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Bergen - Norway - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tom DUMOULIN (Netherlands / Team Sunweb) pictured during the Time Trial 2017 World Road Championship mens elite cyclingrace on September 20, 2017 in Bergen, Norway - photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The World championships are the big news: All the action from the time trials and looking forward to the road events. Reports and video from Bergen, plus the Textielprijs Vichte and the HLB Eurode Omloop. In other cycling news: Giro d’Italia 2018 start in Israel, contract news from Lotto Soudal, UAE Team Emirates, Polartec-Kometa, Sunweb and LottoNL-jumbo. Sponsor news from Sunweb, medical update on Fabio Felline and an end of season report card from Bahrain-Merida.

TOP STORY: The 2017 World’s Road Race
All the races against the clock have ticked by us and now it’s down to the road races. Today (Thursday) is a rest day, but on Friday the Under 23 Men and the Junior Women fight it out, then on Saturday it is the turn of the Junior Men and the Elite Women. Sunday sees the big race for the Elite men, 267.8 kilometers.

U23 Men – Road Race
Friday, September 22 2017
191km Bergen – Bergen

Junior Women – Road Race
Friday, September 22 2017
76.4km Bergen – Bergen

Junior Men – Road Race
Saturday, September 23 2017
135.5km Rong – Bergen

Elite Women – Road Race
Saturday, September 23 2017
152.8km Bergen – Bergen

Elite Men – Road Race
Sunday, September 24 2017
267.5km Rong – Bergen

You can see Ed Hood’s ‘PEZ Preview’ HERE and the World championship website HERE.

Men Elite Road Race
The final event – The Men Elite Road Race will start in Øygarden and Fjell with a “Tour de region” before the world’s best cyclist shall battle it out in the City of Bergen for the rainbow jersey.

The wild and authentic coastal landscape of Western Norway will mark the start of the final event – the Men Elite Road Race.

Departure will be from from Kollsnes to Blomvåg (home of the former Norwegian swim star Alexander Dale Oen). The teams will have a rolling 10 km towards the spectacular Rognesund Bridge. We can expect to see a major gathering of the locals, boats and vessels that will wish to celebrate the riders once they get there.

After the bridge the teams have a flat 20 km towards Kolltveit. The beautiful coastal landscape will give the riders small chances to rest before they face a small climb (400 m) at Kolltveit. After a quick descent the teams face another flat 3 km before they cross the magnificent Sotra Bridge. The suspension bridge is 1236 meters long, and has a free span of 468 metres with 50 metres of clearance. For both the riders and the TV-audience, this will be something to remember.

Then the riders will race towards the circuit in Bergen. It departs from Festplassen and takes the riders up to Mount Ulriken where the riders will have a fantastic view over the city. Then the circuit goes around the old wooden housing in Sandviken, before the final stretch along Bryggen and the finish at Festplassen.

The circuit starts out with a flat 200m in a well-lit tunnel before entering the Puddefjords Bridge. After 2 km the first climb awaits at Solheimsviken. It’s about 500 metres long, but will be crowded with lots of fans and spectators. The second climb comes after about 5 km, and now the riders will face 1 km with 5%. With a light rail stop in the middle of the climb, this will be another popular fan zone.

For the first part of the race, the race will take it gentle at this part of the circuit. The flat section will see the teams and riders preparing for the last and main climb up to Mount Ulriken. The 1.4 km ascend is beautifully carved into the mountainside with houses wooden surrounding the road. Together with the city centre, this will be the most popular fan zone with massive amounts of people. With 6.5% in average, the climb will offer a good chance for a break away. This gives a tactical dimension to the race, the battle will be immense, and the riders will have to perform their very best.

After the majestic sight at Mount Ulriken there is a descent with intermediate technical turns for about 1 km, then it is flat towards the city centre where the final parts of the circuit is identical as for the other races. The last 2.5 km is flat with gentle curves and no roundabouts.

World Road Championships 2017
The World Road Championships continued with the individual time trial on Monday after Sunday’s team efforts, finishing with the elite men’s race on Wednesday.

World Elite Men’s Individual Time Trial Championships
After Team Sunweb took a clean sweep in the team time trial World Championships, Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) completed a superb start to the championships by racing to a gold medal in the individual time trial on his Giant Trinity. The win caps an incredible year for both Dumoulin and Team Sunweb so far, with the Dutch rider taking his maiden Grand Tour victory at the Giro d’Italia as well as the overall victory at the BinckBank Tour.

Dumoulin raced around the 31km course in a time of 44:41, posting the fastest times at each checkpoint before finishing a stunning 57 seconds ahead of the silver medalist, Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) atop the testing finishing climb of Mount Fløyen. Tour de France and Vuelta a España winner, Chris Froome (Great Britain) took the bronze medal 1:21 down on the Dutchman.

Full race report on PEZ.

