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EuroTrash Lombardia Thursday!

Il Lombardia is on Sunday and we preview the ‘race of the falling leaves’ in today’s EuroTrash; the course and the teams. In other cycling news: Milano-Turino race report and comments, team and race news and the bad news of a new dope case. All the latest news in a packed EuroTrash.

TOP STORY: Brothers in Arms!
Just when you thought things were changing, it has been announced that Maxim Iglinskiy will join his brother Valentin on the suspension list as they both have submitted positive samples for EPO. Valentin admitted his use of the banned drug and was sacked by the Astana team in September. It appears that Maxim’s sample was taken before Valentin’s, on the 1st. of August, but that the younger Iglinskiy’s was dealt with first. The only good thing to come out of all this is that at 33 years old, Maxim should be too old to make a return, although there is a possibility that Valentin at 30 could. Let’s hope they are the last of the older generation of rider who can’t or won’t stop dabbling with the ‘kit’, it’s sad which ever way you look at it.

The Astana team announcement:
Astana Pro Team response to UCI confirmation 1.10.14 that Iglinskiy M. cannot participate in competition until adjudication of his case on the merits or the lifting of the provisional suspension by the UCI Anti-Doping Commission or the CAS: “Astana Pro Team Management announces an adverse analytical finding for EPO has been registered for rider Maxim Iglinskiy.”

“In accordance with regulations of the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible) to which the Astana team first adhered in 2013, the rider is suspended provisionally and shall remain out of competition in anticipation of the results from the B analysis.”

“All Astana Pro Team riders are contractually obliged to respect strict ethical rules and regulations,” said Astana Pro Team General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov. “We will not tolerate any indulgences by any one entity, person or structure that violates these rules – I am very disappointed and angered that this rider could not have understood the basis of our rules and the importance of our ethics. It is especially unacceptable on the part of a Kazakh rider who stands for the image of our team and the image of our country.”

Maxim Iglinskiy won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2012:
Liege - Bastogne Liege  2012

header-milano-torinoMilano-Torino 2014
It was a Team Katusha show on the uphill finish to the Superga Basilica in the 95th Milano-Torino (193,5 km), won by Giampaolo Caruso. With Dani Moreno (3rd), Joaquim Rodríguez (5th) and Sergey Chernetckii (7th), four Team Katusha riders finished in top ten.

Four riders escaped after 40 kilometers including Jerome Pineau (IAM Cycling), Lorenzo Rota (MG KVis Wilier), Nicola Dal Santo (Nankang-Fondriest) and Gianluca Leonardi (Area Zero D’Amico). They built up a lead of 5 minutes, but with the combined work of Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo their lead was down to one and a half minutes at the base of the 5 kilometre climb of Superga for the first time. The break fell to pieces on the climb with Jerome Pineau the last to be caught. Dario Cataldo (Sky) jumped away to be joined by Julian Arredondo (Trek), Alberto Losada (Katusha) and Diego Rosa (Androni-Venezuela). Tinkoff-Saxo chased hard and the race was all together for the final climb to the finish. Sergei Chernetski (Katusha) attacked early, softening up the others for Caruso to make his move followed by Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Frank Schleck (Trek). Nocentini caught Caruso, but Schleck blew as Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo chased for Fabio Aru and Alberto Contador. Caruso and Nocentini caught and dropped Chernetski and pushed on to the finish where Caruso took 3 seconds out of Nocentini.

Caruso’s team mate Dani Moreno brought in the chase ahead of Aru, Joaqium Rodriguez and Contador. All of them will be riding Il Lombardia, so there should be fireworks on Sunday.

Race winner Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha): I am very happy. I was already many times close to victory this season, but finally I made it. Sergei Chernetckii did an enormous work He attacked with four kilometers to go. When Nocentini counterattacked, I followed him. With 2,5 km to go we caught Chernetckii but he continued to work hard in the front until 1 k to go. He was super. As I knew Nocentini is very strong in the sprint, I tried to anticipate and attacked with 300 meters to go. He followed me but I had a second acceleration in my legs. Since Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year I knew a victory would arrive soon for me but bad luck in the Giro ruined my season. I came back in the Vuelta and proved there and in the Worlds to be back at my good Spring level. Our team today was really super. We showed here again what a good team Katusha is. Now let’s try to do the same in Lombardy.”

Caruso’s Katusha team mate Dani Moreno was third: The team was indeed marvellous. With five teammates we were still there in the finale. When Chernetckii attacked I was there as a backup. We were ready to win. We go now to Lombardy with the same team. Let’s hope we can continue this way.” Moreno was also 3rd last year.

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Fabrizio Guidi comments: “This was Alberto’s first race since the Vuelta and naturally, he has to get back in to the rhythm but he was actually doing tremendously well considering. He had to close down a few gaps on the final slope but wasn’t in the final and crucial break. But he’s where he’s supposed to be physically. It was also great to have Roman back on the team. And even though he’s been away from racing since June, he worked hard for Alberto until hitting the foot of the final climb and he finished in the bunch. Now, we’re looking forward to Giro di Lombardia.”

Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo: “This was my first race back since the Vuelta, and the team strategy was to work for Aru and get him to the foot of the last climb to let him try and win a classic.”

Milano-Torino Result:
1. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha in 4:30:12
2. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:03
3. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:09
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:13
5. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:14
6. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:17
7. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha at 0:19
8. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:24
9. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek at 0:40
10. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:42.

Milano-Torino 2014 podium:
milano-turino14-podium620

header-lombardia14Giro di Lombardia 2014
This year’s Il Lombardia covers a new route from the starts in Como to the finish in Bergamo. The steep Bergamo Alto climb crests 4 kilometres before the line and should be where the decisive move will be made. The climb of the Madonna di Ghisallo comes early and passes the cyclist’s chapel and museum above Lake Como before working its way towards Bergamo. There are six climbs in the final 120 kilometres of racing: The Colle dei Pasta (413m), the Colle Gallo (763m), the Passo di Ganda (1060m), Bracca (600m) and 26 kilometres from the finish the Berbenno (695m), anyone who wants to win this years Lombardy will have to be at the front here. 254 kilometres with 3000 meters of climbing.

25 teams of 8 riders will line up; all 18 WorldTour teams and 7 wild card invitees; Androni-Giocattoli, Bardiani-CSF, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Colombia, IAM Cycling, Neri Sottoli and NetApp-Endura.

You can read ‘The PEZ’ Il Lombardia preview here.

Website: www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/GiroLombardia/en/

lombardia14-profile

img_planimetria2014

OPQS to Il Lombardia
Kwiatkowski to Race in Rainbow Jersey for First Time
OPQS has announced the selection that will participate in Il Lombardia, a 248km one-day race on Sunday, the 5th of October. The final cycling monument of the 2014 season includes climbs such as Madonna del Ghisallo (8.58km, 6.2% average gradient, 14% max ramp), Colle Gallo (7.43km, 6% average gradient, 10% max ramp), Passo di Ganda (9.2km, 7.3% average gradient, 15% max ramp), and Berbenno (5.5km, 5.3% average gradient, 10% max ramp). In the final 5.2km of the race there is a short uphill section of 7.9% average gradient, and a max ramp of 12 percent. There is also pavé in this final climb. There is then a descent into a flat finale.

This Sunday will also be the first time that 2014 UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski will wear his rainbow jersey for OPQS.

“The last days were a little bit hectic,” Kwiatkowski said. “I went home after a great welcome at the Warsaw airport. My family and my girlfriend were there, along with many journalists and supporters. It was really nice to meet all those people and see how huge cycling has become in Poland. To be honest I still have to realize what I did. I’m still in shock, even now. When I think about that race, after the finish I was really confused because it was so incredible. It’s like when you dream during the night and then everything comes true. It’s something I am still processing. The last days of my life have been completely different than before. It’s really nice and I probably will realize what I’ve truly done when I wear the rainbow jersey at the start of Il Lombardia. About Il Lombardia, I’ve never been able to finish it. I got sick last year the night before the start. So with this jersey, I at least have to do better than last year (laughs). To me it’s beautiful to show my jersey for the first time in a monument. Let’s see what I can do considering all the great emotions I’ve had in the last days. Of course I will try to do my best to honour the race and the jersey.”

Riders:
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Wout Poels (NED), Pieter Serry (BEL), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL), Carlos Verona (ESP).
Sports Directors: Davide Bramati (ITA) & Brian Holm (DEN).

Rui Costa leader of Lampre-Merida on the Italian Roads
Lampre-Merida will count on an international selection for Il Lombardia, hometown race for the blue-fuchsia-green team.

Six Nations (Croatia, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain), one purpose: to be in the lead positions in the second to last appointment of the WorldTour circuit. These are the cyclists that have been selected for Il Lombardia: Matteo Bono, Valerio Conti, Kristijan Durasek, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Nelson Oliveira, Jan Polanc, Rui Costa and Rafael Valls. The team will be directed by Orlando Maini, in the staff there will be mechanics Posoni, Romanò and Viganò, the masseurs Capelli, Della Torre and Redaelli, the team doctor Beltemacchi and the driver Bozzolo.

Il Lombardia 2014 will start in Como, the finish line will be in Bergamo after 254 km of racing. The climbs will be the following: Madonna del Ghisallo, Colle dei Pasta, Colle Gallo, Ganda, Bracca, Berbenno and Bergamo Alta.

“The final part of the course will be open to more solutions than in the past editions of Il Lombardia,” sport director Maini explained. “The altitude difference of the final sector of the course is notable, but there will be also space for recovering energies. Considering these characteristics, I think that an attack of a group of riders could solve the race. It will be important for us to be in the head part of the bunch with as many riders as possible. I think that our cyclists have the necessary skills to approach the race in the proper way, so we’ll start from Como with ambitions.”

