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Foto LaPresse - Gian Mattia D'Alberto 02/05/2017 Alghero (Italia) Sport Ciclismo Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione - Alghero Nella foto: foto di Alghero Photo LaPresse - Gian Mattia D'Alberto 02/05/2017 Alghero ( Italy ) Sport Cycling Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100th edition Alghero In the pic: Alghero

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The World is pink – all the way from Sardinia to Milan. We have all the news from the Giro d’Italia start in Alghero. In other cycling news: Alexander Kristoff won the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt; report and video. Falcon Falco is ready for the Giro, Lotto Soudal race programs, teams for the Tour of Utah and the passing of young Linus Rumsas. Giro EUROTRASH coffee time.

TOP STORY: Mortirolo will be the Scarponi Giro Climb
The Corsa Rosa pays tribute to the tragically deceased rider by dedicating the historic climb to him in this special edition. During the Big Start in Alghero, there will be other initiatives to remember Michele Scarponi. The Giro d’Italia can’t forget a great champion, a big friend and a great man who was set to take part in the Corsa Rosa for the twelfth time this year. Therefore, a tribute will be paid to him with one of the iconic climbs of this year’s race dedicated to him: the Mortirolo.

This climb is well known all over the world and universally respected by cyclists. In 2010, it was the springboard to Michele’s last stage victory at the Giro d’Italia, at Aprica, ahead of Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali.

On stage 16 from Rovetta to Bormio, Tuesday 23 May, the King of the Mountains points awarded to the rider who passes the Mortirolo in first position will be doubled compare to what was originally planned in the race regulations. He will also be honored on stage on the final podium of the Giro in Milan.

Moreover, in Sardinia, Scarponi’s Astana team will be first to be introduced to the crowd on Thursday 4 May at 6.30pm in Alghero, when a special moment will be dedicated to his memory. The following day, at the start of stage 1, the pink caravan will observe a minute’s silence before the flag off. The Astana team will be on the front line of the bunch for the very first part of the course. The name of Michele Scarponi will thus be associated with the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia.

Michele Scarponi on the road to Aprica and Giro stage win with Ivan Basso and a young Vincenzo Nibali:
Aprica  - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Giro d’Italia - Ronde van Italie - 19e etappe - Brescia - Aprica  - Ivan Basso - Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo)  - Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli - Serramenti Diquigiovanni) - foto Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos ©2010

Giro d’Italia Best Downhill Rider Prize
Regarding the discussion generated by the introduction of the best downhill rider prize at the Giro d’Italia the race direction, in conjunction with the sponsor, has made the following statement:

“The spirit of the initiative was to highlight an important skill which is an integral part of a cycle race without putting the riders’ safety in jeopardy. Rider safety is, and remains, the priority of the Giro and the race organizers. Comments have been made suggesting that this initiative could be potentially misunderstood and generate behaviors not in line with the safety principle. The race organizers have taken these comments on board and change an initiative that could be misinterpreted. Therefore the race organizers have decided to eliminate all such classification and prize money as per the race regulations, leaving the timekeeping of the descents purely as statistical data for the fans.”

Vincenzo Nibali can descend a bit:
Como - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)  pictured during Giro Il Lombardia 2015 - Bergamo - Como 245 km - 04-10-2015 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2015

Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt 2017
Cold, wet weather did nothing to dampen the team spirit on full display from Team KATUSHA ALPECIN at the 55th Eschborn-Frankfurt ‘Rund um den Finanzplatz’ on Monday as Katusha-Alpecin team leader Alexander Kristoff and key lead-out man Rick Zabel went 1-2 on the finish line. It was the third time Kristoff earned top honors in the German race, defending his 2016 and 2014 titles.

The winning time of 5:29:33 (39.818 km/h) on the 218.7k course from Eschborn to Frankfurt was 1-second ahead of Zabel and two-seconds ahead of third place finisher John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo. The victory marked the seventh team win of the season and 6th personal win for Alexander Kristoff.
Rick Zabel, 23, put up a strong performance throughout the day, using his superior bike handling skills to move through the tricky, wet corners and keep Kristoff safely near the front. His hard work rewarded him with a second place finish.

Frankfurt - Frankfurt - Germany - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Alexander KRISTOFF (Norway / Team Katusha - Alpecin)   pictured during Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn Frankfurt 2017 - Eschborn-Frankfurt - photo Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin): “I was a little bit dropped on the last climb but I had a strong team around me to pull me back. Without them I would have had no chance. We came back just before the laps and Rick was guiding me through the corners at the end and he did a perfect lead out for me and ended up second himself. Luckily he was my teammate in those last few k’s because otherwise I think he would have won the race! Earlier Tony Martin and Angel Vicioso and also team Bora Hansgrohe were working with us. Then at the end Nils Politt and Zabel took over. It was a big team effort to get back on the front that enabled me to sprint for the victory. We are really happy and it was a great performance. This was the coldest one I can remember. It was quite cold with the rain all day. I took off my jacket and rode the last three laps without it, but I was regretting it the whole way. It was very cold today, but the same guys as usual were still there fighting for victory.”

