EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
The BMC team are about to make an announcement and rumor has it that the team has a new co-sponsor, we look at the team situation for 2017 in ‘TOP STORY’. On the race front: Milano-Torino and the Tre Valli Varesine with reports, results, rider quotes and video. In other cycling news we preview the weekend’s big race, Il Lombardia, some Worlds news from Belgium and a load more contract up-dates. A full to bursting EUROTRASH sack to empty this Thursday.
TOP STORY: Pro Cycling Not Looking Too Bad
OK, Tinkoff and IAM Cycling have gone, but new on the block will be Bahrain-Merida, TJ Sport, Bora-Hansgrohe and BMC are about to announce a new co-sponsor. All was doom and gloom when Oleg announced he had had enough of pro cycling due to the sport not having the right financial set-up. Then IAM said they would finish at the end of the 2016 season. There was going to be too many riders for too few teams and it would be a buyers market. Things didn’t turn out that way as the new teams need those UCI points to be invited to the top races and keep their sponsors happy. As they say “everyone want’s to be in the Tour de France.” Or in the case of the Italians, the Giro, look how annoyed Gianni Savio was when he heard his Androni team wouldn’t be riding the home race. Lucky he has all those sponsors that his riders brought in.
Anyway, things are looking better. OK, Italy doesn’t have a WorldTour Team (TJ Sport is Chinese) and Spain only has one, but now cycling has what Hein Verbruggen always wanted – ‘Mondialism’ the Globalization of the sport. The World Championships are going to be in Doha and we can’t wait to see the fans ten deep at the barriers all round the circuit. Pity some teams can’t afford the expense of riding the team time trial.
What next? A WorldTour team based in the Ascension Islands, made up of Italians riders, sponsored by a Sri Lankan tea producer, riding the Tour of the North Pole? Don’t forget, you heard it here first.
Young Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) fought it out with Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) for the victory in Milano-Torino on Wednesday. In a man-against-man battle on the climb to the Basilica at Superga, on the outskirts of Torino, the Colombian had the advantage to win by 9 seconds from the Canadian with his teammate Rigoberto Uran in 3rd place only 5 seconds adrift.
Three men escaped: Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Peter Kennaugh (Sky) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) and built up a lead of over 8 minutes, but with Tinkoff, AG2R-La Mondiale, Trek-Segafredo and Cannondale-Drapac chasing, they were down to 2 minutes for the first climb of the Superga. Kennaugh was not waiting to see what was going to happen and dropped the others. Halfway up the climb (20K to go), he had less than 2 on the peloton with Grosu and De Marchi between.
Eduardo Zardini of Bardiani-CSF jumped away from the peloton to pass De Marchi and Grosu, but Astana were working hard at the front of the bunch and caught Zardini and held Kennaugh at 30 seconds. At the bottom of the climb; the Sky rider only had 20 seconds and by the start of the last climb with 10K to go, it was all over.
Astana had the advantage with Diego Rosa, Fabio Aru and Lopez, under their impetus the remainder of the peloton split with a dozen riders going clear. 4 kilometers to go and Woods attacked and once he had a decent gap Lopez crossed to him with 2 kilometers to race.
Lopez attacked with 1,500 meters to go, but Woods was not to be dropped, another attack from the Colombian also didn’t loose the Canadian and then it was Woods turn with 700 meters remaining. Lopez held on and then put in the winning move for the win and had time to celebrate with 9 seconds in hand.
Behind the duo; Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) tried to chase, but Uran was on his wheel in a shot. The Colombian dropped the Frenchman to finish 14 seconds after Lopez and 5 behind his teammate Woods. Daniel Moreno (Movistar), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Fabio Aru (Astana), Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Rodolfo Andres Torres (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) all passed Bardet to finish in that order.
Race winner, Miguel Lopez (Astana): “Thanks to the team I achieved this magnificent victory here today despite the loss of Michele Scarponi who crashed – I dedicate this achievement to him. Diego Rosa, who was also involved in the crash, did a tremendous job for me as well as Dario Cataldo in bringing back the breakaway. We always speak during the race, that enabled us to change tactic on the way… it was smart to try to go away before the final ascent. I didn’t expect to win today. It’s beautiful. It was a very fast race with a lot of work by Alessandro Vanotti, Dario Cataldo and the rest of the Astana guys – we remained united. On the first climb to Superga, we decided to try one after the other. I managed to create a bit of a gap and it worked out, but if it wasn’t going to work, we had alternatives. Thanks to the confidence given to me by the team this year I managed to achieve a big result [Tour de Suisse overall winner] but I was unlucky at the Vuelta so I’m yet to ride a Grand Tour. I don’t know my race program for next year yet: either I’ll ride the Giro d’Italia with Fabio Aru to help him and try to get the white jersey, or I’ll go to another Grand Tour as a captain but without pressure for the overall classification.”
2nd, Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac): “[Miguel Àngel López] was so strong today! I got a good head start on the mountain climb. But he just paced it really well. I tried to attack him but I just wasn’t as strong as him in the final. However I’m really happy with my performance. This is my fourth race in five days and to see how the legs reacted today, I’m very happy with that.”
3rd, Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac): “When things are done right, it’s a bit disappointing not to win. We maybe could have won the race if I was ahead with Miguel Àngel. I was waiting behind but when I saw that Michael couldn’t follow Miguel Àngel, I made my move, but it was too late for the win. But we’re here to work hard with the aim of winning Il Lombardia. I like this race a lot, I done well before and I want to do well again. It’s a much harder race this time around and I’ll be there fighting for the victory.”
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana in 4:13:36
2. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:09
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:14
4. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 0:19
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:21
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:23
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:27
8. Rodolfo Andres Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:32
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:36
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin at 0:40.
The three-man escape of Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Fantini), Zak Dempster (Bora-Argon18) and Igor Boev (Gazprom-RusVelo) managed a lead of 9 minutes, but with Astana, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise and Cannondale-Drapac chasing they were bound to be caught. With two laps to go of the 12.5 kilometer circuit, the race was all back together.
BMC kept the speed high and only Remy di Gregorio (Delko) could escape, but was caught at the start of the final climb of the Montello. Astana tried with Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali, but again the race was on group with 5 kilometers to go. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) put the pressure on which split the peloton. Gianluca Brambilla (Italian national squad/Etixx – Quick-Step), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-BikeExchange) and Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) went with him, but Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) pulled the peloton back to the leaders and then attacked on his own. The Colombian’s move was chased down by Ulissi and the remainder of the bunch was together for the sprint.
Ulissi tried to split the bunch on the run-in to the finish, but it was the fast-man Colbrelli who came out best, ahead of the hard working Ulissi and Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).
Race winner, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CF): “This is the most important victory of the season. It was a heavy course and the five-star contenders have made this race really hard. Two years ago I got very close to win it, today I had my payback thanks to a great support of my team and a great team director who managed the race in the best way. Since the first kilometers we understood it should be a hard race. Five laps from the finish, a few attacks opened the fire and the race rhythm increased. The final action of Uran was decisive. I followed him with Ulissi and Gavazzi, saved as much energy as possible and waited for the sprint. Everything was perfect. The race was very hard. I did not expect it to be so tough. I handled the situation in an exceptional way, in the final. We can say that it was a hard-won victory.”
