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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The Tour Down Under goes from the women to the men and we have the first three stage reports, results and video. Chris Froome back to racing at the UAE Tour – Top Story. In other news: Team line ups for Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Race news from the UAE Tour and the Scheldeprijs. New BMW cars for Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans and FSA and Vision for the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA De Rosa bikes. Plus Quick-Step now has their own mobile coffee bar – So it is EUROTRASH Thursday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Chris Froome to return to racing in the UAE Tour
Chris Froome has announced his comeback race after his serious injury sustained last June will be the UAE Tour. Multiple Grand Tour winner Chris Froome announced that he will be back racing at the UAE Tour, the only WorldTour race in the Middle East, scheduled from 23rd to 29th February 2020.

“I’m really excited about getting back to racing at the UAE Tour. I’ve come off a good block of training in Gran Canaria and look forward to taking the next step in my recovery and getting back to full strength,” said Froome.

Froome’s name and palmarès adds to the top class roster of riders who have already announced their participation: Last year’s UAE Tour runner-up and 2018 UCI Road World Champion, Alejandro Valverde, also winner of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour and two times stage winner atop Jebel Hafeet; two-times UCI Time Trial World Champion and stage winner at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour, Rohan Dennis. 2019 Giro d’Italia Maglia Azzurra (King of the Mountains) Giulio Ciccone. The young Slovenian Tadej Pogačar, winner of the 2019 Tour of California, three stages and third overall at the 2019 Vuelta a España.

Alongside them are such famous names as the Italian road champion Davide Formolo, Adam Yates, Wout Poels (winner of the 2016 Liège-Bastogne-Liège), stage winner at both the Giro and the Tour, Ilnur Zakarin, and some of the best sprinters in the world, including: Fernando Gaviria, winner of five stages at the Giro, two at the Tour and winner of Stage 2 at last year’s UAE Tour. Multiple stage winner in all three Grand Tours and winner of Stage 4 of 2019 UAE Tour atop Hatta Dam, Caleb Ewan. Dylan Groenewegen (four stages at the Tour de France). Sam Bennett (winner of three stage at the Giro, and two at La Vuelta). Double stage winner and 2019 Giro d’Italia Maglia Ciclamino (Points Classification) Pascal Ackermann. Arnaud Démare (stage winner at the Giro and Le Tour, 2016 Milano-Sanremo) and Mark Cavendish, with 30 stages at the Tour de France, 15 at the Giro, 2011 Road World Champion and winner of the General Classification at the 2015 Dubai Tour.

Santos Tour Down Under 2020
Sam Bennett got off to the perfect start to his time with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, taking his first ever victory in the Tour Down Under after a hectic and messy sprint in Tanunda, where the race returned after seven years for Stage 1. Bennett was the first of the sprinters to launch the sprint, with around 250 meters to go, and immediately showed his fast turn of legs, dashing to the line and convincingly holding off the charge of his rivals.

The closing kilometres of the stage delivered another Deceuninck – Quick-Step masterpiece, the team taking the front of the peloton early and bringing Bennett into position on the left side of the road. They then gradually eased off the pace before ramping up the speed again, with the flamme rouge in sight. As soon as Iljo Keisse finished stretching the field out, Shane Archbold took over and opened the way for Michael Mørkøv, whose impeccable lead-out left the Irish champion in a perfect position.

Bennett blasted clear of the pack and put a bike length between him and runner-up Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) on his way to becoming the 91st different rider to score a victory for Deceuninck – Quick-Step. As a result, Bennett made repeated trips to the podium, collecting the winner’s trophy as well as the ochre and blue jerseys.