2nd, Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin): “This was a great day. I am really happy with how the team did today and mine and Alex’s performances. Second in a WorldTour race is also super, a very good result for me. It was a great day for us and we can be super happy.”

World champion, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “This was my first race after the spring classics and weather conditions were extremely difficult. It wasn’t the ideal situation to get back to race mode and I tried my best. I will now focus on the upcoming races.”

Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin in 5:29:32
2. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
5. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
6. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) LottoNl-Jumbo
7. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
9. Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport
10. Ben Swift (GB) UAE Team Emirates.

Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt:

Giro d’Italia 2017
Sardinia and Alghero are ready for the Big Start of the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia on Friday, 5 May.

Foto LaPresse - Gian Mattia D'Alberto 02/05/2017 Alghero (Italia) Sport Ciclismo Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione - Alghero Nella foto: foto di Alghero  Photo LaPresse - Gian Mattia D'Alberto 02/05/2017 Alghero ( Italy )  Sport Cycling Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100th edition   Alghero  In the pic: Alghero

A number of press conferences with the teams and their main riders are scheduled for today and Thursday ahead of the Teams Presentation that will take place on the seaside in Alghero – Banchina Ammiraglio Millelire – on Thursday starting from 5.30pm. The Teams Presentation will be broadcast live on Rai Sport +HD starting from 6.00pm.

Foto LaPresse - Gian Mattia D'Alberto 02/05/2017 Alghero (Italia) Sport Ciclismo Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100a edizione - Alghero Nella foto: foto di Alghero  Photo LaPresse - Gian Mattia D'Alberto 02/05/2017 Alghero ( Italy )  Sport Cycling Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100th edition   Alghero  In the pic: Alghero

Astana will be the first team introduced on stage to honor the memory of Michele Scarponi. Fabio Aru will also attend the event as well as the flag off of stage 1 on Friday. The climber from Villacidro has been sidelined by a knee injury but he will not miss the event in his Sardinia, also paying a tribute to his tragically deceased team-mate.

The Major of Alghero, Mario Bruno, took the race trophy, Trofeo Senza Fine, from the airport to the city centre waiting for the Corsa Rosa to start.

The Major of Alghero, Mario Bruno, RCS Sport Marketing and Communication Manager, Roberto Salamini and Alghero Airport Managing Director, Mario Peralda:
Foto LaPresse - Massimo Paolone 03/05/2017 Alghero, Sassari (Italia) Sport Ciclismo Giro d'Italia 2017 - Consegna Trofeo Aeroporto Alghero - foto di Alghero -   Photo LaPresse - Massimo Paolone 03/05/2017 Alghero, Sassari (Italy)  Sport Cycling Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100th edition -  Airport of Alghero -

You can read the PEZ Giro d’Italia Preview HERE.

Giro preview with André Greipel and Adam Hansen
Tuesday, Lotto Soudal arrived on Sardinia where the hundredth Giro will start on Friday. Sports director Bart Leysen already looked ahead to the race, today André Greipel and Adam Hansen give their preview.

André Greipel won six Giro stages during his previous four participations. In 2016, he triumphed three times. This edition there are six sprint opportunities.

André Greipel: “I am happy to return to the Giro. A stage victory is the goal again this year. It was a hard spring for me, with a lot of stage races: Abu Dhabi Tour, Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and a few Cobblestone Classics. I took some rest after Paris-Roubaix, to recover physically and mentally. I started training again after one week. Maybe I will need some days to get used to the race rhythm again, like I did last year. The first weekend was not so successful last Giro, but after a few days I got better and better with three stage wins as a result. I wouldn’t say no to wearing the first Maglia Rosa of the 100th Giro. Of course we need to be realistic: winning one stage in a Grand Tour is already a huge performance. We will try to win one stage with the team during the hundredth Giro. My teammates will also have individual chances.”

“If I will complete the Giro? Let’s say the course of the last week doesn’t suit me so well. I love riding the Giro and also the team and the race organization want me here at the start, but we need to find the right balance in my race program to achieve our goals. So there is a chance that I quit the Giro before we get to Milan. Of course we prefer participating in such a fantastic race like the Giro to a different program.”

Adam Hansen is about to start his seventeenth consecutive Grand Tour. In 2013, when he rode his fifth of eight Giros, Adam won the seventh stage.

Adam Hansen: “I have ridden countless Giros, but to me it still feels like I am more excited than any other rider who is standing on the start line. Not only because it is the hundredth Giro, but just because it is the Giro. I feel that I am in the best shape of the last three years. I want to aim for another stage win this edition. The team goal is to take a stage victory with André. For the other stages we have several riders who can join a breakaway and try to win a stage as well. I will be disappointed if I can’t take a stage win or at least if I have not been in the running for one. I really hope André can win a stage. Once you have won one stage with the team, you can look further ahead. I hope our team will animate the race, so we have more chances of winning too.”