2nd, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida): “After I had obtained a series of good results, my goal was the victory in the Tre Valli Varesine. All the necessary conditions were ok, thanks to a great team, good legs and a course which was suitable for me. Unfortunately, I did not receive cooperation in the attempt to select the group and to precede Colbrelli. Sonny was the fastest and he was great on the climbs too, so I feel he deserved the victory.”
3rd, Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec): “The condition is really good, unfortunately, Colbrelli is almost invincible. It is impossible to drop him on the climbs and he is strong in the sprint, but that’s okay. The strongest rider won the race. Today I was especially motivated. There is Gran Piemonte, but it is a race for faster people. I cannot say that I am dissatisfied with my season. I broke the drought and got two victories. That’s okay.”
6th, Philippe Gilbert (BMC): “It was really hard. I was feeling ok and I always like when it’s a circuit race, any type of circuit. We decided to control the race with three laps to go because it was a bit out of control and we didn’t want a group to go away in case we didn’t have anyone in there. That’s why we tried to regroup and work together as a team and I think it was a good decision. Of course I was maybe alone in the last 2 or 3km but that’s a risk you take. In the finale I was between the two group but then we came back together and it came down to a sprint. It wasn’t the best result and it wasn’t the worst result. Many guys say that Giro del Piemonte, my next race, is completely flat. Others say that there are some little climbs at the end so we’ll have to see when we get out there and until we see the official parcours we don’t know how it will go.”
9th, Fabio Aru (Astana): “I think we did a very good performance as a team. I’ve tried on the first longest climb of the Varese circuit in the last lap. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get an advantage and nobody could. Then there were some riders faster than me in the sprint and I finished 9th. It is a position in the top ten that is good, looking ahead to tomorrow’s Milano – Torino and Saturday’s Lombardia.”
Tre Valli Varesine Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:48:18
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-BikeExchange
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data.
Tre Valli Varesine:
Lombardia 2016: A Uniquely Tough Challenge
The 110th edition of the end of season Monument Classic, scheduled for Saturday 1st October, includes many of international cycling’s most prominent names in its entry list. The course, from Como to Bergamo, is challenging, with a finale featuring two new climbs.
Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, Joaquim Rodriguez, Philippe Gilbert, Esteban Chaves, Bauke Mollema, Daniel Martin, Rigoberto Uran, Tim Wellens, Daniel Moreno, Wout Poels, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steven Cummings, Romain Bardet, Jarlinson Pantano, Julian Alaphilippe, Giovanni Visconti and Diego Ulissi, are among the prominent names of the 25 teams which appear in the entry list of Il Lombardia NamedSport, on Saturday 1st October. The Monument Classic, organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, will start from Como and finish in Bergamo, on a very challenging course of 240km, featuring 4,400m of total elevation, and a finale presenting two climbs that have never been faced before in Il Lombardia.
Course and Final Kilometers
The race starts in Como with a classic first section that culminates (after Cantù, Erba, Asso and Onno) with the Ghisallo climb from Bellagio. It’s a traditional passage, featuring gradients up to 14%. The route will then go through Asso (again), Pusiano and Oggiono before climbing Colle Brianza, going through the Alta Brianza and the Meratese and entering the Province of Bergamo at Calusco d’Adda.
Torre de’ Busi marks the start of the Valcava climb (featuring 9.6km at 9% inclination, with a maximum gradient of 17% – 1,336m above sea level) on mountain roads with 14 hairpins. A challenging descent with steep inclinations follows, ending in Costa Valle Imagna, and proceeding toward Ponte Giurino, where the second feed station is situated.
Then comes the never-faced-before climb of Sant’Antonio Abbandonato, followed by the ascent of Miragolo San Salvatore, also featuring for the first time in Il Lombardia. Both climbs are tough with high inclination and narrow and challenging roads. After a short descent the next climb is toward Selvino, followed by a long descent with hairpins, 9km away from the classic passage in Bergamo’s Città Alta before the finish line in the city’s main Sentierone road.
Final kilometers through Bergamo Alta, entering from Porta Garibaldi toward (200m on cobblestones) Largo Colle Aperto. The first part of the final climb is constantly over 10% (max 12%). The descent is wide on well paved surface. 1,800m before the finish line the road bends sharply to the left, narrowing down to cross Porta Sant’Agostino. After the Last Kilometer triangle the road turns left and 250m before the finish line there’s the last bend on the right before the final straight.
Gesink and Kelderman lead team LottoNL-Jumbo in Lombardia
Robert Gesink and Wilco Kelderman will lead Team LottoNL-Jumbo this Saturday in the last, and perhaps toughest, WorldTour event of 2017, Il Lombardia.
“It’s one of the most honest classics of the season,” Sports Director Addy Engels said. “The course is so difficult that only the best men survive. That makes the Tour of Lombardy such a beautiful race.
“We have a good team for this Italian classic. With Gesink and Kelderman, we have two guys who can play a role in the final. With Martens, Lindeman and Tankink, we have some experienced men. Enrico Battaglin will return for the first time after he abandoned the Vuelta due a crash. Given it’s his home race, he will be motivated. Koen Bouwman and Alexey Vermeulen are the young riders of the squad.” Gesink should be the team’s star, but Kelderman could also surprise in the race to Bergamo.
“Robert Gesink showed in the past that he can participate in the final. He finished the Vuelta well and is fresh enough now to do it.”
“Wilco showed in the Eneco Tour that he’s in shape, too. Kelderman has the advantage of going deep a week before this race. With a good rest, he can be in a good shape for the start Saturday.”
Gesink hast not raced since the Vuelta ended on September 11.”I am motivated to show something beautiful in my last race this season. Lombardia is a marvelous race where I often score a good result,” said Gesink.
“I wonder how my legs are going. The Vuelta was great, but then I have not raced for a long time. I trained hard to hold my level, though.”
“Together with Alexey Vermeulen, we leave early for Italy to explore the final. It has changed, so it cannot hurt to preview it. ”
‘We can show something’
Wilco Kelderman has just returned from the Eneco Tour, where he placed sixth overall.
“I hope to be able to compete in the final,” added Kelderman. “I want to help Robert as long as possible in the final. Together with Gesink, we definitely can show something.
“It’s wait and see how my shape is coming along for Saturday. Normally, the weekend after a big event, I’m going well. It’s going to be different with the many and different climbs. The course is obviously not comparable to that of the Eneco Tour.”
Enrico Battaglin, Koen Bouwman, Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Paul Martens, Bram Tankink and Alexey Vermeulen.
Sports Director: Addy Engels.