New World TT champion, Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands): “I can’t believe it, it’s really amazing! I thought my power meter was off because it was so high. I felt really, really good. After it started raining I had to take the corners really slow, especially in the first kilometer of the climb with all the twists and turns, every corner my back wheel was slipping because I had my TT tyres on, as I thought it would stay dry. I chose not to take the risk swapping bikes. I think I’m one of the guys who can do a really good climb on the TT bike and have no problems handling it, so I think it was the right decision. Doing the double is amazing. Last Sunday it was a bit of a surprise that we won with the team, it was an amazing day. I think today is less surprising – I was one of the favorites, but in some ways that makes it harder.”

Silver medalist, Primoz Roglic (Slovenia): “We practiced the bike change several times. I doubted to swap bikes because there was a risk of losing time. In the end, it didn’t make the difference: Dumoulin was by far the strongest.”

3rd, Chris Froome (Great Britain): “Coming to the last kilometer, obviously I was full gas there and there wasn’t much time to look around but I could hear the crowd cheering behind me. At one point I glanced over my shoulder and I could see the orange jersey coming up behind me and he was flying. That didn’t change anything for me. I gave it everything. I’m glad that I was here and not sitting at home and watching the race on TV, and wondering where I might have been. I was here, gave it everything that I had and I’m happy with the effort that I put in today.”

World Elite Men’s Individual Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) in 44:41
2. Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) at 0:58
3. Chris Froome (Great Britain) at 1:21
4. Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) at 1:29
5. Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) at 1:29
6. Gianni Moscon (Italy) at 1:29
7. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands) at 1:34
8. Rohan Dennis (Australia) at 1:37
9. Tony Martin (Germany) at 1:40
10. Jan Tratnik (Slovenia) at 1:43.

Men’s TT:

World Elite Women’s Individual Time Trial Championships
Holland put three riders in the top five of the Woman’s World time trial championships on Tuesday. Annemiek van Vleuten won the gold medal while her county-woman Anna van der Breggen was second at 12 seconds and Australian Katrin Garfoot was third at 19 seconds.

Second placed Van der Breggen was the second rider to start and so held the ‘Hot Seat’ for over an hour, until Van Vleuten bettered her time by 12 seconds. Out on the road Van Vleuten had been on the same time at Van der Breggen at the first time checks, but put time into her teammate in the second half of the 21.1 kilometer course. Garfoot came in but was 19 seconds off the winners time and 7 slower than Van der Breggen. Last year’s winner Amber Neben (USA) finished 11th at 1:42.

World champion, Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands): “I still cannot believe it. This season I’ve surprised myself with what I can do. To be world champion in the time trial, I never thought I’d be able to do this. This year I started to believe in it, and to be able to finish it off is incredible. To be an athlete, there are ups and downs, but the downs make the ups even more beautiful, I think. It’s also really beautiful without the crash in Rio, but this makes the story really special. It was really hard because it started almost pouring rain on the course. I lost some seconds in the descending, I practiced in dry conditions and I had to be really careful. I for sure lost some time there. It was a bit hard, I was thinking, ‘Oh shit, I’m in top shape and now it’s raining and the weather conditions disturbed my great form.’ Even if I lost some seconds, I still focused on what I needed to do. Because I only wanted to know if I was the last one, then it’s good to have the time gaps. I heard on the climb I had almost the same time as Anna, and in the last 5km I heard I was fastest, so then I gave just everything. With my experience in time trialing I am used to dealing with this kind of course.”

World Elite Women’s Individual Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) in 28:50
2. Anna van Der Breggen (Netherlands) at 0:12
3. Katrin Garfoot (Australia) at 0:19
4. Chloe Dygert (USA) at 0:38
5. Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) at 0:52
6. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) at 0:56
7. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa) at 1:19
8. Lauren Stephens (USA) at 1:20
9. Hannah Barnes (Great Britain) at 1:23
10. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark) at 1:34.

Women’s TT:

World Men’s Under 23 Individual Time Trial Championships
Denmark’s Mikkel Bjerg swapped his 2016 silver medal for a 2017 gold medal in the men’s Under 23 time trial world championships in Bergen. With last year’s winner, Brandon McNulty (USA) taking second spot. Corentin Ermenault (France) beat Tom Wirtgen (Luxembourg) by just over a second for the bronze medal.

Mikkel Bjerg set a time of 47:06 on the hilly 37 kilometer course to beat McNulty by 1:05 with Ermenault a further 11 seconds back. America’s other top favorite, Neilson Powless, was looking good for a medal as he was sitting second fastest at the fifth time check, when he lost his chain and then crashed to finish in 9th place at 1:37.

Race winner, Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark): “It’s unbelievable, I can’t really understand it right now. I knew that the course was really tough, so I lost some weight before the big day today. I tried to pace it as good as possible on the climb. I could see on my power meter that I was in for a top 5 or a medal if I was lucky. I could see when the other split times came that I did a pretty good effort. It’s crazy. I think me and Brandon we did pretty similar last year, and he came back and I think his effort today is also really remarkable. For sure this is the biggest result of my career and I will try to do it again next year.”

Silver medal, Brandon McNulty (USA): “It’s awesome to be able to podium here. This race has been my focus for several months; I had a good ride, but Mikkel (Bjerg) was incredible over the second half of the course. I would have loved to end the season in the rainbow jersey, but I have to be satisfied with my first season as a pro. My crash in Alentejo could have derailed everything. For the first couple weeks, I was on crutches and had to do a lot of therapy in the pool before I could get back on the bike. For a fractured pelvis, my recovery progressed quickly, and I was able to pull off some good results later in the season.”