Giro preview with DS Bart Leysen
Next Friday, 5 May, the hundredth Giro d’Italia starts. The riders commence a three week ordeal on the island of Sardinia. After three stages, the caravan is heading for Sicily. Two days later, the peloton sets foot on the Italian mainland. From the foot of the boot, the riders are heading north where a difficult final week in the Dolomites awaits them. The Giro ends on Sunday 28th of May with a time trial in Milan. Lotto Soudal is going for a stage win with André Greipel, Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort are the GC riders. Sports director Bart Leysen comments on the selection of nine riders.

Bart Leysen: “Last year, André Greipel won three stages; let’s now try to start with one. The opportunities for the sprinters are limited to the two first weeks, starting with the first stage on Sardinia. The nature of that stage is better for André than the start of the Giro last year. Then there was a prologue in Holland followed by two nervous stages. During this Giro, there are six opportunities for the sprinters.”

“We have a strong team to help André during the sprint stages. Sean De Bie will assume the role that is normally for Marcel Sieberg. He has to bring André to the front of the peloton on the right moment. Sean feels these moments very well and he also stays calm. Last year, he participated in his first Giro and he ended it very well. Then he did a lot of work for the team and I expect it to be the same this year. Jasper De Buyst is the ideal man for the last three kilometers. He can really put his ambitions aside for a teammate, but obviously he also has fast legs. When he is a part of a breakaway, he can certainly use them. In principle Moreno Hofland will be the lead-out for André. Depending on the course of the race, Moreno and Jasper can also switch places. It can be really chaotic during the Giro and thus it is good to have somebody up your sleeve.”

“After an absence of four years, Bart De Clercq is returning to the Giro. He has really set his mind to it. He was strong in the Walloon classics, he is ready for it. I see him finishing between the tenth and fifteenth place on GC. Higher is also good of course. The last three years Maxime Monfort finished each time in the top fifteen. Like last year I think it is good to try to move up in the classification by joining a breakaway. Max can maintain a constant level for three weeks and he has a lot of experience in the Giro which will come in handy during the last difficult week.”

“In the mountains Bart and Maxime can certainly count on the support of Tomasz Marzynski. Also during other stages Tomasz will be a great help to the team. You can really rely on Tomasz, he is a real team player. He does not back down from, while riding uphill, returning to the team car to collect water bottles. Tomasz is really appreciated.”

“With his experience Lars Bak can act as a link between the team car and the riders in the peloton. He is good at feeling the race and can judge well the situation. You can rely on a regular old hand as Lars. Also Adam Hansen has tons of experiences in the Grand Tours. Paris-Nice was not a success due to illness but after that he could prepare himself perfectly for the Giro. He can help his teammates in the flat stages as well as in the mountains. Adam is not afraid to take his chance and in this Giro he can certainly do this.”

“If we win a stage with André Greipel, our Giro will be a success. Everything that follows, is a bonus. Last year we won four stages but you cannot expect this every year. The fact is that if you win once, everything goes easier. André is returning in competition after a period of rest and a one-day race in Frankfurt, so he might have to get back into the rhythm. But I will be satisfied if we can play a role.”

The hardest part of the Giro is clearly the last week. Starting with a stage over the Mortirolo and Stelvio after the third rest day. Everything before, can certainly not be underestimated though. Before the second rest day, a finish lies on top of the Etna and also on the Blockhaus.

Bart Leysen: “Stages such as the one to Blockhaus (152km) just before the second rest day and the fourteenth stage to Oropa (131km) can be very dangerous for the GC riders. The stages are relatively short with only at the end a climb that awaits the riders. The GC contenders will want to seriously shake things up on that final climb. The pace will be so high that the time differences can be considerable. Before the second rest day it will be clear who is really good and that mental advantage will play a role for the rest of the Giro.”

“Sometimes the danger can be lurking around every corner. On Sicily, we will have to ride over very small roads. If there the pace is high, GC riders can come into trouble if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Besides, the finish of the fourth stage is on the Etna. Also echelons can play their part in the first and seventh stage. In the seventh stage it can be a good thing for us if Bart and Max are in good position because André can win that stage. The finale is comparable to the first stage that André won last year.”

“This year there are two time trials on the route. One just before the second rest day, the other on the last day. For the GC riders it is always an important day but the time trials will not be so crucial. I expect that on the last day there will be not much change at the top of the general classification. The selection will be made earlier that week. During the last stages, some leaders will certainly get into trouble. For the final victory, Nairo Quintana is my top favorite.”

