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Terminillo - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS (Columbia / Team Movistar) pictured during the Tirreno - Adriatico - stage-4- from Montalto di Castro - Terminillo 171 km - foto: LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Nairo Quintana is having a great season so far, the win in Tirreno Adriatico joins his Valencia victory. We catch up with the action from Tirreno and Nokere Koerse with results, reports, quotes and video. The end of Merckx Bikes? – Top Story. In other cycling news: Milano-Sanremo build up, USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships in Knoxville, Giro del Belvedere and Peter Sagan has a close shave. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.

TOP STORY: Eddy Merckx Bikes in Trouble?
Belgian newspaper and website, Nieuwsblad.be, have reported that the Eddy Merckx bike company is struggling with debt and may either close or downsize. The report said that Eddy Merckx Cycles, the bicycle brand that was founded 37 years ago by the greatest cyclist ever (although he sold the majority of its shares in 2008), made a loss of 5.7 million euros in 2016. This loss brings the total debt of the company to 17 million euros. The company actually increased its sales to more than 8.825 million euros.

The road bike company nevertheless made a substantial capital increase in May of last year, from 14 to 27.7 million. At the time it was said “that should give oxygen to go well in the future,” but a turnaround is still a long way away. According to the company, it remains too dependent on a limited number of suppliers, while last year the sales price was under pressure, which in turn affected on profit margins.

It would be a shame to lose such a famous name, but how can a small company compete with the likes of Specialized and Trek.

Parijs, 4-7-2003, Tour de France 2003, training, Foto Cor Vos ©2003. Eddy Merckx-fietsen, sfeer

Tirreno-Adriatico 2017
Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step) returned to winning ways, four weeks after nabbing a stage at the Volta ao Algarve. This time, the 22-year-old South American came out on top on Stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico, the same race which last year witnessed his first World Tour success, on a day made exciting by the countless attacks launched by several riders on a small rise with stiff gradients coming 9 kilometers from the finish.

Gaviria’s Quick-Step teammate, Julien Vermote, put in a mountain of work at the head of the bunch, setting a strong pace behind the eight escapees and controlling their advantage, before clawing them back – with the help of Dimension Data and Team Sky – in the final part of the stage to Civitanova Marche. On the unclassified climb, some riders threw caution to the wind, but Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels covered these attacks, before Niki Terpstra joined a four-man move which opened a 10-second gap over the top of the hill.

Behind, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) accelerated, trying to split the field, but Gaviria responded immediately and jumped on the world champion’s wheel. On the flat section towards the line, the bunch reabsorbed the group of Niki Terpstra and the sprinters began moving to the front, despite the messy finish which splintered the peloton before the flamme rouge. Gaviria made the most out of his incredible turn of speed, going in a head-to-head contest with Sagan and defeating the World champion for his fourth victory of the year.

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors): “I’m happy to take this victory, it’s a well-deserved success for our squad after a week during which we worked and fought hard. I knew it was the last opportunity for the sprinters and to get another win at Tirreno-Adriatico makes me very happy. This victory gives me confidence for the upcoming races. When Sagan attacked, I followed him and thanks to the fact Niki was in the front I could stay relaxed on his wheel. In the final 200 meters, I kept my eyes on him and when I noticed he wanted to open his sprint, I decided to move first. I had good legs and enough power to keep a small gap, even if he was coming back really strongly. He is one of the best riders in the peloton and to beat him it’s an honor.”

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m not angry for losing today. I’m happy with how I’ve gone at Tirreno-Adriatico until now. Today’s finale was a bit complicated with a small downhill and riders away. It wasn’t a standard sprint. Gaviria will be one of my important rivals for Milan-Sanremo but there’ll be many more. It’s always an unpredictable race.”

Race leader, Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “My team rode at the front in the finale in order to avoid any danger. Tomorrow it’s going to be an important test for me against the clock and I hope for the best outcome. I’m not at 100% capacity yet, I’m still missing some part of my preparation for the Giro. I also don’t think that I’ve reached my best sporting level yet. I physically improve every year. It’s interesting to see a Colombian sprinter like Fernando Gaviria coming up – he has a track background. Races in Colombia used to all finish uphill but times have changed. The new generation is producing different types of riders. I didn’t know Egan Bernal before this race. I spoke with him two days ago. He’s very young. He came in the pro ranks as a kid. He’s got class and the legs to succeed.”