World Men’s Under 23 Individual Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) in 47:06.48
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) at 1:05.92
3. Corentin Ermenault (France) at 1:16.62
4. Tom Wirtgen (Luxembourg) at 1:18.37
5. Callum Scotson (Australia) at 1:21.25
6. Senne Leysen (Belgium) at 1:21.27
7. Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) at 1:31.71
8. Edoardo Affini (Italy) at 1:35.23
9. Neilson Powless (USA) at 1:37.13
10. Scott Davies (Great Britain) at 1:43.02.

Men’s U23 TT:

World Men’s Junior Individual Time Trial Championships
Britain’s Tom Pidcock added the junior World time trial championships to his cyclo-cross World and European titles on Tuesday. Pidcock beat Antonio Puppio (Italy) by 12 seconds and Filip Maciejuk (Poland) by 14 on the tough 21.1 kilometer course in a time of 28:02.

Pidcock took the lead from the start and was 3 seconds up after 3.6 kilometers and by the top of the climb of the Birkelundsbakken, after 9.6 kilometers, he was well clear of the others. At the finish Pidcock was a good 30 seconds ahead of the previous finishers and could take the ‘Hot Seat’.

As the other riders hit the course, the only rider to come close to Pidcock was Norway’s Andreas Leknessund who was 1 second faster at the first time check, but he struggled on the climb to lose over 30 seconds by the finish. Of the other podium placings, Antonio Puppio and Filip Maciejuk were the fastest, but couldn’t get near the talented young man form Yorkshire.

World junior champion, Tom Pidcock (Great Britain): “I knew that the podium was a possibility, but I didn’t think that I would actually clinch the victory, no less,” said a radiant Pidcock at the end of the race. “From the very start I was feeling really great; I wasn’t calculating but I just thought about giving it all I had, all the way to the finish line. I’m very happy, but there is no time to celebrate. Now it’s important to stay concentrated and recuperate the energy I expended in this test to prepare as best I can for the one day race on Saturday.”

World Men’s Junior Individual Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain) in 28:02.15
2. Antonio Puppio (Italy) at 0:11.92
3. Filip Maciejuk (Poland) at 0:13.29
4. Juri Hollmann (Germany) at 0:21.53
5. Igor Chzhan (Kazakhstan) at 0:23.66
6. Julius Johansen (Denmark) at 0:27.61
7. Daan Hoole (Netherlands) at 0:29.87
8. Andreas Leknessund (Norway) at 0:32.30
9. Nik Cemazar (Slovenia) at 0:35.49
10. Sebastian Berwick (Australia) at 0:35.93.

Men’s Junior TT:

World Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial Championships
Italian rider, Elena Pirrone won the junior women’s time trial on Monday in Bergen. Italy also took the silver medal with Alessia Vigilia who was 6 seconds behind her compatriot. Australia’s Madeleine Fasnacht was third at 42 seconds.

Elena Pirrone is the current European champion and was the favorite for the World title, she didn’t disappoint. Pirrone was the fastest from the start, leading at all the time checks for her final winning time of 23:19.

Second placed Alessia Vigilia, who was second in last years European championships last year, was the first rider down the ramp and so had a long time to wait on the ‘Hot Seat’ for her teammate to better her time of 23:26.10. Madeleine Fasnacht was the closest, but was well beaten at over 42 seconds down.

World Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Elena Pirrone (Italy) in 23:19.72
2. Alessia Vigilia (Italy) at 0:06.38
3. Madeleine Fasnacht (Australia) at 0:42.32
4. Hannah Ludwig (Germany) at 0:45.45
5. Maria Novolodskaya (Russian Federation) at 1:09.05
6. Marit Raaijmakers (Netherlands) at 1:20.94
7. Pfeiffer Georgi (Great Britain) at 1:22.59
8. Shari Bossuyt (Belgium) at 1:23.46
9. Letizia Paternoster (Italy) at 1:29.61
10. Jade Wiel (France) at 1:30.63.

Women’s Junior TT:

Six UAE Team Emirates’ Riders will Race at the World Championships
Six UAE Team Emirates’ riders will battle it out this week at the World Cycling Championships in Bergen (Norway) as part of their respective national teams on Sunday, 24th September.

The Road Race will take place on circular routes in and around Bergen. The race will start in Øygarden against the beautiful backdrop of the sea and the coastal landscape. The highlight will be the climb up ‘Salmon Hill’ to Mount Ulriken.

Road Race – 276.5 km
Riders: Rui Costa (Portuguese national team); Matej Mohoric and Jan Polanc (Slovenian national team); Vegard Stake Laengen (Norwegian national team); Diego Ulissi (Italian national team); and Ben Swift (British national team).