Yet another GT for André Greipel and Adam Hansen:
Pau - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Andre Greipel (Team Lotto Soudal)  tries out a Segway at Place Clemencau followed by Adam Hansen (Team Lotto Soudal)pictured during  le Tour de France 2015 - first restday in Pau  on monday 13-07-2015 - photo VK/NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2015

Quick-Step Floors Team to Giro d’Italia
Between 5-28 May, we’re going on an adventure, which will see our riders cover 21 stages and 3572 kilometers.

The Giro d’Italia is celebrating its 100th edition this year, one that will set out from Sardinia, visit Sicily, the Apennines, the Alps and the Dolomites, before coming to a conclusion in Milan. Sixteen of the country’s twenty regions will be visited by the peloton, who’ll have plenty of opportunities to fight for victory and glory, from the expected bunch sprints of Olbia and Tortona and the individual time trials of Foligno and Milan to the tough and legendary mountain top finishes of Etna, Blockhaus, Santuario de Oropa or Piancavallo.

In 2016, not only that he became the first Luxemburger in nearly six decades to don the coveted maglia rosa, but Bob Jungels – who was making his Giro d’Italia debut at that time – conquered the white jersey on his way to finishing sixth overall. The 24-year-old returns to the start, having built his season around the Italian Grand Tour, and will lead Quick-Step Floors’ general classification ambitions here, encouraged by his convincing display in the Tour de Romandie, where he finished eighth overall.

For Fernando Gaviria (22 years), who has scored four victories in 2017, the Giro d’Italia will be a learning experience, but this doesn’t mean the talented South-American won’t try to get in the mix every time a stage will conclude in a bunch sprint. Gaviria will be one of the three Quick-Step Floors riders to make their Grand Tour debut in May, together with Laurens De Plus (21 years) and Davide Martinelli (23 years).

Eros Capecchi, Dries Devenyns, Iljo Keisse, Maximiliano Richeze and Pieter Serry, all seasoned pros, who between them have amassed 21 participations and four stage victories at the Giro d’Italia, will add experience to the team which is set to be led from behind the wheel by Davide Bramati, Geert Van Bondt and Rik van Slycke.

“If you look on our outfit for the Giro d’Italia, you can see it’s a young one, with three Grand Tour rookies, but at the same time very motivated to have a saying in the race. After last year’s performance, we’ll try to help Bob make another step forward. The Giro is always a challenging race, but he is prepared; we will see how things pan out and we’ll make a first assessment after the Foligno time trial, although we are aware that the difficult third week can easily change the general classification”, said sport director Davide Bramati.

Besides Bob Jungels, Quick-Step Floors has its eyes also on the bunch finishes, where Colombian prodigy Fernando Gaviria – who has two wins on Italian soil, at Tirreno-Adriatico – will count on the services of Maximiliano Richeze, one of the best lead-out men in the business.

“Fernando will race a Grand Tour for the first time, and the most important thing for him will be to gain experience, but we aren’t hiding the fact we have faith in him, as he’s capable of getting a good result in the flat stages. Overall, our squad is a balanced one, capable of supporting both Bob in the mountains and Fernando in the sprints, so we look with confidence to the first Grand Tour of the year, which we hope to be a good one to our team”, concluded Davide Bramati.

05.05–28.05 Giro d’Italia (ITA) 2.UWT

Eros Capecchi (ITA), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Pieter Serry (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Geert Van Bondt (BEL), Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Fernando Gaviria:
Cycling: 43rd Volta Algarve 2017 / Stage 1 Arrival / Fernando GAVIRIA (COL) Celebration / Andre GREIPEL (GER)/ Nacer BOUHANNI (FRA)/ Albufeira - Lagos (182,9 km) / Algarve / © Tim De Waele

BORA – hansgrohe starts its first Grand Tour as WorldTeam
On Friday one of the most famous Grand Tour has its 100.edition. 21 stages with 3615 kilometers, 2 individual time trails, 6 stages for sprinters, 8 medium mountain stages and 5 high mountain stages. The route brings this year’s Giro d’Italia from Sardinia, Sicilia to the north of Italy with the finish in Milano. Nine young and highly motivated riders take on the fight for pink in the BORA – hansgrohe jersey.

“Our goal for this 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia is to go for stage victories, for the GC we will take it day by day. I think we have some really good opportunities with Sam Bennett and Matteo Pelucchi in the sprints. Sam proved in Paris – Nice that he is an excellent sprinter and some stages in this year’s Giro suit him very well. But we will also try to win stages with Patrick Konrad in the mountains. Patrick had a good preparation for this Grand Tour and he is very motivated to make his mark in this 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia.”Christian Pömer, sports director

“I am looking forward to this Giro d’Italia, it’s the 100th edition which is very special to be part of. My preparations went pretty good with the altitude camp in the Sierra Nevada, where I could do my training very individually this time. Of course, my goal is to win a stage. After my first WorldTour win in Paris-Nice, I am ready to take my first stage in a Grand Tour.”Sam Bennett.

