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BIELES, LUXEMBOURG - JANUARY 29 : Van Der Poel Mathieu (NED) of Beobank - Corendon and Van Aert Wout (BEL) of Crelan - Charles team in action during the 2017 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships for Men Elite January 29, 2017 in Bieles, Luxembourg, 29/01/2017 ( Photo by Nico Vereecken / Photonews

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

A stuffed EUROTRASH bag this Monday: World cyclocross championships, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Vuelta a San Juan and the Challenge Mallorca all with reports, results, quotes and video. In other cycling news: Previews of the Dubai Tour and the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Cofidis to the Tour de France, Canadians at the Berlin 6 Day, Tour of Britain sponsor and Bahrain-Merida time trial training. Loads to get through.

TOP STORY: A Crazy Worlds Cross Course?
The general opinion of the riders after their first look at the course for the World cyclocross championships in Bieles, Luxembourg was that it was a very tough course, with US rider Stephen Hyde saying it was ‘nutty’. In the day before the racing began, there was snow and ice on the tracks, which made it harder than it turned out on the race days. But isn’t it always the way. Look back at any road Worlds and the riders always say it much harder than it appears on the day.

In saying that, there were quite a few disappointed riders whose race was spoiled by punctures and in some cases crashes. As always the top riders were at the fore when it mattered.

Italian Alice Maria Arzuffi was one crash victim
Bieles - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - crash val sturz fall Arzuffi Alice Maria (Italy / Lensworld - Kuota)  pictured during  World Championships Cyclocross - women elite - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2017

UCI Men’s Elite World Cyclocross Championships 2017
As expected the men’s World cyclocross championship in Luxembourg was between the two riders who have dominated the 2016/17 season. Defending champion Wout Van Aert (Belgium) and Dutch champion Matthieu van der Poel were by far head and shoulders above the others and it looked like the man from Holland had it in the bag when an untimely puncture and a resurgent Van Aert put paid to his ideas. Van Aert took the rainbow jersey, Van der Poel silver and Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) Bronze.

From the gun Van der Poel was the early leader and the others could only watch as the dutch champion rode away to a 15 second lead at the end of the first lap. But punctures were going to be everyones problem and Van der Poel’s on the second, third and fourth lap had Van Aert pull him back. At the halfway point they had over 40 seconds on their closest chasers: Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium), Corné van Kessel (Netherlands), Lars van der Haar (Netherlands), Tim Merlier (Belgium), Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) and Kevin Pauwels (Belgium).

On lap 5 both leaders punctured, but Van Aert’s puncture came just before the pits area, while Van der Poel’s fourth was just before the finish line and so he had further to go to the pit. This caused Van der Poel to lose 20 seconds. From then on it was a losing battle for the Dutchman as he lost a further 25 seconds on the Belgian.

Kevin Pauwels brought the rest of the field over two minutes later for the bronze medal, many riders run out of bikes and wheels due to the many punctures. Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) commented after the race: “I punctured seven or eight times. My father shouted I had to keep riding because they no longer had bikes ready. I rode half the race on a flat tubular.”

Bieles - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Wout van Aert (Bel)   pictured during  World Championships Cyclocross - Elite men - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2017

World champion, Wout Van Aert (Belgium): “I thought it would be a race for second place but then in the second lap I found my good rhythm. I really didn’t expect this, last week I was a week without the bike. It seemed like nobody believed me. It was not the best preparation. I just wanted to give full gas for one hour. It’s also a pity that bad luck is with Mathieu when he has a flat tire. Of course I couldn’t wait for that. He punctured at the finish line and had quite a distance to go to the pits. I punctured also, but close to my pit. I’m so happy with my second world title.”

Second, Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands): “It’s no fun to lose a race due to bad luck. It’s the biggest disappointment of my career. There’s many rocks in Namur as well. Despite my disappointment, I had great fun for the full hour on this real ‘cross course. The punctures were just too much. It cost too much time and energy.”

Third, Kevin Pauwels (Belgium): “The result couldn’t be better. I flatted three times. The last lap I took it easy to avoid a puncture. If you see the difference with the first two riders, then it’s a good result.”

Fourth, Lars van der Haar (Netherlands): “Six flats were too much to overcome, I think I could’ve gotten third place easily. I did everything to avoid punctures but it kept happening. I’m happy with fourth place though after what happened in November.”

UCI Men’s Elite World Cyclocross Championships Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Belgium) in 1:02:08
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) at 0:44
3. Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) at 2:08
4. Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) at 2:51
5. Corne van Kessel (Netherlands) at 3:08
6. Laurens Sweek (Belgium) at 3:28
7. Michael Boros (Czech Republic) at 3:46
8. Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) at 4:01
9. Simon Zahner (Swizerland) at 4:08
10. Sascha Weber (Germany) at 4:28.

Elite men’s race:

UCI Women’s Elite World Cyclocross Championships 2017
Much like the men’s race, the elite women’s cross was a battle between Holland and Belgium, with Sanne Cant getting the better of multi-champion Marianne Vos in the sprint for the line after a race long tussle. Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) took bronze.

Vos was the most aggressive of the race and made many attacks which Cant managed to counter every time. Nash and Lucinda Brand (Netherlands) held on to their wheels until there were two lap to go when a strong move by Vos dislodged them. Vos again pushed hard when Cant skidded. At the bell for one lap to go, Vos had 8 seconds on Cant with Nash a further 4 second back, with Brand at 20 seconds. Cant pulled her back with Nash chasing behind.

The leading pair fought it out on the final climb and Cant his the front sprinting for all she was worth to hold off Vos. Nash out-sprinted Brand for the bronze medal 21 seconds later and Maghalie Rochette (Canada) took 5th at 36 seconds.

Bieles - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Sanne Cant - Vos Marianne (Netherlands / WM3 Pro Cycling)   pictured during  World Championships Cyclocross - women elite - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2017

World champion, Sanne Cant (Belgium): “I can’t believe it. The jersey is mine for a whole year. I dreamed of it since I was six years old. It’s twenty years ago. I really can’t believe I beat Marianne Vos. She’s the seven-time world champion. She’s really history. It’s an incredible day, the most beautiful day of my life. When turning onto the road she was still on my wheel and I thought I would lose again. I was sprinting until the finish line but there wasn’t any orange coming up. I still couldn’t believe it when I crossed the finish line. Beating Vos in a direct duel adds more glamour to this victory.”

Second, Marianne Vos (Netherlands): “I’m a bit disappointed. You know anything can happen in such a race. It was a fierce duel. We matched each other today, and then it came down to the last lap. She’s technically the best in the pack so it would be hard to beat her on this course.”

UCI Women’s Elite World Cyclocross Championships Result:
1. Sanne Cant (Belgium) in 43:06
2. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) at 0:01
3. Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) at 0:21
4. Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)
5. Maghalie Rochette (Canada) at 0:36
6. Eva Lechner (Italy) at 0:53
7. Christine Majerus (Luxembourg) at 1:21
8. Ellen Van Loy (Belgium) at 1:25
9. Nikki Brammeier (Great Britain) at 1:31
10. Kaitlin Antonneau (United States Of America) at 1:46.

Elite women’s race:

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2017
Nikias Arndt gave new team sponsor, Sunweb, their first big win on the road for 2017 in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The German out-sprinted Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) and Cameron Meyer (KordaMentha Real Estate-Australia) in a sprint from a final group of 24 riders.

