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Doha - Qatar - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Dutch fans supporters Herman Pruisken en Martine de Wit pictured during ITT men Time Trial Individual of the UCI Road World Championships 2016 in Qatar - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2016

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The 2016 World championships have so far been action packed, pity there has been so few people to witness it – TOP STORY. All the time trial reports, results, quotes and video from Doha, plus the Nationale Sluitingprijs – Putte-Kapellen. In other cycling news: 2017 Tour de France route live, Katusha-Alpecin, Moreno Hofland transfers to Lotto Soudal, Dimension Data sign Ryan Gibbons and Ben O’Connor, Three Neo-Pros for Lotto Soudal and we finish with video of Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out. Monday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Where is the Worlds Atmosphere?
It sure isn’t in Doha. There were a few spectators at the road side for the team time trials, but less for the Junior, Under 23 and Women’s ‘contre la montre’. Things did pick up for the Men’s race against time as there was quite a knot of fans just before the finish line, probably clustered in the little shade on offer. As Tony Martin showed that he is probably the best ‘Chronoman’ on the road at the moment and maybe of all time, he was cheered on by three workmen from a bridge they should have been constructing. There were also the policemen on the many round-a-bouts and the bored looking road-crossing stewards and the veritable throng had been further supplemented by a guy making a painting at the finish. Last week everyone was worried about the heat, but the big problems is the lack any atmosphere. If the Worlds road races are like the time trials, the winners will cross the line to the crescendo of near silence.

It is possible that a bus load of Flemish bike fans are on their way south in time for the Pro race, but they won’t have any bottles of Duvel to keep them happy. The Worlds in Yorkshire 2019 will be much different.

There has been two fans at the roadside all week:
Doha - Qatar - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Dutch fans supporters Herman Pruisken en Martine de Wit pictured during ITT men Time Trial Individual of the UCI Road World Championships 2016 in Qatar - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2016

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World Championships 2016

Men Elite Individual Time Trial
Tony Martin grabbed his fourth Individual Time Trial gold medal at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 finishing far ahead his opponents in 44:42.99. The 31-year-old German equalled Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara record with four time trial World Titles. Defending champion Vasil Kiryienka bagged the silver medal and Jonathan Castroviejo grabbed the bronze.

Martin was indomitable on a course that suited him well. “The course was really made for me,” he said. “The only thing I was really afraid of, was the heat. But I already prepared for it at home and we had a good week here with the team. I learned a lot from the Team Time Trial.”

Martin added a second gold to his Doha tally after already having won the Team Time Trial on Sunday. The German now has a total of four golds, one silver and two bronze world championships medals, a sum which elevates him on the top spot of the all-time medal table, since Cancellara owns three bronzes but not a single silver medal. The Swiss time trial machine hung up his bike after winning the Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro.

Numbers do not mean much though for Martin: “I always say that I don’t count medals. I’m just proud to ride in the rainbow jersey next year.”

Martin will continue his career with Team Katusha-Alpecin, after a five-year-span with Etixx – Quick-Step.

Vasil Kiryienka made up for a lean year taking silver behind Martin. The Belarussian’s best time trial result in the rainbow jersey was a third place in the first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in March. Starting last from Lusail Sports Complex, Kiryienka was the only one to stay within striking distance, coming three seconds behind Martin at the first section, but it was impossible for him to keep up the same pace and eventually finished 45.05 seconds behind the German in 45:28.04. Nevertheless he couldn’t be happier with his performance: “I’m very satisfied with the work I’ve done and the medal I’ve won. Now I have the full set of medals from the world championships (was 3rd in 2012).”

Riding 13th from the ramp at Lusail Sports Complex, Ryan Mullen set the bar among the early starters. Ukraine’s time trial specialist Andrei Grivko couldn’t get anywhere near the 22-year-old Irishman, who set 46:04.74 on the 40 kilometer course. Jos van Emden, who started 24th, challenged Mullen and even set a faster intermediate time in the second section, but the Dutchman lost ground in the final leg in The Pearl to end up 23.66 seconds behind the Irish prodigy. Mullen eventually had to settle for fifth place and Van Emden ended up eighth.