Stage 1 winner and overall leader, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – QuickStep): “I’d be lying if I’d say I didn’t feel the pressure to get that first win. I am very happy it came today, on the very first stage of the season’s first race, and I can’t thank my incredible teammates enough, because the result is down to their amazing effort. The team is very confident in me and the way they rode was amazing and gave me great confidence. There’s a lot of experience in this squad, and they showed it today, together with that unique Wolfpack spirit, which you can feel it immediately. Everybody did a fantastic job and played a superb role, keeping me in position and making sure I was where I had to be in order to fight for the victory. The week has just started and I hope other good results will soon follow.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates): “I launched my sprint quite early and pulled out a good advantage but felt the other sprinters coming back as we reached the line. I did everything I could. We have a great team here and they did a nice job to get me in the right position for the finish. We will aim for more over the next few stages. Unfortunately we lost Riabushenko during the stage who had a crash so we wish him the best.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Erik Baska (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today was a stage for the sprinters and we wanted to first of all see how it would go after the first lap. In the first few rounds, there was some wind and the race situation was constantly changing. We wanted to ride in a concentrated way, and maintain a good position in the field. In the last kilometre, it was quite tight up front and one had to watch out to get through safely and not be blocked. We tried to ride into an optimal position in the finishing straight, and the team really worked as a cohesive unit. We were able to carry out much of our plan so we can be satisfied with the result.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – QuickStep in 3:28:54
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
3. Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
5. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
6. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) EF Education First
7. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
8. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Sam Welsford (Aus) UniSA-Australia
10. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Sunweb.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 1:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:28:44
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates at 0:04
3. Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:06
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:07
5. Jarrad Drizners (Aus) UniSA-Australia
6. Chris Lawless (GB) Ineos at 0:08
7. Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT
8. Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis at 0:09
9. Michael Storer (Aus) Sunweb
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis at 0:10.

TDU’20 Stage 1:

On a day of racing that always attracts huge crowds, there was plenty of action – as well as a few accidents, ripped up kit, and some lost skin – in the lead-up to a hotly contested uphill sprint in the tough finish in Stirling. Novatech Stage 2 of the 22nd Santos Tour Down Under ended with a familiar sight: Caleb Ewan across the line in first place after a finely timed, fast, strong sprint. Amongst the crowd at the finish was Ewan’s wife, Ryann, and his young daughter who were glowing after the 25-year-old collected his eighth TDU stage win.

Ewan now leads the race for overall honours but even his team know he won’t have a chance to win the title in 2020, even though he is clearly in stomping good sprint form. The aim was stage wins; he has one now, and there’s reason to be satisfied. There was also a sense of relief for Ewan and his team as he and the others from Lotto Soudal didn’t appear to have been caught in a crash only 1.4 kilometres from the finish that claimed numerous victims including high-profile riders like Simon Yates (with a “nasty knock to his knee”, according to Mitchelton-Scott sporting manager, Matt White), as well as Elia Viviani (Cofidis), Ben Hermans of the Israel Start-Up Nation team. Hermans sustained a collarbone fracture and is out of the race.

Last year’s TDU champion, Daryl Impey, was second on the stage and he’s now ranked third on GC, one second behind Ewan and Bennett. The South African champion was well positioned throughout the stage and his bid for a third successive Santos Tour Down Under title is still on track but it has suffered a setback because of the injuries sustained by Yates.

Stage winner and overall leader, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “I am so happy, especially after what happened yesterday, when we were absent in the final”, explained Caleb Ewan. “We had a really good plan. We spoke about it for about one hour after yesterday’s stage one. We checked what we could do better. I have to say that the boys did absolutely a perfect job today. They did everything I asked for. They brought me in perfect position. A win like today, you really can’t do it on your own. I said to them yesterday that if I wanted to win today’s stage, a real tough one, I would need all their help. They really helped me all day and put me in a good position on the climbs, so that I was out of the mess.”

4th, Jasper Philipsen (Team UAE Emirates): “Ulissi won here already on this finish so Marcato was looking after him and I had a free role to play. In the end there was a lot of sprinters still there and Diego was in my wheel. There was plenty of crashes in the last kilometres and though I was in a good position, after the climbing I didn’t have any power left in the legs to push any harder.”

KOM, Joey Rosskopf (CCC): “I got my jersey today. I earned it the hard way. I’m super satisfied as it was nice to get something out of the breakaway. Yesterday wasn’t super crucial as the bonus points on the climbs were only six points and today, each time over, was ten points, so it added up quickly. If I could win both times today then I knew I would have a chance of keeping the jersey for a while depending on how the next climbs play out, with the KOMS on Paracombe, Victor Harbor, and Willunga. We were open for anyone to go for the jersey. We were all free to try. Losing Paddy Bevin before the race started was a big blow but it gives everyone a bit more of a free role. One of the big goals is still to support Simon Geschke for the overall, and Szymon Sajnok for some sprints. He is a young guy but he was up there today, looking food on the last lap. They’re both riding really well. I was at the back of the crash and went down. Unfortunately, for other guys, they cushioned my fall. But I’m fine. Tomorrow, I’ll take a day off from the breakaway. We are motivated for the finish on Paracombe.”