Angel Vicioso (Katusha-Alpecin), Kirill Sveshnikov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport) and Alexander Porter (Korda Mentha Real Restate-Australia) made up the break of the day and built up a lead of 10 minutes at one point. The lead group were pulled back as they reached the finish circuit of Geelong, this encouraged many attacks, including Santos Tour Down Under winner Richie Porte, they all failed and a large group came together for the sprint.

Arndt had teammate Wilco Kelderman to help him in the sprint, something Gerrans and the others didn’t have. The big German opened the sprint and no one could get past him with Gerrans and Meyer the closest.

Geelong - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Nikias ARNDT (Germany / Team Sunweb)  pictured during Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2017 - photo Con Chronis/Cor Vos © 2017***Australia out***

Great Ocean Race winner, Nikias Arndt (Sunweb): “Today the team did a truly awesome job, Wilco and I were protected really well up until the final. We had a good plan to cover different scenarios on the difficult final lap. I had to fight really hard to survive the final climbs and the guys made sure I was set up for the sprint. I am really happy to finish off the trip to Australia like this and pleased that I could reward the team with a win after all of their hard work over the past three weeks.”

2nd, Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott): “No one really had any teammates left so it was a really dicey sprint with everyone ducking for wheels and trying to get out of the wind. Nikias went from a long way out and did the whole sprint in the seat and in the end, I had nothing left and just couldn’t get past him.”

7th, Nathan Haas (Dimension Data): “It was a very hard race today. I came here to win, so 7th isn’t really the result I hoped for. However, I think I came off with a personal victory today. It was a very hard finale, but I was always up there and able to get into every move that went up the road. I think this underlines just how hard I have worked over the last couple of weeks and that I am able to handle the responsibility of being a team-leader. I am happy of how the team raced over the last few weeks and it makes me proud to see the support we received from fans and partners along the way. Having Dimension Data, Deloitte and Cervélo around at nearly every race here in Australia was a big push. This month also gives me a lot of confidence for the Ardennes classics which are my next big goal.”

9th, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today was a hard day out there. There was a lot of stress coming into the final laps. We had all the team there and everyone tried to look after me coming into the final lap. We stayed cool – there were a lot of attacks in the final laps and we chose to make sure we waited until the final climb. I was with the group over the top coming into the finish but there were quite a few more riders than I expected coming over the last climb. It was a bit hectic coming into the sprint and I was a bit boxed in. It was a top ten finish, but I feel I probably should have been a bit more confident in the sprint.”

Sunweb DS, Luke Roberts: “With such a difficult final lap we had to have two cards to play as we didn’t know how the race would eventuate. We had Wilco there to cover the moves on the climbs on the final lap. We also had Nikias there in case there was a slightly bigger group that came to the finish. In the end our plan with Nikias came through. The guys went full for it and showed great dedication and Nikias proved to have the fastest legs. It’s a great result for him and the team.”

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Result:
1. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb in 4:19:15
2. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) KordaMentha Real Estate-Australia
4. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Luke Rowe (GB) Sky
6. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
7. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
9. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo.

The full Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race:

Vuelta a San Juan 2017
Having dominated the previous two bunch sprints in the Argentinean race, Quick-Step Floors was the big favorite in Stage 4, a flat 160-kilometer one, starting and finishing in the town of San Martin. As a result, our squad took the reins in the peloton, and together with the Italian National Team and Trek-Segafredo kept the 13-man breakaway on a leash, making sure the gap doesn’t go too far north of five minutes.

Inside the last 25 kilometers, the peloton really began to chew into the escapees’ advantage, bringing the gap down to around one minute with 10 kilometers left. The finale was a chaotic one, but Quick-Step Floors’ lead-out train lived up to the expectations once more and took the front when it mattered, paving the way for Fernando Gaviria, who out-sprinted Elia Viviani (Italian National Team) and Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani-CSF), thus taking his second victory of the year.

San Martin  - Argentina - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Fernando Gaviria (COL - QuickStep - Floors)  pictured during  Vuelta a San Juan 2017 - 35th Edition -  stage 4 - San Martin  - San Martin  - photo IB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors): “It was another nice day for us, and the team did a perfect job again. They controlled every single aspect of the race and I was glad to finish off their work and score another victory in San Juan”, said Fernando, who was asked by the media for the reason behind his celebration gesture. “While in Denia, I lost my bracelet, which was a gift from my girlfriend. To remind me of it and of Valentina, who’s always supporting me, I kiss my wrist every time I win a race. Every single thing we are doing here is important for the races that will come later in the season. Of course, I don’t stand a chance tomorrow against the climbers (in stage 5), but I won’t take an off day; instead, I’ll try to help my teammates and use this stage as preparation for the future.”

Vuelta a San Juan Stage 4 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 3:34:44
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Italy
3. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina
5. Luke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
7. Carlos Alzate (Col) UnitedHealthcare
8. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina
10. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida.

Vuelta a San Juan Overall After Stage 4:
1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida in 9:57:11
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:03
3. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo at 0:07
4. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Italy at 0:17
6. Sebastian Martin Junior Trillini (Arg) Italomat-dogo at 0:19
7. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Medellin-Inder
8. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina at 0:21
9. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:29
10. Ricardo Escuela (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima at 0:32.

Stage 4:

Team UAE Abu Dhabi’s ex-World champion, Rui Costa, gave the new team its first win in Stage 5 of the Vuelta a San Juan on the summit finish of the Alto Colorado after 162.4 kilometers of tough racing. Before the final climb the race had to cross the Alto de Villicum (3rd cat, 1070m), the Banos de Talaca (2nd cat, 1400m), the Alto de la Crucecita (2nd cat, 1752m).

From a leading group of eighteen riders; including Costa, Rodolfo Torres (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Ricardo Escuela (Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima), Oscar Sevilla (Medellin-Inder) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo). Costa beat Torres in the sprint, Escuela was at 7 seconds, Sevilla at 10 and the new leader of the general classification Mollema at 12 seconds. In the general classification, Rui Costa is 5th at 26 seconds from Mollema with two stages remaining.

Alto Colorado  - Argentina - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Rui Alberto FARIA DA COSTA (Portugal/ Team Abu Dhabi)  pictured during  Vuelta a San Juan 2017 - 35th Edition -  stage 5 - Alto Colorado  - photo IB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Rui Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi): “This victory has a special taste and it makes me doubly happy: I’m very satisfied to have obtain a success after the 2016 season during which I was several times close to the first place and I’m glad I could give to Team UAE and to the sponsors the first historic victory. This success in very special also because it was not easy to obtain, considering that the stage was very demanding, we raced at a high altitude and we faced the wind and the heat. The opponents were very competitive, in the final kilometers the energies were almost over for everybody, however I managed to still have strong legs in the last kilometer and I could reach the final meters with Torres, beating him in the sprint: I was so happy when I realized he could not follow me.”

Vuelta a San Juan Stage 5 Result:
1. Rui Costa (Por) Team UAE Abu Dhabi in 4:15:04
2. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:03
3. Ricardo Escuela (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima at 0:07
4. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Medellin-Inder at 0:10
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:12
6. Egan Bernal (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:14
7. Eduardo Sepúlveda (Arg) Argentina
8. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina at 0:21
9. Eduardo Corte (Mex) Mexico at 0:57
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida

Vuelta a San Juan Overall After Stage 5:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 14:12:30
2. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Medellin-Inder at 0:14
3. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:16
4. Ricardo Escuela (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima at 0:20
5. Rui Costa (Por) Team UAE Abu Dhabi at 0:26
6. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina at 0:27
7. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida at 0:52
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:17
9. Egan Bernal (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:29
10. Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 1:31.

