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EUROTRASH Giro’16 Thursday!

It’s Giro d’Italia time baby! Loads of Giro team info in today’s EUROTRASH. In other cycling news we catch-up with stage 1 the 4 Jours de Dunkirque and the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt with results and video. Plus the 2016 Vuelta a España teams, GoPro renews partnership with A.S.O. and Tour de France and crash video from the Red Hook Criterium. Giro cappuccino?

TOP STORY: The 2016 Giro d’Italia
With the Italian Grand Tour starting tomorrow (Friday), there can only be one ‘Top Story’. Okay the Tour is the biggest bike race on the planet, but that is the problem, the size of the French races makes it the behemoth of cycling and it is aimed at the masses. The Vuelta a España has all the excitement packaged in short stages, but coming at the end of the season (and in Olympic year) the Spanish race doesn’t always get the top men and with all the summit finishes none of the sprinters come to the Iberian peninsula. The Giro d’Italia is for the connoisseur, the cognoscenti, if you will, of cycling followers.

The race has everything for every style of rider, except maybe cobbles, and the winning rider has to be at his best for the three weeks. Yes, the Giro is (probably) the best Grand Tour of the season.

Don’t miss a pedal stroke and keep it PEZ for all the Giro action.

4 Jours de Dunkirque 2016
Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) repeated last year’s performance by winning the Stage 1 of the 4 Days of Dunkirk in dominant fashion. Cofidis had mistimed their lead-out and Adrien Petit positioned Coquard perfectly and he held off Raymond Kreder (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) and super fast-man Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to take both the stage victory and the leader’s jersey.

It was Coquard’s fifth win of the season, all in France, two stages of the Étoile de Bessèges, Route Adélie, a stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe and here in Dunkirk. He lacked only the icing on the cake; victory in the classics. Second in Dwars door Vlaanderen and fourth in Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race and Clásica de Almería.


Stage winner and overall leader, Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie): “Last year I already won the first stage but there were cobblestones, today it’s different, but I had to heart to finish the work of the team. There was not a guy who did not ride in the wind today and Adrien (Petit) dropped me off perfectly. I took four days off after the Amstel Gold Race but I was in great shape, and it is good to start with a win. But this is only the beginning of my preparation for the Tour.”

Cofidis DS Alain Deloeuil: “Unintentionally, we did the lead-out for Coquard, It was a bit chaotic finale. Everyone was ready to fight at the front of the pack with these very favorable weather conditions. You pay for the slightest error. We will put the record straight tomorrow.”

Wanty-Groupe Gobert DS Jean-Marc Rossignon: “We had a good day. Tom Devriendt had a puncture in the last kilometers and had to make a huge effort to come back. Someone broke Robin Stenuit’s wheel. It was a dangerous finish. Kenny Dehaes got a good result. It could have been better but Bryan Coquard and Nacer Bouhanni are fast.”

4 Jours de Dunkirque Stage 1:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie in 4:28:53
2. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
4. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Kenny De Haes (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Metropole Europeenne De Lille
7. Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ
8. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Etixx – Quick-Step
9. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
10. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec.

4 Jours de Dunkirque Overall After Stage 1:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie in 4:28:43
2. Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:02
3. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:04
4. Kai Reus (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis at 0:06
6. Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Armee de Terre
7. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:10
8. Kenny De Haes (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Metropole Europeenne De Lille
10. Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ.

Dunkirque Stage 1:

Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt 2016
In a repeat performance from 2014, Team Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff won again on Sunday in the one-day Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, sprinting in for the victory after just over five hours of racing. It was the seventh win for Kristoff in the 2016 racing season.

Joining Kristoff on the podium in Frankfurt were Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx – Quick Step) and Sam Bennett of Bora-Argon 18. Kristoff’s Katusha teammate Tsatevich was 12th.

Race winner, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “This was my first race in some time and I was not quite ready for it, just like in 2014 when I also won. I am in the process of building up my training for later results, so it is logical that I had it hard in the first part of the race. I suffered from cramping on some of the local laps and was dropped on the climbs – and two times Slava Kuznetsov brought me back, one time all by himself. He did an amazing job. In the end, I was still there and could be patient. Slava brought me to the front in the last kilometer and then Alexey Tsatevich took over. He did a perfect lead out for me. It was hard with the head wind. I was afraid I had started too early, but I kept my speed until the end.”

Alexander Kristoff will next race in the Amgen Tour of California. Asked if he feels a lot of pressure for California, the successful sprinter claims he has it under control. “No, on the contrary. I prefer to have the stress now rather than later in the season.”

Katusha Sports Director, Torsten Schmidt: “This was a nice race for the team. Everyone stuck to the plan we made before the race. There was a lot of pressure on Alexander so it was an important day. Matvey Mamykin did a great race. He showed us the perfect attitude for such a young guy and went away in the hilly German region with 9 others. In the end the race was like we hoped with a maximum of 30-40 riders left to sprint. Tsatevich and Kuznetsov did a great job in the last 5 km. It was nice to work with this group. At 206,8 km the route began in Eschborn and featured four local laps to include the Mammolshain climb. Team rider Matvey Mamykin was part of the early break of six riders. The group was allowed an advantage, but never more than 1:30, before escapee Bjorn Thurau (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) tried his luck in a solo attack. The move wasn’t long-lived under the control of Team Katusha, who worked to put Kristoff in position to sprint. Many attacks came in the final hard laps, including a final try by David De la Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step) that was finally brought back with 13 km to go. A reduced field remained for the final sprint won by Kristoff.”
Thanks to the Katusha team for the race info.

Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha in 5:00:02
2. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Pawel Franczak (Pol) Veranclassic-Ago
8. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
9. Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Stôlting Service Group.

Frankfurt 2016:

Giro d’Italia 2016
The 2016 Giro d’Italia starts on Friday with a 9.8 kilometer individual time trial followed by two more stages in the Apeldoorn area. The race jumps down to the toe of Italy to work its way up the center of the country before turning right at Modena to head towards Slovenia and then hit the climbs of the Alps and cross the top of Italy. The finalé of the race heads towards Torino with a loop into France to take in the Colle dell’Agnello, the 2016 Cima Coppi – the race’s highest point, before finishing in Torino on Sunday the 29th of May.

Giro website: www.giroditalia.it.

PEZ Giro d’Italia preview HERE.


Valverde leads Movistar Team in Giro d’Italia
UCI WorldTour winner in 2014, 2015 tops talented, strong squad, with high morale after scoring 18 victories since the beginning of the season.

Movistar Team confirms Monday the line-up the telephone squad will bring to the start of the 99th Giro d’Italia in Apeldoorn (NED), on Friday. José Luis Jaimerena and Chente García Acosta will direct Eusebio Unzué’s squad, led by Alejandro Valverde. The nine-man roster also includes Andrey Amador, Giovanni Visconti, Carlos Betancur, Rory Sutherland, Jasha Sütterlin, Javi Moreno, José Joaquín Rojas and José Herrada.


Valverde, winner in 2016 of the Vueltas a Castilla y León and Andalucía and author of a supreme finish in last April’s Flèche Wallonne, will find excellent support from Amador, 4th-place finisher in the 2015 ‘Corsa Rosa’, powerful rouleurs Sütterlin and Sutherland, talented climbers Herrada, Moreno and Betancur and qualified allrounders Rojas and Visconti, the latter winner of the ‘Maglia Azzurra’ as miglior scalatore in 2015. The whole Movistar Team will reach the Netherlands on Tuesday evening.

Rafal Majka leads Tinkoff charge at Giro d’Italia
Already a triple stage winner at the Tour de France, Tinkoff’s Polish climbing talent Rafal Majka is looking to build on his leadership performance at last year’s Vuelta a España where he finished on the podium. Having finished sixth at the 2014 Giro d’Italia, Rafal is vying for another podium performance at this year’s race.

Joining Rafal at the three-week is a mix of climbers and all round riders able to support the team leader over the varied terrains of the race. The experience of Matteo Tosatto, Evgeny Petrov and Pavel Brutt, starting their 13th, 11th and 7th Giro d’Italia respectively, will be valuable. They will race alongside Jesús Hernández and Pawel Poljanski who will play a role in the mountains, along with Jay McCarthy, Ivan Rovny and Manuele Boaro, the latter of whom will be keen to shine against the clock in his national race.

Talking about Tinkoff’s line-up for the Grand Tour, Sport Director Tristan Hoffman said: “Rafal Majka is the absolute leader here – if you look to the parcours, his history, how he has been riding in Romandie – so he will be our main card and our protected leader. We have a strong team around him including Pavel Brutt, who after his injury rode a good classics campaign, and will be a strong guy who can pull hard on the flats and go in the breakaways.

“We have Jay McCarthy who proved himself again at the Vuelta last year, and he has got results from the breakaway at the Giro before. Evgeny Petrov and Matteo Tosatto have a lot of experience and perform well at the Giro. We have guys who can pull hard on the flats and others who can hopefully stay with Rafal in the mountain stages, like Pawel Poljanski. Everyone has had a good preparation and is excited to be racing here.”

The 99th Giro d’Italia gets underway on May 6 in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, with an opening individual time trial over 9.8km before coming to a conclusion over 3,400km later in Torino, at the end of a 163km road stage where the 2016 winner will be crowned. As ever with the Giro, tough mountain stages are interspersed with many other difficulties and it seems at this race that even the straight forward days are never that.

With three time trials, one being a mountain climb, four possible sprint stages, five mountain-top finishes and countless stages in between, the course is for the real all-rounders. There’s even another off-road stage in the race this year, with the climb of Alpe di Poti on stage 8 featuring double digit gradients over dirt surfaces to further complicate things.

“I really look forward to tackling the Giro now, after months of preparation towards one of my biggest goals of the year,” Rafal Majka confirmed when looking ahead to the race. “As a team, we had a good winter, training and getting ready for the season and we have had strong results since starting racing which has built a good momentum. Now we are ready for the first Grand Tour and I’m excited to be leading the team in Italy. I want to do my best for myself, Tinkoff and all my fans.

“We’ve got a strong line-up for the race and it’s really good to be able to draw on the experience at this race from the guys like Tosatto, Petrov and Brutt, and to race alongside Poljanski. I think this is an important strength to have in the team. We have guys that can help me on all the various stages that the race has and then it’s up to me to be there when it matters.

“I’ve seen in Romandie that my form is where it needs to be after a solid period of altitude training in Cyprus with the team and ahead of the Giro. I’m happy with how I’m climbing and I think this is where the real differences will be made.

“Keep your fingers crossed for me!”

As well as the push for the overall classification, the team will be looking to take what opportunities come their way for stage successes over the 21 stages. Manuele Boaro in particular will be looking to get at the sharp end of the results in the individual time trials, of which there are two flat and one uphill stages.

