EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
There is only one big story at the moment and it has to be the 2017 Tour de France. Team news for the French Grand Tour and the first piece of bad news – Andre Cardoso – in the build up to Saturday’s Grand Depart in Düsseldorf. Other cycling news: Canadian national titles, Yorkshire 2019 UCI Road World Championships, Sky stay with Ford for two years and video of Tony Martin’s journey to the Tour start. Tour Café au lait?
TOP STORY: Cardoso Positive
Some things in this World are dependable, and three of them always rear their ugly heads the week before the Tour de France. Usually Lance Armstrong gets himself in the news for one reason or anther. A new book (or a handful of them) on doping in cycling is launched and there is a positive drug test.
Trek-Segafredo rider Andre Cardoso has been found to be positive for EPO in an out of competition test from earlier in June. The Portuguese rider denied taking any banned substance and has asked for the ‘B’ sample to be tested. Cardoso said on his Facebook page: “I believe in clean sport and have always conducted myself as a clean athlete, but I realize that this news puts a dark cloud on not just myself but also on our sport and my team, teammates and staff.” He added: “I’ve seen firsthand through my career the awful effects that performance enhancing drugs have had on our sport, and I would never want to be a part of that. I’ve always tried to be a constructive influence in the peloton and on young, aspiring cyclists. It is my great hope that the B sample will come back as negative and clear me of any wrongdoing.”
Trek-Segafredo statement regarding Andre Cardoso:
“To our cycling family, we have some disappointing news to share.
It is with deep disappointment that we have just learned that our rider, Andre Cardoso, has tested positive for a prohibited substance. In accordance with our zero tolerance policy, he has been suspended immediately.
We hold our riders and staff to the highest ethical standards and will act and communicate accordingly as more details become available.”
It seems strange the Cardoso would take EPO, very much an old drug of choice, popular in the 90s but now very detectable. Even ‘micro dosing’ will show up through the changes in the bio-passport. Either he is innocent, which we will find out soon enough, or Cardoso is still living thirty years in the past.
Cardoso in this years Flèche Wallonne:
Quick-Step Floors Team to Tour de France
Philippe Gilbert, Marcel Kittel and Daniel Martin will headline our squad for the 104th edition of the Grande Boucle.
The Tour de France – cycling’s biggest scene – puts on the table this summer a different parcours than the one of the past years, with just 37 kilometers of time trial, five mountain stages, seven flat ones, and several others which could create some serious damage in the peloton, as the traps that lie hidden on the route can change the pre-stage scenario, and at the same time force the general classification contenders take the initiative early.
World Tour leader Quick-Step Floors will head to Germany, from where the race is set to start for the first time in three decades, with a strong and experienced team, built around riders who between them have scored 17 of the 35 victories that the outfit managed by Patrick Lefevere has racked up so far this season.
German sprinter Marcel Kittel will be again the team’s designated sprinter, as he’ll try to become only the third active rider with at least ten Tour de France stage triumphs. The 29-year-old will be supported by a powerful lead-out train comprising New Zealand National ITT Champion Jack Bauer, Fabio Sabatini, Czech Road Race Champion Zdenek Stybar (himself a Tour de France stage victor, two years ago, in Lyon), double stage winner Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote.
Ronde van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race champion Philippe Gilbert, a stage winner and former yellow jersey wearer at the Grande Boucle, will return here for the first time in four years, and the experienced Belgian, who’ll celebrate his 35th birthday during the first week, is sure to give the team a valuable card to play in the hilly stages.
If Gilbert is set to come back on familiar terrain, the same can’t be said of Italian Gianluca Brambilla, who’ll make his first appearance at the Tour de France; the 29-year-old, who put in a strong and impressive ride at last Sunday’s National Championships, will back Dan Martin in the mountains, but at the same time keep an eye on any opportunity which could arise and see him join the select group of active riders who’ve won stages in all three Grand Tours.
Last year, Dan Martin came close to a stage victory at what was his best Tour de France outing, which saw the attack-orientated Irishman make his way into the top 10 overall for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old, who concluded the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month in third position for the second season running, after a remarkable final stage which showed his amazing fighting spirit, will have another crack at the general classification, hoping to improve on last year’s result.
Jack Bauer (NZL), Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Marcel Kittel (GER), Daniel Martin (IRL), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Brian Holm (DEN), Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL).
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team is heading to Düsseldorf for its debut at the 104th edition of Tour de France 2017.
It is an honor for every rider and team member to join the historical debut with BAHRAIN MERIDA team at Tour de France. We will proudly represent Kingdom of Bahrain and a team that is being so united and focused on successful performances, high professionalism and sport challenges.
Philippe Mauduit, the Bahrain-Merida sports director expressed his thoughts: “Team Bahrain Merida is going to discover the inside view of Tour de France this year for it’s first year in the peloton. It’s a challenge by itself, every day a classic during 21 days! We will take it day by day fixing new goals every day and of course we will go with 2 leaders as some stages fit really well to Sonny Colbrelli and some other to Ion Izagirre. As some stages are designed for ‘all rounders’ everyone will have the opportunity to jump on a breakaway and play his own role, but the most important is to increase our chances will be to keep the team spirit that our riders have always shown, ride and act as a unique united team, showing our colors in front of the race and fighting for the best possible result.”