THE FACT OF THE DAY: On Saturday, October 1, Oliver Zaugg (35) will return to the place where he celebrated his greatest triumph. In 2011, Zaugg soloed to victory at the Tour of Lombardy. “This race was always one of my favorite races, even before my victory. With that in mind, it is all the better that I can have this race also be where I will finish my 13 year career as a professional cyclist,” explained Zaugg, who lives in the Italian-speaking Ticino canton of Switzerland.
THE LABOR OF LOVE: Again for Oliver Zaugg: “In my career, I have experienced many beautiful moments, and I certainly hope that I can gracefully conclude this chapter of my life as a professional cyclists on Saturday at the Tour of Lombardy.”
THE GOAL: Explained by Kjell Carlström, who, along with Mario Chiesa, will be a directeur sportif at Lombardy. “Our goal will be to have a rider in the top-10, and if everything goes perfectly, we should even have a chance at a podium position. With Mathias Frank and Jarlinson Pantano, we have two riders who should excel at this sort of race. The race distance, the profile, and also the fact that it comes so late in the season will make this event especially difficult. You really have to have a super day to be successful here.”
THE RACE: For the 241 kilometers that the riders will cover between Como and Bergamo, they will be dealing with a constantly undulating profile. This will be especially true for the final 100 kilometers. The 11.6 kilometer Valico di Valcava climb will signal the start of this phase of the race. It is the longest climb of the day, and boasts gradients approaching 17% in sections. From then till the finish, there is virtually not a flat meter of road. The final climb, which is approximately 1.2 kilometers long, comes with only three kilometers remaining until the finish line. “The race is long and very difficult. I certainly expect a race of attrition,” Oliver Zaugg assured.
THE AMBITIONS: Vuelta stage winner Mathias Frank will be starting his sixth Tour of Lombardy. “This is an extremely tough race, and after such a long season, the rider’s mental strength always plays a big role. That is especially true if the weather is not the best. Personally, I have come out of the Vuelta strong, and I am feeling good. If everything fits together well, this could be a good race for me.”
THE END: The Tour of Lombardy is not only the last World Tour race of the season, but will be the final World Tour race ever for the IAM Cycling team. The Swiss team will be dissolved after four years of racing, having had an exceptionally strong final year which included six World Tour victories.
Stef Clement (Ned), Stefan Denifl (Aut), Mathias Frank (Sui), Jonathan Fumeaux (Sui), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), Larry Warbasse (USA), Marcel Wyss (Sui), Oliver Zaugg (Sui).
Manager Général: Michel Thétaz.
Directeurs sportifs: Kjell Carlström, Mario Chiesa.
Just as Milano-San Remo signals the arrival of the Spring, Il Lombardia symbolically puts an end to the European calendar, as many riders wave goodbye to the season by racing in one of Italy’ most enchanting regions. For the ninth time since the inception of the “Classic of the Falling Leaves” in 1905, Como gets to host the start for what is going to be one long and brutal day in the saddle, with no less than eight ascents and around 4400 meters of elevation.
Madonna del Ghisallo, Colle Brianza, Valcava, Berbenno, Sant’Antonio Abbandonato, Miragolo San Salvatore, Selvino and Bergamo Alta, the climbs whose names look to be taken straight out of an Umberto Eco novel, will make for a shark’s tooth profile, turning the 110th Il Lombardia (Como – Bergamo, 240 kilometers) into one of the most difficult classics in the history of cycling, one in which the riders will have to overcome double-digit gradients, tricky descents and even sections of cobbles on their way to glory.
Etixx – Quick-Step, who won Il Lombardia twice since the turn of the century, will be spearheaded at the Italian Monument by 2014 champion Dan Martin and Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, one of the best young riders of the season, who already proved his credentials in one-day races, most recently at the European Championships in Plumelec, where he conquered the silver medal.
A stage winner at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España in 2016, Gianluca Brambilla will ride Il Lombardia for the seventh year in a row and will be motivated to leave a mark on his home race. Rounding out the team for the season’s final Monument are neo-pro Laurens De Plus, Vuelta a España stage victor David De La Cruz, Pieter Serry, Zdenek Stybar and Petr Vakoc, who impressed with his recent string of results in the one-day races.
“The parcours is really hard, one of the toughest of the season in one-day races. We have a strong and balanced team, with Dan Martin, Julian Alaphilippe and Gianluca Brambilla all capable of featuring in the finale”, said sport director Davide Bramati. “The race will start on the Valcava climb, while Sant’Antonio Abbandonato and Miragolo San Salvatore are very likely to make a big selection later in the race before the finale, that promises to be an exciting one. All these hills will turn Lombardia into an elimination race, one in which only the riders in top condition will have a chance.”
01.10 Il Lombardia (ITA) 1.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Daniel Martin (IRL), Pieter Serry (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Petr Vakoc (CZE).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) & Wilfried Peeters (BEL).
Lotto Soudal: Preview Giro di Lombardia
Last year, Tony Gallopin finished as seventh in the Giro di Lombardia and this year Lotto Soudal returns with ambition. The race of the falling leaves is the last race of the World Tour. The 110th edition will be ridden on Saturday first October, it is 240 kilometres long and the riders have to overcome 4400 elevation metres.
The peloton starts in the streets of Como just before eleven o’ clock. Over the undulating roads the riders go to Bellaggio where the famous climb Madonna del Ghisallo is located. The climb is 8.5 kilometres long with an average gradient of 6.2% and a section of 14%. At the top there is a chapel that is a pilgrimage for cyclists and cycling fans. After the descent, there is a quit long flat part with the Colle Brianza as the only hill in the race. In the next hundred kilometres the peloton has to overcome one climb after another. This year the hardest part of the Giro di Lombardia will be the succession of five climbs: Valico di Valcava, Berbenno, Sant’Antonio Abbandonato, Miragolo San Salvatore and Selvino. At the top of the Selvino there are still 28 kilometres to the finish and the first fifteen kilometres are cut out for riders who can ride a fine descent.
The finale is similar to the one in 2014 when Tony Martin won. After a few flat kilometres there is one last steep climb to Bergamo. The hill is located 6.5 kilometres before the finish and is one kilometre long with an average gradient of 7.9%. The hardest part of the climb is at the end of the hill when the riders are faced with cobblestones and with a gradient of 12%. The fast descent leads the riders to the finish. In 2014, Daniel Martin, Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa were on the podium. Also this year they’re among the favourites for the victory. Lotto Soudal counts on Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens, who ended up as fourth in 2014. Also the Spanish riders Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodríguez should be on the shortlist of potential winners.
In last year’s Giro di Lombardia Vincenzo Nibali triumphed after a solo. For the first time since 2008 an Italian rider won this race. Tony Gallopin finished eighth in a scattered group after a very well-planned race. Together with Tim Wellens, he is one of the leaders of Lotto Soudal. Two years ago, Tim Wellens crossed the finish line as fourth in Bergamo after a similar race. He’s already looking forward to this year’s edition of the race of the Falling Leaves and he hopes to obtain a good result again.
