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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The first events of the 2016 World championships kicked off on Sunday with the team time trial for the men and women. A good race, but not many spectators in Doha – Top Story. All the reports and video from the Worlds, Paris-Tours and Paris-Bourges. Other cycling news: New sponsor for BMC, contract news from Lotto Soudal, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Gazprom-RusVelo, TJ Sport and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. Monday coffee time!

The UCI World championships Team Time Trail was an overall success. The top teams fought it out for the medals in front of masses of fans thronging to the barriers to see the excitement. OK, the race between Etixx – Quick-Step and BMC was worth watching, but really only five teams had a chance of a medal. Along with Etixx – Quick-Step and BMC, there was only Orica-BikeExchange, Sky and LottoNl-Jumbo with any sort of chance.

There were some Dutch LottoNl-Jumbo supporters at the finish, but that was about it. There was a small crowd under an umbrella, but they were just waiting to cross the road. So where was the success? I would guess that would be seen in the UCI’s bank account.

Thank goodness the TV cameras were there:
Doha - Qatar - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  team Giant - Alpecin pictured during TTT men Team Time Trial of the UCI Road World Championships 2016 in Qatar - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

World Team Time Trail Championships 2016
Etixx – Quick-Step reconquered the World Team Time Trial title after a two-year- reign by BMC Racing. The Belgian outfit rode the 40 kilometer course from Lusail to the Doha Pearl in 42:32.39 minutes, leaving the defending champions 11.69 behind in second place. Orica-Bike Exchange won a fierce battle for the bronze.

The six BMC riders took off from the starting ramp, with all others already underway. Etixx – Quick-Step set the fastest intermediate time after completing the 13.6 square in Lusail before heading out for the straight road to The Pearl.

BMC were three seconds behind, with Team Sky and LottoNl-Jumbo and Giant Alpecin also within close range. Orica only set the sixth time in the first section, but the Australian squad picked up ace on the long straight towards The Pearl.

Etixx and BMC were only 0.07 seconds apart at 26.4 kilometers with the Belgians still on top. With Etixx-Quickstep and BMC fighting in a two-horse race for the gold medal, Orica were looking to secure third place. Team Sky dropped Danny van Poppel early and LottoNl-Jumbo had to continue with five, after Timo Roosen was left behind in the second section.

Despite having dropped Alexander Edmonson and Michael Hepburn, Orica kept on pushing in the curvy and technical final section in The Pearl. Sky managed to stay ahead of Lotto-Jumbo, but Orica grabbed bronze with Luke Durbridge, Daryl Impey, Michael Matthews and Svein Tuft finishing in 43:09.51.

Etixx stayed together very long, only to drop Julien Vermote at The Pearl. They were five coming onto the final straight with Yves Lampaert having to let the other four (Marcel Kittel, Bob Jungels, Tony Martin and Niki Terpstra) go, when Kittel pushed the team to the edge towards the finish line.

BMC, down to four men at The Pearl circuit, could not keep up the pace they maintained at the straight road from Lusail to Doha. Rohan Dennis, Stefan Klueng, Taylor Phinney and Manuel Quinziato finished 11.69 adrift. After gold in 2014 and 2015, BMC had to settle for silver in 2016. Etixx – Quick-Step celebrated their third World TTT title, following their victories in 2012 and 2013.

Full PEZ race report HERE.

Cycling: 89th Road World Championships 2016 / TTT Men Elite Team ETIXX - QUICK STEP (BEL) / Bob JUNGELS  (LUX) / Marcel KITTEL (GER) / Yves LAMPAERT (BEL) / Tony MARTIN (GER) / Niki TERPSTRA (NED) / Julien VERMOTE (BEL) / Lusail Sports Complex - The Pearl Qatar (40km)/ Team Time Trial / WC / © Tim De Waele

Winning team rider, Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step): “In a team time trial it’s always about pushing, pushing, pushing, and today was the same. The only fun part in such a race is when you cross the finish line and you hear you’ve won. We didn’t knew the time differences during the race, but we could see how great the team was riding and were really confident. To win the gold medals is fantastic!”

