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Victor Harbor - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Caleb EWAN (Australia / Team Orica Scott) - Peter SAGAN (Slowakei / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) pictured during the Santos Tour Down Under 2017 - Hansgrohe Stage 3 - in Victor Harbor, Australia on jan 19 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Catch up with the Santos Tour Down Under with the first three stages – Reports, results, quotes and the important video action. Top Story is the possible loss of the end of season Belgian race in Putte-Kappellen. In other cycling news: Wild Cards for the Giro d’Italia and the Italian Classics, Canadian team for the cyclocross World championships, surgery for Tom Devriendt, no team for Luca Paolini, Owain Doull has appendix operation, training with Bahrain-Merida, new riders for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and birthday celebrations for Esteban Chaves. Loads of EUROTRASH to get through!

TOP STORY: Possible Loss of the Best Race of the Year!
The final race of the Belgian road season, the Nationale Sluitingsprijs Putte-Kapellen, may not run in 2017 due to the organizers being too old to carry on their work. The organizers, headed by Eddy Carpentier, announced to Sporza that if anyone wants to take over to please contact the organizers, although they would need to find €150,000 to put the race on.

Carpentier said: “If there are people who want to take it over from us, they are welcome. The organizing committee will be disbanded. The seven members of our association are all getting older and some begin to suffer with their health. There are still people who want to continue but they want to do it alone and that is why we have decided it to put things on hold. I have given 35 years of service. From a simple kermesse Putte-Kapellen it became a 1.1 category race, with a lot of big names at the start and on the roll of honor. If I’m guilty of anything, it’s of not standing still. We’re a small town, so we had to work hard without much help to cover our budget. Because we didn’t charge, we did it with sponsorship. But if you want to organize the race you need around 150,000 Euro, that’s a lot of money. Putte-Kapellen is a historic race, I would like to see it survive in some way. We’d be happy for interested buyers and organizers to come to us. I hope that someone takes over the organization. It is not because we quit that I want the race to disappear.”

The Nationale Sluitingsprijs is held in the Belgian/Dutch split town of Putte-Kapellen. Putte being in Holland and Kapellen in Belgium, in fact the border line is the finish line. The race atmosphere has a ‘last day of school’ feel and the drink flows well into the next morning – on the Belgian side anyway. On the Dutch side of the border things are quite quiet, but to say it’s wild on the Belgian side is maybe a bit soft. After one edition (can’t remember the year), there was the biggest bar brawl I’ve ever seen in one of the beer tents, it finished as quickly as it started, but was like a scene form a Wild West film.

The 2017 Nationale Sluitingsprijs is scheduled for October the 17th, let’s hope someone takes it on.

Nationale Sluitingsprijs 2010 won by Adam Blythe:

Santos Tour Down Under 2017
Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) won Stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under and the first event of the 2017 WorldTour on Tuesday. The Australian out-sprinted Sky’s Danny Van Poppel and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe). Bennett was given a perfect lead-out by World champion Peter Sagan, but Ewan and Van Poppel came round the Irishman before the line. Ewan takes the first leaders jersey.

The stage from Unley to Lyndoch was shortened from 145 kilometers to 118 kilometers by missing out one of the three finishing circuits, the distance reduction was due to the temperature which was above 40ºC.

Laurens De Vreese (Astana) made a solo attack after only 3 kilometers and rode nearly 100 kilometers out front, being caught inside the final 20 kilometers. At the intermediate sprint; Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the bonus of 3 seconds to keep him in the top five overall. Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale) jumped away after the sprint and Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) tried to join him, but neither move worked and they were both caught with less than 5K to go.

Sagan took control to lead Bennett out, but when the Irishman made his move, Ewan and Van Poppel came round him in the final meters.