7th on the stage, Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data): “On the final circuit, my job was to get over the climb by myself and then wait for the lead-out guys to come back to me. I was sitting in about tenth position just waiting and waiting. On the final kilometer, I realized it was too late for the guys to come back and I decided to follow the wheels in front of me. I spent a bit of energy sitting out in the wind so I couldn’t really sprint. Also, a gap opened up in front of me straightaway so I had to start my sprint early. However, I think it went okay. A tailwind sprint like this isn’t really my specialty.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 4:09:31
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
7. Scott Thwaites (GB) Dimension Data
8. Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
9. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
10. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 6:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 25:44:28
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:50
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 1:06
4. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:15
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:19
6. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 1:23
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:30
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar at 1:32
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:37
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:59.

Tirreno stage 6:

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) claimed his second overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico as he secured a final advantage of 25 seconds over Rohan Dennis (BMC). The Australian national TT champion won the Final Stage 7 individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto by three seconds from Dutch specialist Jos van Emden (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Michael Hepburn (Orica-Scott).

Dennis moved into second place overall, 25 seconds down on Quintana, jumping over Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who took third place overall 36 seconds down on the Colombian.

San Benedetto del Tronto - Italy  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Rohan Dennis (AUS - BMC)   pictured during Tirreno Adriatico 2017 - 52th Edition - stage 7 San Benedetto del Tronto - San Benedetto del Tronto 10,5 km- photo Cor Vos © 2017

Final overall winner, Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “Tirreno-Adriatico is a race I like very much. I’m happy to win it for the second time, and repay my team for the efforts they did for me. It was a fast time trial today. I was never worried because the seconds were in my advantage before the start.”

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Rohan Dennis (BMC): “It’s been a great week for BMC as we started with a team time trial victory and we finish with an individual time trial victory. We’ve had some ups and downs but overall it’s very good. It was a tough course today with the head wind but I manage to keep some strength for the second half of the race.”

2nd on the stage, Jos van Emden (LOttoNl-Jumbo): “When you’re so close, you just want to win. I’m very disappointed. It’s the second time that I’ve missed a WorldTour victory because Dennis is faster. I didn’t constantly look at the TV screen. I really don’t like it. When you see all those times, you’re just nervous. I’ve never been that nervous. It really sucks.”

4th on the stage, Steve Cummings (Dimension Data): “With this kind of short effort, there isn’t a lot to think about. You just have to go for it and that’s what I did today. When you get this close to the best, sometimes you wish you were further down.”

5th on the stage, Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I’m happy with my performance, but also the performance of the team. We’ve done a good job to finish fourth. We can be proud of it. I looked forward to this stage. Every day I have to work hard for the GC, but today, I was focussed on the stage win. My main goal in such a time trial is to race ten kilometers as hard as I can. I did it today.”

Best Young Rider, Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors): “It’s been a tough race. I can’t say I am 100% satisfied with my time trial, but I’m happy to be back on track after crashing on the second stage. Tirreno-Adriatico is an important race, a World Tour event, and to be on the podium and don the white jersey again gives me joy. This is where my preparation for the Giro d’Italia starts. I’ve been working hard during the winter, I like Italy and I hope to continue my good results here in May.”

Points Competition wiiner, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I was lucky there wasn’t an incident with the lady who crossed the road with her dog – it was funny really. I didn’t brake because I was in my time trial position. I saw her really late, so the only way to avoid her was to go off road. Today I was relaxed – it was a rest day for me and I just wanted to get to the finish safe. I’m happy nothing happened and I’m looking forward to Saturday now.”

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “I am happy with my Tirreno-Adriatico. There were a few chances for me, but I leave this race feeling good, and I am happy with my form. I didn’t come into this race looking to defend my title, it was about continuing my preparations for the Classics, and I think it has been a success in that respect. I am looking forward to the races coming up.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Result:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC in 11:18
2. Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:03
3. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-Scott
4. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data at 0:08
5. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:11
6. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:15
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 0:16
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:16
9. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:17
10. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:18.

Tirreno-Adriatico Final Overall Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 25:56:27
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 0:25
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:36
4. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:45
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:58
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:01
7. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar at1:18
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:36
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:38
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:59.

Final stage 7:

Nokere Koerse – Danilith Classic 2017
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) won his first victory of the 2017 season in the Nokere Koerse – Danilith Classic on Wednesday. At the top of the cobbled Nokereberg climb in the Belgian semi-classic, the sprinter of the Cofidis team won by several lengths from the British road champion Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) and Joeri Stallaert (Cibel-Cebon) in third.

Nokere - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Nacer BOUHANNI (France / Team Cofidis)  pictured during the 72th Danilith Nokere Koerse cycling race with start in Deinze and finish in Nokere, Belgium - photo PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Race winner, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “I’m happy to win my first race of the season. I had made a lot of second or third places since the beginning of the year. I figured I’d start my sprint as soon as I was on the final pavé. I did not want to get trapped. I threw myself into the 300 meters, I did not ask any questions. When I turned in the last few meters, I saw that I had taken a good lead. It had it in my legs. I’ll be ready for Milan-Sanremo. But I will not announce an objective: I will see on Saturday.”