Winning team rider, multi Time Trial Champion, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “We rode as a team and fought against ourselves, riding to the limit, and it wasn’t easy, as the heat made things complicated. It’s very special to win my last race with Etixx – Quick-Step. I’ve raced all the team time trials since the discipline returned at the Worlds, came every time on the podium and won twice, but this victory is different. I want to thank the team for today and for these five years, they were incredible.”

2nd team, Rohan Dennis (BMC): “We did everything we could leading up to it and you can’t win them all. I think we rode just as well as last year but Etixx-QuickStep were just better on the day so hats off to them. The first 30km felt ok but it was the last 10km that really hurt, especially with the change of pace with the corners. Obviously the heat played a part, I think that was the main factor, and it was quite smooth until we came into The Pearl. Of course it makes us hungrier for next year but a year is a long time and I’ve got the individual time trial on Wednesday to focus on.”

2nd team, Stefan Küng (BMC): “I came from a long way down with my injuries but the team always had a lot of confidence in me and that really helped me. I’ve always had Doha in my head, especially the team time trial. I was training for it really hard, we all were, and everyone gave their best. From the new bike we have, to the riders and the staff, everyone involved gave 100% percent to defend out title. In the end you don’t always get what you wish for and we can be happy that we did everything we could and next year is another chance.”

2nd team, Manuel Quinziato (BMC): “Sport is like that. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Today the Etixx-QuickStep guys were stronger than us so we lost to a strong team. It’s going to be even more interesting next year in Norway now.”

Men’s World Team Time Trail Championships Result:
1. Etixx – Quick-Step in 42:32
2. BMC at 0:12
3. Orica-BikeExchange at 0.37
4. Sky at 0:54
5. LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:55
6. Movistar at 1:11
7. Giant-Alpecin at 1:26
8. Katusha at 2:01
9. Astana at 2:21
10. Verandas Willems at 3:39.

Boels Dolmans Cycling Team ended the four-year-reign of Canyon SRAM Racing in the first event of the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016. The Dutch outfit finished their 40 kilometer race in 48:41.62 leaving the defending champions 48.24 seconds adrift in second place. Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team took bronze in 50:38.09.

Canyon, who won the previous four women’s team time trial titles in its different incarnations: Specialized-lululemon (2012-2014) and Velocio-SRAM (2015), started fast from Lusail Sports Complex and set the fastest intermediate time in the first 13.6 kilometer section. In the straight section from Lusail to the Pearl Mieke Kroger dropped behind and the five remaining riders lost their momentum.

Meanwhile, Boels Dolmans raised their game keeping the six-women team together on the long straight road, to set the fastest intermediate time in after 26.4 kilometers.

Cervelo-Bigla and Raboliv were fighting for the bronze in the meantime. Cervelo set the third intermediate time after the first section, with Anna van der Breggen’s Dutch team 15 seconds behind. In the second section Raboliv managed to gain five seconds back, but fate struck once the Dutch ladies entered the Pearl circuit.

Having already dropped Kasia Niewiadoma and Moniek Tenniglo, Anouska Koster crashed into a fence when she tried to hold on to the last wheel of her team mates. Koster was not able to get back on her bike and with only three riders left Raboliv, was out of contention.

Cervelo finished with four riders (Lotta Lepisto, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Joelle Numainville, Stephanie Pohl) having dropped Ciara Horne, Lisa Klein along the way. Their 50:38.09 clocking was more than enough to keep Italian Bepink (51:27.65)
behind and grab the bronze.

Canyon also finished with four riders after dropping Hannah Barnes in the final section. Alena Amialiusik, Lisa Brennauer, Elena Cecchini, and Trixi Worrack secured the silver medal in 49:29.86.
Boels-Dolmans kept on pushing to the end, with Lizzie Deignan and Ellen van Dijk taking strong turns on the final straight to the finish line. Chantal Blaak and Evelyn Stevens followed the two big engines, while Christine Majerus and Karol-Ann Canuel were left behind in the final curvy section in the Pearl.

