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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

You could say the 2017 season is under way with Caleb Ewan winning the People Choice criterium at the weekend. We have reports, results and video from Australia and cyclocross from Italy. TOP STORY is the Vuelta a España route details… yes, it’s a killer! In other cycling news: Tour Down Under teams, UAE to San Juan, the Quick-Step presentation, Guillaume Martin extends and Dion Smith arrives at Wanty-Groupe Gobert, James Shaw looks forward to the season, Trek-Segafredo new kit and we finish with video of the Sunweb team training in Spain. 2017 is ON!

TOP STORY: The 2017 Vuelta a España Route
The biggest story since last week has to be the ‘murderous’ 2017 Vuelta a España route, possibly harder than last year, but does give the sprinters a couple of chances in the first week. In saying that, it is doubtful that riders like Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel will be on the start line in Nîmes, France on Saturday the 19th of August. Before the finish in Madrid on Sunday, September 10th, the Vuelta will have five flat stages and one stage they call ‘flat with high-altitude finalé’, eight hill stages, five mountain stages, one team time trial and one individual time trial. The 21 stages will cover a total of 3,297.7 kilometers. A hilly race, but Alberto Contador says that the 42 kilometer individual time trial is too long and that it shouldn’t be after the climb of the Sierra Nevada. He also wanted a climb in the TT, but you can’t have it all your own way.

There are many who don’t like the way the Vuelta is going, but it has been the most exciting Grand Tour in recent years, although there has been slim pickings for the flat land specialists. Could we see a large group of riders finish out of the time cut again? Yes, it’s very likely, but we should also see some top battles on those summit finishes and then the killer l’Angliru on stage 20 will either blow the race apart or consolidate a leaders advantage. Viva la Vuelta!

# Ed Hood’s ‘Vuelta’17 First Look’ coming soon on PEZ. #

On Thursday, the 12th of January, Unipublic announced the itinerary of the 2017 Vuelta that will commence on the 19th of August with a team time trial in the French city of Nîmes. For the third time in its more than 80 years of history, the Spanish tour will start from a city outside its borders, after Lisbon in 1997 and Assen in 2009.

The Director of La Vuelta, Javier Guillén, pointed out that this decision aims to show the “numerous ties that bind” the French and Spanish communities. “Its love of all things Spanish, its character and its passion for the art of bullfighting and flamenco will take centre stage in this perfect fusion between the Vuelta, France and emblematic Spain”.

Nîmes, the capital of the Gard region in the South of France, is known as “Little Rome” due to the presence of elements from the Roman Empire in its architecture and culture. The city’s history says that in the year 31BC, Augustus conquered the Roman Empire following his triumph over Marc Anthony and Cleopatra and then rewarded his troops with the city of Nîmes.

La Vuelta will kick off with two stages that will take place entirely on French soil, before arriving in another country that has become a recurring feature in the Spanish tour over the past few years: Andorra. The fourth stage of the 2017 edition will finish in Spain, more specifically in Tarragona, where it will then depart from the Autonomous Community of Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y León, Cantabria and Asturias, before its usual finale in Madrid.

Fourteen Unprecedented Departures
Yet again, La Vuelta opts for departures and finales that are unprecedented in the history of the Spanish tour. In this edition, the riders will participate in a total of 14 departures that have not been previously seen in the race’s 71 previous editions, as well as in eight finales that are unknown to the grand tour cyclists.

Add to this a classic peak in the past few years of La Vuelta, the Alto de l’Angliru, which will be more decisive than ever. The Asturian mountain pass will be the last climb of this year’s edition and will close the race’s second-last stage, just before the arrival in Madrid where the winner of the 2017 Vuelta will be crowned.

2017 Vuelta a España stages:
Stage 1: Nimes – Nimes 13.8 km (TTT)
Stage 2: Nimes – Gruissan 201 km
Stage 3: Prades – Andorra la Vella 158.5 km
Stage 4: Escaldes – Tarragona 193 km
Stage 5: Benicassim – Ermita Santa Lucía 173.4 km
Stage 6: Vila Real – Sagunto 198 km
Stage 7: Lliria – Cuenca 205.2 km
Stage 8: Hellín – Xorret de Catí 184 km
Stage 9: Orihuela – Cumbre del Sol 176.3 km
Rest Day 1: August 28
Stage 10: Caravaca – Alhama de Murcia 171 km
Stage 11: Lorca – Calar Alto 188 km
Stage 12: Motril – Antequera 161.4 km
Stage 13: Coín – Tomares 197 km
Stage 14: Écija – La Pandera 185.5 km
Stage 15: Alcalá la Real – Sierra Nevada 127 km
Rest Day 2: September 4
Stage 16: Circuito de Navarra – Logroño 42 km (ITT)
Stage 17: Villadiego – Los Machucos 180 km
Stage 18: Suances – Santo Toribio de Liébana 168.5 km
Stage 19: Caso – Gijón 153 km
Stage 20: Corvera – l’Angliru 119.2 km
Stage 21: Arroyomolinos – Madrid 101.9 km.