Crash victim, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The guys worked for me today, as I was feeling good and won this stage a few years ago. They did a solid job and brought me into a good position in the final few kilometres. However, unfortunately I was caught up in a large crash before the final kilometre, and so then we had no chance of a good result on the stage. It was a shame, because I had good legs, and we thought we had a good chance to take the win. However, because the crash occurred in the final 3km, I thankfully did not lose time in the general classification. A big thanks to my teammates for their hard work today.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal in 3:27:31
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis
4. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 2:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal in 6:56:15
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:01
4. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates at 0:04
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis at 0:05
6. Jarrad Drizners (Aus) UniSA at 0:07
7. Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT at 0:08
8. Chris Lawless (GB) Ineos
9. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 0:09.

TDU’20 Stage 2:

“The team was fantastic,” said an elated Richie Porte moments after crossing the finish line atop the steep climb up Paracombe Road at the end of the Santos Tour Down Under’s Subaru Stage 3. He took a fine stage victory, his eight in the history of the Australian WorldTour race, and only his second away from Old Willunga Hill. Porte also won at Paracombe in 2017.

Still, he did enough to not just win the stage but he took the Santos Ochre Leader’s Jersey too.
The race lead was expected to change and although Caleb Ewan reached the base of the climb with the front group, he soon lost contact when it got steep. The winner of Novatech Stage 2 finished Subaru Stage 3 in 61st place and is now ranked 55th at 2:19.

With the time bonus for first place, and an advantage of five seconds over a group of eight who battled together to limit their losses to the experienced and capable climber who attacked at the base of the final hill, Porte now leads the 22nd Tour Down Under by six seconds.

It was an impressive display but the Tasmanian won’t be lulled into believing the race for the title is over. He knows all too well how big an impact time bonuses have, and he also understands how good the two-time champion, Daryl Impey, is at sprinting for these time gains.
Paracombe Road was used as a launch pad for the overall victory in 2015 when a selection of climbers closely marked each other much of the way up the relatively short, but steep climb that has an average gradient of 9.3 percent, with one nasty section at 20 percent.

Back in 2015, the game of tactics that backfired; Porte, Cadel Evans, Tom Dumoulin and Domenico Pozzovivo were all so concerned with one another that they didn’t have a chance to respond when local superstar, Rohan Dennis, blasted on by them all and took an outstanding victory.

This scene was replayed in Porte’s mind today as he took the initiative early. ‘To hell with the headwind,’ he seemed to say, ‘I’m going!’ And off he set, onward to a considerable advantage that earned him the win and a lead of six seconds over Impey. The runner-up in stage three, Rob Power (Sunweb) now moves up to third overall, nine second behind Porte.

Stage winner and overall leader, Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo): Other than that head wind in the final, it was pretty good. The team was fantastic today. It was a good race, a good battle. Felt good in the final. Would liked to have taken a little more time on Daryl [Impey] but you’ve got to take the victories when you can, and I’ll savour this one. I think I lost a bit of time in the last 300 but it was nice to get the gap that I did. The guys were so good there for me, put me in a fantastic position. It was a hectic run into the final, some of these young guys are prepared to take much bigger risks than us older guys, it was good to get into a good position and it all went well. Historically this has been the queen stage when it’s been in the race. Two more stages to go before Willunga. The race is not over yet. There are time bonuses on the road, and I expect Mitchelton-Scott will go for them. But I’m happy to get the victory today for the team. The team rode fantastically, firstly, so I’ll have to take my cap off to those boys, they put all their faith in me today, they did a really good job in controlling it. I felt good at the bottom of the climb and you know got a bit of a gap there. My professional teammate, Juan [Pedro] López, was really good and, you know, it was a shame it was such a head win there in the finals I think we could have done some real damage.

5th on the stage and 6th overall, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “The team did great work on the run-in to the last climb to keep me up the front. There was a very hard tempo on the final climb to the line set by the other GC guys. I felt good and was hoping for a good sprint but there was other riders with better legs on the day.Overall I’m happy with my result.”

