EUROTRASH Jim Thursday!
We are in the lull before the storm of the World Championships and so we catch-up with Songezo Jim, the first black south african to finish a Grand Tour. The Worlds start with the team time trial and the teams are starting to name their riders. Results and reports from the GP de Wallonie and the Coppa Agostoni-Giro delle Brianze, plus more contract news, Lombardia course change and Adam Hansen sets the record of 13 Grand Tours in a row.
TOP STORY: Songezo Jim: Grand Tour Debut Success
Songezo Jim becomes the first black South African to finish a cycling grand tour, these are his thoughts:
“Getting to my first grand tour was something I really worked hard for so to finish it now, it is a pretty amazing achievement. I am really happy to have made it to Madrid.
When I first started the Vuelta I thought I’d just be there trying to finish but I was also happy with my performance. I was there to help the team when needed, getting bottles and with Louis doing so well on the GC it was important that we all did our part. I also made it into two breakaway’s, on stage 9 and stage 18. The first breakaway was good for me because I was still feeling relatively fresh so I enjoyed that day.
A grand tour race is different to any other professional race though. Firstly it is a World Tour level event so the standard is really, really high. Then there is the duration, for three weeks you racing at that level so it really takes a lot out of your body. I got sick before stage 16, which was a really difficult stage so I was stressing a bit since then because I never really got 100% healthy again but I am happy I made it through. It was going to take a broken bone to stop me from getting to Madrid, I think that was the only thing that could have stopped me from finishing this race.
This was only my first grand tour but I already know I want to do more grand tours. The longer the stage race is, the better I get. Normally I only do 7 to 9 days but a grand tour is 3 weeks. I hope to get used to this type of racing because I want to win a stage in a grand tour in the near future. From what I could I see, I just need to up my level a bit more because you could see the breakaway’s making it in the final in the 3rd week. I was there in the break on stage 18 which was good, but I just couldn’t stay with Nicolas Roche and them at the end so I need that extra depth still.
It has been a memorable 3 weeks for me and I want to thank all my teammates and our staff. The staff have always been there for us, helping us to perform our best every day. Our Chef, Soren, he was fantastic in preparing our food every day. The food is one of the most important things as it keeps you going. If you don’t eat well you won’t recover well and then you also not going to ride well. So he was great but everyone on our team was as well.
A lot of people have said that finishing your first grand tour boosts your engine a bit, so I am confident in my progression as bike rider. Right now, I’m not 100% healthy after the race but I’m going home now and I’ll relax for a couple of days and get healthy again. Then I have 3 Italian races and the Abu Dhabi Tour, hopefully I can have a good race in Abu Dhabi as it will be my last race of the season before I go back home to South Africa for some proper rest.
To end off, I really want to thank my girlfriend Khusela Ngubelanga for all the support, she’s been there for me every day during the Vuelta supporting me. She doesn’t understand too much about cycling but she was always there, asking questions and my aunt also, Nomfundo Nonjojo so I want to thank them especially. Then to all the fans and people back home who have been sending messages, thank you for the support. I don’t know if I could have finished the Vuelta without your support.”
Thanks to Songezo Jim and the MTN-Qhubeka team.
GP de Wallonie 2015
Jens Debusschere won the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday afternoon. The Lotto Soudal rider arrived solo at the finish on the Citadelle de Namur and took his second victory of the season, he already won a stage in the Tirreno-Adriatico.
An early breakaway of five was caught with fifty kilometers to go. The riders had a tough day, especially due to the weather conditions, there was a pouring rain. In the next phase there were several attacks, also Louis Vervaeke had a go. Eventually nine riders got away, Jens Debusschere and Lotto Soudal teammate Jelle Vanendert were in that group. They had the company of Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Bille (Verandas Willems), Bonnamour (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Laporte & Molard (Cofidis), Pinot & Vichot (FDJ.fr). These riders started the climb of the Citadelle de Namur together. Debusschere attacked just before the last kilometer and beat his companions. Six seconds later Jan Bakelants crossed the finish line as second, Christophe Laporte was third, Gaetan Bille was fourth and Jelle Vanendert finished in the fifth position.
Race winner, Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal): “This win is marvelous, it’s the first time I take a solo victory as a pro. I had a difficult moment on the climb just before the Citadelle, I was the last of our group to get to the top. The Cofidis riders (Laporte and Molard, LTS) set the pace in the beginning of the last hill. Just before entering the last kilometer the pace went down and I decided to attack. I knew there was a possibility at that point, just before the sprint would start. Jelle and I had talked and agreed that I should make the first move and if Bakelants would do a counterattack Jelle would react. Bakelants made the best impression during the day and for me it was good that the others focused on him. Our team raced attentively all day long and because we were riding in the front part of the bunch all the time we didn’t get involved in any crashes. Vegard Breen protected us from the wind, in the finale we saw a strong Louis Vervaeke. This is always my best time of the year, that gives me extra confidence and especially now with this new victory. The next races I want to be good again. Friday I’ll race in Koolskamp, next week I will ride in Lichtervelde and then it’s the Eurométropole Tour.”
Pieter Serry (Etixx – Quick-Step), crashed with about 50km to go at Grand Prix de Wallonie and withdrew from the race and was transported to the hospital of Cliniques Universitaires UCL Mont-Godinne. Serry was then diagnosed with a luxation of the left elbow. He will be operated on immediately in the same hospital.
GP de Wallonie Result:
1. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:57:37
2. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:06
3. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:07
4. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Verandas Willems
5. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:08
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:10
7. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:12
8. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
9. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis at 0:26
10. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:43.
GP de Wallonie:
Coppa Agostoni-Giro delle Brianze 2015
Under the grey skies of the Coppa Agostoni on Wednesday, the veteran Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi) rode to victory ahead of breakaway partner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) led the bunch sprint home for 3rd place.