Mullen, who came second in the 2014 Under 23 ITT, stayed in the hot seat for more than an hour, until Maciej Bodnar finally pushed him out. The Polish time trial specialist clocked 45:59.76, but he did not stay on top for long either. Jonathan Castroviejo immediately overtook him with a time of 45:53.90. But straight after the Spanish European champion’s best time, came Tony Martin who snatched the gold medal. “I had a fast first leg. I dropped off in the middle, but was able to put in a very strong last leg again. That was enough for a bronze medal and I’m really happy about it,” said the Spaniard.

Tom Dumoulin and Rohan Dennis couldn’t live up to the expectations. The Dutch Olympic silver medallist started second last and never looked to be on a medal pace. He finished 11th In 46:44.50. The Australian had to settle for sixth place in 46:10.11.

Qatar’s sole participant in the ITT finished in 60th place. Afif Abdullah concluded the 40-kilometer course on home soil just under the hour barrier, in 57:36.78. “I am proud to have represented my country at the World Championships. It was a special feeling. It wasn’t easy, but I feel proud all the same,” Abdullah stated in the mixed zone.

Four riders needed more than an hour to reach the finish line at The Pearl: Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Asiri (1:00:05.96), Pakistani’s Mohsin Kahn (1:00:33.69) and Hafiz Tahir Mahmood (1:01:06.02) and Saied Jafer Alali from Kuwait (1:01:15.51).

Full PEZ Race Report HERE.

Men Elite Individual Time Trial Result:
1. Tony Martin (Germany) in 44:42.99
2. Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) at 0:45.05
3. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain) at 1:10.91
4. Maciej Bodnar (Poland) at 1:16.77
5. Ryan Mullen (Ireland) at 1:21.75
6. Rohan Dennis (Australia) at 1:27.12
7. Yves Lampaert (Belgium) at 1:45.11
8. Jos Van Emden (Netherlands) at 1:45.41
9. Reto Hollenstein (Switzerland) at 1:51.51
10. Bob Jungels (Luxembourg) at 1:56.59.

Men TT:

Women Elite Individual Time Trial
Amber Neben won the women’s Individual Time Trial at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016. The 41-year-old American edged out Dutch Ellen van Dijk and Australia’s Katrin Garfoot, who took the silver and the bronze respectively. The top three finished within a ten second-margin.

After two laps in The Pearl totaling 28.9 kilometers, Neben crossed the finish line in 36:37.04, averaging more than 47 kilometers per hour. At age 41 she became the second oldest Women Elite ITT World Champion, after Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, who claimed the title aged 42 in 2001.

With Neben’s medal, the USA have collected a record six gold medals in the women’s ITT. France and Germany have four, while the Netherlands could not add to their total of three. For Neben, it was her second career World Title in the ITT. After her victory on a hilly course in Varese, Italy, in 2008, her title on the pan-flat Doha course proved her versatility as a time triallist. “This one is more special, because of everything that happened in between,” Neben said comparing her 2016 title to the 2008 one.
Neben started halfway the field, at the hottest moment of the day. German Trixi Worrack and Dutch Annemiek van Vleuten rode just before her, both setting the best time until that moment. Both the German and the Dutch girl were waiting in medal positions for quite a while, with Worrack pushed out of the hot seat when Van Dijk rode the second best time. The German eventually ended up sixth in 37:48.18.

Ellen van Dijk seemed to be on course to beat Neben’s time, when she set the fastest intermediate times at the first two sections, but she couldn’t hold on to the advantage. At the third split she was two seconds behind. With Neben watching nervously from the hot seat, Van Dijk crossed the finish line 5.99 seconds adrift. “I was using more energy siting there in the hot seat than out there on the bike. I feel sorry for Ellen van Dijk and at the same time I’m excited for myself,” added Neben.

Van Vleuten was finally pushed from the hot seat by Garfoot. Both the Australian and Russian Olga Zabelinskaya set faster intermediate times than the Dutchwoman. When Garfoot finished in 36:45.36, Van Vleuten had to bow her head. After her Olympic disappointment, when she crashed being in the gold medal position during the Road Race, she came seven seconds short of a World Championships medal. Zabelinskaya also bettered Van Vleuten when she set 36:48.56, leaving the Dutchwoman in fifth place. Val Vleuten put the blame on the wrong tactics she elected to follow: “I was a little bit too concerned about the heat and went slow in the first round to conserve my energy. I shouldn’t have.”