Stage 5:

Crazy, spectacular and epic! Three words which fittingly describe the penultimate Stage 6 of Vuelta a San Juan, Argentina’s oldest and most important cycling race. Saturday, extreme temperatures awaited the riders right from the start of the stage which passed not far off the Difunta Correa shrine, which is visited by thousands and thousands of people every year, as miracles are said to have occurred there since the first half of the 19th century.

The out-and-back course in Pocito was initially 185.7km-long, but it was cut by 17 kilometers due to the hot weather. At the moment the decision was taken, a huge break was at the front, with a 6-minute gap over the peloton. Among the riders to get involved in the day’s move was also Quick-Step Floors’ Maximiliano Richeze, a stage winner at Vuelta a San Juan in 2005 and 2007.

Richeze, who on the previous stages brought his contribution to the wins of Fernando Gaviria and Tom Boonen, was the heart of the escape, and at the same time the man who split the group inside the final 60 kilometers, with a savvy attack which saw just two riders respond: German Nicolas Tivani (Unieuro Trevigiani) and Oliveiro Troia (UAE Abu Dhabi). The trio took one minute on the former breakaway companions and with every pedal continued to extend that advantage, to the point it became obvious the stage win will be played between them.

Tivani tried to surprise the others with three kilometers left, but Max quickly responded, and soon it all turned into a cat and mouse game as the finish line approached. Same Tivani was the one to open the sprint, but “El Atomico” Richeze was attentive and patiently bided his time before accelerating and taking a hard-fought win (number 125 for the home nation at the Argentinean race which this year celebrates its 35th edition) ahead of Troia and his countryman.

Pocito  - Argentina - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Maximiliano Richeze (ARG - QuickStep - Floors)  pictured during  Vuelta a San Juan 2017 - 35th Edition -  stage 6 - Pocito - Pocito  - photo IB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors): “This morning, at the team briefing, we decided to go for a bunch sprint, but Brama told me that if more than eight riders make it into the break, then I am to join them and give the team an easy day after what has been a hard week. It was a tough and terrible stage because of the heat, and I arrived at the finish in Pocito completely drained, but with a big smile on my face. Winning here gives me huge joy, one year after wearing the leader’s jersey at the Tour de San Luis. I love the trust of the team and I want to thank them for believing in me. My job was to work for Fernando and Tom, and to get such an opportunity really meant a lot for me. It’s a great day not only because it was the Difunta Correa stage – which is very important for the Argentinean people – but also because my brothers are here in the race, while my mother and father came at the finish, and to share this victory with them is something very special.”

2nd, Oliviero Troia (Team UAE Abu Dhabi): “A day in the front of the race and the opportunity to fight for a victory: I could not ask for something better in my first competition as pro. The heat made the race even tougher, my shape was good and I could be competitive until the final kilometers. I was aware that Richeze was faster, I tried to anticipate him, but he was too fast. Despite I could not win and realize a dream, I’m pretty satisfied for my first experience as pro rider. The team is impressive, I’m racing with talented champions as Rui Costa, I’m trying to learn as much as possible from everybody.”

Vuelta a San Juan Stage 6 Result:
1. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors in 3:48:47
2. Oliviero Troia (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
3. German Nicolas Tivani (Arg) Unieuro Trevigiani-Hemus 1896
4. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:52
5. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina
6. Jose Luis Rivera (Arg) Equipo Continental Municipalidad de Pocito
7. Mattia Viel (Ita) Unieuro Trevigiani-Hemus 1896
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida
9. Nicolas Marini (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Luke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare.

Vuelta a San Juan Overall After Stage 6:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 18:02:09
2. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Medellin-Inder at 0:14
3. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:16
4. Ricardo Escuela (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima at 0:20
5. Rui Costa (Por) Team UAE Abu Dhabi at 0:26
6. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina at 0:27
7. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Bahrain-Merida at 0:52
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:17
9. Egan Bernal (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:29
10. Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 1:31.

Stage 6:

First international edition of Vuelta a San Juan is one that will go down in history for Quick-Step Floors’ incredible display of strength, which resulted in the team winning all the flat stages of the race. Fernando Gaviria was the one to kick off the fiesta, and was followed 24 hours later by Tom Boonen, who scored a victory in the pro ranks for the 16th consecutive year. Later in the week, Fernando added another success to his growing palmarès, before Maximiliano Richeze took control of the spotlight on the final two days.

After coming out on top from a day-long break in Pocito, the 33-year-old caught the peloton off-guard on Stage 7, which was shortened just as the previous one because of the hot weather, with the mercury hitting again more than 40 degrees Celsius. On paper, the stage should have ended in a bunch sprint, and things were looking to go into that direction with three kilometers left, once the three-man breakaway was nullified.

But several riders of the Continental teams had other plans and attacked, opening a 50-meter gap. Maximiliano Richeze covered those moves and with two kilometers to go found himself alone at the front, as the pack looked incapable of reacting. As a result, “El Atomico” soldiered on and went all the way to the finish, crossing the line for a fine solo win and punching the air in celebration. Three seconds later, the peloton arrived, and Tom Boonen came second, giving the team a 1-2 in San Juan stage 7.

Besides the five stage victories, Quick-Step Floors Team had also other reasons to smile at the 35th Vuelta a San Juan: Pieter Serry finished 10th in the overall classification, while French neo-pro Rémi Cavagna showed glimpses of his potential by coming fourth in the individual time trial and wearing the best young rider jersey for two days.

San Juan - Argentina - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Maximiliano Richeze (ARG - QuickStep - Floors) pictured during  Vuelta a San Juan 2017 - 35th Edition - 7th stage San Juan - San Juan 142,5 km - photo IB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors): “Today, at the start of the stage, my legs weren’t so good, as I was still tired after yesterday’s huge effort and it was again a sweltering day, but fortunately I found again my good sensations during the stage. This morning, we decided to pull for Tom, and inside the final kilometers I was at the front, monitoring the attacks. I followed one to close it down, and when I turned my head I noticed that there was some daylight between us and the bunch, so I decided to push on.”

“This success tastes different from the one of Saturday, because it came more as a surprise. I’m glad that I could seize the opportunity and give reasons to cheer to all these incredible fans. Winning two stages in San Juan is definitely one of the best moments of my career! And what a race it’s been for our team: we grabbed five stages here, we were always in the middle of the action and showed ourselves with every occasion. We can be proud of what we achieved and we hope to keep the momentum going and add more nice wins in the coming weeks.”

Overall winner, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): “It was much harder than I expected actually, it was only 111 kilometers with no corners, so the whole day was a really fast circuit. We knew it was going to be warm like the last days, but it was less of an issue than yesterday with the longer stage. It was okay today, but the speed was high from the start; I think we did 49km/h average. It was a hard day. I did not know what Nibali was doing actually; I was a bit surprised he was going in a break. They were only three guys, so we were never really worried. But at one moment they were going so fast that it was hard to take back anytime. All the time it was one and a half minutes, and I knew the sprinters’ teams were going to help in the finale. I have to really thank my teammates today. Especially after Eugenio (Alafaci) crashed hard yesterday, he pulled full gas the whole day and kept going back for bottles. Greggy (Daniel) and Matthias (Brändle) pulled a long time and took off a lot of time, and Marco (Coledan) always stayed with me until the end. They did a great job, we were only with five, but we managed to control the race. I am happy it’s over now. It’s nice, I have not won so many stage races, and it’s nice for me to start the year like this. It is a good sign after the winter, and it says something about my level at this moment, and I am really happy about that. It sets a good pace for the rest of the year, there’s a lot of other races coming up, of course, and this motivates me, even more, to keep working hard in the next weeks, next months.”

