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EuroTrash Pre-Giro Thursday!

The Giro d’Italia is here and we have lots of team news from Italy. It’s not all Giro, we also look at the Amgen Tour of California and we have the result and video from stage 1 of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. In other cycling news: Astana are being watched, Alaphilippe’s future, Wiggins is confident, Martin has broken ribs and PEZ Giro fantasy league. Cappuccino?

TOP STORY: Astana to be Monitored
The Astana team have agreed that they will be monitored by the University of Lausanne for the rest of the year, although they didn’t have much choice if they wanted to keep the UCI at bay. The License Commission said that they were satisfied that the Kazakh team are implementing sufficient anti-doping measures and would not withdraw Astana’s WorldTour license. Much to the relief of Nibali and the other riders who must have been worried for their future.

In a statement the team said: “Astana Pro Team has learned of the UCI License Commission’s reasoned decision and agrees to collaborate with the Institute of Sport Sciences at the University of Lausanne to be the ninth team formally monitored by ISSUL and thus adhere to the 2017 UCI World Tour reforms. Astana Pro Team will seek to employ third-party experts to assist in this task.”

Had the WorldTour license been taken away, would it affected the team that much? The big races could then decide if they wanted Astana in their events and with 2014 Tour de France winner, Vincenzo Nibali, included; the answer would be yes. On the other hand, the UCI must be relieved as they had to ‘appear’ to do something due to the public uproar, but probably didn’t want to lose the money that Astana pay to be in the WorldTour. The UCI President, Brian Cookson said: “We are satisfied by this decision which we believe is proportionate.” Proportionate? They keep the license and we keep the money.

Smiles all round:
TDFR 2014 - restday - 1

header-4-dunkerque15Quatre Jours de Dunkerque 2015
Bryan Coquard (Europcar) won Stage 1 of the 4 Days of Dunkirk (2.1, 4 Jours de Dunkerque-Tour du Nord-Pas-de-Calais), after 178.7 kilometers finishing in Orchies and he is the first overall leader.

The peloton split after several stretches of cobbles and in the end, Coquard topped the work of his team and took his second victory of the season from a group of three, including: Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Ignatas Konovalovas (Marseille 13-KTM). The French track star won a stage of the Étoile de Bessèges earlier this year.

10th on the stage Mads Pedersen (Cult Energy): “It was a demanding stage from start to finish. However, when I was in the chase group during the finale I was only concerned about saving as much energy as possible in the crosswind but I felt good on the cobbles but remained seated behind the train of FDJ riders. We had eye contact with the front all the time and in the end, it was only a matter of a few seconds. I’m happy about the result and especially about being in the finale.”

Quatre Jours de Dunkerque Stage 1 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 4:16:34
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Team Marseille 13-KTM at 0:04
4. Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:13
5. Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
6. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:26
7. Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Alo Jakin (Est) Auber 93
9. Steve Chainel (Fra) Cofidis
10. Mads Pedersen (Den) Cult Energy.

Quatre Jours de Dunkerque Overall After Stage 1:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar at 4:16:24
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:04
3. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Team Marseille 13-KTM at 0:10
4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
5. Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:23
6. Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
7. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:36
8. Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Alo Jakin (Est) Auber 93
10. Steve Chainel (Fra) Cofidis.

Dunkerque stage 1:

header-giroGiro d’Italia 2015
It’s that time again, arguably the best Grand Tour of the year starts with the team presentations tomorrow (Friday) in Sanremo, followed by the team time trial on Saturday. Stay tuned to PEZ for everything Giro over the next three weeks.

The Teams and Main Riders:
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA) – Pozzovivo, Betancur
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA) – Pellizotti, Gatto
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ) – Aru, Landa
BARDIANI CSF (ITA) – Battaglin, Colbrelli
BMC RACING TEAM (USA) – Gilbert, Caruso
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL) – Bole, Paterski
ETIXX – QUICK STEP (BEL) – Uran, Boonen
FDJ (FRA) – Roux, Veikkanen
IAM CYCLING (SUI) – Chavanel, Haussler
LAMPRE – MERIDA (ITA) – Ulissi, Modolo
LOTTO SOUDAL (BEL) – Van den Broeck, Greipel
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP) – Izagirre, Intxausti
NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA) – Cunego, Colli
ORICA GREENEDGE (AUS) – Gerrans, Matthews
SOUTHEAST PRO CYCLING TEAM (ITA) – Petacchi, Belletti
TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN (USA) – Hesjedal, Formolo
TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN (GER) – Geschke, Mezgec
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS) – Paolini, Porsev
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO (NED) – Tjallingii, Kruijswijk
TEAM SKY (GBR) – Porte, Viviani
TINKOFF – SAXO (RUS) – Contador, Basso
TREK FACTORY RACING (USA) – Felline, Nizzolo.

Read Ed Hood’s Giro preview HERE.