Nokere Koerse – Danilith Classic Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
2. Adam Blythe (GB) Aqua Blue Sport
3. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Cibel-Cebon
4. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Sunweb
5. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
7. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
9. Alan Banaszek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Mathias De Witte (Bel) Cibel-Cebon.

Nokere 2017:

Quick-Step Floors Team to Milano-Sanremo
Our squad is ready to take on the season’s first Monument, scheduled on Saturday, March 18th.

At 291 kilometers, is the longest one-day race of the calendar, a reminder of the so called romantic times of cycling, when races easily exceeded 250-300 kilometers. Known also as “La Primavera” or “La Classicissima”, Milano-Sanremo is not only one of cycling’s five Monuments, but by some accounts also the most difficult to win, due to its course which suits sprinters, attackers and climbers alike, giving all a shot at eternal glory.

As usual, the race will kick off early in the morning in Milan, but it will take several hours until the peloton will face the day’s first difficulty, Passo del Turchino, the climb used as launch pad to victory by Fausto Coppi in 1946. Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta will soften the bunch before the Cipressa (5.6 km, 4.1%) and the Poggio. The latter was introduced on the course at the 1961 edition, averages 3.7% over 3.7 kilometers, and will weigh heavily in the outcome as it features just nine kilometers from the finish on the iconic Via Roma.

Julian Alaphilippe, winner of the green and white jerseys at Paris-Nice, where he also nailed a spectacular stage win, will make his debut at the Italian race, where 36-year-old Tom Boonen – third in 2007 and second in 2010 – is set to record his 40th outing in a Monument.

Jack Bauer, Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner Fernando Gaviria, who last year came very close to taking the honors at the century-old classic, Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert (twice third on the Italian Riviera), Fabio Sabatini, Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote will also be part of the strong Quick-Step Floors Team who will line up on Via della Chiesa Rossa for the 108th running of Milano-Sanremo.

“We have a squad with a lot of depth, capable of playing different cards, depending on the race scenario. It goes without saying that we hope to get a good result, but you can never be sure about anything when it comes to Milano-Sanremo. This race is like a Jack-in-the box, it can always spring a surprise”, said sport director Davide Bramati. “Things will become really nervous once the succession of Capi begins, as riders will fight for positioning, so it will be very important to stay safe and overcome these obstacles before Cipressa and Poggio, the main difficulties of the day.”

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Jack Bauer (NZL), Tom Boonen (BEL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

Bahrain-Merida team to Milano-Sanremo
“First of all, you have to keep quiet” – says sports director Alberto Volpi – “the ‘Sanremo’ is a race that seems very easy but usually becomes a real puzzle. Calm helps to interpret it better.”

“Our team is competitive” – he adds – “and Sonny Colbelli showed at the Paris-Nice to be in a good shape. Behind him, there are other riders who can get a good result as Niccolò Bonifazio, Grega Bole and Enrico Gasparotto. In short, we are not going only to look.”

Saturday, March 18 there will be the “Super Classic” or as it is also called “The Spring Classic.” Nearly 300 kilometers from Milan to Sanremo, on the Riviera di Ponente in Northwest Italy. It’s one of the oldest races in world cycling, this will be the 108th edition, and the winner earns the right to stay in the small group of the great champions of this amazing sport.

The route is completely flat until the Passo del Turchino and then descend towards Genoa. From here, the route strikers west, passing through Varazze, Savona, Albenga, Imperia and San Lorenzo al Mare where, after the classic sequence of the “bosses” (Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta), the peloton negotiates the last two climbs (Cipressa and Poggio di Sanremo) few kilometers before the finish line.

Merida Bahrain Team’s at Milano – Sanremo consists of: Manuele Boaro, Niccolò Bonifazio, Grega Bole, Sonny Colbrelli, Enrico Gasparotto, Franco Pellizotti, Borut Bozic and Giovanni Visconti.

Sunweb for Milan-Sanremo
Team Sunweb lines up at the 108th edition of Milano Sanremo on March 18, the first Monument of the season. The 295km route is traditionally one for the sprinters with climbing capacities, but its parcours also mean it could be one for an attack as the race reaches its business end. The key points of the course are once again the Cipressa and the Poggio, before descending down into Sanremo after 291km of racing.

“Milano Sanremo is an important race for us and we have achieved good results here in the past,” explained Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek. “We bring a good and experienced team to the race and recent years suggest that the likelihood of a decimated bunch sprint is likely to be the outcome. We have checked out the course and gone through all of the details with the whole team, so we are fully prepared for the day.”

