EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
As expected, Wout Van Aert won the Belgian championships and Mathieu van der Poel won in Holland. Reports, results, quotes and video. New Hour Record – TOP STORY. In other cycling news: Australian and New Zealand road and time trial championships, Sky for the Tour Down Under, Assos jerseys for US championship events, Alexander Kristoff to ride Etoile de Bessèges, Quick-Step to San Juan, Nizzolo in Dubai, ASO buy German race, E3 Harelbeke course, Bahrain-Merida presentation and Alberto Contador takes a ride round his house.
TOP STORY: New Hour Record by Frenchman!
22.547 kilometers comes a little short of Bradley Wiggins’ 54.526, but at the age of 105 it could be argued that the achievement of Robert Marchand is more impressive. The antique Frenchman set his record one month after his 105th birthday on the French national velodrome in Saint Quentin en Yvelines near Paris. During his attempt he held his heart rate at 110bpm, and drank water sweetened with honey. What his power output is, is unknown as he does not use a power meter.
Marchand said of his new record: “If you haven’t got the mind to do it, you’ll never do it physically. I’m not here to break any record, I’m doing it to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike.”
Marchand is quite the record holder, he already held the Hour Record for the 100 plus category, setting a distance of 26.925 kilometers in 2014, and also the record for the fastest 100 kilometers by an over 100 year old rider, with a time of 4:17:27.
Marchand, born in 1911, had been a rider in his youth, but took up riding again in his 90s. He has led a full life; working as a lorry driver in Venezuela and a lumberjack in Canada, and was imprisoned during the second World War Two for not teaching children of Nazi collaborators when he was a gym instructor. Marchand still rides with his local club every weekend and goes to the gym to stretch and ride a stationary bike.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out on your bike.
Belgian Cyclocross Championship 2017
Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) had no problem retaining his Belgian cyclocross title in Ostend. Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) was second and Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus) took bronze. The World champion rode away on his own on he first lap and was not seen until the podium.
Van Aert rode away from the full field after the descent of the big bridge on to the beach and the race for the national title was over. The World champion soloed to the finish were he held his bike in the air as he crossed the line.
Behind the champ; Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) started the chase 16 seconds down at the start of the first lap along with Vermeersch. They were joined by Van Aert’s teammate Tim Merlier and the chase stopped. By the halfway point Merlier, Aerts, Sweeck, Vermeersch, Aernouts, Pauwels, Vanthourenhout and Vantornout were at 1:20 from Van Aert. Sweeck and Vermeersch tried to escape, but were pulled back.
After seven laps Vanthourenhout and Sweeck escaped, Pauwels joined them with Aernouts and Merlier was not too far back. Merlier crossed to Sweeck, Pauwels and Vanthourenhout as the started the final lap, but Vanthourenhout was in trouble and could not hang on. Merlier made a move for second place, but Sweeck and then Pauwels passed Merlier halfway through the last lap. Merlier was a spent force and finished fourth, 10 seconds down on Sweeck in third who was 1 second behind Pauwels.
Belgian champion, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles): “Fans also like to see the best rider win the race. At a small race it’s sometimes an option to think about the tension. That’s not the case not at the championships because there’s always the option of mechanical failures. Immediately I rode at my own pace. I didn’t expect that the gaps would be that big. For a rider, it’s the most fun way to win. Of course, a win after a close race is nice but at the championships this is extra-ordinary. I had time to think about what to do at the finish. It was clear. It’s the first win for the new team. Also my new bike, I really like riding with it. I didn’t expect to be alone in front halfway through the opening lap. I felt good but didn’t expect it to unfold this way.”
“At the TV studio they asked two questions about the race and then worlds was the topic too, allow me to enjoy this win first. Tonight I’ll celebrate with the fans on home soil. Tomorrow I race in Otegem and on Tuesday I’m heading for a training camp in Spain to focus on the world championships.”