On a cool and gloomy day that saw the riders having to race 198km in wet conditions, 8 riders formed the break of the day after around an hour of racing. They soon became 7 though due to a mechanical: Giacomo Tomio (Roth Skoda), Davide Ballerini (Unieuro Wilier Trevigiani), Stefan Schumacher (CCC Sprandi), Miguel Benito (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Rafael Andriato (Southeast), Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Argon 18) and Gianfranco Zilioli (Androni-Giocatoli).
The Italian riders take great pride in their local events and so it was no wonder that the Italian hopefuls who had missed the move sent their teams to the front to control the break. With a definitive final 70km left to race, the break had already been neutralized thanks to Astana and a few other local teams. After numerous attacks a new break formed with just under 60km to race and it was the well-known trio of Rebellin, Nibali and Michele Scarponi (Astana) that got off the front together. The 3 major players were able to open up a minute lead before Bardiani and Southeast started making inroads into their advantage. Eventually Scarponi couldn’t sustain the pace as Rebellin and Nibali rode away with the race. A reduced peloton had to settle with sprinting it out for 3rd place.
Race winner,Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi Polkowice): “It was a big win for me, since it was achieved after very hard race,” Rebellin said. “We attacked with Nibali and Scarponi and we were chased down by the peloton for nearly 50 kilometers in the flat terrain, which favors the bunch. I entered the final 2 kilometers together with Nibali and with 200 meters to go we began the sprint. Astana rider passed me at first, but I managed to sit on his wheel and overtake him 50 meters from the line. I’m very happy about that victory and I want to thank the entire team, which helped me to be in a position to win.”
3rd, Niccolò Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida): “I knew the course was more demanding than in 2014, but during the race I had good feelings, so I tried to achieve a top result. I limited the gap on the climbs, trying to come back on the downhills. I thank Ravasi for his generous support, unfortunately the leading trio of attackers rode very fast. I’m satisfied, the victory would have made me even happier.”
MTN-Qhubeka DS, Alex Sans Vega: “It was a rainy day and therefore with the steep uphills, small roads and steep descents we knew the race would become dangerous. There were a lot of attacks in the first 40km before the 8 riders were allowed a gap. They got a maximum of 4:30 lead with Astana working in the bunch. With around 60km to go, Nibali attacks with Rebellin and Scarponi. The peloton was only 35 riders with Bardiani and Southeast chasing but it was not enough to close the gap as the leaders survived by 2 seconds. We had Merhawi and Serge in the front group which was good on such a difficult day. Jayde crashed on one of the descents but fortunately he is okay.”
Coppa Agostoni-Giro delle Brianze Result:
1. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 5:04:28
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
3. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Nazionale Italiana
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Roth-Skoda
7. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Southeast
8. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
9. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Antonino Parrinello (Ita) D’Amico Bottecchia.
UCI World Team Time Trial Championships
The 2015 World championships in Richmond, USA kick off with the team time trial on Sunday. Both the women and men’s races are on the same course and over 38.8 kilometers. The opening kilometers race through Richmond’s historic Northside neighborhoods leading into downtown. The course continues east of Richmond down rural Route 5, which parallels the 50-mile Virginia Capital Trail. The first few kilometers are scenic, flat, open roads that eventually narrow and wind through Richmond National Battlefield Park, a historic Civil War site. The race re-enters the city through Shockoe Bottom, eventually making a hard right turn on Governor Street to ascend 300 meters. At the top, teams take a sharp left turn onto the false-flat finishing straight, 680 meters to the finish.
As always we will have a full Worlds coverage, so keep it PEZ.
More team time trial news will be added when we get it.
Etixx – Quick-Step to the UCI World TTT Championship
15-Sep-2015: Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in the 38.8km UCI World TTT Championship, which takes place in Richmond, Virginia of the United States of America on Sunday, the 20th of September.
The course is fast, with just 240m of elevation change. However, there is some up-and-down to the roads, including a hard right turn on to Governor Street near the end of the race, which then ascends for 300 meters before a hard left turn onto a false-flat finishing straight of 680 meters.
The selection for the UCI World TTT is Yves Lampaert, Niki Terpstra, Rigoberto Uran, Tom Boonen, Tony Martin, and Michal Kwiatkowski.
“We met with a few of the guys of the TTT on Monday, the 7th of September, to perform a good test prior to the UCI World TTT Championship,” Sport Director Tom Steels said. “We went on the Ursel airfield in Belgium, which was perfect considering the surface and the long stretch of road, almost 3 kilometers of completely straight road. We collected some important data that we analyzed and we will for sure use this in preparation for worlds. It was also good to work on the slipstream and the combination of the riders. We even did some specific workouts focusing on the corners. So, I think it was important. It’s also good for the riders to get focused on this event. It was like a first step in preparation. It gets them thinking about it. I saw the course on Sunday, and I have to say it will be pretty fast. There are some long, straight sections where the speed will be really high. There will also be fast downhills. So, keeping the right rhythm is important. It will be fast until the last climb, which is more or less in the last kilometer. It will be a tough finale for sure. It will be really close among the teams. It will likely be a question of seconds that differentiate the winner from the losers of this race. The finale can be something like the Worlds TTT of Valkenburg, in a way. That one was harder, but of course, it’s important to save power for that last part of the parcours. The winner of the race will be decided likely at that point of the race. The riders of the team flew yesterday to Richmond, and today they will perform recon and training. The riders can see the complete course, which will be closed to traffic, on this upcoming Saturday. But, during the next days, we will do a lot of specific training and reconnaissance of the parcours, even if it is not full gas efforts. We want to check all the small details that, in a race like this, can make the difference.”