Garfoot also set a pre-race plan which, in her case, paid off: “I had followed the Under-23 race and had seen that a lot of riders had struggled in the last 6 km. I wanted to avoid that. So my pacing in the first round was totally off. But I made up a lot of time and was good enough for a bronze.”

Last year’s silver medallist Anna van der Breggen, who won this year’s Olympic Road Race and the Individual Time Trial at the recent European Championships, could not impress. She finished 13th in 38:48.30. “The heat was the same for everybody. I had a long season and I wanted to do well in Doha as well. But unfortunately that didn’t happen,” said Van der Breggen.

Women Elite Individual Time Trial Result:
1. Amber Neben (USA) in 36:37.04
2. Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands) at 0:05.99
3. Katrin Garfoot (Australia) at 0:08.32
4. Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) at 0:11.52
5. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands) at 0:25.79
6. Lisa Brennauer (Germany) at 0:57.59
7. Trixi Worrack (Germany) at 1:11.14
8. Ann-Sophie Duyck (Belgium) at 1:27.96
9. Katarzyna Pawlowska (Poland) at 1:36.49
10. Alena Amialiusik (Belarus) at 1:41.59.

Woman’s TT:

Men Juniors Individual Time Trial
Brandon McNulty followed in the footsteps of compatriot Taylor Phinney, when he won the Men’s Junior Individual Time Trial at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016. Denmark took silver with Mikkel Bjerg, and McNulty’s compatriot Ian Garrison added more silverware to the American success winning bronze.

McNulty, who took bronze on home soil in Richmond in 2015, saw last year’s gold and silver medallists Leo Appelt (GER) and Adrien Costa (USA) respectively, progress to the Under 23 ranks, and conquered the second American gold medal in this event after Phinney prevailed in 2007.

Starting last from the ramp, McNulty left no doubts on The Pearl circuit. The American set the fastest intermediate times in all sections to finish the 28.9 km course in 34:42.29, averaging 49.964 kilometers per hour. “I’m from Arizona, so I’m used to the heat. I conserved my energy initially and started pushing hard from the 10th minute. From then on, it was all or nothing for me. I’m so glad I won,” McNulty said.
Garrison finished 53 seconds behind his countryman in 35:35.37. “I’m very happy because this medal was unexpected. I wasn’t even in the top 15 before starting. I began slowly, conserved my energy and pushed hard towards the end,” stated the bronze medallist.

Despite the Doha heat, Scandinavia was well represented in the top-ten. Mikkel Bjerg took silver in 35:17.47 and his compatriot Julius Johansen came fourth in 35:44.84. “It was a pretty hard race and I pushed from the start. I’m still young and I can always come back again next year. I’m really happy,” Johansen said. Apart from the Danes, Norwegian Iver Knotten, who had come third in the recent European Championships, took sixth place in 36:15.28.

European Champion and pre-race favorite Alexys Brunel could not impress on the world stage. The 18-year-old French prodigy started second-last, but his chances to medal were dashed from the early stages of the race. Despite the one-minute gap, he was overhauled by McNulty and eventually finished with a disappointing 34th place in 37:57.21. “The sun was too strong and I was so tired towards the end of the race,” Brunel explained.

Stefan Bissegger, who had started two minutes ahead of McNulty, also saw the American passing by. The Swiss rider, who was fourth in the European Championships, finished 35th in 37:59.97. His compatriot Marc Hirschi, who took silver in the European Championships, finished eighth in 36:25.99.

Germany, record champions with six gold medals in the Men’s Juniors ITT, were nowhere to be seen on Tuesday. After German gold and silver in the men’s Under 23 ITT on Monday, Bastian Flicke was the best German rider in the Juniors event with 37:34.21 in 25th place.