Vuelta a San Juan Stage 7 Result:
1. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step floors
3. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giacattoli-Sidermec
4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) UAE Abu Dhabi
5. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
6. Jose Luis Rivera (Arg) Equipo Continental Municipalidad de Pocito
7. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Bahrain-Merida
8. Attillo Viviani (Ita) Italy
9. Daniel Juarez (Arg) Asociacion Civil Mardan
10. Mattia Viel (Ita) Unieuro Trevigiani-Hemus 1896.

Vuelta a San Juan Final Overall:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 20:19:00
2. Oscar Sevilla (Esp) Medellin-Inder at 0:14
3. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:16
4. Ricardo Escuela (Arg) Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima at 0:20
5. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Abu Dhabi at 0:26
6. Laureano Rosas (Arg) Argentina at 0:27
7. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Bahrain-Merida at 0:49
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:15
9. Egan Bernal (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:29
10. Pietre Sierry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 1:31.

Final stage 7:

Trofeo Porreres – Felanitx – Ses Salines – Campos – Mallorca 2017
André Greipel rode his first race of the new cycling season and he immediately took his first win! Together with seven teammates he participated in the first race of the Challenge Mallorca. It was a ride without obstacles on a flat course with finish at Campos after 162 kilometers. With less than twenty kilometers to go, the last of four escapees was caught and so the peloton was heading for a sprint, as expected. German champion André Greipel beat Jonas Van Genechten and Dan McLay. First victory in the pocket for the Gorilla and for Lotto Soudal!

André’s best friend Marcel Sieberg didn’t take part in the race today. He has been ill, just like Nikolas Maes. Both riders will possibly race on Sunday.

Palma de Mallorca - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during Trofeo Palma de Mallorca 2017 - stage 1 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “It was our goal to get a sprint and we succeeded in it. Rémy Mertz did an amazing job in his first pro race. He was riding at the head of the bunch for more than one hundred kilometers, controlling the gap on his own. Really impressive. In the last fifteen kilometers Bart De Clercq, Tomasz Marczynski and Frederik Frison came to the front. When entering the last three kilometers, I still had Tim Wellens, Moreno Hofland and Jürgen Roelandts in support. Moreno Hofland took Jürgen and me into the last kilometer. We needed to get first to the passage with traffic islands and so we did. We got through it without any problems. I started sprinting with 250 meters to go. We dictated the whole stage with the team, so it’s nice to finish it off after all the work of the teammates. This is a perfect start of the season. Tomorrow and the day after it’s up to Tiesj Benoot, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens. I have another chance on Sunday.”

Trofeo Porreres – Felanitx – Ses Salines – Campos – Mallorca Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 3:41:35
2. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis
3. Daniel McLay (GB) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
4. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
6. Jonathan Diebben (GB) Sky
7. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
8. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
9. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Sky
10. Vicente Garcia De Mateos Rubio (Spa) Spain.

Trofeo Porreres:

Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana – Mallorca 2017
For the second day in a row Lotto Soudal claimed the victory at the Challenge Mallorca. The first race was a sprint stage, this time it was up to the climbers in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. Half-way the race Lotto Soudal took control. The peloton reeled in the early escapees and thanks to the teamwork Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens got in a front group. Tim Wellens set up a solo and won the race, thanks to the support of Vervaeke in the background. Vervaeke was second at 24 seconds.

Dela -  Mallorca - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tim WELLENS (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during Trofeo Palma de Mallorca 2017 - stage 2 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “For us, the race really began in Orient, at the Coll d’Honor, the climb at eighty kilometers from the finish. Jürgen Roelandts, Tomasz Marczynski and Bart De Clercq rode full gas towards the top. The peloton was completely strung out. Also in the descent we set a high pace, which caused the bunch to fall apart. We were riding in front with a group of about twenty riders, six of them were Lotto Soudal riders. The teammates kept riding hard until the bottom of the Coll de sa Batalla, with fifty kilometers to go. After a series of attacks Louis Vervaeke and I got in front with five others. I attacked with 35 kilometers to go. Louis Vervaeke did an excellent job protecting me, so I got a comfortable lead. When I jumped away Amador was on my wheel. I feared it would be tough to get rid of him, but it turned out he couldn’t follow me. That gave me a boost of confidence.”

“I didn’t expect to win, but I had expected that I would do well here at the Challenge Mallorca. My tests were better than last year. After the first hour of racing I suggested a strategy to sports director Bart Leysen. Without the efforts of the teammates I probably wouldn’t have won.”

“Today I expect Movistar to take control. The decision will be made on the final hill. Maybe I can now help Louis after all his support. We already rode up the hill many times on training. The hill is not very steep and it has the same gradient almost the entire way. It’s a large road and you can always see what’s ahead of you. A third consecutive victory for Lotto Soudal would be unique.”

Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana – Mallorca Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:06:42
2. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:24
3. Vicente Garcia (Spa) Spain at 0:29
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky at 0:58
5. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 2:15
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:32
7. David Belda (Spa) Burgos-BH at 2:56
8. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 3:43
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
10. Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 4:21.

Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana:

Trofeo Andratx – Mirador des Colomer – Mallorca 2017
Three out of three for Lotto Soudal at Challenge Mallorca! Tim Wellens won for the second day in a row, after André Greipel had won the first of four races on Thursday.

A breakaway of eleven riders was formed early on the stage to the Mirador d’es Colomer. They got an advantage of just over four minutes, but that dropped quickly. Before the top of the Puig Major they were all caught. From then on 55 kilometers were left. There were a few attacks, but eventually all would be decided on the three-kilometer long climb at the end. Tim Wellens accelerated at the bottom and he could stay ahead until the finish. Alejandro Valverde was second. Tiesj Benoot finished third and Louis Vervaeke fourth, also nice results for the two Lotto Soudal riders.

Mirador des Colomer  -  Mallorca - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tim WELLENS (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during Trofeo Andratx-Mirador des Colomer 2017 - stage 3 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “I really hadn’t expected this. It was the plan that I would attack at the bottom of the climb and would go over my limit, so the others would need to do that too. Afterwards Tiesj Benoot and Louis Vervaeke had to attack. Just like yesterday our team took control of the race. After the Puig Major Bart De Clercq and Tomasz Marczynski attacked. We wanted to isolate Alejandro Valverde and that was a success. Frederik Frison brought us in the perfect position to the bottom of the climb and then I attacked. This was once again a team performance. Everyone contributed to this victory.”

“It’s wonderful to beat Valverde on such a finish. In the sprint he would have been faster. I find this second win even more beautiful than the one of yesterday because there was more tension. I won’t race tomorrow, but I might go and cheer for the boys to conquer that fourth victory!”

Trofeo Andratx – Mirador des Colomer – Mallorca Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:27:55
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
3. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
5. David Belda (Spa) Burgos-BH at 0:05
6. Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:07
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky
9. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Vicente Garcia de Mateos (Spa) Spain.