Rafal can draw heavily on the experience of Matteo Tosatto, Evgeny Petrov and Pavel Brutt, with 28 Giro starts between them. From positioning to saving energy, to when to make your move as a team within the race, experience within the team is vital over 21 days of racing.

“In my eyes you can divide the race into three parts – the first days in flat, windy Holland, the rest of the first week in Italy with some tough early tests, and then the final week. You need to be good over the whole three weeks here, but especially for the last tests before Torino, with two tough mountain stages in the last days. Rafal is a rider who recovers well from hard efforts so hopefully he’s still have the legs to challenge here.

“I’m really looking forward to the race now and we can fix a podium spot as our objective, with a stage win also important for us. Everybody is ready to support Rafal, from the riders to the mechanics, the soigneurs and the rest of the staff.”


Etixx – Quick-Step to Giro d’Italia
The 99th edition of the season’s first Grand Tour (6-29 May) will start in Apeldoorn and finish in Torino

First held in 1909, the Giro d’Italia is a race which grew year after year and developed thanks to some superb sceneries, memorable stages, unforgettable heroes and hard terrain, from Tuscany’s strade bianche to the grueling climbs of the Dolomites. As a result, Corsa Rosa became one of the most popular events on the international calendar, a race which unfolds like a good book, adding excitement, drama, turnarounds and thrill with every page.

In 2016, the Giro d’Italia will start for the 12th time in history from a foreign country, as the Dutch City of Apeldoorn will host a short and fast individual time trial. In the first week-end, the sprinters are expected to be in the spotlight, before the race will explore a more difficult terrain, very suitable to the attackers. Of course, the fight for the pink jersey will once again hit the climax in the mountains, with such stages as Sestola, Alta Badia, Risoul or Sant’Anna di Vinadio giving the contenders plenty of opportunities to make the difference. On top of these, the Giro d’Italia also has two tough individual time trials, a long one taking place over the Chianti hills, while the second one will see the riders go up to Alpe di Siusi, which returns to the race after seven years.

One of the most successful teams to ride the Corsa Rosa in the past 15 years, with 12 stage wins and two jerseys (for the points, respectively the best young riders classification), Etixx – Quick-Step comes at the start of the first Grand Tour of the season with the goal of being again among the protagonists, and has every chance to do so, as it will field a squad which mixes youth with experience, ready to fight on every type of terrain and leave its mark on the race.

Etixx – Quick-Step’s line-up for the Giro d’Italia:

Gianluca Brambilla – In his fourth season with Etixx – Quick-Step, the Italian climber has enjoyed an impressive spring so far, with one win and six top 10 placings, in one-day races and stage events alike. Recently, Gianluca became a father and will be motivated to celebrate this happy event with a string of strong results on home turf.

David De La Cruz – Lining up at the start of the Corsa Rosa for the second year in a row will be another landmark in the career of the Spanish climber, who was so unlucky at times last season, but bounced back in 2016 to finish in the top 20 of the prestigious Paris-Nice and prove that he has returned on the right track.

Bob Jungels – One of the riders to join the team last autumn, the Luxembourg champion showcased his talent almost immediately after joining Etixx – Quick-Step, taking the inaugural stage at the Tour of Oman and finishing third at Tirreno-Adriatico, where he also won the young riders jersey. For Bob, it will be the first time he’ll ride the Giro d’Italia, thus making his participation a learning experience.

Marcel Kittel – The most successful rider of the season, with 8 wins to his name since the month of February, the German will look to add more victories to his impressive Grand Tour palmarès, which includes 11 wins in all three major races. Supported by a strong team, Marcel will hope to taste success early, on the opening week-end, when the sprinters will have two opportunities, in Nijmegen and Arnhem.

Fabio Sabatini – A respected rider in the peloton for his huge experience and road knowledge, Fabio is the one who’ll guide Marcel Kittel on the flat stages and make sure the German will be in the best position to kick-off his devastating sprint.

Pieter Serry – Always strong and always ready to give it his all for the team, Pieter will be an important asset for the outfit during the Giro d’Italia, a race he will ride for the third consecutive year and in which he’s ready to seize an opportunity if this will arise at some point.

Matteo Trentin – A versatile rider, Matteo returns to the Corsa Rosa after three years and will be one of the main men of Etixx – Quick-Step on the flat and also on the hills, as he’s a reliable helper, but also a rider capable of winning solo or from a reduced sprint, something which he has proven on several occasions in the past.

Carlos Verona – It’s easy to forget how young Carlos is, considering he’s with the team since 2013, but one should remember that he’s just 23-year-old and still has a lot of room for improvement. Making his debut at the Giro, the Spanish climber will be a key man for the squad in the mountains, where he’ll have the chance to test himself.

Lukasz Wisniowski – A second year pro and a debutant in a Grand Tour, our Polish powerhouse is going to be a valuable rider in Marcel Kittel’s train, as he can do some long and strong pulls on the flat in the important moments of the race, causing trouble in the peloton and eating into the breakaway’s advantage.

One of the team’s sport directors for the first Grand Tour of the season, along with Tom Steels and Rik van Slycke, Davide Bramati – who as a rider raced this event 12 times – talked of the course put up by the organizers for the 99th Giro d’Italia: “The first three days will be very difficult. If you look at the roadbook, you see just flat roads, but what it doesn’t show you are the strong winds in the Netherlands, which can make the race explode when you expect it the least, and that means you have to keep your focus at all times. As we return to Italy, the course will become tougher by the day, and the climbs of the Dolomites and French Alps, as well as the bad weather which we could experience, can take their toll on the riders.”