“I am here as the team’s leader, which is a new situation for me. I hope to adapt well to this challenge and show that I have the potential to be a Grand Tour contender in the future. In this Giro, our big goal as a team is to take a stage win and I will also focus on that. I’ll try to take every opportunity that occurs. At one day, this may means I’ll struggle, but this is a risk I have to take. I don’t have any result in my mind for the GC, I want to ride aggressive and also try something in the high mountains in the last week. Then we’ll see the outcome.”Patrick Konrad.

BORA – hansgrohe’s line-up for the100th Giro d´Italia:
Jan Barta / CZE, Cesare Benedetti / ITA, Sam Bennett / IRL, Patrick Konrad / AUT, José Mendes / POR, Gregor Mühlberger / AUT, Matteo Pelucchi / ITA, Lukas Pöstlberger / AUT, Rudi Selig / GER.

Cannondale-Drapac for the 100th Giro d’Italia
Formolo. Dombrowski. Rolland. Villella. Woods. Slagter. Koren. Howes. Carthy. Cannondale-Drapac is rolling into the 100th Giro with a squad that’s poised to attack the race and look for opportunity along Italy’s fabled roads. The team is not beholden to a single leader at the Giro, and head director Charly Wegelius hopes the riders make the most of such freedom.

“My hope is that they can enjoy that and try things, and experiment with things, and just push their limits without fear of losing anything or having to do any sort of defensive decision making,” Wegelius said. “They can just see how it works out on the road and grow from it. I think that’s pretty precious in the development of a rider.”

The lineup, however youthful and opportunistic, isn’t a stranger to the Giro. Formolo won a stage in 2015. Rolland finished fourth overall in 2014. Dombrowski lit up the final week of the race last season. Howes is a steady hand wherever he goes. Slagter has performed well on varied terrain his entire career. Woods showed in the Ardennes he’s got bite. Koren knows Italian roads and Italian racing, same as Villella. Carthy just rode a gritty Tour of the Alps.

The season’s first grand tour has been affectionately dubbed the “connoisseur’s grand tour.” It lacks the absolute control of the Tour de France and its fans — tifosi — are among the sport’s most vibrant. The roads are spectacular. The weather is unpredictable. The Giro can feel like a three-week one-day race.

“It’s a big event, but it’s still real enough to have a genuine character. The Tour de France is a massive global event, but the Giro has still got its quirks, and it basically represents everything that’s great about Italy and the Italian culture. It’s effervescent and its bubbly, and it’s unpredictable, colorful,” Wegelius said.

The Giro begins on Friday in Sardinia. It ends on the 28th of May in Milano.

Thoughts From Some of our Giro Riders

The Giro for me as Italian is something you cannot explain with words. It’s just a dream. It’s the race an Italian kid dreams of growing up; it’s the race we learn from. This parcours is something special, too. We start from one of the nicer places in the word, and then we head toward some of the most famous climbs in the sport. My ambition for the race is to let the Italian fans enjoy this amazing race and this amazing sport.

From a state-of-mind perspective, I am pumped to be doing this race. Last year I managed, through some bad decisions on my part and bad luck, to not start any grand tour on the calendar. This has made the significance of this one, to me, that much greater. Aside from the excitement, there is definitely some respect that I am storing up for that final week of racing and the process of getting there. I know crashes, illness and just a few off-days can derail even the best riders in the peloton, so I am making sure not to get too far ahead of myself.

This is my first Giro d’Italia, so I am really looking forward to it. I expect three hard weeks in a beautiful landscape surrounded with very friendly fans.

This is my first Giro. I’ve done a couple of Vueltas and a couple of Tours but I have this funny giddy feeling like this is my first “real” grand tour. Growing up, the Giro always had this special — almost romantic — charm and appeal that no other race had. It was always the “real” race. A race of not just legs but a competition of heart and spirit.

I’ve never ridden the Giro before but in the past few years as a professional it is the one grand tour that I have wanted to ride more than others. People who have ridden it describe it as the most beautiful, brutal yet enjoyable race. Having spent a lot of the season so far in the company of my Italian teammates, the significance and specialness of the centenary edition is clear to see.

I like the feel of the Giro. I like Italian food and I like Italian culture. The start villages are cool. The country is beautiful. The traditional format with big mountain stages, some transitional stages, and some truly flat pure sprint stages, are a good thing, in my opinion. The racing is less scripted. It’s more interesting to watch.

Racing in Italy is special, and the Giro is the absolute top. Everything is pink and all the people who come to start and finish makes a great atmosphere. The parcours is always special, with famous climbs and typically Italian roads, nothing else is like that… I want to try to win a stage and help the guys for the GC. I like to race with those two goals because then you don’t focus for three weeks on just one thing.

When I think of the Giro, I think of course that this racing is mythic, that the history of cycling is written on its roads on these climb like the Mortitolo, the Stelvio and others. There will be a lot of difficult days, and the last week will be by far the most difficult. My goal will be above all to win a stage. Maybe a side classification can be interesting depending on the circumstances of racing. The sprinter jersey suits me this season (laughs).