Etixx – Quick-Step team for TTT World Championships:
Riders: Tom Boonen (BEL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Tony Martin (GER), Niki Terpstra (NED), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Jan Schaffrath (GER) & Tom Steels (BEL).
The six riders selection from LAMPRE-MERIDA is in the USA
Six LAMPRE-MERIDA’s riders and their Merida Warp TT bikes will represent the team of the manager Copeland in the UCI Team Time Trial World Championship, which is scheduled on Sunday the 20th of September in Richmond (Virginia – USA).
The competition will be raced on a 38,6 km course with start from the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and arrival Richmond Downtown. After a first sector of flat roads, the riders will cover a short downhill and a hill of 300 meters. The finish line will be at 680 meters to the end of a false-flat straight.
The sport director Mario Scirea, who’ll be supported by the mechanics Bacchion and Baron, by the masseurs Del Gallo & Lima and the doctor Pollastri, will direct Mattia Cattaneo, Rui Costa, Nelson Oliveira, Luka Pibernik, Rubén Plaza and Jan Polanc.
LottoNL-Jumbo ambitious for team time trial in Worlds
Team LottoNL-Jumbo is working towards the team time trial in the World Championships in Richmond with confidence. The six-man team of Sports Directors Jan Boven and Mathieu Heijboer race on Sunday, September 20.
“The team time trial has been in the heads of the boys for a while already,” Heijboer said. “They’ve done various tests with AeroPro this season and the results have really helped them in recent individual time trials.”
Boven and Heijboer worked hard as well in the run-up to the time trial in Richmond. “We’ve analysed all the team time trials of this year and found valuable information on the length of taking turns at the front and the wattages a rider needs to push when he leads the group. We will certainly use this data to be at our best on Sunday.”
The “typical American” course covers 38.8 kilometres. Heijboer said, “The roads are wide. It is not a very technical course. The final climb of the two, the one leading up to the finish, is quite nasty.”
As Dutch time trial champion Wilco Kelderman is looking forward to the team time trial. “We have fantastic Bianchi bikes and material so our team is very motivated for Sunday. Especially because some of us are in a good shape.”
Jos van Emden, Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman, Tom Leezer, Maarten Tjallingii & Sep Vanmarcke.
Sports Directors: Jan Boven & Mathieu Heijboer.
Giant-Alpecin team for the Worlds TTT Championships
The UCI world championships start this Sunday in Richmond, Virginia, with the team time trial for elite men, which will be the only event in which the riders ride for their trade teams rather than national teams. The course for the team time trial can be described as flat and fast and covers 38.8km with just 240m of elevation gain.
“The course is favorable for us and the riders are really motivated to get a good result in Richmond,” explained coach Aike Visbeek (NED).
“Our aim is to keep improving our team time trial skills, and the race at the world championships will be an important step in this process. We have a few days to train on the parcours, and Tom Dumoulin will join us on Wednesday. We have made only one change in the lineup from last year, as having a team in which the riders are familiar with each other is important to develop this discipline.”
Nikias Arndt (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).
IAM Cycling for the World Team Time Trial Championships
For the first time since joining the professional peloton in January 2013, IAM Cycling will be participating in the World Team Time Trial Championships. Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is located 150 kilometers south of Washington D.C. The Swiss team owned by Michel Thétaz, founder of the IAM Cycling team and CEO of IAM Funds, will compete next Sunday in the event which is a 38.6 kilometer circuit around the city that has nearly 220,000 inhabitants.
Having arrived on site Monday night coming from the GP Quebec and Montreal, Rik Verbrugghe, sports manager of the Swiss professional team, set the tone for the event even before having a chance to recon the course designed by the organizers. “We did not come here just for the sake of taking the start. This season we have proved our worth. At the Tour of Romandie, the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Tour of Spain we were always able to animate the race regardless of circumstances. In Richmond, our goal is to finish inside the top-10, and we’ll see where we stand. Right now we’re not certain of the race profile. Given the information that I have received, it’s a course for rouleurs, and that should suit us.” Rik Verbrugghe also talked about how to choose the six riders who will fly the colors of IAM Cycling in the event. “We decided to bring seven riders to the event. This will allow us the luxury of substituting someone in case of some unforeseen trouble arising before Sunday. But of course, there will be one disappointed guy because all seven are motivated and want to take part in this competition. We will make our final choice based on how the training rides that we have planned for Thursday and Friday go over the course. We are looking to find the greatest homogeneity for the group of six, who will work best together over the course during the race on Sunday.”
Matthias Brändle (Aut), Stef Clement (Ned), Jérôme Coppel (Fr), Martin Elmiger (S), Reto Hollenstein (S), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat).
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe. Directeur sportif: Marcello Albasini.
Peter Sagan among Tinkoff-Saxo’s World Championships TTT selection
Tinkoff-Saxo has picked the six riders that will represent the team at the World Championships Team Time Trial Sunday in Richmond, Virginia. With an ambition of fighting for the fiercely rivaled top spot on the podium, the squad includes three-time World ITT champion Michael Rogers and team star Peter Sagan.
With the group fully assembled in Richmond ahead of several days of meticulous preparation, team sports director Sean Yates unveils the six riders that will represent Tinkoff-Saxo at the prestigious World Championships TTT.