Men Juniors Individual Time Trial Result:
1. Brandon McNulty (USA) in 34:42
2. Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) at 0:35
3. Ian Garrison (USA) at 0:53
4. Julius Johansen (Denmark) at 1:02
5. Ruben Apers (Belgium) at 1:24
6. Iver Knotten (Norway) at 1:33
7. Awet Habtom (Eritrea) at 1:40
8. Marc Hirschi (Switzerland) at 1:43
9. Jaka Primozic (Slovenia) at 1:54
10. Jarno Mobach (Netherlands) at 2:00.

Men’s Junior TT:

Men Under 23 Individual Time Trial
Marco Mathis was the second rider to start from the ramp for two laps on the Pearl Time Trial circuit. The German almost averaged 51 kilometers per hour in his 28.9 kilometer-ride to set 34:08.09 and sit down in the hot seat, where he was stuck for the remainder of the competition.

Mathis saw colleagues coming and going on the chairs on his right and left, but his gold medal was never in danger. The first to really threaten him, was Schachmann. At the 2016 German National Championships Schachmann had won the Under 23 category, with Mathis taking the bronze.

In Doha things were different. Schachmann started slow and was almost 15 seconds slower than Mathis in the first section. Schachmann gradually picked up pace however. At the second split last year’s bronze medallist was fifth, and at the third he ranked second, but already 28 seconds behind Mathis, who set the fastest split-times throughout the course. “It was my course, absolutely flat and technical,” Mathis said.

Miles Scotson finished in 34:46.07 and sat down next to Mathis in the bronze medal position. With the race still underway the 22-year-old Australian anxiously looked at the other riders, especially Kämna. “I badly wanted to win and I really went all out,” Scotson said. “It was a tough race, but a good race for me.”

After having sat in the hot seat for more than three hours, Mathis could finally celebrate, when Mads Würtz Schmidt crossed the finish line. The Danish defending champion, who started last, set a disappointing 21st time. Mathis could not believe his eyes. “It’s a dream come true”, Mathis said.
Germany ruled in the Men’s Under 23 Time Trial at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016. Marco Mathis took gold and his compatriot Max Schachmann grabbed silver, with Australian Miles Scotson running away with the bronze just 4.32 seconds ahead of another German: Lennard Kämna.

Men Under 23 Individual Time Trial Result:
1. Marco Mathis (Germany) in 34:08
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Germany) at 0:18
3. Miles Scotson (Australia) at 0:37
4. Lennard Kämna (Germany) at 0:42
5. Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) at 0:50
6. Neilson Powless (USA) at 0:54
7. Geoffrey Curran (USA) at 1:05
8. Tom Bohli (Switzerland) at 1:16
9. Eddie Dunbar (Ireland) at 1:21
10. Callum Scotson (Australia) at 1:22.

U23 Champs:

Women Junior Individual Time Trial
Karlijn Swinkels grabbed the Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial Title at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016. The 17-year-old Dutchwoman crushed the field finishing in 18:21.77 with an average speed of 44.764 km/h. Italy’s Lisa Morzenti finished second in 18:29.12 and French Juliette Labous secured the bronze in 18:43.12.

Swinkels, who was sixth in the Individual Time Trial at the European Championships, became the first Dutch lady to take the women’s junior title in this event.

Elena Pirrone was the first rider to leave the start ramp at the Pearl in Doha. She finished in 19:05.44 and stayed in the hot seat only until the eleventh starter Franziska Brausse became the first rider to beat the 19-minute barrier on the 13.7 kilometer loop when she finished in 18:56.03.

Pirrone was quite satisfied with the conditions: “It was not as windy as I expected to be. I improved my position, so I’m generally very happy with how I did today. It was hot, but that was really OK.”

Both Brausse and Pirrone had to make place in the hot seats, when Skylar Schneider clocked 18:51.80. The American was only outpaced by Swinkels and Morzenti, who had started fourth and second last. With only Labous yet to finish, Schneider seemed to have sealed the bronze, only to be knocked off the podium in extremis by Labous, who set 18:43.12, to follow up last year’s fifth place with a bronze medal in Doha.
The South American riders were not able to get anywhere near the podium with Pan-American champion Tatiana Dueñas ending up as best South American in 19th place. The Colombian was satisfied however: “I’m quite happy because this is only my second year of competition and first World Championships. I hope my country gives even more support to women’s cycling in the future,” she said.