“We aim to get a result with Michael and we have Tom, Simon and Warren who will be there in the final to support him. As we’ve learned two years ago with John [Degenkolb] cooperation will be the deciding factor in the race, and it will be crucial to bring Michael as fresh as possible to Sanremo. After a good week and lots of progress made at Paris-Nice we go there with confidence.”

Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Michael Matthews (AUS), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).

A sprint win for Michael Matthews?
Nice - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb) pictured during  Paris - Nice - UCI World Tour - Coupe du Monde -   photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

LottoNl-Jumbo for Milano – San Remo
Enrico Battaglin, Twan Castelijns, Jos van Emden, Tom Leezer, Juan José Lobato, Paul Martens, Primoz Roglic, Bram Tankink.
General manager: Richard Plugge
Coaches: Addy Engels and Frans Maassen.

Bram Tankink:
Urdax-Dantxarinea - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Bram Tankink (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo) pictured during stage 13 from Bilbao to Urdax-Dantxarinea - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2016

Van Avermaet Targets Milan-San Remo Podium
BMC Racing Team line up at the first Monument of the year, Milan-San Remo, this Saturday, 18 March with a strong team in support of Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet.

Van Avermaet has shown his form at the early races this season, Sports Director Max Sciandri said.

“We saw how strong Greg is with his win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and second place at Strade Bianche. We have a great team in support of Greg, with riders like Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato and Francisco Ventoso bringing a lot of experience,” Sciandri explained.

“As the longest one-day race on the calendar, Milan-San Remo is one of the toughest races these riders will line up at all year. Greg generally thrives in these conditions and the longer the race, the stronger he gets. We’re ready to give it everything we have this Saturday.”

Having never stood on the Milan-San Remo podium, Van Avermaet is eager to improve on his fifth place result from 2016.

“I’ve come out of Tirreno-Adriatico with good feelings. I’m really happy with my form and I hope to do well in the Classics. Milan-San Remo is a hard race and a bit of a lottery. It’s a beautiful race and I love it but you have to have a bit of luck to win, especially if you’re not the fastest guy in the peloton. I want to win a Monument this year and Milan-San Remo is my first opportunity so if everything goes perfectly, I hope to have a chance,” Van Avermaet said.

Rider Roster:
Damiano Caruso (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Martin Elmiger (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Miles Scotson (AUS), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).
Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA).

Sanremo would be a nice addition to the Van Avermaet palmarès:
Siena - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) pictured during Strade Bianche elite 2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

The 8 members of line-up for the Spring Classic
After Tirreno-Adriatico, UAE Team Emirates’ attention is focused on Milano-Sanremo (Saturday 18th March). The line-up of the Emirati team has been made official by the technical staff.

Sports director Mario Scirea, who’ll be supported by colleague Marco Marzano, will rely on a selection of riders which will be the mix of the group of athletes who participated in the Paris-Nice and the ones who raced the Tirreno-Adriatico.

This is the list of the selected 8 cyclists who’ll take part in the Spring Classic: Vegard Stake Laengen, Marco Marcato, Sacha Modolo, Matej Mohoric, Manuele Mori, Ben Swift, Diego Ulissi, Federico Zurlo.

Ben Swift is the only UAE Team Emirates’ rider who has already been on the Milano-Sanremo podium (3rd in 2014, 2nd in 2016): “I believe I am in good form and I’m going into this year’s Milano-Sanremo with similar spirits and excitement to that of last year. I feel generally quite fit, at this point you do your part and hope for the best as it is hard to say which way the race can go and what plot will end up unfolding. As usual, a lot of riders may not want to wait for the sprint and probably the attacks will concentrate on the Poggio, so we as a team need to be prepared for a myriad of scenarios. This year I’m coming to Milano-Sanremo under a new team banner, with great team mates. I think we are all ready and I believe I have a strong team supporting me.”

Diego Ulissi is aware that he’ll must be ready when there will be attacks: “The key moment of my Milano-Sanremo will be when the series of attacks will begin: I must be ready to be protagonist in that moment, this means that in the previous part of the race I will have managed properly my energies.
Probably the attacks will be performed on the Poggio. In Paris-Nice my form was better and better stage after stage and, in particular in the three final stages, I had legs good enough to try breakaways.”

Modolo too had already been close to the podium of the Classicissima (4th in 2010): “Milano-Sanremo is the dream of every Italian cyclist, it is an exciting race. Our team will be competitive for contending with the opponents, whose quality level will be very high. Tirreno-Adriatico was very helpful for tuning my form; I’m ready for any tasks which will be assigned by the team.”

