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Paris - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie Arc de Triomphe Christopher - Chris FROOME (GBR / Team Sky) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 21 from Montgeron to Paris, 103.00 km - foto Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The Tour de France is coiled to spring into action on Saturday the 7th of July – All the up-to-date Tour team announcements in EUROTRASH Thursday. The Dutch Pro Cyclists Association leaves the CPA – Top Story. Race reports from the USA National Road Championships and Paris-Chauny. In other cycling news: Tour achievement of Jean-Pierre Schmitz, Three more years for A.S.O. and Dimension Data, Arctic Race teams, Matt Brammeier retires, UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy, Team Novo Nordisk to Prudential RideLondon, Vuelta eTapa and Tour fans safety video. A big coffee Thursday.

TOP STORY: Dutch Pro Cyclists’ Leave CPA
The VVBW (the Dutch Association for Professional Cyclists), after consulting with and taking a poll of the Dutch pro riders, has taken the decision to withdraw its membership from the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés).

In a press release, the Dutch association stated their reasons:

The VVBW was one of the founding national riders’ associations which created the CPA’s international organization, and has been pushing the CPA leadership for administrative and economic reforms over many years. These reforms would have allowed entry of more national rider associations, also known as ‘member nations,’ and provided representation for more riders from countries which do not yet have a national association for its professional cyclists. These reforms were intended to improve the structure of the CPA over time so that it would truly be able to speak on behalf of the entire body of international professional cyclists.

However, the CPA has been increasingly unable to meet the expectations of progress from the riders, and from many of its newer member nations. The VVBW has made its opinion known that riders from countries, that currently don’t have a national professional riders’ association, deserve a voice within cycling’s international union. Currently, only the riders from nine countries can vote, and this has been a shortcoming for almost 30 years since the CPA came into existence. To the present day, three primary European cycling countries control the politics of the CPA, and the VVWB feels this isn’t a true reflection of the men’s professional ‘peloton’ in the year 2018.

The VVBW has listened to the concerns of its Dutch professionals, but also of the perspectives of many riders throughout the sport. There is a lot of criticism within the peloton on the inaction of the CPA regarding many important economic and legal issues, and the CPA has provided almost no communication to the riders regarding its long-term plans and objectives. Most important, there is now an alarming financial shortage in the riders’ retirement Solidarity Fund which can no longer be ignored as more professionals achieve eligibility for a retirement pay-out.

The VVBW has also become aware that the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) recently requested the CPA to represent women riders. Taking into account the CPA’s many deficiencies in representing the men’s peloton, the VVBW believes that any representation of the women’s peloton by the CPA is not in the best interest of the riders. Therefore, the VVBW formally announces its support of the Cyclists’ Alliance, the independent initiative founded by Iris Slappendel to organize and represent the international women’s peloton.

The maneuver to co-opt women riders into the CPA is in defiance of the many top professional women who have joined the Alliance, and to others who have already been helped by its legal assistance resources and its mentoring program. The VVBW endorses the Alliance’s initiatives to improve the professionalism, rights, and economic potential for women in the sport. Furthermore, we believe that it is better organized to represent the riders and partner with the teams, race organizers, the UCI, and the greater sporting community to advance the sport of women’s cycling, especially as the initiative was started by the women riders themselves.

The VVBW believes strongly in freedom of association, and just as we have listened to our riders to go in a better direction to support their interests, The Cyclists’ Alliance is doing the same to build representation for women in all disciplines of elite cycling. We recognize that the Alliance’s international model, to represent all women in the sport equally, is a structure which any potential future successor to the CPA must also adopt to provide professional athletes with the services and representation they deserve.

The VVBW will continue to work for the Dutch professional cyclists in the Netherlands as well as for our members who are racing abroad. The VVBW will work tirelessly to improve the legal standing, economic opportunities, and rights of our riders. We are working to negotiate a new joint agreement for minimum standards for riders of all nationalities under contract with Dutch-registered professional teams. And in conjunction with the KNWU (the dutch cycling federation, Koninklijke Nederlandsche Wielren Unie), we are also developing a stronger rider safety policy to protect all athletes in races which take place on Dutch roads, and which we believe will set an example of safety for other nations to adopt in the future.
The VVBW will not exclude a return to the CPA in the future, but only then if the CPA has succeeded in creating a new structure, in which all international riders can be united, with the same voting rights, and in which the financial problems surrounding the CPA Solidarity Fund has been resolved structurally.

The Cyclists’ Alliance; doing a better job for the women:

Rivera Captures Elusive Road Race Title for Women; Brown Becomes Youngest Men’s U.S. Champion
Coryn Rivera (Newport Beach, Calif./Team SunWeb) and Jonny Brown (Covington, Tenn./Hagens Berman Axeon) claimed dramatic victories in Knoxville, Tenn. Sunday to claim first-time road race titles in the U.S. Pro Road, Individual Time Trial and Criterium National Championships. Sunday was the signature event of the four-day championships, which began June 21 in Oak Ridge with the time trial and concluded in Knoxville.

After three years of second place finishes, Rivera finally won the Stars-and-Stripes jersey in the women’s road race by besting three-time U.S. Pro Women’s Road Race national champion Megan Guarnier (San Mateo, Calif./Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team) in the final sprint to the line.

The women covered nine laps of the 8-mile course for a total of 72 miles, punctuated by a steep climb on Sherrod Road with a maximum gradient of 14 percent. Sweltering summer temperatures and high humidity added an extra challenge for all riders.

“I got second so many years in a row now. We just had awesome teamwork here today, stayed patient, and knew what we needed to do to win this. And we did exactly that,” said Rivera, who benefitted from her teammate Ruth Winder (Boulder, Colo.)’s effort in closing down attacks. Winder held on to finished 10th. “All championship events are about attrition, and they are hard. It’s so awesome to have a teammate here. She made the difference.”

