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The climb of the Izoard makes its comeback to the 2017 Tour de France, the scene of many battles in the past, including Gino Bartali taking flight on the Izoard stage to Briançon in 1938. EUROTRASH Thursday looks at the route announcement of the French Grand Tour. In other cycling news: Cyclocross from Zonhoven with report, result and video, no Bayern Rundfahrt or Tour de San Luis in 2017, contract news from Katusha-Alpecin, Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Movistar/Valverde, Cheng Ji retires and we finish with video homage to ‘The Badger’ Bernard Hinault. EUROTRASH coffee time!

TOP STORY: The 2017 Tour de France
ASO, the Tour organizers announced the route for the French Grand Tour on Tuesday and at first look it seems ‘well balanced’ which could mean boring. Starting in Germany must be good for business, but there are two big air transfers, no cobbles and no Alpe d’Huez. Only 35 kilometers of time trial, so that should suit the climbers and there are the steep climbs of La Planche des Belles Filles, Col du Grand Colombier, Mont du Chat, Peyragudes, Col de Peyra Taillade and then there is the last summit finish of the Tour on the mythical Izoard. It should still suit Chris Froome though.

Erin Berard was at the presentation in Paris, see her PEZ-Clusive look inside HERE. Much more PEZ Tour chat to come.

The Izoard is back in the 2017 Tour de France:

Le col d'Izoard – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance

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2017 Tour de France
The course of the 104th Tour de France (1–23 July, 2017), which was unveiled before an audience of almost 4,000 people at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, stands out for its atypical mountain stages. Although there will be fewer climbs than usual, their steeper gradients will separate the men from the boys. From the time trial in Düsseldorf to the one in Marseille on the eve of the finish, there are plenty of hat-tips to tradition. Inspiration for the brave.

Vosges, Jura, Pyrenees, Central Massif and Alps —the 2017 Tour de France will tackle France’s five major mountain ranges in this order. 1992 was the last time this mountainous Grand Slam was in the race. The new features it is rolling out this time around will raise eyebrows: the queen stage will tackle the Jura mountains between Nantua and Chambéry (Col de la Biche, Grand Colombier and Mont du Chat, for a total altitude gain of 4,600m !); pretenders to the crown will go head-to-head in the Pyrenees in a 100 km stage from Saint-Girons to Foix; sections approaching a 20% gradient will provide fertile ground for attacks on La Planche des Belles Filles and Peyragudes; and the race will be decided in a spectacular climax on the Izoard, a fabled climb which will set the scene for the concluding mountain showdown in its first stage finish ever.

Mountain goats, however, will not have all the fun, and they will have to fight for the yellow jersey in a time trial on the Mediterranean coast, with the finish line right in Marseille’s Vélodrome stadium. The last time a stage finished in a football ground was in Bordeaux’s Parc Lescure in 1979. Less than 24 hours later, the peloton will be in Montgeron — start of the 1903 Tour — for the final stage, which will see them ride indoors in the prestigious Grand Palais. The Champs-Élysées will see a fast-man apotheosis to cap a series of sprints which will start in Liège and probably continue in Vittel, Troyes, Nuits-Saint-Georges and Romans-sur-Isère. Time to settle old scores…

La Course: The girls take the Izoard
Since 2014, the Tour de France has leveraged its fame and know-how to support women’s cycling by organizing La Course, a prestigious event for the world elite, which has been held three times on the Champs-Élysées finishing circuit in Paris. The fourth edition will send the ladies on a mountain quest: just a few hours before the men’s peloton, they will light the first fireworks in the final 66 kilometers of the stage from Briançon to the Izoard. Sprinters will be nowhere to be seen on the final ascent, described by Jacques Goddet as “[a] harrowing trial which establishes the boundary between difficult and terrifying”. The girls will bring back memories of riders such as Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet and Bernard Thévenet as they tackle the 10 kilometers leading to Casse Déserte, which boast an average gradient of over 9%. Welcome to the Alps, ladies.