Tim Wellens: “In the Eneco Tour I wasn’t good. Once, we were close to the victory with André Greipel, but it wasn’t good enough. Unfortunately in the last stage the peloton didn’t let the breakaway of which I was a part of, ride for the win. My condition is still not how I want it to be. The season is almost over but I still hope I can obtain a nice result.”
“The Giro di Lombardia is one of the nicest monuments in cycling. It’s a very beautiful race. With the two new climbs the race is a little bit tougher than in 2014, but the finish is still the same. Today I’m going to recon those two climbs. However, I think that the Valcava will be the hardest climb. It’s located halfway the day. It might not have a big influence on the race, but we still have to climb it. I cherish some beautiful memories of the finish in Bergamo in 2014 when I finished as fourth. I’m curious about how I will perform this year. I won’t focus on getting in the early break, but I’ll be fully concentrated during the finale. I want to obtain a good result and I can only hope that my legs will be good during the finale.”
Sports director Frederik Willems wishes for a top-ten place for his team in the Giro di Lombardia, but a spot on the podium would be absolutely fantastic he says.
Frederik Willems, sports director: “This year it will be a very tough Lombardia, even tougher than the edition of 2014. Just like in 2014, the start is in Como and the finish in Bergamo, but the race includes steeper and longer climbs. The last hundred kilometres it goes up and down all the time.”
“I expect Astana and Team Tinkoff to control the race. There must be a reason why Alberto Contador is still racing this late in the season. Lotto Soudal has to get a rider in the breakaway. I’m spontaneously thinking about Maxime Monfort. After that, we’ll have to wait and see. With Tony Gallopin we have a strong leader and beside him we also have Tim Wellens and Jelle Vanendert who should be good on this kind of course. Tiesj Benoot will get a free role in this race: if he feels good, he’ll show it. However, we have wait and to see how the riders have recovered from the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain. A top ten place lies within possibility, but if we can perform as good as in 2014, or maybe do a little better and get on the podium, that would be fantastic. Anyway, with this race, I would be really happy with a top five place.”
Sander Armée, Tiesj Benoot, Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, Maxime Monfort Jelle Vanendert, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.
Giant-Alpecin for Il Lombardia
The third race in Italy this week is the penultimate WorldTour outing of the season, the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ – Il Lombardia. The 110th edition on Saturday 1st October is a 241km hilly course from Como to Bergamo. In total, the race will feature 4,400 meters of climbing as two new climbs have been added in the finale, the Sant’Antonio Abbandonato and Miragolo San Salvatore.
“We start Lombardia with nearly the same team as Milano-Torino and we will be looking for another good team performance,” explained coach Aike Visbeek (NED). “The race organizers have made the last 100km of the course more difficult compared to previous editions, which should make it an interesting race.
“We also continue with the aim of racing offensively and we should be able to make an impact on this race. We are hoping to have a strong ride with Tom who is riding well at the moment and it will be a good race that fits in towards the World Championships in Qatar. He is capable of overcoming the climbs and he will be well supported by the team.”
Warren Barguil (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).
Sports Director Max Sciandri highlighted the many cards that BMC Racing Team can play at the final Monument race in 2016.
“We are going to Il Lombardia with an extremely strong team and as a result of that we don’t have one clear leader. We have many cards that we can play and as we have seen in the past, it all comes down to jumping in the right moves. Alessandro De Marchi has shown strong form this week in Italy, as has Ben Hermans and Darwin Atapuma, and Samuel Sánchez is improving day by day,” Sciandri explained. “It’s a harder course this year with a modified middle section and some tricky climbs thrown in. We’ll see what happens on the day and what is the best card to play, but I think we’ll be in for excellent racing.”
Two-time winner Philippe Gilbert will line up for his tenth appearance at the race. “It’s hard to compare the races that I won to this year’s Il Lombardia. When I won it was still a nice classic and not so hard. Now it’s really hard and you can compare it to a mountain stage at a grand tour. It’s really a race for the climbers now with long and steep climbs, whereas before it was more open to anyone. We’ll have to see on the day but we’re lining up with a strong team,” Gilbert said.
Il Lombardia (1 October 2016)
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL).
Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA).
Cannondale-Drapac Eyes Top Step of the Podium at Lombardia
Rigoberto Uran will start Il Lombardia as a pre-race favorite following a pair of third place finishes in Italy over the last week. The Colombian climber rounded out the podium at Giro dell’Emilia on Sunday and Milano-Torino on Thursday, where he finished one spot behind teammate Mike Woods.
“Rigoberto’s results show us that he means business and that his condition has held since his excellent performances in Canada,” said head sport director Charly Wegelius. “He has his papers in order to be competitive in Lombardia.”
The course for the final monument of the season changes yearly, though the test remains largely the same. The peloton faces a long, unrelenting day in the saddle. The 110th edition of Il Lombardia covers 240 kilometers between its start in Como and its conclusion in Bergamo.
“The race has changed in recent years, alternating finish lines between Como and Bergamo,” noted Wegelius. “The climb of the Ghisallo is not only steeped in cycling history but also a mainstay of the race. This year it comes early in the race, so it should not be decisive. The final this year, while passing the familiar Bergamo Alto route, also includes new climbs, and importantly new descents.”
Italian sport director Fabrizio Guidi has been on the ground with the team in Italy since last week. He directed Uran to third over the weekend and has kept a close eye on proceedings throughout the week, managing a multitude of training schedules and race days.
“Lombardia has always been the main target this week, but the smaller races with strong fields are not so small from a sporting point of view,” noted Guidi. “We’ve had the opportunity to face the strongest riders, and we’ve risen to the challenge. At the same time, there is still work to be done to have the best possible approach for Saturday.”
Il Lombardia is a big one for a myriad of reasons: finale to the Italian one-day races, final Monument, final WorldTour race and, for many, final race with their 2016 teams.
“The days when large parts of the peloton rode Lombardia with their minds already on their holiday plans are long gone,” said Wegelius. “The race will be hotly contested by a mixture of classic riders and climbers. Holidays can wait when such a prestigious race is up for grabs.”
“Lombardia is the hardest of the monuments,” added Guidi. “It’s true this year more than ever, and for us, it’s an opportunity to get the result that we’ve been chasing and that we deserve.”
Woods, who animated the Milano-Torino finale to earn his first European podium, is one of several Cannondale-Drapac riders showing significant progress ahead of Saturday’s showdown. The Canadian has fought back from two mid-season injuries to find his late-season form.
“The team has been riding great this week, and we have come super close to getting a win,” said Woods. “Rigo is on great form, and with the other guys on the team also getting results, we have a lot of cards to play on Saturday. Milano-Torino has been a real confidence boost for me, and I think going into Lombardia I can play a solid role in supporting Rigo for the win.”
Davide Formolo has pinned on a number for two of the last three Italian one-day races. He’ll sit out Giro del Piemonte on Thursday to sharpen up for Saturday’s showdown.
