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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Diego Ulissi had his first 2017 win in the GP Costa degli Etruschi and is looking forward to Trofeo Laigueglia in EUROTRASH Thursday. Goodbye Roger Walkowiak, we look at his life in TOP STORY. In other cycling news: The Tour Oman, Vuelta a la Region Murcia, Clasica de Almeria, Lotto Soudal Classics recon, Abu Dhabi Tour, Tour de Langkawi 2017 race route, Dubai Tour from A to Z and we make an omelette with the Sky team. Coffee time!

TOP STORY: Goodbye Roger
1956 Tour de France winner, Roger Walkowiak, died on Tuesday in his home near Vichy. Walkowiak was a surprise winner of the Tour, he wasn’t in the No.1 French team, but in the France North-East/Center Team and was not expected to be battling for victory. His win was based on a big break during stage 7 to Angers that took an eighteen minute advantage, which put Walkowiak in the yellow jersey. Walkowiak’s team manager, Sauveur Ducazeaux, advised Walkowiak that it would be too tough to hold the lead and so he lost it on stage 10 to Gerrit Voorting. On stage 17 Walkowiak again made it into the break, this moved him up to second overall behind Wout Wagtmans at four minutes. Stage 18 to Grenoble was the last chance for the top men to win the race. Gaul won the stage and Walkowiak took the leaders jersey back and held it all the way to Paris four days later. Also on stage 18, Spain’s Federico Bahamontes cracked completely threw his bike down a ravine, the Spanish team persuaded Bahamontes to continue to finish 4th overall, but at over 10 minutes down on Walkowiak.

French fans were not too happy with the final result and when Walkowiak was presented with the final yellow jersey in the Paris Parc des Princes he was greeted with polite applause. The phrase “á la Walko” was added to the French vocabulary meaning “won by an undeserving or unknown rider”, this was a bit unfair as the 1956 Tour de France was the fastest in history at that time. When Walkowiak retired he went to work in a metal works and didn’t have anything to with cycling until later in life. There was always a suspicion that Walkowiak was unpopular due to him being the son of a Polish immigrant. With riders he was known as a hard rider and was well loved in the peloton

Double Tour winner Bernard Thévenet said this on his Facebook page:
“The bad news of the morning: Our friend Roger Walkowiak is deceased. In a few weeks we lost the two oldest victors of the Tour, Ferdi Kubler and him. Roger is the only rider who won the tour in a regional team. The Press (we didn’t say media!!) had so devalued his feat since it wasn’t a “Thriller” who had taken it away! Fortunately it was largely restored by the whole of the cyclist there are a couple of decades and we saw him come back with joy among us. He practiced again until the past few years, participated in “Gentlemen Races” and cycling near Vichy, his home town. Goodbye champion.”

Roger Walkowiak, Champion of France:

Roger WALKOWIAK from 3B/Tessalit on Vimeo.

G.P. Costa degli Etruschi 2017
An attack on the second and last crossing of the climb of Torre Segalari, less than 15 km to the finish was where Diego Ulissi made his winning move in the GP Costa degli Etruschi (190,6 km, start from San Vincenzo), his hometown race which took place in Donoratico, where the captain of the Team UAE Abu Dhabi spent his youth.

No one could compete against Ulissi’s attack, who had a maximum advantage of 26 seconds on the first chasers, which were well controlled by team mate Simone Petilli. The advantage was enough to allow the rider from the Emirati team to celebrate properly his first victory in the GP Costa degli Etruschi, his 26th as a pro and the first in 2017.

Ulissi and his Colnago bike crossed the finish line with 14 seconds on the chasing group with 105 riders. Manuel Belletti (Wilier Triestina) won the bunch sprint for 2nd ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli). Team UAE, which was directed by Daniele Righi, was in the top 10 also with Simone Petilli, 10th. This is the second success for Team UAE in 2017: the first one was obtained by Rui Costa in the queen stage of the Vuelta de San Juan.

GP Costa degli Etruschi 2017 - San Vincenzo - Donoratico 190,6 km - 05/02/2017 - Diego Ulissi (ITA - UAE Abu Dhabi) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2017

Race winner, Diego Ulissi (UAE Abu Dhabi): “The premises for obtaining my first victory in my hometown race, after two podiums in the past editions, were good – Ulissi commented – I was aware my shape would have allowed me to be competitive, the team supported me even better than it was possible to expect, all my team mates were great, also the young ones. Ganna, Troia and Conti raised the pace in the peloton in the final part of the race, Mori, Marcato and Ravasi supported me in the approach of the final climb, Petilli made a key job in controlling the chasing group.