In order to study the new course of Il Lombardia, in the morning of Friday October the 3rd, sport director Maini and Rui Costa, Oliveira, Niemiec and Bono will perform a recon on the final part of the race: 80 km from the Ganda to Bergamo. At the end of the training, blue-fuchsia-green cyclists will move to Relais la California in Nibionno (www.relaislacalifornia.it).

Alberto Contador: “One-day races aren’t my specialty but I’m excited to be back”
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador is ready for Milano-Torino (Wednesday), a race he won in 2012, following a victory at the Vuelta a España. He now returns to the Italian one-day race again after winning the red jersey. “After the Vuelta a España I’ve basically dedicated most of my time to rest because I finished the race really tired”, says Alberto Contador and adds: “I have done some longer training rides these last few days, but I don’t know exactly how I will feel, when we’re deep into the race. I’ll do Milano-Torino, Giro di Lombardia and Tour of Beijing, which is a new race for me. On the contrary, I know Milano-Torino and Lombardia well, and I like them both a lot, although one-day races are not my specialty. But I’m excited about getting back to racing this week to do a good result,” Alberto comments.

Contador is currently leading UCI’s individual rankings, trailed by Valverde 14 points behind. He admits that it serves as an extra motivation for him. “Everybody likes to be number one by the end of the year. But I’m already very happy with leading the individual rankings right now, especially after failing to get any points at the Tour. But we have to keep in mind that I have very strong rivals, especially Alejandro Valverde, who’s very good at maintaining a strong shape during the season. He will be very difficult to beat,” concludes Alberto Contador.

The Escarabajos take on final Monument: Il Lombardia
Just like in the two previous season, Team Colombia is about to face the last Monument cycling of the World Calendar, “Il Lombardia”.

The Escarabajos, who will be guided on Sunday October 5th by General Manager Claudio Corti and Sports Directors Valerio Tebaldi and Oscar Pellicioli, have carefully prepared for the challenge, going on a thorough recognition over the crucial points of the new route, 256 km from Como to Bergamo.

Team Colombia will field and 8-man line-up, looking to leave their mark on the big stage: Robinson Chalapud, Edward Diaz, Fabio Duarte, Jarlinson Pantano, Carlos Julian Quintero, Miguel Angel Rubiano, Rodolfo Torres and Juan Pablo Valencia.

“You are always motivated when taking on a race like “Il Lombardia”, Tebaldi explained. – “For us, it is the most important event of the second half of the season and our goal is to reward the invitation granted by RCS Sport. Duarte and Pantano will be our main options for the finale, but I hope to see the guys in the spotlight in every phase of the race.”

Team Colombia Line-up:
Robinson Chalapud, Edward Diaz, Fabio Duarte, Jarlinson Pantano, Carlos Julian Quintero, Miguel Angel Rubiano, Rodolfo Torres, Juan Pablo Valencia
Sports Directors: Valerio Tebaldi, Oscar Pellicioli

BMC Racing Team Roster: Il Lombardia
Past two-time Il Lombardia winner Philippe Gilbert and three-time runner-up Samuel Sánchez will be part of the BMC Racing Team’s roster for Sunday’s edition of the last one-day WorldTour race on the 2014 calendar.

Final Edition For Evans
Gilbert, winner in 2009 and 2010, will be joined by Sánchez, who was runner-up in 2006, 2009 and 2012 in addition to a third-place finish in 2007. Also on the BMC Racing Team’s roster is past world road and Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, who will make his final appearance in the 254-kilometer race after announcing his retirement last week, to take effect in February.

Riders:
Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Steve Morabito (SUI), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Larry Warbasse (USA).
Sport Directors:Fabio Baldato (ITA) & Valerio Piva (ITA).

Lotto Belisol to Lombardia
The last one day race on WorldTour level is scheduled for this Sunday: the Giro di Lombardia. The autumn classic is often being rode in rainy conditions. Also this year’s edition seems to be a wet one. This race has the fitting nickname: the race of the falling leaves (la corsa delle foglie morte).

The Giro di Lombardia is the last monument among the classics. For some riders it’s a second chance for the missed opportunity in the world championships, a last chance to give (some more) colour to their season. The bucket list of favourites is more or less the same like the one in Ponferrada.

Lotto Belisol starts with a strong team. Tony Gallopin showed his good shape with a sixth place in Ponferrada, and with Tim Wellens and Jelle Vanendert we have got two strong one day riders. Sports director Bart Leysen is hopeful towards Sunday to have a good result.

Sports director Bart Leysen: “We’re going to Lombardy to get a good result. The route has changed again, the organisation chooses the route of a few years ago. The route in combination with the heavy weather conditions could make it hard race. Motivation is always an important factor in Lombardy. Some riders participate in this race just because their team has selected them, others are at the start with motivation. Those last will the riders striving for the victory. The riders that were good in Ponferrada, will be in the front on Sunday too.”