Daventry - England - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Coryn Rivera (USA / Sunweb) - Marianne Vos (Netherlands / WaowDeals Pro Cycling) pictured during Women’s Tour of Great Britain stage- 2 from Rushden to Daventry - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2018

At just 26 years of age, Rivera claimed her 72nd national title, won across multiple disciplines and age groups in road, track, cyclocross and mountain bike disciplines. She grabbed another crown in a small bunch sprint in a time of 3 hours, 17 minutes, 30 seconds.

“It is pretty incredible every time. The feeling doesn’t change. After all the hard work you put in, and all the hard work your support team puts in, it’s a good feeling to pull off a win,” added Rivera who will head back to Europe to race with Team SunWeb at the end of July.

Finishing in third, one second behind Rivera, was 21-year-old Emma White (Delanson, N.Y.) of Rally Cycling to capture the Under-23 Road Race national title for women.

“I’m really, really happy with three Top Fives, and two podiums. I don’t think I can ask for more,” said White, who swept the U23 competitions in Knoxville. “Of course, we always head into these big races looking for a win, but the competition was so, so strong here. To be up against WorldTour riders, I feel so fortunate. I would like to thank my team, to thank my coach, Kristin Armstrong. I truly am so lucky to have everybody around me, helping me be the best I can be. My team was fantastic out there. I think I had the best team on the road, but I am a little biased.”

The attacks came early and were aggressive in the 77-rider women’s race, with Liza Rachetto (Boise, Idaho/Hagens Berman | Supermint) staying away in a gutsy solo move for three laps. Rachetto, in her 13th season as a professional cyclist, extended her lead to over two minutes before being reeled in. With less than six laps to go, Heidi Franz (Kirkland, Wash./Rally Cycling), Margot Clyne (Boulder, Colo./TWENTY20 p/b Sho-Air) and Jennifer Luebke (Bend, Ore./Hagens Berman | Supermint) joined together to form a threatening breakaway.

Working well together, the trio stayed away until the final lap. Franz was the last rider to be caught with only four kilometers to go, setting up for the final dash to the finish line.

The men’s road race Sunday afternoon took the riders on 15 laps of the circuit for 120 total miles. Brown, with a daring late attack on the penultimate lap, took his three breakaway companions by surprise to claim the biggest victory of his career in front of his new hometown of Knoxville.

“I’m just so excited. All year, I’ve been training for this. I’ve had a rough last two years, this is just unbelievable,” said Brown, who was born in Nashville, grew up in Memphis and now resides in eastern Tennessee. “I moved here a month ago, so it makes it even more special.”

“It’s huge. We’ve been working for this for a long, long time and it feels amazing,” added Brown, who at 21 years and two months of age, he becomes the youngest male to win the U.S. Pro Road Race National Championship. “It was giving me goosebumps every time I made a lap, to hear my name. Then going into the last lap I said ‘I can do this.’”

The newly-crowned men’s national champion crossed the line on South Gay Street in 4 hours, 41 minutes, and 11 seconds, giving him a 45-second advantage over Robin Carpenter (San Diego, Calif./Rally Cycling), who was second. Jacob Rathe (Portland, Ore./Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) finished third, 1 minute and 17 seconds behind the winner.

The men’s road race had the first real break of the day three laps into the event. A group of 12 riders broke off the front and gained a maximum of 1 minute and 15 seconds, before being reeled back by the field driven by riders from EF Education First-Drapac. The decisive break of the day escaped soon after with nine laps to go, which included the three podium finishers and Gavin Mannion (Fort Collins, Colo./UnitedHealthcare).

They gained more than four minutes over a chasing group of pre-race favorites, including defending champion Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./Aqua Blue Sport), Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, N.C./BMC Racing Team), Brandon McNulty (Phoenix, Ariz./Rally Cycling), Kiel Reijnen (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Trek-Segafredo), Thomas Revard (Carmel, Ind./Hagens Berman Axeon), and Benjamin King (Charlottesville, Va./Team Dimension Data). The chase group shuffled and re-shuffled, but were not able to close the gap to the four escapees, who would go on to battle for the victory.

“It’s my first time on the podium for nationals. It feels pretty good. But, it’s definitely a disappointment, considering how the race went,” explained Carpenter about Brown getting a gap on the group at the end of the race. “We had a little more of a gap to make up than we wanted. We lost some time and eventually on the hill (Sherrod Road) Jonny still had 50 seconds and I knew it was time to go. I rode the last half lap as fast as I could, but didn’t have enough to catch him in the end.”

The pressure of the chase, the hot temperatures and heavy rain on lap 11 of the men’s road race decimated the 119-rider field. Rain did not keep fans away, who lined the entire course for both events on Sunday.

“I think this course is awesome,” added Carpenter. “The course makes for a really, really nice race for fans to watch. There’s a lot happening, a lot going on, a lot of good places to watch.”

For complete results, visit the event web page.

Pro 1/2 Women
1. Coryn Rivera (Orange County, Calif.), Team SunWeb in 3:17:30
2. Megan Guarnier (San Mateo, Calif.), Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team
3. Emma White (Delanson, N.Y.), Rally Cycling at 0:01
4. Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif.), Canyon SRAM Racing at 0:03
5. Lily Williams (Tallahassee, Fla.), Hagens Berman | Supermint at 0:04.

Women U23
1. Emma White (Delanson, N.Y.), Rally Cycling in 3:17:31
2. Janelle Cole (Newaygo, Mich.), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling at 2:01
3. Skylar Schneider (West Allis, Wis.), Boels Dolmans Cycling Team at 5:05
4. Summer Moak, (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Rally Cycling at 5:41
5. Hannah Arensman (Brevard, N.C.), Feed Hungry Kids Project p/b Happy Tooth at 6:30.

Pro Men
1. Jonathan Brown (Covington, Tenn.), Hagens Berman Axeon in 4:41:11
2. Robin Carpenter (San Diego, Cali.), Rally Cycling at 0:45
3. Jacob Rathe (Portland, Ore.), Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 1:17
4. Gavin Mannion (Fort Collins, Colo.), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling at 1:21
5. Benjamin King (Charlottesville, Va.), Team Dimension Data at 2:21.