Women Junior Individual Time Trial Result:
1. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) in 18:21
2. Lisa Morzenti (Ita) at 0:08
3. Juliette Labous (Fra) at 0:22
4. Skylar Schneider (USA) at 0:30
5. Hannah Arensman (USA) at 0:34
6. Franziska Brausse (Ger) at 0:35
7. Simone Eg (Den) at 0:39
8. Alessia Vigilia (Ita) at 0:42
9. Madeleine Fasnacht (Aus) at 0:44
10. Elena Pirrone (Ita).

Women’s Junior TT:

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Nationale Sluitingprijs – Putte-Kapellen 2016
The final race of the season (Sluitingprijs) in Putte-Kapellen, on the Belgian/Dutch border was won by Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s Roy Jans in a sprint form what was left of the peloton after a crash decimated the race on the last lap. Jans win was his first of the season, he beat Timothy Dupont (Veranda’s Willems) and Moreno Hofland (LottoNl-Jumbo). Dupont was the overall winner of the Napoleon Games Cycling Cup, the Sluitingprijs was the final round of the series.

The race in Putte-Kapellen is one of the best attended of the season due to the ‘end of season’ fun after the race.

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Race winner, Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “What a relief! I’m so happy to conclude this difficult season with a great victory. I was on Kevin Ista’s wheel. I tried to move up. I launched my sprint with 200-250 meters to go. I knew I could finish it off today because I had very good legs. Since the Tour de Poitou-Charentes I’m back to a good level. It was a difficult season for me. It is a beautiful farewell gift for Wanty-Groupe Gobert. Next year I’ll ride in another team.”

3rd, Moreno Hofland (LottoNl-Jumbo): “It’s nice to end the season with a podium spot. In Paris-Tours, I was not able to sprint because I felt sick. I recovered nicely. I had to wait and see how I felt. I was not at my top level, but I was fortunate to sprint. I was right there, when suddenly riders braked and crashed in front of me. Also behind me, they fell. I was lucky.”

Nationale Sluitingprijs – Putte-Kapellen Result:
1. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 3:54:01
2. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda’s Willems
3. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
4. Arvid De Kleijn (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels
5. Timothy Stevens (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles-Group Protect
8. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Michael Goolaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Putte-Kapellen’16:

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Find Out the Route of the 2017 Tour de France Live on October 18
It has passed by here, will it return again? The charms of the 2017 Tour de France will be revealed in 6 days. Its route, its mountains, its new horizons but also its new face! The official poster – created by a fan – will be revealed at the same moment. A two-pronged event that will be aired live from the Palais des Congrès in Paris. But not only…

From Düsseldorf to the Champs-Elysées, but where will it go in between? Only 6 days left before the announcement of the 2017 Tour de France, that will be full of surprises and whose start will take place in Germany this year.

The ceremony will be aired live and accessible to everyone beginning at 11:30am (Paris time) / 10:30 GMT on Facebook and the official site of the Tour de France. The livestream will be translated in English and in German, so the Tour de France’s fans, all around the world will be able to live this amazing experience!

It will also be the moment to discover the official poster of the race. Who will be the winner of the first Tour de France creative contest? The victor and the winning poster will be announced on Tuesday, October 18 to an expected large gathering at the Palais des Congrès in Paris…

Enough to create impatience? The Tour de France has thought of everything: check out today the official teaser of the presentation!

Enjoy the Tour de France 2017 Presentation on October 18 by watching it live on the official site of the Tour de France and on Facebook!

Click here for more information about the Grand Départ of the 2017 Tour de France: www.letour.fr/grand-depart-2017

Click here to see the seven posters selected for the 2017 Tour de France contest:
imagine.letour.fr

Click here for more information about the “Imagine the Tour” campaign:
www.letour.fr/imagine-le-tour-2017


Teaser – 2017 Tour de France route announcement por tourdefrance_en

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From Team KATUSHA to KATUSHA-Alpecin
Shampoo manufacturer Alpecin new title sponsor for Swiss WorldTour team.