Lyndoch - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Danny VAN POPPEL (Netherlands / Team Sky) - Caleb EWAN (Australia / Team Orica Scott)  pictured during  the Santos Tour Down Under 2017  - Hostworks Stage 1 - in Lyndoch, Australia on jan 17 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and overall leader, Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott): “It was a lot of pressure coming back here, same finish as last year, to do the same thing and win. It is such a relief and will put the whole team on a high and hopefully we can do something like last year. We said that if there was only one or two guys going up the road we would try to get the one or two seconds on the road. If we look back at recent years, it has always come down to a couple of seconds so all those bonus seconds are crucial in the end.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Danny van Poppel (Sky) told TeamSky.com: “It was really hot today and the last lap was really hectic as usual. I had a plan to come up late as it was a headwind finish. When it comes to sprints I know the British guys on this team and that I can trust them, so when I follow them I know I’m in the right place. I really want to thank them as without them this result wouldn’t have happened. I came from really far back which I had planned and I was able to finish fast, really close to Ewan. On Sunday the guys did a great job for me and I messed it up. So today I was really motivated and I really wanted to do something here and in the upcoming stages.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “We hit the front at the right time but I think I made a mistake by waiting a bit too long and then guys came over the top with a bit more speed. I found it hard to reaccelerate and match them. It was a really messy sprint because everyone was so fresh but we timed it well. We came into the last corner in the lead. I wanted to wait until the final 150 meters to go because of the headwind but I should have gone with 200. You live and learn.”

4th, Marko Kump (UAE Abu Dhabi): “At the start, my team mates and me were all focused on the race because we aimed to obtain a top result in the first WorldTour race of the Team UAE. I feel we realized a good performance, I thank my mates for their impressive support. Ewan sprint was too good, however I sprinted very close to the other riders and I succeeded in obtaining a place in the top five. A place on the podium would have been something great, we’ll try to achieve this goal in the next stages.”

5th, Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida): “The race today was very hot. My teammates helped me in the final, and last kilometer was really confusion, I tried to follow Caleb Ewan, but it was impossible. I finished fifth, I want to try to win one stage, it’s not impossible.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott in 3:24:18
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Sky
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Marko Kump (Slo) UAE Abu Dhabi
5. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb
7. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC-TAG Heuer
10. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 2:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott in 3:24:08
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Sky at 0:04
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:06
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:07
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:08
6. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott
7. José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Marko Kump (Slo) UAE Abu Dhabi at 0:10
9. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb.

Stage 1:

Richie Porte (BMC-TAG Heuer) has claimed the win on Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under with a brilliant solo attack at the base of the Paracombe climb. Porte crossed the line 16 seconds in front of Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) to claim the leader’s ochre jersey with a 20 second advantage ahead of the final four stages. Porte’s victory is his fourth stage win at the Santos Tour Down Under and the first time he has worn the ochre jersey.

The 148.5km stage started with five laps of a circuit around Stirling where Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar Team) launched a solo attack after the first lap and gained a five-minute advantage. The peloton picked up the pace after exiting the circuit and caught Sutterlin in the final 40km, making way for the battle for position on the approach to the Paracombe climb.

Porte’s BMC teammates brought him to the front and as the peloton reached the base of the climb, Porte put the hammer down and made a solo move. As he reached the halfway point of the climb, Porte had stretched out his advantage and upon crossing the line had a comfortable lead over his General Classification rivals.

Paracombe - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Richie PORTE (Australia / BMC Racing Team)  pictured during  the Santos Tour Down Under 2017 - Staging Connections - stage 2 - in Paracombe, Australia on jan 18 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

The Winner’s Interview with Richie Porte
Richie, you’ve taken your first win for 2017. How does it feel?

“The BMC Racing Team boys were just incredible this morning. They really looked after me the whole day and it’s nice to win on Paracombe. It’s good to get a win already this season and now we’ll try and defend this jersey.”

Talk us through the lead up to the final climb.
“We started with the five laps around Stirling. We didn’t really race it that hard which is a bit of a shame but at the end of the day I think I have a good gap on the General Classification. I know it’s not over with a few quite hard stages remaining. The team are fantastic and strong so I’m quite confident.”

How confident were you on that climb?
“I know I’ve got good climbing legs and I didn’t really want to wait around so to be able to ride away like that gives me good confidence. I knew I had to back myself and I knew I had the form to do it. But to take the time I did, it’s a good position to be in. I might have to sacrifice the Willunga stage on Saturday to defend my lead if I still have the jersey. There’s some stressful days coming up so we won’t be counting our chickens until they hatch. We’ll take it as it comes.”

How does this win compare to others in your career?
“It’s incredible to wear the ochre jersey at the biggest race in Australia. I’d love to win it. I enjoyed today and the work that the BMC Racing Team guys did for me today was just absolutely incredible. I did a lot of training in the off season for this climb. I made a mess of it two years ago so to come back and make amends like this is just a dream.”