Crash victim, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I was involved in a crash yesterday, and it’s disappointing to have hit the deck again today. We thought that we had a good chance on these two stages, and the team worked for me well on both days, so this is very disappointing. I went down on the descent about 10km ahead of the finish line, and it was quite a heavy crash. I managed to cross the finish line with Erik, but several minutes in arrears. I have a lot of wounds and abrasions, and we will know more when we do an assessment at the hotel later today.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 Result:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo in 3:14:09
2. Rob Power (Aus) Sunweb at 0:05
3. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos
8. Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC
9. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma
10. Luke Hamilton (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:13.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 3:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo in 10:10:24
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:06
3. Rob Power (Aus) Sunweb at 0:09
4. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:11
5. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 0:14
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:15
7. Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC
8. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos
9. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos
10. Luke Hamilton (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:23.

TDU’20 Stage 3:

Rafael Valls Abandons Santos Tour Down Under Due to Crash on Stage 2
Team Bahrain McLaren captain Rafael Valls was involved in a crash in the finale of stage 2 at the Santos Tour Down Under.

The Spanish rider managed to come to the finish line in Stirling, but as he complained of strong pain in the back, he went to the local hospital for further medical examinations with Team Doctor Luca Pollastri.

Unfortunately, the x-ray scan showed a non-displaced sacral fracture and therefore Rafael Valls is forced to abandon the race as a result of the huge pain. Team Bahrain McLaren Doctor Luca Pollastri said: “We will observe him for the next 48-72 hours. Then we will plan next steps. But it is too painful for him to continue the race tomorrow”.

Rafael Valls commented: “It’s hard to accept that injury, because I was in really good shape and highly motivated, with all the team that supported me. But the injury is not so bad and maybe in the next few days I can train again, more or less normal, so that keep me in a good mood for the next races. Now the pain is intense, but we will see tomorrow and with the team we will decide the best option for my health”.

Valls was caught up in the big crash with two km to go, that involved also other two Bahrain McLaren riders, Domen Novak and Marco Haller. Happily, they are both feeling good and they will be at the start of stage 3 tomorrow.

Today’s stage – from Woodside to Stirling (135.8km) – saw the win of Caleb Ewans, that took the uphill sprint ahead of the 2019 winner Impey. Hermann Pernsteiner was our first rider to come to the finish line, in 14th place.

“It was a tough stage, as we expected. High tempo from the start and crazy speed on the downhill in the last laps of the circuit. It was really fast with every team trying to stay in front. Some crashes happened and I was lucky not to be involved in them, in particular in the big in the finale. The legs are good and I’m optimistic for the next stages”.

As a consequence of the abandon of Team Bahrain McLaren captain, the Austrian rider together with the young Santiago Buitrago will be taken over the role of GC leaders of the team, from now onwards.

Bad start to the season for Valls:

Paris-Roubaix 2020: Teams Selection
The organisers of Paris-Roubaix have chosen the teams for the 118th edition of the “reine des classiques” (Sunday, April 12th).

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the nineteen UCI WorldTeams are invited:
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Bahrain – McLaren (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
CCC Team (Pol)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Pro Cycling (USA)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Mitchelton – Scott (Aus)
Movistar Team (Spa)
NTT Pro Cycling Team (SA)
Team Ineos (GB)
Team Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE).

Furthermore, the first two teams according to the 2019 UCI ProTeams ranking, Total Direct Energie (Fra) and Circus – Wanty Gobert (Bel), will participate by right to Paris-Roubaix.

The organisers have invited the following teams:
Alpecin – Fenix (Bel)
B&B Hôtels – Vital Concept (Fra)
Nippo Delko Provence (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra).


2020 Ardennes Classics: Small Novelties and Classic Essentials
The Doyenne has returned to the heart of Liège in 2019 and is ready to come back in 2020. For the second year in a row, Liège-Bastogne-Liège Hommes and its feminine counterpart will end on the boulevard d’Avroy, where Jakob Fuglsang and Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated their solo triumphs last Spring. Fuglsang was the second Dane to take victory in 105 editions of the race while Van Vleuten got a spot in the winners list alongside her Dutch compatriot Anna van der Breggen, winner of the first two editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes in Ans.

The riders aiming for such successes in 2020 will tackle familiar climbs. The route for the men’s race features 11 iconic ascents, from the côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne all the way to the côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, before the champions storm to the finish in the ardent city. As they ride from the côte de Wanne to the côte de la Vecquée, the women will face for the first time the côte de la Haute-Levée, a classic of the men’s route.