Ben Swift:
Abu Dhabi 2017 - 3rd stage Al Maryah Island Stage Al Ain - Jabel Hafeet 186 km  - 25/02/2017 - Ben Swift (GBR - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2017

The Cofidis team for Milan-Sanremo :
Nacer Bouhanni, Dimitri Claeys, Christophe Laporte, Cyril Lemoine, Florian Sénéchal, Julien Simon, Geoffrey Soupe et Kenneth Vanbilsen.

Could it be Bouhanni’s day?
Monte Zoncolan - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Nacer Bouhanni (France / Team FdJ - Uvex) pictured during Giro-D'Itaia 2014 stage 20 from Maniago - Monte Zoncolan 167km - photo Claudio Minardi/Cor Vos © 2014

Dimension Data for Milan-Sanremo
On Saturday, March 18, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka lines up for the 108th edition of Milano – San Remo with a strong and versatile team aiming for another top result in the first monument of the season.

With its 291 km, Milano – San Remo is the longest one-day race on the calendar. The majority of the course is flat, but it’s usually still the short climbs towards the end that determine the outcome of the race. The last 60 km include five ascents, of which the last two are the most significant ones. Cipressa is 5.6 km long and has an average gradient of 4 %. From the top, there are only 12 km to the final climb of the race begins.

The 3.7 km towards the top of Poggio aren’t very steep. The average gradient is below 4 % but, since it’s the last chance to drop the sprinters, the pace is usually very high with numerous attempts to break away. The descent takes place on narrow roads and is very technical with several twists and turns. As the riders come down, only the final two kilometers are flat and after the last corner, it’s straight-out for the remaining 750 meters towards the finishing line on Via Roma.

Milano – San Remo holds a very special place for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka after Gerald Ciolek’s amazing win in the team’s debut appearance in 2013. In addition to that victory, the team has also placed a rider in Top10 on two other occasions. This year, the goal is once again to fight for the top positions. Together with former winner of the race, Mark Cavendish, in-shape riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings and Scott Thwaites headline our roster for this Saturday.

Edvald Boasson Hagen:
“Milano – San Remo is a very long race and a lot can happen even before getting to the final. It’s important to save energy throughout the race because you need it all for Cipressa and Poggio. We haven’t finalized our plan yet but we have options for each possible outcome so I’m looking forward to a good race”.

Roger Hammond – sports director:
“We are really looking forward to Milano – San Remo. We bring a strong and versatile team and we have someone very talented ready for all the crucial parts of the race. I think we can be very optimistic but like any other World Tour team, we can’t afford to suffer any bad luck. As long as we can avoid that, we will be there and be one of the fighting teams”.

Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings, Scott Thwaites, Kristian Sbaragli, Jay Thomson, Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw.

Iconic Milan – San Remo race hosts Gazprom – RusVelo first time in the team’s history
This Saturday 18th of March riders of Gazprom – RusVelo will compete in Milan-San Remo race for the first time in team’s history. Milan-San Remo, which is also known as “The Spring classic” is one of the most iconic cycling races. Moreover, the total distance of 291 kilometers makes it the longest one-day race.

The route of Milan-San Remo has not seen significant changes since its inception in 1907. After rolling out in Milan riders will head to the south direction crossing picturesque landscapes of Ligurian coast. The strongest world cyclists who will manage the total distance of almost 300 kilometers are to cross the finish line in the city of Sanremo. Probably the most decisive part of the race starts on the 265 kilometer of the route with 5,6 kilometers long climb to Cipressa hill with 4,1% gradient. After that riders are to conquer Poggio hill, which is 3,7 kilometers long and has 3,7% gradient.

The final hill climb to Poggio will be just 5,4 kilometers before the finish line. That’s where the action begins. Moreover, these two hill challenges are followed by a technically hard and treacherous descent. Riders need to stay focused on the descent not to trigger a crash and then with what’s left of their strength gun for the victory on the last pivotal 750 meters sprint.

General Manager of Gazprom – RusVelo Renat Khamidulin gave a comment about the upcoming race: “The unique spirit of iconic Milan – San Remo feels long before the race. It’s quite hard to predict which challenges riders will face during this long racing day and of course the weather plays a huge role. Sprinters usually have great chances to win on Milan-San Remo. However, classic riders who can show powerful finish are also able to set a fierce competitive tempo on the final kilometers. That’s what we considered when we were forming the line-up and determining the tactic. We will compete for our main desire – to become a part of monumental “La Classicissima” history.”

Line-up of Gazprom – RusVelo:
Pavel Brutt, Ivan Savitskiy, Roman Maikin, Ivan Rovny, Artur Ershov, Alexander Porsev, Nikolay Trusov, Alexey Tsatevich.