Dion Smith Second After Excellent Teamwork
Dion Smith was able to take second place in Paris-Chauny (1.1, 24/06) on Sunday. On the same day as the Belgian championships in Binche Marco Minnaard, Odd Eiking and Dion Smith were part of 17-men leading group in the French one day race. Despite the chasing of the sprinter teams they were able to stay in front till the finish. In the sprint our Kiwi Dion Smith was close to a first pro victory, only Dutch champion Ramon Sinkeldam was a little faster. Smith took a solid second place, Eiking finished 8th.

Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “Before the start a lot of people thought today’s race would end up in a big group sprint with the likes of Bouhanni and some other fast men being present. With the team we took a relaxed approach, but we wanted to the race hard. That was quite successful as the team had three riders present in the front group with Marco, Odd and myself.”

“We were able to stay in front the whole day and Marco controlled the leading group in the final 5 kilometers. In the sprint it was Odd who launched me perfectly and I started the sprint with 180 meters to go. Only Sinkeldam was faster, but I was able to hold on to second place.”

“Of course a Tour de France selection is on my mind, but without the help of Marco and Odd this result was difficult to achieve. I have been a bit fatigued after Dauphiné and a short training camp. So I took some more rest than planned, because I felt my body needed it. Also the heat in my residence Girona has been difficult to cope with. I am feeling much better now and it is nice to get this race in the legs.”

Paris-Chauny Result:
1. Ramon Sinkeldam
2. Dion Smith
3. Quentin Jauregui.

The Achievement of a Lifetime: Jean-Pierre Schmitz
Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, letour.fr is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. Back in the 1956 Tour, Jean-Pierre Schmitz produced one of the most epic rides in the history of Luxembourgish cycling to win a Pyrenean stage that seemed to have fellow Luxemburger Charly Gaul’s name written all over it.

Everyone knows that the first non-French rider to win the Tour was a Luxemburger. François Faber opened the account in 1909, followed a couple of decades later by Nicolas Frantz. Fast-forward to 1956 and the two-time winner of the race (1927 and 1928) was serving as the director of a mixed Luxembourgish-British-Portuguese team for what was expected to be Charly Gaul’s triumphal parade in the Tour de France. The favorite had put his country back on the map the previous year by finishing third overall and winning the mountains classification. The Angel of the Mountains could count on the support of a brother-in-arms who was only slightly less talented. Going into his Tour debut, Jean-Pierre Schmitz already had a few impressive performances under his belt, including second place in the 1954 Critérium du Dauphiné and a nice silver medal won at the Worlds in Frascati, Italy in late summer 1955. Although no-one expected it to be necessary, “Jempy” was more than ready to step up to the plate if his leader and friend ran into trouble.

A prodigious jump
That is precisely what happened as the peloton rolled out of Pau for the second Pyrenean stage. Gaul showed signs of weakness and Nicolas Frantz gave the go-ahead for the rest of the team to attack. The time had come for Schmitz to shine. After catching the breakaway of the day, he kept his powder dry on the ascent to the Col de Aspin, only to attack on the descent, climb the Col de Peyresourde on his own and plunge to the finish in Luchon. This is how Pierre Chany described this monster performance in the next day’s edition of L’Équipe: “The way the ‘spare Luxembourger’ came back on the climbs was absolutely stunning. Just think of it: after trailing the breakaway by eight minutes while still in the peloton with 54 kilometers to, Mr J.-P. crossed the line in Luchon no less than 2′08″ ahead of runner-up Fernand Picot!” An opportunity to repeat this flash of brilliance never presented itself to Schmitz, who spent most of his career as a luxury domestique to Charly Gaul, particularly in the latter’s victorious Grande Boucle in 1958. Every man at his station!

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

Jean-Pierre Schmitz:

Movistar Team Unveils Tour de France Roster
Quintana, Landa, Valverde lead eight-man squad full of experience and quality, with talented riders for all terrains and big hopes in their quest of Paris glory (July 7th-29th).

The Movistar Team confirmed Monday their eight riders taking part in the 105th Tour de France, which starts in twelve days’ time (Saturday 7th – Sunday 29th July) in the coastal Vendée department. The squad directed by Eusebio Unzué will take its three main leaders to the start – Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde – with five talented names in their support: Andrey Amador, Daniele Bennati, Imanol Erviti, José Joaquín Rojas and Marc Soler.

The Telefónica-backed squad will have to tackle a very stressful, starting nine days in the ‘Grande Boucle’, including a team time trial in Cholet and a treacherous stage nine to Roubaix – over 21km of cobblestones – before going into brutal mountains on weeks two and three before a decisive ITT in the French Basque Country, on the last Saturday of the race.

Wanty-Groupe Gobert Reveals Full Tour Line-Up
The start of the 105th edition of Tour de France on July 7 in Noirmoutiers (Vendée) is approaching. Among the 22 teams at the start Wanty-Groupe Gobert will be present for the second consecutive year. The Belgian team has ambitions and wants to show itself in all areas: in the sprint, in hilly stages and in the mountains.

General manager Jean-François Bourlart and sports directors Hilaire Van der Schueren and Steven De Neef thus made a decision. Three Belgians will be present next Saturday, including a Tour debutant: Timothy Dupont. Besides the five already known names (Thomas Degand, Guillaume Martin, Marco Minnaard, Yoann Offredo and Andrea Pasqualon) also Dion Smith and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck make their appearance.

Jean-François Bourlart:
“The selection of the last three riders was not easy. In the eight flat stages we want to launch a pure sprinter. Timothy Dupont has the ideal sprinter profile. We hope he can compete with the fast men. Last year we won the day standings of the teams in three stages. For this Timo will play an important role in the first week.”

“Dion Smith has a rising shape, as his second place in Paris-Chauny last weekend demonstrates. He already has a Tour in the legs, and Dion performed well in the past Tour of Belgium and Dauphiné. Our New Zealander is an all-rounder: he has his place in the first week and can assist Guillaume Martin in the rest of Le Tour.”