3rd, Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus): “Even before I was ill I would’ve signed on to finish third, eventually it turned out to be the best possible result. Second place was an option too but Kevin is going very strong and even without my illness it would’ve been hard. Wout was gone and they quickly allowed him to go. I was at quite a distance behind the main group and noticed that Toon did an effort but lacked support. With five men on your wheel you’re not riding flat out for the rest of the race. Toon probably lost ground too in the sand scrimmage. You quickly end up losing 10-15 seconds. When someone rides away it’s hard to close it back down. Someone made a mistake in front of me and then you quickly lose several positions. I’m third in the World Cup and the Superprestige series and I’d like to hold on to that position. My form is good but Kevin Pauwels isn’t going bad right now. I’m going to do everything I can during the upcoming weeks. My form should be good when arriving at the world championships and hopefully I can display that good form over there.”
4th, Tim Merlier (Crelan-Charles): “It didn’t work out. To be beaten in the final lap in a sprint is hard. I was riding with a Grypho profile and they were using Rhino’s. That’s where I lost it. I no longer wanted to risk a bike switch.”
5th, Toon Aert (Telenet-Fidea): “The race quickly seemed decided and I felt it was up to me to start the chase. I paid for those efforts because only in the final laps I recovered a bit from it. It was such a hard course.”
Belgian Cyclocross Championship Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) in 1:01:15
2. Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) at 0:49
3. Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus) at 0:50
4. Tim Merlier (Crelan-Charles) at 1:00
5. Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) at 1:22
6. Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) at 1:26
7. Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) at 1:34
8. Jim Aernouts (Telenet Fidea Lions) at 1:41
9. Gianni Vermeersch (Team Steylaerts) at 1:49
10. Klaas Vantornout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) at 1:50.
Belgian Cross Champs:
Dutch Cyclocross Championship 2017
Mathieu Van de Poel (Beobank-Corendon) took his third Dutch national cyclocross title on Sunday after being stretchered off in Loenhout. Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions) was second with Joris Nieuwenhuis (Sunweb) in third.
Dutch champion: Mathieu Van de Poel (Beobank-Corendon): “I waited for the first two laps here and eventually had the chance to accelerate enough to make a difference, there were not many places to really get away. It was more riding from turn to turn.” And the Worlds? “That is the most important jersey. I want that back. But if it does not work out, at least I still have the red-white-blue.”
Dutch Cyclocross Championship Result:
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon)
2. Corné Van Kessel (Telenet Fidea)
3. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Sunweb)
4. David Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon)
5. Stan Godrie
6. Patrick Van Leeuwen
7. Gert-Jan Bosman (Cycling Team JO Piels)
8. Lars Boom (LottoNl-Jumbo)
9. Niels Wubben (Telenet Fidea)
10. Thijs Van Amerongen (Telenet Fidea).
Dutch Cross Champs:
Scotson Claims Gold at Australian National Road Race Championships
Miles Scotson has stunned the peloton to claim the gold medal at the Australian National Road Cycling Championships in his first road race with BMC Racing Team.
Scotson, who turned professional in 2017, launched an attack with 1.5km to go and powered on to hold off the chase group and take the win in spectacular solo fashion.
Scotson will wear the green and gold jersey throughout 2017, joining teammate Rohan Dennis who claimed the gold medal in the individual time trial three days ago.
The 183km race, comprised of 18 laps, saw a number of breakaways go clear including a ten-rider move with Scotson. With 100km remaining Scotson was back in the bunch as another seven-rider group broke away.
As the pace picked up and the finish line approached, Scotson was part of a small group of 12 riders chasing solo leader Brendan Canty (Cannondale-Drapac).
With one 10km lap to go the race was back together, with Scotson staying at the back of the group before making the daring surprise attack that would see him become BMC Racing Team’s first Australian National Road Race champion.
Scotson will have the opportunity to race on home soil as the Australian champion when he lines up at the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide next week.
The Winner’s Interview with Miles Scotson
Miles, in your first road race as a professional rider you have won become Australian National Road Race champion. Has it sunk in?