“In the first place we’ve got Tony Gallopin, who is strong in the harder one day races, which he proved in the Ponferrada. Also youngster Louis Vervaeke is willing to show himself. Tim Wellens should be good on this route too, although he had a though season. And Jelle Vanendert aims this year for the one day races, so Lombardy fits in that category.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert, Louis Vervaeke, Tim Wellens.

Out-going Mollema spearheads Team Belkin in Il Lombardia
Bauke Mollema will ride his last race for the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM on Sunday. The Dutchman, who leaves for Trek Factory Racing next season, will lead the team in the Giro di Lombardia. He hopes to go out with a bang.

“The last race of a season is always special,” said Mollema. “You know you have to give everything one more time and that afterwards, you can take it easy for a while. This time it’s extra special. A spell of seven years with the team will end. Now, I’ll be saying good-bye to the riders and the staff.”

‘Shape is good’
Mollema trained in Limburg in the build-up to the World Championships. After his 18th place in Ponferrada, he also hopes to benefit from his efforts in Il Lombardia. “The Tour of Lombardy is a nice race and I’m looking forward to going all-out one more time. I trained well for the Worlds and because Lombardy is only a week later, I think it’s a nice combination.

“My shape was good during the road race. On the final climb, I was amongst the front-runners. Unfortunately, the result was slightly less than I’d hoped.”

Merijn Zeeman
Sports Director Merijn Zeeman is confident that the team will deliver. “We noticed that the end of the season is closing in,” said Zeeman. “We have several injured riders and can see that others are getting tired. For the Tour of Lombardy, however, they don’t need to recharge forcefully because it’s great and wonderful race where they really want to get a result. That’s instinct.

“Bauke is looking strong. He worked hard to be ready, and men like Steven Kruijswijk, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Wilco Kelderman should be able to assist him deep into the final. As a team, we’ll help Bauke as much as possible so that he has the chance to bag a result for us one more time. “The race is gruelling. It all comes down to the final hour, and that’s what Bauke likes. He did well in Lombardy in the past (7th in 2012 and twelfth in 2010, ed.). We expect a lot.”

TEAM line-up:
Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Wilco Kelderman, Martijn Keizer, Steven Kruijswijk, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug and David Tanner.
Sports Directors: Jan Boven and Merijn Zeeman.

Giant-Shimano for Il Lombardia
The second race in Italy this week is the penultimate WorldTour outing of the season, the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ – Il Lombardia.
Team Giant-Shimano comes to this autumn classic with five riders from the World Championships road race – Warren Barguil (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) and Georg Preidler (AUT).

They are joined by young Lawson Craddock (USA), Dries Devenyns (BEL) and Daan Olivier (NED) all of whom will have raced Milano-Torino on Wednesday. Dumoulin finished 18th here last season and with the steps he has made this year, and the strong form he has shown of late – resulting in a bronze medal in the Worlds time trial – he’ll be one to watch. Barguil and Geschke also both showed strongly at the World Championships road race as will be looking to still be in the race deep into the final.

“Unlike Wednesday we head to Lombardy with a clear plan and with three strong leaders in Warren, Tom and Simon,” said team coach Addy Engels (NED). “All three of these showed strongly at the World Championships on Sunday and have a strong support team around them here. Hopefully all three can still be there in the final and from there we will adapt to the situation on the road but having options presents up with a strong opportunity to play a part in the outcome of the race.”

Line-up: Warren Barguil (FRA), Lawson Craddock (USA), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Daan Olivier (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

Europcar Lombardia Team
Riders: Jérome Cousin, Cyril Gautier, Fabrice Jeandeboz, Vincent Jerome, Christophe Kern, Davide Malacarne, Maxime Mederel, Romain Sicard.
Directeur Sportif: Andy Flickinger.

2013 and ‘Purito’ makes his move in Il Lombardia:

header_OPQS_PRZdenek Stybar Prolongs 2014 Season with Two Cyclocross Events
Zdenek Stybar has decided to prolong his 2014 season by a few days before the winter break.

The World Cyclocross Champion will close out his season on the road with the Tour de l’Eurometropole; however, he will also take part in the first two cyclocross events for the season, the BPost Bank Trofee Ronse on October 12th and the Ardooie Cyclocross on October 16th. “The accident I had at the Eneco Tour made me miss the better part of the road season,” said Stybar. “This is why at the end of the season I still have the motivation to race. When I was offered the chance to race in the first two cross events of the season I jumped at it. It will be wonderful to wear the rainbow jersey, jump on my Specialized CruX and compete. I can’t wait. I have the same feeling you get when you have a convertible car in the garage and you can’t wait for the first rays of sun to come out so you can drive it, even if it’s still winter! I really want to enjoy these two cross events and then disconnect for a while before the start of the new season.”

Stybar also reflected on the 2014-2015 cross season. “It’s still too soon right now to say where I’ll be and how much I’ll race during next winter,” Stybar said. “We’ll make up a schedule with the team like we did last year that will allow me to line up for the start of some cross races before the road racing season gets underway.”