Imagine le Tour finds its poster boy
For the first time ever, the design of the Tour de France visual was decided in a public contest which invited all graphic designers in love with the Grande Boucle to imagine the poster of the 2017 edition. Over 300 submissions were received and evaluated by a jury made up of seven celebrities. 20-year-old Alexis Boulivet’s entry was declared the winner. The Concept art student will be rewarded with a cheque for €5,000 and an invitation to a one-day VIP outing on the roads of the Tour de France.
To know more on « Imagine le Tour »

L’Étape du Tour: thousands of cyclosportive riders in Casse Déserte
Ever since 1993, L’Étape du Tour has given amateur cyclists the unique opportunity to tackle a Tour de France mountain stage just a few days before the elite peloton. 15,000 cyclosportive riders are expected to make this event the highlight of their 2017 season. It will be held on the course of the stage from Briançon to the Izoard on Sunday, 16 July. Registration opens on Friday, 21 October at 8 am on www.asochallenges.com.

Key points:
– 30 years after the 1987 Grand Départ in Berlin, the Tour will start in the German city of Düsseldorf and later head to Belgium and Luxembourg.
– The course of the 2017 Tour de France will feature France’s five mountain ranges. Tour favorites will go head-to-head on steep gradients. The Izoard will host the last summit finish.
– Exceptional locations such as Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome and the Grand Palais in Paris will roll out the red carpet for the peloton.

Find out more about the 27th edition of L’Etape du Tour: www.letapedutour.com and see the PEZ Tour de France 2017: The Route Revealed!

Paris - France - Wielrennen - Cycling - Cyclisme - Radsport - Christopher - Chris Froome (GBR / Team Sky) pictured during the presentation of the 2017 Tour de France at the Palais des Congres on October 18, 2016 in Paris, France, 18/10/2016 - Photo PdV/Cor Vos ©

What the riders think:
Chris Froome (Sky): “It’s definitely going to be a climbers’ race from what I can tell. It’s very light on time trial kilometers but that’s all part of the race and that’s something I’m going to have to focus my training on, being the best I can be on the climbs. Certainly, from my first reaction there were quite a few stages going up over 2,000 meters. The Izoard goes up to 2,300 meters; that’s going to be an absolute beast of a stage. Initial feelings are that it’s going to be a race that is won or lost in the mountains. Of course, it’s the Tour and anything can happen so we have to be ready for all eventualities.”

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale): “The 2017 Tour de France is really attractive with new climbs and a stage finish just beside AG2R-La Mondiale Pro Cycling Team headquarters. It will be more challenging to ride the four French mountain ranges. Many stages are unknown and therefore it will be tricky. We will definitely have to be smart to perform. The route seems to be less mountainous than last year’s which is not an advantage for pure climbers. Izoard will be the most crucial ascent to climb. It is part of the cycling legend. Then we will have 36km to ride in time trial stages which is quite a lot. We will have to think carefully about our strategy because the Marseille time trial will be a decisive one. Finally, I am glad the last rest day is located close to my hometown, at the Puy en Velay.”

Alberto Contador (now Tinkoff, Trek-Segafredo in 2017): “I think it will be a very interesting Tour. It begins with a short time trial that will create the first differences and then quickly, in the fifth stage, we will have the first summit finish. There are not many uphill finishes but there are many tough stages which can be very important and then finally a time trial of 23 kilometers which is not completely flat and short. I do not dislike the course. Now I will prepare. I am very motivated and excited for the Tour which will be my great objective next year.”

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): “It makes me happy. Only 36 kilometers time trial is very little, that looks pretty good. And whether those few kilometers of time trialling is in my favor? Yes, compared to some riders they. But I was sixth in the time trial this year. It’s the plan that Contador arrives to be the great leader. We don’t know what my role will be, whether I will be a co-captain or play a support role with perhaps the Giro already in the legs. We have just had the first team gathering. The Giro may have been an option for me. But we won’t make a decision until December.”