“Our line-up consists of Michael Rogers, Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Michael Valgren, Christopher Juul-Jensen and Manuele Boaro. It’s a complicated task to select the squad for the Worlds TTT, as it’s late in the season and it’s critical that the riders aren’t fatigued before an all-out effort like this. It’s obvious that these six riders, together with the likes of Bennati and Contador, are the strongest time trialists on our team and we felt that they were the best at this point”, explains Sean Yates before going into details with the team’s approach to the 38.8km course:
“We have a solid squad and they are, not least, motivated. Bodnar is a three-time Polish ITT champion, Rogers has loads of experience and won the Worlds ITT three times, Juul-Jensen is the current Danish ITT champion and during the season we’ve finished 2nd in two Grand Tour TTT’s. However, setting a goal is tricky but it’s undoubtedly to do the fastest possible ride. There are no clear favorites and, if we stick to the strategy, we got a chance. BMC, Orica and Etixx are surely some of the teams that will prove hard to beat but we want to muster in there”.
With the esteemed TTT taking place in late September, reaching Richmond with six riders in the best possible shape off the back of a long season was not without difficulties.
“For us, this TTT has been a long term project and a major objective from the start of the season. But it was sort of changed after several injuries. Sagan got knocked out of the Vuelta, Bennati will not take part, as he isn’t recovered yet after the Vuelta, where he stayed and supported Majka and Bodnar crashed in California and we wanted him at the Vuelta to do at least one Grand Tour effort. But doing the Vuelta doesn’t allow for full recovery. Originally, we wanted them to do the Canadian races together, so it hasn’t been the optimum preparation that we were looking for. However, the boys are acclimatizing well and they have the qualities to do a blazing TTT”, comments Sean Yates and adds about the 38.8km predominantly flat effort ahead:
“We gathered in the beginning of this week to reset the body clock, adapt and freshen up. This effort requires careful planning – the guys have to train at the right intensity, not rest too much and we have to test and select the right equipment in order to use the power we develop to the largest and most efficient extent. It’s going to be a classic World Championships TTT with 38.8 mostly flat kilometers, a real out-and-back race where we will see an intense speed. We want the guys to ramp up the intensity during the next days and then hope that they all have a great feeling come Sunday”.
Team Katusha for World Championships Team Time Trial
WorldTour Team Katusha will take part in the team time trial (38,8 km) of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, which will be held on Sunday, September 20th in Richmond, USA.
Katusha’s line-up: Sergei Chernetckii, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Sergey Lagutin, Aleksandr Porsev, Ilnur Zakarin and Gatis Smukulis.
Sports director: Dmitry Konyshev.
Lotto Soudal Preview World TTT Championship
This Sunday, 20 September, the World Championships road cycling in Richmond (USA) will start with the team time trial. This discipline, which is on the programme for the fourth consecutive year now, is contested by trade teams instead of national teams. Lotto Soudal selected Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Tony Gallopin, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts and Tim Wellens.
The distance of the team time trial is relatively short: 38.8 kilometres. The course, which runs mainly over straight roads, isn’t entirely flat. There are no real climbs, but there are some uphill sections, like Governor Street (300 metres, 6.9%) in the final kilometre. The Lotto Soudal team travelled from Canada, where the six riders had taken part in the GP Montréal, to Richmond on Monday. The previous days they did several recons of the circuit. Richmond is the capital of the state Virginia, at the east coast of the US. Sports director Herman Frison and rider Greg Henderson give their opinion of the course and tell us what ambition Lotto Soudal has.
Herman Frison: “The past days we did recons of the course. Our riders got on the time trial bike and also trained behind the scooter to get used to the high speed that will be necessary for the race on Sunday. We are doing all we can to be at our best and to stay motivated.”
“It’s a beautiful course over wide roads. Fifteen kilometres before the finish the course heads into a small wood, a recon of that part is really important because there are some corners. For the rest the roads are rather straight. It’s never really flat, especially not in the second part of the race, but there aren’t any tough climbs. The finish zone goes slightly uphill but it’s flatter than Governor Street.”
“This is a rather short distance for a team time trial, it will be a matter of finding the right rhythm quite soon. The riders will have to go full gas from the beginning. There is now time to doubt. You need a homogenous team, nobody should be better than the others. The team is only as good as it weakest link. We chose not to select riders of our Vuelta squad. The riders in our team first raced in Canada and are already used to the time difference for a while now; that’s definitely positive. We already had a fantastic season and it’s our goal to finish in top ten. My top three? In random order: BMC, Etixx – Quick-Step and Orica – GreenEdge.”
For the third year in a row Greg Henderson is on the roster for the team time trial.
Greg Henderson: “I’m looking forward to racing on Sunday. As hard as it is, this is a discipline I enjoy. I like the idea of racing as hard as I can with five teammates. It’s a fast and flowing course. There are some technical sections, but also long straight pieces of road where we will go very fast. On the circuit you get a couple of uphill parts that could potentially cause some trouble if you don’t attack them correctly, but we already did a few recons so we know where all the potholes are and what lines to take through the corners.”
“We have a very strong team and the course suits us, it’s good that there are so many straight parts to keep the speed up. We already rode on Governor Street and I don’t expect it to be a problem either. The course really isn’t hard at all, because you attack the hills with speed. You often hit the bottom of the hill at 70 kilometres an hour because you come from a downhill section. The result is impossible to guess, everything has to go perfectly for all of us. The six of us have to be at our best. With the best possible scenario we could get a top five result. The difference at the top of the ranking will be very small, the usual suspects for the victory are BMC, Etixx – Quick-Step and Orica – GreenEdge.”
The men’s team time trial on Sunday will start at 1:30 pm local time, that’s 7:30 pm CEST.
Rohan Dennis, Silvan Dillier, Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss, Taylor Phinney and Manuel Quinziato are the six riders who will pilot their BMC timemachine TM01s over the 38.8-kilometer course.
Peter Velits, who has been part of the winning team all three years the event has been run since 2012, is the first alternate.
BMC Racing Team Trainer Marco Pinotti said the roster selection process began with a review of which riders were best suited for the course.