“In the opening week, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck will again play an important role in the collective around Guillaume Martin. He will assist Martin till Roubaix, and Van Keirsbulck’s experience in echelons and on cobblestones is a surplus for our French climber. We also hope to send him once or twice in the break, like last year.”

“In general Wanty-Groupe Gobert wants to be offensive and combative for three weeks, like last year. The team has prepared Le Tour carefully and appears in its best shape at the start. Our priority is to protect Guillaume Martin and to lead him to the Alps in the best possible position. After that it is up to Guillaume on his favorite terrain, the high mountains. Guillaume is ambitious, just like us, and so we will do everything we can to do better than his 23rd GC place on his debut.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren:
“The choice was very difficult, and I hope we have not made a mistake. We had to find a balance in our selection, taking into account the mountain stages, but also the flat stages in the first week and the team time trial.”

“I believe Timothy Dupont is capable of sprinting top 5. I expect Van Keirsbulck to deliver strong work at the service of Martin, both in the team time trial and on the cobblestones. The shape of Smith is on the rise. He is able to show beautiful things.”

Thomas Degand, Timothy Dupont, Guillaume Martin, Marco Minnaard, Yoann Offredo, Andrea Pasqualon, Dion Smith, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck.
Reserves: Odd Eiking en Frederik Backaert.

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to the Tour de France
Seven flat stages, three mountain top finishes, two time trials and a pavé stage, all these are on the menu of the 105th edition.

Winner of an astounding 43 races in 2018 and current World Tour leader, Quick-Step Floors will line out at the start of the Tour de France after an amazing run of success in the first part of the season, with a strong and experienced team capable of fighting for victory on any kind of terrain and at the same time being a factor in the general classification.

Julian Alaphilippe, Tim Declercq, Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Maximiliano Richeze and Niki Terpstra, riders who between them have won twenty races since the beginning of the year, will carry the flag for our squad at Le Tour, which takes place between 7-29 July.

Now in his fifth pro season, Julian returns to the Tour de France after a knee injury prevented him from taking part in last year’s edition and comes here with five victories under his belt, including the prestigious Flèche Wallonne. The pocket-rocket climber has been one of the stand-out riders of the Spring Classics, alongside Liège–Bastogne–Liège victor Bob Jungels and Niki Terpstra, winner of both E3 Harelbeke and Ronde van Vlaanderen.

The only Quick-Step Floors rider on the roster to have won a Tour de France stage, Philippe Gilbert will be at the start in Vendée two weeks after coming runner-up at the Belgian Championships, where Yves Lampaert – who’ll make his Grande Boucle debut – soloed to an unforgettable victory. Tim Declercq will add horsepower to a squad which will see experienced lead-out man Maximiliano Richeze guide Fernando Gaviria as the prodigious Colombian, winner of seven races so far in 2018, will fight for a maiden Tour de France stage victory.

A third of the race’s stages are suited to sprinters, who’ll have plenty of opportunities to go for glory and the iconic green jersey, but there will be more than this to the Tour de France, which also puts on the table a testing 35.5km team time trial which will shape the general classification after just three days, a stage jammed with the treacherous cobblestone sectors of northern France, several days for puncheurs, three summit finishes (La Rosière, Alpe d’Huez, Saint-Lary-Soulan) and an individual time trial scheduled just 24 hours before Champs-Élysées.

Sports director Tom Steels, a multiple stage winner at Le Tour, made an analysis of the Quick-Step Floors team that will take on the three-week race: “With the guys we have selected for the Tour, we bring a perfectly balanced squad consisting of younger riders and more experienced road captains. Common for them all is their world-class quality as bike riders, which they have proven countless times by being key players in the team’s successes.”

“Niki and Phil are two big champions whose experience we will rely on when things get hectic and on the flat stages, in the TTT and on the cobblestones. They are not only leaders and winners, but very good team players, who can sacrifice themselves for their teammates, displaying that genuine team spirit which have led to so much success for our squad. The same goes for Tim and Yves, who will be important forces on the flat and cobbled terrain. Both have proven their quality in a Grand Tour last year and arrive full of confidence and motivation after a successful outing at the National Championship in Belgium.”

Alaphilippe and Jungels – a duo who shared the spoils at this year’s Ardennes Classics – are expected to be in the mix once the road begins to rise: “For Bob and Julian, it will be a second meeting with the biggest race in the world. After two successful Giro campaigns, where he won the best young rider classification in both 2016 and 2017, Bob returns to the Tour with a goal to see how far he can go in GC. He has recovered well from the first part of the season and is ready for the challenge. The same goes for Julian, who was sidelined last year due to an injury. As one of the most versatile riders in the peloton, we can expect a bit of everything from this talented young Frenchman and we look forward to seeing him racing a Grand Tour on home soil again.”

“It is no secret that we aim to take a victory with Fernando, who will debut in the Tour as well. He amazed the cycling scene last year by winning four stages and the cyclamen jersey at the Giro d’Italia, but the level of the Tour is different with the presence of the best sprinters, lead-out men, domestiques and helpers in the world. Richeze will be extremely important for Fernando, especially in the final kilometers, where he will use his experience and power to pilot Fernando into the best possible position to launch his sprint, like they have successfully done in the past years”, concluded Steels, who will guide the team from the car, together with Davide Bramati, Brian Holm and Wilfried Peeters.

Tour de France (FRA) 2.UWT

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Tim Declercq (BEL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Sports Directors: Davide Bramati (ITA), Brian Holm (DEN), Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL).

Click photo for team video:

Sagan and Majka to lead BORA – hansgrohe at the Tour de France
Like last year, BORA – hansgrohe goes into the Tour with two leaders. UCI World Champion Peter Sagan is set to go on the haunt for stage wins, while Rafal Majka aims for a top spot in the final general classification. The team is well balanced, and both will be supported form a mix of young guns and well experienced riders. For Gregor Mühlberger and Lukas Pöstlberger it will be their first Tour de France experience, while German veteran Marcus Burghardt celebrates an anniversary with his 10th participation in France.