2017 Vuelta a España Route Video:

2017 Vuelta: Unzué, Valverde Assess Route
Movistar Team’s general manager and 2009 Spanish Grand Tour winner & six-time podium finisher comment on parcours confirmed Thursday.

Following the official presentation of the 72nd Vuelta a España’s route in Madrid’s Municipal Conference Hall, Thursday evening, the Movistar Team – winner of last year’s race with Nairo Quintana – offers quotes by Eusebio Unzué and Alejandro Valverde on the race starting on 19 August in Nîmes, France, and finishing in Madrid on 10 September. The Spanish rider couldn’t attend the event after the training accident suffered yesterday, hit by a barrier near his home in Murcia: “It’s awful I couldn’t be there, because I like to support the race and I make it there almost every single year, but considering the blows I suffered, the most reasonable thing was to stay at home and avoid a long journey out and back from Murcia. Where I’m hoping to be at is the start in Nîmes, on 19 August. My schedule is not completely defined, but a clear goal in mind for me is making the Vuelta team.”

Eusebio Unzué: “An early look at the route makes us happy, especially with the fact that there’s a TTT, which should never be missed on Grand Tours. It’s a good way to kick off with a route that starts ramping up right from the start, with the climbs of La Rabassa and La Comella into the Andorra stage and those three mountain-top finishes in Valencia before the first race day. You feel like the race will get exciting from the very start.

“The second week, with those three uphill finishes on Alps-like climbs, will clear things up very much GC-wise – top, pure climbers should be leading the standings after that. We must also keep attention to the heat in those days in Andalusia; it’s proven to be a key factor in previous editions.

“The third week will be even more important. First up, there’s the Los Arcos to Logroño ITT, a special day for us as we will be racing home in the Navarra roads. Then, another two mountain-top finishes, and the always demanding Cantabria hills. And at the end, L’Angliru, a final, hellish chance for those who still want to conquer the race. I feel like it’s a Vuelta route even harder than in previous occasions, and I’m sure it’ll be spectacular.”

Alejandro Valverde: “It looks like a really demanding Vuelta a España. Some people will probably say they shot completely off the mark, and for those like us who are suffering it on the bike it will be even more of a challenge, but I understand and prefer to have it this way. At the end of the day, fans want spectacle, and with this route, I’m confident the race will be really attractive for them.”

“You’ll have to plan your training schedule well and peak early, because those three mountain-top finishes in the first week will take a big share in the overall result. For the climbs on week two – I know them really well, they’re really demanding and high altitude combined with the slopes will make a big impact. That will pay off a lot when entering the Cantabria stages, and also L’Angliru, famous for its incredible ramps. It’s a climber’s course, no doubts about that. No place for TT specialists who climb just well; not even for sprinters, because some stages, like the one in Murcia, are mountain ones even if they don’t finish uphill. The fact that the race goes through my region makes it even more special.”

Alejandro Valverde and Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué:

People’s Choice Classic Criterium 2017
Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) out-sprinted the Bora-Hansgrohe pair of Sam Bennett and World champion Peter Sagan at the end of the People’s Choice Classic on Sunday in Adelaide. Australian national criterium champion, Caleb Ewan, was led-out by his Orica-Scott teammates with Roger Kluge brining him to the front in the final 200 meters for the win at the end of the 50.6 kilometer race.

Dimension Data’s Ben O’Connor enlivened the race with a solo break which gained a maximum lead of 40 seconds, but he was in trouble when the sprinter teams started to get their trains running with less than five laps to go. Katusha, Sunweb, Sky and Bora-Hansgrohe all had men on the front, but it was the home team of Orica-Scott who were in control. Gerrans, Impey, Durbridge, Chaves and Kluge put Ewan on the front with 200 meters to go and Bennett and Sagan had no chance.

Adelaide - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Caleb EWAN (Australia / Team Orica Scott) pictured during  the People’s Choice Classic 2017 in Adelaide, Australia on jan 15 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott): “It was the first time I’ve raced with Roger obviously and he dropped me off in perfect position and it was really the first time I had to touch the wind really. It worked out perfectly. I don’t think it usually happens like that. All I had to do really was to follow him. In the last couple of laps he was sitting behind me so I got a better ride up the front. I was surprised he got through because it was so messy behind me at the end so he did super well and came around me with a lap to go and led me out perfectly.”