Richie Porte (BMC): “It’s quite a balanced course. There’s not a lot of time trialling but there is quite a bit of climbing but descending to the finish as well. There’s quite a spread between the Planche des Belles Filles on the fifth stage and then the Col d’Izoard on the 18th. There’s a lot of stages in between there with cross winds. I think it’s typical to stand here now and saw that it’s not a climber’s Tour but the road will always decide that.”

Dan Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It’s a good course for our team, because the sprinters will have plenty of opportunities, but there will be chances also for me and Julian. Having less time trial kilometers is another thing playing into my advantage, but with the second ITT coming on the penultimate day you still need to have some energy left in the legs after three hard weeks, otherwise you can lose a lot of time. Overall, it’s a nice route and it suits me even better that the one of 2016. I think we’ll see an aggressive race, with many opportunities to go to the attack, and this is very much to my liking.”

Tom Dumoulin: “It is not my ideal Tour. I wanted more time trialling. And that is a bit disappointing. On the other hand, the Tour not super difficult when it comes to climbing. I think it’s a very open Tour where a lot can happen. There are many open stages and only a few uphill finishes. Whether I can get the yellow jersey in Düsseldorf? It’s not sure yet if I’m going to ride the Tour. I will only make my choice when all courses are known. If I will do the Tour and go for the GC, it is very difficult to take yellow. If I focus on the GC, my short time trialling will suffer.”

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It’s the first time that I’m coming here and I can say it’s a nice experience. At first glance, this is a parcours which smiles to attackers and puncheurs, such as myself, but we need to do a proper recon in order to discover it, because it’s difficult to know more after seeing just the map. What I can say is that I’m eager to discover other legendary roads and climbs of the Tour de France, such as Mont du Chat or Col d’Izoard.”

Tour de France 2017 Stages:
Stage 1, Saturday, July 1: Dusseldorf – Dusseldorf (ITT), 13km
Stage 2, Sunday, July 2: Dusseldorf – Liege, 202km
Stage 3, Monday, July 3: Verviers – Longwy, 202km
Stage 4, Tuesday, July 4: Mondorf-Les-Bains – Vittel, 203km
Stage 5, Wednesday, July 5: Vittel – Planche des Belles Filles, 160km
Stage 6, Thursday, July 6: Vesoul – Troyes, 216km
Stage 7, Friday, July 7:Troyes – Nuit-Saint-Georges, 214km
Stage 8. Saturday, July 8: Dole – Station des Tousses, 187km
Stage 9, Sunday, July 9: Nantua – Chambery, 181km
Rest day 1, Monday, July 10
Stage 10, Tuesday, July 11: Perigueux – Bergerac, 178km
Stage 11, Wednesday, July 12: Eymet – Pau, 202km
Stage 12, Thursday, July 13: Pau – Payragudes, 214km
Stage 13, Friday, July 14: Saint-Girons – Foix, 100km
Stage 14, Saturday, July 15: Blagnac – Rodez, 181km
Stage 15, Sunday, July 16: Laissac-Severac L’Eglise – Le Puy-en-Velay
Rest day 2, Monday, July 17
Stage 16, Tuesday, July 18: Le Puy-en-Velay – Romans-Sur-Isere, 165km
Stage 17, Wednesday, July 19: La Mure – Serre-Chevalier, 183km
Stage 18, Thursday, July 20: Briancon – Izoard, 178km
Stage 19, Friday, July 21: Embrun – Salon-de-Provence, 220km
Stage 20, Saturday, July 22: Marseille – Marseille (ITT), 23km
Stage 21, Sunday, July 23: Montgeron – Paris Champs Elysees, 105km.

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Cérémonie de présentation du Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance

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Hansgrohe Superprestige Zonhoven 2016
The latest round in the battle for domination of the 2016/17 cyclocross season was won by Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) over his rival and World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice). The pair fought out a tough sprint at the end of the Zonhoven round of the Hansgrohe Superprestige and it was the Dutchman who came out on top. Laurens Sweeck (Era Real Estate-Circus) was third at 28 seconds and European champion, Lars Van Der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) was fourth at 46 seconds.