Rui Costa:
Vuelta Espana 2017 - 72th Edition - 8th stage Hellin - Xorret de Cati 199.5 km - 26/08/2017 - Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (POR - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2017

UCI World Championships Road Race
The world championships road race is based around a technical circuit in Bergen, with different laps around the course across the race’s five categories. Departing from Festplassen, the circuit starts on the flat before the first climb comes at 2 kilometers. After a short respite riders will hit the second climb at five kilometers, followed by a flat section before the major climb up to Mount Ulriken. Following a technical descent it’s back to the flat before the finish in the city centre. The women will be tasked with eight laps of the circuit, with the U23 riders tackling 10 laps and the men’s parcours inclusive of a 58.8 kilometer section before 11 laps.

Team Sunweb coach Adriaan Helmantel (NED) said: “The circuit that the road race is based around is very technical with some tight corners, cobbled sections and a few demanding climbs thrown in. The course will play to the strengths of a number of our riders and we have some that are in serious contention for a top result here. It will be an exciting battle to watch our riders race against each other, when they spend the entire season by one another’s side. This will make for a fierce battle against tough competition and we hope that one of our riders walk away with a strong result.”

Line-Up Women:
Lucinda Brand (NED)
Ellen van Dijk (NED)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Coryn Rivera (USA)

Line-Up Men:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Warren Barguil (FRA)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Michael Matthews (AUS).

Top favorite Michael Matthews (AUS):
Romans-sur-Isère - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 16 from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère, 165.00 km - foto NV/PN/Cor Vos © 20176

Textielprijs Vichte 2017
After more than 80 kilometers in the break, the Belgian finished off the job by taking his second victory of the season.

Our team is on a hot run, which started last Friday with Fernando Gaviria’s win at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, continued one day later when Matteo Trentin left everyone behind and captured his sixth success of the year in Primus Classic and most recently saw Iljo Keisse make it a hat-trick of victories for Quick-Step Floors in the space of a week.

The 85th edition of Textielprijs Vichte (174 kilometers), which took place on a fast circuit in Anzegem, a small town in the province of West Flanders, got off to a quiet start, the attacks starting to come only towards the end of the second lap. A hectic race unfolded from that point on, with Tim Declercq and stagiaire Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz among the ones trying to infiltrate into the break.

But it was only inside the 80 kilometers that a group finally took off, seven riders – including Iljo Keisse – snapping the elastic and building a 1:30 maximum gap. With six laps left, only four riders were still in the escape and their chances of making it looked slim, but grew again once 14 riders bridged across from the peloton. Pieter Serry was there and worked hard for Iljo, shutting down all the attacks while at the same time pushing the watts at the front and helping the group keep a 30-second advantage over the chasers.

Final kilometer of the race was a crazy one, as a handful of riders accelerated and split the group; Iljo Keisse wasn’t there, but the 34-year-old Belgian put in a strong dig to join them, which he did, with just 500 meters to go. Then, just as the others were positioning themselves for the sprint, Iljo’s never-say-die attitude surfaced once again as he attacked and opened a gap which he carried all the way to the finish line, where he nabbed his third victory at Textielprijs Vichte, after the ones of 2007 and 2008.

Race winer, Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors): “In the first part of the race I took it easy, but then I went clear with several other riders and despite the break not going north of 1:30, we pulled hard to stay away. Then, with five laps to go, when we were only four men left at the front, 14 riders joined us, including Pieter, who did a fantastic job covering all attacks. I wanted to go for the sprint, but with one kilometer left a few riders broke clear. Fortunately, I closed the gap at 500 meters to go, and then, with only 350 meters remaining, I went again and gave the slip to the sprinters, managing to cross the line alone. In this time of the year I’m always quite good and the two recent wins give me a lot of motivation for my next races.”

Quick-Step Floors DS, Rik Van Slycke: “The tactic was to get in a small group and go to the finish, because there was no real sprinter in the squad, so our plan was to make the difference in the second part of the race by sending a few guys to the front. Some of our riders tried to go in the break, but it was only with 80 kilometers remaining that a group formed and luckily we had Iljo there, who did a fantastic job and took this well-deserved win. It was a perfect race and I am proud of how the team played it from the start until the very end and of the great spirit they’ve showed.”

Textielprijs Vichte Result:
1. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors in 3:40:19
2. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Jan-Willem Van Het Schip (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
4. Timothy Steven (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice
5. Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick Step Floors
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Sky
8. Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aquality Protect
9. Gerry Druyts (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice
10. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin.

HLB Eurode Omloop
Was his 4th place in the ITT a bit of a surprise? Robbert de Greef (Baby-Dump) wrapped up the general classification off the Dutch Topleague professionally!

The race was planned from first metres. The competition had been mapped and the biggest opponent was a former BDCT-rider so no stranger. No fact was unknown and well-prepared the team took a swift start.

By setting a solid pace and cutting of opponents breath the team got to decide who was allowed in the breakaway. This were, of course, only riders not in the general classification. Four laps before the end Robbert gave signal towards Rick Ottema to try also win the race. This was a bit to much after his hard labour in the opening and 11th was maximum. Nevertheless it was a beautiful race day and Robbert takes home the overall win and the contract with Dutch pro-continental team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij as its main prize.