“Our goals are clear since the beginning of the season: we want to win a stage, the Green Jersey and aim for a top five in the GC. These goals are ambitious, and we saw last year how fast all the hard work, all the efforts over month, can be lost within a second. But we did our homework, again we worked very hard and we are well prepared, there is nothing more that could have been done. All our guys are in shape on time. Off course it’s not easy to find a balance in your line-up with two leaders in the team, but I think we did a good job. I am optimistic about the TTT, we improved a lot there. And we have a lot of specialists for the Roubaix stage, I think we can make a difference there. Gregor and Pawel will support Rafal in the mountains, Daniel, Bodi and Marcus are our guys for the flat. Lukas is an allrounder that is strong in hilly terrain, but also fast in lead-outs for Peter.”Ralph Denk, Team Manager.

“The Tour is a complicated race. Everybody is extremely motivated; all eyes are on this race in July. My preparations went well and I feel I am ready. The stage to Roubaix will be special, for me as well, now that I have these good memories about this place and the sectors. However, the race will be different then in April, with all the GC guys fighting at the front as well. We need a little bit of luck to achieve our goals; without luck, everything can be lost in one moment. But we have a very strong team going into this Tour de France, and there will be some opportunities for us for sure.”Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion.

“My preparations went well over the last weeks and I was able to put in some decent work at high altitude in the Sierra Nevada. I crashed at the Tour of Slovenia, that was a little setback, but in the last stages a could feel my legs got better and better day by day. I think I am ready for the Tour now. Now we just need a little bit of luck to get through the first ten stages. The Roubaix stage will be special, but on that day I’ll have the strongest guys from the whole peloton next to me.”Rafal Majka.

“From California onwards, my form improved constantly. After an intense training period, the Tour de Suisse last week was a perfect opportunity to get in necessary race kilometers. After the race I recovered well, and I was almost surprised how strong I was already at the Polish national championships. My shape looks to be timed perfectly this year.”Maciej Bodnar.

“There won’t be a lot to celebrate, even it’s an anniversary for me, my tenth Tour de France. But the Tour is always hard, it pushes you to your limits, even the atmosphere is very special, you will suffer a lot. This year, the TTT, the stage to Roubaix and the two short mountain stages will be crucial. You need to be at your best on these days.”Marcus Burghardt.

“This will be a huge experience for me. I am so happy to be part of this year’s Tour team, but I don’t feel any pressure. My shape is good, and I’ll take it day by day. We have some well experienced guys in the team like Burgi (Marcus Burghardt), he can give some advice if I struggle a bit one day. But I am optimistic, and I will give my best to support Rafal in the mountains.”Gregor Mühlberger.

“The Tour is full of emotions and I am looking forward to share some special moments with my new team mates and friends. It feels like a rollercoaster, always up and down, but any time you need to stay focused, positive, be ready. BORA – Hansgrohe is very strong team and we’ll fight every day to achieve our goals.”Daniel Oss

“My race program and preparations for the Tour was quite similar to last year. Everything went well and we spent even more days at high altitude. Now it’s time, after all those weeks of hard work, we want to tackle the Tour. The first part will be kind of survival day by day, then in the mountains I want to be ready and support Rafal in his battle for the GC.”Pawel Poljanksi.

“I am curious and nervous at the same time. Off course I am super happy, it’s a dream come true like for any cyclist who started once as a little kid. I have also a lot of respect, there are so many stories about this race, true myths. But after a spring to forget, the last weeks were really promising. I think I’ll have to take on several roles in our team, I can cope well with crosswinds and cobbles, I am a strong Roleur, but I am also punchy as everybody could see in last year’s Giro. I’ll do my best every day, on all terrains, I am sure I will never forget my first Tour de France.”Lukas Pöstlberger.

The Fantastic Eight for the Tour de France
Saturday, the 7th of July 2018, edition 105 of the Tour de France will start from Île de Noirmoutier, a small island off the Atlantic coast of France. It will be the first stage of 21 for a total of 3,351km including the traditional finish line, on the 29th of July, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

La Grand Boucle is one of the most important sporting events of the season as General Manager Brent Copeland explains: “Selecting the team for such an important event as the Tour de France is taken very seriously at Team Bahrain Merida therefore a lot of meticulous considerations have been taken into account.Thanks to the help of the technical staff and trainers we believe that we have put together the most competitive team in order to make the racing as exciting and competitive as possible for all cycling fans.”

“We will guarantee” – adds Copeland – “going into the race at the best of our level in order to be competitive in all areas, but for us it is not all about the results, it’s important to make for three weeks of a great sporting spectacle for all to enjoy. Thanks to our fantastic partners and professional hard working staff we have been able to cover every aspect of the race preparation in order to get to the start of the race in the best condition without denying anything, not only the physical condition of the athletes but also the organization of the team in order to create the great image which we have proudly created in the past few years.”

Vincenzo Nibali will be the team leader. “I’m very happy to go back to the Tour. I liked the route right from the start and the charm of the Grand Boucle is indisputable. I’m going to France with a lot of serenity and with the knowledge that I have done everything possible to achieve the best result.”

“The team that will be with me in France is one of the strongest ever. We will be competitive on all kinds of routes: from the climbs to the time trial. I am convinced that we will entertain our fans and the millions of cycling fans who will follow the Tour.”

TBM’s line-up for the Tour de France:
Vincenzo Nibali, Domenico Pozzovivo, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Franco Pellizotti, Heinrich Haussler, Sonny Colbrelli and Kristijan Koren.

Strong Team to Support Porte in Pursuit of Tour de France Podium
Richie Porte will be backed by a strong and experienced team at the Tour de France where the Australian is targeting his first podium result following a career-best fifth place in 2016.