The three-time Elite World Champion in cyclocross also commented on the World title won by his teammate Michal Kwiatkowski. “What we saw yesterday was amazing,” Stybar said. “He was extremely strong on a mental level and he had a great team to back him up. Perhaps some people were wondering why Poland was working so hard in the head of the group, but those of us who ride with him know that when he’s in form, Michal likes racing ahead. On Saturday when I saw the route I immediately thought it was a great route for him but the way in which he did it was fantastic. He won with style and class, proving that he is one of the strongest athletes in the group – actually, yesterday he was the strongest.”

Stybar: Cyclo-cross for fun!

KAT14_Logo_624_317Team Katusha signs with Ilnur Zakarin and Sergey Lagutin
WorldTour Team Katusha signed a two-year agreement with Ilnur Zakarin, the most successful Russian rider in the 2014 UCI Europe Tour.

In the current season Ilnur Zakarin (25) riding for RusVelo took 4 victories and 5 podium places. Among his best results in 2014 were overall wins at Tour of Azerbaijan, Grand Prix of Sochi and Grand Prix of Adygeya, as well as second place in the general classification of the Tour of Slovenia.

“Ilnur is one of the brightest Russian riders of the new generation. In the last years he progressed quickly, getting a strong impulse of his development in ITERA-Katusha and RusVelo teams. Ilnur proved everything in the Europe Tour, so now comes the time to try his forces in the WordTour. I am happy he will start his career in the world’s cycling elite in the Team Katusha,” explained general manager Viacheslav Ekimov.

Team Katusha has signed a contract with one other Russian RusVelo rider, Sergey Lagutin (33). The appropriate agreement was signed for the next two seasons. This year Lagutin had a number of strong performances with a stage victory and 2nd place overall at the Grand Prix of Sochi, a win at Mayor Cup, a stage victory and 2nd place overall at Five Rings of Moscow, two stage podium places and 5th place in the overall at the Tour de Luxembourg.

“Sergey Lagutin is a very experienced rider who has a number of noticeable results not only in this year but also in previous seasons, including 5th place in the Olympic Games in London and 15th place in GC of the Vuelta a España. I am sure that Sergey will strengthen our climbers group and will show his own potential,” added Viacheslav Ekimov.

Sergey Lagutin when he was with Vacansoleil-DMC:
Dauphine Libere 2013 stage-2

header-giant-shimanoTeam Giant-Shimano classics line-up bolstered by arrival of Zico Waeytens
Team Giant-Shimano is happy to announce the addition of Zico Waeytens to the WorldTour team from 2015, with the Belgian rider signing for two years.

Waeytens, 22, has built his career racing for the ProContinental Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise team for the past three seasons now, proving his talents in the classics and also as a GC rider.

His strongest results to date are fifth overall in the 2014 Tour de Wallonie and third overall at the 2013 Tour des Fjords. He has also showed strongly this season in the classics with a 15th place at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and 35th at the Tour of Flanders.

Team Giant-Shimano coach Marc Reef (NED) said: “Zico is a young rider who has already shown that he can get results in the Flemish classics. We were looking for a rider to join the team in this capacity and we believe that he is a very good fit.

“He has had some bad luck with injury in the past few seasons but when he’s been fit he has got the results to show what he’s capable of. He can ride the hilly classics and also ride for GC results. Working under the guidance of the team and learning from the experience of other riders he can continue to develop and progress.”

“I am really glad to get this opportunity with the team and I see the great team spirit at Team Giant-Shimano and can’t wait to be a part of it,” said Waeytens. “I really want to make the next step in my development and I think that I can do this best here. With the environment they have created for young riders, and the race program they have, the team offers the best opportunity to progress. I would like to bring value to the table, especially in the Flemish spring classics and put behind me some bad luck with crashes in the past few seasons.”

Zico Waeytens in the prologue of the 2014 Ster ZLM Tour in Bladel, Netherlands:
Ster ZLM Tour 2014 proloog

header-skyTeam Sky Announce Five New Signings
Team Sky has signed five new riders for the 2015 season – Andrew Fenn, Leopold König, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Wout Poels and Nicolas Roche.

Announcing the new riders, Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We’ve signed five quality riders for next season and each one of them will help strengthen and enhance the squad. We’ve always set our standards high and been very ambitious with our goals. We want to win the biggest races and constantly improve as a team and these new riders have the proven experience and developing talent to perform now and in the future. We have a strong nucleus of riders at Team Sky and these signings will be excellent additions to the squad. They all bring their own qualities and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to the team and seeing them in action next season.”

The new Team Sky signings for 2015:

Andrew Fenn (Great Britain) – age 24
Andrew Fenn joins Team Sky after an assured first three years in the professional ranks. In 2012, his debut season as a pro, he won back-to-back victories at the Trofeo Palma and Trofeo Migjorn in Mallorca. Winner of the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2008, Fenn is a powerful rider with a fast finish and is well suited to the Classics. He will provide strong support to Team Sky’s ambitions in spring’s toughest one-day races.