Janez Brajkovič / Ondrej Cink / Yukiya Arashiro / Tsgabu Grmay / Ion Izagirre / Sonny Colbrelli / Borut Božič / Javier Moreno / Grega Bole
Movistar Team confirms 2017 TDF line-up
Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde headline Unzué’s squad at their 35th appearance in the French Grand Tour.
The Movistar Team confirmed Monday its nine-man lineup for the 104th edition of the Tour de France, starting Saturday with a 14km individual time trial in Düsseldorf (GER).
Nairo Quintana (COL) and Alejandro Valverde (ESP), the two riders whose spots were already secured at the shortlist offered two weeks ago, will be joined by Imanol Erviti, Jonathan Castroviejo y Jesús Herrada (ESP), Andrey Amador (CRC), Jasha Sütterlin (GER), Daniele Bennati (ITA) and Carlos Betancur (COL).
The Blues, led by sports directors José Luis Arrieta and Chente García Acosta, will travel to Germany on Wednesday.
UAE Team Emirates for the Tour de France
UAE Team Emirates will be present and well balanced at the Tour de France, introducing for the first time a squad coming from United Arab Emirates, with ambitious goals. Diego Ulissi and Ben Swift for the stages and Louis Meintjes, 8th in the last edition, will be fighting for the General Classification after showing a real good shape during last Criterium du Dauphiné.
“We are confident on the work done,” said sport director Mario Scirea “and the last performance at the Criterium du Dauphiné gave us the confirmation of being on the right way. We worked so hard as a team during last month on altitude, on Mount San Pellegrino in Italy, and all the data bring us confidence on the next Tour de France. For sure we also need good luck, but you have to help it.”
Louis Meintjes: “Last year I was 8th in the Tour de France, this result motivates me to try and go for some more in the GC. I hope that there will be no problems in the first week, then it will be great to have on the mountains the same feelings I had in the Criterium du Dauphiné.”
Ben Swift: “This year at the Tour de France I’ll live a new experience, because I’ll have the freedom of taking my opportunities. In the past, I worked for the team, now I’m happy that the team entrusted me of trying to be as much competitive as possible in the stages that suite me most.”
Diego Ulissi: “I will debut in the Tour, I strongly wanted to face this new challenge, in search of new motivations and in order to perceive directly how great is the Tour de France. I’ll be in France with the goal of trying to fight for a stage victory, however I’m aware that this is one of the most difficult task because everybody will go for this target.”
Atapuma Darwin (Columbia), Bono Matteo (Italy), Durasek Kristijan (Croatia), Laengen Vegard Stake (Norway), Marcato Marco (Italy), Meintjes Louis (South Africa), Mori Manuele (Italy), Swift Ben (England), Ulissi Diego (Italy).
Sports directors: Mario Scirea (Italy), Marco Marzano (Italy).
Cofidis team for the Tour de France
In the aftermath of the National Championship road races, Cofidis team manager Yvon Sanquer and his sports directors finalized the team’s composition, which will line up next Saturday for the Grand Tour de France in Düsseldorf.
Cofidis Tour’17 Riders:
Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – 26 yrs / 3rd participation
Dimitri Claeys (BEL) – 30 yrs / 1st participation
Christophe Laporte (FRA) – 24 yrs / 3rd participation
Cyril Lemoine (FRA) – 34 yrs / 6th participation
Luis Angel Maté (ESP) – 33 yrs / 6th participation
Daniel Navarro (ESP) – 33 yrs / 8th participation
Florian Sénéchal (FRA) – 23 yrs / 2nd participation
Julien Simon (FRA) – 31 yrs / 5th participation
Nicolas Edet (FRA) – 29 yrs / 4th participation
Reserve: Kenneth Vanbilsen.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert Heads to Tour de France with 9 Debutants
Wanty-Groupe Gobert heads to their first Tour de France with 9 first time starters. The selection of 7 riders was complemented by two other riders: the Italian Andrea Pasqualon and New Zealander Dion Smith also head to Düsseldorf for le Grand Départ. Wanty-Groupe Gobert thus selects five different nationalities and 9 nine riders who discover for the first time the routes of Tour de France.
The complete selection:
– Frederik Backaert, Belgium, 27 years
– Thomas Degand, Belgium , 31 years
– Guillaume Martin, France, 24 years
– Marco Minnaard, the Netherlands, 28 years
– Yoann Offredo, France, 30 years
– Andrea Pasqualon, Italy, 29 years
– Dion Smith, New Zealand, 24 years
– Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Belgium, 26 years
– Pieter Vanspeybrouck, Belgium, 30 years
Jean-François Bourlart: “We had to choose between our three fastest riders (Dion, Kenny and Andrea). We choose for Andrea and Dion because of their ability to survive the climbs better. There are a lot of stages suited for puncheurs and climbers this Tour. That was decisive. Kévin Van Melsen is our second reserve. He is again on a high level and is able to join the long breakaways.”
Hilaire Van der Schueren: “It wasn’t an easy choice. Many candidates were qualified. Unfortunately Xandro Meurisse still suffers too much from pain in the ribs after his crash in Ster ZLM Toer. Jérome Baugnies also is in good shape, but we give him some rest to save himself for the one day races in July and August. These races always suit him.”