Team KATUSHA is happy to announce that the German company Alpecin joins the team as partner for the 2017 season. The team will be registered as a Swiss UCI WorldTour team.

The clear transformation of Team KATUSHA, from a predominately national team to a solid international project, was already very visible in the 2016 peloton. The team of owner Igor Makarov set a new standard in 2016 cycling. The iconic 2016 jersey, elected as the most beautiful jersey of the WorldTour peloton, was not only the reflection of the launch of the new KATUSHA clothing brand; the new design and look of the team was a symbol, showing that cycling is the ideal vector to bring messages to fans and media.

“We are pleased that Alpecin embraces the opportunities of our innovative marketing concept. Riders like Alexander Kristoff, Tony Martin and Ilnur Zakarin are the perfect ambassadors for our brands. In the past months we could already notice their effect on brand awareness of KATUSHA Sports. Alpecin will have the same access to this opportunity to deliver their brand messages. We found each other, we are on the same wavelength, and look forward to having a long marriage together,” says Alexis Schoeb, Board Member of KATUSHA-Alpecin, on Tuesday at the press meeting in the Alpecin headquarters in Bielefeld.

“Two years ago we started our involvement in cycling. Many people were initially very critical but in the end it was a great success. Now we see major opportunities for the new approach of KATUSHA. We want to drive the project forward together from 2017 onwards and to gain the benefits for Alpecin. This will be an exciting task and it is the next logical step. In addition to possible sporting successes, we will continue to support German cyclists and positively change cycling as a whole,” says Eduard R. Dörrenberg, managing partner of the family run manufacturer of the successful men’s shampoo Alpecin.

The last weeks Team KATUSHA contracted nine new riders. The team will have 25 riders coming from 14 different countries.

“As we are now a real international team, it was logical to change the team nationality to the neutral Swiss nationality. Moreover, all KATUSHA company offices have always have been located in Switzerland for the past eight years. Our move to Switzerland is especially symbolically important,” added Alexis Schoeb.

In the last eight seasons Team KATUSHA won races like Milano-Sanremo, Tour of Flanders, Il Lombardia, Vattenfall Cyclassics, GP Ouest France – Plouay, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Romandie, Volta a Catalunya, Tour of Basque Country as well as stages in Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta.

KATUSHA-Alpecin for 2017:
Maxim Belkov (RUS), Jenthe Biermans (BEL), Sven Erik Bystrøm (NOR), José Gonçalves (POR), Marco Haller (AUT), Reto Hollenstein (SUI), Robert Kišerlovski (CRO), Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Alexander Kristoff (NOR), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (RUS), Maurits Lammertink (HOL), Alberto Losada (ESP), Tiago Machado (POR), Matvey Mamykin (RUS), Tony Martin (GER), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Baptiste Planckaert (BEL), Nils Politt (GER), Jhonatan Restrepo (COL), Simon Špilak (SLO), Rein Taaramäe (EST), Ángel Vicioso (ESP), Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN), Rick Zabel (GER), Ilnur Zakarin (RUS).

Alex Kristoff:
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Moreno Hofland talks about his transfer to Lotto Soudal
Next season Moreno Hofland will join the Lotto Soudal team. The 25-year-old Dutch rider signed a two-year contract. Hofland, who is now riding for LottoNL – Jumbo, is known to be a sprinter but as of next year he wants to focus more on the Flemish races.

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “Moreno Hofland can definitely become part of the sprint train of André Greipel. He could be the successor of Greg Henderson. On the other hand Moreno is still very young himself and he has the ambition to win and we will give him that chance. There are many races where we ride without Greipel. For those races we can already rely on a few fast guys, but an extra sprinter is definitely welcome and that’s now the case with Moreno.”

“After Dylan Groenewegen joined the current team of Moreno, he got a bit sidetracked. We want to let him develop further in our team. Moreno isn’t only fast, he’s also cut out for the Flemish races with cobbles and wind. He can survive the Flemish hills. This is a second type of race we want to let him play a role in.”

Moreno Hofland: “I have been riding for the same team for eight years now: first three years for the development team and then I rode five years for the pro team. I notice I need a new challenge and new surroundings. I was very pleased with the offer of Lotto Soudal to join the team.”