Trofeo Andratx:

Trofeo Palma – Mallorca 2017
Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) won the final race in the Challenge Mallorca series, the Trofeo Palma, in a very close sprint that needed the photo finis to split the top three. Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-Hansgrohe) was second and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was third.

Five riders enlivened the early part of the race: Julio Alberto Amores (Inteja Dominican), Gaspar Mas (Nice), Danilo Celano & Uri Martins (Amore & Vita-Selle SMP) and Euskadi-Murias rider Pello Olaberria (Euskadi-Murias). When they were caught Movistar’s Nairo Quintana made a move to gain half a minute, he was joined by teammate Alejandro Valverde and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal). 50 kilometers to go and the race was all together for the bunch sprint.

The last kilometers were very frantic. Pelucchi overtook Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Bouhanni on the left, but could just not beat McLay (Fortuneo- Vital Concept) to the line, because his way was the longer one, on a slightly right hand finish. After reviewing the photo finish McLay was awarded the win. McLay had crashed after the finish, injuring his face and had to go to hospital.

Palma de mallorca -  Mallorca - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -Daniel MCLAY (GBR / Team Fortuneo - Vital Concept) - Matteo PELUCCHI (Italien / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) - Nacer BOUHANNI (France / Team Cofidis) - Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal) - Raymond KREDER (Netherlands / Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij)  pictured during Trofeo Palma  2017 - stage 2 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2017

2nd, Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I am happy. After the finish, they told me that I am the winner but then, after the photo finish I wasn’t. Well, I felt good today and had really good legs, but I am happy with our teamwork. It was our first race together and the boys did a great job. I am looking forward to the next races, where we will celebrate some victories for sure.”

Trofeo Palma – Mallorca 2017
1. Daniel McLay (GB) Fortuneo-Vital Concept in 3:43:31
2. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
5. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
6. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
7. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Sky
8. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Spanish National Team
9. Jonas Koch (Ger) German National Team
10. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo.

Trofeo Palma:

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Dubai Tour
Marcel Kittel will return to the race in which he enjoyed huge success last season.

In 2016, Marcel Kittel made his debut for the team in the Middle East, at the third edition of the Dubai Tour, and what a debut it was! Two emphatic stage wins and a fantastic effort up the Hatta Dam climb propelled the German sprinter to victory in the general classification and laid the foundation for what turned out to be a great season with Quick-Step Floors Team, a season in which he scored 12 wins.

Now, 28-year-old Marcel – who holds the record for the most number of victories (5) in the Dubai Tour – will once again ride the race, which this year has been extended to five stages; four of these will give opportunities to the fast men, while the Hatta Dam finish will once again add drama to the general classification, as the riders will have to overcome its steep gradients that kick at 17%.

“I am eager to start this race, especially as last year everything went perfect here and that gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. I come here after a good training block and can rely on a strong team, but the first race of the year is always tricky, so we’ll just have to see how things pan out. Of course, we will give our best to notch up a stage win and kick off the year on the right foot”, said the defending champion.

Seven riders will join Marcel Kittel for the Dubai Tour – Julian Alaphilippe, Bob Jungels, Davide Martinelli, Fabio Sabatini, Matteo Trentin, Julien Vermote and neo-pro Maximilian Schachmann, the 2016 runner-up at the U23 World ITT Championships in Qatar – and sport director Brian Holm is confident this squad can have an impact on the race.

“Our ambition is to land a stage victory next week. We have strong competition here, but I’m sure that the team can get some nice results. Marcel is our leader and he will have a good lead-out train, with Julien, Matteo and Fabio. It’s also going to be interesting to see the new kid, Max Schachmann; I’m glad to have him in the team and I’m curious of his development. Overall, we are happy to be here and we look forward to racing in the desert again!”, said Brian Holm.

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Bob Jungels (LUX), Marcel Kittel (GER), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Maximilian Schachmann (GER), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN), Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Dimension Data to Dubai
The Dubai Tour will be where a number of big name riders start their 2017 season, including our own Mark Cavendish. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are excited to be heading to the United Arab Emirates for this UCI 2.HC event, which starts tomorrow, the 31st January and will finish on Saturday the 4th.

After an incredible 2016 season, which began on the road at the Dubai Tour for Cavendish, our African Team are thrilled to be back for the 4th edition of this event with the Manx Missile. This year the event has grown from 4 stages to 5, and the additional stage will be welcomed by our sprint heavy line up.

After 2 stage podium placings last year, Cavendish is eager to test his early season form around Dubai once again. Lieutenants Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw will start alongside Cavendish too while Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Scott Thwaites, Jay Thomson, Nic Dougall and neo-pro, Ryan Gibbons give our African Team incredible depth for this race.

As 4 of the 5 stages could possibly suit a sprint finish, our African Team will certainly target the top step in the bunch gallop stages. Stage 4 will return to the finishing climb of Hatta Dam but as was proved last year, the climb is not too difficult for some of the sprinters to limit their losses just enough to remain in contention for the overall classification. Our fast finishing South African, Janse van Rensburg showed by winning the Tour de Langkawi last year that he has all the qualities to perform well on this type of finish.

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg: “I am looking forward to finally getting the season started in Dubai. We have a good team here to support Cavendish in the sprints and we are definitely looking forward to some possible victories. Also, the fourth stage to Hatta Dam is something that can suit me personally.”

BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team preparing for the first Middle East race in this season
While The Vuelta a San Juan is in full motion, another group of riders is already concentrated on the first Middle East race this season – the fourth edition of the Dubai Tour.

Borut Božič (SI), Grega Bole (SI), Ivan Garcia Cortina (IT), Sonny Colbrelli (IT), Chun Kai Feng (Taiwan), Enrico Gasparotto (IT), David Per (SI) and Luka Pibernik (SI) are the team members that will be on the start line on 31st January in Dubai, under the leadership of Italian Sports Director Alberto Volpi. In five days riders will ride through five stages, which is one more than last year, four of them being sprint stages and one Medium Mountain Stage. Total length of the race is 863 km.

Alberto Volpi commented: “It is the first time that the team will perform in Middle East, so one of the goals, besides trying to win a stage, is to show the strength and motivation of the team to the home audience. The 4th stage (Hatta), the only Medium Mountain Stage, with a summit finish, might be a good chance for two of the riders – Colbrelli and Gasparotto. Our leader will be Colbrelli, but each member of the team will be important. I expect good performance from Gasparotto and Bole that will be the 2 vice captains. The condition of all the riders is good, and they are full of expectation, since this is their first race in the season, except for Feng who was already in Australia.”

Before the race Colbrelli said: “I feel ready for the race. I have good sensations. I will try to give my best for the team.” Gasparotto added: “Despite my 13 years as a professional rider, the upcoming Dubai Tour will be a new experience for me, I have never been there before. So I’m quite excited because I’m starting my 13th season with this new team from Middle East in a Middle East race. All these things together are right ingredients to give me a lot of enthusiasm! My personal form is not at 100% yet, but I have worked good during the winter so I’m confident that I’m working in the right way and even more confident about the shape of my younger team-mates. We are a real unite group of guys, we trained super good together in Spain last week and we are looking forward to start the season!”

Team UAE in the Emirati Race with the Cycling Local Hero
31st January 2017, another one key date in the cycling path of the Team UAE.