Sunweb Tour de France
The 2017 edition of the Tour de France begins this Saturday with the Grand Départ in Düsseldorf, Germany. Taking place from July 1st to 23rd, the 104th edition of the race will be contested over 21 stages covering a total distance of 3540 kilometers. Included in this year’s race are nine flat stages, five hilly, five mountain stages, two individual time trials and two rest days. Team Sunweb once again head to the Tour de France with the overall aim of stage success and after a successful recent training and racing campaign the team looks forward to the second Grand Tour of the season.
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek detailed some more about the team’s ambitions: “For a German team having the start of this year’s Tour in Düsseldorf is really special and we are all really looking forward to it. We’ve carefully analyzed the stages and constructed a plan for the guys to execute on the road for selected days. On the difficult sprint finishes we aim to fully support Michael for a stage result and onto the mountains stages we have three strong riders in Warren, Laurens and Simon who can go deep looking for opportunities. With the rest of the team we have riders who will be crucial to the lead-out, as well as providing all round support during every stage. The morale in the team is really high at the moment after our stage victories at Dauphine, Tour de Suisse and Ramon’s national championships win, so we are looking to kicking off the Tour.”
Tour de France Line-Up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Michael Matthews (AUS), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Mike Teunissen (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coaches: Arthur van Dongen (NED), Luke Roberts (AUS), Aike Visbeek (NED).
Tour de France Team Announcement
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was happy to announce its squad for the 104th edition of the Tour de France earlier today via its new mobile app, Africa’s Team. For exclusive insight & behind the scenes footage during Le Tour, you can download the app here.
It will be the 3rd participation for our African Team at La Grande Boucle and we return to the race with the same goals as in previous years, changing lives in Africa through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign, to win stages and be visible in the racing.
It has been a difficult road to the Tour for Mark Cavendish following the serious illness that kept him out of action for the majority of the season. Our African Team has been committed to giving him the necessary support and time required to allow him every opportunity to make the team, and are therefore delighted to announce his inclusion.
Also coming from a long road to recovery, and fresh off the back of his double victory at the British National Championships, Steve Cummings will make his 3rd successive appearance at the Tour de France for our African Team. Remembering his historical stage win on Mandela Day in 2015, followed up by his emphatic stage victory last year, it is most satisfying to have Cummings back at the Tour for our African Team.
We are proud to have the South African national jersey also represented at the Tour de France by our African Team, with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg set for his 3rd successive Tour start. Jaco Venter and Scott Thwaites will make their debut appearances, while our team will be completed by the experienced quartet of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Mark Renshaw and Serge Pauwels.
With a race strategy that served us well in both 2015 and 2016, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will once again target specific stages with individual riders during the 2017 edition of the race. Riding from the front, searching for breakaway’s and looking to wear a leaders jersey will also bring further awareness to our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. We are confident these 9 riders will make an impact that matters on the African continent over the next 3 weeks.
Mark Cavendish – Rider
As has been widely reported, it’s been a difficult few months for me on the back of the illness that set me back earlier on in the season. Despite this setback and my lack of race time I’ve worked incredibly hard both to ensure I could firstly recover from the illness as well as then aiming to build my fitness up as much as possible in order to start the Tour.
If I am being totally honest, had this not been the Tour de France we may have collectively taken a different approach with regards to my inclusion but I feel that I owe it to myself, the team, our sponsors and most importantly to the Tour itself given its history and everything that it stands for – as well as the emotional attachment I have for it – to give it my best and to put everything I have in to trying to help the team.
In addition, I also feel a great sense of pride to be supporting Qhubeka and our Bicycles Change Lives campaign, and am keen to raise as much awareness as possible for what is such an incredible cause at the Tour.
Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
This team was built on a dream and to be in our 3rd Tour de France is so special as we chase more dreams with every single rider that will represent this team and what it stands for on July 1st.
Our 2 debutants, Jaco and Scott, will have their eyes wide open as they experience the enormousness of The Tour de France and what a privilege to do that with the incredible experience of the rest of the team.
The hard work that has been put in by the riders and our team partners to be ready to represent Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in this year’s event is truly incredible and shows their commitment to the sport of cycling and the impact they can make on others. Join us through our campaign as we make a noise for Qhubeka in July.
The Cannondale-Drapac Tour de France Nine
Alberto Bettiol. Paddy Bevin. Nate Brown. Simon Clarke. Andrew Talansky. Taylor Phinney. Pierre Rolland. Rigoberto Uran. Dylan Van Baarle. Those nine got the call-up for the Cannondale-Drapac squad 2017 Tour de France squad. Four debutantes will certainly add to the team’s attacking, excited spirit and Tour veterans will balance the team.
The team heads into La Grande Boucle with multiple objectives: on one hand, the team will attack and search for chances on every inch of road during the sport’s biggest race, and on the other hand the team will balance dual general classification hopes with Uran and Talansky.
Talansky has finished 10th and 11th at the Tour de France in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Uran has ridden the Tour three times, and finished second on two occasions at the Giro d’Italia. The team also goes in with two-time stage winner Pierre Rolland, fresh off a victory at the season’s opening grand tour.