Four days earlier, the world’s best puncheurs, male and female, will already battle it out in the Ardennes with the Flèche Wallonne. The ascent of the côte du chemin des Gueuses (1.8km with an average gradient of 6.5%) appears on the route for the first time both for the men and the women. It comes instead of the côte de Cherave in the final circuit designed around the Mur de Huy.

The Flèche Wallonne Hommes will start from Herve, where the peloton and the whole world of cycling will admire the spring of the Six Fountains, and quickly head for the côte de Trasenster. The other challenges of the route are well known by the reigning champions, Julian Alaphilippe and Anna van der Breggen. Everything is set for a thrilling battle on the Mur.

At the announcement of the routes for the Ardennes classics, the organisers revealed the names of the teams that will take part in the next editions of the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In addition to the 19 WorldTeams and the top two teams of the UCI ProTeams rankings in 2019, Team Direct Energie (Fra) and Circus – Wanty Gobert (Bel) have been selected:

2020 Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège
– Alpecin – Fenix (Bel)
– Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise (Bel)
– Team Arkéa – Samsic(Fra)
– Wallonie Bruxelles (Bel)

The races have two new partners
– The Italian National Tourist Board, founded in 1919 under the moniker ENIT, becomes an Official Partner of the Ardennes Classics in 2020. More information here: www.italia.it/en/
– Ardennes-Etape, a specialist in on-line location of holiday homes in the Ardennes, becomes an Official Partner of the Ardennes Classics in 2020. More information here: https://en.ardennes-etape.be/

The Dictée of Ardennes Classics
Following two editions of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège dictation, in 2020 this concept will also take in the Flèche Wallonne to become the Ardennes Classics Dictation. On Wednesday 18th March, in each school taking part (classes in the last year of primary school and the first year of secondary school in the Province of Liège are concerned), several hundred pupils will be trying to meet the challenge of making no mistakes. The Province of Liège will then organise an awards ceremony to be held at the official presentation of the teams in Liège, on Saturday 25th April, with awards for 200 children. The following day, the authors of the 14 best dictations will have privileged access to watch the race (seven at the start and seven at the finish).

Key points:
The world’s best puncheurs, male and female, will race the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, April 22nd. Liège-Bastogne-Liège Hommes and Femmes will be held on Sunday, April 26th.
Ø La Doyenne’s finish is set on the boulevard d’Avroy, in the heart of Liège, after climbing the côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.
Ø The riders participating in the Flèche Wallonne will face an unprecedented climb with the introduction of the côte du chemin des Gueuses in the final loop around Huy.

Find all the information about:
La Flèche Wallonne on www.la-fleche-wallonne.be/en/
La Flèche Wallonne Femmes on www.la-fleche-wallonne-femmes.be/en/
Liège-Bastogne-Liège on www.liege-bastogne-liege.be/en/
Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes on www.liege-bastogne-liege-femmes.be/en/

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2019 by NBC Sports:

2020 UAE Tour – Route
Four stages dedicated to sprinters, two for puncheurs and one for climbers. Many of the best riders expected to be at the start, including Valverde, Dennis, Pogačar, A Yates, Formolo, Poels, Zakarin, Ewan, Gaviria, Groenewegen, Ackermann and Cavendish. The Red, Green, White and Black jerseys are sponsored by Emirates, Mubadala, Nakheel and Abu Dhabi Aviation.

After the successful inaugural edition of 2019, the second edition of the UAE Tour was officially unveiled today at the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences & Technology. The route of the seven-stage race and the four leaders’ jerseys are all revealed.

The only WorldTour race in the Middle East, organised by the Dubai Sports Council, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Sharjah Sports Council, in partnership with RCS Sport, is scheduled from 23rd to 29th February 2020.

The 2020 UAE Tour’s seven stages will embrace all seven United Emirates. The first stage will be hosted by Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm-al-Quwain and Ras-al-Khaimah, the second will start in Dubai and include both Sharjah and Ras-al-Khaimah, while the third crosses Sharjah, Fujairah and Ras-al-Khaimah. The fourth runs entirely in the Emirate of Dubai and the final three stages will be hosted by Abu Dhabi. The 2020 UAE Tour has a total distance of 1,177km with a significant elevation gain of around 3,500 metres, mostly concentrated into stages two, three and five.