More race details on the web site: https://www.gazzetta.it/Giroditalia/2015/

***More team news will be added when we get it.***

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header-tinkoff-saxo15Tinkoff-Saxo unveils strong squad to support Alberto Contador at Giro d’Italia
Giro d’Italia is fast approaching and represents the first, major goal of the season for team leader Alberto Contador, who will receive support from the likes of Kreuziger, Basso and Rogers in an attempt to claim the overall win at the end of the 3,482km Grand Tour.

At the start in Sanremo, Tinkoff-Saxo lines up Alberto Contador, Roman Kreuziger, Michael Rogers, Ivan Basso, Sergio Paulinho, Manuele Boaro, Matteo Tosatto, Christopher Juul-Jensen and Ivan Rovny.

Last week, Alberto Contador talked in depth about his form, this year’s parcours, his opponents as well as the strong squad that will support him during three demanding weeks.

According to leading sports director Steven de Jongh, Tinkoff-Saxo fields a competitive and driven team with the ability to support captain Alberto Contador in diverse terrain in the search for the overall win.

“The main goal is to do the best possible GC result with Alberto. For the flat stages, we have big engines in Boaro, Tosatto and Chris Juul, while Paulinho, Rovny and also Boaro will be essential in the medium mountains. Our clear road captain is Rogers, who together with Kreuziger and Basso represent a very strong supporting trio in the mountains. I’m convinced that we have a really strong squad around Alberto”, says Steven de Jongh, who adds about the preparations made:

“We all know that a grand tour is long and a lot can happen over the course of three weeks. However, if Alberto stays safe and fresh, he can play a main role in the GC. Alberto and the boys had a really productive altitude camp on Teide, where Rovny and Kreuziger also went earlier. And following the Ardennes Classics, I can see that Roman is in great form. I’m confident that the guys stand fully prepared on Saturday”.

tinkoff-giro15-kreuziger-620

Tinkoff-Saxo trio ready to support in the mountains
Asked about his view on the daunting three-week race, Roman Kreuziger comments that his main objective is to support the team captain.

“I spent the last few days recovering from the Ardennes Classics with some light training and I feel that I’m currently in good shape. With a few days left until the start, I’m completely focused on the Giro. I want to be as ready as possible and I will do my best to support our leader Alberto Contador in his quest to win”, says Roman Kreuziger before detailing:

“I have raced the Giro twice, in 2011 and 2012, and it’s a race I really like because of the country and its people. Although it’s less stressful than the Tour de France, it isn’t any easier! The climbs are shorter but they are steep and intense. I feel that I have the shape required to help Alberto in these climbs and I look forward to the start on Saturday. I feel excited to take part in such a prestigious race with such a great team.”

Tinkoff-Saxo’s road captain Michael Rogers underlines that preparation is pivotal with key challenges such as Passo del Mortirolo, Colle delle Finestre and the long 59.2km TT on the menu during the 3482km route of this year’s 98th edition.

“To fulfill my goal of arriving at the Giro d’Italia with a balance of physical conditioning and mental freshness, the Tinkoff Saxo coaching staff and I decided to put greater focus on quality blocks of training, rather than the traditional early season competitions. Collectively as a team, we have done our best – both on and off the bike – in preparation for the Giro. I feel we have a well-balanced team, and we look forward to the numerous challenges that lay ahead in the next three week”, comments Michael Rogers, who returns to Giro d’Italia after having scored two memorable solo wins in last year’s edition.

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Two-time Giro-winner lines up
With eight participations and two overall victories in 2006 and 2010 as well as six stage wins, Ivan Basso comes with great memories and experience from the Giro. This year he’s not gunning for the GC, but underlines that he has prepared as if he were.

“My determination, drive and will are identical to when I was preparing for the Giro d’Italia as team leader, where my goal was to win it. The only difference is that now, all my energy will go to serve the team and our leader, Alberto. I feel in great shape. We have put a tremendous amount of work, we tried to take care of every single detail and we are convinced we will hit the starting line the way we planned”, says Ivan Basso and notes:

“Alberto is in great form himself and the entire squad is in the best shape possible. I think the quality of work at the training camp was excellent, we rode a lot, we talked a lot and discussed at length our approach. Our leader is the world’s best rider and that fact gives confidence to the rest of the squad. The Giro is always difficult and there will never be an easy moment. The first days will be difficult including the team TT. Then, after the fifth stage the climbs start and we will always have arduous days. Simply said, the Giro is always complicated”, finishes Ivan Basso.

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header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step to Giro d’Italia
Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in the Giro d’Italia.

Giro d’Italia, the 3,486km opening Grand Tour of the 2015 season, starts on Saturday, May 9th, and ends on Sunday, May 31st. There is one individual time trial, one team time trial, seven sprint stages, five medium mountain stages, three medium mountain stages with a summit finale, and four high mountain stages with a summit finish. The race opens with a 17.6km TTT in San Lorenzo Al Mare Sanremo and there is also the Stage 14 ITT, 59.4km in distance, from Treviso to Valdobbiadene. There are also two rest days. The shortest stages are Stage 3 Rapallo-Sestri Levante and Stage 17 Tirano-Lugano at 136km each, and the longest stage is Stage 7 Grosseto–Fiuggi, at 236km in distance. A total of 43,000 vertical meters are climbed during the three weeks of racing.