“It’s always a pleasure for me to race in Italy,” Formolo said. “I feel like I’m racing with friends, and it always makes me happy. My focus this last week has been to use these races as training to get ready for Lombardia after the Vuelta. Last week, I felt a little bit tired but day by day now, my feeling is getting better. My ambition for Lombardia is to help the team in any way possible and to enjoy with my teammates this lovely last race.”
Cannondale-Drapac for Il Lombardia:
André Cardoso, Davide Formolo, Moreno Moser, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Toms Skujins, Rigoberto Uran, Davide Villella, Mike Woods.
Preview: Il Lombardia
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka ready for final World Tour race of the season
The 2016 UCI World Tour reaches its conclusion this weekend with the final monument of the season, Il Lombardia taking place on Saturday. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will be lining up at the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ for the 2nd time in our African Teams history after a debut appearance in 2013.
The 110th edition of Il Lombardia will see a slightly more difficult route presented to the peloton as an additional 1000m of climbing has been added to this year’s profile compared to previous editions. The Madonna del Ghisallo, Valcava, Selvino and the cobbled climb to Bergamo Alta among others, will ensure only the best climbers will be in contention for the victory.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka aim to be one of the protagonists come Saturday and we will have an exciting team ready to race from the front. Igor Anton, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Serge Pauwels, Omar Fraile, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Jaco Venter, Natnael Berhane and Kristian Sbaragli will be our riders contending for top honours.
Anton, Pauwels and Siutsou are each well suited to Saturday’s course and they will be looking to be part of the action at the end of the 240km route. Boasson Hagen and Sbaragli may not be typically suit the climbing nature of Saturday’s course but the duo’s strength cannot be underestimated as they have both proven throughout the year they can be in contention on the hillier races. Berhane, Venter and Fraile will form the backbone of our squad for the final Italian race of the year.
Igor Anton – Rider
“I am happy to return to this prestigious race because it is one of the cycling monuments. This will be my 5th participation in this race and I would like to finish the season well. I am in pretty good shape at the moment and this race is really hard and suits me well because there is a lot of climbs. I hope to be able to have a good race and do a good result.”
Rafal Majka and Jesper Hansen head Tinkoff team for final WorldTour race of the season, Il Lombardia
After a trio of races in Italy, Tinkoff rounds out the stay with the biggest race of the week, Il Lombardia, the final WorldTour race of the season. After a strong showing at Milano-Torino on Wednesday, Rafal Majka heads to ‘the race of the falling leaves’ as the team’s leader, a classic that he finished third at two seasons ago. Leading the team’s hopes of making the selection is also Jesper Hansen, who continued his return to racing this week after a period out due to injury.
The team is completed by Roman Kreuziger and Michael Gogl, both of whom raced twice during the week, as well as Pavel Brutt, Sergio Paulinho, Pawel Poljanski, Matteo Tosatto, all of whom also have mid-week race days in the legs in Italy. Originally previewed to be racing Il Lombardia, Alberto Contador unfortunately had to step down from the line-up due to illness during the week.
Sport Director for the race, Lars Michaelsen explains more about the race and the team’s approach. “Lombardy is the biggest race of the week. It’s a long one, at 240km, and is the last WorldTour race of the season, one with a phenomenal history and that everyone should be proud to race.
“Our overall plan here is to save Rafal and also Jesper for the final 60-65km which will be key here, they are our best cards on paper. We’ll look to try to cover the breaks with the other guys.
“The race starts in Como and has five official climbs on the parcours, but there are others too. Before the finish, you go over the final climb, Bergamo Alta, short and steep with cobblestones through town streets and a narrow town gate, and then it’s only a few kilometres to the finish on a fast, tricky descent that includes negotiating a sharp turn through another town gate. There will be a game of who goes in the break and how big it is, but our main goal will be to go into the final with the best cards to play.”
The 240km parcours starts in Como before rolling its way over climbs including the Madonna del Ghisallo, cresting after 65.1km, the Valcava, the longest climb of the day after 143.6km, and the Selvino, the penultimate test after 213km. The last rise, coming in the last five kilometres, averages 7.9% for its near 1500m distance, with maximum gradients of 12%. The last climb of the day comes closer to the finish compared to the previous edition, and will surely be the final spring-board for attacks.
Roelandts and Debusschere Selected for the World Championships
Kevin De Weert, the coach of the Belgian national cycling team, has announced the official selection for the World Championships road race in Qatar which will be held on Sunday 16 October. The nine riders who will represent Belgium are: Tom Boonen, Jens Debusschere, Iljo Keisse, Jens Keukeleire, Nikolas Maes, Oliver Naesen, Jürgen Roelandts, Jasper Stuyven and Greg Van Avermaet.
Jens Debusschere will ride his first World Championships while it will be the fourth participation for Jürgen Roelandts. He already participated in Geelong 2010, Copenhagen 2011 (fifth place) and Valkenburg 2012.
Jürgen Roelandts: “I’m always happy if I’m part of the Belgian line-up. You just can’t say no to a World Championships road race, it’s always a special race. I think that the course in Qatar suits Jens and myself very well. The race offers two possible outcomes. If the wind isn’t present on the course, we might ride the easiest World Championships since several years. But when the wind blows as usual, we will get a very hard race. The temperature will also be an important factor as it is now 38 degrees in Qatar. If Tom Boonen is fully recovered from his crash in the Eneco Tour, he will be the leader for the sprint. But when necessary, also Jens can be the leader as he’s in great shape. We are part of this line-up because of our abilities and experiences in several sprints and sprint preparations. Every rider in this line-up can ride in echelons, we’re almost born with it. So we don’t mind if the race will be extremely hard. My hamstring injury healed really well the past few weeks so I’m more than ready for the World Championships.”
Jens Debusschere: “I was already hoping for a World Championships selection before this season because this course suits me really well. I trained very hard to be good during this period after my crash in the Tour de France. But I’m always good in the final part of the cycling season. The Tour of Britain and the Eneco Tour secured my good shape. The only thing I missed was a victory, although there are still a few opportunities to win a race. A lot of Belgian riders showed that they have good legs the past few weeks so the coach had to make some difficult decisions. Nevertheless, I think that I deserve this selection. In my opinion, this line-up must aim for a good result in Qatar. Tom Boonen already showed that he’s the leader in the sprint, but it will be a matter of surviving and being attentive during the crucial parts of the race. If Tom isn’t able to sprint due to a certain difficulty, I think that I’m a good alternative. But there a lot of sprinters who’ll aim for the victory such as Bouhanni, Ewan, Sagan, Kristoff and Greipel.”
Senne Leysen will participate at the U23 World Championships individual time trial. Besides that, Enzo Wouters is selected for the road race.
Sofie De Vuyst, Lotte Kopecky and Anisha Vekemans will be part of the Belgian national ladies team for the World Championships road race.
Russian rider Sergey Lagutin joins Gazprom – RusVelo
Gazprom – RusVelo is excited to announce the agreement with a Russian rider Sergey Lagutin. Sergey has signed a two-year contract for 2017 – 2018 seasons.