Among the riders who have already announced their participation are last year’s UAE Tour runner-up and 2018 UCI Road World Champion, Alejandro Valverde, also winner of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour and two times stage winner atop Jebel Hafeet; two-times UCI Time Trial World Champion and stage winner at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour, Rohan Dennis; 2019 Giro d’Italia Maglia Azzurra (King of the Mountain) Giulio Ciccone, the young Slovenian Tadej Pogačar, winner of 2019 Tour of California, three stages and third overall at the 2019 Vuelta a España.

Alongside them are such famous names as the Italian road champion Davide Formolo, Adam Yates, Wout Poels (winner of the 2016 Liège-Bastogne-Liège), stage winner at both the Giro and the Tour, Ilnur Zakarin, and some of the best sprinters in the world, including: Fernando Gaviria – winner of five stages at the Giro, two at the Tour and winner of Stage 2 of last year’s UAE Tour; stage winner in all three Grand Tours and winner of Stage 4 of 2019 UAE Tour atop Hatta Dam, Caleb Ewan; Dylan Groenewegen (four-times stage at the Tour de France); Sam Bennett (winner of three stages at the Giro and two at La Vuelta); 2019 Giro d’Italia double stage winner and Maglia Ciclamino (Points Classification) Pascal Ackermann; Arnaud Démare (multiple stage winner between the Giro and the Tour, 2016 Milano-Sanremo) and Mark Cavendish, with 30 stages at the Tour de France, 15 at the Giro d’Italia, the 2011 Road World Champion and winner of two stages and the General Classification at the 2015 Dubai Tour.

The Route:
The 2020 edition of the UAE Tour offers a mix of technically different stages, open to all types of riders, with the all-rounders most likely to win the overall General Classification category. It starts on Sunday 23rd February in Dubai’s Zabeel park with the Marjan Island Stage (158km), a flat opening stage to end in Al Marjan Island after passing by many landmarks of Dubai and Ras al Khaimah such as Dubai Frame, Zabeel Palace, Festival City, Mushrif Park, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Al Hamra and the Murjan Island.

The second stage on Monday 24th February, the Dubai Municipality Stage (203km) is the longest stage of the UAE Tour. Its route is a tribute to the classic Dubai Tour “Queen stage”, starting from The Pointe – Palm Jumeirah and finishing with the short, sharp rise of Hatta Dam, climbing 200m on gradients ranging from 12% to a maximum of 17%.

The following day, the peloton will start the third stage, the Sharjah Stage (198km), running from Sharjah to Rafisah Dam with the Rafisah Dam to be climbed twice before the final ascent. The route takes in numerous landmarks of the Emirate of Sharjah such as the Sharjah Municipality, Sharjah Flag Island, Sharjah University, Khor Fakkan, Rafisah Dam and the Sports City.

The fourth stage is on Wednesday 26th February: the Dubai Stage, 171km between Dubai Design District and Dubai City Walk. The route, suitable for the fast wheels of the peloton, touches the main landmarks of Dubai: Meydan, Trump Golf Club, Motor City, Sports City, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Jumeirah Islands, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Design District, Dubai Canal, Festival City, Mushrif Park, Downtown Dubai and City Walk.

The following day, the peloton will start the Al Ain Stage (162km) from the Al Ain before facing the Jebel Hafeet climb: with the finish at 1,025m after a 10.8km climb with a maximum gradient of 10% and average slope of 5.4%. The route runs along UAE University, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Ain Zoo and Green Mubazzarah before the epilogue on the Jebel Hafeet climb.

On Friday 28th February the penultimate stage is the ADNOC Stage (158km) starts from Al Ruwais and pass by the Al Yash Recreational Centre, ADNOC School, Ruwais Mall, Al Mirfa Beach before ending in Al Mirfa, where a bunch sprint is expected.

The Grand Finale, on Saturday 29th February, delivers a spectacular parade entirely in the city of Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Stage (127km) starts at Al Maryah Island and finishes at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater with what is expected to be a bunch sprint. The last stage passes by many of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s landmarks such as the Al Maryah Island, Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Al Maqta Tower, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Hosn and the Big Flag.

The UAE Tour is back for its second edition – from 23rd to 29th February. Starting in Dubai and finishing in Abu Dhabi, the one and only WorldTour event in the Middle East will race through all seven Emirates, passing by many landmarks of the UAE.