2nd, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The guys did an amazing job. They did everything perfectly I can’t thank them enough. In the final, everybody thought Peter was sprinting, so it was a fight for his wheel so he had to hang back for the last kilometer, but even then the last 500m we were still fighting for his wheel and they wouldn’t let him out, and we had to open up the sprint really late. We had great power and speed and that gave us great confidence. If we’d just got out in time we would have got that.”

3rd, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was ok today. I rode for Sam, so I was one of the last guys on the lead-out train for the sprint, or the second last one. We’ll see how my legs are for the days to come – I’m going to recover now for the next stage.”

4th, Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida): “It’s a fast race, 50k in one hour, very fast. And final, I tried a good position, and finished 4th. I’m really happy, thank you for my team. This is a new experience, and very good.”

Marco Marzano, Team UAE’s sports director: “The first goal of the team for this criterium was to find a good team spirit, this was important also because three cyclists were at their debut in our group. I feel that we achieved this target, our riders pedaled one close to the other for all the race, this is what I’d like we’ll be able to do also in the next days. We missed the opportunity to be in the front position in the approach of the sprint, Swift and Kump tried to be together, however the crash and the fight for the positions separated them.”

People’s Choice Classic Criterium 2017
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott in 1:03:41
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data
7. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar.

Race finalé:

UCI World Cup Fiuggi Regione Lazio 2017
World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) won the eighth round of the Telenet UCI World Cup cyclocross in Fiuggi, Italy on Sunday. As usual when Mathieu van der Poel isn’t competing, Wout Van Aert rode most of the race solo on a muddy and slipper course. German champion Marcel Meisen (Steylaerts-Verona) was 2nd, with Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Lions) 3rd. European champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) was looking good for a high position, but crashed and was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collar bone and will probably miss the World Championships in Luxembourg in two weeks time.

Toon Aerts had the best start with teammate Meeusen slowing the chase behind. But during the second lap Van Aert rode away from the chasers to catch Aerts a lap later. It took a further lap for the World champion to drop the European champ on the running section. By the halfway point; Van Aert had 30 seconds on Aerts, Meeusen, Meisen, Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games), Tim Merlier (Crelan-Charles) with Pauwels at 10 seconds.

Van Aert kept rode on without any problems gaining a further 10 seconds as Aerts crashed out of the chase group and Vanthourenhout had mechanical problems leaving just Meeusen, Meisen, and Merlier. with less than two laps to go Meisen rode away from the chasers and at the bell he was only 24 seconds behind Van Aert with the others a further 20 seconds down. Van Aert had 18 seconds on the German champion at the line as Meeusen, Merlier and Pauwels fought it out for 3rd with Meeusen taking the last podium place at 27 seconds.

Wout Van Aert can’t be beaten in the UCI World Cup with 530 points, Kevin Pauwels will probably finish second, he has 419 points at the moment.Tom Meeusen on 377 points will have to hold off Laurens Sweeck who has 373 points.

Fiuggi-Rome - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - veldrijden - Cyclocross - Querfeldein-  Wout van Aert  (Belgium)  pictured during worldcup cyclocross Elite in Fiuggi-Rome - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles): “It was a super nice ‘cross. The Italians are really mad about cycling. I’m glad to have been here. Now I can head to next week’s race (the last World Cup in Hoogerheide) without stress. From this evening on I can focus on the World championships. It was very special. The challenge was to stay upright and stay calm on the slippery sections; that worked out well. I felt that I was the best in the running section. That’s where I first passed the others and then closed the gap with Toon. From there, it was a matter of doing your own thing and staying busy for an hour.”

2nd, Marcel Meisen (Steylaerts-Verona): “It’s unbelievable. I didn’t have a great start, which is important on this course, but it went really good. Technically, I had no problems and the short uphill climbs suited me. I was able to move up and then the podium was there. I couldn’t believe my own eyes, everybody was on the verge of crashing but I rode good lines and felt certain, also in the downhill runs.”

3rd, Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea): “I’m very satisfied to finally get on the World Cup podium again. The expectations were high today. As soon as there’s a bit of snow the eyes turn towards me. It was more physical than anticipated. Aerts? I was there and heard him screaming after his crash. When a rider screams through the forest so that everybody hears it, you know it’s not a good sign.”

UCI World Cup Fiuggi Regione Lazio Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charles in 1:05:03
2. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts-Verona at 0:18
3. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:27
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 0:39
5. Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 0:46
6. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:12
7. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:16
8. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:24
9. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:27
10. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:42.

Fiuggi cross:

Dimension Data for the Tour Down Under
The 2017 World Tour season opener is upon us as the Tour Down Under gets underway on the 17 of January. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is excited to be in Australia for the 2nd year in succession, particularly with our 4 Australian riders raring to go in front of their home crowd.