Rigoberto Uran will be the designated leader of Etixx – Quick-Step, after finishing 2nd overall in the 2013 and 2014 editions. He won the 2014 Stage 12 ITT, from Barbaresco to Barolo, which put him in the Maglia Rosa for several stages. Tom Boonen will also participate for the first time in his career, returning from injury after a crash at Paris-Nice. The selection is strong, and also balanced. The remaining selection for Etixx – Quick-Step: Maxime Bouet, Pieter Serry, Gianni Meersman, Fabio Sabatini, David De La Cruz, Iljo Keisse, and Petr Vakoc.

Riders:
Tom Boonen (BEL), Maxime Bouet (FRA), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Pieter Serry (BEL), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL), Petr Vakoc (CZE).
Sports Directors: Davide Bramati (ITA), Jan Schaffrath (GER) & Rik van Slycke (BEL).

header-sky-leftTeam Sky Confirms 2015 Giro d’Italia Squad
Richie Porte will lead Team Sky for the first Grand Tour of the year, the 2015 Giro d’Italia.

Porte, who has already won Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and Giro del Trentino this season, will lead the nine-man team which features Italian riders Salvatore Puccio and sprinter Elia Viviani, alongside Bernhard Eisel, Sebastián Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Leopold König, Mikel Nieve and Kanstantsin Siutsou.

The 98th edition of Giro d’Italia starts on Saturday 9 May with a team time trial in San Lorenzo al Mare and concludes on Sunday 31 May in Milan.

Team Sky’s race leader Richie Porte said: “The Giro d’Italia has been my main goal of the season. I’ve worked very hard through the winter and I am entering the race strong, healthy and up for the challenge. The competition will be tough, and obviously anything can happen in a Grand Tour, but we’ve got a great group of riders going into the race and we are ready for it.”

On confirming the team line-up Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said: “Team Sky has had a great start to the year and we are going into the first Grand Tour of the season with a strong team, led by Richie.

“Richie is entering the race in good shape and with real focus and determination. He’s made a lot of small changes across a number of areas in his preparation and training this season after the illness that affected his performance in 2014. His results this season speak for themselves with excellent wins at Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and Giro del Trentino. This is one of the biggest and toughest races to win in the calendar but we go to the Giro confident about the challenge ahead.”

The Team Sky squad for the 2015 Giro d’Italia:

Bernhard Eisel – age 34 – Austria
Lining up for his 17th Grand Tour appearance, the Austrian has carved out a reputation as one of the most respected road captains in the peloton. Few can read a race like Eisel, who also boasts renowned lead-out abilities and power on the flat.

Sebastián Henao – age 21 – Colombia
One of the most exciting climbing prospects in the sport, Henao made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro last year as the youngest rider in the race. The Colombian took the event in his stride, and with 12 months of experience he could be a rider to watch this year.

Vasil Kiryienka – age 33 – Belarus
The powerful Belarusian’s fifth appearance at the Giro will be his first in Team Sky colors. Often seen setting a fierce tempo on the front of the peloton, Kiryienka has also enjoyed individual success at the race, with two epic mountain stage victories in 2008 and 2011 respectively.

Leopold König – age 27 – Czech Republic
A new arrival at Team Sky over the winter, the Czech climber has a superb record in his blossoming Grand Tour career. With top-10 overall finishes already secured at both the Tour and the Vuelta, König has all the tools to make an impact on his Giro debut.

Mikel Nieve – age 30 – Spain
An elite climber suited to the steepest slopes, Nieve has finished in the top 10 on both his previous visits to the biggest race in Italy. 2011 saw him take a huge stage victory at Val di Fassa, and the Basque rider will by a key climbing ally for Richie Porte this time around.

Richie Porte – age 30 – Australia
Team Sky’s leader at the 2015 Giro d’Italia, the Tasmanian has enjoyed his best ever start to a season, with nine victories already under his belt. After back-to-back stage race victories at Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and the recent Giro del Trentino, Porte heads into the race as one of the favorites. He also made his name at the 2010 Giro, wearing the leader’s jersey and winning the young rider classification.

Salvatore Puccio – age 25 – Italy
Another member of Team Sky who knows what it is like to wear the famous Maglia Rosa, Puccio had a debut Giro to remember in 2013 when he led the race for a day. Now in his fourth season as a pro, the Italian will have a key team role to play across the three weeks.

Kanstantsin Siutsou – age 32 – Belarus
Another man with a Giro stage victory on his palmares, Siutsou heads into the race carrying great form out of the recent Giro del Trentino. A key rider in Team Sky’s climbing plans, the Belarusian will be one of the last riders to pull off in the high mountains.

Elia Viviani – age 26 – Italy
The second of Team Sky’s Italian contingent, Viviani has come close to an elusive Grand Tour stage victory in both his previous participations at the Giro. After a strong start to the season, the sprinter will be hoping to get a bit of luck to match his renowned finishing speed.