H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council Secretary General, said: “This year’s route of the UAE Tour will challenge every kind of rider and will crown the most complete rider who proves to be the strongest in the seven stages raced across all seven Emirates. It was our dream to have a world-class international cycling event which features the beauty and faces the riding challenges of all seven Emirates and, as the first edition already proved, the UAE Tour is establishing itself as an important appointment in the world cycling calendar. Moreover, this race represents a unique opportunity to show worldwide our country’s varied territories and reflect our goal to promote the seven Emirates beyond their borders through sport and especially cycling.”

H.E. Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federations, said: “We are delighted with the progress of the UAE Tour as a major cycling event in the world. It has once again attracted the best riders from around the world. We wish all of them the best of luck and an enjoyable stay in the UAE.”

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, said: “For the second year, together with the friends of the Dubai Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Sharjah Sports Council, we are presenting this international event, part of the UCI WorldTour calendar, with great riders at the start. We are sure that the UAE Tour will continue to grow because it happens at a very interesting time in the cycling season and is characterised by a mixed route with stages suitable for many different riders. It’s a race with a strong international appeal, as with all our cycling races.”

The UAE Tour Route 2020:

2020 Scheldeprijs to Run 100 Kilometres Through the Netherlands
Race organisers, Flanders Classics, has made a few changes to the route of the Scheldeprijs for this year. The new course was presented in Terneuzen, where the race will start for the third year in a row. The new course should be more suited to the sprinters, the race organiser said in a press release.

The 200-kilometre race to Schoten will start in the Stadhuisplein in Terneuzen. The race will start with a local lap in Terneuzen, then the official start will be before entering the Westerschelde tunnel. The trip through Zeeland is 100 kilometres this year and that means that 50% of the race will be spread over Dutch and Belgian territory. Via Goes, Yerseke and Ossendrecht it goes towards Putte-Kapellen where the peloton will cross the border and race towards Schoten.

Once in Schoten the peloton has 3 local laps of 17.4 kilometres. The circuit, including the cobblestones of the Broekstraat in Wijnegem, remains unchanged. At around 5.15 pm we will know whether Fabio Jakobsen will have the fastest legs on the Churchilllaan for the third time in a row.

At the moment 11 WorldTour teams have confirmed their presence in the 108th Scheldeprijs, including Deceuninck-QuickStep and Lotto Soudal, but it seems that Jumbo-Visma will not be present like last year.

Confirmed teams Scheldeprijs 2020:

Bahrain McLaren (Brn)
BORA-hansgrohe (Ger)
flag-fr Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Education First (USA)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE).

Alpecin-Fenix (Bel)
B&B Hotels-Vital Concept (Fra)
Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè (Ita)
Circus-Wanty Gobert (Bel)
Bingoal Wallonie Bruxelles (Bel)
Gazprom-Rusvelo (Rus)
Riwal Readynez (Den)
Sport Flanders-Baloise (Bel)
Arkéa-Samsic (Fra).

Continental Teams:
Tarteletto-Isorex (Bel).


BMW Louyet Provides Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans with Cars for Two Seasons
The Belgian Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans can rely on a new partner for its new vehicle fleet. The Group BMW Louyet Will provide the team with cars for the next two seasons. The keys of the cars were symbolically handed to the team direction by Laurent Louyet, managing director of Group Louyet, during the team presentation in Alfas del Pi (Spain). The sports directors of Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans will follow the races with five BMW 3 Series Touring, and four BMW X2 cars are at the disposal of the paramedical staff.

The Group Louyet is a family company, serving its customers for longer than half a century. A loyal partner of BMW, but above all from its customers. Important values are seriousness, loyalty and nearness, thanks to its six locations in Charleroi, La Louvière, Sambreville, Marcinelle, Tournai and Sint-Pieters Leeuw. Their success comes from the quality of the environment for the contributors, equipped with the last new technologies, but also from the respect for the values of BMW. You’ll always be welcomed in the best circumstances. L. Louyet. Reliability has a name. Laurent Louyet.