“It has kind of sunk in that I won. I didn’t expect to have a day like today. I didn’t expect that I was going to make 18 laps of the climb but on some of the laps, maybe not the last two, I felt like I was one of the strongest and everything just came together.”
The breakaway situation changed throughout the race and you were in one of the moves. Talk us through the race for you leading up to the final lap.
“I went into the first move but I felt fairly marked. Obviously ORICA-Scott had six riders and when I went in one of the moves where there were two ORICA-Scott riders and other teams represented. But it was like the break didn’t want to work once I got there and it then came back. When the next move went I was really annoyed as I thought I should have gone with that as it would stay away. Then I found that I had really good legs during the race so I pushed the pace on the fourth to last climb up the hill and it brought about a minute back and split that peloton apart. Other riders started to push along and then it came back and I was still there, so I took the opportunity.”
You were the only rider from BMC Racing Team. How did this change your race tactics?
“I didn’t even have much of a race tactic. I didn’t think about it too much apart from trying to get into one of the early breaks. I thought I used a bit of energy when I rode across and then I sat back. On the fifth or sixth-to-last lap I thought I could really make it across the front with the good climbers and the fourth time I saw that I was putting some favorites in difficulty, so I sort of changed my race plan. I hoped it would come back and I would sit in and race smart. I thought a top five or a podium in the road race would be great but then I like to roll the dice sometimes. I could have finished first or I could have finished last but I had good legs when I went and I went really hard and opened up a big gap. I was still moving well over the last kilometer and that kind of effort over 1.5-2km really suited me. It was perfect.”
How does it feel knowing you will make your debut as Australian champion on home soil in Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under?
“It’s going to be nuts. As a neo pro you’re always a little bit stressed about your first year is going to go. I know it’s going to be tough at times. Now I’ll stand out a little bit with the Australian jersey. I’m just going to enjoy it. It’s an honor to wear the Australian jersey. I think it helps the sponsors of the team which is so good with it standing out. So I just want to do the best I can and starting in Adelaide in front of the home crowd, I’m really looking forward to that.”
Australian National Road Cycling Championships Result:
1. Miles Scotson (BMC Racing Team)
2. Simon Gerrans (ORICA-Scott)
3. Nathan Haas (Team Dimension Data).
Rohan Dennis Defends Australian Time Trial Championship
Rohan Dennis has claimed the gold medal for the second consecutive year in the individual time trial at the Australian Road National Cycling Championships, with a dominant performance that saw him take the win with a 58-second margin.
As defending champion, Dennis was the last rider to roll down the start ramp for the 40.9km and put in a solid first half of the race.
Although he crossed the line at the intermediate checkpoint three seconds behind Luke Durbridge (ORICA-SCOTT), Dennis put in a blistering run into the finish line to clock 50:59, 58 seconds in front of Durbridge and 1:38 ahead of Ben Dyball.
Dennis’ victory marks his third consecutive year on the podium, and the first win of the season for BMC Racing Team.
Miles Scotson put in a solid effort in his first race for BMC Racing Team. The neo pro crossed the line with the fifth-fastest time for the day, 2:29 behind Dennis.
The Winner’s Interview with Rohan Dennis.
As defending champion, you were marked as the pre-race favorite. How confident were you?
“Two weeks ago I was fairly confident and then on New Year’s Day I was really confident but then that night I came down with something. This gave me a bit of doubt as I didn’t know how I was going to go. A lot of it was severe hay fever symptoms and I think it was more than that, but I woke up this morning and I was feeling a lot better. So I just hoped that it would all come together today.”
You know the course well. How were the conditions out there today?
“The head wind was huge on the way back and it just kills you as you are fighting it the whole time. It was harder than last year and more like the conditions we had two years ago. The last 5km hurt a fair bit.”
At the intermediate checkpoint you were three seconds behind Luke Durbridge and then went on to finish 58 seconds ahead. Talk us through the last half of the race.