Once again, the Tour Down Under will take shape over 6 road stages around Adelaide and South Australia. While the World Tour stage race officially starts on Tuesday the 17th, the traditional People’s Choice Classic Criterium will take place on Sunday the 15th and is sure to whet the appetite for what is to come over the following week.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will approach the Tour Down Under with great ambition, targeting stage victories as well as a possible high finish on GC. A good GC performance will once again come down to consistency but with emphasis being placed on 2 key stages, stage 2 finishing in Paracombe and stage 5 finishing on Willunga Hill.

Each stage will be an opportunity for victory though and our 7 riders will take every opportunity to raise awareness for Qhubeka down under. Nathan Haas showed his form is where it needs to be after the Australian national championships and he will lead our African Team at the Tour Down Under. Mark Renshaw showed last year with two 2nd place stage finishes that the sprint finishes certainly suit him. Lachlan Morton, Ben O’Connor, Tyler Farrar, our South African champion Jaco Venter and Jacques Janse van Rensburg will complete our line-up for the Tour Down Under.

Nathan Haas – Rider: “It feels like the African Team has become a home for a few of the Australian sons of cycling. We have Australians here are all ripped, raring and ready to go here. Two of the Africans are here as well in Jacques and Jaco who have just come from a hot climate. Tyler has just come from training in Maui so we have 7 guys here who are super motivated, used to the heat and ready to get the first World Tour race off to what we believe will be a good start.”

Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director: “We are happy to start the season once again in Australia and particularly with this group. It is probably the best scenario for us to start the season because we have 4 Australian’s in our roster which is really special. A stage win will be great to achieve but we must be ambitious and we think we can target a top 10 on GC, so we will consider both options and not just stick to one. We also hope to take some good form from this race into the start of the European season.”

BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team’s debut at the Santos Tour Down Under
Everything is prepared for the official debut of BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team on the Australian roads. Riders, that were selected for this first race, under the leadership of sports director Philippe Mauduit, are two Italians, Niccolò Bonifazio and Giovanni Visconti, Japanese Yukiya Arashiro, Czech Ondrej Cink, Taiwanese Feng Chun-kai, Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and Slovenian Janez Brajkovic.

On Sunday 15th, on the People’s Choice Classic, 50 km Criterium on the streets of Adelaide, in front of a usually big audience, the BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team, led by Philippe Mauduit will begin its story in the world of pro cycling. On Tuesday 17th, two days after this opening part, the 19th Santos Tour Down Under will kick off. A race, often marked with tough conditions of great heat, has six stages, suited to the sprinters and breakaway specialists, with the finish at the top of Willunga Hill.

Giovanni Visconti, one of the riders on the Tour Down Under, expressed his excitement before the race: “I am very happy to be here. During my last time here, I broke my leg and spent one week in the hospital, so this time I hope for a better experience. I am really motivated to ride for the new Team. I hope for a good start in the season, because a good beginning is important. Today we went to see the last part of the second stage and I think it won’t be easy. The last 16 kilometers have like 1,200 meters’ climb, so it will be a hard stage for sure. I want to try for the GC. But, if I am not good enough, I will try for the stage.”

Niccolò Bonifazio, his teammate, added: “It’s a new team, it’s a new project and on this first race I will try to win one stage. I read the race book and I think it’s not that hard. I hope to arrive in the finish in good position for the sprint.” He continues to describe the last stage: “Two years ago I finished on 6th place, and I think it’s a good opportunity for the sprinters. I think the last corner is the crucial part of the race.”

Philippe Mauduit, Sports Director that will lead this group of riders in the first race, said: “It’s the first race of the team, of course we want to do well. We are eager to do well. On the other hand, there are many things to do. And because it’s the first race, important thing will be to work as a team, and to find a way to work all together, that’s the first goal for this race. But we have some other goals.

Giovanni Visconti can do very well on GC, so we try to protect him on that way. And we also have Niccolò who can be good on the sprint stages. We know that there are very strong sprinters in the race, but we are willing to give him a chance to do something good. But, the most important thing is to work as a team, and to show our jersey in the ProTour. “

TDU preview with DS Mario Aerts
The Tour Down Under starts tomorrow. Last week GC rider Rafael Valls and neo-pro James Shaw already talked about their preparations and expectations for this six-day WorldTour stage race. Today we publish a preview with sports director Mario Aerts.

Mario Aerts: “In the People’s Choice Classic the Lotto Soudal riders already showed their will to attack, like they did all year long last season. We want to continue on the same path the following days. Everyone is very motivated for the Tour Down Under and at training they all made a good impression. Certainly Rafael Valls, who has to achieve a top ten place on GC. Because of an injury Rafa had to end the previous season already in July, but the past months he perfectly prepared for the Tour Down Under. His training data show that he is ready for his first goal of the season.”