My attack on the climb was very good and I succeeded in strengthen my advantage in the descent, which I know very well. It’s good to win so early in the season, especially after having been competitive in the debut in Australia. Trofeo Laigueglia will be my next race, before flying to Abu Dhabi for an appointment which will be special for my team.”

G.P. Costa degli Etruschi Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Abu Dhabi in 4:32:24
2. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina at 0:14
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
4. Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
5. Davide Mucelli (Ita) Meridiana Kamen Team
6. Mikel Aristi (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
7. Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
8. Paolo Totò (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis
9. Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Abu Dhabi.

G.P. Costa degli Etruschi 2017:

Ulissi, One Week Later in Liguria, Will Try to Repeat
One week after the victory in the GP Costa degli Etruschi, Team UAE will race again in Italy, taking part in the Trofeo Laigueglia. On Sunday 12 February, 8 riders from the Emirati team will be in Liguaria at the start of the race: Diego Ulissi will be the captain of the line-up which will include also Valerio Conti, Kristijan Durasek, Matej Mohoric, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Jan Polanc and Edward Ravasi.

The team will be directed by Daniele Righi, with the support of the physician Dr Ronchi, of the masseurs Della Torre, Gallivanone and Napolitano, of the mechanics Bortoluzzo and Cornacchione and of the driver Luigi Saronni.

In the Emirati line-up there will be 5 riders who had participated in the Gp Costa degli Etruschi, while the other 3 cyclists had taken part in the Dubai Tour (the climber Durasek, the versatile Mohoric and Polanc).

After his first victory in the GP Costa degli Etruschi, Ulissi will try to achieve another goal by adding to his record the Trofeo Laigueglia. He participated in 4 editions, obtaining one 4th place, one 5th, one 6th and one 22nd, however he never hit the target. Sunday will be the eighth race day (Santos Tour Down Under and GP Costa degli Etruschi, People’s Choice Classic not included), he covered 992,6 km obtaining 4 top 10.

“I’d really love to fight for the victory in the Trofeo Laigueglia, it’s a charming race”. Ulissi explained. “I was close to the podium in the past editions, it would be great to finally hit the target. I’m aware that it won’t be easy: the quality of the start list will be high, also because there will be four WT teams and because many riders will search for a payback after the GP Costa degli Etruschi; moreover, the course will offer different solution for winning the race. The final part of the course could give me the opportunity to repeat the attack which on Sunday gave me the victory, however it will all depend on the opponents. Team UAE will also rely on different solution for aiming for the victory: as an example, Simone Petilli, who realized an impressive performance in the GP Costa degli Etruschi.”

Diego Ulissi winning the GP Costa degli Etrusch:

2017 Tour of Oman: Ready for Battle

Key points
Ø Edition 8 of the Tour of Oman will feature some of the best one-day classic and major tour specialists. Boonen, Kristoff and Van Avermaet on the one hand and Bardet, Aru and Jungels on the other will have a chance to shine.
Ø Of the five stages on the programme, the decisive stage for the climbers will be the “Green Mountain” on the penultimate day of the race.

At this point in the season, foundations must be solid. The leaders and their team mates put in the all-important training during the winter break, increased specific training sessions and for some returned to action. Now come the first confrontations on the road that can give an idea of what is to come this year. The Tour of Oman has become a favourite event where riders can build and specify their ambitions. Around the capital city of Muscat, following the Gulf of Oman coastline to the west as well as the east or even through mountains and back-country areas, the roads of the Sultanate offer a variety that is welcome to classic stars and podium contenders of major tours. This early season race in Oman has become part of many riders’ calendar since 2010.