Fabio Baldato, BMC Sports Director: “It was a perfect day. It wasn’t an easy day though and the approach of the climb was really hard, especially to keep Richie in front. It was a big fight like in a sprint to do this. Our plan was to have the guys keep Richie in front and then Richie didn’t wait too long and he went immediately on the climb, which is what he wanted to do. We are confident. Richie has showed his strength on the climbs. But we can’t relax, we need to stay focused and race well like today. The team is strong, motivated and we need to keep going like this until Sunday.”

4th overall, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “We made a very good effort as a team, and I had Peter guide me into the final climb with the rest of the team and he was a big help out there, making sure I kept cool. I was delivered to a good position and when Richie went I didn’t want to follow straight away just in case I used too much energy. I’ve been carrying a little bit of sickness these past few days, and it may affect me or it may not, but I can tell everyone I did everything I could out there today.”

6th on the stage and overall, Diego Ulissi (Team UAE Abu Dhabi): “I’m satisfied for my performance, I had good feebacks from my legs and my head when I faced the first season effort. The final hill was pretty demanding and those riders whose shape is already almost at the top had an advantage, however I managed to be with them thanks to my legs and to the impressive support I received from my team mates. The feelings I had today give me the confidence to be able to battle for a good result in the general classification”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 Result:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC-TAG Heuer in 3:46:06
2. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:16
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
4. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC-TAG Heuer at 0:19
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
7. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
8. Michael Storer (Aus) UniSA-Australia
9. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 2:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC-TAG Heuer in 7:10:14
2. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott at 0:22
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:24
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:27
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi at 0:29
7. Nathan Earle (Aus) UniSA-Australia
8. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC-TAG Heuer
9. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana
10. Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal.

Stage 2:

After a day for the GC riders, the Tour Down Under turned its attention to the sprinters again on Stage 3. After a tough stage where the break dominated, the sprinters stepped up in the finale. Slowed by a crash in the final few kilometers, World Champion, Peter Sagan, took second, narrowly losing the win to Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott). Richie Porte (BMC-TAG Heuer) crossed the finish line unscathed to retain his overall lead with three stages remaining.

Making its way south towards the Fleurieu Peninsula along the St Vincent Gulf coast, the 144km route took in some of the steepest climbs of the Tour Down Under so far. The stage, sponsored by the team’s title sponsor, Hansgrohe, saw the day’s biggest climb, Sellicks Hill, at the 45km mark, as the parcours took riders towards the finish in Victor Harbor. While there were some short, sharp climbs in the finishing circuit, the relatively flat final kilometer suggested the sprinters would contest the win.

From the drop of the flag at the start of the day, the day’s breakaway formed as a quartet went up the road, quickly building an advantage that would reach almost five minutes as the day progressed. However, the peloton was in no hurry to pull the escape group back and this group of four stayed out in front much of the day, taking the King of the Mountain points, as well as the intermediate sprints.

By the 10km to go point, the peloton was within touching distance of the break as the sprinters began their push for the finish. With speeds hitting up to 70km/h, the peloton was a dangerous place to be, with a crash in the last few kilometers, right in front of Sagan. The World champion skillfully avoided the crash, but was slowed in his ride to the finish line. After threading his way through the sprint trains and pushing hard in the bunch sprint, the Slovakian rider narrowly missing the win, taking second to the little rocket Ewan. Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida), Danny van Poppel (Sky) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) filled the top five.

Victor Harbor - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Caleb EWAN (Australia / Team Orica Scott) - Peter SAGAN (Slowakei / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) pictured during the Santos Tour Down Under 2017 - Hansgrohe Stage 3 - in Victor Harbor, Australia on jan 19 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott): “It was definitely satisfying, it got really, really hectic in the end and I thought in the last K I was too far back, but luckily I made my way up before the sprint and had a good run to the finish. I lost my last guy, Daryl Impey, in the crash, so that was a big blow, but I just held in there tight and tried to jump onto some of the other wheels and it opened up for me in the end.”