Laurent Louyet (Managing Director Group BMW Louyet): “We were looking for a national project within sports for a long time already, trying to connect our dealers in Wallonia and in Flanders and bring together customers and partners. Cycling attracts me, because our group was founded sixty years ago by my grand-father, Léon Louyet, after he won two stages in the Tour de France and finished his cycling career. The circle is now complete! I strongly believe in the dynamics of the Want You Club. We already know some members of this business club of Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans, and we can now reinforce our bonds, and also start new relationships.”

Jean-François Bourlart (General Manager Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans): “We’re a cycling team, but our vehicles are also an essential element in our working. We travel across Europe all year around to support our riders in competition and in training. We’re very proud to have the opportunity to rely on a strong partner such as Group Louyet. Just like us, Group Louyet is present in the whole country. The new BMW 3 Series Touring and the BMW X2 are robust cars and are very well adapted to follow cycling races.”

Nice cars for Circus-Wanty in 2020:

FSA and Vision Join the De Rosa bike of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
For the third year in a row, De Rosa will be the company in charge of providing bicycles to the professional team of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA for the new season. The novelty is the arrival of Full Speed Ahead and Vision, that will bring quality to the bikes of the green squad.

All the cyclists will ride again with the De Rosa Protos model for the road and with the De Rosa TT-03 for the time trials.

The novelties come with FSA, which will provide the K-Force handlebar and SL-K stems to the Protos model, and Vision, with the TFA Metron handlebar for the time trials, improving the performance and aerodynamic of both models.

Each rider will have the latest technology in the other components to complete the perfection of a machine like the De Rosa Protos: Miche Supertype wheels with Vittoria Corsa 25 tires, KMC X11 SL Gold chains and Repente saddles with many models to choose: Aleena, Comptus, Prime, Spyd Latus or Latus M, according to the needs of each member of the team. For the time trials they will have the Magnet model.

Maurizio Bellin (Full Speed Ahead & Vision Europe General Manager): “We are proud to be on board and supporting such a high-level pro team like Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. We have always believed in the importance of sponsorships to growing up with professional athletes, in addition to the technical quality that we want to provide for the them. For this reason, in the 2020 racing season we will join the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA with which we have in common many features, like competing and growing in every race all around the world”.

Juan Manuel Hernández (Manager of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “Full Speed Ahead is a company of proven quality, so we are very happy to have its products this season. Great teams have used FSA and Vision, so joining this prestigious brand is a pride for us. In cycling it is very important to evolve and be at the forefront of the technology and with Full Speed Ahead we know that we do it”.

The presentation of the 2020 project of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, this Thursday in Baluarte (Pamplona), will serve to see for the first time the new bikes of the team.

Quick-Step Surprises Riders with own Mobile Coffee Bar
Quick-Step, manufacturer of laminate, parquet and vinyl flooring surprised Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders during their training camp in Calpe, by popping up with the Quick-Step Bar Velo. Quick-Step is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is starting its 22nd(!) season as a sponsor in professional cycling. To start the festive year 2020 well, the riders and staff were treated to a cup of coffee in a trendy mobile coffee bar. Zdenek Stybar and Tim Declercq were the baristas for the occasion.

The mobile coffee bar with trendy interior in the Quick-Step colours does not come out of the blue. The Quick-Step Bar Velo is the brand’s response to the coffee hype that is currently dominating the professional peloton and cycling community. Cyclists are regularly seen in coffee bars for a welcomed break during their training rides. Kasper Asgreen says: ‘For me and my teammates at Deceuninck-Quick-Step, a cup of coffee has become an indispensable part of our daily routine.’

During training
Zdenek Stybar has also turned into a real coffee lover. He claims to know why the black gold is so popular among cyclists: ‘During long training rides we often take short breaks to rest and relax. A cup of coffee is ideal for that. These days it really plays a huge part of our culture. We practically compete with each other to find the best coffee. We hope that we will often be able to take a break in our Bar Velo, in which our coffee is served,’ Stybar laughs.

But the coffee is only one part of it. Coffee is known to evoke feelings of cosiness and a feeling of being home. That atmosphere is exactly what Quick-Step wants to offer their riders, especially when they are on the road or far from home. With coffee on the one hand and a beautiful homely interior on the other. This way, riders get a chance to enjoy a warm coffee moment on a winter training day, which is not an unnecessary luxury for riders who are often away from home for a long duration.

After the winter training camp, the Quick-Step Bar Velo will venture further than Calpe. The coffee bar will travel all year round; it will be found at cycling races, training sessions and other events.

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