“We started with the six riders who were part of the winning team last year,” Pinotti said. “Two of them were not available: Tejay van Garderen, unluckily, had an injury in the Vuelta a España and Peter was good at the Vuelta but not at his top level yet. The other four are in good form, so we needed to replace those two. Phinney and Küng have recovered fully from their injuries, so they replaced them.”
Dennis, Dillier, Oss and Quinziato are the returnees from last year’s gold medal-winning squad. Küng, the reigning world individual pursuit champion on the track, makes his first appearance in the event. Phinney was part of the BMC Racing Team’s team time trial squads in 2012 and 2013, but was sidelined by injury last year.
Rohan Dennis (AUS), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Stefan Küng (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA).
Alternate: Peter Velits (SVK)
“Time trials are sort of my specialty, but I still get nervous. You do not know how well other people are going, but that is something you have to put behind you. There are no tactics. You just hope the preparation you have done is the best and that you win on the day.”
“Last year, we were sitting on the hot seat and saw the other teams still in the race – a few of them the favorites. We saw the last time split and knew we could win the race. But we were not sure until the last team crossed the finish line. So it was an intense moment. When I look back, it was a really special moment and I hope we can enjoy a moment like this again this year.”
“I was really training hard for this and it was a big objective of mine. I am really looking forward to it. I am a little bit nervous because I have never done the world championships, which is always different. But I think we have a good group of guys.”
“We feel great. We arrive from a big season where we won three big team time trials: at the Vuelta a España, the Tour de France and the Critérium du Dauphiné. So we are focused on the first position and the best result. But at the same time, we have one foot on the ground because it is never easy. You always have to understand each other and the effort you have to do.”
“I am happy that I was able to make the team. I feel like I can contribute in a way that I was able to contribute before my accident, which is saying a lot. To be honest, I did not even think I was going to have the ability to make this team a couple of months ago, before I started racing. Then I started racing and I started doing well and exceeded most of my expectations at the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge. After those races, I thought I would try to make the selection, knowing it is not easy. I went to Belgium and rode with the guys and surprised myself – and I think I surprised the management as well. All of a sudden it was like, ‘Oh man, maybe I will do the team time trial at the world championships.’ It was on my radar, but something I was not getting my hopes up for because it is such an intense effort. I did not think my knee and my body could handle it.”
“Last year, we won without being the favorite. So this year we have more pressure. It is the first time that we are the favorite. It is good for the morale and for the confidence, but it makes things harder because we really have to be focused and ready to suffer as much as last year.”
“To be the alternate is really harder than I thought. Last year, I won with this team, which was a really nice feeling – and one of the best victories I have had in the team time trial. Naturally, I would like to be on this team again, but the year was not really perfect for me. I was suffering quite a lot with injury and coming back. Even with all the titles and all the experience I have, I still do not feel I am at the level of the guys who are here.”
Adam Hansen sets record – 13 Grand Tours in a row
The end of the Vuelta also means an exceptional performance of Adam Hansen. The Australian rider of Lotto Soudal will complete his thirteenth consecutive Grand Tour today and that way he breaks the 57-year-old record of the Spaniard Bernardo Ruiz, who rode twelve Grand Tours in a row in the fifties. How exceptional this performance is, is indicated by the fact that in the history of cycling only about thirty riders succeeded in finishing three Grand Tours in one season, among them current sports director Mario Aerts in 2007.
Hansen started his road to the record at the end of 2011when he completed the Vuelta of that year and then he did the same at the Giro, Tour and Vuelta of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. On GC he always finished between place 53 and 129. In the Giro 2013 Hansen won the seventh stage with finish in Pescara, when he rode solo to the finish after a rainy stage. More than a year later he repeated the effort in the Vuelta, when he jumped away from the peloton in the finale and stayed ahead until the finish in Cangas de Morrazo.
Adam Hansen: “This performance is definitely special and unique. After each Grand Tour more and more people started talking about the record. It was only after the sixth or seventh that it became an issue, when I completed the three Grand Tours for the second time in a row. It didn’t become an obsession, but of course I’m proud that I could break the record.”
“The hardest Grand Tour was without any doubt the Tour de France of this year, when I crashed in the beginning, got injured and had to continue for three more weeks. Also at the Giro of 2012 I crashed early in the race. Physically the Vuelta 2012 was the hardest, because that was the first time I rode the three Grand Tours in one season and I was exhausted.”
“The highlights are of course my stage wins, but also the wonderful performances of the team, like the stage wins of André and the yellow jersey of Tony. I keep my race number of all Grand Tours, as I do of each race, a jersey and the road book. I hope I can still win a stage at the Tour. If I will continue racing all Grand Tours? Until I fall off my bike (laughs). The only thing that’s a pity is that I can’t ride a lot of other nice races, but who knows that might happen someday.”
Il Lombardia 2015: A New Course With a Very Challenging Finalé
On Sunday 4 October, the “Classic of the Fallen Leaves” returns with a spectacular and challenging last section, featuring Madonna del Ghisallo, Muro and Colma di Sormano,
Civiglio and San Fermo della Battaglia climbs.
Its nickname is “The Road World Championships’ Revenge” or “The Classic of the Fallen Leaves”. It’s Il Lombardia, now in its 109th edition, the monument race organized by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport which will be held on Sunday 4 October starting from Bergamo and finishing in Como after 245km.
On a very beautiful and challenging stage, 25 teams will battle for the final victory, facing an unprecedented final part of the race – a truly tough finale – with a series of longer and shorter steep climbs kicking off from the Madonna del Ghisallo, 64km from the finish line.