“We’re not making any secret of the fact that we’re coming here motivated to help Marcel get a stage victory and I think we have the potential to do that. Besides Marcel, we want to see how our young guys – Bob, David and Carlos – will fare on the climbs, especially those in the second half of the race, where also Gianluca can have an important word to say. I’m glad to have Matteo on the squad, who we can use as joker, but also Pieter, Lukasz and Fabio, all strong and reliable riders, who will support our leaders”, concluded Davide Bramati.

Cycling: 102th Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2016Team ETIXX - QUICK STEP (BEL)/ Liege - Liege (Ans) (253Km) / LBL Bastenaken © Tim De Waele

ORICA-GreenEDGE looking forward to the 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia
ORICA-GreenEDGE go into this week’s Giro d’Italia with a well balanced team to support Colombian Esteban Chaves and the objective of seriously challenging for a result in the overall general classification.

2015 Tour of Abu Dhabi winner Chaves produced a stellar performance in last year’s Vuelta a España with two stage wins and an impressive fifth place in the overall classification.

2016 marks the 99th edition of the prestigious Tour of Italy. As one of cycling’s three Grand Tours, the Giro is widely regarded as the most difficult due to the high mountains and unpredictable weather.

Taking place between the 6th and 29th of May covering 21 stages, this year’s race begins in Apeldoorn, Holland continuing the recent tradition of ‘international departs’ in various European countries.

The race begins with a 9.8kilometer individual time trial followed by two other road stages in Holland before heading to Italy for 18 stages that will cover the length and breadth of the country.

Sport director Matt White is looking forward to the three-week race and the opportunity to field a team capable of challenging for the overall general classification.

“This is the first time in the team’s history that we have a team assembled around a rider who has the genuine credentials to compete for the general classification,” said White. “Esteban’s (Chaves) performance in last year’s Vuelta a España has given the team another string to its bow and supporting him will be our big focus for the race.”

“This is new territory for us. We have enjoyed success at the Giro d’Italia in recent years with stage results and consecutive days in the leader’s jersey in 2014 and 2015 but we have never realistically gone into the race looking to challenge for the overall.”

“Esteban is super motivated and he has prepared very well for the race,” continued White. “We are confident that we can provide real support for Esteban. We have a well balanced team around him and the experience of our Spanish riders Ruben (Plaza) and Amets (Txurruka) will be important on the mountain stages.”

21-year-old Australian sprinting sensation Caleb Ewan will be starting only his second Grand Tour and White is excited at the prospect of seeing how the youngster will perform on the big stage against the best sprinters in the world.

“Caleb (Ewan) is really fast,” White said. “We are well aware of that and it’s going to be an exciting prospect for the team to see him make the step up in this kind of race.”

“He has made a great improvement over the last twelve months, I’m looking forward to seeing how he will perform against the big guns of the sprinting world.”

“There is going to be some strong competition there but we will be aiming to support Caleb on the stages that have the possibility of ending in a sprint finish.”

2014 Giro d’Italia stage winner Luka Mezgec and multiple world track champion Michael Hepburn will provide the vital speed required to support Ewan whilst New Zealander Sam Bewley and former Canadian road race champion Svein Tuft are the strong diesel engines of the team.

2013 under-23 world time trial champion Damien Howson completes the Giro d’Italia line up for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

The young Australian comes into the team directly off the back of an impressive performance in the Tour de Romandie, wearing the best young rider’s jersey on stage four and finishing in 16th position overall.

The Giro d’Italia begins in Holland on Friday the 6th of May and concludes in Turin on the 29th of May.

ORICA-GreenEDGE at the 2016 Giro d’Italia (6-29 May):
Sam Bewley (NZ, 28), Esteban Chaves (COL, 26), Caleb Ewan (AUS, NSW, 21), Michael Hepburn (AUS, QLD, 24), Damien Howson (AUS, SA, 23), Luka Mezgec (SLO, 27), Ruben Plaza (ESP, 36), Svein Tuft (CAN, 38), Amets Txurruka (ESP, 32).

Esteban Chaves:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo ready for Giro d’Italia
Team LottoNL-Jumbo goes to the Giro d’Italia with Steven Kruijswijk as its leader. The Dutchman, who finished seventh overall in last year’s Italian tour, aims for another top-10 spot.

“The general classification is our main target,” Sports Director Addy Engels said. “We want to race aggressively to reach a great overall result. That doesn’t mean that we’re just going to attack every day, but when we think that it’s possible for the breakaway to make it to the finish, we’re going to try. Steven Kruijswijk has to do that himself at times, as well.”

Third week
That aggressive style brought Kruijswijk seventh overall in 2015, but he had some space because of an early time losses. “I have to prevent losing so much time like last year,” Kruijswijk added. “If I’m able to reach the level that I had last year, it might be another beautiful Giro d’Italia.

“My preparation has been quite the same as last year and I stayed out of trouble. My strongest point is the final week and that’s the point where you can win the most, as well. I will focus on my competitors, the first two weeks, and to strike in the final one.”

Kruijswijk will be supported by the experience of Jos van Emden, Martijn Keizer, Maarten Tjallingii and Bram Tankink. Team LottoNL-Jumbo has some riders who can win stages. “Enrico Battaglin is able to do it from a breakaway and in a small group sprint,” Engels continued. “He already proved that in the Giro d’Italia. Moreno Hofland is our fastest man and with him, we have a chance in the bunch sprints. Primoz Roglic is able to win, as well. He was already close in the Volta a Catalunya.”