On the Muscat Corniche or Naseem Park, Tom Boonen and Alexander Kristoff could produce the first of many confrontations that will continue on just until Paris-Roubaix. They will probably defer to Olympic Champion Greg van Avermaet or Filippo Pozzato on the more difficult Al Bustan and Quriyat arrivals. The climbers will come into focus on the now traditional Jabal Al Akdhar stage, where the mountain specialists will have their opportunity to race for the overall win. Runner-up on the 2016 Tour de France, Romain Bardet will be the rider to beat. On the 5.7km final climb, he will have the opportunity to both test his 2017 legs, but also the cohesion with his new Swiss team mate, Mathias Frank. The leader of the AG2R squad will face strong opposition, especially from the defending champions Astana, with Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsang. Promising Bob Jungels, who will most likely concentrate on the white jersey that he won last year (6th), will also pose a threat, as will Portugal’s Rui Costa, who has already ridden strong on Green Mountain (6th in 2015 and 5th in 2016), Columbia’s Janier Acevedo and Julian Arredondo. French hopeful, Guillaume Martin, will be out to show that the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team is holding its place among cycling’s elite.

Race website: www.tourofoman.om.

18 Teams & Main Contenders:

South Africa
Dimension Data: Reguigui (Alg), Sbaragli (Ita)

Team Sunweb: Sinkeldam (Ned)

Bahrain-Merida: Visconti (Ita), Insausti (Esp)

Quick-Step Floors: Boonen (Bel), Jungels (Lux), Capecchi (Ita)
Wanty-Groupe Gobert: Napolitano (Ita), G.Martin (Fra)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: Van Hecke (Bel)
WB Veranclassic Aquality Protect: Pardini (Bel), Spengler (Che)

United Arab Emirates
UAE Abu Dhabi: Costa (Por), Modolo (Ita)

BMC Racing Team: Van Avermaet (Bel), Elmiger (Che)
United Healthcare: Acevedo (Col)

AG2R La Mondiale: Bardet, Gougeard (Fra), Frank (Che)
Delko Marseille Provence KTM: Diaz (Arg), Hupond (Fra)

Aqua Blue Sport: Blythe (Gbr), Denifl (Aut)

Wilier Triestina: Pozzato (Ita)
Nippo-Vini Fantini: Arredondo (Col), Santaromita (Ita)

Astana Pro Team: Aru (Ita), Fuglsang (Den), Kangert (Est), Lutsenko (Kaz)

CCC Sprandi Polkowice: Kurek (Pol)

Team Katusha Alpecin: Kristoff (Nor), Taaramae (Est).

Stage 4 (Green Mountain) – 2016 Tour of Oman:

Team Sunweb for the Tour of Oman
The peloton takes on the roads of Oman for a six day stage race starting next Tuesday, 14th February. The 2017 edition of the Tour of Oman has the hilliest parcours in the race’s history. The race will see a mountain top finish, a hilltop finish, two stages with climbs towards the end of the race alongside two sprint finishes. It’s expected that the general classification will be decided on the decisive Green Mountain, the day before the race finishes. The race provides the toughest conditions of the season so far, and will allow riders the chance to test their legs after the winter break.

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) said: “The Tour of Oman is a great race and a good way for all of our riders to start their season. It will be a race to get back into the rhythm of things after a good rest and preparation period during the winter. It is also a good opportunity to go for our own successes early on in the season. We have a good balanced group with experienced riders and we hope for some chances in the sprint where Max will try to finish the work done by the rest of the team. We’re looking forward to a good race in Oman.”

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Roy Curvers (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Mike Teunissen (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL), Max Walscheid (GER).
Coach: Marc Reef.

Ramon Sinkeldam:

Quick-Step Floors Team to Tour of Oman
Six stages, 13 classified climbs and a mountain finish are on the menu for the eighth edition of the race.

Once again, the Tour of Oman welcomes the peloton with a challenging course, which will provide plenty of opportunities to sprinters, attackers and climbers alike early in the season. It goes without saying that of the six stages, the most important will be the one concluding atop Jabal Al Akhdhar, “the Green Mountain”, a 5.7km Hors Catégorie ascent averaging 10.5% which is set to feature on the penultimate day of the race.

A stage winner at the previous edition, when a daring attack on the final descent to Al Bustan opened him the road to his maiden victory in the Quick-Step Floors jersey, 24-year-old Bob Jungels returns at the start, thus continuing his adventure in the Middle East, after recently concluding the Dubai Tour, where he was a quintessential part of Marcel Kittel’s lead-out train.

Following a successful campaign in Argentina, where he kicked off his season in spectacular style at the Vuelta a San Juan by becoming the first ever road rider to win a race on a disc brake-equipped bike, Tom Boonen will be another important rider of the Quick-Step Floors setup, which will also include Eros Capecchi, David De La Cruz – who’s coming off the back of a strong Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana – Laurens De Plus, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert and Niki Terpstra.