Giro d’Italia 2018: A Historic Big Start From Israel
For the first time ever, a Grand Tour will start outside of Europe. It’s the 13th time that Giro d’Italia starts outside of Italy. Israel will host the first three stages of next year’s Corsa Rosa, beginning with an Individual Time Trial in Jerusalem. Israel and the Giro remember Gino Bartali. Giro d’Italia winners Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso, attended the event.

From left: Alberto Contador, 2008 and 2015 Giro d’Italia winner, Yariv Levin, Israel Minister of Tourism, Sylvan Adams, Honorary President Big Start Israel, Mauro Vegni, Giro d’Italia Director, Paolo Bellino, RCS Sport General Manager, Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, Miri Regev, Israel Minister of Culture and Sport, Luca Lotti, Italy Minister of Sport and Ivan Basso, 2006 and 2010 Giro d’Italia winner

Friday 4 May 2018 will be a historic date for the Giro d’Italia and the whole world of cycling. The Big Start of the Corsa Rosa – to be raced from 4 to 27 May 2018 and organized by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport – will be in Israel, outside of Europe for the first time. The first three stages will be in Israel. Due to the occasion, Gino Bartali has been remembered, awarded the honor of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ on 10 October 2013. Bartali’s name is engraved on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous in the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem. Two times Giro d’Italia winners Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso were at the presentation.

The Route in Israel
Three stages: an Individual Time Trial and two in-line stages, suited to sprinters, are on the menu of Israel’s Big Start.

The 2018 Giro d’Italia will start on Friday 4 May with an ITT in Jerusalem, following a very technical route finishing close to the walls of the Old City. With numerous bends on streets of the city and small ascents and descents, the route will pass by landmarks including the Parliament (Knesset) and the historic walls. The finale is uphill, with the gradient increasing from light to more demanding.

The first in-line stage from Haifa to Tel Aviv, 167km long, is on Saturday 5 May. After the start, the route undulates around Acri and includes the first GPM (KOM) of 2018 Giro in Zikron Yakov. The second part of the route is substantially flat on wide roads, with the last few kilometers partly within the city of Tel Aviv and the finish line on the straight seafront.

The third and final stage in Israel, on Sunday 6 May, runs 226km from Be’er Sheva to Eilat, on the Red Sea, heading south. After the start, the only gentle climbs lead the peloton to the Negev Desert and then to the Red Sea coast. Once past the town of Mitzpe Ramon, a long descent leads towards the finish in Eilat.

European TT champion Victor Campenaerts joins the team in 2018
Next year, Lotto Soudal can welcome European time trial champion Victor Campenaerts (almost 26). Campenaerts is no stranger. In 2013, his last year as a rider in the U23 category, the Belgian rode for the U23 team of Lotto Belisol. That season Campenaerts won the U23 Belgian and European time trial title. In 2014 he turned pro at Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise. Last year he transferred to LottoNL – Jumbo and now he’s back in the Belgian Lotto Soudal team. He signed a two-year deal.

Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “Victor has made a lot of progress since he turned pro. The past years he invested a lot in time trialling and he can now benefit from all his work. Victor is also ready to win stage races of one week or less, in which a time trial has a big influence on GC, like the Tour of Britain where he finished fourth. Victor is very passionate. I am convinced he will be an asset to our team in a discipline for which we don’t have a top rider at the moment.”

Victor Campenaerts: “When I could become pro in 2014, Kurt Van de Wouwer (head sports department Lotto Soudal U23, LTS), advised me to go to Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise because I would get the time and space to grow within that team. It turned out to be the right choice and I am very grateful to Kurt for that good advice. The past years I could keep working on my time trial skills and now I can return to the team with results.”

“My contract with LottoNL – Jumbo ends this season and when Lotto Soudal showed its interest in me, I didn’t hesitate long. I am glad to race again for a Belgian team, although I am very grateful to LottoNL – Jumbo. At Lotto Soudal I will see some familiar faces, like Tiesj Benoot with whom I rode in the U23 team at the time. When I joined the team in 2013, Kurt Van de Wouwer immediately set the goal that I should become pro the next year. It was only the third year that I raced, so that surprised me, but I did become pro in 2014. In the beginning of the 2013 season I crashed hard and fractured my collarbone and radius, which meant that I couldn’t ride on my road bike for a long time, I could only ride my time trial bike. Pretty soon after my comeback I won the U23 Belgian Time Trial Championships and European Time Trial Championships. I had known before that time trialling was one of my strong points, but those performances confirmed it. My time at Lotto Belisol was the perfect preparation on a pro career.”

“Now I want to win time trials for Lotto Soudal as a pro and set results in overall classifications in stage races of one week like the BinckBank Tour, Belgium Tour and Tour of Britain, stage races where you can end high on GC if you ride a good time trial. And of course I aim for more time trial titles. I also hope to inspire the team in team time trials. With riders like Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens the team has high potential and I would like to share my knowledge with the team.”