Hansgrohe Superprestige Zonhoven Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon in 1:01:15
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
3. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate-Circus at 0:28
4. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:46
5. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:10
6. Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:21
7. Rob Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 1:36
8. Michael Boros (Cze) Beobank-Corendon at 1:48
9. David van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon at 2:00
10. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux – Napoleon Games at 2:06.

Zonhoven:

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No Bayern Rundfahrt in 2017
After the 2016 Bayern Rundfahrt cancelation due to a budget gap of 300,000 euros back in May, it has now been announced that there will be no Bayern Rundfahrt in 2017. Race director Ewald Strohmeier said: “Since we have not yet found a new main sponsor, the Bayern Rundfahrt will also not be held in 2017 as things stand now.” The German stage race had been looking for a new sponsor since losing the Bayerischen Volks-und Raiffeisenbanken. Last winner of the race in 2015 was Movistar’s Alex Dowsett.

Bayern Rundfahrt 2015 Trailer:

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No Tour de San Luis in 2017
Due to financial reasons there will not be a Tour de San Luis in 2017. The race had become very popular with WorldTour riders who wanted some early season racing without going to Australia for the Tour Down Under. The race did not receive any support for the Argentinian government and cannot afford to run the race alone. Juan Pablo Funes, Secretary of Sport, Juan Pablo Funes said, “the money that we were going to invest in the Tour will be used to support the clubs, associations, federations and sports people, so the kids in San Luis are supported.”

The 2016 Tour de San Luis:

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Valverde to stay with Movistar Team through 2019
‘Bala’ adds two further seasons to current contract with Eusebio Unzué’s squad, will reach 39 years old -17 seasons as pro- with the same team he’s defended since joining in 2005.

The Movistar Team confirms on Thursday that Alejandro Valverde (Las Lumbreras, ESP; 1980) has re-signed with the telephone squad for an additional two seasons, 2018 and 2019, following the end of his previous contract, expiring after 2017.

Nicknamed ‘El Imbatido’ (‘The Unbeaten One’) or, simply and affectionately, ‘Bala’ (‘Bullet’), Valverde means everything to Eusebio Unzué’s squad, an everlasting, brilliant light in all races he takes part in. Arguably the best all-round, most consistent rider the national peloton has even known, and an unmissable reference in the WorldTour peloton for nearly a decade and a half, his palmarès (97 wins) is as eternal as his figure, rated in terms and numbers -74 victories with the Abarca Sports structure, a record only beaten by Miguel Indurain- difficult to achieve for any other rider.

Four WorldTour individual titles, one Vuelta a España GC win, podium finishes in both the Giro and the Tour, three Liège-Bastogne-Liège, four Flèches Wallonnes, two Clásicas de San Sebastián, two Critériums du Dauphiné or four Vueltas a Andalucía highlight Valverde’s immense abilities. The man from Murcia joined the current Movistar Team in 2005, and will have completed no less than 14 years by Unzué’s side at the end of his new term (he’ll be 39 in 2019, a 17-year pro by then). Yet, his significance inside the team, as a humble and respectable human being, is way above those impressive numbers.

Alejandro Valverde: “How many more years?”
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Carlos Barbero joins Movistar Team
25-year-old Spanish sprinter takes leap towards WorldTour with Movistar Team on two-season contract, after five years in Conti squads

The Movistar Team is pleased to announce on Wednesday that Carlos Barbero (Burgos, ESP; 1991) will be part of its squad in 2017 and 2018. Barbero’s arrival marks Eusebio Unzué’s fourth signing for next season, after the already-announced Daniele Bennati, Richard Carapaz and Víctor de la Parte.