Tom Boonen (BEL), Eros Capecchi (ITA), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN) and Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

Bahrain-Merida for Vuelta a la Region Murcia – 11th Feb and Clasica de Almeria – 12th Feb
Our sport director for the upcoming races in Andalusia, Spain, Mr. Harald Morscher is excited and looking forward to the European premiere of our team: “Our season’s opening for our team in Europe means that our primary plan is to be determined and recognized. We are here with some very young riders to gain experience. The experienced riders like Ion Izaguirre and Javier Moreno as well as Luka Pibernik will help the young talents find their way around immediately. Our main goal for the first two races in Spain is to have somebody in the breakaway as much as possible and for sure I have nothing against if we catch a place on the podium”.

Spanish racing weekend for Gazprom – RusVelo
This weekend Gazprom-RusVelo team will compete in two races in the southeast of Spain. Vuelta a Murcia will be held on Saturday 11th of February and Clasica de Almeria on Sunday 12th. Both one-day races have the UCI 1.1 Category.

San Javier will be the starting location for Vuelta a Murcia. Since the foundation in 1981 the race belonged to the stage race category. However, in 2013 it was shortened to a one-day competition. The total distance length is 183 kilometers with the route between the towns of San Javier and Murcia.

“The final segment of the route might be crucial to determine the winner of Murcia 2017. Still, there is a probability that the team will not manage to keep in the group after Alto Collado Bermejo – the first category hill climb, which is located in 64 kilometers to the finish line. The race is expected to be unpredictable and could be won by racers of different specializations,” – assumes Alexey Markov, sports director of the team.

On Sunday teams move on to the Clasica de Almeria, which starts from the city of Almeria and finishes in Roquetas de Mar. The most challenging parts of the race will be four categorical hills, which however do not influence the allocation of places in the final protocol. After accomplishing 190 kilometers of the total distance sprinters have more chances to compete against each other for the victory.

Roman Maikin, Gazprom – RusVelo rider has positive expectations: “We started the season with the great confidence, everything goes according to the plan. I have already competed in Almeria, but the distance was shortened due to the strong wind. Concerning Vuelta a Murcia race, – it will be my first time. We have a serious attitude and will fight for the highest places and try to show our best results in the final phases of both Murcia and Almeria”.

Direct Energie to Up and Coming Races
Vuelta a Murcia – 11 February 2017
Romain Cardis, Jérémy Cornu, Romanain Guillemois, Brian Nauleau, Paul Ourselin, Perrig Quemeneur and Romain Sicard.
Directeur Sportif: Lylian Lebreton.

Trofeo Laigueglia – 12 February 2017
Ryan Anderson, Lilian Calmejane, Sylvain Chavanel, Fabien Grellier, Jonathan Hivert, Tony Hurel, Alexandre Pichot and Thomas Voeckler.
Directeur Sportif: Dominique Arnould.

Clasica de Almeria – 12 February 2017
Thomas Boudat, Romain Cardis, Jérémy Cornu, Bryan Coquard, Romanain Guillemois, Paul Ourselin, Adrien Petit and Angélo Tulik.
Directeur Sportif: Lylian Lebreton.

Ruta del Sol – 15 to 19 February 2017
Thomas Boudat, Bryan Coquard, Yohann Gene, Julien Morice, Adrien Petit, Romain Sicard, Angélo Tulik.
Directeur Sportifs: Jimmy Engoulvent and Lylian Lebreton.

Thomas Voeckler:

Abu Dhabi is Ready for the UCI WorldTour
Two weeks to the start of the third edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour: the official stats, the riders to watch, and the extra activities.

The pack is on the way during "the Adnoc Stage", the first stage of Abu Dhabi tour cycling race, over 174 km from Qasr Al Sarab to ​Madinat Zayed, UAE, 8 ​October​ 2015.​ ANSA/​CLAUDIO PERI

The list of teams at the next Abu Dhabi Tour is truly impressive: 16 of 18 UCI WorldTeams accepted the invitation from the Abu Dhabi Sports Council to start from Madinat Zayed on 23 February for the first stage that runs through the desert to the famous landmark, Liwa oasis. The world’s top riders are ready to race, including Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru, Steven Kruijswijk, Tejay van Garderen and Romain Bardet as General Classification (GC) contenders. Stage 3 will be key for these riders with its iconic Jabel Hafeet climb, decisive for the final podium in the previous editions of the Abu Dhabi Tour. Many of the world’s best sprinters will compete too, with names such as Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Elia Viviani, André Greipel and Caleb Ewan fighting for stage victories.

