefore a natural decision for me to retire, and to start a new journey. I will carry my experiences with me in the next chapter of my life, and I’m forever grateful for the team’s faith in me and, of course, for all the people I’ve met in my cycling career.” Truls Korsaeth.

“We accept and support the decision of Truls Korsaeth to retire from professional cycling, although it’s sad to see a young rider like him leaving professional cycling. He has been a valuable asset to our team and a good person to have in our organization. We wish him all the best in his future career.” General manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Truls Korsaeth:

The evolution of the Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team
The Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team has made some exciting announcements with regard to new athletes who will be joining the team in 2019. Sophie Wright was the first announcement and joined the team with immediate effect. She already impressed in her first stage race, finishing sixth overall in Giro della Toscana and second in the young rider classification.

Following Wright’s announcement were the additions of Nikola Nosková and Leah Thomas. This was preceded by the contract extension of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig who will take a leadership role next year.

“We’re going through the evolution of the what we’ve been working on with our partners and that’s to have a very professional platform to develop athletes to the next level,” team manager, Thomas Campana, explained. “When we refer to development, it’s not necessarily a young athlete, it’s older athletes coming from other sports too. They enter our organization to receive professional support to become a better cyclist, but also to live healthy lives, learn how to be professional in the media, how to run their social media accounts. This is what we offer to committed athletes.”

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Lotta Lepistö have led the team the past four seasons and will be leaving having now been developed to a world-class level. Moolman-Pasio has become one of the most consistent riders in the world and ranked as high as third in the UCI Rankings. Lepistö won her first professional race with the team on the way to becoming a sort after sprinter these days. These success stories are what the team stands for Campana said.

“It’s time for these athletes to go to the next level and reach a new platform to conclude the development they’ve started with us on a bigger scale. Some riders who are leaving have been with us for 4 – 6 years and have been developed into world-class athletes and they’re now moving into structures where they can find new challenges to reach new goals. Our main work will always be one of the teams who help athletes become more professional in all areas of life and cycling.”

Both Uttrup Ludwig and Emma Norgaard Jørgensen will have added responsibility next season as they take the next steps in their careers. Campana says this is a sign of how the team runs a multi-generational plan. “When a generation leaves like is the case now, we already have the next generation ready to step up and take responsibility. It’s a four to six-year plan that we’re running. The mission is completed with a generation moving on to bigger teams but already we have the next generation stepping up”

The team will be making more announcements in the coming weeks with athletes who’ve identified the platform the team provides. There is a great demand from young riders who want to build a future with the team. “In life, the respect of your work has to come from people outside your organization, that’s how you know if you’re doing a good job. This is exciting,” the team manager said.

The Best of la Vuelta 2018
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