“Apart from the fact that this is a new adventure there are several reasons why I specifically chose for Lotto Soudal. This team has one of the best sprint trains in the world. I am looking forward to playing a role in it to help my teammates and I also hope to learn a lot from it to become better myself. I also want to develop my Classics skills and then I’m on the right place with Lotto Soudal as well. Lotto Soudal is very experienced in the one-day races and I see that young riders with a similar profile as me are setting steps forward every year. I am sure we can stimulate each other.”

“The last years I focused on the sprint and left the Classics aside, but I know those races suit me and now I want to focus on it. I’m fast after hard races or on tough finishes. That’s how I also got the role of a sprinter for the flat courses, but hard races are better for me. Next year I really want to show myself in the Flemish races and win. I haven’t won this year and in 2017 I want to start winning again.”

Moreno Hofland:
Ster ZLM Toer 2015 stage-4

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Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka sign Ryan Gibbons and Ben O’Connor
African team to further intensify its development focus

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is delighted to announce the signings of South African Ryan Gibbons and Australian Ben O’Connor. Having proven their talents in the U23 ranks over the last few seasons both will make the step-up into the professional ranks.

22-year-old Gibbons hails from Johannesburg. Having ridden for the Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental team, his early season performances earned him a stagiaire spot in our World Tour outfit for which he rode since August. It didn’t take him long to continue to impress. Besides riding in support roles for our team leaders, he also managed to handle the pressure of captaining the team at the Münsterland Giro where he finished as our best placed rider. Gibbons, who has a solid punch, says: “I am so fortunate and have been privileged to get this wonderful opportunity to join Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Coming up from its Continental outfit is going to make the step a lot easier as it’s a familiar environment and both teams use similar systems and there are many other parallels. I’m grateful to have been given a taste of what pro cycling is about as a stagiaire. This has opened my eyes and given me a hunger and huge motivation for the future. I hope to be a valuable member of the team and ultimately achieve much success.”

“Coming from South Africa and understanding firsthand what Qhubeka is about and how it impacts and influences lives is also very motivating. It gives me purpose and a constant drive, knowing that I’m not only chasing results with the team, but that I’m also part of a project which is changing lives.”

Ryan Gibbons:
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Perth based O’Connor joins from Avanti-IsoWhey and is another young talent that has attracted our interest. The 20-year-old Australian excels in the mountains. He has some strong finishes in U23 stage races to his name with a 3rd place overall at the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc being one of his best results to date. O’Connor is looking forward to make the step-up: “I’m truly humbled to have been given the opportunity to commence my professional career with Dimension Data for Qhubeka. The team has a close network of support that will help and guide me in the huge step to what is a top tier team in the world of cycling. The ability to race with and for some of the classiest bike riders currently around – riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings and Mark Cavendish to name a few – will be the perfect environment for my development as neo-professional.”

Like Gibbons, O’Connor is also keen on representing Qhubeka on an international stage: “The bike has changed my life; I love riding, the places you see, the new relationships you develop and the people you inspire. The thought that through Qhubeka, by doing what I love best, I can help change the life of those less fortunate gives me a great sense of purpose to what I do.”

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has a strong development focus supporting and nurturing young talented riders to grow into promising and successful athletes. Gibbons and O’Connor have shown the potential to step up into the World Tour. The team will continue to support and invest in the Team Dimension Data Continental team come 2017.

Team Principal Douglas Ryder adds: “I always really enjoy the energy and big wide open eyes of young riders as they embark on a journey that is unknown to them. The passion and dedication is so contagious and affects a whole team so positively. When you surround them with a great culture, amazing people, mentorship and a high performance environment then magic happens. To see both Ryan and Ben show such determination and will power this year it is a pleasure to have them join Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as neo-pros. We have high hopes for both of them as they become the aspirational riders of our feeder team and the inspiration to so many in communities that Qhubeka shifts with bicycles.”