Time trial
The Giro d’Italia starts in LottoNL-Jumbo’s backyard on Friday, May 6th with an individual time trial in Apeldoorn. It stays in the Netherlands for three days. Jos van Eden finished fifth in the prologue of the Tour de France in Utrecht, won the time trial in the Eneco Tour and wants to show off another time in Apeldoorn. Martijn Keizer is aiming for a strong opening time trial as well. “The time trials in the Tour de Romandie gave me a positive feeling,” Keizer says. “I’m aiming for a top-5 spot in the prologue of the Giro.”

“To start the Giro in Apeldoorn is something special for us Dutchmen,” Engels said. “It’s extra motivation. I experienced the Giro starts in Groningen in 2002 and Amsterdam in 2010 as a rider and those moments gave me a special feeling. I’ve seen some villages in Gelderland that already colored pink, so it will give us a boost.”

Steven Kruijswijk, Primoz Roglic, Enrico Battaglin, Moreno Hofland, Maarten Tjallingii, Bram Tankink, Jos van Emden, Martijn Keizer and Twan Castelijns.
Sports Directors: Addy Engels and Jan Boven.

Steven Kruijswijk:
Giro d'Italia 2015 stage - 20

Giant-Alpecin for the Giro d’Italia
This year’s Giro is very special as it starts in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, on Friday with a 9.8km individual time trial, only a few steps away from the team’s Service Course. This is followed by two more stages in Holland before the race moves back home to Italy.

In his first Giro, Tom Dumoulin (NED) will be primarily aiming for the time trials. With Nikias Arndt (GER), there are a few early chances to go for success with the flat stages in the first week of racing. The opportunists in the line-up include Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) and Georg Preidler (AUT), who are all capable of getting in the breakaways and fighting for a stage victory, as well as proving their strength against the clock.

Coach for the Giro d’Italia, Marc Reef (NED) said: “Our target is to go for a stage victory. We’ll have different opportunities in the time trials and the sprint stages. On top of that, we will apply an offensive strategy to aim for stage results from possible breakaways that survive until the finish.”

Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Marc Reef.

Tom Dumoulin:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-11

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka all set for first Giro d’Italia
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are all set to start this year’s Giro d’Italia, which gets underway on 6 May in Apeldoorn, Holland. It will be the first time our African Team start the Italian Grand Tour, making it a significant moment for our team and for African cycling in general.

The Giro d’Italia is yet another amazing opportunity for our African Team to share our #BicyclesChangeLives message to the world and so we are delighted to announce our 9 rider roster that will represent Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka over the coming 3 weeks. We are also really proud that 5 of our African riders will start, including the South African national champion, Jaco Venter. He will get to show off the national jersey at the Giro d’Italia for the first time since 2012.

Riders will be tested to their limits over the 21 stages that make up the 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia and for further details on each of the stages, click here.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka Giro d’Italia 2016 Squad:
Merhawi Kudus (22 years – Eritrea), Kanstantsin Siutsou (33 years – Belarus), Igor Anton (33 years – Spain), Omar Fraile (25 years – Spain), Kristian Sbaragli (25 years – Italy), Jaco Venter (29 years – South Africa), Johann van Zyl (25 years – South Africa), Jay Thomson (30 years – South Africa), Songezo Jim (25 years – South Africa).

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
We did a big push to get into the Giro d’Italia in 2014 as our first Grand Tour as Africa’s cycling team and it was not to be, so to be standing on the start line in 2016 is massive for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Starting in Holland is incredible as we had a great Tour de France last year, when we started in Utrecht. We have selected an amazing team with 7 riders new to the Giro and 2 riders, Igor Anton and Kanstantsin Siutsou, who have 10 Giro’s between them with the latter one riding into the top 10 before and winning a stage. Both riders will play leading roles in this team in support both on and off the bike. To have 5 riders from Africa in this team racing their first Giro is a dream come true for us, as well as for our young Italian Kristian Sbaragli and Basque Omar Fraile. We hope to make an impact that matters.

Rolf Aldag – Head of Performance
We’re extremely happy to celebrate our first appearance at the Giro d’Italia. Our riders are ready, we have an incredibly motivated group of people who are ready to leave their mark in one of the biggest races of the year. Starting a grand tour in Holland is always very special, because it is one of the moments where the tradition and the respect of the Dutch meet the history of more than 100 years of bike racing.

Jaco Venter – Rider
The team has been based in Italy for a number of years and to be able to race the Giro d’Italia now, well it has always been a big goal for me and the team. It will also be my first grand tour wearing the South African champions jersey which is really special. Racing so close to my European base, it feels like it is a home race for me. We have a strong team for the Giro so we are hoping for some good results and some good weather.


Uran Leads GC-Minded Cannondale Pro Cycling into Giro
Rigoberto Uran will lead the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team into the Giro d’Italia, which begins on Friday in the Netherlands. The race features six very hard days in the mountains and also demands three separate efforts against the clock, meaning that a balanced rider such as Uran has a very good chance at winning the overall.

“We’ve made no bones about the Giro being our target for the season. It’s a major objective for us, and the guys have trained accordingly. They’ve done the laps of the volcano; they’ve raced in rough conditions leading into this,” Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “It’s the Giro, so you’re never completely prepared, but the team is as ready as possible. Rigo’s going good, and he’s got a really good group around him. He’s got a really good shot to win.”