Doha - Qatar - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Team Boels Dolmans pictured during TTT women Team Time Trial of the UCI Road World Championships 2016 in Qatar. - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

3rd, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla): “I’m really proud of the team’s effort today. There were a few things that went wrong early on. Joelle had some gear problems so our order we had been practicing all week was switched up but we coped well. Through the first time split we were fastest when we went through there and we were faster than Twenty 16. Then hearing Rabo Liv were also slower than us was a boost, we knew we were in with a shot for the medals. We died a thousand deaths out there today. We lost two riders a bit earlier than we planned so we had to dig deep but like the girls always do, we gave it our all. We rode with big heart today, we suffered and left everything out on the road. We couldn’t be prouder to finish with a bronze medal at our first TTT world championships.”

Women’s World Team Time Trail Championships Result:
1. Boels-Dolmans in 48:41
2. Canyon-SRAM at 0:48
3. Cervelo-Bigla at 1:57
4. BePink at 2:46
5. Twenty16-RideBiker at 2:47
6. Hitec Products at 3:24
7. BTC City Lubljana at 3:43
8. RaboLiv Women Cycling Team at 6:03.

All the TTT action:

Paris-Tours 2016
The 120th edition of Paris-Tours looked very promising at the start of the race in Dreux. The “classic of the fallen leaves”, a dress rehearsal for next week’s World Championships, was drawn for a sprinter, and while a fast man did prevail at the end of the 252.5 km race, few could have foreseen the way it unfolded. Indeed, today a sprinter foiled the sprinters. Etixx – Quick-Step’s Colombian phenomenon Fernando Gaviria exploited a fleeting deceleration in the peloton to sneak away and grab victory on the Avenue de Grammont in Tours. Frenchman Arnaud Démare took second place ahead of Belgian Jonas Van Genechten.

The 188-strong peloton of the 110th Paris–Tours rolled out under the sunny autumn sky. The world’s top sprinters congregated near the Royal Chapel in Dreux, host to the start of the “classic of the falling leaves” for the first time, for one final confrontation before next week’s World Championships in Qatar. French sprinters, playing at home today, bathed in the adoration of the numerous fans who came out to cheer them. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) and Arnaud Démare (FDJ), who will be French national team’s ace cards next week, were particularly sought after, but even they had to share the limelight with other big names of world cycling, including Mark Cavendish. The Briton was “glad to be back in France” after racking up four stage wins in July. A timid breeze awaited today’s heroes on their 252.5 km ride to Tours’ legendary Avenue de Grammont.

The pancake-flat course failed to deter attacks from the drop of the flag, with lots of riders eager to show themselves at the front of a race celebrating its 120th anniversary. The hectic pace of the first few minutes strung out the peloton and, at times, caused splits. A seven-man group went off the front after about 20 km, with Arnaud Gérard (Fortuneo–Vital Concept) dragging Floris Gerts (BMC), Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), Biran van Goethem (Roompot Oranje Peloton), Kévin Lebreton (Armée de Terre), Maarten Wynants (LottoNl-Jumbo) and French climber Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) along in his third Paris–Tours breakaway. The 2′20″ gap at km 37 sparked a swift reaction in the peloton, with Tom Boonen and Fernando Gaviria’s Etixx–Quick-Step teammates leading the chase. Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, FDJ, Lotto–Soudal and Sky worked together to ensure the difference never exceeded 4′20″. Warren Barguil had no trouble rejoining the breakaway after a mechanical, but back in the main group the heightened pace set by the sprinters’ teams spooked the peloton and caused many snags. The leader of Roompot–Oranje Peloton, Dutchman Maurits Lammertink, was among those who hit the deck. The odds on a mass sprint shortened dramatically as the gap dwindled to just 40 seconds with 27 km to go.