The Abu Dhabi Tour is the only Middle Eastern race in the UCI WorldTour calendar, having been upgraded this season. For the first time ever riders and teams will earn UCI WorldTour ranking points here: a total of 40 points for the winner of each stage, plus another six points for each day as leader of the GC by time (denoted by the Red Jersey, sponsored by Al Maryah Island). The second rider across the finish line will earn 15 points while the third-placed finisher gets six points. At the end of the Abu Dhabi Tour, the winner of the GC will be awarded ‘Silent Speed’, the official Abu Dhabi Tour Trophy, along with 300 UCI points, the second in the GC receives 250 points, the third gets 215 and so on, down to the 60th placed rider who earns one point.

The Jersey winners so far
The first two edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour have seen six different stage winners, from four different countries. Only two riders have won two stages: the Manxman Mark Cavendish and the Italian Elia Viviani. Italy is the country that has won the most stages (four), thanks to two wins from Viviani and one each for Andrea Guardini (the first ever GC leader) and Giacomo Nizzolo. The most prestigious Jersey – Red – has never been worn for two consecutive days by any rider, while the Green Jersey (sponsored by Nation Towers) has been worn twice only by Cavendish. The Best Young Rider Jersey (sponsored by the host broadcaster Abu Dhabi Sports Channel) has been worn by five different riders with only the New Zealander Dion Smith enjoying two days in White. The Black Jersey, sponsored by Etihad Airways, is worn by the rider who accumulates the most points at the intermediate sprints and has been worn three times by Jens Keukeleire, who leads this special classification.

Abu Dhabi Tour Challenge is on its way
Last Sunday, 5 February, the first evening of the Abu Dhabi Tour Challenge was a huge success with 273 entries and 32 nationalities represented. The quickest male rider was Jasper Carpaij, whose fastest lap of the Yas Marina Circuit was 6 minutes and 51 seconds. The fastest female rider was Yvonne Van Hattum who recorded a best lap of 7 minutes and 45 seconds. The next event, another Individual Time Trial, will be held on 12 February with the final knockout event scheduled for 21 February.

Fan Zone
Nation Towers is confirmed as the official Fan Zone from 17 to 26 February, with a venue dedicated to the sponsors, a kids’ area and a large screen for following the race action live. The Fan Zone will be open from 12pm to 10pm (Thursdays, week-end days and Sunday 26) and from 12pm to 8pm (Monday to Wednesday).

Advertising caravan
The Advertising Caravan is the travelling promotional project that will visit the main Abu Dhabi landmarks as well as the stage cities. During race days the caravan, including specially branded promotional vehicles, will anticipate the riders on their route to the finish line, in a format similar to European Grand Tour events.

Here is the full Advertising Caravan schedule for the pre-race days:
17 February: Abu Dhabi Corniche
18 February: Abu Dhabi Downtown
19 February: Khalifa City / Yas Island
20 February: Reem Island / Baniyas
21 February: Yas Marina Circuit
22 February: Abu Dhabi Corniche.

Abu Dhabi Tour website
Abu Dhabi Tour YouTube Channel
Facebook page
Twitter page
Google+ Profile
Instagram official

2016 Abu Dhabi Tour stage 3:

Lotto Soudal Recons the Classics
Past weekend, five Lotto Soudal riders did a recon of the Flemish Ardennes, together with sports director Herman Frison. On Saturday Tiesj Benoot, Frederik Frison, Moreno Hofland, Nikolas Maes and Jürgen Roelandts rode about 140 kilometers on the roads of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. One day later, they covered 200 kilometers to memorize the course of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and E3 Harelbeke.

Sports director Herman Frison: “Some guys already know the area very well of course, but others much less. And it’s useful to see the hills and cobbles again, also for me. It has been ten months since we raced on these roads and during such a training you see things that could be important in the race. We have chosen to do the recon this weekend because there’s a risk that the weather will be bad a few days before the Omloop and then you can’t move the date anymore. Now we were able to do these recons without stress and without much rain. Such rides are also perfect to test the tubes and tyre pressure.”