Uran has finished second on two occasions at the Giro, in 2013 and 2014. And the 29-year-old Colombian finished seventh in 2012.

“The whole team is totally focused and ready for work,” said Uran. “This season, I have worked more in Europe and have made several highly focused efforts to prepare.”

Asked if he could win, all Uran said was:

“We are going to try and confirm that in 21 days.”

“Rigo’s our leader going into the Giro because we like his toughness over three weeks. He’s a resilient, smart racer. Consistency is key to winning a grand tour, and that’s what I see in Rigo,” Vaughters said. “He may lack the raw horsepower of Nibali, but he’s a deeply intelligent rider. And as a person, he’s the guy the rest of the team wants to support. They love the guy.”

The squad that Cannondale Pro Cycling brings is completely dedicated to the GC pursuit. Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Andre Cardoso, Simon Clarke, Joe Dombrowski, Davide Formolo, Moreno Moser, and Ramunas Navardauskas are ready to support the team’s ambitions at the Giro. Clarke will serve as road captain — an invaluable element in a race as hectic and difficult as the Giro.

“He’s our road captain because of his leadership and intelligence. He’s the best out there. And, unlike many of the other road captains, he’s never dropped early in the hills. He’s there to lead until the bitter end,” Vaughters said.

Dombrowski makes his first Giro start and, along with Formolo and Cardoso, is a vital cog in the machinery needed to win the Giro.

“I’m looking forward to coming into the race with a clear leader and clear objective, with the experience of having ridden my first grand tour last year,” Dombrowski said. “I’m hoping to be a good support rider for Rigo, particularly in the mountain stages later in the race. Additionally, I’m looking forward to the stage over Col de la Bonette. I’ve spent a lot of time training at altitude in that area because it is close to where I am based in Nice. The riding is stunning, and I have friends and family that are going to be out on the road watching.

Formolo, for his part, was just counting the days this week. “It’s Giro time,” he said. “I’m good. It’s unlucky I crashed in Romandie, but I’ll fix everything in the next couple days. I’m ready to fight.”

This Giro has been a long time coming for the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and something the group has put complete focus on.

“We are very happy with how the team is functioning. The riders from this group have all come into form at the right time,” head sport director Charly Wegelius said. “We can look towards the Giro with confidence.”

The Giro begins on Friday, May 6 with a short, opening time trial in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. It concludes 20 stages later in Torino, Italy on Sunday, May 29.

Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters on each selection to the roster:

Alberto Bettiol, all-rounder:
“We’re going to rely on Alberto to shepherd our leaders on the faster stages. Those seconds before the finish never show up in articles, but they’re some of the most crucial pieces of a stage race. When a team rides for GC as we are, it comes down to seconds. Those seconds are accounted for in so many ways at the Giro. Alberto will be asked to keep Rigoberto protected in those moments. At 22, he’s one of the youngest riders in the race.”

Nate Brown, all-rounder:
“Nate was a last-minute addition to our Giro roster after the Mike Woods injury at LBL, but we tapped him last minute because we knew he was in shape and able to perform under rough conditions. He’s effective in the last week. He’s durable. He’s not always sharp the first week, but has the makings of a grand tour domestique, as he’s a diesel, and his engine only warms up by week three. Also, Nate’s selfless; he loves being a good helper, and he relishes in the hard work.”

Andre Cardoso, climber:
“Cardoso’s talents as a climber are well known, and that’s exactly what we’re asking of him in Italy; he’ll be one of Rigo’s last men standing in the mountains. We need his grand tour savvy, too: He finished in the top 25 in both the Giro and Vuelta last season. He’s great in the third week no matter what. He crashes, he keeps going. He gets sick, he keeps going.”

Simon Clarke, all-rounder, road captain:
“Simon came to us this season with important experience in big races and his all-around ability make him a threat in the stages at the Giro I look at as the in-betweens. Not a sprint, not a summit, just hard bike racing. He’s also our road captain because of his leadership and intelligence. He’s the best road captain out there. And, unlike many of the other road captains, he’s never dropped early in the hills. He’s there to lead until the bitter end.”

Joe Dombrowski, climber:
“Joe’s done the hard miles in training with the guys on Tenerife and he’s raced the Vuelta before. He won the “Baby Giro” in 2012, and the Tour of Utah last year. He’s coming along really nicely. Joe will likely suffer early on and on the explosive climbs, but when it gets really tough he’ll be there in a big way. He may be the key guy in Rigo’s run for the win.”

Davide Formolo, climber:
“He’s earned the respect of his older teammates and the confidence of his directors. He rode the Giro last year, but I’m expecting a much different Davide this time around. He’s got a shot at the young rider jersey, sure, but that’s a by-product of riding well. He’ll be a super-domestique for Rigo, but I’d look for him to take some chances, too. The Giro’s an exciting race for a young Italian rider like Davide. He’ll ride accordingly.”

Moreno Moser, all-rounder, time trialist:
“We selected Moreno for his all-around strength and knowledge of the race. He’s a good time trialist and will target those efforts as well as work to keep the race smooth for Rigoberto in the middle-mountain stages. He can compete on varied terrain for wins, as well. People forget he won Strade Bianche. He’s competitive and it’s a race on home soil — Moreno will be a key piece in the race for us.”