It will be the day of the start of the Dubai Tour and the Team UAE will race for the first time on the Emirati soil, having the goal of honoring the team’s main sponsor and the president Matar. The line-up, which will be directed by Orlando Maini and Simone Pedrazzini, will be composed of eight riders, whose goal will be to pedal in the front line in all the five stages. The most interesting entry will be Yousif Mirza, the participation of the Emirati national champion in the Dubai Tour as a member of Team UAE is a milestone in the national cycling history, no Emirati rider has ever raced in a World Tour team. This is an important step for inspiring the national cycling movement.

Yousif Mohamed Ahmed Mirza Al-Hammadi, born on 8th October 1988 in Khorfakkan and 9 times winner of the UAE title (6 road race and 3 time trial), is the benchmark for the Emirati cyclists, he’s the trailblazer for the future generations. The cycling path which will bring him to debut in a World Tour team began on 1997, when he preferred to cycle on a bike rather than playing football, following his brother Badr. Since then, Yousif has not stopped to pedal, achieving satisfactions and representing the UAE in the Rio 2016 Olympics games.

Mirza will race with Matteo Bono, Simone Consonni, Kristijan Durasek, Sacha Modolo, Matej Mohoric and Jan Polanc.

The sports directors will supported by the physician Corsetti, by the mechanics Archetti and Cornacchione, by the masseurs Napolitano and Quadranti and by the press officer Appiani.

In Dubai there will be also an Italian talented young gun who’ll make his debut in the pro cycling: he’s Simone Consonni, Italian champion in Under 23 category in 2016 and world champion silver medalist in 2015. The speed of the Italian rider will be fundamental in support to Sacha Modolo, designated sprinter for the team. The Team UAE’s train for the sprints could also rely on the experience of Ferrari and on the versatile skills of Mohoric. Bono, Durasek, Polanc and Mirza will focus their attention on the breakaways.

BMC Racing Team Line Up with Strong Dubai Tour Team
BMC Racing Team return to the Dubai Tour with a well-balanced team ready to tackle the now five-day stage race. Sports Director Max Sciandri said the Dubai Tour, where TAG Heuer will be official timekeeper, will be the first race of the season for all eight riders.

“This year we are taking a strong and balanced team to the Dubai Tour with riders who can be good on the flat stages and also on the Hatta Dam climb,” Sciandri explained. “We have Silvan Dillier who finished in fourth place last year, and riders like Jempy Drucker, who will be right up there in sprints. On the Hatta Dam climb guys like Samuel Sanchez and Dylan Teuns will test their legs, and I think we can be confident going into the race.”

Dillier is looking forward to racing again and building on his fourth place in 2016. “After coming close last year on Hatta Dam, I want to give my best to strive for a win this year. The race for the overall victory gets lost and won by seconds, especially with the time bonuses,” Dillier said. “With an additional stage where we will probably see another bunch sprint, the overall victory will favor a sprinter, but I’ll try to find a way to get some bonuses as well.”

Rider roster:
Silvan Dillier (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Floris Gerts (NED), Daniel Oss (ITA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).
Sports Director: Max Sciandri (ITA).

Silvan Dillier:

LottoNL-Jumbo sends Groenewegen to Dubai, Kruijswijk to Valencia
LottoNL-Jumbo is sending teams to Dubai and Spain while one team remains in Australia for the Cadel Evans race. Dylan Groenewegen will head the Dubai Tour team, January 31 to February 4, and Steven Kruijswijk the Volta a Valenciana team, February 1 to 5. Groenewegen and Kruijswijk are paving the way to their season goals after a training camp in Spain last week.

Dubai Tour
While the classification train will head to Spain, Groenewegen leads the sprint train in the 2.HC-ranked race in the United Arab Emirates. Last year, the Dubai Tour went to German sprinter Marcel Kittel. Spaniard Juan José Lobato, who won the mountain stage to the Hatta Dam, will debut in team LottoNL-Jumbo’s colors this year.

Line up:
Dylan Groenewegen, Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Gijs Van Hoecke, Tom Leezer, Juan José Lobato, Timo Roosen, Bram Tankink, Maarten Wynants.
Sports Directors: Frans Maassen and Grischa Niermann.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Groenewegen took his first season win in the Volta a Valenciana last year ahead of French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, but with his focus in Dubai, Kruijswijk will take an early chance to test his general classification team. The 2.1-ranked Volta a Valenciana is a serious considering last year Sky strong-man Wout Poels took the overall classification.

For 2017, after the race against the clock on day one, the riders face four road stages in the Valencia region. Stage four climbs with a finish on the Lucena del Cid, the same climb where Gesink placed third in the Vuelta a España in 2016. The race ends in the city of Valencia the next day.

Line up:
Victor Campenaerts, Stef Clement, Twan Castelijns, Jos van Emden, Martijn Keizer, Steven Kruijswijk, Primoz Roglic, Jurgen Van den Broeck.
Sports Directors: Nico Verhoeven and Sierk Jan de Haan.

Dylan Groenewegen:

Lineups for Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Etoile de Bessèges
Starting on February 1st, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA will be racing in both Spain and France as the team takes on Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Etoile de Bessèges. Both races consist of five stages, which will present opportunities for sprinters as well as climbers, time trialists and those strong in undulating terrain.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana starts out with a 37.9 km team time trial around Orihuela, which will give the first strong indicators of the overall favorites. The remaining four stages all take place in hilly terrain with the queen stage on day four. Here, the riders finish on the short but steep ascent to Mas de la Costa with gradients up to 22 %. While stage 1 and 4 are the most important ones for the general classification, every stage offers an opportunity to gain time before the race concludes in Valencia next Sunday. The majority of the Caja Rural – Seguros RGA lineup is the same as the team that just raced in Argentina in Vuelta a San Juan last week. One of the riders joining in for Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is the American climber Chris Butler who will make his debut for the team.

Sports director, Eugenio Goikoetxea: ”We arrive in Spain right after our first race of the season, Vuelta a San Juan, which was very exhausting in high temperatures and with an average speed of over 45 km/h every day. This means that the rider are a bit worn down as we continue with the same lineup. Also, Benito suffered a crash on the final stage. However, the goal is to start out February in the best way possible”.

Chris Butler: “I’m very eager to get started. Nothing really replicates racing. I’m still not at my best level but I’m ready to help the team and build my form for the next races”.

Jonathan Lastra, Miguel Ángel Benito, Sergio Pardilla, Antonio Molina, Héctor Sáez, Rafael Reis, David Arroyo and Chris Butler.

While Etoile de Bessèges isn’t as hilly as Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, it isn’t flat either. Usually, the sprinters have their say in the first stages before the opportunistic riders get a chance to fight for glory later on. The final stage is an 11.9 km time trial with a steep ascent at the end. Last year, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA took its first of 11 victories in the French race. This time, the team hopes to repeat that performance, bringing riders able to shine in both the sprints and in the breakaways.

Sports director, Josemi Fernández: “Racing in France is always difficult as each race has a very high level. However, we aim to be protagonists every day and fight for a stage win. With Dylan Page and Eduard Prades we have two strong cards to play for this kind of racing”.

Eduard Prades: “In Mallorca, I saw that my condition wasn’t bad, so now, I would like to try to go for a stage win. I will also continue to help my teammates, which in my case means help setting up Dylan [Page] for the sprints. I think that we both have good options in this race”.

Álex Aranburu, Fabricio Ferrari, Jon Irisarri, Dylan Page, Eduard Prades, Jaime Rosón and Josu Zabala.