On signing for Team Sky, Andrew Fenn said: “Team Sky has always been built around a strong British core so to be the team’s first Scottish rider is very special for me. I’m joining a team that has helped nurture and develop some of the best riders in the world so I’m really excited to see what the future holds. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and fulfilling my potential with Team Sky.”
Sir Dave Brailsford added: “Team Sky has a strong British influence at its heart so we’re very pleased to add Andrew Fenn to the team. Andrew’s a talented young rider who has come through the British Cycling system, so we know him and his abilities well. He has a bright future and we’re sure that he can develop into a key member of our team, and an integral part of our Classics squad.”

Leopold König (Czech Republic) – age 26
One of the biggest up-and-coming talents in the sport, Leopold has been very impressive over the last few years, recently securing a magnificent seventh-place finish at this year’s Tour de France. His superb climbing and time trial abilities make König an elite all-rounder, with stage victories at the Vuelta a Espana, Tour of California and Tour of Britain just part of his growing palmares.

Speaking about signing for Team Sky, Leopold König said: “I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for Team Sky so to be joining them is a real honour for me. It fills me with huge excitement to know that I’ll be working with some of the best support staff in the world and riding alongside such a talented group of riders. Next season I want to focus on improving my stage racing abilities and pay back their trust in me by helping win races.”
Brailsford said: “Leopold joins us from NetApp–Endura and is a very exciting talent. He’s ridden two Grand Tours in his career and has impressed in both. Leo’s a very gifted rider who has a great combination of climbing and time trialling ability, so he’ll be an excellent addition. We’re looking forward to working closely with him so that he can develop further.”

Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway) – age 30
Team Sky welcome Lars Petter back into the fold after two years away. A founding member of the team in 2010, the Norwegian is an accomplished climber and his attacking style invariably sees him battling it out for victory at the end of races. With notable wins at GP de Montreal and Trofeo Deia during his first stint with the team, Lars Petter will be looking to emulate his good form in 2012.

On returning to Team Sky, Lars Petter Nordhaug said: “I’m unbelievably proud, thankful and happy to re-join Team Sky for 2015. I started my professional career with Team Sky back in 2010 and had three fantastic years, so for me this feels like coming home. I learnt a huge amount with the team and it resulted in my best year as a cyclist so far, in 2012. I look forward to picking up where I left off and continuing to progress as a rider by reaching new levels with the team in the future.”
Brailsford said: “Lars Petter spent three seasons with us and his improvement over that time was clear to see, proving himself as a particularly strong one day rider. He’s a model professional, a great teammate, always committed to the team and will fit back into the group perfectly. We’ve always had a big fan base in Norway so following Edvald’s departure it’s great to have another Norwegian rider in the team. We’re delighted to have him back.”

Wout Poels (Holland) – age 26
Set to be the first Dutchman to ride for Team Sky, Wout is another accomplished climber and will strengthen the squad significantly. With experience of all three Grand Tours, he has taken stage victories at high-calibre races such as the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Tour of Britain and Tour de Luxembourg during his six-year pro career.

Dutch rider Wout Poels said: “I’m really proud to join the best GC team in the world. This team has a very clear goal for me over the coming years and I look forward to developing as a rider and getting the maximum out of my strengths and qualities. I feel my best years are ahead of me, so it was crucial to make the right choice on my future. I know I can achieve my goals racing with Team Sky.”
Brailsford said: “We’ve followed Wout’s career for some time and have always admired his natural ability on a bike. He has huge potential and I’m sure we can help him improve and develop as a rider. Wout is particularly impressive on punchier climbs and he’ll be a great addition to the team.”

Nicolas Roche (Republic of Ireland) – age 30
With 13 Grand Tour appearances to him name Nicolas has experience in abundance and will significantly add to the team’s firepower on the climbs. Joining fellow Irishman Philip Deignan at Team Sky, Roche is an attacking rider capable of racing hard for a team-mate or as a GC contender in his own right. In 2013 he finished an impressive fifth place at the Vuelta a Espana. This year he claimed victory in the Route du Sud and claimed a fifth place finish in the 2014 Tour of Britain.

On signing a contract with Team Sky, Nicolas Roche said: “It’s a great honour to sign for Team Sky and I have the opportunity to ride with some of the best riders in the world. I feel that I’m still developing as a rider so now’s the perfect time to join Team Sky and to continue my upwards path. I’m confident that under the guidance of Sir Dave Brailsford and the team, I’ll continue to improve.”
Brailsford added: “Nicolas joins us from Tinkoff-Saxo and becomes the second Irish rider in Team Sky. He brings a wealth of experience, having ridden 13 Grand Tours in his career, and that will be invaluable to the team. Nicolas has the perfect character and temperament for us and we expect him to play a key role next season.”

worlds14mrr-roche620

header-astanaDario Cataldo with Astana in 2015
Astana Pro Team has signed Dario Cataldo to a one-year contract for the 2015 season. Cataldo, from Italy, is an eight-year World Tour veteran rider and was the National Time Trial champion in 2012. With an individual stage win at the Vuelta a España in 2012 and won a Team Time Trial stage at the 2013 Giro d’Italia, Cataldo, who comes from Chieti in Abruzzo, brings experience, strength and wisdom to Astana in 2015.