Ramunas Navardauskas, all-rounder:
“Of all the guys in the peloton, I think Ramunas is one of the most versatile. He finished on the podium at Worlds last season, and that’s indicative of the type of rider he is: strong over varied terrain, and tough. He’s won a stage at both the Giro and Tour, too. He’s the best helper possible on the flat days, unselfish and an absolute horse in the crosswinds.”

Rigoberto Uran, climber and time trialist, Leader.
“Rigo’s our leader going into the Giro because we like his toughness over three weeks. He’s a resilient, smart racer. Consistency is key to winning a grand tour, and that’s what I see in Rigo right now. He’s finished second on GC twice at the Giro, and has two stage wins. Hey may lack the raw horsepower of Nibali, but he’s a deeply intelligent rider. And as a person, he’s the guy the rest of the team wants to support. They love the guy.”

Cannondale Pro Cycling for the 2016 Giro d’Italia:
Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Andre Cardoso, Simon Clarke, Joe Dombrowski, Davide Formolo, Moreno Moser, Ramunas Navardauskas, Rigoberto Uran.

Rigoberto Uran:
Rigoberto Uran attacks on stage four of the 2016 Tour de Romandie

FDJ team for the Giro d’Italia
The French team announce their selection for the Italian Grand Tour by video:

Giro d’Italia – Marcel Wyss: “I will be aiming to join a breakaway with a chance to go for the win”
THE EXPLANATION: “The Giro has not actually become more humane,” Marcel Wyss commented when discussing the first grand tour of the 2016 season. “I have had a chance to study the course, and it seems just as difficult as previous editions. Personally, I will be aiming to join a breakaway that has a chance to play for the win.”

THE PROFESSIONAL: Now that he is approaching his 30th birthday (June 25th), Marcel Wyss will be participating in his third Giro. The IAM Cycling rider from central Switzerland took the trouble to travel to Tuscany this past March to reconnoiter three important stages that should in principle be advantageous for the climbers.

THE QUOTE: “I hope that the team reiterates and confirms its attacking temperament,” IAM Cycling founder, Michel Thétaz, explained. “That sort of aggressive riding should give us at least one chance, whether in a sprint or mountain stage, to go for the win.”

THE INFO: Since the Grand Depart is set to take place at Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, the RCS who organizes the Giro, have scheduled the prologue for Friday, May 6th. And then after two stages that will take place in the vicinity of the Dutch city, the whole traveling circus will then transfer more than 3000 kilometers to continue the race at the tippy toe of the country in Catanzaro (Calabria).

THE CHALLENGE: Matthias Brändle has set himself the goal of taking the first pink jersey of the race by winning the 9.8km prologue through the streets of Apeldoorn. The former holder of the world hour record will certainly have formidable competition in this event, starting with none other than Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo).

THE NUMBER: 45. The number of categorized climbing kilometers that have been listed throughout the three weeks of racing.

THE ANALYSIS: Rik Verbrugghe, IAM Cycling’s sports manager, is keeping his feet on the ground when setting the objectives for his nine riders scheduled to participate. “We won’t be looking for a place in the top-10 overall. I would definitely like to see an increasingly aggressive team try to win a stage by going into intelligent breakaways. And then we also have several strong sprinters for the fast finishes, including Matteo Pelucchi, Leigh Howard, and Heinrich Haussler.”

Matthias Brändle (Aut), Stefan Denifl (Aut), Heinrich Haussler (Aus), Leigh Howard (Aus), Roger Kluge (All), Matteo Pelucchi (It), Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor), Larry Warbasse (USA), Marcel Wyss (S).
Fondateur: Michel Thétaz. Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe. Directeurs sportifs: Kjell Carlström, Mario Chiesa.

Marcel Wyss:
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling)    pictured during  le Tour de France 2015 - stage 18 - from Gap io Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne on thurssday 23-07-2015 - 186.5 KM - photo NV/VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2015

Giro preview with sports director Bart Leysen
Now that the Spring Classics have come to an end it’s time to look forward to the first Grand Tour of the season. The 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia starts in Apeldoorn. The peloton will stay three days in the South-East of the Netherlands, then it will travel to Italy. After that, the riders need to compete against each other for another three weeks.

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “This year’s Giro starts with a short individual time trial of almost ten kilometres. It will be something for the real specialists. The rider who manages to obtain the pink jersey in the first stage will be able to wear this jersey for about three days without any inconveniences. The next two stages in the Netherlands will most likely end with a bunch sprint. The wind can play an important role but in my opinion, the teams with a decent sprinter will give their all to make sure that these stages end with a sprint. After these three stages the riders will head to Italy. I think that each team will have twice as much staff as usual so the trip will go fluently. A rest day is scheduled on Monday so the trip won’t have a big influence.”

The first week in Italy contains a few interesting stages. Again, there will be some opportunities for the sprinters. But there are also opportunities for a breakaway to survive. Also the GC riders need to be attentive in several stages. The day before the second rest day a long and hard individual time trial is scheduled.

Bart Leysen: “The breakaway specialists will certainly try something during the fourth and eighth stage. These stages have a tough finale so that gives an advantage to the riders who dare to try something. Stage five and seven will offer more opportunities to the sprinters. The sixth stage will be very important for GC, as well as the second individual time trial. The GC riders will have to be attentive at the front of the peloton during the sixth stage, in the time trial they need to limit their loss on their competitors.”

“The second week the course is quite similar, although more mountain stages are scheduled that week. The final three stages certainly will have an influence on the GC positions. Especially the climbing time trial of about ten kilometers will be a very hard day. The time gaps will be big. The other stages are opportunities for the punchers and breakaway riders. Stage twelve will be another sprint stage, the course is entirely flat that day.”