2nd, Peter Sagan Peter (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I was ok – there was one very bad crash in the last 3km and then I was really lucky with my team that we didn’t crash because it was a really fast finish. I hope the guys who crashed are ok. I’m not in the best shape yet, but that’s also a good thing because the season is really long. You have to think positively and we still have time to get in good shape. Caleb’s riding at home, he’s been training in Australia all winter. I finished the season in October, took a month off to relax and go on holiday, and only started training again in December, and I’m really happy with how I’m riding now. Caleb is really motivated for this race because it’s the first of the season, he’s racing at home in Australia and he wants to win. He’s a good sprinter and with some of the best sprinters here at the race he’s winning a lot because he’s the best here. We’re doing really well here though – we’re getting some good racing kilometers in, we’re having fun and it’s really good and relaxed.”

3rd, Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida): “I was a nice parcour, but finally, there’s a little climb, the wind and the speed, by the end made the sprint harder.”

Overall leader, Richie Porte (BMC-TAG Heuer): “It was fine today. The team obviously played a big role in that. It’s just nice to get through a stage like that. It was quite nervous and stressful all day so it’s another step closer to the finish. I don’t think you see the wind on television but if there’s any wind it makes for a stressful day and there’s just so much to lose on a stage like this, and a lot to gain. I was pretty close to the crash and even at the front of the bunch where the crash happened. It was business as normal. Obviously BMC Racing Team have defended a lot of jerseys over the years so when you’ve got experienced guys like Amaël Moinard and Fran Ventoso it’s not just a big deal, but Miles Scotson also was incredible today. We’ll see how tomorrow is and get through that and then it’s Willunga. You don’t want to be starting the downhill to the gorge tomorrow anywhere but the front. Tomorrow’s not an easy stage and I think you saw today that if you’re not focused for one second, big crashes can happen like that.”

Break rider, Vegard Staeke Laengen (Team UAE Abu Dhabi): “I’m always available to support my leaders and to try to join the breakaways, I came to Australia to help Ulissi, Swift and to lead the train for the sprints of Kump, however today I was given a free role so I tried to attack just after the start and I succeeded in joining the main breakaway. I had good feelings, the stage was short, I did not waste too many energies which will be useful in the next days. When I noticed that I was still competitive and that the breakaway power was decreasing, I decided to counter-attack, but the peloton reacted quickly. I’m happy to give my contribution to the team, Team UAE is a very interesting project and I’ll give my best to reach the most important achievements.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 3:24:45
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Sky
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb
7. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
9. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
10. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 3:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC-TAG Heuer in 10:34:59
2. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott at 0:22
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:24
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:27
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 0:29
7. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
9. Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo.

TDU Stage 3:

2017 UCI WorldTour Races Wild Cards: RCS Sport Choices
RCS Sport announced today its selection of wild card teams that will participate at four out of its five UCI WorldTour races: Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and the Giro d’Italia.

Il Lombardia wild cards will be announced later in the season, after evaluating all the results of the teams that have requested participation at the race.

UCI WORLDTEAMS – 18 (eligible):

STRADE BIANCHE (4 March) – 3 wild cards (21 teams):

TIRRENO-ADRIATICO (8-14 March) – 4 wild cards (22 teams):

MILANO-SANREMO (18 March) – 7 wild cards (25 teams):

GIRO D’ITALIA (5-28 May) – 4 wild cards (22 teams):

Strade Bianche 2016:

Gazprom – RusVelo get Wild Card for Giro d’Italia 2017
Russian cycling team Gazprom – RusVelo has received an invitation for two World Tour races – Italian grand tour Giro d’Italia and one-day Milan – San-Remo.

RCS Sport, Italian sports event company, made an announcement about wild cards for their races on 18th of January. It’s the second time when Gazprom – RusVelo received the invitation to the Italian grand tour Giro d’Italia. Last year the team showed solid results and fans loved it for a great breakaways and beautiful victory by Alexander Foliforov on the 15th stage.

Gazprom – RusVelo GM Renat Khamidulin: “It’s very important for the team, we want to thank races organizer for trust to be a part of the 100th anniversary Giro d’Italia and legendary Milan – San-Remo. We’ve got a lot of experience last year on the Giro and we are setting more ambitious goals at this time. The team is very motivated and we’ll do everything to do our best.”

Italian grand tour Giro D’Italia is one of the most important races on the racing calendar. This race is one of the «grand tours». The most famous riders in history among the winners of this three week event. Giro D’italia in 2017 will be very special, because it’s 100th anniversary edition. RCS Sport created unique route and the list of participans will be strongest in many years.