The breakaway started to fracture under the pressure of the bunch, with Kevin Lebreton the first to crack after a strenuous effort. Team Katusha’s Sergey Lagutin and Giant–Alpecin’s Bert De Backer launched a counterattack when the early breakaway was caught with 14 km to go, but their 10-second gap with 9 km to go only bought them four more kilometers. A mass sprint seemed inevitable, but Etixx–Quick-Step’s Fernando Gaviria had other plans. The Colombian exploited a fleeting deceleration at the front of the bunch to open up the gas at the very start of the Avenue de Grammont, 800 meters from the line. His opponents left it for too late and could only watch as Gaviria powered away with his hands on the handlebar hoods to claim the first Paris–Tours victory by an American rider. Arnaud Démare was the best of the rest, while Belgian Jonas Van Genechten marked IAM Cycling’s final race with a nice podium spot. The wily young fox, Gaviria, was all smiles after his stunning coup ahead of the Worlds in Qatar. The sprint prodigy showed that talent knows no age… Even the winner of Paris–Tours Espoirs, Dutchman Arvid de Kleijn, is older!


Race winner, Fernando Gaviria (Etixx – Quick-Step): “This is the most beautiful win of my career. I knew how important and big this race was, I know its history, and this motivated me to get the victory today. It was tough and fast today, but I was fresh in the finale, when I decided to take advantage of a corner which slowed down the peloton before the last straight. As soon as I attacked, I went full gas to the line and managed to hold the pack at bay. I am very happy and I want to thank the team for the support I got. It was my final race of the year in this kit and this makes the success very special. Also, to get news that the team won the team time trial world title gives me even more satisfaction. In Doha it’s going to be a completely different story and the race will be made even more difficult by the heat, but I’m going there confident, relaxed and in good condition, so we’ll see what will happen.”

2nd, Arnaud Démare (FDJ): “I was on the wheel of Gaviria when he attacked but I did not follow because it seemed too early (600 meters from the line). He was very strong. He quickly got 50 meters. He finished in a great way. I could see he started to fade and I was getting closer but it was too late. Second it is good, but I have already finished 2nd and 3rd here. I wanted to win. I’m disappointed because I had power and more was possible today. 250 kilometers is a good race and for the World Championship it is good training to do five hours at a 47km/h average speed.”

3rd, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “Paris-Tours is a race that is close to my heart. I wanted to have a good result here, not only for myself, but for IAM Cycling. I did not see Fernando Gaviria take off. He did a hell of a sprint. I tried to get back and to anticipate, but Arnaud Démare got there before me. I could not do more. I still have no regrets.”

10th, Jempy Drucker (BMC): “It was a long sprint today with Gaviria going from the turn. At one kilometer to go, I wasn’t in a great position but I tried to move up and start my sprint early to move up to the front. Then with around 250m to go I got boxed in and lost a little bit of speed but it was still okay and I didn’t finish too badly. I had a good feeling honestly coming into the race today. My first few races after the Vuelta were a bit hard and I couldn’t really find my rhythm really but the more I do, the better I feel. Binche was good, today was good and I hope that this feeling continues and that next week in Doha is also good.”

Paris-Tours Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step in 5:22:03
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
3. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
6. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
8. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-BikeExchange
10. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC.


Paris-Bourges 2016
Fast finishing Irishman, Sam Bennett, gave Bora-Argon 18 a late season win in the French semi-Classic Paris-Bourges on Thursday. At the end of the 190,3 kilometer race from Gien to Bourges, Bennett got the better of Katusha’s Alexander Porsev and Rudy Barbier (Roubaix Métropole Européenne De Lille) in a big bunch sprint.

Race winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18): “It was really a hard race today. I was sick for 6 days and after the start of the race I didn’t feel good. But I knew it would be like that today and I also knew the course from last year, so we were always up front when the crosswind did play a role. Silvio (Herklotz) and Pfingsti (Christoph Pfingsten) really worked a lot throughout the day for me. In the end I still had Zak (Dempster) and Scott (Thwaites) who did a perfect job as well. Two corners before the finish I was on the wheel of Bouhanni. Coquard was also there and tried to push him a little, both had to brake and I came around them on the outside. On the home straight, I waited really long before I pushed hard. In the end I just got Prosev by a few millimeters. I did not expect that at all today. Therefore it is even more satisfying now.”