The riders will need to give their all right after the third rest day with a tough stage that ends with an uphill finish. After that, another sprint stage is scheduled. On stage seventeen a breakaway could be successful again. During the nineteenth and twentieth stage, the positions on GC will be finally determined. The final stage offers a last opportunity to the sprinters.

Bart Leysen: “It will depend on how the riders will have recovered from the final rest day. Some riders feel really good after a rest day, others have very bad legs. The next stage will end with a bunch sprint just as the final stage, although last year that wasn’t the case (Iljo Keisse won the final stage in last year’s Giro d’Italia after a sprint against his co-escapee Luke Durbridge, LTS). We’ll see how many sprinters will still be present in the race at that moment and how the sprint teams will deal with the escapees. It’s possible that a break survives, that’s also the case for the eighteenth stage. The next two stages will certainly determine the positions on GC. There will be a lot of attempts during these stages. In my opinion, this year’s Giro d’Italia won’t be determined before the final mountain stage. A lot of things can happen during these two days.”

“We participate with a very strong team in the Giro, several types of riders are part of our line-up so we can play a role in almost every stage. Lars Bak is a very experienced rider and he will be in the sprint train of André during the first two weeks. After that he’ll have a free role so he’ll be able to join a break for instance. Sean De Bie rides his first Grand Tour ever. It will be another step forward for him. Together with Tim Wellens he’s the youngest rider of our team and they will certainly make each other stronger. Sean will have to do a lot of work, but he’ll also get the opportunity to join a break if that’s possible. The main goal for Sean is to finish his first Grand Tour. Of course, André Greipel is our leader to win stages. He completed fewer races compared to last year but I’m sure that André is ready to shine. There will be about five sprint opportunities and he’ll certainly show himself.”

“Adam Hansen rides his fourteenth consecutive Grand Tour so he knows what such race entails. He will be an important member of Greipel’s sprint train, but just like Lars he’ll also get his opportunities to go for a stage win himself by joining a break. Pim Ligthart is also a rider who will be part of the sprint train. He will be extra motivated because the first three stages are held in his home country. Pim can also join a break or attack in the finale. Maxime Monfort will be our leader for the GC. He’ll need to be attentively at the front of the peloton in the important GC stages and he’ll need to limit the time gaps with his competitors in the time trials. Normally, this discipline suits him well. Last year, Monfort was sixteenth overall, this year we aim for the same result. Jürgen Roelandts will be another important rider for the sprint preparation. His next goal will be the Belgian Championships road race, he needs a long race period so he can improve his shape. Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens will be the riders who can try something in the stages with a hard finale. They’re also able to surround Maxime as long as they can. I really look forward to this interesting and beautiful race.”

Roster Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Sean De Bie, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Frederik Willems.

Adam Hansen:
Madrid - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Adam Hansen (Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during La Vuelta 2015 Stage 21 from  Alcala de Henares to Madrid - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2015

La Vuelta a España 2016: Teams selection
The organization of the 2016 Vuelta a España hereby announces the list of teams selected to participate in the 71st edition of the race, that will take place from the 20th of August to the 11th of September.

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
Ag2r La Mondiale (FRA)
Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Etixx – Quick Step (BEL)
IAM Cycling (SUI)
Lampre – Merida (ITA)
Lotto Soudal (BEL)
Movistar Team (SPA)
Orica GreenEDGE (AUS)
Team Dimension Data (RSA)
Team Giant – Alpecin (GER)
Team Katusha (RUS)
Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (NED)
Team Sky (GBR)
Tinkoff (RUS)
Trek – Segafredo (USA).

Four other teams have been invited to participate in the 2016 Vuelta a España :
Bora – Argon18 (GER)
Caja Rural – Seguros RGA (ESP)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (FRA)
Direct Energie (FRA).

2015 Vuelta a España winner, Fabio Aru:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-21

GoPro renews partnership with A.S.O. and Tour de France
GoPro will continue to support the daily live webcast of key races by providing footage from onboard cameras

GoPro, Inc. is proud to announce its renewed partnership with A.S.O. that will enable viewers to experience the Tour de France and other key races from the very center of the action. Riders from all teams participating in the Tour de France will be wearing GoPro cameras mounted to their body or bikes to provide cycling fans around the globe with new and exciting angles from the world’s toughest race.

“Thanks to the reduced weight and small size of the HERO Session fans get to experience the race from right in the middle of the peloton. GoPro cameras add a whole new perspective to cycling and I am proud that we are changing the way people everywhere see sport,” said Todd Ballard, Vice President of Global Sports Entertainment Marketing for GoPro. “Last year, fans witnessed an entirely new perspective of the Tour. For the first time, viewers rode inside the peloton and were immersed into the action in such a way previously only experienced by the competing cyclists. For 2016, GoPro will be bringing the viewers even more from inside the Tour“.

At the same time, GoPro is releasing the Road Cycling Series called “Beyond the Race” that will provide new insights and behind-the-scenes footage from the teams and the races and tell the most exciting stories from the world of cycling. “Beyond the Race” will go live on the GoPro YouTube channel (‪YouTube.com/GoPro) with the teaser video on April 26, followed by the first episode premiering on May 5. From there, viewers can keep up with the series with bi-weekly episodes throughout the cycling season.

Red Hook Criterium 2016
There has been a lot of talk about motos causing crashes, but this one has to be the worst:

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