The race sets off from Bergamo, southbound. The route initially leads through the Bergamo plain (over the first 40km), and then up along the Val Cavallina, all the way to Casazza, for the first climb of this race: Colle Gallo (763m). A fast-running descent leads back from Val Seriana to Bergamo; here the route goes back on flat roads and eventually arrives in Brianza. The course passes briefly across Colle Brianza (533m) and descends into Pescate, then heads for Valmadrera and Oggiono. Finally, it rolls past Pusiano and Asso, and drops down into Onno, heading for Bellagio, where the Ghisallo (754m) climb begins.
The climb has a maximum 14% gradient, on a wide road, with several hairpins. The descent runs quickly on long, straight stretches up to Maglio, where the Colma di Sormano climb (1124m) begins abruptly. After a few kilometers with a moderate gradient, a few hundred meters past Sormano, the route turns left to tackle the Muro di Sormano (literally ‘the wall’, the hardest section of the Sormano climb; 2km at a 15% gradient). The road is tight and very steep, and it runs partly through the woods, with very narrow hairpins and sharp gradients exceeding 25% and reaching almost 30% after about 1km.
After clearing the Colma, the road climbs down into Nesso (initially on apparently flat ground, followed by a very technical descent with several hairpins on a narrowed roadway). Here, the route takes the coastal road that leads to Como. A harsh climb up to Civiglio follows (614m), with steady 10% gradients (the roadway narrows markedly at the top of the climb); the route then descends, runs through Como again, and heads for the final climb in San Fermo della Battaglia (397m). Two fixed feed zones are provided: the first is located in San Sosimo (km 112-115) and the second in Onno (km 182-185).
The last 10km begin in urban Como and run along wide avenues, up to the railway underpass, where the final climb towards San Fermo della Battaglia begins. The climb has a gradient of nearly 7%, on a narrowed roadway with a rough road surface and several hairpins, that lead all the way up to the summit (around 5km from the finish). The descent runs along a wide and well-paved road, with two well-lit tunnels and two wide roundabouts, and it ends 1km before the finish. One last, wide left-hand bend can be found 600m before the finish. The home straight is on 7-m wide asphalt road.
There will be 25 teams, each with 8 riders, battling on the roads of Il Lombardia.
UCI WORLDTEAMS – 17 (eligible)
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA)
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ)
BMC RACING TEAM (USA)
ETIXX – QUICK STEP (BEL)
IAM CYCLING (SUI)
LAMPRE – MERIDA (ITA)
LOTTO SOUDAL (BEL)
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP)
ORICA GREENEDGE (AUS)
TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN (USA)
TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN (GER)
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS)
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO (NED)
TEAM SKY (GBR)
TINKOFF – SAXO (RUS)
TREK FACTORY RACING (USA)
UCI PROFESSIONAL CONTINENTAL TEAMS – 8 (wild cards)
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA)
BARDIANI CSF (ITA)
BORA-ARGON 18 (GER)
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL)
NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA)
UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM (USA)
WINNERS – LAST 10 EDITIONS
2005 – Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2006 – Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2007 – Damiano Cunego (ITA)
2008 – Damiano Cunego (ITA)
2009 – Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
2010 – Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
2011 – Oliver Zaugg (SUI)
2012 – Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP)
2013 – Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP)
2014 – Daniel Martin (IRL).
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced that Matti Breschel will join the team in 2016. The 31-year-old Danish pro has been a medalist at the Road World Championships, netting Silver and Bronze, and has achieved 5 top-10’s at Worlds over the course of his career. Well-known for his intelligent riding style, Breschel is also a Classics specialist (he has twice finished in the top 10 at the Tour of Flanders). The former Danish National Road Champion is also a Vuelta stage winner, a Dwars door Vlaanderen champion, and in 2015 he was 6th at E3 Harelbeke, 7th at the Vattenfall Classics and won two stages and the points jersey at Danmark Rundt.
“Matti is a huge talent,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling. “He will lend Classics horsepower and all around experience to a young team, and is capable of great results himself. I think its possible his talent has been underestimated in the past and that is something we are looking to change. We are very excited to add him to our roster.”
Breschel added: “I am very excited to join Cannondale-Garmin in 2016. I have a lot of respect for Jonathan Vaughters and his vision and I know many of the riders and directors. It is a great group of guys. I’m looking forward to the Cobbled Classics and hope to achieve a result for myself there and also hope to help the team achieve great performances and victories.”
Sacha Modolo extended for 2016 and 2017 his contract with the team of the manager Brent Copeland. In the two years he has spent in the team, the Italian sprinter obtained 11 victories, the most important two in the Giro d’Italia 2015 in Jesolo and in Lugano. In his career, he won 37 races.
“LAMPRE-MERIDA is very happy to continue to work with and to invest on Sacha Modolo, who gave us satisfactions and we’re sure he’ll be able to achieve even more important goals and more frequently – team manager Copeland explained – In the two years he has raced in our team, he improved his cycling qualities, so the prospect for the next two seasons are very good and we all must be ambitious.
We are proud that Modolo appreciated the effort made by the team to build up a group of riders who helped him to achieve top results. For the team, the extension of the contract of Modolo is very important”.
Modolo said that:“I had no doubts when I chose to continue my professional path with LAMPRE-MERIDA: I’m sure my decision is perfect and the relationship will be full of satisfactions.
I thank the whole team, the management and the sponsors for their decision to extend the contract, I’ll work hard to give them many victories in top level races. I’m really happy”.
Jack Bobridge signs with Trek Factory Racing
Trek Factory Racing is pleased to announce the signing of 26-year-old Jack Bobridge, who joins from Team Budget Forklifts. Bobridge adds to the pinstriped team’s contingent of TT specialists.
Bobridge opened the 2015 WorldTour season with a victory in stage 1 of the Tour Down Under in January, holding off the peloton from a four-rider breakaway. He also managed a bronze medal at the Australian National Time Trial Championships.