“We’re going in with two GC leaders. Andrew and Rigo. But neither of those GC projects will hinder us from going after stage wins,” said sport director Charly Wegelius. “When I look at this team, I see enthusiasm. I see potential. I see real, quality engines there. And I see a group of people who are really prepared to support one another. I see energy. It’s all the things we say we are.
“We want people with the enthusiasm to take every single chance that comes, even if they’re small ones. We want riders fighting for stages they have a smaller chance of winning as if they were stages they had a high probability of winning. We’ve got to go after everything with the same kind of hunger the group at the Giro showed. Because they exploited everything.”
“Charly did a great job selecting a dynamic group of riders for this Tour,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “I have confidence in the riders, but I also have confidence in the entire staff representing us in France, from the soigneurs to the directors and mechanics. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Below, we offer up thoughts from our Tour riders and insights from Wegelius.
ALBERTO BETTIOL (TOUR DEBUT)
Wegelius: In Alberto’s case specifically, it’s an atypical tour. We don’t have 11 days of wall-to-wall sprint finishes. There’s an awful lot of mixed stages that could end in breaks or smaller sprints. Riders like Alberto, Dylan there’s a lot of things they can do.
Alberto knows how to race a bike, he knows how to position himself. We saw that in the classics. This year, but also in his career, the Tour is going to be a race that suits him.
Bettiol: This year, up to now, I have done more races than last year and bigger ones, too. I went pretty well in the cobbled classics, but I’m not satisfied. I expected more of myself, and I’m working hard to set that right in the second part of the season. I’d like to play my cards in a sprint with a reduced bunch.
Starting in the Tour de France feels like I’m truly becoming a pro cyclist. If you haven’t done the Tour, you’re not a real pro. I get goosebumps thinking about it. My goal is to win a stage — dreaming doesn’t cost anything, so let’s dream.
PATRICK “PADDY” BEVIN (TOUR DEBUT)
Wegelius: Paddy had a rough spring with some disappointments for him. That came on the back of a winter in which he worked really hard. But I think he took on the lessons. He regrouped, he trained. He came out meaning business after Norway and did a great Tour de Suisse in which he gained a bit of confidence after strong sprints. He’s going to be an asset for the same reasons as Alberto.
Bevin: I want to leave a mark on the Tour. The team is very keen to animate the race, and I can’t wait to be part of that. At the end of three weeks I want some performances to be proud of, not just three weeks of holding on for dear life. I am genuinely excited about being part of the Tour. I was one of those kids up at 3 am in New Zealand watching the Tour every July, completely captivated by it. You can’t shake those feelings and to cross that threshold and be on the other side is a privilege not many get to experience.
NATE BROWN (TOUR DEBUT)
Wegelius: Nate has been on form and on message all season. He’s turned up to work in good shape, and his performances have incrementally grown the whole season. He did well in the spring; he did really well in California, really well in the Dauphiné. He’s got the enthusiasm to go after things. He’s a very, very loyal teammate and I think he’ll be a great help.
Brown: I can’t explain the feelings when I found out about the selection. It’s been a childhood dream of mine to one day race in the Tour de France, and now that dream is coming true. I am excited anytime I get the call to do a grand tour, but this is the call I have been waiting for my whole life.
I can’t thank the team enough for giving me this opportunity. Helping the team out to my best ability, and getting some good team results would be a success. I am excited to be doing my first Tour de France, and I hope on a personal level that I can get into a few breaks and fly the Cannondale-Drapac colors.
Wegelius: He’s an asset at any race we go to because of his leadership on the road and the vision he has at the races. But we don’t want him to stop being a bike racer in his own right. We saw a glimpse of that in the Dauphiné — that he can do really well himself, and he doesn’t always have to be looking after the others. He’s a high-quality rider. Hopefully we can give him some chances, too.
Clarke: My top three Tour de France memories are: winning the team time trial in 2013, having the yellow jersey in the team for four days that same year. The following year, on stage 13 in 2014, it was my birthday, and I had been in the breakaway all day the day before. I had a really bad day. It was probably one of the hardest days I have ever had on the bike. This year? A successful Tour from a personal perspective would be winning a stage.
TAYLOR PHINNEY (TOUR DEBUT)
Wegelius: Taylor has been improving since the classics. He had a lot of setbacks this year, no doubting that. Which has been rough for him, because he worked hard to get his body firing, and just when he was on the cusp of being able to cash in on that, some hiccup happened. But he never lost his focus.
He’s really someone who has got the ability to rise to a big occasion without letting the occasion get the better of him. He’s someone who can read how big the Tour is and get the best of himself because of that.
Phinney: Making the Tour de France team is a dream come true. This is my seventh year professional. I’ve never raced the Tour de France. The main reason I got into the sport of cycling is because I went to go watch the Tour de France when I was 14. And 15. I was like, ‘I want to do that.’ It’s taken me a long time to get to this point of saying I’m about to line up for the Tour. It feels right. It feels natural. I’ve been fighting back all season from various things just to make to this point. I’m really thankful to the team for supporting me in this endeavor. Supporting me this whole year.
Wegelius: Pierre’s in a good place. The win in the Giro was really good for him. Because it kind of put to rest some of the disappointment he was dragging with him from last season. I saw in La Route du Sud that having that win in the bag gave him the peace of mind to race even better, to race with a cold head. He manages himself very well between the races. He’s scrupulous with the training. And he’s got such a big engine. He’s a real bike racer.