Porte, who took confidence from his overall victory at the Tour de Suisse in his debut at the race, will be supported in the mountains by the likes of Tejay van Garderen, twice fifth overall in 2012 and 2014, and 2017 Tour de Suisse runner up Damiano Caruso who narrowly missed the top ten at the 2017 Tour de France.

For the flat and medium mountain stages, Tour de France stage winners and former yellow jersey wearers Greg Van Avermaet and Simon Gerrans will provide invaluable experience, as will the Swiss duo of Michael Schär and Stefan Küng, and Patrick Bevin, who alongside Gerrans will make his Grand Tour debut with BMC Racing Team.

Sports Director Fabio Baldato said the versatile team will give Porte support on all terrain, particularly the first nine days of racing when the team time trial, possible crosswinds, and cobbled stage can play just as much of a role in the General Classification as the high mountains.

“We are confident in our team. The Tour de France team selection is never easy but I think we have chosen seven strong and motivated riders to support Richie Porte. We saw at the Tour de Suisse what Richie and five riders from the team were able to do by working every day to defend the jersey. Damiano Caruso, who was really strong at the Criterium du Dauphine, and Paddy Bevin, who will be very important for the team time trial, complete the team so I think we have chosen eight well-rounded riders for the three weeks of racing,” Baldato explained.

“All of the riders have been preparing well at training camps since their last races and we have seen many of the crucial stages in the lead up to the race. The condition of all eight riders is really good and they are all motivated, so we are as ready as we can be.”

Porte is confident in his form, which he has been building on since his Tour de Suisse victory.

“I’m ready for the Tour de France. Winning the Tour de Suisse was a big boost to my confidence, not only on a personal level knowing I wasn’t yet in my best shape but also for the team. The guys were fantastic there and the fact that our Tour de France team is comprised more or less of the same riders, with the addition of Damiano Caruso and Paddy Bevin, is really motivating. After a solid training camp at altitude, I will arrive in the Vendée region knowing I have done everything I can to prepare for the Tour de France,” Porte said.

“I would love to stand on the podium in Paris. As we saw last year, anything can happen so as cliché as it sounds, I really will be taking things day by day, week by week. As controlled as the Tour de France is compared to other races, it’s a bike race and with that comes a lot of unpredictability. I think we have a great team, it’s generally a good course for me, and I’m excited to start racing.”

Van Avermaet, who claimed stage wins in 2015 and 2016, has his eye on multiple stages suited to his strengths.

“I am motivated, as always, to do my best at the Tour de France and my personal ambition is to win another stage, as well as working for the team and achieving the team objective of putting Richie on the podium. We always want to do well in a team time trial so stage 3 will definitely be a big goal for us, and of course it will be special to ride the cobbles on stage 9. The Tour de France is unlike any other race and I think we have a great team, so I am looking forward to getting started next week.”

General Manager Jim Ochowicz paid tribute to the late BMC Racing Team owner, Andy Rihs, whose memory will serve as extra motivation at the Tour de France.

“This is a group effort with a clear focus. My confidence in our staff and riders has never been at such an elevated level since 2011. We will be racing this Tour de France in the memory of Andy Rihs to thank him for his 12 years of faith and support,” Ochowicz added.

Tour de France (7-29 July)
Rider roster:

Patrick Bevin (NZ), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Richie Porte (AUS), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA), Allan Peiper (AUS).

Click photo for team video:

Jens Keukeleire and Teammates Recon Cobbled Tour Stage
Sunday 15 July, the ninth stage of the Tour de France is scheduled. The 156.6 kilometers long stage takes the riders from Arras to Roubaix and includes fifteen cobbled sections, which totals at around 22 kilometers of cobbles in the ‘Hell of the North’. The resemblance with Paris-Roubaix is indeed striking because the riders will face eleven sectors which are also covered in the famous Spring Classic.

The day after the Belgian Championship in Binche, the Lotto Soudal selection for the Tour did a recon of the major part of that ninth stage. Once started in Cambrai, they set course for Roubaix and rode over all of the fifteen cobbled sections. Jens Keukeleire explains how the recon went.

Jens Keukeleire: “Thanks to the massage, it was not that hard to do the recon of the cobbled stage the day right after the Belgian Championship. Cambrai is also not far away from Binche and we had a good night of sleep. During the recon, we had a little headwind, but riding in a small group made it a lot easier. Each rider did a turn at the front during the cobbled sections and also on the roads between the cobbles, everybody did his part of the work. Nevertheless, we did the recon at a solid pace.”

“It was nice to recon the stage together with some teammates. The first cobbled sections were new to me, but I already knew the other sections from Paris-Roubaix. But I think it’s important to recon those sections once again. It is also interesting to have a look at the run-up to the various cobbled sections.”

“The course somewhat differs from the race in April. I think the most important reason for that is the grass that grows between the cobbles. That way, the rolling resistance is a bit less and the cobbles are not that sharp, which makes it a little easier. The recon was especially important to get the right feeling to ride those cobbles.”

“The weather is better than it is in April, but the race will be tough. It will be crucial to be well-positioned right from the first section. Not all sectors from Paris-Roubaix are included, but it will be selective enough to have a nice finale.”

Lotto Soudal hit the cobbles:

A.S.O. and Dimension Data Continue to Engage Fans to Engage Fans to Fuel Three-Year Increase
Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.), the organizer of the Tour de France, has partnered with Dimension Data since 2015 to help engage a new generation of young fans. Aged between 18 and 35, they now make up 73% of the Tour de France’s 6.5 million-strong social media audience.

As the official technology partner of the Tour de France, Dimension Data has consistently innovated to transform the viewing experience of the world’s biggest cycling event through the use of technology and innovative videos and data storytelling, and this year will be no different.

Through this innovative partnership, A.S.O. has already seen impressive results across all its digital platforms. Visits to the website have increased by 15% year-on-year, and Tour de France online video views have risen from 6 million in 2014 to 71 million in 2017. This reflects the growing trend of younger audiences favoring digital content over traditional broadcast, providing a more immersive experience of the iconic race.