DS Charly Wegelius on Each Rider’s Selection to the #GREENARGYLE Giro Team

Hugh’s coming to the Giro on the back of his first three-week race of the end of last year in the Vuelta. He’s going to discover the Giro, and I hope he’s going to find out what I suspect, which is that he’s a prototype Giro rider. He’s very resilient despite his young age. He’s robust. I think he can give his best on steep climbs, which the Giro offers in a way the Tour doesn’t. He’s another one of the guys who, despite the fact that he’s very talented and performing well, still needs space and time to find himself and to develop. I think that this is his first real rendezvous on that journey.

I think Joe got a glimpse last year of what he can do at the Giro, and for someone like Joe who has very high quality capabilities, but in very specific types of races, the Giro is always going to be attractive to him. When we get to the high altitude in the last week, he can do his best, so we need to wait for him until the last week.

He’s really going to benefit from what he did at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It’s been something I’ve been pushing him on for a bit, to really commit, and really open up, and I think that’s what he did at Liège. I hope it’s convinced him that he’s on the right track, and that he’s got the legs, and that he’s competitive. I think he can do well, but Giro is a long, long way. He’s going to have to be patient, but I’m sure we’ll see something great from him in the three weeks.

Despite the fact Howes isn’t that old for our team, which is still the youngest WorldTour team by quite a long way, he is developing into one of our road captains. He’s smart, he knows how to position in the races, and this is a role that we’ve asked him to do a few times this year, starting in Australia, and I think it’s a role that he can really grow into and give a lot of value in over the next years. In the context of that younger group that we have in the Giro, he’s the perfect senior figure to have in that race, and call the shots, and kind of set the tone also off the bike.

He’s ultra-reliable, very solid, knows the Giro, knows Italian races. He’s been riding well all year, and he’s just one of those plug-and-play riders who you know is going to deliver what we ask of him time in, time out. He’s going to be super steady for the flat and the medium stages.

Pierre’s got one of the heavier racing programs of the riders, because he’s doing the Giro and the Tour double, but he’s so resilient and so solid that I think he’s one of the few riders in cycling who genuinely expect to pull off the Giro/Tour double successfully. That’s a lot of the reason why he’s had a relatively quiet spring, but in the Tour of the Alps we saw him really starting to ramp it up, and I think we will see something good from Pierre in the race.

I hear there’s a few stages in the race that suit him, with punchy finishes, and he’s going to have to take those chance when they come along. The Giro’s a race that’s going to give a lot of opportunities. It offers stages all different types in a way that the Tour doesn’t.

Mascot Falco Ready for Giro d’Italia
BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team is proud to present their most excited and cheerful fan, falcon Falco. The mascot will join the team on Giro d’Italia and other important races.

Furry Falco in a neat BAHRAIN MERIDA jersey has recently joined BAHRAIN MERIDA team and will accompany the riders on all of the important races, starting of course with the Giro d’Italia. He will encourage the riders at start and welcome them at the finish line and also interact with BAHRAIN MERIDA fans, especially with the youngest ones. The riders and staff are excited to have him on board and are looking forward to see him on the future races.

Inspiration for creating team’s own mascot came from the desire to connect with their youngest fans and to further encourage love and passion for this sport. Falcon is a very famous and respected animal in all of the Middle East and falconry is a popular sport there, so the decision of which animal should the mascot portray, was easy. The process of creating the mascot from scratch lasted about a month but it was a fun project that everyone enjoyed. The BAHRAIN MERIDA team hopes that Falco will inspire riders and fans and generate even more enthusiasm for cycling.

This is what Falco said about joining our team: “Goooooooooooooooo BAHRAIN MERIDA!”

Team LottoNL-Jumbo offers cycling fans unique look behind the scenes
On the eve of the Giro d’Italia, Team LottoNL-Jumbo presents two initiatives, which will bring the cycling fan closer to the team. First of all, there will be a book about the team. Besides that, Team LottoNL-Jumbo cooperates with television producer Southfields. “We want to bring fans into the heart of the peloton,” explains Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s general manager Richard Plugge. “Like we are already doing that with Velon.”

The book is not only about the figureheads of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, but about the entire organization of the team. Author Michiel Princen has followed the team since Paris-Nice. He attended the classics and the high-altitude training camp. He will also be present during the Giro d’Italia. Television producer Southfield filmed captain Steven Kruijswijk during his preparation for the Giro. It will also capture the team during the Italian race.

“This is for Team LottoNL-Jumbo an opportunity to highlight the team values. We want to show our identity to the cycling fans”, says Plugge. “Interdependence, innovative approach, dedication and pride. Those values will be shown in the productions.”