Rolland: This will be my ninth consecutive Tour de France … already! It’s always exciting just to be at the start of the Tour. A good Tour is when you arrive in Paris and you just tell yourself that you gave the best of yourself without regret. A great Tour is synonymous with a stage victory, but the main thing for me is always to give my maximum…the victory is often due to a race circumstance.
Our Tour team is composed of very solid riders, experienced climbers and exemplary teammates. I hope we will have victories and a rider placed in the top of the overall standings.
Wegelius: Andrew had a quiet first part of the season. He’s been in a long build since the beginning of May. And his win in California was a good step on the road to now. I think the route of the race suits him and gives a lot of chances to show his best.
Talansky: The Tour is the Tour. It’s a double-edged sword and you never know what challenges or triumphs it is going to bring. A successful Tour has a lot of components. I would love to win a stage. I have never won a stage of a grand tour; I’ve actually been the closest in the Tour de France in 2015, when I finished second in stage 17. But nothing in the world of bike racing compares to the pure joy of crossing the line first. The general classification will unfold as it does, but I think this Tour route lends itself towards aggressive racing and I certainly won’t let the opportunity to win something pass by.
Wegelius: Rigo. It’s time he went back to the Tour. He’s focused on the Giro for many years. Of all the Tours I’ve seen in the last three years, this is one that suits him pretty nicely I’d say. He’s got the experience, he’s got the leadership, he’s got the head to deal with a three-week race. I think he can do some nice things in July, I really do.
Uran: It’s always nice to be in the Tour de France group because the race is one of the most important in the world, and this is demonstrated by the level we see every year with the best riders on the best teams who fight for everything. This year is extra special for me because I have the opportunity to focus well on the Tour.
DYLAN VAN BAARLE
Wegelius: Dylan has got, as everyone knows, a really big engine. I think there’s quite a few stages in this race where he can use that big engine for long-range attacks. Some stages are going to be really rough to control. So I see big chances for him. He’s really growing into a well-respected and strong rider.
Van Baarle: The Tour is the biggest race for a cyclist. Everybody in the world knows this race. It’s again an honor to be part of the team. The factor that everybody knows the race makes it the hardest; there is a lot of stress, a lot more media. But the last two years were fun. I aim for a stage win. And so I hope the team will win a stage/a good GC. Last year we had some bad luck. So hopefully the luck is this year at our side.
Direct Energie team for the Tour
Quintana ready to take on TDF challenge
Colombian from Movistar Team rested up after Giro runner-up finish, squeezing last days to train before his biggest goal of the season.
24 days after snatching his second podium finish in the Giro d’Italia, Nairo Quintana is trying to make the most of his sleeps remaining before the start of the Tour de France (he’ll have enjoyed 33 while getting ready for his second Grand Tour of the season). The Colombian climber from the Movistar Team preferred to avoid long journeys and remained at his European home in Monaco, where he rested up after the ‘Corsa Rosa’ and prepared his mind and body for a fourth ‘Grande Boucle’ appearance. In his previous three Tour de France, the ‘Cóndor’ made it to the Paris podium (2nd in 2013 and 2015; 3rd last year), having also obtained KOM and Young rider honors in his debut in the race four years ago, following his only stage win to date atop Semnoz/Annecy. Here are the reflections from the Cómbita-born rider before traveling to Germany next week.
“Now that it’s a bit longer behind us, I still feel that what I did in the Giro was good. We were so close to accomplish our goal, and we claimed a very decent podium finish, with excellent teamwork from all of the squad’s members. It was obviously a bit sad not seeing things go as we expected in the end, but that makes me even more hungry and determined to chase the goals left in this season. I just hope I’m healthy and fortunate enough to take that final step forward in the Tour.”
Approaching the Tour
“After the end of the Giro, I stayed off the bike at home for like a week, and following a couple more days of active rest I started to train more seriously, and took advantage of the race-free month to check some of the key stages in the Tour. The past week and this one are being the most intense ones when it comes to training. The fact that we went last week on a recce of the Alps stages made it quite more demanding, but it was good, since our plan for this week was taking on some harder training to finetune our form for the Tour. The approach to the Tour is pretty much complete – now it’s all about staying healthy and keeping the legs fresh before the start of the race.
“To put the focus on either resting up or training more – well, it’s difficult to find balance between them. In my case and in hindsight, I think that it was more important to get some rest and recover well before starting taking on serious training. Those three, four weeks were enough time to put on some good mileage between the two races.”
“I’m feeling good on the bike so far this month. I should be getting stronger in the next few days and thus reach the start in the best possible condition. But after all, you can only see where you stand when you’re into the race. Everything has been different for me this season. It’s true that I’ve ridden two Grand Tours several times already in my career, but this Giro-Tour double is quite different to anything I’ve done in the past. Also, the time of the year, the weather – it changes things a lot. The Giro went good for me, in that sense of approach, and that makes me tackle the Tour with good expectations.”
“My feelings towards the double haven’t changed after the result I got in Italy. We prepared for the Giro and the Tour with an aim to win both, even though we knew it was so difficult. We were so close to claiming the Giro GC, we weren’t able to, but it doesn’t matter. We’re as focused on completing this double strongly as we were before the Giro. We’ll try and get them this time in the Tour.”