It looks like Richie Porte has the form:
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header-lottosoudal15André Greipel and Jurgen Van den Broeck about their Giro ambitions
Both have ridden the Giro twice. Jurgen Van den Broeck was 74th and 7th in 2007 and 2008 respectively, the beginning of his career as a GC rider. André Greipel won a stage in 2008 and 2010, he’d like to repeat that this year.

André Greipel: “I remember my last Giro really well. I was actually sick at the start, had stomach aches the first three days and it took half a Giro before I was recuperated. Eventually I could win the 18th stage. Racing in Italy and specifically the Giro is special. It’s easy to say that as a rider, but it really is. The riders make the race of course, but the Giro has got something that other races don’t have: the atmosphere, the own character, the stage profiles,…”

“Of course I have a certain ambition again. I want to win a stage. They say there are more sprint opportunities this year, but I don’t see more than five real bunch sprints. Apart from that, with Van den Broeck and Monfort we have two guys with expectations for GC. We have to find the right balance. We have a team that can do something in each type of stage. This year we chose to adapt my programme, therefore this Giro. I really wanted to ride the Giro. As a sportsman it is important to always set new goals. That keeps a rider motivated.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “I’m happy the Giro will finally start. The departure to the Giro is more relaxed than the departure to the Tour. I’m really keen to start, I always wanted to come back to this race. I’m a rider for Grand Tours, this is what I love most and do best, so I’m looking forward to it. I hope I will grow to be at my best in the decisive week. We’re here with a strong team, we have to use this, not only for GC. I have never asked a team that rides only for me.”

“It’s a varied route. For the riders, followers and spectators it will be exciting to see what happens. The stage profiles are interesting, and I expect that after stage five there will already be kind of a hierarchy, so everyone will know his role in the rest of this Giro. At the team time trial on day one it will be important to set a good performance. Of course so we don’t lose too much time but also for the prestige. With guys like Monfort, Greipel, Hansen, Henderson and Bak we have some experienced riders for this assignment.”

“I aim for a top ten place in the overall classification. This is correct according to the team and me. Considering my past I can’t say I will be happy with the twentieth place. I know what I’m capable of, I have worked hard to be ready for the Giro and I have faith for the next weeks. Because of circumstances I didn’t set remarkable results the previous races, but I was never tired, had a good altitude training camp and I had a good feeling after the fourth place in the time trial in the Tour de Romandie.”

Grand Tour debut for Stig Broeckx and Louis Vervaeke
For Stig Broeckx and Louis Vervaeke the Giro will be the first Grand Tour of their career. It’s the second pro season for Broeckx, who will celebrate his 25th birthday next Sunday on the second day of the Giro. His teammate Louis Vervaeke became pro on the 1st of July of last year, he’s 21 years old. We asked both riders what this selection means to them, what their role will be in the Giro and what their expectations are.

Stig Broeckx: “It means a lot to me to be riding a Grand Tour for the first time. One often hears you only become a real pro once you have completed a Grand Tour. I’m curious to race the Giro. We have a nice team with André Greipel and Jurgen Van den Broeck as leaders, I’ll be happy to support them. That’s a role that really suits me. The first week there will be lots of work to get a sprint with André and in the mountain stages I want to stay at Jurgen’s side as long as possible. Considering this will be my first Grand Tour I don’t say I will join a breakaway in one of the stages. I’ll have to wait how my body responds to the succession of race days. I want to make sure I have enough energy to finish the Giro, then I will be satisfied. Of course I hope the team achieves its goals and that I can contribute to that.”

Louis Vervaeke: “At first I was afraid to start in a Grand Tour, but I talked to the sports direction and learnt that I am ready for it and that it is important for my development as a rider. I wonder how I will react to three weeks of racing. It’s fantastic to go to this race as a 21-year-old. I will have to work a lot for the team’s leaders, but I also want to have a go of my own in some stages and maybe I can fight for a stage win. That will probably be in the second or third week. I will be happy if I can finish the Giro and still feel fine at the end. Top five or top three in a stage would make it even more fantastic, but that’s an extra and not necessary to have a successful Giro.”

Stig Broeckx, Giro first timer:
Cycling: Team Lotto-Soudal 2015

header-iamcyclingMichel Thétaz: “IAM Cycling will start by honoring Hugo Koblet, the first foreign rider to have won the Giro in 1950”
Even if it feels as though spring has barely started, Giro d’Italia is nevertheless knocking on the door. Saturday, May 9th, the hunt for the pink jersey will begin on a bike path along the Ligurian coast between San Lorenzo al Mare and San Remo with a 22 kilometer team time trial. Similar to the recent start for the Tour of Romandie, the IAM Cycling riders will be hoping to post at least as good of a time to start the first grand tour of the season. This will also be the first time the Swiss team will be participating in the Giro since joining the ranks of professional teams in January 2012. Consequently, IAM Cycling is keen to measure up to the expectations of the fans and organizers to prove they belong on the starting line.