Barbero will bring sprinting power to the Movistar Team in both short and long-term. Even though most of his five wins to date as pro were achieved into uphill finishes (the Circuito de Getxo, the Philly Classic or a stage in the Vuelta a Burgos, all in 2015), this Mechanical and Industrial Engineering student from Burgos, just next to the Basque Country in northern Spain, doesn’t keep flat sprints out of his sights.

A five-year pro, part of the Orbea, Euskadi and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA squads, Barbero came just one step short for victory this season during stage two of the Vuelta a Castilla y León, where future team-mate Alejandro Valverde bested his climbing pace through the Alto de Fermoselle.

After Barbero’s announcement, 26 riders have been already confirmed to be part of the 2017 Movistar Team roster: Andrey Amador (CRC), Winner Anacona (COL), Jorge Arcas (ESP), Carlos Barbero (ESP), Daniele Bennati (ITA), Carlos Betancur (COL), Richard Carapaz (ECU), Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Alex Dowsett (GBR), Imanol Erviti (ESP), Rubén Fernández (ESP), Jesús Herrada (ESP), José Herrada (ESP), Gorka Izagirre (ESP), Adriano Malori (ITA), Dani Moreno (ESP), Nelson Oliveira (POR), Antonio Pedrero (ESP), Dayer Quintana (COL), Nairo Quintana (COL), José Joaquín Rojas (ESP), Marc Soler (ESP), Rory Sutherland (AUS), Jasha Sütterlin (GER) and Alejandro Valverde (ESP).

Carlos Barbero:
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Marco Mathis, reigning U23 world champion, signs with Katusha-Alpecin
Team Katusha is honored and pleased to announce it has reached an agreement with 22-year-old Marco Mathis who is the reigning U23 time trial world champion. In Doha, Qatar, the German rider obtained the world title by beating his fellow countryman Maximilian Schachmann with an average speed of 50,799 km/h. One year earlier the world title was for Mads Würtz-Schmidt who also signed recently for the team. Mathis will ride for Katusha-Alpecin in 2017 and 2018. This season Mathis won three golden medals as well at the German championships. He was the best in the individual pursuit and also took first place in the team’s pursuit on track as well as on the road with his Rad-Net Rose Team.

“For me it is a dream coming true. From a continental team to a WorldTour team is a big step but I look forward to it. I think it is the perfect team for me. With Canyon they really have the best time trial bike in the world and they have a very good team for the classics. This season I was the lead-out man for Pascal Ackermann. I hope to do the same for Alexander Kristoff in 2017. It is also nice for me to have Alpecin coming to the team. Alpecin has supported German cycling a lot the last two years and you can see the results results already. Both Canyon and Alpecin made further efforts to establish even one more spot when the team normally has already been completed! With Nils Politt I will have a personal friend in the team. I cannot wait to see my new teammates,” said Marco Mathis.

Mathis will meet his teammates next week in Italy when all 2017 Katusha-Alpecin riders gather in the north of Italy for four days.

“With Tony Martin and Marco Mathis we have the two reigning time trial world champions. I am proud. With Marco Mathis, Rick Zabel, Nils Politt and especially Tony Martin we will have four strong German riders, but in the end the nationality doesn’t count. It is all about power, endurance, character and the right mentality. I know that TT specialists have all these characteristics and Marco Mathis showed in Doha to be the best TT rider of his generation. Both partners Canyon and Alpecin express their responsibility for development of German Cycling. Like Brian Cookson said in Doha there is a Renaissance in Germany. New Sponsors, Television and the Grand Depart of 2017th Tour de France are results of this development. Together with our strong partners we are able to bring the next German talent to the UCI WorldTour. We are all very happy with Marco joining our squad,” said Team Katusha General Manager Viatcheslav Ekimov.