“To me, Froome still looks like the big favorite. He always approaches the Tour perfectly, he’s a race he’s been brilliant at in the past, and I’m sure he’ll be at 100% condition in July. Porte – we’ve all seen him riding strong for the past few years, and he’s shown great abilities that make him a strong contender. Then there’s Contador and Bardet, two riders with different skills, but as much dangerous. Also the Orica riders, with Yates and Chaves; the Astana duo, with Aru and Fuglsang, who seem to be getting to the start in great form – and, as I said before the Giro and the Dumoulin success, there’s always some sort of surprise, riders you don’t count on to get a result and end up contesting the GC.”
“Having Alejandro by my side for the last few years made me stronger, as everyone could see. He’s talented, he’s experienced, he knows what to do. His race craft is something no one can bring to me. And his immense strength creates a serious threat to the other rivals, who fear what he can achieve. It makes you so calm to have him on your team. Our seven team-mates are still not confirmed, but I’m sure we’ll have an excellent group lining up in Germany. They will give everything for me, as they’ve always done. It should be a mixture of veteran riders and strong youngsters, rouleurs and climbers, all of them talented. I’ve got 100% confidence in my team.”
Route – 1st week
“We start off with a short time trial where we will try to do our best, but then again, the biggest goal on that opening week is avoiding any troubles. Sometimes you just focus on getting 100% to the race and forget about how important is to avoid any danger, to be able to control your nerves, ride well inside the bunch and also be a bit lucky into those first days in the Tour. It’s all about about remaining focused and keeping the front, to try and reach the mountains with a 0-0 on your rivals, no own goals. I don’t know La Planche des Belles Filles, but it should be a significant climb already on day five. We’ll see how our rivals fare and who is brave enough to show his cards so early in the race. There’s also two stages in the Jura, who should probably play a big role in the final results. Those are demanding stages, with several consecutive climbs, that will create a lot of wear and tear inside the bunch. Its exigence should be important for will come next.”
Route – 2nd week
“The two Pyrenees stages are really hard, and after them we should have a clear GC in hand. The Peyragudes day looks like the most demanding to me, with 214 kilometers and many hours up and down into those tough climbs. However, the second one will be a really short one, with lumpy climbs, and we’ve seen in the past how great is the effect of short routes on Grand Tour designs. You just go flat out, at full steam from start to finish – those end up being spectacular.”
Route – 3rd week
“The race scenario should be pretty much clear after the Pyrenees, and the Alps will clarify who’s on the podium – and whose are those places. We know all climbs, we’ve raced on them in the past and were part of our recon – they’re just amazing, so hard. The weather conditions could also be important, since they change rapidly at such heights. Finally, the Marseille TT – it’s a really atypical route, since you’ve got terrain for time trial specialists and they should take advantage there, but you’ve also got a hard climb where GC specialists will have to push hard. Still, I feel like, with all mountains prior to that stage, the one who goes into that final TT in yellow will be almost certain to win.”
Wanty-Groupe Gobert Launches Mobile App for the Tour
With only a few days left till the participation in their 1st Tour de France Wanty-Groupe Gobert presents its own mobile application. From now on you can follow the team from within during the three weeks of La Grande Boucle. Live reports of the stages, news, videos and pictures will be available, as well as a presentation of our nine participants. The fans can also take part in a contest in order to win a Cube race bike.
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Canuel and Tuft Take Time Trial Titles
After a training day on Monday following the road races over the weekend, the Global Relay Canadian Road Championships p/b Lexus for Elite, Under-23 and Junior aged riders resumed on Tuesday with the Individual Time Trial competitions for all categories.
The course in the Gatineau Park takes the riders through stunning forest, with the road climbing for the first half before competitors turn around for an equally long descent back to the finish line. Junior women covered 16 kilometers, Junior men and Elite/Under-23 women did 26 kilometers and Elite/Under-23 men 36 kilometers.
In the marque Elite category, two familiar faces returned to the top step after an absence of one year for Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) in the women and two years for Svein Tuft (Orica-Scott) in the men, an incredible tenth time trial title for the Langley, B.C., pro.
The women started in dry conditions before rain swept in for the latter half of the race. Alison Jackson (Be Pink), the bronze medalist in the Road Race on Saturday, set the first fast time, which stood up until Olympic bronze medalist Kirsti Lay (Rally Cycling) knocked 57 seconds off the leading time, to take it under 42 minutes. Lay stayed in the lead until former national champion Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) went below 40 minutes, at 39:54. Kirchmann kept the lead until Canuel, the final starter, knocked over a minute off the leading time. Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) finished third overall and was the top Under-23 rider.
“I’m really excited to be champion again,” said Canuel. “I was sad to lose it last year, and I’m really happy to win it in front of my family in my town. It was really, really hard, especially with the rain and the headwind and climb.”
Sven Tuft (Orica-Scott):
The men’s race began with wet roads but no rain, however, that changed to torrential rain and even some hail at one point. The rain backed off for a little while but then came back on the upper parts of the course while the finish area was starting to dry out.