Milano – San Remo is one of five ‘monuments’ – the most important one-day races. The first edition of the race was held in 1907. Nowadays Milano – San Remo is the longest one-day race of the season, with almost 300 kilometers to ride. Sprinters or riders who attack on legendary Cipressa and Poggio climbs have a chance to win it. Milano – San Remo is one of the most important and the most beautiful race of the first part of the season.

Gazprom-RusVelo 2017 team:

Team Novo Nordisk Celebrates Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-San Remo Wild Card Invitations
Team Novo Nordisk announced today that it received invitations to Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-San Remo. The team warmly welcomed these invitations from RCS and is eager to make its Tirreno-Adriatico debut.

Team Novo Nordisk CEO and Co-founder Phil Southerland: “It is an honor to be invited back to Milano-San Remo and to receive our first Tirreno-Adriatico invitation. First, we want to thank RCS for believing in us. Their continued support has allowed us to reach an even broader audience as we continue to race to change diabetes around the world. We understand that with honor comes responsibility and our riders will need to race harder than ever before to uphold the integrity of these iconic races.”

For the past two editions of Milano-San Remo, Team Novo Nordisk’s Andrea Peron spent both races in the main breakaway. This provided us with a tremendous reach to spread our message of inspiring, educating and empowering people affected by diabetes in Italy and across the globe. The distinction and prestige of Tirreno-Adriatico allows us to inspire even more people to keep chasing their dreams.

Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko: “For our team and sponsors, we feel the continued support from RCS shows their recognition in our growth and belief in our team’s unique message. We will show our appreciation by lining up with our best squad to date. The addition of Tirreno-Adriatico is a big boost for this organization. It is a premier World Tour race, and it is one of our major targets for the season.”

Team Novo Nordisk at Milano-Sanremo:

Canada Announces Team of 11 Riders for UCI Cyclocross World Championships
Cycling Canada is pleased to announce the team of 11 athletes that will represent Canada at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. The world championships will take place in Bieles, Luxembourg, on January 28th and 29th.

The team contains riders for all five championship categories, including three national champions. In the Junior men, national champion Gunnar Holmgren [Orillia, ON] is joined by Brody Sanderson [Orillia, ON] and Noah Simms [Barrie, ON]. Ruby West [Dundas, ON] will represent Canada in the Under-23 women, while Trevor O’Donnell [Barrie, ON] competes in Under-23 men.

In the Elite category, both Canadian champions will compete – Maghalie Rochette [St-Jerome, QC] in the women and Jeremy Martin [Quebec City, QC] for the men. Rochette will be joined by Mical Dyck [Victoria, BC] and Cindy Montambault [Val-David, QC] in the women’s competition. Mark McConnell [Calgary, AB] and Michael Van den Ham [Edmonton, AB] will race with Martin in the Elite men’s race.

“Though Cyclo-cross is not an Olympic event, we have seen an increasing number of athletes that are taking interest in this sport, as it nicely complements mountain biking,” explained Jacques Landry, High Performance Director at Cycling Canada. “Through this increased interest in CX we are slowly enhancing the quality and depth of the riders that take the start in World Cups and at the world championships.”

“The 2017 CX Worlds being held in Bieles promise to be a great venue for our Canadian riders who, for the most part, have been training and racing out of our European base in Tielt-Winge, Belgium, since mid-December. Under the watchful eye of Scott Kelly as team manager, I trust that our Canadian CX riders will come out of these Worlds with some great performances.”

The team will stage at the Cycling Canada European base in Tielte-Winge, Belgium, before attending the World Cup in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. The team will travel to Bieles, Luxembourg a few days before the start of the world championships.

Cycling Canada does not receive government funding for Cyclo-Cross programs, which means all projects are funded through sponsorships, private donations or by the athletes themselves. Any amount donated has a direct impact on the development of this sport in Canada. As a not-for-profit organization Cycling Canada can issue tax receipts for any donation greater than $25. Donations can be made at Hop On Canada: https://hoponcanada.ca/product/cyclo-cross-donation/

Team Canada Roster:
Gunnar Holmgren (Orillia, ON) Junior Men, Brody Sanderson (Orillia, ON) Junior Men, Noah Simms (Barrie, ON) Junior Men, Ruby West (Dundas, ON) U23 Women, Trevor O’Donnell (Barrie, ON) U23 Men, Mical Dyck (Victoria, BC) Elite Women, Cindy Montambault (Val-David, QC) Elite Women, Maghalie Rochette (St-Jerome, QC) Elite Women, Jeremy Martin (Quebec City, QC) Elite Men, Mark McConnell (Calgary, AB) Elite Men, Michael Van den Ham (Edmonton, AB) Elite Men.