Eduard Prades and Dylan Page:

Van Avermaet To Open 2017 Season at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Greg Van Avermaet will start the 2017 season in Spain next week when he lines up at the five-day stage race, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Sports Director Valerio Piva said that BMC Racing Team is looking to seize every opportunity at the first European race of the year.

“We are going to the race targeting stage wins, starting with the opening team time trial and from there we will take the race day by day. We have a diverse team including riders such as Van Avermaet, who is already looking in great shape, as well as Ben Hermans and Nicolas Roche, who are both capable of being competitive on the General Classification when we reach the crucial, steeper stages of the race,” Piva said.

For Van Avermaet, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana provides an opportunity to test out his form at the beginning of the season. “Last year was a big year for me, so I am excited to get the 2017 season underway. I didn’t have the perfect winter with my injury, but I feel ready and now is the point where I want to start racing and improve my fitness going into the Classics, which are important to me this year. This race is new for me, but we know the roads, so I am feeling relaxed and ready to try my luck and go for the stage victory where possible,” Van Avermaet explained.

Van Avermaet added that the team is eager to build upon BMC Racing Team’s success in Australia. “All the riders in Australia got BMC Racing Team’s season off to an impressive start. Everyone was racing incredibly well, and with Richie’s overall win at the Santos Tour Down Under, we are all extra motivated to continue the team’s success on European soil.”

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (1-5 February)

Rider Roster:
Tom Bohli (SUI), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Ben Hermans (BEL), Stefan Küng (SUI), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA).

Greg Van Avermaet:

Gazprom – RusVelo sends well-rounded team to Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
For February 1 – 5 Gazprom – RusVelo is in the list of participants for the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

The race was first held in 1928 though at the end of the last decade it didn’t run for several years. Last year the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana returned to the calendar with the world’s strongest teams eager to participate. In 2017 12 UCI world tour teams and 6 professional continental teams will participate in the race together with Gazprom-RusVelo.

The first stage of long-distanced team time trial (37,9 km) will play the key role in the distribution of places along with the mountain stage with the finish at the top of Mas de la Costa. The climb to Mas de la Costa, where one of the mountain stages of La Vuelta finished last year, is scheduled for February 4th. Other stages will give chances to sprinters and breakaway specialists to contribute to teams results.

Sports Director Alexander Serov shared his opinion on the upcoming race: “Team time trial will play a big role in the overall standings. We can’t lose much time to give our climbers the opportunity to compete for GC. We’ll see who would be in a better shape for the mountain stage – regarding that it is just the beginning of the season it is hard to say who is having better chances. For the sprinters’ stage we have high expectations as well, Alexander Porsev is gaining a good shape and we are looking forward to having good results.”

Team line-up:
Sergey Firsanov, Artem Ovechkin, Sergey Lagutin, Alexander Foliforov, Evgeny Shalunov, Aydar Zakarin, Ivan Rovny, Alexander Porsev.

Dimension Data to Comunitat Valenciana
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will be the first race of the season where our African Team’s group of climbers will get to test their early season form. The UCI 2.1 race will begin on Wednesday 1st February in Orihuela, Spain and will conclude after 5 stages on Sunday the 5th in Valencia.

The 68th Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will serve as the opening race of the season for all 8 Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders that will line up at the stage 1, 38km team time trial on Wednesday. The race against the clock is sure going to be a shock to the system after quite some time away from racing, but it is the 4 hilly road stages that our African Team will be targeting.

Serge Pauwels, Ben King, Igor Anton, Kristian Sbaragli and our African contingent of Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Adrien Niyonshuti and Johann van Zyl will all feel quite at home on the consistently undulating roads around Valencia. Stage 4 is the only stage to end with a summit finish and this, together with the team time trial, should be where the biggest moves in the overall general classification will take place.

Benjamin King: “After a long and satisfying off-season and preseason, I am really excited to get back to racing and starting off with my new team. I’m looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of racing in Valencia and taking some opportunities during the race. It is our first race, so just to get to working together is important, it sets the tone and puts in place the foundation of how we work together. For sure we will use the race to iron out some kinks but already there is such a good atmosphere in the team that we might surprise ourselves.”

Quick-Step Floors Team to Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert will be among the eight riders to start their season at the Spanish race

The 68th edition of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is set to kick off with a long team time trial, on an in-and-out rolling course in Orihuela, a city settled by the Romans. Of the following four stages, two are likely to end up in a bunch sprint, one should bring the puncheurs to the fore, while the most important in the final outcome of the general classification will be stage 4, scheduled on Saturday.

The peloton will start from Segorbe and head out to Mas de la Costa, where the climbers who’ve lost time on the opening stage can go all in to recover the deficit and make an important step towards winning the 2.1 race. Mas de la Costa – who was a stage finish at last year’s Vuelta, isn’t a long climb (around four kilometers), but is brutal and overly steep, having an average gradient of 12.4% and ramping up to 23% in some sections.

Quick-Step Floors’ team for Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will comprise David De La Cruz, the sole home rider to win a stage and wear the leader’s jersey at the 2016 Vuelta a España, Laurens De Plus, Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Dan Martin – who won the uphill stage to Fredes at the previous edition – Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra.

Given the team’s depth and experience, sport director Tom Steels awaits the start of the Spanish event with confidence: “Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will be a hard race right from the beginning, as a difficult TTT is on the cards on stage 1 and the gaps could be significant. This stage, together with the penultimate one, will be decisive for the GC. We are going there with a good team, all the riders are motivated and I’m sure we can do well in this race, and why not, get a stage victory.”

01.02–05.02 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (ESP) 2.1

David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Daniel Martin (IRL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Sports Director Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

Wanty-Groupe Gobert to the Tour de France
The Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert will take part at the Tour de France for the very first time. The management of the team received this Thursday morning the confirmation from organizer ASO for the wild card for the Tour de France (2-23/07) and the Critérium du Dauphiné (04-11/06).

Jean-François Bourlart (team manager): “We are very proud of it. We hoped to be at the start of a grand tour, but we didn’t dare to think at the Tour de France. It demonstrates the respect organizers and cycling world has now for our team. We knew taking part in the Dauphiné last year could open some doors. It confirms the improvement of the team step by step. Last year, we won the Amstel Gold Race, our first World Tour race, and the UCI Europe Tour classification : triggering elements for Christian Prudhomme. Since the VC Ath, founded in 1974, we made a long way! First with our U23 squad, then with our Continental Team and now Pro Continental fort he 7th year in a row. At the Tour de France, Wanty-Groupe Gobert finally plays with the big boys through work, dedication and confidence.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren (sport director): “I had a good feeling but we had to wait for the confirmation of our wild card. Following last year results, it’s totally deserved, it rewards the hard work we did to bring Wanty-Groupe Gobert at this level. When I arrived in the team Wanty-Groupe Gobert four years ago, we started again from 0 willing to make a step forward year after year. Taking part in the Tour e France it the greatest possible. We hoped for the Vuelta, but now we have access to the Tour de France. A good news for Wanty, Groupe Gobert and all our partners. Now, we have to make it true but I’m confident. We are going to plan for the Tour de France, working with a core of riders to bring them in the best condition possible to perform in July.”