Nigel Ellsay (Silber Pro Cycling), the ninth rider to start, took the lead with a time of 48:18, only three seconds off the winning time last year by his team mate Ryan Roth in dry conditions. Ellsay’s time held up as riders continued to finish and was starting to look unbeatable as the conditions worsened. Rob Britton (Rally Cycling) was closest at 17 seconds with three riders left to finish, but that next rider was Tuft, who has dominated the time trial like no other rider in Canadian history, with nine titles coming into this race – plus two road race titles. Tuft swept across the finish line five seconds faster than Ellsay to take the lead. Defending champion Ryan Roth, the final finisher, could only manage 12th. Adam Roberge (Silber Pro Cycling) finished fourth overall to take the Under-23 title.
“On a course like this, it’s more of a grind,” said Tuft, “so rain or shine it doesn’t make a difference; it’s just a tough course. For sure, I had motivation [to get back the title]. The level has come up so far in Canada. It was a personal ambition for me to keep my form after the Giro [d’Italia] and have a good ride here. I’m happy I came and made the effort.”
In the Junior categories, Dana Gilligan (TeamOntario/Maverix) won the women’s title ahead of new road champion Laurie Jussaume (Equipe du Quebec), with Erin Attwell (Cycling BC) in third. Graydon Staples (Team Ontario/Toronto Hustle) won the men’s title in front of road champion Charles-Etienne Chretien (Equipe du Quebec) and Chris Ernst (Team Ontario).
The Global Relay Canadian Road Championships p/b Lexus conclude Wednesday evening in Aylmer, Quebec, with the Criterium championship.
Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans):
Sara Poidevin Claims U-23 Canadian Time Trial Title
Rally Cycling Earns Fifth National Title in Four Days.
Sara Poidevin charged over the hilly terrain of Gatineau Park in Quebec to win the U-23 Canadian time trial title and bring home the team’s fifth national title in four days. Poidevin flew around the 26-kilometer course in a blistering time of 40:01 to claim her first maple leaf jersey. In addition to taking the U-23 title, Poidevin finished third in the Elite category with Kirsti Lay just off the podium in fourth. Katherine Maine finished eighth, second in the U-23 category, with Sara Bergen in tenth. In the men’s race, Rob Britton continued his stellar season with a third place ride in the 36-kilometer test.
“I always look forward to racing Canadian Road Nationals, and this year, I was proud to represent Rally Cycling at the event again,” said Poidevin. “Last year I finished with two second-place finishes in the U23 category so to get the jersey is a great feeling. I felt good out on course but was surprised to finish so high in the Elite category. It was incredible to share the podium with Katherine and it made the award ceremony extra special.”
The women tackled the rolling course in cool, rainy conditions with Poidevin laying down the early marker. It wasn’t until Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) crossed the line that Poidevin relinquished the top spot. At the end of the day, it would be defending champion Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels Dolmans) that would take the win in the Elite category. Poidevin’s great ride garnered her the U-23 title and her first Elite Nationals podium, proving that she has fully recovered from an early season crash, which left her with a fractured arm. In the men’s race, newly crowned road race national champion, Matteo Dal-Cin set a good time early and eventually finished a respectable sixth. As the final riders took to the road, the sky opened and torrential rains fell. As the conditions grew worse, Britton powered around the course undeterred to finish third behind Nigel Ellsay (Silber Pro Cycling) and WorldTour strongman Svein Tuft (Orica – Scott).
Rob Britton drives through the rain en route to the final step of the podium
“With the success of both the women’s and men’s teams here at Nationals, I didn’t have a choice but to show up and give it my absolute all,” said Britton. “Thankfully today that was enough! I am happy to be able to keep this incredible season rolling for the team. I am looking forward to a little time off, and then some altitude training before the second half of the season.”
Poidevin’s victory continues an incredible win streak for the team that has resulted in five national titles in the past week. Emma White kicked off the team’s gold rush by winning the United States U-23 time trial title on Saturday. Later in the day, White’s Canadian teammate Allison Beveridge won the road race at Canadian Road Nationals. On Sunday, Matteo Dal-Cin equaled Beveridge’s feat in the men’s event while White claimed her second U-23 stars and stripes jersey – this time in the road race.
Canadian Road Nationals continue tomorrow with the criterium, while the American members of Rally Cycling head to Louisville, Kentucky, for the USA Cycling U-23 and Criterium National Championships.
Canadian Road Nationals | Time Trial | Women
1. Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team)
2. Leah Kirchmann (TeamSunweb)
3. Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling).
Canadian Road Nationals | Time Trial | Women U-23
1. Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling)
2. Katherine Maine (Rally Cycling)
3. Emily Marcolini (HighGate Racing p/b D’Ornellas).
Canadian Road Nationals | Time Trial | Men
1. Svein Tuft (Orica – Scott)
2. Nigel Ellsay (Silber Pro Cycling)
3. Robert Britton (Rally Cycling).
Katherine Maine and Sara Poidevin on the U-23 podium:
Yorkshire host towns revealed for 2019 UCI Road World Championships
The towns and cities across Yorkshire being lined up as host locations for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships have been revealed.
Harrogate has been named as the main competition town and finish location for each race. Race start locations have been proposed in Beverley, Doncaster, Leeds, Northallerton, Ripon, and York.