2nd, Alexander Porsev (Katusha): “Of course, I am a bit disappointed, because the victory was so close. I saw the picture of photo finish, looks like it was just 1 millimeter between us. Nothing to do. It was a good race for me, I felt pretty well and the team was really strong. My teammates provided me a great support, especially in the end. I thank the team for this. In the final Marco and Jacopo did a great lead-out, we entered the last corned on the first position, so I started my sprint when I wanted to do it. I did my best and missed just 1mm. Anyway, I am looking forward to my next race Paris-Tours and the Worlds.”

Paris-Bourges Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
2. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Métropole Européenne De Lille
4. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
5. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Katusha
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7. Romain Feillu (Fra) HP BTP-Auber 93
8. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
10. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.


Paris – Bourges 2016 : La victoire de Sam Bennett por directvelo

TAG Heuer returns to cycling with BMC Racing Team, closing a 20-year hiatus!
3 letters, 2 companies, a very similar DNA, shared values, for a long-term shoulder to shoulder commitment with the highest ambitions. Starting January 1st, 2017, Swiss avant-garde watchmaker TAG Heuer will be the pro cycling team’s Official Timekeeper.

TAG + BMC = Swiss Made
TAG + BMC = High Tech
TAG + BMC = Exclusiveness
TAG + BMC = Avant Garde Spirit

In Doha (Qatar), on the eve of the UCI Road World Championship 2016, at a press conference held at the St Regis Hotel, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver announced the brand’s return to the world of international professional cycling. Closing a hiatus of more than 20 years, TAG Heuer is joining forces with BMC Racing Team represented at the press conference by owner Andy Rihs and Jim Ochowicz, the team’s President and General Manager.

Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and President of the Watch Division of the LVMH Group states: “Cycling is a universal, international, popular sport that transcends all age groups. This is an exciting project that is very dear to my heart and one we see as a long-term investment with my good friend Andy Rihs whom I’ve known for twenty-five years. The team will be the standard bearer for our avant-garde spirit and Swiss Made quality throughout the world. It will also give us magnificent brand visibility with its roster of prestigious races.”

Andy Rihs, BMC Racing Team owner, adds: “It is fantastic to welcome a luxury partner to BMC Racing Team’s portfolio and to have two high-level Swiss brands in BMC and TAG Heuer join forces through international cycling is absolutely unique. We are all excited to work with TAG Heuer, and I am particularly thrilled to announce this collaboration with my longtime friend, Jean-Claude Biver. BMC and TAG Heuer are both passionately Swiss and committed to excellence, so I am very much looking forward to the 2017 season and seeing our riders proudly display the TAG Heuer logo.”

Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing Team President and General Manager, said: “This collaboration between BMC Racing Team and TAG Heuer is an important stage in the team’s history and one that signals great things for our future. BMC Racing Team and TAG Heuer share many values which can most aptly be summarized by TAG Heuer’s don’t crack under pressure mindset, the very essence of cycling. Timing is at the heart of racing, whether it’s a race against the clock at a time trial or a three-week Grand Tour, the goal is to be the fastest, so to have TAG Heuer join BMC Racing Team as our Official Timekeeper is an excellent fit.”

A global partnership
All team members will be sporting the TAG Heuer Connected, which will provide them with information and communications.

In terms of brand visibility, the watchmaker’s logo will be placed in all strategic locations. In races, on the jerseys, the watchmaker’s famous shield will appear high up and on the sides of the sleeves (a key location for TV and photography). On podiums, during interviews, this same logo will feature on all the cyclists’ caps. Finally, the team’s official vehicles will proudly sport the TAG Heuer and BMC colors side by side on roads all over the world.

As a tribute to TAG Heuer’s cycling heritage, road racing legend Dag Otto Lauritzen (age 50, Norwegian pro cyclist from 1984 to 1994, stage winner of the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, bronze medalist at the 1984 Olympics, and member of 7-Eleven Cycling Team which in those days wore the TAG Heuer colors) came to the press conference as well.

Also in attendance to mark the occasion: 2015 Australian time trial champion Richie Porte, leader of BMC Racing Team in 2016 (winner of Paris-Nice in 2013 and 2015 as well as Volta a Catalunya in 2015) and the 7 selected riders for the UCI World Championship Team Time Trial, Tom Bohli (SUI), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), and Joey Rosskopf (USA).