“The second stage, to Paracombe, has a hill top finish and therefore that stage will already cause a first selection on GC. The first part of that stage, five laps around Stirling, is tough. Those laps take place on an undulating course. We did a recon of the finale and it is hard too. The road is going slowly upwards from the valley, but the real climb starts at one and a half kilometres from the finish. There is immediately a peak above ten per cent. Together with the fifth stage to Willunga Hill, the second stage will be crucial for the overall classification.”

“Of course we will try to win a stage as well. Most victories go to Australians, but that’s not a problem as we have Adam Hansen in our team (laughs). He definitely has a chance to win a stage. Sander Armée, Lars Bak and Thomas De Gendt can also join breakaways. James Shaw is here to learn and to help Rafael. If he sees an opportunity, he can have a go though and attack. Sean De Bie will be our man for the sprint. The first day will almost certainly end with a bunch sprint, just like the last stage. The fourth day could be a sprint as well. On day three, with finish in Victor Harbor, the peloton could fall apart if echelons are formed. At the People’s Choice Classic, Sean had the punch in his legs to sprint to the seventh place. He doesn’t have to wait for a sprint though, he can always try to win with a late attack.”

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

Cannondale-Drapac roster change: Scully in for Canty at Tour Down Under
Due to illness, Brendan Canty will not be able to take the start at the Santos Tour Down Under on Tuesday. New Zealander Tom Scully will take his place.

On Monday, Canty began to suffer from flu-like symptoms, including fever and chills. He was seen by the race doctor and then by the team doctor Peter Fuller. Both determined Canty has a virus and shouldn’t race.

“It’s gone from starting a WorldTour race on my 25th birthday to being taken out of the race sick. Obviously, it’s disappointing. I spent a fair bit of time preparing for this race, and I think my form’s quite good. It’s definitely frustrating, but it happens,” Canty said.

Leadership of the team is unchanged, with Mike Woods and 2013 winner Tom-Jelte Slagter serving as captains.

“We had to make a quick decision. For Brendan’s own health and his own sake, I didn’t want to put him in the race. We came here to support Mike Woods and Tom Slagter, so the most important thing is to have a rider that’s 100 percent. It’s unfortunate it’s not Brendan,” said sport director Tom Southam.

The Tour Down Under marks Scully’s first race with the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team.

“I would have liked to get a haircut and have a shave before my first WorldTour race. But at the end of the day there is nothing to worry about,” Scully said. “All I have to do is pin the numbers on tomorrow and get from point A to point B, supporting my new teammates along the way.”

Cannondale-Drapac for the 2017 Tour Down Under:
Paddy Bevin, Will Clarke, Alex Howes, Tom Scully, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Tom Van Asbroeck, Michael Woods.

Team UAE heading to Argentina
Sunday January the 15th: Team UAE will leave Italy flying to Argentina, where they’ll participate in the Vuelta Ciclista a la Provincia de San Juan from 23rd to 29th January.

The members of the team of the sports director Mario Scirea will be six riders of high quality: Darwin Atapuma, Rui Costa, Filippo Ganna, Andrea Guardini, Przemyslaw Niemiec and Oliviero Troia. In the staff there will the physician Dr Angelucci, the masseurs Gallivanone and Lima and the mechanics Coelho and Morari.

Before the kick-off of the race, the team will exploit some days for training on the Colnago C60 bikes in order to improve the shape after the works performed in the training camp in Terracina.

This is the list of the stages:
– January 23rd, 1st stage: San Juan-San Juan, Etapa de Media Agua (142,5 km – sprinters)
– January 24th, 2nd stage: San Juan-San Juan, Etapa del Oeste (128,8 km – sprinters)
– January 25th, 3rd stage: San Juan-San Juan (11,9 km – individual time trial)
– January 26th, 4th stage: San MartÍn-San MartÍn (160,5 km – sprinters)
– January 27th, 5th stage: Chimbas-Alto Colorado (162,4 km – summit arrival at 2565 mt)
– January 28th, 6th stage: Pocito-Pocito (185,7 km – sprinters)
– January 29th, 7th stage: San Juan-San Juan (138,2 km – sprinters)

“Guardini will be our captain for the sprints: he’ll have the opportunity to rely on the support of Troia and on Ganna, who’ll be both debut as pro riders,” sports director Scirea commented. “Our selection will be competitive also for the summit arrival, thanks to the presence of top climbers such as Atapuma, Rui Costa and Niemiec.”

“Atapuma will race for the first time in our team, during the season he’ll be an important resource for us and we’ll do our best in order to support him. Rui Costa never began the season so early, in Argentina he’ll try to exploit the work he’ll perform in Argentina.”

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team Presented to the Public
Thousands of people came to Kortrijk to meet the riders and find out more about the team’s ambitions for the upcoming season.