Bobridge: “First of all I’m really excited to join a new team. I heard great things about Trek Factory Racing and I know a couple of the guys here. This team is really supportive of their riders and give back a lot. That’s great. For Trek to give me another go at the WorldTour and race the big races in Europe, that’s just fantastic. I’m excited to be able to do that again and I’m very motivated to try my best and have some good results. To be a part of such a well known team is going to be another great experience.”
Bobridge is mostly known for his results on the track, where he obtained a series of World Championships and national titles in both the team and individual pursuit. On the road he won the U23 World Time Trial Championships, was the National U23 Champion on the road and the time trial and won the Elite title in 2011. That year he was fifth in the Elite World Time Trial Championships.
General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Jack’s record is impressive. He’s one of many alumnae of the ‘Australian Institute of Sport’ to make a successful step to the road and we’re very happy to welcome him aboard our team.”
Bobridge recently returned to Australia after completing a North-American tour that brought him to the Philadelphia Classic and the Tours of Boise, Utah and Colorado, where he was a part of many breakaways and finished ninth in the tough time trial in Breckenridge.
“I had a great time racing in the States. Overall I felt really good and I’m very excited to race with TFR. My program is still to be determined, but I’ll be focusing on TT’s and racing aggressively in breakaways.”
Bobridge had a shot al the Hour Record in January, falling just 552 meters short of the benchmark set by Mathias Brändle – a feat that he compares to completing a Grand Tour.
“For the first three months after the attempt, I was feeling pretty damaged, but looking back now it was definitely a really good thing to do. Since then I compare a lot of things to it in terms of pain. Well, nothing really compares to it, I admit. But yes, it helped me mentally that I got to push my body so far. It’s a bit like how at Grand Tour can improve your capacity, alter your body, enlarge your engine.”
Besides an emphasis on time trials and prologues, Bobridge will focus on the track as he prepares the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I can’t wait for the new season. It’s an Olympic year and my track commitments are a massive goal for mine. But also on the road I want to represent Trek and I’ll strive to have the best result for the team.”
Matvey Mamykin (20) this season is riding for the continental team ITERA-Katusha. He spent a very successful year: recently he won a stage and took third podium place in final classification at the Tour de l’Avenir. In addition, he won the mountain classification of this race. Also, in 2015 Mamykin won a stage at the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta Mont Blanc, took 5th stage at the Grand Prix of Sochi Mayor, was 7th in the Grand Prix Sarajevo and finished 9th in the final classification of the Course de la Paix U23.
“When Katusha’s management proposed an agreement, it was absolutely unexpected for me. But I was very happy with the fact I signed a contract with the leading team of the WorldTour. For me this is a dream come true. I was dreaming about a professional career, it was my main goal, but I did not think I could reach it so early. Team Katusha has had an amazing season, just few days ago the team ended successfully the Vuelta a España, which I followed with a great interest. I am delighted with the fact that very soon I will become a part of this great and successful team,” said Matvey Mamykin.
“In the new season Team Katusha will do a bigger accent on the development of young riders. I think this development, side by side with our stars like Joaquim Rodriguez and Alexander Kristoff , is the strategy which will allow Katusha to stay on the top of the world of cycling for a long time. Matvey Mamykin has had a very strong season and he has some important achievements in the prestigious youth races. He has a great potential and with the right course of development he could become a strong professional rider,” said Team Katusha general manager Viacheslav Ekimov.
The three-time Slovakian national time trial champion helped the BMC Racing Team win the opening team time trial at the Vuelta a España last month and wore the leader’s jersey for one day. He was also a member of the BMC Racing Team’s world team time trial-winning squad last year and has been part of the winning team all three years the event has been run. He is on the “long list” for this year’s world team time trial Sunday in Richmond, Virginia, Ochowicz said.
“Besides his many outstanding performances over the years in the time trial and the team time trial, Peter brings a feeling of confidence to our general classification riders as they look for the right wheel to follow through the crowded peloton,” Ochowicz said.
Velits said he aims to get back to the form he enjoyed before an overuse injury to his left leg slowed him at the start of the season. He underwent surgery in the spring and returned to racing in July.
“It feels great to re-sign with the BMC Racing Team again,” Velits said. “This season was far from perfect and that is why I am happy I received so much support. I feel very good in this team and I am looking forward to the next challenges we will face together. For next year, I would like to get 100 percent recovered from my injury and finally achieve an individual victory.”
In keeping with terms of BMC Racing Team policy, no other details regarding terms or conditions of the contract were released.
Jens Mouris Joins Drapac, Travis Meyer Re-Signs for 2016
Drapac Professional Cycling looks ahead to 2016 with a keen focus on further development of its global race program. Racing on five continents in 2015, Drapac Cycling will look to enhance the 2015 race schedule and expand its diverse roster of riders.
The Australian UCI Professional Continental Team has recorded nine wins this season to date and made debuts at the World Tour Events in Montreal and Quebec this past week, as well as had its first start at the iconic Amgen Tour of California in May.
“With the UCI Professional Continental license application for 2016 being finalized, we are looking towards 2016 with a strong set of goals. In 2015, we focused on key aspects with the team and found great success. The 2016 racing program will grow with a push into the Middle East and South America, and will look to add an additional World Tour event. We will expand on this year’s success and further develop the decade long foundation that is Drapac Cycling,” Jonathan Breekveldt, General Manager, said.
Joining the Drapac roster for 2016 is Jens Mouris. A strong and dynamic rider with World Tour racing experience, Mouris will be an integral part of the team and its 2016 tactics.
“We are all really pleased to have signed Jens for 2016. He is a rider who I believe will fit in well culturally with our team, and his racing experience is a great addition to our roster. Our key focus for 2016 will be a continued upward trajectory as a team, and I firmly believe that Jens will play a significant part in our success in the future,” Tom Southam, Sports Director, said.