Lotto Soudal: Update Race Programs
After the Spring Classics several Lotto Soudal riders could enjoy some rest. In May they will start to build up to their next goals.

For Tiesj Benoot, the recovery period started after the Amstel Gold Race. In May, he will go to the Sierra Nevada for an altitude training camp. Tiesj will restart competition at the New Energy Tour, a new Dutch one-day race taking place on 20 May. Four days later, Tiesj will be standing at the start of the Belgium Tour (24 – 28 May). Afterwards, he will go to the Dauphiné (4 – 11 June) for his final preparations on the Belgian Championship (25 June) and his first Tour de France (1 – 23 July). Tony Gallopin will also participate in the Dauphiné before he goes to the Tour. The Tour of Norway (17 – 21 May) will be the first race for the Frenchman after a rest period. That goes for Louis Vervaeke too. Afterwards, he will ride Tour de Suisse (10 – 18 June).

Jens Debusschere and Jürgen Roelandts took some rest after Paris-Roubaix. They restart the competition at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque (9 – 14 May), which actually lasts six days. Ten days later, Jens and Jürgen stand at the start of the Belgium Tour. In June, both will race at Tour de Suisse. Before that, Jens will participate in the first race of the Hammer Series, in Sittard (2 – 4 June). The Hammer Series was launched by Velon and wants to crown the world’s best team. For Tim Wellens, the Hammer Series is the first race on his program. In May, he will do an altitude training camp at Isola 2000. Before he starts his second Tour, he will ride Tour de Suisse.

André Greipel will also be part of the Lotto Soudal team at the Hammer Series. His route to the Tour runs further along Rund um Köln (11 June) and Ster ZLM Tour (14 – 18 June). First, the German champion is aiming for another stage win at the Giro.

André Greipel to ride Hammer Series:
Bourg-de-Péage - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during stage 5 of Paris - Nice UCI World Tour from Quincié-en-Beaujolais to Bourg-de-Péage, 199.50 km - foto: NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

14 Professional Cycling Teams Invited to Tour of Utah
Four Teams to Make Inaugural Appearance at “America’s Toughest Stage Race”

Of the 16 prestigious men’s professional cycling teams competing in this summer’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, 14 squads have been confirmed. Four of these teams will make their inaugural appearances at “America’s Toughest Stage Race” — Amore & Vita-Selle SMP presented by Fondriest (Albania), Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain), Cylance Cycling (USA), and Israel Cycling Academy (Israel). A total of six countries are represented in the invitation-only field for the 13th edition of the UCI 2.HC men’s stage race on July 31-Aug. 6.

Two teams, BMC Racing Team (USA) and Bardiani CSF (Italy), are racing this month at the Giro d’Italia, the first Grand Tour event of the season. It will be the ninth time for BMC Racing Team to compete in Utah and a second trip for the Italian squad. A complete field of 16 internationally-sanctioned teams will be confirmed later this spring for the Tour of Utah. Rosters for each team are expected to total 120 riders from more than 20 countries, and will be announced the final week of July.

Amore & Vita-Selle SMP p/b Fondriest (Albania)
Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team (USA)
Bardiani CSF (Italy)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain)
Cylance Cycling (USA)
Holowesko l Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Sportswear (USA)
Israel Cycling Academy (Israel)
Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Maxxis (USA)
Nippo-Vini Fantini (Italy)
Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
Rally Cycling (USA)
Silber Pro Cycling (Canada)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA).

“The lineup of teams for the 2017 Tour of Utah brings impressive cycling resumes and international flavor,” said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Tour of Utah. “With six international teams and four newcomers, the peloton will treat fans to world-class racing with a depth of talent. The scenic byways and mountain roads in Utah always prove challenging and I expect a tremendous week of racing in August.”

Going into this year’s Giro d’Italia, BMC Racing Team sits second overall in the UCI WorldTour Team rankings. The WorldTeam powerhouse scored 14 Top 10s at the 2016 Tour of Utah, making BMC Racing Team the top team for the seven-day stage race. Leading the way was American Joey Rosskopf with four Top 10s, including a sixth-place overall finish on the General Classification (G.C.). The team also features Americans Brent Bookwalter and Tejay Van Garderen. Bookwalter won the Points classification and finished third on G.C. in Utah in 2015. Van Garderen captured a Stage 3 win in 2011, the last time an individual time trial was part of the Tour of Utah. The team also includes 2014 Tour of Utah Stage 2 winner Michael Schär (Switzerland) and 2013 Tour of Utah Stage 1 winner Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium), who won this year’s Paris-Roubaix.

Among the six UCI Pro Continental teams headed to Utah this year are newcomers Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain), ranked 10th on the UCI Europe Tour, and Israel Cycling Academy (Israel), ranked 10th on the UCI America Tour. The Spanish team, which received a wild card entry into the 2017 Vuelta a España, features America Chris Butler on the roster, who has finished in the Top 12 of the Tour of Utah twice (2013, 2014). Israel Cycling Academy, the first pro team from that country, is racing its first year as a Pro Continental squad with 16 riders from 12 countries.