In order to produce the all-important race insights, Dimension Data analyses over 150 million data points per stage of the Tour de France and uses analytics to provide fans with daily real-time data visualizations on official social channels such as @letourdata. This year, for the first time, the television broadcast will also air these social data snippets. Dimension Data first introduced machine learning to predict likely outcomes of the race in 2017. This year, the company will also apply the power of predictive analytics in protecting the data against cybersecurity attacks.

Attracting over 9.1 million visitors each year, the Race Centre platform enables fans to track the position and speed of their favorite cyclist real time. They can also access the real-time effects of variables such as route terrain and weather conditions and be privy to highly accurate predictions such as; stage favorites, the estimated time of arrival at key points in the race, and when the peloton is likely to catch the breakaway group.

This year, Dimension Data has also harnessed the collective creativity of its 28,000 global employees through an innersourcing program. The aim is to drive the next generation of ideas to fuel the innovation roadmap for the fan experience. This has inspired creative visions of innovation, from augmented reality 3D mappings and enhanced algorims to predict outcomes of the race with even greater accuracy.

Julien Goupil, Media Director at A.S.O. said, “Since becoming the official technology partner of the Tour de France in 2015, Dimension Data has had a major influence on the increased digitization of race data. The event is a source of great national pride in France that needs to be protected and nurtured for the enjoyment of future generations. It is extremely encouraging to see the increasing number of younger fans we are engaging across our digital channels.”

Scott Gibson, Executive for Digital Business Solutions for Dimension Data added, “The Tour de France is a complex event. It is not based in a stadium, so the logistical challenges involved are significant. That’s what makes achieving this outcome for the ASO so challenging, but also exciting. Our mobile data centre and predictive analytics platform, combined with an incredibly passionate team is really the driving force behind the innovation that we bring to the Tour every year. Often in the middle of nowhere, dealing with adverse weather conditions, we are proud to be able to produce instant and accurate real-time analytics and content that helps fans to better understand, follow and enjoy the race.”

The 105th edition of the Tour de France starts on 7 July 2018 in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, Western France, and finishes in the Champs-Élysées, Paris on 29 July 2018.

The 105th edition of the Tour de France starts on 7 July 2018 in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, Western France, and finishes in the Champs-Élysées, Paris on 29 July 2018.

Eight Tour de France Teams Selected for 2018 Arctic Race of Norway
The sixth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway will reach the final frontier when it visits East Finnmark, the only part of northern Norway the event had yet to explore. Many teams will vie for supremacy in Finnmark, with a horde of competitors ready to go all-out in a bid for glory.

BMC Racing Team’s Dylan Teuns is set to defend his title in the northernmost race in the world. The presence of eight Tour de France teams in the Arctic Race of Norway means the battle for the crown will be fiercer than ever before. The Astana, Dimension Data, Katusha-Alpecin and Direct Énergie teams will head to Norway to wrap up their summer campaign with a flourish, while Wanty-Gobert will put its chips on its man of the hour, Andrea Pasqualon. Cofidis is expected to field Nacer Bouhanni and let the sprinter’s legs do the talking.

The winner of the polka-dot jersey in the 2017 Tour de France, Breton Warren Barguil, will lead Fortuneo-Samsic. He will find the route to his liking. The second stage, which boasts an elevation gain of 2700 m, will be tougher than any other one in the history of this race.

A further eleven teams will try to rain on the favorites’ parade or, why not, even steal the overall spoils: Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Vital Concept club, WB Aquaproject Veranclassic, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Rally Cycling, Holowesko, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Israel Cycling Academy, Team Coop, Joker Icporal Pro Cycling, UNO-X Norwegian Development Team and Team Corendon–Circus.

Van der Poel fever
The spotlight of the sixth edition of the race will be on Corendon–Circus’s Mathieu van der Poel, increasingly hailed as the new Peter Sagan. The young Dutchman, World Cyclo-cross Champion in 2015, is expected to capitalize on his explosive power to bear and light the fireworks in the first edition of the race that has been tailor-cut for punchers. As well as the genes of his grandfather Raymond Poulidor, the rider from Kapellen has a devil-may-care attitude and nerves of steel that propelled him to a stage win in his road-race debut in the Boucles de la Mayenne.

Matt Brammeier Calls Time on Pro Riding Career
Five-time Irish national champion Matt Brammeier is to retire from professional road racing, team Aqua Blue Sport have announced.

The 33-year-old, a member of the Aqua Blue Sport squad since its inception in late 2016, moves to a backroom role with British Cycling, having been appointed as the lead academy coach for the Great Britain Cycling Team’s men’s endurance program.

Born in Liverpool to second-generation Irish emigrant parents, Brammeier has enjoyed a 12-year career in the pro peloton, with highlights including a record-breaking four consecutive Irish national road titles (2010-2013) as well as one TT title (2011).

A valued member of the Aqua Blue Sport team, Brammeier was part of the 2017 Tour of Austria squad which helped Stefan Denifl to take the yellow jersey in his home race, additionally competing in races including the Arctic Race of Norway, Prudential RideLondon Classic, Dubai Tour and Tour of Oman.

“After more than a decade in the peloton I’ve finally decided that the time is right to move on to the next stage in my career,” Matt Brammeier said.

“I feel massively privileged and proud of my career to date. There’s been so many happy memories created along the way and I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with so many amazing people in some amazing parts of the world. To be given the opportunity to continue to work within the sport I’m so passionate about and contribute to the future careers of the next generation of British cyclists fills me with nothing but pride. Thanks so much to everyone that helped me along my journey so far.”

Commenting on the rider’s decision, Aqua Blue Sport team owner Rick Delaney thanked Brammeier for his contribution to the team and wished him all the best for the future. “Matt has been a loyal servant to Aqua Blue Sport both on the road and behind the scenes, and his experience will be missed – especially among our younger riders for whom he enjoyed playing the role of mentor on the road,” Delaney said.