Gazprom – RusVelo GM Renat Khamidulin: «We are delighted that Sergey will become a part of the team. This season he made the biggest win in his career by taking the lead at the 8th stage of the La Vuelta. It’s obvious that he is in good condition but it’s more important that he is a true leader. Sergey has an ability to unite the team, help partners in difficult situations, he may lead the team and take a win himself.»
«I am very excited to be a part of Gazprom – RusVelo. It’s the only team where I feel myself at home. Mutual respect and professionalism are the main pillars of the team. I hope that I will have an opportunity to be a part of the team’s success in one-day classics and bigger races. Looking forward to share my experience with teammates and help them to achieve next season goals», – said Lagutin.
Sergey Lagutin was born in 1981 in Fergana, Uzbekistan. Sergey’s palmarès includes 2003 World Champion U23 title, several Uzbekistan National champion titles, wins at Kampioenschap Van Vlaanderen, GP du Canton d’Argovie and 8th stage of La Vuelta’16. In 2012 Olympic Games in London Sergey showed a solid result by taking 5th place in the road race. In 2013 Lagutin acquired a Russian citizenship.
We spoke to Segey Lagutin earlier this year:
Taylor Phinney to join Cannondale-Drapac in 2017
American Taylor Phinney will join Cannondale-Drapac next season. The move will mark a homecoming for Boulder, Colorado’s Phinney, who got his start as a cyclist with Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters at Vaughters’ development team, then known as Team 5280 Magazine.
Phinney will focus on the northern classics and time trials. The 26-year-old has worn the maglia rosa and finished fourth at the Olympics in both the road race and time trial (2012). He’s won stages at the Eneco Tour, USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the Tour of Poland, and the overall at the Dubai Tour (2014). Phinney has also finished runner-up at the world championships in the time trial (2012).
“I have some close friends that race for the team. And it just generally seems like the team itself has a good vibe. I also met with [Vaughters] earlier this year and really connected,” Phinney said. “One of the major reasons is to work with Cannondale, as an American bike sponsor. My first bike I got was a blue Cannondale that I got from my parents. My family, we used to have closer ties to Cannondale — when I was a kid, those were the bikes that we rode as a family. So it’s cool to return to that.”
Phinney has been haunted by the effects of a crash at US nationals in 2014, where he braked to avoid a motorbike and badly broke his leg. It has taken him years to recover, and at times he’s thought about leaving cycling. All told, the move to Cannondale-Drapac is a chance to remain in the sport he loves with a fresh start.
“This opportunity presented itself to bring my career into a full circle in one way. It definitely feels like a fresh new start, which I’m excited about,” Phinney said. “The last few years have been pretty trying, though super rewarding. But at the same time, I’ve been putting a lot of energy into recovering from this ultra-broken leg that I had in 2014. And BMC supported me through that whole process, and I’m really grateful to them for that … But I’ve changed the way I see things, the way that I approach things, the way that I appreciate things. Once the idea came into my mind of making a big change in my career, trying something new, trying a different environment, it was just something that felt really right to me.”
Vaughters saw how Phinney responded to his broken leg and decided to pursue his former rider.
“I’ve always believed he was an absolutely unbelievable talent. My concern for him was that it came too easily for him. That he was so talented that he never really had to learn from the school of hard knocks of bike racing. And I always felt like that was going to limit his career,” Vaughters said. “So the crash in 2014, the massive injury that occurred after that, was to me the sort of testing point to see if Taylor really wanted to be a professional cyclist or whether or not he was content with his first glory years in the sport — he could step away from the sport having done more in three or four years than most people do in 15 years … And all of a sudden, it became this question of whether he really wanted it. Whether he truly, really, wanted it. Not, ‘I want to do this because of my family’s heritage,’ or ‘I want to do this because I don’t have anything better to do,’ or ‘I want to do this because I get paid a lot.’”
Ultimately, Vaughters got his answer.
“In speaking with him over the summer, I got the impression that he did want to be a bike racer. His injury was severe and very difficult to come back from. He’s worked incredibly hard to get his leg to function again. At this point, there’s no reason he’s not going to be able to realize his full potential. The last eight months hasn’t been so much being held back by the injury itself, it’s been the two years of not having consistent racing and training because he had to be rehabbing this injury,” Vaughters said. “Little by little, he’s putting that back together. For me, next year, his health should be 100 percent. His motivation should be 100 percent. Now, it’s just a matter of putting that all together. Now he’s got to prove whether all the hype when he was young was valid or not. I hope we’re the team to put our backs into it and prove he was worth the hype.”
Phinney’s addition to the team bolsters the Cannondale-Drapac classics squad. He’ll join new signing Sep Vanmarcke and up-and-comer Dylan van Baarle (sixth at Flanders in 2016) in Belgium and France.
“Taylor brings horsepower. A lot of horsepower,” said sport director Andreas Klier. “Besides that, I think he is a very good team player with nearly unlimited possibilities when we consider the three weeks of northern classics. Taylor has shown plenty of times that he is high value for a real leader, and Sep is definitely one of them. I’m looking forward to working with them. I think if you add Dylan [van Baarle] to the two names we already mentioned, then we have enough people to cover those northern races. And all of them are able to perform outside those three weeks on a high level, we shouldn’t forget that.”
Vaughters said Phinney slots in as a support/wildcard rider at the classics, but pointed toward the Tour de France as an important target.
“As far as the northern classics, Sep is our number one guy,” said Vaughters. “Dylan Van Baarle is the chief lieutenant. So Taylor fits into a little bit more of a support rider, wildcard role in the classics. He’s a little less proven — 260k races, it takes a little longer to fully adapt to those until you’ve done multiple grand tours and have more of a foundation, which he doesn’t really have right now because of his injury. I fully expect him to be in the final 20, 25 rider selection in the classics. Without a doubt. That’s the number goal for the first part of the year.
“And then the big goal for the second part of the season is the 13 kilometer opening time trial in Dusseldorf at the Tour de France,” Vaughters continued. “We’re working with Cannondale on the fastest possible bike for him. We’re working with Mavic on new tires and wheel technology. And we’re trying to develop something that’s super fast for him. He’s going to do his half of the equation, and we’re going to try to pull it all together and see if we can garner a yellow jersey in Dusseldorf.”
Even getting to the point where Phinney can talk about goals again has been a process that’s taken time. He’s gotten here in his own, unique way.
“I just want to win. Because that’s what it’s all about. I feel like I’m to an age where I’m more comfortable with myself and who I am,” said Phinney. “I really feel like recently I’m coming into this vast, general acceptance of exactly who I am. And not feeling self-conscious about embracing who I am. I find that by sharing that and just being true to yourself you can inspire other people and unite a group around a certain cause. I love the idea of being able to step into that role a bit more also and let my personality shine through in a new, fresh way. I’m doing it already, I’ve been doing it my whole career, but I’m more mindful about it now.”