Cross Worlds teaser:

Tom Devriendt undergoes Successful Knee Surgery
Tom Devriendt has successfully undergone knee surgery on Wednesday with Dr. Toon Claes in Herentals. Our 25-year-old sprinter suffers from cartilage related complains of the knee. His return in the peloton is expected by the end of February or beginning of March.

Tom Devriendt: “Toon Claes performed a good operation. On January 26th he is going to check to see when I can resume training again. Until now the rehabilitation is progressing well. I hope to be able to join the team soon, hopefully in the Ruta del Sol to train while my teammates contest the race.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren (Sports Director): “Tom called me on Sunday to tell that he had cartilage in the knee and he feared that he could not go on training camp with us. Dr Toon Claes decided to operate immediately.”

“It’s an unfortunate situation because Tom is an important rider in our team. I hope we can bring him to the Ruta del Sol to train, while the other riders are racing. Hopefully he still gets ready in time for the spring classics.”

Tom Devriendt:

No Return for Luca Paolini
Luca Paolini’s ban for testing positive for cocaine finished on January the 10th, but he told the Gazzetta dello Sport that he will not be making a return to cycle racing.

The 40 year-old explained: “I trained hard, I was back on form but there was no way back. At Astana, Vinokourov told me that because of my ban he could not hire me. Coming from him that made me laugh. I would’ve liked to race with Bahrain-Merida, but the Arabian culture doesn’t accept the minimum error when it comes to alcohol and drugs. Despite everything I set myself a deadline of finding something by Christmas. But nothing came together. I’m bitter about it. I know that I hurt cycling, but before that, I’d given so much too. The Italian national coach Cassani called me a few times but the Italian Federation didn’t get in touch, even to call me an idiot.”

Paolini was addicted to Benzodiazepine and said he had been using cocaine due to the Benzodiazepine. After testing positive for cocaine at the start of the 2015 Tour de France, Paolini admitted his problems to his family who helped him recover, especially his daughter. My family played an important part in helping me resolve my problem. The most difficult situation was with my daughter Gaia who is now 16. When you make a mistake like I did, you feel like shit because you’re supposed to be an example. I’m lucky, she’s smart and understands so much. She helped me.”

Now that Paolini is forty years old, what about his future? “I’ve got some ideas in my mind, projects linked to tourism and cycling and clothing. Cycling will remain part of my life. It’s just that racing will no longer be part of it.” He has invested in a coffee bar in the center of Como.

Luca Paolini training with Katusha:

Owain Doull has Appendix Operation
Team Sky new signing, Owain Doull, has had a less than perfect start to the 2017 season. After arriving in Australia for the People’s Choice Classic and the Santos Tour Down Under he was admitted to hospital with a ruptured appendix that needed to be removed. The Welshman Tweeted: “Not exactly how I pictured making my world tour debut but when your appendix ruptures there isn’t much you can do. Ta for all the messages.”

Team Sky doctor Neil Heron described what happened: “Initially Owain had a stomach bug and he had those symptoms for around 36 hours. He was starting to improve, but on Tuesday morning his stomach pain became a lot worse. We began to suspect appendicitis and he was taken to Royal Adelaide Hospital where they confirmed the suspected diagnosis. The earliest he will leave the hospital is Thursday, and recovery and recuperation is likely to take at least four weeks. Owain is obviously disappointed, but he appreciates he needs to be 100% fit to get back racing.”

Kenny Elissonde was training in Brisbane for the Herald Sun Tour and so was able to replace Doull at the last minute.

Owen Doull riding the U23 Worlds TT in Richmond:
Richmond - USA - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Owain Doull pictured during the Worldchampionships Cycling - Championat du Monde in Richmond - TT - men under 23 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2015

Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team on three corners of the globe
While seven riders successfully started the 2017 season in Australia, another six are on their way to The Vuelta a San Juan, and the rest of them are gathered in Benidorm, Spain for a Training Camp.