The 2016 BMC Racing Team brings together 29 athletes of 12 different nationalities. Ranking among the top four UCI WorldTour teams in professional cycling, it is followed by 20 million fans around the world. It is also one of the most well-known pro teams (ranked in the top 3 in the US, UK, Australia and Germany). On social media, the team has more than 800,000 followers.

The spirit of the BMC Racing Team-TAG Heuer collaboration is about bringing together highly motivated, engaged and ambitious people to seek out innovations in all domains, and not just in the world of sports. It’s also about taking to the next level the avant garde technologies, materials and design that will be developed with the same spirit that drives the watchmaker from La Chaux-de-Fonds: “Swiss avant-garde since 1860.”

TAG Heuer and cycling: back in the saddle after a hiatus of more than 20 years
The first pairing of professional cycling with the brand dates back to 1946, when pocket chronometers for measuring time during races and trials are first mentioned in the brochure of Swiss watchmaker HEUER. In 1985, more than 30 years ago, TAG Heuer ventured in earnest into the world of professional cycling as sponsor of the HEUER SKIL SEM team and its leader Sean Kelly. From 1986-1987 to 1990, the brand’s involvement continues with Team KAS TAG HEUER and the American 7-Eleven Cycling Team, founded by none other than Jim Ochowicz – the current President and General Manager of BMC Racing Team whom TAG Heuer is partnering with again today.

Dag Otto Lauritzen,also in attendance today, and Andy Hampsten, are without a doubt heroes of that era when the first special edition of the Heuer Formula 1, sporting the red and green team colors, saw the light of day. In 1992 TAG Heuer teams up with Swiss champion Tony Rominger (115 wins and hour record holder in 1994) who would also be the brand’s ambassador until 1996.

DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 08:  Jean-Claude Biver, TAG Heuer CEO poses with riders from the BMC Racing team during a press conference to announce Tag Heuer as a new sponsor of the BMC Cycling team ahead of the UCI Road World Championhips on October 8, 2016 in Doha, Qatar.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images for Tag Heuer)

Four Riders Extend their Contract
Several riders have already announced the agreement on a longer stay at the Lotto Soudal formation and now it’s up to Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert, Sander Armée and Thomas Marczynski to do the same. Vanendert, Armée and Marczynski have signed an one-year agreement, Van der Sande extended his contract with two more years.

This year, Tosh Van der Sande won his first professional race.

Tosh Van der Sande: “I preferred Lotto Soudal. It’s always fine to stay with a team where you are for a long time; you know everyone and we are all like a family. I want to thank the team for the confidence they give me and for the opportunity to sign for two more years. I have to share my sprint chances with Greipel, Debusschere and Roelandts, but I really don’t mind. They are faster than me and we each have our own races. Usually I get my chance in the difficult stage races like during the Vuelta this year.”

“It’s a pity that I didn’t get more out of the Vuelta this year. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with my season. I won my first race with the pro’s and that gave me a boost. Also at the end of the season I feel good. In the races after the Vuelta, I either obtained good results or I played a role in the final. Paris-Tours is also an opportunity that I cannot let pass.”

Tosh Van der Sande:
Sallent de Gallego. Aramon Formigal - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Tosh Van Der Sande (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during stage 15 from  Sabinanigo to Sallent de Gallego. Aramon Formigal - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2016

Jelle Vanendert will start his ninth season with the team.

Jelle Vanendert: “When I arrived eight years ago, I was injured. The team believed in me and they kept on doing so. Lotto Soudal has given me all the opportunities in my career and that created a bond and mutual respect. Last season, I worked a lot for the team and besides that I also obtained some good results. Each year it’s getting more difficult to win a race, but I keep on believing.”

“Next season, I will continue working for my teammates. It makes me feel good and it takes the pressure off my shoulders. I don’t have to perform necessarily well in certain races, but off course I would like to win a classic or a stage in a Grand Tour next year. I remain ambitious and I believe that I can grab an opportunity when it’s there.”