“Durbridge really threw it down on the way out and this stressed me out a little bit as I didn’t expect him to be up by three seconds. It was a fight all the way to finish and we weren’t getting time checks after the top of the climb so after 12km to go I didn’t have a time check. So I didn’t know if he held back on the climb and really booted it for the last 10-12km, so it was an absolute battle. I did blow up a little bit in the last 5km but I told myself to just not have massive power differences on the uphills and downhills and keep it a bit more even. It was more of a mental battle then. I just had to back myself and the power I was putting out which isn’t always easy when you’re on the limit. It’s a bit of a learning curve again.”
With a win already in the bag, how are you approaching this first part of the season with the Santos Tour Down Under?
“I can take a lot of positives from today. I’m lighter than last year and basically put out the same power. I haven’t done a lot of time trial-specific training for the nationals so that’s a huge bonus. We’re moving towards going for GC so I still have to be good in time trials, so obviously I haven’t neglected that. There’s bigger goals than the Santos Tour Down Under but I’d like to be up around the mark in Adelaide and we’re there for Richie so I can be there to help him get the win.”
Sports Director Jackson Stewart on Dennis’ victory: “It was pretty windy, stronger than last year I think. Rohan was wearing a radio so he knew that he was behind at the intermediate point. By the time he reached the last 10km we were pretty confident that he was in a good place but there were no official time checks at that point. He was probably up by around 40 seconds or so. But in any case it wasn’t easy. I know when he went out he paced himself but he definitely didn’t hold much back. Durbridge was on a great run so we didn’t think Rohan would end up winning by close to a minute. Rohan dug really deep in the last 5km and I think that’s where he picked up a good 20 seconds.”
Australian Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Rohan Dennis (BMC-TAG Heuer) in 50:59
2. Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) at 0:58
3. Ben Dyball at 1:39.
Jack Bauer’s aim was to start the season on a high and the Kiwi didn’t disappoint, storming to the win at the National ITT Championships, which he raced for the first time in his career. One of the eighth riders to join Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team prior to the 2017 season, Jack lined up at the start of the 40km-long race against the clock in Napier confident and determined to take a victory early in the season and add the ITT title to the road race one he had already conquered seven years ago in Christchurch.
The seventh rider to start the race held under the sunny sky of New Zealand, Jack – who was showing the colors of Quick-Step Floors Cycling for the first time this season – put in a huge ride, scorching the up-and-down course and setting the best time at the halfway mark, before improving by a substantial margin the best result at the finish and stopping the clock in 51:54, thus going into the hot seat.
“I am so thrilled to win this national title and to be able to take the national jersey back to Europe for my new team, who have given me all the support I needed for these championships. My new outfit is a really strong one, with many great riders, and you are aware that being part of such a set-up you have to step up your game and that’s what I’ve done”, said Jack after claiming the win ahead of Jason Christie and Hamish Bond.
“It was hard today. That course was tough with the climb, and I had forgotten about how dead the New Zealand roads are with the big chip, and added to that the wind was quite strong. The victory makes me happy, as it’s very nice to kick off the season like this. I want to thank to my fiancée and to all the people who came here today for supporting me. My next goal is the road race on Sunday and I hope for another strong showing also there, even though I know that it’s not going to be easy. To give the team a second jersey would be nice”, concluded Bauer after his and Quick-Step Floors Cycling’s maiden victory of 2017.
Friday’s win was the 40th at the National Championships for the team managed by Patrick Lefevere since its inception, back in 2003.
New Zealand Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Jack Bauer (Quick-Step Floors) in 51.54
2. Jason Christie (Mid-South Canterbury) at 0:21
3. Hamish Bond (Waikato Bay of Plenty) at 1:12.
Thomas to Lead Sky Down Under
Geraint Thomas returns to Adelaide in 2017 for Team Sky in the Tour Down Under for the start of the WorldTour. Thomas will have Sergio Henao by his side, the Colombian was 3rd overall and won the King of the Mountain jersey in 2016.
TDU Race Director Mike Turtur commented: “Team Sky finished the 2016 UCI WorldTour season in third place, and they are always a consistent, high-performing team. They also have an Olympic gold medallist among their starters in Owain Doull who won track gold at Rio in the Team Pursuit for Great Britain.”