January 11th 2017 saw the Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team host its annual team presentation, which took place in Kortrijk, a town iconic for cycling, which has featured over the years in some of the world’s biggest races, such as Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem or Ronde van Vlaanderen.

All around, it was a busy but rewarding day for the team’s riders, who attended the media presentation in the afternoon at the D-Hotel, before heading out to the Kinepolis Cinema for the screening of the “One Year In Blue” movie; produced by the Woestijnvis company, the film – a great story of sport and passion – focuses on the team’s fantastic 2016 season, which saw the Belgian World Tour outfit win 57 races, including 9 Grand Tour stages and the World Team Time Trial Championships.

An unreal atmosphere awaited the riders at the Kinepolis Theater, where they got to meet our incredible fans (more than 3200 people) who came to the event and who are relentlessly supporting us, showing their love and passion for the team with each occasion. As they walked on the red carpet, the team’s riders signed autographs, took selfies and exchanged a few words with the fans, before the start of the “One Year In Blue” movie, which was only fitting to be launched now, during the film awards season.

“We were again the team with the most wins and looking at the whole picture also this season we are in a position to repeat this feat. Quick-Step Floors Cycling has a roster of major stars, which underlines the fact that they are capable of winning the Classics and playing a major role in the Grand Tours and week-long stage races. It’s a very balanced team, with many strong established stars and young talented riders who are capable of surprising, and Patrick deserves credit for that”, said Mister Zdenek Bakala, who took over the team at the end of the 2010 season, helping it reach new heights one season after another.

Cycling : Team Quick-Step Floors 2017 / Team Presentation Patrick LEFEVERE (BEL) Teammanager / Jeroen BAL / Paul DE COCK / Frans MAES / One Year in Blue Movie / Kinepolis Cinema / Team Presentation / (c)Tim De Waele

“We embark in our 15th season and it makes me proud to present the team in front of such a huge audience. 2016 was a great year, which made me very happy, but we would like to top it this season, when we hope to get a victory in the Classics, which is something we missed last year”, said Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team’s CEO and the man who created the squad a decade and a half ago. “To be sincere, it doesn’t matter if it’s a one-day race or a Grand Tour, we’ll keep our aggressive way of racing and show our panache and team spirit. The World Championships will be another important goal, as we’ll go to Norway keen to defend the team time trial title won in Qatar, while at the same time rooting for one of our guys to take the fabled rainbow jersey.”

Cycling : Team Quick-Step Floors 2017 / Team Presentation Tom BOONEN (BEL) / Press /Media / One Year in Blue Movie / Kinepolis Cinema / Team Presentation / (c)Tim De Waele

In less than three months from now, Tom Boonen will be a retired rider, and the 36-year-old Belgian – who’s been with the team since its inception – is looking forward to his final races with Quick-Step Floors, confident he still has what it takes to fight for a record fifth victory in Paris-Roubaix, the “Queen of the Classics”: “This is my last year and I really want to enjoy every moment of it and every race I’ll do. It goes without saying that I would like to win Paris-Roubaix, which is my biggest goal of 2017, but until then I will take it each step at a time. After the Abu Dhabi injury led to me missing some weeks of training prior to the 2016 season, now everything is going according to plan and I hope I’ll stay healthy until Roubaix, where you can be sure I will do my best.”

Cycling : Team Quick-Step Floors 2017 / Team Presentation Marcel KITTEL (GER)/ One Year in Blue Movie / Kinepolis Cinema / Team Presentation / (c)Tim De Waele

In 2016, Marcel Kittel was one of the main pillars of the team, taking 12 victories (3 in Grand Tours) and helping Quick-Step Floors time trial its way to the gold medals at the World Championships. This year, the powerful German will seek to add more wins to his tally and cement his status as one of the peloton’s fastest men.

“My objectives are the same as last year: have a good first part of the season and then a strong Tour de France. If everything will click again with my teammates, I’m sure the victories will come”, said Marcel, who also talked of the “One Year In Blue” movie: “Wow, this was a great and unique experience and I truly loved it. At first, it’s a little bit strange to have the camera around you, but with time you get used to it. These are the kind of images, mix of emotions and special moments the public wants to see, and we are happy people came here in huge numbers and watched this movie!”

Best young rider of the past Giro d’Italia and one of the race’s revelations, Bob Jungels is ready to return to the Corsa Rosa in May and continue his development as a Grand Tour contender: “The plan is to ride again the Giro d’Italia, where I’ll line up after doing two other nice Italian races, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico. Last year, the Giro was a beautiful experience, and even though the course of the centenary is a hard one, I remain confident in my chances of getting a good result.”