Lotto Soudal Classic training:
Gent - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jurgen ROELANDTS (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) - Tiesj BENOOT (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) and Moreno HOFLAND (Niederlande / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during a team training session as part of the preparation prior to the 72 st Flanders Classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Gent, Belgium - photo PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Terengganu’s Back on the Route Map and a More Exciting Race on the Cards
Terengganu’s hosting of the grand start, along with the opening two stages and a triple climb heading into the Stage 7 finish in Rembau marks an even better remapped route for the 22nd edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), set to be held between February 22 and March 1.

In reality, the new route isn’t too much of a shift from the initial route announced in January, with among other significant changes being the redirection of Stage 5 due to the unavailability of the Dataran Merdeka due to Federal Territories Day celebrations being held there.

“We’ve had some tweaks to make, but the changes made actually provides an opportunity for an even more exciting and unpredictable race,” said LTdL 2017 chief executive officer Emir Abdul Jalal.

“Although there are some hints that the route had to be changed as cost cutting measures, the matter has been sorted out between the organizers and the state government and I would like to thank them for their continuous support. Thus the pre-race events and the opening two stages will be held in Terengganu,” said Emir.

Overall, the race will cover a distance of 1,222.2 kilometers, beginning with a 124.8km opening stage that starts in Kuala Berang and ends with a circuit around the city of Kuala Terengganu.

Stage 2 will be the longest stage of the race this year, covering three states over 208.1km from the start in Jerteh, Terengganu, before passing through Kelantan and finishing after the scenic passing of the Titiwangsa Range in Gerik, Perak.

The next day, the entourage heads to Serdang in Kedah for the start of the third stage, which will be the shortest stage of the Tour, ending after 118km in Pantai Remis. Stage 4 is then the decisive queen stage of the race, with a start in Seri Manjung and finish atop Cameron Highlands after the peloton covers 174.4km.

Stage 5 of the race brings the peloton into the state of Selangor, with the finish in Kuala Kubu Baru coming 151.5km after the start in Meru Jaya, with its undulations and twisty roads prospecting some changes to the standings which would have been established after the Cameron Highlands stage the day before.

The sixth stage sees a start in Negri Sembilan, where the peloton heads South, covering 176.3km from a start in Senawang heading towards the finish in Muar, Johor. Then comes the penultimate stage, which provides some prospects of changes to the leadership with the peloton heading from a start in Malacca into some tricky climbs in Gemencheh, Bukit Rokan and Bukit Miku over the 148.1km stage before the finish in Rembau.

The final day’s procession this year will see a 121km procession begin in Setiawangsa, before the peloton heads into a loop around the administrative capital of Putrajaya for the grand finish.

“The decision to go with this route is to ensure that the race will be more exciting, where the battle for the overall title will by no means be settled in Cameron Highlands. I expect it to be stretched into the latter stages,” said Emir.

Organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia and managed by Ciclista Sports Sdn Bhd, the 22nd edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from 22 February to 1 March, 2017 is set to cover more than 1,200km over 8 stages, the UCI 2.HC (hors category) race featuring again as one of the biggest events on the UCI Asia Tour calendar.

Le Tour de Langkawi 2017 Race Route
Stage 1 – Wed, 22 February 2017: Kuala Berang – Kuala Terengganu (124.8 km)
Stage 2 – Thurs, 23 February 2017: Jerteh – Gerik (208.1 km)
Stage 3 – Fri, 24 February 2017: Serdang – Pantai Remis (118 km)
Stage 4 – Sat, 25 February 2017: Seri Manjung – Cameron Highlands (174.4 km)
Stage 5 – Sun, 26 February 2017: Meru Raya – Kuala Kubu Bharu (151.5 km)
Stage 6 – Mon, 27 February 2017: Senawang – Muar (176.3 km)
Stage 7 – Tues, 28 February 2017: Melaka – Rembau (148.1 km)
Stage 8 – Wed, 1 March 2017: Setiawangsa – Putrajaya Loop (121 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE : 1,222.2 km

2017 Dubai Tour from A to Z
The 2017 Dubai Tour ended in style yesterday. Let’s relive it through this year’s “Dubai Alphabet”:

A for Anthem: the opening ceremony witnessed the launch of the official Dubai Tour Anthem, composed by the Italian Marco Biscarini, a disciple of Ennio Morricone.

B for Blue Jersey: the General Classification jersey, sponsored by CBD Now, was worn only by one rider, Marcel Kittel of Quick Step-Floors.