Jürgen Roelandts looks ahead to Milan-Sanremo
Upcoming Saturday, it is the first big classic of the cycling season: Milan-Sanremo. It is impossible to predict who will be the winner on the Via Roma after 291 kilometres trough North-Italy. Jürgen Roelandts, third last year, looks ahead to the 108th edition of an absolute monument.

Traditionally ‘La Primavera’ starts in Milan and the riders finish after almost 300 kilometres on the Via Roma. The charm of Milan-Sanremo is the distance and the tough finale with Cipressa and Poggio. The race can explode on the Cipressa, after 269.5 kilometres. The 5.5 kilometres long climb has an average gradient of 4.1%. On the Poggio the riders who want to finish solo or go the finish with a small group have to attack. The climb is four kilometres long and has an average slope of 3.7%. The steepest part of the Poggio is just before the top. After the final climb it’s a technical descent to Sanremo.

Jürgen Roelandts: “I’m feeling good. I had been struggling with a cold since Strade Bianche. A severe sinusitis held me back, but that’s over now. It was important to fully recover and I did. The plan was to get in a better condition during Tirreno-Adriatico. The tough stages and the good weather were the ideal circumstances to prepare myself for Milan-Sanremo and the rest of the classic season. I became stronger past week. Last Wednesday, during the first stage, I was coughing really hard the whole time. It was all about surviving at that moment. But because of the warm weather and the team doctor I got well very soon. Tirreno-Adriatico was an excellent preparation for Milan-Sanremo.”

“The ideal scenario to win Saturday is a little bit like last year, when I became third. I hope there’s no headwind, so there will be more attacks on the Poggio and we’ll go with a smaller group to the finish. At that moment it’s up to me to react and jump on the wheels. The chance to win is always bigger this way. If there is a tough headwind it’s impossible to stay out of the clutches of the peloton. You would have to win the group sprint which is automatically more difficult for me. It could be that the race explodes on the Cipressa but I think it will be decided on the Poggio. I’m focussing on myself and I’m looking at no one else. The competition is too big to focus on them.”

“I’m looking forward to Saturday! It’s one of the most beautiful races during the season. Milan-Sanremo is on my top three list of favourite races. I know I have a chance to set a good result.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere, Tony Gallopin, Tomasz Marczynski, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Herman Frison.

Jürgen Roelandts in Kuurne:

In MSR, a ‘Race of Many Outcomes’
Milano-Sanremo. La Primavera. The first of the Monuments. The longest day.

The Italian one-day classic is eagerly anticipated and carefully analyzed. Cannondale-Drapac brings a spirited young squad to Milan for the 108th running of the Italian one-day classic. The team of eight hopes to be in the mix when the race hits the Poggio.

“Milano-Sanremo is a race of many outcomes,” said sport director Fabrizio Guidi. “The last few years, it was a sprint but it’s never certain. We can’t predict it. There arrives 40 riders or three. It is always some surprise. For me, that is a key point of the race. I think we have riders to put up their hands for all the outcomes,” Guidi added. “We can be a surprise factor on Saturday.”

The course for the 2017 La Primavera is unchanged from the previous year. The first half of the 291-kilometer race is flat and fast. The Passo del Turchino comes around the mid-point of the race – at 142 kilometers – and marks the highest point of the race. It’s too early to factor into the action that will follow.

It’s in the final 60 kilometers that the race truly captivates. There are five short climbs that span this period: Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, Capo Berta, the Cipressa and the Poggio. The first three may thin down the field. The final two serve as inspiration for race-winning moves and selections.

“I’m really looking forward to doing the 300 kilometers,” said Milan-Sanremo first-timer Toms Skujins. “It might sound silly, but I’ve never raced that long of a distance. However, I’m most looking forward to opening the spring classics with the first Monument of the year. It’s a huge race around the world and always a pleasure to spectate. I’m stoked be a part of the actors this time around.”

Skujins is joined by Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Simon Clarke, Will Clarke, Kristijan Koren, Tom Scully and Tom Van Asbroeck. Clarke recently finished in sixth place in Larciano and in tenth place on the first road stage at Tirreno-Adriatico while supporting Rigoberto Uran to eighth overall. Bettiol’s work at Tirreno was integral in Uran’s general classification and stage results.

“It’s a good team, with some more experienced than the others,” said Guidi. “It’s a challenging race for everyone. We want an aggressive interpretation of the race. For sure, we’re not the team to control. Our interest is to be active and have riders like Alberto and Simon who are ready at the end.”

Skujins will carry a Velon tracking device from northern Italy down to and along the Mediterranean coastline. His data – speed, acceleration, heart rate and power – will be shown in real-time on the Velon website and the Velon app for iOS and Android as well as during the television broadcast. The Milano-Sanremo data capture is part of the newly inked deal with RCS.