The 2019 UCI Road World Championships include a wide range of men’s, women’s and junior races, which take place over nine days. Harrogate will host two circuit races and the other races will start in locations in right across the county.
The event in September 2019 will mean cycling on a scale never seen before heads to Yorkshire. This will build even further on the county’s growing global reputation for the sport after the hosting ‘the grandest of Grand Départs’ for the 2014 Tour de France and the annual legacy race the Tour de Yorkshire which has continued to grow each year, with record breaking spectator numbers.
Yorkshire won the right to host the event after a joint bid between Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and UK Sport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The government has committed to invest £24 million into the event, £15 million of which will be used to develop 27 cycle sport facilities across the UK which will leave a lasting grassroots legacy. In addition, there will be £3 million of National Lottery funding from UK Sport.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, said: “The 2019 UCI Road World Championships will be a fantastic event that will see the very best cyclists competing for the coveted rainbow jersey with Yorkshire’s stunning scenery as the backdrop. I know that people from across Yorkshire and beyond will support this event and the riders will receive a fantastic reception. Hosting the Championships gives us a great opportunity to leave a legacy for the sport at the grassroots, with £15 million of government investment to build facilities and encourage participation across the country.”
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “We are delighted to announce our intention to start the UCI Road World Championship races in 2019 in all four corners of Yorkshire making sure the races take in the full splendour of this beautiful and diverse county. This is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Yorkshire to the world and I have no doubt that every town and village on the final routes will be ready with their famous Yorkshire welcome as seen for the Tour de France and now each year for the Tour de Yorkshire.”
Brian Cookson, President of the UCI said: “Following on from the hugely successful Grand Depart in 2014 I have been delighted to see the birth and development of the highly successful Tour de Yorkshire and was thrilled when we announced at last year’s world championships Yorkshire would host the UCI Road World Championships in 2019. Congratulations to each of the towns and cities that have been announced today.”
Julie Harrington, CEO of British Cycling, said: “Today’s announcement will generate huge anticipation across Yorkshire and it is also an exciting day for the rest of the country thanks to the £15 million national investment in cycle sport facilities. At British Cycling we judge the success of major events not only in medals won or in numbers watching but by people being inspired to get active by getting on a bike. The landmark facilities investment secured by British Cycling means a national legacy has been built into the championships from the start and marks all of the stakeholders in this event as pioneers, setting a new standard for the hosting of major sporting events.”
Simon Morton, Chief Operating Officer at UK Sport, said: “Planning for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships is now well underway and it is great that so much of Yorkshire will play an important part in hosting the event. Thanks to investment from the Government and the National Lottery, Yorkshire will host a World Championships the whole country can be proud of. The event will further enhance the UK’s reputation as world-leading host of international sporting events and this announcement of host towns for Yorkshire 2019 is another exciting step on the road to the World Championships.”
Organizers are working closely with local authority partners including North Yorkshire County Council, East Riding Council, Doncaster Council, Leeds City Council, Hambleton District Council, Harrogate Borough Council and City of York Council.
UCI Yorkshire Worlds Bid Film:
Team Sky and Ford Celebrate New Two-Year Partnership with Focus RS
Team Sky is excited to announce a new two-year partnership with Ford Motor Company, our exclusive supplier of cars and vans through 2019.
To celebrate, Ford have developed a special version of the new Focus RS Option Pack for the 2017 Tour de France. Sporting a striking new white livery that matches Team Sky’s special edition Tour de France jerseys, the Focus RS Option Pack will act as a time trial and recon vehicle for the Tour, which starts on July 1 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The stunning new Focus RS features a mechanical limited-slip differential, a custom‑made bicycle rack and Recaro seats that were specially developed for the team. The seats are flatter and enable the driver and support team more freedom to move inside the car. These non-shell seats also make it easier to quickly get in and out of the car in race situations.
The performance and handling of the Focus RS will be essential for following the riders, who achieve speeds of up to 70 km/h as they negotiate the 14-kilometer time trial course. During race stages, it will be the daily recon car, scouting in front of the riders to recce the road ahead.
As with the Mondeo wagons used by Team Sky’s Sport Directors, the Focus RS has been modified to handle ever-changing race scenarios, road conditions and weather. They are also prepared to cope with more than 350 kilograms of added weight, including spare bikes and wheels, drink bottles, tools, and even a large coolbox. Team carers and VIPs use AWD‑equipped Ford S‑MAX sports activity vehicles and Edge sports utility vehicles.
“We’re delighted to be extending our partnership with Ford – a company with the same principles of tackling challenges that we at Team Sky have,” said Team Principal Sir David Brailsford. “Ford vehicles play a vital role for Team Sky and their knowledge and support makes them an integral part of our team.”
“Racing on two wheels is increasingly capturing the imagination of sports fans across Europe – and is underpinned by the best possible support on four wheels. We are excited to continue to support Team Sky in their pursuit of further cycling success,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe.
Tony Martin Goes for Yellow
TT World Champion, Tony Martin, has been building his entire season around clocking the fastest time come 1 July. For many commentators, the prospect of the powerful German riding the Speedmax CF SLX to the win on his native turf on a course tailored to his strengths is hard to look beyond. Watch Tony’s journey to the Tour in our exclusive video.
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