Michel Thétaz is very happy with his squad already, since they have garnered no fewer than 52 top-10 placings since the beginning of the year. Thétaz, the founder of IAM Cycling and the CEO of IAM Funds, welcomes this appointment at the vaunted tour through Italy. “I can’t pretend that the whole team, including myself, was not frustrated to have been passed over for selection to this race in 2013 and 2014. We had really done everything we possibly could, but that proved not to be enough, in spite of our strong performances and quality riders. We concluded that the best way to come would be to invite ourselves. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why we ended up deciding to upgrade to the WorldTour status. On Saturday, IAM Cycling will start the race by honoring Hugo Koblet, the Swiss rider who was the first non-Italian to win the Giro in 1950. Sixty-five years later, I hope to help a young, motivated Swiss team to build on this success.”

Manager sportif, Rik Verbrugghe is also convinced that his team could prove to the organizers and the IAM Cycling supporters, that the Swiss team has what it takes to surprise the favorites over the course of three weeks of racing. “We have several assets in our game plan that will help us go after stage wins, which will be the first objective of the team. Matteo Pelucchi recently took second place in the second stage of the Tour of Yorkshire, so we certainly have one of the fastest guys in the pack at the moment. We have built a group around him to help put Matteo in a position for success; guys like Roger Kluge, Aleksejs Saramotins, and Jérôme Pineau will be a huge asset, and even Heinrich Haussler can be a luxury wildcard if Matteo has been dropped from the group before the final sprint. Sylvain Chavanel will have a free hand to chase stages during his first participation in the Giro. Stef Clement, who will benefit from the good form he showed at the recent Tour of Romandi, will be a road captain along with Jérôme Pineau. And then another major goal will be to help Sébastien Reichenbach reach as high as possible on the leader board. It is not a question of demanding he take a top-10, but it will be important for him to gain as much experience as possible for these big stage races. After having ridden his first Tour de France last year in the service of Mathias Frank, he can think a little more about himself here. And in my opinion, Sébastien will feel more comfortable racing the Giro. The pressure is not as great as at the Tour. The nervousness is nothing like what one finds at the Tour in July. On top of that, the types of climbs in Italy will suit him better as well. It will be important for him to ride like a leader, and even if the result is not all that noteworthy, this will have for him a long-term benefit.”

Riders:
Sylvain Chavanel (Fr), Clément Chevrier (Fr), Stef Clement (Ned), Heinrich Haussler (Aus), Roger Kluge (Ger), Matteo Pelucchi (It), Jérôme Pineau (Fr), Sébastien Reichenbach (S), Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat).
General Manager: Michel Thétaz.
Sports Managers: Serge Beucherie, Rik Verbrugghe.
Directeurs sportifs: Rubens Bertogliati, Kjell Carlström, Thierry Marichal.

Sylvain Chavanel:
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header-lottonl-jumboleftKruijswijk wants to live up to expectations in Giro
Team LottoNL-Jumbo will start Saturday, May 9th with Steven Kruijswijk as their leader at the 98th Giro d’Italia. The Giro starts in San Lorenzo al Mare with a team time trial of 17.6 kilometers. The leader of Team LottoNL-Jumbo ensured an extensive preparation on altitude on the island of Tenerife.

“I’ve been working on this year’s Giro d’Italia since last winter, a conscious goal set by me and my team. My team gives me both confidence and chances to pursue a good classification as their leader, with the support of riders around me. I would like to meet the expectations that I have raised in my first two seasons with two good Giros.”

Moreno Hofland
Just like Steven Kruijswijk, Moreno Hofland has targeted the Giro d’Italia well in advance. On Saturday he sprinted to a long anticipated first win of the season for Team LottoNL-Jumbo, as the Dutchman was unmatched in the bunch kick of the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

“I gained a good feeling in Tour de Yorkshire,” Hofland said. “I had a difficult start of the season, things didn’t go as planned, but hopefully we can keep this trend going. I was already full of morale, but this gives me an extra boost in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia. In the difficult stages in the Giro, I will try to save energy. On the days that offer opportunities, I will go for it.”

Confidence
Team manager Jan Boven has great faith in team leader Steven Kruijswijk. “A top ten ranking is a wonderful challenge for Steven. He already proved his abilities in the past. This year, however, there are a few more additional top riders at the start. The preparations went well for Steven. He has prepared at altitude, just like in 2011, when he finished with an eighth place. Steven is a quiet leader, who focusses well. Our team will try to create a relaxing atmosphere, ensure we have a clear daily plan and ride as a team.”

Challenge
Boven knows that winning a stage is a real challenge. Together with Frans Maassen and his riders, he will do everything to win a stage. “The spring season of Moreno was less successful than expected. That’s unfortunate, but the Giro is a motivation to show the world what he can do. His speed can help us to win a stage victory. George Bennett and Martijn Keizer have also prepared themselves at altitude. Our team also has strong riders that will excel because of spring power in their legs. ”

Team Line-up:
George Bennett, Rick Flens, Moreno Hofland, Martijn Keizer, Steven Kruijswijk, Nick van der Lijke, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Maarten Tjallingii and Robert Wagner.
Sports Directors: Frans Maassen & Jan Boven.