“Having Velon onboard at any race is awesome for the spectators,” said Skujins. “Just having that extra amount of info on what’s going on in the bunch makes watching on the telly a bit more exciting. The tracker is such a small thing to carry, but it provides a lot more excitement for my supporters, who can see in real time how hard I’m working and what it takes to be in the race.”

Cannondale-Drapac for 2017 Milan-Sanremo:
Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Nate Brown (USA), Simon Clarke (AUS), Will Clarke (AUS), Kristijan Koren (SVN), Tom Scully (NZL), Toms Skujins (LVA), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL).

Courses Revealed for USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships in Knoxville
Recreational Ride Added on Saturday to Support Local Chapter of the American Red Cross

Course maps have been unveiled for the 2017 USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships, staged for the first time in Knoxville, Tenn., June 24-25. Details about the 4.8-mile circuit for the individual time trial and the 7.9-mile circuit for the road race were made public today at a press conference in downtown Knoxville by representatives from the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission, Knox County and USA Cycling Inc.

“Knoxville is an ideal location for the Pro Road and Time Trial National Championships. Being so close to the Great Smokey Mountains, both courses are incredibly challenging and offer cycling fans so many great viewing opportunities. We look forward to seeing some great competition for the Stars-and-Stripes jerseys this June,” said USA Cycling Vice President of National Events Micah Rice.

National champions in the individual time trial will be crowned on Saturday, June 24, with races beginning at 11 a.m. ET. The professional women will cover 14.4 miles, completing three laps of a 4.8-mile circuit, and the men will complete four laps for 19.2 miles. The start/finish and expo area will be located in revitalized Old City Knoxville. The course layout features an out-and-back section along scenic Neyland Drive, hugging the Tennessee River adjacent to the University of Tennessee.

On Sunday, the road race course will consist of an undulating 7.9-mile circuit that rolls across the Tennessee River to include sections of Old City, South Knoxville and downtown Knoxville. The women will complete eight laps for a 63-mile contest, and the men will make 14 full laps for a total of 109 miles. Races begin at 9 a.m. ET.

After starting in Old City, athletes will pass through downtown Knoxville and cross the Tennessee River via the iconic Gay Street Bridge. The signature climb up Sherrod Street is the first challenge on the circuit, challenging riders to gradients of 14 percent and more for three-quarters of a mile. After cresting the climb, riders will use Davenport Road and Cottrell Street to access James White Parkway to return across the river. The route passes the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on E. Hill Avenue to navigate back to the start/finish on E. Jackson Avenue in Old City.

All courses will be managed by Medalist Sports, a full-service sports management company based in Georgia that is responsible for the production of world-class professional cycling competitions and cause-related events. The Visit Knoxville Sports Commission will coordinate and oversee local sponsorships, expo booth space and live broadcasts of Sunday races.

“Hosting the biggest National Championships event for USA Cycling is an amazing accomplishment for Knoxville,” said Visit Knoxville Sports Commission Sr. Director Chad Culver. “Road cycling has such an international following and this gives Knoxville an opportunity to showcase ourselves as well as these professional athletes.”

Recreational cyclists will be provided an opportunity to ride the same course as the pros on Saturday. Benefitting the Red Cross of East Tennessee, Pedal for the RED will be offered prior to the individual time trial championship, giving amateur riders two hours (7:30-9:30 a.m.) to enjoy and ride on the national championship course. Advanced registration for adults and teens (ages 13 and up) is $30 until April 30 and $40 from May 1 to June 18. Advanced registration for children ages seven to 12 is $15 until April 30 and $20 from May 1 to June 18; children six and under are free. Event-day registration is an additional $10 for teens/adults and $5 for children.

This is the 32nd year a road race national champion will be recognized for professional men, first won by Eric Heiden in Philadelphia, Penn. in 1985. The event has since been held in three other cities and makes its first stop in Knoxville. The USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championship was introduced for men in 2006. In 2013 USA Cycling added professional women’s titles for both events. The races in Knoxville mark the first time that USA Cycling’s professional road national championships fall in line with other road national championship around the globe, overseen by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

“Wearing the stars and stripes of the U.S. National Road Champion is a huge source of pride. It’s a tangible reminder of the hard work that I’ve put in day-after-day, year-after-year,” said Megan Guarnier of Glens Falls, N.Y. (Boels-Dolmans), who won her third national road race title last year. “The success I’ve had while in the stars and stripes – winning Strade Bianche, the Giro Rosa, the Amgen Tour of California, the inaugural Women’s WorldTour – makes this jersey extra special. I’ll return to U.S. Pro at the new Knoxville venue this year as the only American on my trade squad. I know I’ll have my work cut out for me. That said, I’ll come to Knoxville with good form and big ambitions.”