Last season, Julian Alaphilippe enjoyed his finest season to date, which saw him win the Tour of California, end up as the Critérium du Dauphiné best young rider and make his Tour de France debut. Now, the 24-year-old from Saint-Amand-Montrond will look to build on all these results and step up a gear in his fourth season with Quick-Step Cycling Team.

“I have extraordinary memories from last year’s races. California was fantastic, but to ride the Tour de France for the first time and discover the race day after day was the cherry on the cake. In 2017, I will set my eyes on the Ardennes, where we’ll go with a very strong team that includes Philippe and Dan, and the Tour de France, a race which I hope to start again”, the always smiling Julian said at the team presentation in Kortrijk.

Cycling : Team Quick-Step Floors 2017 / Team Presentation Philippe GILBERT (BEL) / Press /Media / One Year in Blue Movie / Kinepolis Cinema / Team Presentation / (c)Tim De Waele

Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert, who joined the team at the end of last season, is another rider eager to kick off things and add more victories to his long and distinguished CV: “I already feel at home with Quick-Step Floors Cycling; the atmosphere is a great one, an important factor in every environment. I was also impressed by the huge number of fans who have gathered here this evening; you could feel that this team is something different! The goal is do to good and bring this team a Classic, something that both of us are missing for a few years now.”

After shining in 2016, a year in which notched up two wins, finished on the podium of Volta a Catalunya and the Critérium du Dauphiné and got his best ever result in the Tour de France (9th place), Dan Martin knows he can go further in 2017: “The goal is to have a strong start to the season and take that form into the Ardennes Classics, and later focus on the Tour de France. Last year I learnt a lot there and now I know better how to handle it. It will be important to stay healthy and not get involved in any crash. If this will happen, I’m sure the results will come along.”

“2017 will be an important year. Last season I was unlucky in the Classics, but now I hope to find again the winning formula, be there when it matters and help the team land a big result”, said Zdenek Stybar, who will start his seventh season with Quick-Step Floors.

Also Niki Terpstra is excited to get things rolling and try to carve out other important wins on the cobbles which he loves so much: “Looking back, last year was a good one, but I missed something in the Spring one-day races. I’m still hungry for victories on the cobbles, which will be one of the main goals of the season for me.”

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team – who’ll rely on 29 riders from 13 countries in 2017 – will start the season at the Tour Down Under (17-22 January) and conclude it on October 10th, on home turf, at the Nationale Sluitingprijs – Putte-Kapellen.

Philippe Gilbert – 2017: A New Beginning:

Guillaume Martin Extends with Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Wanty-Groupe Gobert is happy to announce the contract extension of Guillaume Martin. The French climber (23) extended until the end of 2018. Martin will begin his season at the GP la Marseillaise before continuing with the Tour of Oman and the classics Drôme and Ardeche.

Guillaume Martin: “Some teams had an eye on me but I never tried to push the contacts. At Wanty-Groupe Gobert, I am part of a medium-term project that corresponds to the development of my sporting career. I get the opportunity to compete in a beautiful race program where I am a protected rider. A privilege I could not receive in other teams. I will always be grateful to Jean-François Bourlart and Hilaire Van der Schueren for giving me the opportunity to show my values in professional cycling.”

“With a contract for two years I can work positively, bearing the longer term in mind. The team was able to extend with a coach and more advanced medical staff. I now hope to be able to contest a first Grand Tour like the Tour de France. This is more than a dream for me. Me and the team must continue to grow.”

Sébastien Demarbaix (sports director): “The prolongation of a year is a proof of intelligence on his part. He favors his progression with a little less pressure on his shoulders. This will allow us to focus on three or four objectives without setting expectations on his entire schedule. Guillaume is a quality rider, an enormous talent that could break out in May on mountain stages in Tour de Romandie, Switzerland or the Dauphiné in case we are invited. Same thing for a possible grand tour, where he should not concentrate on the general classification but on escapes in mountain stages.”

Guillaume Martin:

Pro début is Approaching for James Shaw
James Shaw is about to start his first season as a pro. In 2016, the 20-year-old British rider, who was already part of the Lotto Soudal U23 team for two years, got a taste of the pro existence as a trainee with the WorldTour team. Now it’s for real. Next week, he’ll participate in the Tour Down Under, a race of the highest level. James has been in Australia for a few days now and his pro début is coming closer. How is he doing?

James Shaw: “I took some time to get over the jetlag, but now my body clock is running on Adelaide time. It’s my first time ever in Australia and I like it. As far as the weather is concerned it’s a huge difference with the cold in Europe at the moment. It’s a weird feeling having high temperatures in January, that doesn’t seem right. But it’s not too hot yet. Today, was the first time the temperature rose above thirty degrees.”