“I feel like I just got back to a point with my body that I’m able to think about goals and not just think about surviving these races. And that’s powerful,” Phinney added. “It’s easy to set goals. Yeah, Roubaix, Tour de France. Because everybody says that. But I want to get that hunger back, that fire, that real commitment to what I’m doing — that fully engaged, intentional, every-second-of-the-race, you’re in it. But if I think about the coolest thing I could do next year it would be to win the opening time trial at the Tour de France. To race the Tour de France. Because I’ve never done it.”
PEZ spoke to Phinney in the spring, read the interview HERE.
Ventoso, 34, is the third addition to BMC Racing Team’s 2017 roster and strengthens both the grand tour and classics’ teams, Ochowicz said. “Francisco Ventoso is a very versatile rider who will fit well with BMC Racing Team’s objectives. He is not only a strong classics rider, but also a great support rider for the grand tours. Francisco has been on the professional circuit for a long time so he is experienced in the peloton and understands what needs to be done in different race scenarios, which ticks a lot of boxes for us. Francisco is also a multiple grand tour stage winner so when given the opportunity he also knows how to win. We look forward to seeing him in the BMC Racing Team kit in 2017,” Ochowicz explained.
Ventoso appreciates the opportunity to join BMC Racing Team. “For me it is a great motivation to go to one of the best teams in the world and it is an honor for me to join the group of riders who will attack the spring classics with Greg Van Avermaet as captain,” Ventoso said.
“My main goal for 2017 is to put all of my experience and my strength into the team to make BMC Racing Team even stronger. I greatly appreciate the confidence placed in me and I will give the best version of myself as a rider.”
Ventoso, who claimed the Spanish road race title in 2012, is a two-time Giro d’Italia stage winner, Vuelta a España stage winner and has competed in 11 grand tours throughout his career.
In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy no other details of the contract were released.
Felline extends contract with Trek-Segafredo for one year
Fabio Felline and Trek-Segafredo agreed on a one-year contract extension through the end of 2017. The 26-year-old Italian has been with the team since 2014, and in that time he has developed into an adamant all-rounder, his green jersey at this year’s Vuelta being the most conspicuous example of his wide range of skills.
Fabio Felline: “I am really happy to continue my career with Trek-Segafredo, because in this team I have found a special group of colleagues and teammates, which is for me really important. If you get along well, and if you feel good with the teammates and the staff, you also feel the serenity to do your work without any problems. I had the strangest of seasons with my crash in Amstel Gold Race, but the team didn’t forget about me. This human aspect I’ve encountered in our team was a really important point for me. You know, the team treats me as a person, not just a rider, and that is for me of utmost importance to be able to give it my all.
“At the beginning of this season, my goal was to make a step forward as a rider. But of course my development and growth this year was abruptly stopped by my crash in April, after which I had to stay off the bike for two months. On the other hand, when I look back at it now, since my comeback in Poland I have been in the front in approximately 50% of my races at the WorldTour level. So I have to be happy about that. For sure, it has not been a complete season, but I definitely want to continue in this direction.”
General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Fabio has been very professional since the beginning, but I have to admit I am very, very proud of the way he behaved after his horrifying crash in this year’s Amstel Gold Race. He was really focused on his recovery and worked hard to be back on the bike as soon as he could. It was a long and hard road, but when he took 2nd place overall in the Tour of Poland, we knew right away he was back, and in a big way! How he took and defended his green jersey in the Vuelta was world class. With top-3 places on very diverse parcours, he proved to be able to surpass himself and to surprise everyone.
“It goes without saying we are very pleased to have re-signed Fabio for the next season. With the development he has undergone, I expect him to show us some great things in the coming year.”
Erviti, Sutherland, Anacona, Rojas Re-Sign
Four of the Movistar Team’s most valuable domestiques extend contracts beyond 2016; reinforce talented, all-terrain roster managed by Eusebio Unzué for next season.
Movistar Team announces on Wednesday that Imanol Erviti, Rory Sutherland, Winner Anacona and José Joaquín Rojas have all signed new contracts that will keep them part of the Spanish outfit. The squad directed by Eusebio Unzué will thus retain four remarkable domestiques that gather twelve Grand Tours appearances combined in the past two years. Other details about their respective new relations with the team have not been disclosed.
Erviti, 32, will fulfill his 13th consecutive season as part of the only team he’s raced for since becoming a pro. A heir of the long-standing tradition of respected road captains from Unzué’s teams, Imanol is an unmissable reference for his team-mates at three-week stageraces -17 GTs, 16 of them complete-, at tough classics like the Ardennes… and also, as team leader, on the cobblestones, where he shone as never before last spring with magnificent performances in both the Ronde van Vlaanderen (7th) & Paris-Roubaix (9th). The Flemish early-season events and the ‘Hell of the North’ will be goals for him in 2017.
The serious injury suffered by Rojas, 31, at the penultimate stage of the recent Vuelta a España has not prevented the Blues extending their confidence on the Spanish road race champion’s abilities. The man from Cieza near Murcia has relaunched his career thanks to sacrifice and commitment for his team-mates in all terrains. José Joaquín was present in 2016 at the Giro – where Valverde conquered a GC podium finish- and formed part of Nairo Quintana’s winning squad in Madrid. Alongside the Colombian and at the Tour de France was countryman Anacona, 28, whose efficient response in the mountains has made him a crucial value for the team, as provided by his excellent work in the final mountain stage of the 2015 TDF in Alpe d’Huez.
In turn, Sutherland, 34, has gained massive respect from both team-mates and rivals with his dedication to team duties, developing a job not sufficiently appreciated by the TV cameras, always pushing at the front of the field in the beginning of the stages. His efforts alongside Imanol during the Vuelta, as well as his hard work at both the Giro and the Ardenas together with ‘Bala’, were remarkable and led the Movistar Team to big success throughout the 2016 season.
PEZ spoke to Rory Sutherland when he joined Movistar in 2014:
Zubeldia and Didier extend with Trek-Segafredo
Basque cyclist Haimar Zubeldia, 39, has agreed to a one-year contract extension, and Luxembourger Laurent Didier, 32, has inked a two-year deal, securing both Trek-Segafredo long-standing teammates for the 2017 season.
Zubeldia, who will enter his 20th season as a professional at the age of 40 next year, has shown little signs of slowing down, finishing his 14th Tour de France followed by his 10th Vuelta a España this year. The experienced climber will be a valuable support role for Bauke Mollema and Alberto Contador.
Zubeldia: “This is my second family, and I could not see myself riding with any other team. I am proud that I will do 20 years, I guess you can say that gave me a little more motivation to continue. Also, the team has taken another dimension with Contador and Degenkolb joining us next year. I raced with Alberto some years ago, so we already know each other, and it’s important to me that he is also a Spanish guy. I will have a bigger role next year supporting both Mollema and Contador, and that is also very motivating for me.
“I can’t say if next year will be my last. In the last years, I am riding year by year. I know that I don’t have a lot more years left in the legs, but we will see. I do know that I will try to enjoy it.”