Jelle Vanendert:
Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jelle Vanendert (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during Fleche Wallonne 2016 - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

After a good season with a victory in the mountains classification at the Tour de Romandie, the team rewards Sander Armée with a contract extension.

Sander Armée: “Lotto Soudal was definitely my first choice for next year and I’m glad the team felt the same. I enjoy working with the team and apparently they are happy with my results and the efforts I do for them. I know the riders and the staff pretty well by now. In stage races you spend a lot of time together and you get pretty close. Everyone gets along well and that gives an extra boost while racing together.”

“It will be my fourth season with Lotto Soudal and they know me. The team knows what I’m capable of and gives me the opportunity to have a go of my own now and then. In the start of the season we always talk about a possible programme. That way I know what Grand Tours I’ll race and when I have to be in shape. Of course sometimes there are unexpected situations. That was what happened in the Tour de Romandie. At one point I was able to take the lead in the mountains classification. I really appreciate the fact that that the team gave me this chance and trusted me so much.”

Sander Armée:
Moudon  - Suisse - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Sander Armee (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during the Tour of Romandie - stage 1 from Mathod to Moudon -  photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

For Tomasz Marczynski, 2016 was the first year with Lotto Soudal, unfortunately a virus caused some health struggles for him but he could help the leaders in the one-week stage races.

Tomasz Marczynski: “I’ve enjoyed this year so much. The team is amazing! I love the team spirit, the way everybody treats each other. Everyone is so nice. Of all the teams I have been part of, this one is definitely the best match for me. We all understand each other, the riders and staff. It’s nice that one of the biggest teams in the world has such a nice atmosphere.”

“Personally, this year hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve struggled a lot with my health and in the end they’ve discovered a virus. However I always gave 100% for the team and I’ve tried to be the best possible teammate. That’s probably why they give me another chance and signed me again for next year. I see it as another opportunity. The team understood the health problems I had and that I couldn’t perform as well as I wanted to. My season finished early and now I’ll just focus on getting better. I hope that I can start my preparation for next season in December. Once I’ve beaten the virus, I’ll be able to perform much better.”

“For next season I only have one goal: become healthy and come back on my top level. I like working for my teammates and if I feel good enough I might aim for a personal result. This year I wasn’t in an optimal shape because of the virus. So next year I just hope to enjoy cycling and do my job as good as possible. I just want to be a part of the team and do what I love.”

Tomasz Marczynski:
Jeansagnière - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Tomasz Marczynski (Poland / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2016  from Crêches-sur-Saône / Chalmazel to Jeansagnière (168 KM) - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

Baugnies and McNally extend with Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Jérôme Baugnies extends his contract with Wanty – Groupe Gobert with two years. Also Mark McNally stays with the team of general manager Jean-François Bourlart.

“We are very pleased to have reached a deal with Jérôme Baugnies. He is important for the team. He wins at least one UCI race per year, “sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren said.

“Staying with Wanty-Groupe Gobert was my priority. The team knows that I live for my job and believes in me”, the 29-year-old rider said.

This season Jérôme Baugnies won the ITW Oetingen and the third stage of the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour. He extended his title in the Druivenkoers. “I had a difficult start and I managed to get back in shape. Next season I hope to get good results in the spring classics.”

Mark McNally
Mark McNally wears the Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s jersey next year. The British rider has signed a new contract for another year.

“I am happy to stay with Wanty-Groupe Gobert. I spent a memorable year in 2016. I grew up with the support of my teammates,” said Mark McNally.

Early in the season the British rider took the second place in the Energiewacht Ronde van Drenthe. “It launched my season and gave me confidence for the rest of the season.”

Mark McNally recently rode a convincing Eneco Tour. He was twice close to the victory. “It was a hard week. I was a little bit frustrated but I showed my qualities to the public.”

Next year the tenth of the Prudential Ride London Classic hopes to get his first victory with Wanty-Groupe Gobert. “Hopefully with the support of the staff and my teammates I will continue my development as a rider.”

Jérôme Baugnies and Mark McNally:

Alexey Tsatevich signed a one-year deal with Gazprom – RusVelo
Russian rider Alexey Tsatevich will join Gazprom – RusVelo next year. Agreement was signed for season 2017 with an option of prolongation for 2018.