Victor Campenaerts:
Lucena - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Victor CAMPENAERTS (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) pictured during the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2017 - stage - 3 from Lucena to Lucena - ITT, 11.90 km - photo Gomez/Cor Vos © 2017***SPAIN OUT)

UAE Team Emirates Gives the Promising Riabushenko his Wings
Aleksandr Riabushenko will become a professional cyclist with UAE Team Emirates in the 2018 season.

The twenty one-year-old Belorussian (born October 12th, 1995) currently rides with the Under 23 for U.C. Palazzago and is actually a trainee in the Emirati formation, making his debut in the Coppa Bernocchi.
The announcement of his move to the pros came a few days before Riabushenko competed in the Bergen World Championships wearing the Under23 Belorussian jersey.

UAE Team Emirates’ Team Manager, Carlo Saronni, underscored: “The decision to offer Riabushenko the chance to make the move to the professional sphere adheres to the team’s focus on continually searching for young talent. In the Under 23 category Aleksandr has given solid performances, boosted by significant successes. He has earned a fine reputation for his reliability and helpfulness, even in his experience as a trainee with our team.”

Aleksandr Riabushenko had this to say: “I’m really happy with the prospect of becoming a pro and I am proud to be able to wear the UAE Team Emirates’ jersey for the next two years. During this season the team has already shown that they believe in my potential, giving me the opportunity to ride as a trainee. I’m landing in an environment that has always given young people a chance. On the team I will be in the company of great champions and a top level staff; there are all the prerequisites for me to improve constantly.”

Aleksandr Riabushenko:

Polartec-Kometa has Signed its First Eight Riders
Ivan Basso, sports manager of new Polartec-Kometa Continental Team, already has the first eight riders that will be next season the Trek-Segafredo development team.

These are four of best riders from the Alberto Contador Foundation’s Under-23 team: Diego Pablo Sevilla, Miguel Ángel Ballesteros, Juan Camacho and Isaac Cantón (U-23 national champion). They are joined by two Italian riders of maximum projection, the U-23 national champion, Matteo Moschetti (closely followed by Trek-Segafredo, with which has already been stagiaire this season), and the European Junior champion, Michele Gazzoli. The group is completed by the Austrian Patrick Gamper and the Luxembourgish Michel Ries.

“I am very satisfied with this group of riders. We have selected them with great attention and we believe they have a great future ahead”, explains Ivan Basso. “To complete the team we still have between two and four places available, two of which will occupy extra-european cyclists.”

In the design of the team, Basso highlights the sport directors. “Jesús Hernández, who finishes his sports career as Alberto Contador, will be the first sport director, supported by also former professional Félix García Casas, that is the technical responsible of all Alberto Contador Foundation teams.”

Collaboration with the Mapei Sport Center is also confirmed as responsible for the preparation of the riders. In coming weeks will confirm the rest of the squad and staff members, as well as the place and date of the first training camp of Polartec-Kometa, which will be attached to the Spanish Cycling Federation, although with a markedly international character.

Matteo Moschetti:

Sunweb Extend Contracts with Roy Curvers and Chad Haga
Team Sunweb are pleased to announce that Roy Curvers (NED) and Chad Haga (USA) have extended their contracts with the team. Curvers signs for an additional season following which he will join the team’s coaching staff and Haga extends for two years until the end of 2019.

Joining Team Sunweb in 2008, Curvers belongs to the team’s very core. Over the years he has evolved into a road captain’s role, with his extensive knowledge of both the sport and of Team Sunweb’s way of working resulting in Curvers playing a crucial part in many of the team’s successes. An experienced rider, Curvers has completed seven Grand Tours and has been a part of the lead-out train that helped propel Team Sunweb to 16 Grand Tour stage victories. He was also road captain during the team’s two monumental victories at Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix. Throughout his ten years wearing the team’s colors he has become one of the culture-carriers in the team; developing his tactical cycling knowledge and Team Sunweb’s team philosophy and working with young up-and-coming talents; skills that will be valuable after making the step to the team’s coaching staff.

Since joining the team in 2014, 29-year-old Haga has been an important support rider in Team Sunweb’s growth. After making the step up to WorldTour level with the team, he has been part of the squad that sealed four stage victories at the Vuelta a España, five at the Giro d’Italia as well as part of the GC-winning team earlier this year. Alongside Curvers, Haga was also part of Team Sunweb’s winning line-up at Milano-Sanremo in 2015. Offering reliable support in the mountains and on the flat, Haga is also a talented time trialist, and has taken numerous strong top tens during his time with the team, most recently 5th at the Critérium du Dauphiné’s race against the clock.

Roy Curvers explained: “This team has grown into one of the best in the world and all of the leaps that we have made as a team have challenged me to develop as a rider and keep me motivated. After being with the team for 10 years, it feels like family to me so I never considered the possibility of leaving as an option. A rider of my age has to start thinking about his future after cycling, and I’m happy that the team has the trust in me and has given me the opportunity to continue to develop after my career on the bike is over. This security gives me peace of mind and makes it easy to fully focus on cycling and to continue to be an important part of the team out on the road during the last part of my career.”