For the next few days Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team will be separated and stationed on three sides of the globe. While first group of riders is on the Tour Down Under, another six is already on their way to the next race. The Vuelta a San Juan will start on 23rd January, but Sports Director Paolo Slongo, that will lead the team in Argentina, explained that they wanted to be on the location a few days before the race, in order to accommodate to warm summer weather and different time zone.

Argentina has become almost a tradition for Vincenzo Nibali: “I always come back very willingly, without forgetting that South America has often brought me luck in the rest of the season. The climate here is ideal, while training in Italy with just a few degrees above zero is almost impossible.”

The third group of riders will attend a Training Camp in Benidorm, Spain, under leadership of Head Sports Director, Gorazd Štangelj. This popular tourist destination on the Mediterranean coast was chosen because of the mild winter weather and good road infrastructure that together guarantee excellent training conditions also at this time of the year. 13 riders and 16 members of staff are already settled on the location. Yesterday all the riders were tested and based on these results, the training program with specific training elements will be created. Head Sports Director, Gorazd Štangelj commented: “Weather conditions here are ideal. Colbrelli, Božič and Bole are getting ready for Dubai and the rest of the riders for races that will follow after that. We are also carrying out some final testing and will put polish on the rider’s shape for the races in Middle East and later on in Spain.”

The whole team was also very happy that Heinrich Haussler joined them after intervention on his left knee on 2nd January, and that his recovery is going very well.

Today’s training was also marked with a first bike accident in the season – Antonio Nibali fell with his bike and suffered from minor abrasions on the hip, knee and hands. But fortunately there were no serious injuries so the preparation of the team is going on as planned.

Bahrain-Merida training:

Caja Rural – Seguros RGA prepares new season in Benidorm with nine new riders
The Caja Rural – Seguros RGA staff and riders have resorted to Benidorm, Spain, these days for the first team training camp of the year. In addition to getting to know their new teammates and trying on the brand new 2017 kit from Nalini, the riders are also undergoing performance tests on their Fuji bikes – as well as core training in the gym – to fine-tune their condition ahead of the first races of the season.

The debut race for Caja Rural – Seguros RGA in 2017 will be the Argentinian stage race Vuelta a San Juan, which takes place from the 23rd to the 29th of January. Meanwhile, the team will also be racing in Mallorca from the 26th to the 29th. Lineups for both races will follow in the coming days.

Amongst the 20 riders on the team this year, there are nine new faces in the crowd; Alex Aranburu, Jon Irisarri, Josu Zabala, Chris Butler, Justin Oien, Dylan Page, Rafael Reis, Nick Schultz and Yuri Trofimov. While Irisarri and Zabala already got to know the team last year as stagiaires for the second part of the season, the remaining seven riders are all enjoying their first days with Caja Rural – Seguros RGA.

Josu Zabala: “For me, the transition has been easy since I already knew most of my teammates from last year. The vibe is really good and the new foreign riders are learning very quickly, constantly trying to improve their Spanish, which makes the team even more united. I hope to start out the season in a good way when I go to the races in Mallorca. I know I’ll be suffering and working for the team, but why not try to make it into a breakaway one of the days”.

Nick Schultz: “The first days with the team have been great. Everything here is very professional but also very relaxed, which really makes for a great atmosphere. My number one goal this season is to integrate and be part of the family here. When that happens, I think it will have a big influence on what happens on the bike. I believe that if you’re happy off the bike, you’ll be happy on the bike as well. I’m very lucky to be in an environment like this where I can learn so much from everybody around me”.

Justin Oien: “Ever since I signed on with the team, I’ve been extremely motivated to ride my bike. I haven’t skipped any workouts at home before flying to Europe, so I’m really excited to get started. For me, it’s also great to be riding a Fuji bike again. My first race bike was a Fuji and now, in my first season as professional, I’m on a Fuji bike once again”.

Alex Aranburu, Jon Irisarri, Josu Zabala, Chris Butler, Justin Oien, Dylan Page, Rafael Reis, Nick Schultz, Yuri Trofimov:

Happy Birthday Esteban!
Hostworks Stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under from Unley to Lyndoch is on the same day Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) celebrates his 27th Birthday. We took the opportunity to celebrate with him and share some cake!

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