Sky Team Tour Down Under 2017 Roster:
Geraint Thomas, Sebastian Henao, Sergio Henao, Owain Doull, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Danny van Poppel.
Directeur Sportif: Brett Lancaster.
ASSOS to Supply USA Cycling Podium Jerseys for National Championship Events
Performance cycling apparel company, ASSOS of Switzerland, is excited to announce the growing partnership with USA CYCLING by providing the newly redesigned podium jerseys for the 2017 USA National Championship calendar events. The ASSOS national champion jerseys will be provided to cyclocross, mountain, road, and track disciplines.
“We are very happy for this launch because it further shows our joint effort with USA Cycling aimed to grow all levels of racing in the US, and also allows us to connect the ASSOS brand closer to the end consumer at the development and amateur level,” said ASSOS CEO, Phil Duff.
In April of 2016 ASSOS partnered with USA CYCLING as the official cycling apparel supplier through the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, outfitting Team USA Cycling at international cyclocross, mountain bike, road and track competitions for the next five years.
USA Cycling CEO, Derek Bouchard-Hall, echoed this investment back into USA Cycling, “We are very pleased to see our partnership with ASSOS extend to the National Championships in 2017. Thirty-four national titles are at stake at the Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford and we are proud that the winners will receive a best-in-class jersey truly worthy of a national champion.”
Alexander Kristoff for Bessèges
The organizers of the early season French race, the Etoile de Bessèges, (February 1-5), has announced that the Katusha-Alpecin team, including Alexander Kristoff, will be on the start line on the 1st of February for the five day stage race. The Swiss registered team join FDJ, AG2R-La Mondiale and Lotto Soudal from the WorldTour. Many teams are looking for a replacement race for the cancelled Tour of Qatar as preparation for their Classics men.
2016 L’Etoile de Bessèges stage 3 (Winner Sylvain Chavanel):
For the first time in history, Vuelta a San Juan – a race created in 1982 – has a 2.1 classification, which means World Tour teams can come to the start. Quick-Step Floors Cycling will be one of these outfits that will line up for the seven-stage event which will cover 892 kilometers between 23-29 January.
Five of these stages will have the sprinters’ name written all over them, but also the time trialists and the climbers will have their chance to shine. A pan-flat 11.9km ITT will lead to the first significant gaps in the general classification, while the stage to Alto Colorado (14.4 kilometers, 4.4%) will provide the perfect backdrop for the decisive fight between the overall victory contenders.
The Vuelta a San Juan will mark Tom Boonen’s debut in what is set to be his final season, one that will conclude in April, at Paris-Roubaix: “I’ve started the season several times in Argentina, but last year I couldn’t be there unfortunately due to the crash in Abu Dhabi. In my opinion, Argentina is one of the best places to kick off the season thanks to the great temperatures, good roads, and spectators who always give you a warm welcome. And also the parcours is something I like, because is well-balanced. That’s why I’m really looking forward to race San Juan.”
The seven-time Monument winner will be joined in South America by Colombian youngster and best neo-pro of the 2016 season Fernando Gaviria, who announced his arrival on cycling’s biggest scene in Argentina two years ago, French neo-pro Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, home fans’ favorite Maximiliano Richeze and Pieter Serry.
“We can’t wait to go to Vuelta a San Juan and discover this part of Argentina. We’ve always felt at home in this country and we hope to enjoy other beautiful moments there. Our team is a strong one and we make no secret of the fact that we want to win at least one stage with Fernando”, said sport director Davide Bramati of Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team’s goals and expectations for its second race of the year.
23.01–29.01 – 35 Vuelta Ciclista a la Provincia de San Juan (ARG) 2.1
Tom Boonen (BEL), Rémi Cavagna (FRA), Tim Declercq (BEL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Pieter Serry (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA).