Chad Haga said: “I’m really happy to extend with the team. After being with the team for four years I feel really comfortable with my role here and am continuously challenged. I’m really happy supporting our GC guys like Tom and Wilco and hope to continue to build on the successes that we have achieved together. This season was the best year so far and I hope that our progression as a team will continue in the coming years. I look forward to seeing what the future holds and how we continue to succeed together.”

Team Sunweb head coach Rudi Kemna (NED) said: “Roy has already been one of our road captains for a number of years and as one of our core riders, he passes much of his experience onto our younger talents helping them to further develop. He is an important part of our classics team and a strong lead-out rider who can make quick, effective tactical decisions when it’s needed during a race. His knowledge and understanding of how the team operates means that he is already considered an extension of our coaching staff on the bike, so he will be a great addition when it is time for him to step off the bike.”

“Chad is an important link to our general classification team and over the years has developed into a rider that plays a crucial support role when the team are racing towards these goals. His strength in the time trials as well as in the mountains provide added value to the team and it’s great that we can continue to benefit from his strengths for the coming two seasons as we look to build on our GC capabilities.”

Curvers and Haga:

Two-year contract extension for Maxime Monfort and Jelle Vanendert
Both Maxime Monfort (34) and Jelle Vanendert (32) have extended their contract with Lotto Soudal until the end of 2019. Next year, it will be the fifth year for Maxime Monfort in the team, while it will be the tenth year for Vanendert.

Maxime Monfort: “I have been riding in this team for four seasons and I feel good here. That’s why I chose to extend my contract a second time. 2018 will be my fifth year in the Lotto Soudal team; this is the team I have been riding for the longest during my entire pro career. At my age you don’t have to change just for the sake of it.”

“I am very satisfied with the role I have within the team. I get to go my own chance on certain occasions and at other times I work for the teammates. I also love to help and advise the youngsters so they can make progress. In the past Vuelta I shared the room with Rémy Mertz, who rode his first Grand Tour. This role is perfect for me at this point in my career.”

“I am still very passionate. I still love training and racing and I am still motivated to achieve personal goals. Like this season, I won’t be aiming for an overall result in a Grand Tour next year, but I will aim for good results in stages.”

Jelle Vanendert: “In the past nine seasons I had good and bad moments, but the good have always prevailed. My role has often evolved through the years. The past years many young, talented riders have joined the team and I very much like to support them in and outside the race. It’s great that they are so keen to learn and I like to help them to achieve their goals, without having to forget about my personal ambitions.”

“Also the next two seasons I want to be at my best from the Brabantse Pijl to Liège-Bastogne-Liège. This year I got fourth at Alpe d’Huez during la Dauphiné, also a race that I love and in the last part of the season there are of course the Canadian races, Grand Prix de Wallonie and Lombardia.”

“I have been riding for the same team for a long while now, but it has never become a routine. I had new challenges every year. I was there when Philippe Gilbert had such a successful season in 2011 and I won a Tour stage that same year. At Lotto Soudal I got the chance to be leader in the Walloon Classics and now I very much like to work with Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens in those races.”

Jelle Vanendert:
Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jelle Vanendert (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during Fleche Wallonne 2016 - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Team LottoNL-Jumbo Signs American Talent Sepp Kuss
Team LottoNL-Jumbo has signed American cycling talent Sepp Kuss for two years. The 23-year-old Kuss comes from the American continental team Rally Cycling and is considered a strong all-rounder and a well capable climber.

“Kuss attracted our attention during the Tour of California. Since then, we have been following him and we tested him intensively”, LottoNL-Jumbo sportive director Merijn Zeeman says. “He has a background as a mountain biker and hasn’t been riding a racing bike for a long time yet. He still has plenty of room for development and we will give him the time to do so.”

The American rider has high expectations of his transfer to the Dutch World Tour squad. “I’m extremely excited to join Team LottoNL-Jumbo. With a proven track-record of developing its riders and considering the great amount of individual attention and resources the staff gives its riders, I feel that this team is the best place for me to progress. I hope to learn from the experienced team members and continue to develop as a climber along with working on my time trial. I’m also excited to discover what types of races suit me best”, Kuss says.

Sepp Kuss:

Renson and Team Sunweb Extend Long-Term Partnership
Renson and Team Sunweb have penned the extension of their cooperation for an additional three years, while both parties are strongly convinced that their partnership will continue to offer growth.

Belgium-based Renson is a manufacturer of exclusive and premium ventilation, sun shading systems, terrace covers and wall cladding. Renson’s primary focus on innovation and international growth has turned them into one of the fastest growing companies in Europe. Their business activities now cover each of the seven continents across the globe, with products available in most countries including key markets Russia, the United States, Australia, China, India, Germany, Turkey, Benelux, Italy and the Middle East.

Determined to continue with their international growth by continuing to develop the world’s highest quality products within their industry, Renson specifically partners with the German Team Sunweb as they consider the team and its vision the ideal platform for global brand and product awareness.

Renson CEO Paul Renson (BEL) explained: “Team Sunweb’s ‘Keep Challenging’ philosophy is the ultimate approach to achieving optimum results as a team, but also as an organization through constantly pushing the boundaries and challenging the current standards, as well as the continued search to get the maximum out of the collective of people who form the team. This approach is a great example for sport and also for other industries. We’re very keen to partner with this team, but especially with their vision, as it closely aligns with how we want to grow our company.”