C for Castelli: 598 jackets, 1125 polo shirts, 395 pairs of pants and 679 hats provided for the officials – plus the 16 jerseys for the leaders of the Tour’s four classifications.

Dubai Tour 2017 - 5th stage Meraas stage 124 km - 04/02/2017 - Marcel Kittel (GER - QuickStep - Floors) - photo Luca Bettini/©RCS SPORT

D for Dubai Sports Channel: the host broadcaster provided full live coverage of each and every stage on both Dubai Sports Channel 1 (in Arabic) and Dubai Sports Channel 4 (in English), with race, pre-race and post-race shows totaling 24 hours.

E for Emirates: the Points Classification was won by Marcel Kittel, leader of the Red Jersey Classification sponsored by Emirates from Stage 1.

F for Flowers: 24 flower bouquets were presented at the podium after the stages, in addition to 126 medals, 4 stage winners trophies, 13 other trophies and one ‘Circle of Stars’ – the Dubai Tour trophy designed by Pininfarina and won for the second year in a row by Marcel Kittel.

G for Guests: almost 100 VIP guests followed the Dubai Tour from the eight VIP cars that were supplied by the official partner Audi Al Nabooda.

H for Hospitality: 1325 square meters of hospitality area were provided by the organization on the finish area for VIP guests, sponsors and media.

I for Intermediate Sprint Classification: the UAE Flag Jersey, sponsored by the Dubai Health Authority, was won by the Italian Nicola Boem (Bardiani CSF).

J for Journalists: 194 members of the media attended the Dubai Tour, comprising 146 journalists and 48 photographers, representing 86 international and national media outlets.

K for Kittel: the German sprinter now holds the record of stage wins – eight, across three different editions of the Dubai Tour.

L for Likes: up 54% on Facebook, 30% on Twitter and 36% on Instagram compared with the 2016 edition by the start of stage 5.

M for Meraas: the City Walk area hosted the final sprint won by Marcel Kittel from Elia Viviani and Riccardo Minali.

N for News: more than 4000 articles during the five days of the Dubai Tour discussed the Dubai Tour across numerous international media.

O for Official Timekeeper: Yousif Mirza received the “Don’t Crack Under Pressure Performance” prize offered by Tag Heuer, Dubai Tour’s official timekeeper.

P for Palm: thanks to Nakheel, the opening stage of the Dubai Tour finished in front of the iconic Atlantis gate, the location of the first stunning sprint in this year’s Dubai Tour.

Q for Quote: “Good decision of @rcssport & UCI to cancel stage 4 of @dubaitour. It’s a real storm out here in Hatta & riders safety needs priority”. Marcel Kittel’s Tweet is the quote of the Dubai Tour’s week.

R for Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority: what an amazing finish on stage 2 in Ras Al Khaimah, directly in front of the Mangroves forest!

S for Speed: the 2017 Dubai Tour registered the highest average speed ever, at 45,588 kph!

T for Television: The Dubai Tour was shown in 183 countries, +18% compared with 2016, and +63% compared with 2015.

U for UAE: six Emirates were involved in the 2017 Dubai Tour’s route: Ajman, Sharjah, Umm-Al-Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and, of course, Dubai.

V for Village: 28 hours of activity across five days dedicated to fans at the Dubai Tour Fan Village at DIMC (Dubai International Marina Club), thanks to the performances of Vittorio Brumotti and the sponsor booths of Vittoria, CBD Now, RTA, Dubai Tour Official Store, Novo Nordisk, Ajman Tourism Development Department, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Ride Bike Shop, The Cycle Hub, and Wolfi’s Bike Shop.

W for Westin: The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina hosted all the teams during the Dubai Tour’s week.

X for XL: as the extra-large coverage of the Dubai Eye’s team. The official radio broadcasted more than 30 hours thanks to a team of around 25 people including the reporters and tech team.

Y for Young: the Best Young Rider – the White Jersey, sponsored by RTA (Roads and Transport Authority), was worn by one rider throughout this year’s Dubai Tour, the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo).

Z for “Zero”: the number of winning nations this year other than Germany!

See you in 2018.

Dubai Tour 2017 – Stage 5 highlights:

Fuel Like Team Sky – Omelette
Eat like Sky riders with this omelette made by Team Sky chef James Forsyth. Forsyth shows you how to create a simple but healthy and tasty omelette.

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