Stage 1 San Juan – San Juan 142.5 km
Stage 2 San Juan – San Juan 128.8 km
Stage 3 San Juan – San Juan 11.9 km (ITT)
Stage 4 San Martin – San Martin 160.5 km
Stage 5 Chimbas – Alto Colorado 162.4 km
Stage 6 Pocito – Pocito 185.7 km
Stage 7 San Juan – San Juan 138.2 km
Giacomo Nizzolo: “I worked very hard this winter and was ready to start racing even sooner, in Argentina (Tour of San Juan), but the last couple of weeks I suffered from tendinitis. This knee problem forced me to reduce my training volume and even kept me off the bike for a few days. I am having intensive treatment with the physiotherapist and that will help me to get back on track as soon as possible.”
“Right now, due to the delay in my training program, I feel of course that my condition is not as good as I wanted, but I am confident that it will keep improving and that with the Tour of Dubai and the Volta ao Algarve in the legs, I will arrive in good shape at the spring classics.”
Eschborn-Frankfurt Cycling Classic Becomes a Subsidiary of A.S.O.
The German company owning the Eschborn-Frankfurt cycling classic (Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports) has become a fully owned subsidiary under the umbrella of Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.), which will rely on the existing organizational team for the delivery of the event.
Hermann and Erwin Moos launched Frankfurt’s iconic race in 1962 as the Rund um den Henninger-Turm. Organizational reasons led the brothers to establish the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports mbh, which historically was and will remain the official organizer of the race traditionally held on 1 May.
Bernd Moos-Achenbach and his team have organized the classic for the last 15 years. “55 years after my father and uncle set up the event, Eschborn-Frankfurt has reached the top flight of world cycling”, explains Bernd Moos-Achenbach. “I feel responsible for preparing the future of cycling in Frankfurt, Eschborn and the Rhine-Main area. I am therefore delighted that, after several years of very positive and cooperative exchanges, we will now get work together with A.S.O.”
Bernd Moos-Achenbach and his team will continue to organize the 1 May cycling classic under the terms of the agreement. A.S.O. will help the Frankfurt team plan and organize the event, in addition to providing technical and sporting support.
“Our team has organized over 50 editions of the race at the highest level. Our ongoing endeavor to develop the race, which is also reflected in our newly acquired WorldTour status, imposes high demands on us. The experience of A.SO. and its employees will certainly benefit the event”, says Bernd Moos-Achenbach.
Bringing the Frankfurt classic under its umbrella is the next step in A.S.O.’s aspiration to play an active role in the long term development of German cycling. Eschborn-Frankfurt, the only event in the world with 17 races and side events held on the same day, was the obvious choice among German cycling races. A.S.O. reached its first milestone by organizing the Grand Départ of this year’s Tour de France in Düsseldorf and reviving the Deutschland Tour under the name Deutschland. Deine Tour. (‘Germany. Your Tour.’) starting in August 2018.
Apart from the sporting aspects and professional structure, the ethos of the Moos-Achenbach family was a key factor in A.S.O.’s decision.
“The Moos family has spent half a century promoting cycling. We share their aspiration to support German cycling in all its aspects. We have had a close relationship with the organizing team and Bernd Moos-Achenbach for many years and we are impressed with their high standards for organization. The dedication to quality and the enthusiasm from the spectators transpire through all of the events run on the event day, from the pro race all the way to the talent and amateur races.”, says A.S.O. General Manager Yann Le Moënner.
In keeping with the motto “from world-class riders to first graders” and much to the delight of a million spectators, pro cyclists, under-23 riders, participants in the inclusive races and up to 5,000 amateur cyclists take part in the event every year. The race exhibitions in Eschborn and Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, together with festivals in the Taunus and the famous and notorious Mammolshainer Berg, make the 1st May a celebration of cycling throughout the entire region.
More information about the race at eschborn-frankfurt.de.