Astana Pro Team General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov praised the 29-year old Cataldo, who also won the 2006 Girobio before turning professional: “He will be a great gregario for Aru as well as Nibali, and plus on top of that he knows the ins and outs of doing a good TTT – make no mistake, Dario Cataldo is a very important addition for the team.”

Dario Cataldo (Sky) with Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) during 2014 Giro-d’Italia stage 14 to Oropa:
Giro-D'Italia 2014 stage 14

header_BMCBMC Racing Team Extends Contract For Hermans
Ben Hermans has received a contract extension after playing an integral role in his first season with the BMC Racing Team, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Tuesday.

Always A Dependable Teammate
“We are very pleased to be extending the contract with Ben into the future,” Ochowicz said. “He has played a significant role this entire year covering all the bases on every level. His skills are many, but his greatest asset is his complete sacrifice for his teammates. We can always count on him.” In August, Hermans helped teammate Tejay van Garderen repeat as winner at the USA Pro Challenge and played a key role in the BMC Racing Team’s victory in the team classification while finishing ninth overall himself. At the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, he was runner-up on the Stage 4 finish at Powder Mountain on the way to a team-best fourth place overall finish. Earlier in the season, he was part of wins at the Amstel Gold Race (by Philippe Gilbert) and the Tour Méditerranéen (by Stephen Cummings). “This year, I did a lot of work for the team’s leaders until the Tour of Austria and then Utah, where I got some chances for myself,” Hermans said. “Next year, I would like to get some more chances earlier in the year. But it is not so easy when you have a team of so many big leaders. But I want to be there more in the final of races and in the earlier part of the season.” Specific terms of Hermans’s contract extension were not announced.

Ben Hermans (BMC) leads Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) during the 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege:
100 th  Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014

lottobelisol_headerLotto Belisol: Jasper De Buyst signs for the team!
After the signing of Tiesj Benoot and Thomas De Gendt, Lotto Belisol ads a third name to list of incoming transfers: Jasper De Buyst. He signed a contract for two years and makes the transfer from Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise. The talented rider from Flemish Brabant will ride a program on the track, as preparation for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016, combined with races on the road.

Jasper De Buyst: “Going from a ProContinental team to a WorldTour team is the dream of every rider. The last past years it all went very fast (De Buyst is only 21), but I do not regret that. Sometimes it was hard, but it made me stronger. My new team is participating in bigger races and points out a nicer program. Every young rider is looking forward to such a thing.”

“The goal is to prepare myself the coming years towards the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016. After the Olympics I shall concentrate myself on road races. The overwhelming experience of last Olympics (De Buyst was selected but didn’t came to action), will certainly be an advantage. The omnium will be the big goal. Of course I will ride road races, just like my time in the Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise team. A good planning is the most important part of combining those two. And in that period I can learn where my possibilities are on the road.”

“In the winter I will be riding six days. The Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent will be part of my schedule, complemented with some other six day races. Last year I won in Ghent and I hope to be strong there again.“

Professional since 2013:
2013-2014: Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
Victories:
2014: Omloop Mandel-Schelde-Leie, WorldCup Omnium and Madison
2013: Lotto Six Days Flanders – Ghent.

Jasper de Buyst in the derny race with Ron Zijlaard at the Rotterdam 6:
Zesdaagse van Rotterdam 2014 - day 5

header-MTNStephen Cummings Joins Team MTN-Qhubeka
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is really happy to announce that Stephen Cummings will be joining Team MTN-Qhubeka for the 2015 season. Cummings is a great addition to our 2015 squad as he brings with him a tremendous amount of strength and time trialing ability. Cummings’ experience will play a big role in supporting our team in the Classics next season.

While riding in service of a leader for most of his career, Cummings has still managed to pick up a number of prestigious victories. Most recently, Cummings won the overall classification at Tour of the Mediterranean earlier this year. As part of our objective to globalise our team for increased support to the Qhubeka foundation, the well liked British rider fits perfectly into our structure on every level.

Rider – Stephen Cummings
I’m delighted and especially excited to have signed with MTN- Qhubeka. I see it as a positive progression despite having been on World Tour teams the last few years. I feel the opportunities I will have with the team both individually and in support of my team-mates will lead to many successes for us all. I have had some great results in time trials this season, especially winning the TT stage before going on to win the general classification of the Tour of the Mediterranean. I hope to improve even more next year and also race for stage and road race wins but in the same instance, assist the team strongly at all times so we all can obtain the best results possible.