Bert-Jan Lindeman to ride the 2015 Giro:
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header-bmc15-rosterBMC Racing Team Reveals Squad For Giro d’Italia
The BMC Racing Team’s roster for the Giro d’Italia includes Damiano Caruso, a top 10 finisher at last year’s Vuelta a España, and past stage winner and world road champion Philippe Gilbert.

Only Brent Bookwalter returns from last year’s nine-man squad, while four riders will make their first Giro start: Marcus Burghardt, Silvan Dillier, Stefan Küng and Rick Zabel.

Sport Director Valerio Piva said the BMC Racing Team will support Caruso for the overall classification and take immediate aim at the “maglia rosa” race leader’s jersey in the team time trial that opens the three-week race Saturday.

“We will try to make a good start in the team time trial and maybe try to win one of the first stages,” Piva said. “The rest of the race we will support Damiano. He will have the support of Darwin Atapuma in the climbs, so hopefully a top five result in the general classification would be nice.”

New to the BMC Racing Team this year, Caruso finished ninth last September at the Vuelta a España. Last week, he finished third on Stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie.

“This year, I have a big opportunity and the team has given me a big responsibility,” Caruso said. “Last year, I did a good Vuelta and now I want to improve on that result in the Giro. I think I am realistic in wanting to be top 10, but in my heart, I hope to do better. This year, the Giro has a very hard start. The first five or six stages are very hard in Liguria and Toscana. It is very important to be ready from the start.”

Gilbert will make his fourth Giro start – but his first since 2009 when he soloed to win the penultimate stage.

“The Giro will be difficult because I am still suffering from my crash at Flèche Wallonne ,” Gilbert said. “I have done a lot of work to recover, but my goals have kind of changed because I do not know if I will be at my best level. I am hoping to do a good start with the team in the team time trial and then see day-by-day what I can do.”

Küng won a stage at the Tour de Romandie last week and earned “most combative rider” honors at the WorldTour race. The world individual pursuit champion on the track also soloed to win the Volta Limburg Classic last month.

“I remember when we talked to Stefan about doing the Giro,” Sport Director Fabio Baldato said. “His eyes got very big and he was really excited. This will be a good experience for him and I am sure he and the other young guys like Rick and Silvan can contribute. Doing a three-week race really helps you take the next step toward becoming a stronger, more experienced rider. You see their body and their attitude change in a grand tour much more than in a one-week week race or a classic.”

Riders:
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Stefan Küng (SUI), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sporting Manager: Allan Peiper (AUS).
Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA) & Valerio Piva (ITA).

***STOP PRESS*** Lodewyck Unable To Start Giro d’Italia
Klaas Lodewyck will not be able to start the Giro d’Italia for the BMC Racing Team Saturday due to lingering concerns about his heart, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa announced Thursday.

“This came to me as a big surprise,” Lodewyck said. “I am super, super disappointed. Everything went so well in England (at the Tour de Yorkshire). Day-by-day I was getting stronger, which made me think I could do a good Giro.”

Lodewyck had surgery performed on his heart last September. He returned to competition to start the season but was sidelined for much of the spring after breaking his right collarbone for the second time in eight months at the Dubai Tour in February. Dr. Testa said Lodewyck underwent testing in Belgium Wednesday as a routine follow up to the heart procedure.

“Based on the findings, he was recommended by his treating cardiologist to hold off on participating in competitions that are three weeks long,” Dr. Testa said. “Klaas will be re-tested after a three-week period of relative rest, during which he will be allowed to train at mild to moderate intensity. Then he will be re-evaluated and decisions on his return to competition will be made. The BMC medical staff is in full agreement with the decision and supportive of the plan that is in Klaas’s best interests.”

Replacing Lodewyck in the BMC Racing Team’s line-up for the Giro will be Amaël Moinard, who finished the Tour de Romandie Sunday. He was vacationing with his family in France when he received the call to make the trip to Italy.

“It is going to be a bit hard the first days for me for sure,” Moinard said. “But I will try to look for some good opportunities on some stages. I hope I have the chance to make a nice result.”

Moinard will be making his third start at the Giro d’Italia. A stage winner at the Tour du Haut Var last year and the 2010 king of the mountains classification winner at Paris-Nice, Moinard last competed in the Giro in 2006 and 2007 editions.

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header_movistar-leftMovistar Team excited for the 2015 Giro
Telephone squad -winners of the 2014 ‘Corsa Rosa’ with Nairo Quintana- come to Sanremo with young, versatile group hoping to extend their brilliant streak of wins (20) in the beginning of this season
Eusebio Unzué has chosen the nine-man squad the Movistar Team will bring to the start of the 2015 Giro d’Italia on Saturday. Andrey Amador (CRC), Igor Antón, Rubén Fernández, Jesús Herrada, Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Juanjo Lobato (ESP), Dayer Quintana (COL) and Giovanni Visconti (ITA) are the riders selected to represent the telephone squad in the 98th edition of the first Grand Tour of the year, having conquered the final ‘maglia rosa’ with Nairo Quintana in 2014.