Drapac Professional Cycling has had an action packed 2015 season, with significant growth. Drapac Cycling’s 2015 program began with a bang earning its first UCI World Tour Stage win at the Santos Tour Down Under, then racked up wins at Jayco Herald Sun Tour and Tour of Taiwan before a podium filled debut at the Amgen Tour of California. A recent victory in the finale stage at Tour of Utah earned Drapac its first U.S. win.
“We came into 2015 with a keen focus on a North American campaign. As with any race program, you learn from each tour, what works for your program, what you can do better. We found great success in 2015 and we will use those experiences to further our success in 2016,” Southam said. “We have a young, yet strong and experienced roster and will make some key additions for 2016.”
Another new face to the Drapac roster is young Australian talent Jason Lowndes. Lowndes spent this season riding in Canada for the continental squad Garneau – Québecor .
“We are delighted to have Jason on board. He has had his first real year as a full time rider this year, and he was a consistent winner in the North American races. I think that he has a huge amount of talent, and he could develop into a really strong rider over the next two years,” Southam said.
Re-signing with Drapac for his 6th season is the versatile Travis Meyer, an experienced rider and team leader for the Drapac program on and off the racecourse.
“Travis has been a key member of the team this year after recovering from a serious accident in 2014, and he has found a really good place for himself in this team. He is a consummate professional and a real asset to have in our line up at almost any race we take part in. As such, he was one of our key signings going forward and we are delighted to have him on board,” Southam added.
In preparing for 2016, Drapac Cycling plans to keep an extensive North American race block in the schedule as well as a mid season training camp in the US. Drapac Cycling will start the 2016 season with a training camp in Australia prior to tentative season opener Santos Tour Down Under.
“Our riders have enjoyed racing the US tours and we plan to again focus on stage wins at the major events including in the US,” Southam added. “We are an international team and look to races with international exposure for our title sponsor, Drapac Group.”
Drapac Cycling also expanded its Transition Program in recent months, naming Stuart Canavan as Wellbeing Director.
“Drapac Cycling has always had a balanced approach to professional cycling and we have continued to further our commitment to our riders and making sure that the ethos that the team was founded on kept up with your growth on the race course,” Breekveldt added.
For more information on Drapac Professional Cycling, their 2016 race program and season highlights, www.drapaccycling.com
Thomas Degand returns to Wanty – Groupe Gobert
Thomas Degand returns to Wanty-Groupe Gobert. The rider originating from Bois de Lessines, Belgium signed a two-year contract with Jean-François Bourlart’s team.
Degand was already part of the current team Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s predecessor in 2008 but moved to WorldTour team IAM Cycling in 2015.
“I am happy to return to Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2016. I have fond memories of this team and it’s also thanks to them that I had the opportunity to ride in the WorldTour this year. I look forward to working with Hilaire Van Der Schueren again.”
Hilaire Van Der Schueren is happy to welcome the Belgian rider back to the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team.
“To me Thomas Degand has always been one of the better climbers in Belgium. He has been underestimated in that respect. I worked well with him in 2014 and felt sorry to see him leave. He will still be able to make progress with the correct support. Thomas rides a good time trial, was national champion in the past, and knows how to ride uphill which takes him a long way in the shorter stage races.”
In 2014 Degand finished in the top ten of the overall classifications of the Tour de Mediterranée, Tour du Gévaudan, Tour of Austria and Ruta del Sol. This season he also proved to be a good climber with a 7th place in the queen’s stage of the Tour of Austria and an 8th place in the overall standings.
This year Degand’s season has been characterized by long periods of injury and a crash which prematurely ended his Vuelta, his first Grand Tour.
“I think I will have a good season with Wanty-Groupe Gobert. Stage races with a challenging profile suit me well and if it has a time trial in it, even more so. I want to show myself for sure and prove I deserve my place in the team. I would like to say thanks to Jean-François and Hilaire for their confidence in me and would like to say thanks to IAM Cycling for the past season.”
Team (confirmed) 2016: Marco Marcato, Frederik Backaert, Jérôme Baugnies, Tom Devriendt, Lander Seynaeve, Simone Antonini, Roy Jans, Thomas Degand & Kévin van Melsen.
Søren Kragh Andersen Joins Team Giant-Alpecin as of 2016
Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce that Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN) has signed a contract to ride with the team for two years, until the end of 2017.
Andersen took his first pro win on stage 4 of the Tour des Fjords in Norway this year. He also won two stages in the Tour de l’Avenir and the final GC at the ZLM Roompot Tour.
“Søren is a big talent in multiple areas,” explained Team Giant-Alpecin coach Marc Reef (NED). “He has already achieved some great results. He is good in the time trial and has a strong sprint, and he will play an important role both in the sprint preparation and in the classics. He is good in cold and wet conditions. We want to explore where his development opportunities lie within the pro peloton. He will have a diverse race program in his first year as we seek to help him develop step-by-step.”
Regarding turning professional at Team Giant-Alpecin, Andersen said: “I am really excited about this step in my career. From the beginning my first choice was to go to Team Giant-Alpecin. I’ve had good discussions with the performance staff and came away with a positive feeling about the team, and I am confident that it is the best for my development. In addition, I like the team’s racing style of working together toward a common goal.
“I started cycling when I was eight years old, and I began to dream about becoming a professional one day when I started winning international races as a junior. In the years that followed I felt I was becoming stronger, and this year I won two stages in the Tour de l’Avenir and wore the yellow jersey. But the Tour des Fjords, where I won a stage and came second in the GC, with many experienced pro riders behind me, was a great experience as well. I want to develop myself as a person and become a better rider. My aim for the first year is to learn and become part of the team.”
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