Katusha-Alpecin for 2017:
Maxim Belkov (RUS), Jenthe Biermans (BEL), Sven Erik Bystrøm (NOR), José Gonçalves (POR), Marco Haller (AUT), Reto Hollenstein (SUI), Robert Kišerlovski (CRO), Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Alexander Kristoff (NOR), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (RUS), Maurits Lammertink (HOL), Alberto Losada (ESP), Tiago Machado (POR), Matvey Mamykin (RUS), Tony Martin (GER), Marco Mathis (GER), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Baptiste Planckaert (BEL), Nils Politt (GER), Jhonatan Restrepo (COL), Simon Špilak (SLO), Rein Taaramäe (EST), Ángel Vicioso (ESP), Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN), Rick Zabel (GER), Ilnur Zakarin (RUS).

Marco Mathis:
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Yoann Offredo chooses Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Yoann Offredo will join Wanty-Groupe Gobert. The Frenchman signed a two-year contract with the Belgian pro-continental team.

“I am happy to sign with the ambitious team Wanty-Groupe Gobert. It is my first experience abroad. No other country is as cycling-mad as Belgium. Wanty-Groupe Gobert is a familial team where I will develop myself perfectly. It was exactly what I was looking for”, Yoann Offredo explained his choice.

The 29-year old rider is a classics specialist. He rode ten years with FDJ. In 2009 he won a stage in the Tour de Picardie. In 2010 he finished as third in the GP Plouay. In 2011 he took the fourth place in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the seventh place in Milan-San Remo. This season he finished as eighth in the final GC of the Four Days of Dunkirk. He has a huge experience of the Flemish classics. “I’m always motivated during the Spring Classics. The atmosphere, the short climbs, the cobblestones, the people, everything is a source of inspiration. I hope I can play an important role.”

Sport director Hilaire Van der Schueren is already looking forward to working with the Frenchman. “With Yoann I want to get big results in the Flemish classics. I followed him since a very long time. He is a real asset to our team.”

Team manager Jean-François Bourlart is delighted with the arrival of Offredo to his team. “Yoann will have a big role in the Flemish classics. His motivation, experience, strength and qualities were so many arguments that convinced us. The group for the classics is relatively young and the arrival of Yoann outlines our ambitions.”

After signing Wesley Kreder, Guillaume Levarlet, Fabien Doubey, Xandro Meurisse, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Pieter Vanspeybroeck, Yoann Offredo is the seventh new rider.

Yoann Offredo:
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Cheng Ji Retires
Cheng Ji (CHN) has taken the decision to retire from professional cycling, with the Tour of Hainan as the last race of his career, taking place on October 22nd-30th. After 10 years of service in the pro peloton – of which the last eight years with the team – the 29-years-old Chinese decided to focus on a different career path and starting a family-life in China. Ji is recognized as a valuable member of the team, as he made history in 2015 when he became the first Chinese rider to complete all three Grand Tours. This achievement has been considered a huge milestone for the development of cycling in his home country China.

“First of all thanks to the team, staff and sponsors for their support during all those years and the great time together. Being a Chinese professional rider competing in the biggest races on the calendar has had a big impact with far-reaching consequences in China, and I am glad to have played my part in that. Physically I can continue my career for a few years still at a high European level, but as I become older I have other goals in my life – concentrating on my family. I have recently become a father, therefore I have decided to retire after this season to focus on a different life in China and take my responsibility for my family.”

“His experience and confident presence have been important for the team,” said coach Rudi Kemna (NED). “Cheng has seen it all during his 10 years riding at the highest level of professional cycling and we fully accept his decision. He was one of the team’s most hard-working and respected riders. We would like to thank him for his contribution and wish him success in all his future commitments. We are certain he will pursue them with the same enthusiasm as he has shown in cycling.”

The contracts of John Degenkolb (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Koen de Kort (NED), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE) and Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) have not been renewed. The team thanks them for their efforts and wishes them the best of luck with their futures.

Cheng Ji:
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Tribute to Bernard Hinault – Tour de France 2017
One of the hard-men of cycling, Bernard Hinault, has decided to retire from his Tour de France podium work, and so ASO made this video with homage to the great man.


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