“During our spare time we already had some time to look around here in Adelaide. I bought a postcard to send home to my parents. Adelaide is a beautiful city and not too crowded. You are close to the beach and hills. It’s wonderful to enjoy a coffee under the sun during our training rides. During one of our trainings Rafael Valls pointed out a koala who was chilling in a tree. It was exciting to see such an animal in its natural habitat.”

“The first days, we took it pretty easy to get used to the time difference and the climate, but the past few days we did training rides of more than four hours. We did a recon of a few of next week’s courses. We rode the last fifty kilometers of the second stage and went to see the start and finish of stage four.”

“Those recons made me even more excited to race next week. Although I’m really nervous for my first WorldTour race. I hope to come out as a stronger and better bike rider. I’m lucky to have a wealth of experience around me, with riders like Lars Bak and Thomas De Gendt who are more than willing to share their knowledge. Thomas, who already rode the Tour Down Under five times, has been giving advice on the courses. Sean De Bie is my roommate here. I already know him fairly well, because the past two years, when I was riding for the U23 team, we occasionally met up for a ride as he didn’t live too far away. I’m starting a new and big adventure, but the fact that I’m surrounded by such a nice team will dampen the shock.”

James Shaw:
Munster - Westfalen - Germany - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Shaw James Callum (Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during Sparkassen Munsterland Giro 2016 - photo Cor Vos © 2016

Dion Smith joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Team Wanty-Gobert Group is pleased to announce its 22nd and last rider for the 2017 season. Following the career end of Lieuwe Westra, our team was able to quickly engage the 23-year-old Dion Smith from New Zealand. Third in the national championship of New Zealand in early January, the former One Pro Cycling rider, now residing in Girona (Spain), is expected to make his debut in the new Wanty-Gobert jersey in mid-February.

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “The goal of our team is to keep developing young talents. We were talking to Dion since internal changes at One Pro Cycling. Unfortunately we had no more space for him this year. But following the stop of Lieuwe Westra, we had a golden opportunity to hire him. It is important to be able to secure a talented young rider as him for two years.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren (Sports Director): “We have been following Dion for a while and his consistence has always attracted us. We are happy to welcome a rider with his profile in the team. He is a true allrounder, able to express himself on all types of terrain. I want to see him at work to discover his limits. After the Herald Sun Tour in Australia, he will return with us to compete in the Tour of Algarve.”

Dion Smith:

Trek-Segafredo Proudly Presents 2017 New Race Kit
Trek-Segafredo is delighted to present their new race kit for the 2017 season. The new kit, marked by a significant color change from white to red, was simultaneously presented at a Trek Bikes shop in Adelaide and at the team’s training camp in Mallorca this Friday. It will be used for racing throughout the year, thus completing the high visibility training outfit the team started wearing on January 1, 2017.

The official launch of the 2017 race kit also marks the start of a new three-year clothing partnership with Sportful.

Trek-Segafredo has chosen to work with Sportful in consideration of their progressive approach to clothing design. The partnership gives the team access to a dedicated R&D program that looks to improve athlete performance in every race and training situation.

Luca Guercilena, General Manager: “Partnering with Sportful gives us the opportunity to make sure our athletes are comfortable in all the situations they face throughout the cycling calendar. We see everything from snow at the spring classics to 50°C racing in the desert and everything in between. We are also confident that Sportful’s experience with aerodynamic testing will give us an advantage especially in time trials. They are a very exciting addition to the team.”

Andrea Peron, Performance Director – Sportful: “We are extremely excited to partner with Trek-Segafredo, one of the most successful teams in pro cycling, with a good mix of a very strong classics squad with riders like Degenkolb & Stuyven and grand tour leaders like Contador, Mollema & Pantano. We can really look at new ways to help every type of rider perform at their peak, no matter what the weather is doing.”

The partnership is not just limited to providing clothing for the riders of Trek-Segafredo, but will be expanding to allow fans of the team across the world the ability to purchase the same products, used by their favorite athletes.

Glen McKibben, Brand Manager – Sportful: “For Sportful it’s great to work with a team kit that has a very classy look and then bring some of our own design elements in too. We understand and support Trek-Segafredo’s new high visibility training kit project, fortunately we are no strangers to working with fluo yellow. Working with partners like Trek who share the same passion for innovation will no doubt be beneficial for everyone involved.”

The apparel used by the pro team will include BodyFit Pro products, designed to give the perfect fit and ergonomics for pro level racing as well as Fiandre clothing designed for all weather protection with race performance. The team will also be using the Eurobike award-winning Stelvio jacket for extreme conditions. Trek-Segafredo has also chosen Karpos outdoor clothing for their staff and athletes off the bike.

This is Team Sunweb
New bikes, new gear, new dreams for 2017. With a whole new look and a promising roster of returning stars and fresh new faces, Team Sunweb and Giant are ready to roll. Video of the team at their Spanish training camp in Calpe.

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