I really can’t wait to be part of this project and meet up with the team. There is a wonderful group of riders that have already enjoyed success and with the new wave of exciting signings, I feel sure I can help add to this. I am also looking forward to riding again with Eddy Boasson Hagen and helping to achieve the results his talent deserves.

The Qhubeka initiative is a unique thing for a cycling team, and I’m really happy to be part of it. I think it’s a really worthwhile and a cool project, it gives you an extra purpose and an extra motivation to perform well. I am not unfamiliar to African cycling as i spent the 2008/9 seasons racing for Barloworld, where I actually won a stage of the Giro del Capo and the King of the Mountains title in South Africa.

Team Principal – Douglas Ryder
Steve is a great all-rounder with super strength in the time trial, his abilities and experience will benefit the team in the Classics and in the stage races as we look to become one of the most consistent high performing teams in 2015.

Learn more about the team at www.teammtnqhubeka.com​

Vuelta Espana 2012 stage 13

header-saitamacritTour de France Saitama Criterium: Nibali will also make the Journey
This morning in Saitama, the organisers of the 2014 Tour de France Saitama Criterium revealed, in the presence of the city’s Mayor, Mr Hayato Shimizu, the list of riders expected to contest the second edition of the race on 25th October. The winner of Le Tour 2014, Vincenzo Nibali, will discover Japan as will the runner-up Jean-Christophe Péraud, whilst Peter Sagan, Chris Froome and Romain Bardet will be participating for the second time. In total, the winners of 14 stages on the most recent Tour de France will be travelling to the Far East!

The last two winners of the Tour de France will have a final opportunity to measure themselves against each other on their last appearance of the 2014 season. For its second edition, the 2014 Tour de France Saitama Criterium has attracted the big hitters from the Big Loop, hungry to discover and keen to spread their passion for cycling. The Italian leader of the Astana team, who dominated on France’s roads, will perhaps find himself less at ease this time like the winner of the Green Jersey Peter Sagan, or especially the winner of four stages this year Marcel Kittel, who will again have to do battle with one of his more serious rivals, Alexander Kristoff.

Even with the change of route that will lead the pack in front of the stands where 4,000 spectators will be massed in the Saitama Super Arena, the route is hardly suited to breakaways from the best climbers. Nevertheless, the Polka Dot Jersey winner Rafal Majka will be competing, alongside another of the leading riders in king of the mountains classification, Alessandro De Marchi, as well as the winner of the Pyrenean stage at Bagnères-de-Luchon, Michael Rogers, or the French AG2R climbing duo of Jean-Christophe Péraud and Romain Bardet. As for Warren Barguil, twice a stage winner on the Vuelta in 2013 and 8th in the general classification in 2014, he will be getting his first taste of the Tour de France atmosphere… in Japan!

The 32 riders selected from eight teams of the world’s elite will be racing against 32 Japanese riders chosen from the leading Japanese teams. As was the case in 2013, two points races will be organised on the 3-km long circuit which will be completed 8 times (24 km in total total), then the pack will come together for the main race including 20 laps of the circuit (60 km).

The main participants
Astana Pro Team: Nibali (Ita), Westra (NL); Cannondale: Sagan (Svk), De Marchi (Ita); Tinkoff-Saxo: Majka (Pol), Rogers (Aus); AG2R La Mondiale: Péraud, Bardet, Kadri (Fra); Team Giant Shimano: Kittel (Ger), Barguil (Fra); Team Sky: Froome (GB); Team Katusha: Kristoff (Nor); Fdj.fr: Démare, Roy (Fra). Japanese teams: Special Team Japan for Saitama (Sano, Champion of Japan 2014), Asian Racing Team, Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team, Matrix Powertag, Shimano Racing Team, Team Ujyo, Utsunomiya Blitzen, Vini Fantini Nippo.

Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana):
tdf14st18nibali2

header-dubaitourDubai Tour Confirmed and Upgraded
Dubai stage race, which will be held from 4th to 7th February 2015, has been granted the 2.HC category by the UCI.The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Management Committee, held in conjunction with the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, has confirmed the dates of the next edition of Dubai Tour, which will take place from 4th to 7th February 2015. It will be organised by the Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sport.

The same Committee has decided to reclassify the stage race from category 2.1 in the UCI Asia Tour calendar to category 2.HC (above categorisation, from French hors catégorie) in the same calendar. This change is an important moment for the young stage race, in its second edition, because the maximum number of UCI ProTeams that can participate in the race has increased from 50% to 70% of the field.

The 2015 edition is now ready to be even more spectacular and full of champions than the 2014 race, which saw Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) win the General Classification, with the sprinter Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) taking three stages.

phinney-dubai14-620

header-giroGiro d’Italia 2015
The Giro d’Italia organisers have released a ‘teaser’ video for next years race ahead of the course announcement. More news to come soon, but the video is still worth a watch:


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