The defending men’s U.S. national road race champion is Greg Daniel, who grew up an hour away from Knoxville in Newport, Tenn. until the age of seven. The Denver, Colo. resident now races for Trek-Segafredo. “Obviously, it is a great honor to be able to wear the national championship Stars-and-Stripes jersey for an entire year, and hopefully longer. It’s a great honor because not only am I representing Trek-Segafredo at these races, but I am representing my country.”

In the individual time trial, Carmen Small of Durango, Colo. (assistant sports director in 2017 for Team VéloConcept Women) took the U.S. Pro crown for the women and Taylor Phinney of Boulder, Colo. (racing in 2017 with Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling) captured the title for the men.

For a full schedule of events and course maps, (click HERE (www.usacycling.org/2017/pro-road-time-trial-nationals). To register for Pedal for the RED, click HERE (www.visitknoxville.com/usa-cycle-knox/).

Full-speed Giro del Belvedere with 40 teams and a US rising Star
The 79th edition of the U23 Easter Monday classic confirms its international status: the official teams list features 22 foreign outfits, with Californian sensation Adrien Costa expected at the start

Giro del Belvedere rides at full speed toward the “big day”, Monday April 17th. The U23 Easter Monday Classic confirms its international prestige in view of the 79th edition, as it looks forward to welcome the best cycling prospects in the World.

As in the 2016 edition won by Swiss Patrick Muller, 40 teams have been announced at the start in Villa di Cordignano (Treviso, Northern Italy), including 22 non-Italian outfits. Axeon-Hagens Berman, BMC Development and Mitchelton Scott lead the international charge, whilst 18 Italian teams will try to get the upper hand on foreign opponents.

With a month to the race, the startlist is shaping up, featuring big guns such as Aussie Michael Storer, winner in Poggiana last year, 2016 Junior World Champion Jakob Egholm and the US rising star Adrien Costa.

The Californian rider, one of the best prospects on the international scale, finished overall second in 2016 Tour of Utah, competing against established pro riders, including several World Teams. In the U23 Italian one-day race, the 19-year-old of Axeon-Hagens Berman can count on the support of teammate Logan Owen, in the spotlight at Tour of Utah with a stage-win in the 2015 edition.

Teams from 14 different countries will take part in the 79th Giro del Belvedere: Italy, Great Britain, Bulgaria, USA, Austria, Slovenia, Spain, Holland, South Africa, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia. The riders will face a 166,6 Km route, characterized by two different circuits: the first (12 Km to be repeated 11 times) including the Conche hill, whilst the final circuit (17,3 Km to be repeated twice) is characterized by the classic Montaner climb in Borgo Canalet and Via delle Longhe hill.


ITALIAN: Zalf Euromobil Dèsirée Fior, Team Colpack, Team Pala Fenice Franchini, Cycling Team Friuli, Gaiaplast Maglificio L.B.-Bibanese, Northwave-Cofiloc, Coppi Gazzera Videa, Futura Team-Rosini, Cipollini Iseo Serrature Rime, Team Vejus-TMF, Hopplà-Petroli Firenze, General Store Bottoli Zardini, Viris Maserati, GS Maltinti Lampadari-Banca Cambiano, Beltrami TSA Argon18 Tre Colli, Cyber Team Breganze, Team Gavardo Biesse Carrera Tecmor, Delio Gallina Colosio.

INTERNATIONAL: Great Britain Team, Gazprom-Rusvelo U23, Unieuro Trevigiani Hemus, BMC Development Team, Axeon-Hagens Berman, Team Felbermayr, Tirol Cycling Team, Rog Ljubljana, KK Kranj, Aldro-Team, WPG Cycling Amsterdam, Dimension Data Continental, Cycling Team Tula, Uno-X Hydrogen, Lokosphinx, Team Exploit Goomah Bike, Team Giant Castelli, Mitchelton Scott, Team Feldbinder, Velo Club Mendrisio, Team Guerciotti Redondela, BHS-Almeborg Bornholm.

Adrien Costa (l) sprints with Lachlan Morton at 2016 Tour of Utah:

Close Call for Peter
World champion Peter Sagan nearly crashed in the Tirreno-Adriatico stage 7 time trial: “I was lucky there wasn’t an incident with the lady who crossed the road with her dog – it was funny really. I didn’t brake because I was in my time trial position. I saw her really late, so the only way to avoid her was to go off road. Today I was relaxed – it was a rest day for me and I just wanted to get to the finish safe. I’m happy nothing happened and I’m looking forward to Saturday now.”

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