Ben O’Connor:
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Three Neo-Pros Join the Team in 2017
Three U23 riders will become pro at Lotto Soudal next year. They are the Belgians Rémy Mertz (21) and Enzo Wouters (20) and the British rider James Callum Shaw (20). The past three seasons Mertz rode for Color Code – Arden ‘Beef’, Shaw and Wouters are now a member of the Lotto Soudal U23 team. They all signed a two-year contract. Manager Marc Sergeant tells more about the choice for these three youngsters and they also react on their transfer.

Marc Sergeant: “Rémy Mertz has been riding for the U23 team of Christophe Brandt. This year Rémy, who’s riding in the U23 category for the third year, told he felt ready to become pro. This season he finished sixth in the U23 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Rémy says he’s good at riding stage races, but he can also perform in one-day races and the Flemish races don’t scare him off either. He will have to develop his skills gradually, starting at the training camp in December. We always give young riders the opportunity to grow, we don’t judge them on their first performances. It’s important to give them time.”

Rémy Mertz: “I’m lucky to join such a strong team at this young age. Being part of Lotto Soudal is a dream come true. It’s the best possible team for me. The team is known for the opportunities it offers to young riders. Just think of Tiesj Benoot, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens. It’s a challenge to become pro and it’s exciting. The first year it will all be new and no doubt I will learn a lot, also about myself. This year I was sixth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. That’s a type of course I like. I’m also looking forward to riding on cobbles, riding for Lotto Soudal will teach me a lot about racing in Flanders.”

Marc Sergeant: “Enzo Wouters is only twenty years old. It’s an early pro début, but what’s good comes fast. Enzo is a sprinter and because there are not many Belgian sprinters we definitely wanted him in our team. Next year he can already show his fast legs in smaller races. That could be after a breakaway or in a bunch sprint. At that young age results don’t come regularly, but we can definitely expect him to show his talents occasionally.”

Enzo Wouters: “Until halfway this season I hadn’t expect to become pro next year, but from then on things started moving. I am really happy with this opportunity. It feels good that the team believes in me. This is also nice for the U23 team led by Kurt Van de Wouwer. Kurt teaches us how to read the race and also tells us that we should dare to try something. You can learn from your mistakes he says. As a sprinter it is fantastic to join a team with so much know-how in this area. In 2014 I got third at Paris-Roubaix for juniors. I like the Classics, but I need to become stronger for that type of races.”

Marc Sergeant: “The past months James Shaw, who’s twenty just like Enzo Wouters, already rode some races with our WorldTour team as a trainee. He participated in the Tour of Britain and in a race of that level you immediately know what someone is worth. James did very well during that race and the team was very satisfied. He mainly had a supporting role and that will also be the case next year. When he was a junior he won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and this year he finished fifth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège for U23 riders. As a pro that is a rare combination. Next year we’ll see which races suit him best.”

James Shaw: “It’s an incredible feeling to become pro. It’s still is a bit surreal, but I’m really looking forward to flying the Lotto Soudal flag as a pro next year. The past years I really felt home in the U23 team and I am glad I can stay with Lotto Soudal. I enjoyed my time as a trainee in the WorldTour team and I’m so glad I will be riding for it the next two years. As a trainee I could ride the Tour of Britain. It was amazing to ride in my home country with my home crowd and friends and family supporting me. I was riding with some of the best riders in the world by my side. I don’t know what to expect of my first year as a pro. The traineeship was already a good introduction. I will certainly do my best. I am a bit of a puncher and rouleur, but as a 20-year-old I don’t want to say yet how I’ll spend the rest of my career. The next years I want to discover more about myself.”

Marc Sergeant: “It remains our mission to support young riders and that’s why we gladly offer this opportunity to these three neo-pros. With the transfer of Enzo Wouters and James Shaw we can further stimulate our U23 project and show to juniors that our project works. The story of James proves that we don’t only look for Belgians, but also give foreign riders a chance. It’s an advantage that we already know these riders from the U23 category and have tested them, but that doesn’t mean we are blind for talent in other teams.”

James Shaw:
Munster - Westfalen - Germany  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Shaw James Callum (Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during Sparkassen Munsterland Giro 2016 - photo Cor Vos © 2016

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Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out
Just can’t get enough of this guy and the Scottish scenery isn’t too shabby either.


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