No Course Change for the E3 Harelbeke
The Classic race, E3 Harelbeke will be ridden over the same course as 2016. The 206 kilometer race will climb the Katteberg after 30 kilometers, followed by the pave of Holleweg and Paddestraat. At kilometer 93 they climb La Houppe, Kruisberg (109km), Knokteberg (118km), Hotondberg (122km) and Kortekeer (129km). The cobbled climb of the Taaienberg comes after 133 kilometers, Boigneberg (140 km) and more cobbles on the Eikenberg (144km) and Stationberg (150km). The Mariaborrestraat cobbles come before the Kapelberg at 160 kilometers. The Paterberg (164km) and the Oude Kwaremont (167km) come before the Karnemelkbeekstraat (km 186), the Kerkhove pave (182km) before they hit the Tiegemberg with 20 kilometers to go to the finish in Harelbeke.
Michal Kwiatkowski in 2016:
Successful and memorable official presentation of BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team in Bahrain
First official presentation of the BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team in the Middle East turned out to be a memorable and special experience for everyone present. His Highness Sheikh Nasser expressed his support and he believes in successful first season.
Cycling fans and citizens of Bahrain, sponsor representatives and media representatives from all over the world – from Europe to Middle East and Japan – gathered this week in Bahrain for a special occasion. Through intense events over the last three days and especially at today’s official presentation the whole BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team presented themselves to the world. This was also their first official appearance in the country they will represent in the cycling world over the next three years.
On Friday all the riders attended a road training on apx. 100 km long track that started at Sofitel Zallaq Hotel, where they were accommodated, and rode through Bahrain Royal Stable, where the royal horses trains. Then the team went to Bahrain International Circuit, where Formula 1 races take place and where the riders really speed up and showed their good form and high skills. Later that day all 26 riders and 21 members of staff took a sightseeing tour of the city, supported by local sponsors.
On Saturday the real stars were the citizens of Bahrain. They had the opportunity to ride together with the Team, alongside with Vincenzo Nibali and other stars, and to actually experience what it is like to be a part of a pro peloton. The BAHRAIN MERIDA FUN RIDE event on the 48 km track on the outskirt of the Maname city turned out to be a success and most certainly a memorable experience for all present cycling fans. Over 400 riders, among them few that never rode more than 10 kilometers in their lives, enjoyed a beautiful sunny day on their bikes, greeting observers on the streets. With a huge support assists of Bahrain RoadRunners the event went smooth and logistically perfect.
Peak of the 3-day event was, of course, today’s official presentation of the Team in the Royal Palace with a special guest, His Highness Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa that impressed everyone with his opening speech. Among the guests were also team’s Bahraini sponsors, Italian ambassador, representative of Japanese embassy and some European sponsors that made this day and this Team possible. Bapco Company was represented by their chairman His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa that is also Minister of Petrol.
An impressive 7-minute video, called Video Point Zero, was featured during the presentation, showing the story of the Team, right from the beginning. All 26 riders were introduced to the guests. They will proudly represent this small but also great country that has an open minded view to the world of sports and that will undoubtedly become even greater with the achievement of the Team.
After the photo taken with His Highness Shaikh Nasser, a red, blue and gold BAHRAIN MERIDA bus drove off with enthusiastic members of the Team, full of impressions from the Royal Palace. The same afternoon team was invited to King’s palace who proudly shared with the team positive thoughts and wishes.
All events and gathering all three days were also an additional motivation for the Team and one more little step on the road to success. The diamond island country, as His Highness calls it, brought together individuals from 12 countries and 5 continents and impressed not only the Team but also worldwide sponsors and guests.
So the final act of the preparation period was carried out just the way we hope for the whole season: smoothly, full of enthusiasm, support and good vibrations. We believe that the goal of today’s event – to present the Team to the world and show to all the fans, supporters and sponsors that the Team is 100% ready for the beginning of the UCI WorldTour – was successfully fulfilled.
This season’s opening races are in Australia and Argentina and the team will be able to put words into action. The whole team, directors, mechanics, management and staff are hardly waiting for the season the kick off.
The PEZ INSTAGRAM
Take a look at our Instagram page for a live feed of #PeloPics, #DailyDistractions, and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.