Unzué recognizes it’s been the hardest GT roster decision for the managing team in the last few years. “All 11 riders preselected have come to this part of the season in excellent form. Igor Antón’s big progression during the last weeks, from País Vasco to his victory in Asturias, has been the key to this final selection – and having him into the Giro team.” The general manager of the Movistar Team explains the absences of Eros Capecchi and Javi Moreno: “Eros, who usually suffers from allergies in the spring, has chosen together with us to avoid the Giro this season and enter the Tour or Vuelta preselections, provided that he’s a strong climber and does well with warm conditions. Javi also does better at the Vuelta, and with these races coming up for us during the Giro, he should be able to lead the team himself there.”

An analysis on the final roster, one by one: “This Giro should be the confirmation of Beñat (Intxausti)’s abilities: it’s a race he already knows, he’s done really well there and finished in the overall top-10. As well Ion (Izagirre) as Jesús (Herrada) should also be able to build up on their big success to date, while Rubén (Fernández) and Dayer (Quintana) will ride their first GT with a more comfortable role – they only have to gain experience, see how their bodies react to the efforts and get used to the three weeks. Giovanni (Visconti) will have the task, together with Beñat, of leading the group – considering he’s an Italian rider, an experienced one in this race and all his years in the peloton, he will do well and surely have good chances in some stages. Regarding Juanjo (Lobato), I hope this Giro confirms him as a top sprinter; I think he has many chances to succeed. Andrey (Amador) has got experience, good form and is a super ‘joker’ for any kind of stage. In general, not having to contest the overall classification from the start of the race will give us a chance to ride with freedom and make a classic out of every stage.”

Unzué also commented on the race route and favorites: “I really like the parcours; it’s a very balanced one, with no climbs of 2,600, 2,700 meters above sea level like in previous editions, where you could get some stages even cancelled. There’s something for every rider: a team time trial -always spectacular and interesting, though harder for us-, a big ITT, mountain-top finishes which will become decisive and lots of open days, surely spectacular, too. Names to follow? As well as (obviously) Alberto, Porte -should he be able to keep his form alive and stay regular throughout the race, he’ll be the other main candidate-, Aru -the biggest alternative, young and still with room for improvement- and Rigoberto (Urán), a real veteran in this race, already two consecutive years on the podium and with enormous potential in the mountains and especially the TT.”

The Movistar Giro selection:

Lampre Merida Team f_chiariTeam LAMPRE-MERIDA has announced the names of the 9 cyclists who’ll take part in the Giro d’Italia
The official announcement was give by the team manager Brent Copeland in a meeting which took place in the headquarter of Fred Mello, sponsor and official supplier for leisure clothes of the blue-fuchsia-green team. The selection for the Pink Race of a historical team as LAMPRE-MERIDA is characterized by the right union between the Italian tradition and internationality, between the experience and the dynamism of the young riders.

These are the 9 riders who’ll be at the start from San Lorenzo al Mare:
– Roberto Ferrari: 32 years, Italy, 4 caps and 1 stage victory in the Giro d’Italia, sprinter.
– Tsgabu Grmay Gebremaryam: 23 years, Ethiopia, debut in the Giro d’Italia, climber.
– Sacha Modolo: 27 years, Italy, 4 caps in the Giro d’Italia, sprinter.
– Manuele Mori: 34 years, Italy, 6 caps in the Giro d’Italia, fast rouleur.
– Przemyslaw Niemiec: 35 years, Poland, 4 caps in the Giro d’Italia, climber.
– Jan Polanc: 22 years, Slovenia, 1 cap in the Giro d’Italia, climber-rouleur.
– Maximiliano Richeze: 32 years, Argentina, 2 caps in the Giro d’Italia, sprinter.
– Diego Ulissi: 25 years, Italy, 3 caps in the Giro d’Italia and 3 victories in the Giro d’Italia, fast climber.
– Gang Xu: 31 years, China, debut in the Giro d’Italia, rouleur.

The cyclists from Team LAMPRE-MERIDA will represent 6 different Nations (Argentina, Cina, Ethiopia, Italy, Poland and Slovenia) and 4 Continents (Africa, America, Asia and Europe).The average age is 29 years.

The Team LAMPRE-MERIDA will wear the traditional blue-fuchsia-green clothes which will be enriched on the shoulders and on the sides by the logo Cieffe, a new sponsor that chose to support the team. The team will be directed by Orlando Maini and Marco Marzano, who’ll receive the assistance by Daniele Righi. The team manager Brent Copeland will be assisted by the general coordinator Andrea Appiani.

Stage wins for Sacha Modolo?
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header-katusha15Team Katusha is ready for Giro d’Italia
WorldTour Team Katusha is ready for the 98th edition of the Giro d’Italia. This year the Giro starts on May 9th with a team time trial of 17,6 km from San Lorenzo al Mare to Sanremo and will end on May 31st in Milan. For Team Katusha it will be its 7th Giro d’Italia.