Benoit Soenen (CEO Wanty Group): “Like the company Wanty, we always wanted to grow up our cycling team step by stem, not cutting corners. We moved forward with our capacities, keeping our course of action. Since Wanty arrived in the naming of the team, our progression was exponential. After winning the UCI Europe Tour in 2016, we touch the recognition with this Tour de France Wild Card. In the name of Groupe Wanty, I want to unite our 900workers, the staff of the team and all partners of Wanty-Groupe Gobert fort this Tour de France invite. For me, it’s a childhood dream coming true. This participation at the biggest cycling race in the world will offer a great visibility to the Wanty Group and will help us for international development. This participation at the biggest cycling race in the world will offer a great visibility to the Groupe Wanty and will help us for international development. I already invite our riders to honor this wild card making the best possible performances during those 3 racing weeks. As always, Wanty will give the best to be up to it.”

Ronald Gobert (CEO Groupe Gobert): “I got an extraordinary emotion when I heard this incredible news. Sportingly and humanly we stepped into an uncommon adventure with our Wanty-Groupe Gobert team. It makes this dedication more beautiful. In spite of the disproportionate financial amount invested by some in sport, this Wild Card proves it’s possible to make one’s dream come true. Sport is beautiful, sport is great! Being associated to the 3rd most watched event in the world will boost the fame of Groupe Gobert.”

Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s Mark McNally, Tour de France rider in 2017?
Goes - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Mark Mcnally (Great Britain / Wanty - Groupe Gobert) pictured during the prologue (6,4 km) of the Ster ZLM Toer - GP Jan van Heeswijk 2016 in Goes, Netherlands - photo Carla Vos/Cor Vos © 2016

The Cofidis team loyal to the position On the major ASO stage races
Amaury Sport Organization announced on Thursday 26th January the teams invited for its main stage races of the season. The Cofidis Solutions Crédit team is officially invited to participate in its 21st Paris-Nice, its 21st Critérium du Dauphiné and its 21st Tour de France in as many years of existence.
Paris-Nice, which will take place from 5 to 12 March 2017, is the first of these deadlines. Nacer Bouhanni, winner of stages on the Race to the Sun in 2013, 2014 and 2016, will make of this appointment his first great objective of the season. Our sprinter will start the season on Sunday at the Trofeo Palma in Mallorca and will compete in the Tour de Valencia, the Almeria Classic, the Algarve and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne seven days before the departure of Paris-Nice.
The list of riders who will accompany Nacer Bouhanni on Paris-Nice, in a selection also concentrated on a general ranking goal, will be announced in mid-February.

Yvon Sanquer, general manager: “ASO has trusted us for many years and their stage races are obviously for us among the most important of the season. We make major goals, with humility but without the least complex compared to the teams of first division. Last season we were the most successful Continental Pro team on the World Tour calendar and managed to impose us both on Paris-Nice and on the Dauphiné. It is for all these reasons that ASO trusts us. It is necessary again in 2017 to give them reason!”

Nacer Bouhanni:

Canadians Take Five Podiums at Berlin 6 Day
Two members of Canada’s world-class women’s track endurance program had a strong start to the 2017 season with multiple podium results at the Berlin 6 Day competition over January 22-24. Steph Roorda of Vancouver finished fourth overall, while Laura Brown of Calgary won the Scratch Race on the second day of competition.

According to national coach Craig Griffin, the goal of the trip was, “To provide a condensed program of races that will enhance athlete fitness in front of the Cali and LA World Cups in the last two weekends of February.”

Each day of racing included a variety of mass-start competitions, such as Elimination Race, Points Race and Scratch Race, with riders accumulating points based on their results in each event. The field included both Olympic and world champions.

Roorda got off to a strong start with a third place in the opening day Scratch Race, and followed that up on Day 2 with second places in both the Points and Scratch Races and third in the Elimination. On the final day she did not achieve any podiums, but still finished fourth in the overall standings, just five points out of third.

Brown struggled on the first day, but in the Day 2 Scratch Race, a well-timed counterattack saw her take a lap on a pack that got caught by surprise. Immediately after Brown made contact with the field, Roorda countered with a move of her own, taking a lap by herself. With both Canadians a lap up on the field, Brown covered a last ditch attack in the final laps to secure the win, for a Canadian 1-2.

“It is hard out there when you are alone,” commented Brown, “but the crowd cheering kept me inspired and going.”

“The girls enjoyed a solid second night of racing,” said Griffin, “overcoming some jet lag and ‘knocking the rust off’ their racing legs. It’s been a while since they’ve raced and it showed the first night. Hopefully they can continue to improve and we will see more podiums as we move into the final World Cups in the lead up to the world championships in April.”

Sullivan, Laura Brown and Steph Roorda:

Cylance Sponsors Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour
Cylance® Inc., the company revolutionizing cybersecurity with the practical application of artificial intel-ligence to prevent the most advanced cyber threats, are the latest global brand to sponsor The Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour, the UK’s leading professional cycling events for men and women.

Based in California and creators of the world’s first antivirus software built on artificial intelligence and machine learning, Cylance is title sponsor of Inspire Sports LLC-owned men’s and women’s UCI pro-fessional cycling teams known as Cylance Pro Cycling. The women’s team includes British Olympic Gold medallist Dani King and Women’s Tour stage winner Rossella Ratto.

In addition to branding and digital rights across both events, Cylance Inc. executives and guests will enjoy VIP hospitality at all stages of the 2017 events. The Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour also provide a platform for Cylance to engage directly with the millions of spectators at these free-to-attend events.

“Cylance is proud to sponsor The Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour,” said Stuart McClure, president and CEO of Cylance. “Helping world-class athletes like our Cylance Pro Cycling teams compete in leading events around the globe is important to us and we look forward to seeing who will take the podium for each event this year.”

Commenting on the partnership, Alastair Grant, Commercial Director for race organizers SweetSpot Group said; “We are delighted to welcome Cylance as an innovative, digitally focused brand, to be sponsors of both The Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour. That an international brand such as Cylance has chosen The Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour shows the importance of both races and their global reach for our partners.”

The Women’s Tour is the UK’s biggest professional women’s cycle race and a part of the UCI Women’s World Tour, taking place between Wednesday 7 and Sunday 11 June 2017.

The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep, taking place between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September 2017.

2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Aviva Women’s Tour – Highlights Stage 3

The Philadelphia International Cycling Classic Cancels 2017 Race
The City of Philadelphia has announced that Philadelphia’s annual professional cycling race, the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic (PICC), will take a break in 2017. “Regrettably, even after extensive fundraising efforts, we were not able to find enough sponsors interested in covering the $1 million cost of the bike race to host it this year,” said representatives from the City of Philadelphia Managing Director’s office.

“The decision did not come easy for the City of Philadelphia,” said Race Director Robin Morton of g4 Productions, “We’ve been moving forward with plans for the race and changes to the course for months. We are keeping our hopes high for PICC to return next year.”

“We were saddened to learn that the Philadelphia Cycling Classic will not be returning in 2017,” USA Cycling’s Vice President of National Events Micah Rice said. “This event has been a cornerstone of the US professional racing landscape for over three decades. While it is the nature of major events to sometimes run their course, we are excited about the overall health of the US domestic racing calendar and the addition of other quality races. We hope that the City of Philadelphia will be able to bring back this prestigious event in the future.”

At this time, the City has not ruled out pursuing opportunities for a potential return in 2018.

2016 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Philadelphia International Cycling Classic – Highlights:

Bahrain-Merida Special Time Trial Training
Slightly unorthodox method, but shows the ‘flat back’ position:

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