“It is clear that he has the passion, aptitude and experience for the coaching and development of up and coming riders and to this end, his appointment by British Cycling seems like an excellent fit for both parties. We wish Matt the very best with his future endeavors and look forward to meeting him again on the road.”

Matt Brammeier winning the Ster ZLM Toer 2015 stage 5:

UAE Team Emirates Launches Youth Academy
Professional cycling team reaching out into the community to inspire the next generation of UAE cyclists

As part of its ongoing commitment to inspire the next generation of cyclists, UAE Team Emirates has partnered with Dubai-based sports activity provider Just Play, to launch the UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy – a summer cycling program, hosted at this year’s Dubai Sports World.

The three-week initiative – which targets boys and girls from 11-16 years-old and starts on Sunday 8th July – coincides with the world’s most prestigious cycling race, the Tour de France. The coaching clinics will teach youngsters the basics of indoor cycling, using professional training bikes in a purpose built, air-conditioned studio. Each session has been designed in collaboration with UAE Team Emirates’ staff and the team’s top riders – two of whom were present at today’s launch.

UAE and Asian Road Cycling Champion Yousif Mirza was joined by UAE Team Emirates teammate Vegard Stake Laengen at Dubai Sports World as the pair met the first batch of UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy participants from Sunmarke International School. The duo gave the enthusiastic youngsters some eye-opening insights into the world of professional cycling and a taste of what their teammates will be going up against in the coming weeks, as they battle the toughest race on the tour. The pair also provided useful tips on technique, shared memories of cycling as youngsters, and talked about what it takes to make it to the top, before they hopped on their bikes to demonstrate just how much power is in the legs of the elite rider.

Speaking at the launch, UAE Team Emirates’ Yousif Mirza said: “It gives me so much pride to ride for UAE Team Emirates and fly the flag for my own country, because I know that our successes on the UCI World Tour will encourage more young people in the UAE to take up the sport. Launching a Youth Academy program is a great way to help youngsters get into cycling and doing it indoors at Dubai Sports World means they can get fit and stay healthy even during our hot summer months.”

Vegard Stake Laengen, who competed in last year’s Tour de France and was recently crowned the Norwegian National Road Race champion continued: “The Tour de France is one of the biggest sporting spectacles on the planet and the most demanding race for a pro cyclist to compete in. We wanted to use the excitement around this year’s event to inspire young people from across the UAE to join our Youth Academy and try out indoor cycling. Who knows – maybe this is where we find the next Yousif Mirza!”

The daily coaching clinics – running Sunday to Thursday – are themed around the 21 stages of the Tour de France and give youngsters the chance to experience some of the same conditions faced by UAE Team Emirates’ riders competing on this year’s tour. The youngsters will learn how to perfect their climbing, sprinting and endurance skills, whilst building their overall fitness in a fun and safe environment as part of Just Play’s well-established summer camps.

Anouar Idrissi, CEO of Just Play said: “Our goal is to help develop every child’s physical ability through sport, so partnering with UAE Team Emirates on their Youth Academy is an exciting opportunity – not only for us but for the thousands of young people who come to our summer camps to make new friends, have new experiences and learn new skills.”

The UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy will run as part of the official Dubai Sports World Summer Camp program from 8th – 29th July 2018, delivered by Just Play. For more information on how to book a place on the Youth Academy visit http://justplay.ae/summercamp/

For more information on UAE Team Emirates visit: www.uaeteamemirates.com

Team Novo Nordisk to Race Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic
Team Novo Nordisk announced today that it received a wildcard invitation to the sixth edition of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

The team is delighted to make its RideLondon debut. Reactions from Team Novo Nordisk CEO and Co-Founder Phil Southerland and General Manager Vassili Davidenko below:

Team Novo Nordisk CEO and Co-Founder Phil Southerland: “We have eagerly awaited this invitation to the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic all season. Racing in Britain allows us to continue to spread our mission to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes both locally in Great Britain and across the globe. The fans in the UK are amongst the most enthusiastic in the world, and I know one of our team’s future heroes is in the UK just waiting to be inspired to dream big.

According to Diabetes UK, an estimated one-in-16 people in the UK are living with diabetes, and that number is expected to increase to five million people by 2025. A World Tour race with the prestige of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic serves as a platform to spread this message of a healthy, active lifestyle to all people who need motivation and inspiration to get out and exercise.”

Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko: “First, we want to express our appreciation to the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic race organizers. This one-day race will serve as Team Novo Nordisk’s third World Tour event of the season. Since its inaugural edition, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic has been a standout one-day event, and we plan to bring a competitive squad for the 200-kilometer route that runs through London and Surrey.

Like other events organized by the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership, Prudential RideLondon is recognized for being well organized and for having lively fans along the race route. We’ve raced at the Tour of Britain before and London & Surrey Cycling Partnership has always supported the team’s mission, which makes us very eager to race for the first time in front of the RideLondon energetic crowds and show off our Changing Diabetes jersey.”

Team Novo Nordisk 2018:

La Vuelta Fans Will be Able to Design the eTapa of the 2018 Edition
La Vuelta fans will be able to vote for the official tapa of La Vuelta 2018, in a new gastronomic competition: La eTapa. The winner will get to enjoy a VIP experience in one of the Spanish tour’s stages (out of the 21 that make up La Vuelta 2018, departing from Málaga on the 25th of August) and his/her tapa will be served at the Punto de Encuentro, VIP area in the departure zone.

To participate in the competition, you must register through the following link. Once registered, contestants must design a recipe that can be prepared in less than 10 minutes and that includes no more than 5 ingredients out of the over 15 permitted elements. These products include vegetables, meat and fish that are chosen so that endless different recipes can be created.

Once the tapas have been designed, those registered will have to try to promote them on social media so that they obtain the most votes from La Vuelta fans. Recipes can be submitted from the 25th of June until the 16th of July. The winning tapa will be announced on Monday, the 16th of July, through La Vuelta’s social platforms.

Further information regarding La Vuelta 2018 on www.lavuelta.com

Tour de France 2018 – Riders Safety is in our Hands

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