“Alexey is 27 and he is a very experienced rider. Last five seasons he spent in the world tour. We know him and his strengths well, so Gazprom – RusVelo will give him a chance to make a big move on hilly races. Alexey has a great potential, we will do everything to develop him as a rider,” – Gazprom – RusVelo’s GM Renat Khamidulin commented the deal.

Tsatevich said that he is very happy to become a part of Gazprom – RusVelo’s roster: “It was a great season for Gazprom – RusVelo and it’s obvious that they made a huge step up. I want to be a part of this improvements and do everything that I can to help the team reach it’s goals. I am eager to show solid results on one-day races and be a part of the team’s success.”

Alexey started his cycling career in the Olympic sports centre in Ufa, Russia. He turned professional when he was invited to Continental team Itera–Katusha in 2011 and next year he joined world tour Team Katusha where he spent last five seasons. Alexey won one-day Belgium race Le Samyn in 2013 and this year he won a hilly stage at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

Alexey Tsatevich:

Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
Ganna Will Turn Officially Pro in TJ Sport
Filippo Ganna is the trump card which will complete the four of Italian young talented cyclists who’ll turn pro in 2017 in the first Chinese World Tour team, reaching the current team mates in Team Colpack Simone Consonni, Edward Ravasi and Oliviero Troia.

Excellent time trialist (current Italian Under 23 champion), successful rider on track (gold medalist in London 2016 world championship in the individual pursuit), talented rider for the Northern classics (winner in the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs): the twenty years old born in Verbania signed a two years deal which makes official his new path in the pro cycling world.

Ganna has been supervised in the past two years by the sports group of Giuseppe Saronni and he also participated in Milano-Torino in 2015 as trainee of LAMPRE-MERIDA.

After this announcement, Ganna will fly to Qatar with the Italian national team in order to participate in World Championships, taking part in the Under 23 road race and in the Under 23 time trial.

Filippo Ganna:

Simone Antonini Renews with Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Simone Antonini will be part of Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2017. For the 25-year-old Italian it will be his third year in Jean-François Bourlart’s team where he started his pro career in 2015.

“I am happy with the confidence they have in me. In this team I can continue to develop myself as a rider,” Antonini says about his new contract. “We have a fantastic race program with wildcards for all major WorldTour Spring classics. All races between Omloop and Paris-Roubaix suit me well.”

The Italian Simone Antonini started the season well. Unfortunately he sustained a hand fracture in Gent-Wevelgem. “After the injury it was not easy to come back to my level but I worked a lot for the team.”

As last year the Italian showed a great tenacity. He finished 55 of the 58 race days he did for Wanty-Groupe Gobert this season. “I don’t like giving up. I can’t stand coming to a race not being ready. This is a question of respect for the team that gives the opportunity of participating in the big races. I crashed twice and in the Tour of Norway I had an inflammation in the leg.”

Next year Simone Antonini will ride without the support of his Italian teammates Enrico Gasparotto and Marco Marcato who are leaving the team. “I feel a bit sad. We lose two big riders. They are very professional riders. They helped the team and the young riders growing up.”

Current team or 2017: Simone Antonini, Jérôme Baugnies, Thomas Degand, Kenny Dehaes, Tom Devriendt, Fabien Doubey, Wesley Kreder, Guillaume Levarlet, Guillaume Martin, Mark McNally, Xandro Meurisse, Robin Stenuit, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Kevin Van Melsen.

Simone Antonini:

Chris Butler to Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
American rider, Chris Butler, will be riding for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA for the next two seasons. This year he has been riding for the Israeli Cycling Academy, where he took several victories including the Queen stage of the Tour of Hungary.

Chris Butler said: “I am very excited to take this step with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and I would like to thank their confidence to all those who have believed in me throughout my career. Spanish is my second language, but now I hope to improve it. I know Fuji Bikes bikes play an important role in the success of the team. I want to integrate myself into the team, on and off the bike. There are very good riders, who have proven to be winners. My goal is to be reliable throughout the year to help my teammates.”

Chris Butler:

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