General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Haimar Zubeldia is a legend. The 2017 season will be his 20th as a professional cyclist, and it’s interesting that 9 of them will have been on a Trek bike and that loyalty is really something to be proud of. Even though he doesn’t win a lot, he has an incredible palmarès with numerous top-ten finishes in Grand Tours and shorter stage races.
“But what stands out for Haimar is that even after all these years his professionalism and motivation have not faded the slightest bit. His stamina is incredible; he is a fighter and always willing to give his maximum for the team. The experience and calm he brings to his teammates are invaluable, and in everything he does he exemplifies with utmost devotion. I’m honored that Haimar will continue with the team for another year.”
Laurent Didier has proven to be an instrumental teammate for Trek-Segafredo, a rider who is adept in various terrains and types of races. Didier first joined the organization in 2012 with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, and next year will be his sixth season riding for the Trek family.
Didier: “Of course I am happy to stay with Trek-Segafredo, I know how they work, and this was a big part of my desire to remain with the team. I am a domestique, and I look forward to the next two years to continue in this support role. I love my job, and it was very important to continue in a team where they know me and how I work as well.”
Guercilena: “I am happy we could keep Laurent Didier onboard. Over the last years, he has developed into one of our most valued domestiques. Laurent is incredibly composed on the bike and won’t stop until he has given everything; he is one of the hardest workers in the pro peloton. But on top of that, he is also an intelligent guy with an incredible memory. Laurent reads the race like no other and knows the road book by heart before the start of every stage. And these skills have served him and the team time and again.”
Marco Marcato will join for 2017 and 2018 the first Chinese World Tour team, bringing his skills, experience and determination.
The Italian athlete, who was born in San Donà di Piave on 11/02/1984, turned pro in 2005 and in 12 seasons he obtained 6 victories and he carved out a role as reliable rider for the Classic races, having participated in 8 Amstel Gold Race, 6 Ronde van Vlaanderen and Gand-Wevelgem, 5 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 4 Paris-Roubaix and Flèche Wallone, 4 Milano-Sanremo and Giro di Lombardia.
Marcato will be allowed space to the expression of his skills and he’ll inspire the younger riders of the team. “I’m very happy to have the opportunity to race again in a World tour team: this gives me extra determination and it’s a fulfillment for my career – Marcato explained – I’m glad that such ambitious project, as the first Chinese World Tour team is, chose to sign me: I’ll try to exploit my skills in the races which suite me better, especially in the tour of Flandres, and to inspire the young talented cyclists of the team”.
Speed and six seasons in the pro world, in addition to 40 successes with the top of the stages victories in the Giro d’Italia 2011 and the Eneco Tour 2014 for the new sprinter of the first Chinese World Tour team.
Andrea Guardini, who was born in Tregnagno on 1989, signed a two years deal with TJ Sport.
The Italian sprinter commented: “First of all, I’d like to thank Giuseppe Saronni for the opportunity he offered me to be part of the new project of the team.
I can’t wait for starting the new season with the aim of give satisfaction to who chose to trust on me.
I feel I’m at the top of the development of my cycling skills, I’d like to open a new chapter of my career which I hope can be successful: it will be fundamental the exciting team spirit of the new team, which I know really care about the sprinters.
My first goal will be to be competitive in the very early races in the season: the Tour of Qatar and the Abu Dhabi Tour will be next year in the World Tour calendar, they will be important appointment for me, because I really like these competitions and it would be great to give satisfaction there to my new team”.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is happy to announce the addition of three new riders; Ben King, Scott Thwaites and Lachlan Morton.
Ben King will bolster the team’s American contingent. Having his European base in Lucca, he is no stranger to our training centre in Tuscany. Over the last three years the 27-year-old has been riding for Cannondale-Drapac, with stage wins at the Amgen Tour of California and the Criterium International being his major results. He also showed strong performances as a vital helper to his captains in several stage races.
Also joining will be Scott Thwaites. The 26-year-old British rider gained experience in the professional peloton over the last four years while competing for Bora-Argon18. Thwaites had a very strong spring campaign in 2016 that saw him barely finish outside the top20 of the most prestigious cobbled classics. He will add depth to our squad come these races.
The third new rider is Australian Lachlan Morton. At only 24 years of age he is the youngest of the trio. After making his debut with Garmin-Sharp in 2012 he continued racing with a focus on the US scene. This year has been his most successful to date. He won two stages and the overall of the Tour of Utah, and was also able to secure the overall classification of the Tour of Gila. He will be a valuable rider in shorter stage races and in the high mountains.
Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
“It is a real pleasure to bring these super talented riders and great people into Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Ben King had an incredible La Vuelta showing great depth and consistency and we see Ben taking a leadership role in mentoring and leading our climber group of riders based out of our training centre in Lucca. Key to that group is Lachlan Morton who we believe can shine in the high mountains in stage races across the World and give the team extra performance opportunities. In the Classics this season we were always looking for an additional strong rider to give us that extra kick and we are really pleased Scott Thwaites will join our African team. The Classics are a beautiful part of cycling’s history that we would like to excel in and Scott will bolster our lineup and chances.”
Ben King – Rider
“Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka feels like the perfect environment to grow as an athlete and as a person. The team races with guts and everyone gets opportunities. On top of that I already have good friends on the team. I love to race my bike for the pleasure and beauty of it, the lifestyle it encourages, and the people and places I get to build relationships with through it. However, as I’ve matured as a rider, I’ve found that motivation and drive hinge more on “why” than on “what” we do. Promoting and professionally representing Qhubeka gives my involvement in cycling another higher purpose and fills me with pride.”
Scott Thwaites – Rider
“After steadily improving over the last 4 years in the classics and beginning to break into the top 20, I was looking for a team with some experienced classics riders and knowledgeable directors to help me continue to improve. I am really looking forward to supporting Edvald Boasson Hagen in the classics whilst learning from him and Sports Directors like Roger Hammond to enable me to also fight for top results. The team has a great rider support network which will help me make small gains in my performance which I hope will translate into results. In addition to focusing on the classics, being part of a team with great champions like Mark Cavendish gives me great motivation to help the team achieve many victories next season.”
“Having been brought up with a privileged life in the UK, I took things like getting good education, access to sport and available transport for granted. Seeing the plight of African children who are giving up on their education as the journey by foot to school is too arduous, is very saddening. By supporting the Qhubeka project and enabling these children to get to school by bike, stay in education for longer and follow their dreams, as I have mine, is a great honour.”
Lachlan Morton – Rider
“I really wanted to join Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka to realise my dream of being highly competitive at the top level of cycling. This team has excited me since its inception and to be able to be a part of it is incredible. For me the bike is the most incredible tool and I can’t imagine a life without one. I’m so happy to be able to support Qhubeka and help those who need it most realise the incredible potential of the bicycle.”
Team Novo Nordisk Devo Rider Navigates Crash at Six Gap
Watch Team Novo Nordisk Development rider David Nickels show off his solid bike-handling skills to avoid getting caught in crash on the final kilometer of Georgia’s Six Gap Criterium…
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