While Renson and Team Sunweb share their international orientation, Renson is keen to introduce Team Sunweb’s ‘Keep Challenging’ approach to the next generations of Belgium’s biggest talents to support the development of cycling in its home country.

“We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Renson,” Team Sunweb’s CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) confirmed. “From the beginning we were enticed by the company’s intelligence and innovative approach towards their work, which alongside their global footprint shares many of the same qualities as Team Sunweb.”

Illness Forces Fabio Felline to End Season with Immediate Effect
It has been a rough few months for Fabio Felline. After the Tour de France, where he had to abandon at stage 8 due to illness, the same parasite (toxoplasmosis) now forces him to end the season immediately.

Felline was diagnosed with toxoplasmosis during the Tour de France. Blood values showed that by that time he had almost got through the disease on his own. After some much-needed rest, a new blood test indicated the parasite seemed to be gone.

However, even if he was able to train and do specific efforts after that, Fabio sensed his body was not reacting like it should. “I can train hard, that’s not the problem, but it takes me 2 or 3 days to recover from an intensive effort and that’s not normal. In the races I have done after the Tour, I felt immediately I could not go as deep as I wanted and after the races I always felt really weak.”

Team doctor, Nino Daniele: “A new blood test confirmed Felline’s body is still fighting against the parasite. The only thing he can do now is rest, rest and rest. So the best thing was to take him off the roster for the next races and to end his season to give his body the chance to recover completely.”

Fabio Felline: “Of course, I would have preferred to end the season in a better way. I had a good first part of the season and I wanted to confirm my good shape with some results in the second part as well. Unfortunately, my body decided otherwise. Now I will take a long rest and I hope to heal up quickly because I have my mind set on 2018 already. I hope I can start preparing the next season as soon as possible. I have proven in the past I could come back stronger after an injury and I will do that again!”

Fabio Felline:

Two Grand Tour Podiums in the 1st Year of Existence
Vincenzo Nibali and Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team achieved what no other team has so far – he reached two podiums on two Grand Tours in the first year of Bahrain-Merida Team. The main protagonist and key player in this historic achievement, Vincenzo Nibali, explained what were his ambitions for this year and how was he preparing for the first season with the Bahrain-Merida team:

Goals for 2017
“The first goal of the season was the Giro d’Italia and therefore the preparations were directed towards this goal. I started thinking about the Vuelta in July with the Passo San Pellegrino’s training camp.”

“The preparations for the 2 Grand Tours involved the alternation of races, usually not longer than a week, and training camps in altitude. This year, for example, I started in Argentina and then I went to Teide in altitude and returned to Italy for different races. It’s a progressive path that allows me to get almost 100% at the start of a Grand Tour.”

Difference of two Two Grand Tours
“Giro and Vuelta are two very challenging races. At the Giro d’Italia more than the climbs, the time trials made a difference and gave a little advantage to the race winner Tom Dumoulin. At Vuelta we really did a great performance against strong opponents like Chris Froome and Team Sky and that’s why my 2nd place is a very important result.”

“For both races I have to thank my dear team-mates. Without them I would not have achieved those 2 podiums. Everyone gave their best and helped me on all occasions. Special thanks to Franco Pellizotti, who was really crucial in the Vuelta’s last stages.”

Recovery and Goals for 2018
“Now I have to think about the Giro di Lombardia, a beautiful race I won two years ago. The Vuelta’s crash has had some consequences, but I should be ready for the “Dead Leaves” Classic. The goals for the next season after such a good season are still high. I will definitely go for Grand Tour but I do not know yet what I will do. I expect to see the routes and together with the team management and my coach Paolo Slongo we will determine the goals. In addition to staged races, the other great goal will be the World Championship in Austria.”

Head of Performance Paolo Slongo who is always near Vincenzo Nibali shared his thoughts after two podiums on the Grand Tours: “The podium in Madrid is really a great result. Vincenzo and the team did really well against very strong rivals. I consider also the 3rd place of the Giro a good result, achieved at the end of three weeks of a very hard race. Vincenzo has confirmed to be one of the few riders in the world able to win a Grand Tour.”

General Manager of the team, Brent Copeland commented the big success of the team in the first season: “After taking a close evaluation of the first year’s season so far we at Bahrain-Merida can say that we are very proud of the how it has gone. We started out with a number of goals for the season both on and off the bike and even though we had some bad luck with accidents and injuries we were still able to reach most of those goals, one of those goals was to finish on the podium at one of the Grand Tours, this happened not only once but twice which is something truly incredible, especially for a team who is only in their first year. This kind of a result is achieved thanks not only to a champion such as Vincenzo Nibali but also thanks to the whole team involved, both riders and staff have been amazing on working constantly on reaching and achieving the team’s goals and objectives and we thank them for this hard effort of which we will keep striving to do our best in the future.”

Bahrain-Merida Team will continue their hard work and dedication. With the help of all the sponsors, supporter and fans they are sure they will achieve many more podiums in the future.

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