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team leads the way with an 11th trip to Utah, the most of any team. This Pro Continental team is currently ranked second on the UCI America Tour and on the USA Cycling Professional Road Tour (PRT). UHC captured seven Top 10s in last year’s Tour of Utah, including a Stage 4 win by American Travis McCabe. The team added Argentinian sprinter Sebastian Haedo to the roster this year, who was third on that same stage riding for Team Jamis.

Both Italian-based Pro Continental teams return for a second time to Utah, Bardiani CSF currently ranked 17th on the UCI Europe Tour and Nippo-Vini Fantini ranked 16th on the UCI America Tour. Bardiani CSF last competed in Utah in 2015, with six Top 10s and climber Stefano Pirazzi (Italy) finished 15th on G.C. Nippo-Vini Fantini captured two Top 10s in Utah last year, with its top climber Damiano Cunego finishing 29th on G.C. American-based Team Novo Nordisk returns for a sixth time to Utah, this year ranked 24th on the UCI Asia Tour.

There are seven Continental teams in the field, featuring first-time entries by Amore & Vita-Selle SMP presented by Fondriest (Albania) and Cylance Cycling (USA). Amore & Vita considers itself one of the oldest professional teams in the world, dating back to 1948. Ranked 12th on the UCI Africa Tour, this squad has 15 riders, all between the ages of 22-29, representing five European countries. Cylance Cycling, ranked 14th on the UCI America Tour, consists of 10 riders representing four countries.

Among the Continental ranks, Rally Cycling has raced the most often in Utah, returning for its ninth edition. The top-ranked team on the UCI America Tour, Rally Cycling also has a commanding lead in this year’s PRT team standings. They have scored six victories in PRT events since March, including three by American Eric Young, a two-time Tour of Utah stage winner (2014 and 2015). Other riders on the squad include American Jesse Anthony, who won a stage in Utah in 2011, and Canadian Rob Britton, who finished fifth on G.C. at last year’s Tour of Utah.

This is the fifth trip to Utah for the Holowesko l Citadel presented by Hincapie Sportswear team, ranked third on both the UCI America Tour and PRT. Among the 12 riders representing four countries is Lehi, Utah-native T.J. Eisenhart, who was seventh overall at the 2016 Tour of Utah. American teammate Robin Carpenter scored a win in Utah last year on Stage 2.

Rounding out the Continental squads are Silber Pro Cycling (Canada), Axeon Hagens Berman (USA) and Jelly Belly Cycling presented by Maxxis, which are currently ranked fifth, sixth and seventh on the UCI America Tour, respectively. Silber Pro Cycling returns to Utah for a second season with Canadian sprinter Kris Dahl, who won the opening stage of last year’s Tour of Utah.

Axeon Hagens Berman, making an eighth appearance in Utah, returns Americans Adrien Costa and Logan Owen. Costa, a 19-year-old climber from Bend, Ore., finished second overall at last year’s Tour of Utah. He also captured both the Best Young Rider and King of the Mountain designation jerseys. Owen, now 22 years old, won Stage 3 of the 2015 Tour of Utah and in 2016 scored two Top 10s (Stages 1 and 2).

Jelly Belly Cycling returns to Utah for a sixth time. While the team has lost last year’s Tour of Utah champion Lachlan Morton, it rides into the 2017 season with an 11-rider roster representing five countries. One of its youngest American riders, 21-year-old Sean Bennett, won the Mountains classification in April at the Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste.

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. The Tour of Utah attracted more than 400,000 spectators and contributed a new high of $23 million in direct economic impact for Utah last year. The Tour of Utah also continued its strong media reach with 28-plus hours of national television coverage on FOX Sports Network as well as more than 35 hours of live start-to-finish web casting via Tour Tracker, which attracted viewers from 142 countries.

CEDAR CITY, UT - AUGUST 1:   Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah - Stage 1 - Cedar City on August 1, 2016 in Cedar City, Utah. (Photo by Jonathan Devich/Getty Images) *** LOCAL CAPTION ***

Death of Rumsas Junior
More tragic news hit the World of cycling this week as news of the death of Lithuanian rider, Linas Rumsas, was released on Tuesday. The 21-year-old son of Raimondas Rumsas is said to have suddenly taken ill at his Italian home and lost consciousness. He was rushed to hospital, but died only a few hours later.

Rumsas had been riding for the Italian Altopack-Eppela team where he has had some success and was looking to become a professional. We send our condolences to the Rumsas family.

Linas Rumsas (right) on the podium:

FIGHT FOR PINK | Giro d’Italia 2017
If you need any motivation for getting out on your bike this might do it for you. On the other hand if you are looking forward to the next three weeks sitting in front of the TV or computer screen watching the Giro d’Italia, then this should also inspire you:

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