The full team’s roster: Maxim Belkov, Sergei Chernetckii, Pavel Kochetkov, Sergey Lagutin, Luca Paolini, Aleksandr Porsev, Iurii Trofimov, Anton Vorobyev and Ilnur Zakarin.
Sports directors are Dmitry Konyshev and Claudio Cozzi.

The beard will be seen in the Giro:
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header-cannondale-garminCannondale-Garmin Announces Giro d’Italia Line-Up
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced the squad that will take on the 2015 Giro d’Italia. Headlined by 2012 Champion and 2014 9th-place finisher, Ryder Hesjedal, the green argyle team is versitile and features a mixture of youth and experience. Janier Acevado, Nathan Brown and Davide Formolo are competing in their first Giro d’Italia, with Formolo competing in his first ever Grand Tour. Tom Danielson is coming off great performances at Pais Vasco and Volta Catalunya, where he won the Mountains Classification, while TJ Slagter recently posted strong riding in the Ardennes, including 9th place at at Flèche Wallone. The nine-rider squad includes three Italians for the Italian Grand Tour in Formolo, Alan Marangoni and Davide Villella.

Since inception, Slipstream Sports has historically had great success at the Giro d’Italia, topped by Ryder Hesjedal’s overall GC win in 2012. Hesjedal finished 9th overall in last year’s edition. The organization’s first Giro d’Italia win came in 2008 with a victory in the team time trial. A second win in the team time trial came in 2012 Giro d’Italia. Additional stage wins include two sprint victories (2010), one individual time trial win (2011) and a one from a breakaway (2013).

Director Charly Wegelius said: “Ryder Hesjedal, champion of 2012 Giro d’Italia, headlines Cannondale-Garmin’s 2015 Giro team. Ryder approaches the Giro in strong form and knows how to pace himself in grand tours. His vast experience, especially as a Giro winner, will be a precious resource for the team. Racing the Giro with a former winner on the squad is a unique opportunity for our younger riders like Nate Brown, Davide Formolo and Davide Villella and one that I expect them to take full advantage of. We can also count on the strength and experience of well-grounded riders Janier Acevedo, Andre Cardoso, Tom Danielson, Alan Marangoni and TJ Slagter. This is a versatile team with a mix of youth and experience, and we’ll be looking for opportunities throughout the race.”

Ryder Hesjedal added: “I couldn’t be more excited to start another Giro d’Italia with such a great group of people. The riders and staff know how hard a 3-week race is and I know we are all ready for the challenge, and prepared to continue our strong legacy with the race.”

Cannondale-Garmin 2015 Giro d’Italia Line-Up:
ACEVEDO, Janier
BROWN, Nathan
CARDOSO, Andre
DANIELSON, Tom
FORMOLO, Davide
HESJEDAL, Ryder
MARANGONI, Alan
SLAGTER, Tom
VILLELLA, Davide.

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header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin Giro Team
Team Giant-Alpecin heads to this year’s Giro d’Italia following a hugely successful 2014 edition with three stage wins. Once again the goal is to win a stage and allow the team’s riders to gain experience over the 21 days with more than 3,000km of racing.

The team announced earlier in the month that sprinter Luka Mezgec (SLO) would definitely be lining up in San Lorenzo, and he will be joined by a strong team with lead-out capabilities and also riders who can take their chances in the breakaways if and when the opportunities arise.

The opportunists in the lineup include Simon Geschke (GER), who will head to the Giro following a strong comeback in Liège-Bastogne-Liège after recovering from a fractured collarbone, as well as Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), who will also have the opportunity to develop his long time trial skills in stage 14 with the 59.4km individual time trial.

This will be the first appearance in the Giro d’Italia for Americans Chad Haga and Caleb Fairly. Haga rode his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, last year and Fairly did the same at the 2013 Vuelta. The first Chinese rider ever to start in the Giro d’Italia, Cheng Ji, will be present again at the starting line in San Lorenzo.

Coach Addy Engels (NED) is looking forward to the Giro: “Our primary target will be the sprint stages with Mezgec, as we have a strong lead-out team including Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (NED) and Tobias Ludvigsson (NED).

“In the Giro there are always some stages that are too tough for a bunch sprint and not hard enough for the GC contenders. For these days we will bring riders such as Geschke and Tom Stamsnijder (NED) to Italy to aim for a good stage result.”

Line-Up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Caleb Fairly (USA), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Tom Stamsnijder (NED).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

Tom Stamsnijder to get his chance in the Giro:
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header-toc15-leftThe Amgen Tour of California 2015
The Amgen Tour of California starts tomorrow (Friday) with the Women in South Lake Tahoe and finishes on Sunday the 10th of May in Sacramento. The men start on Sunday in Sacramento, finishing on Sunday the 17th of May in Pasadena, with the big stage to Mt. Baldy and the 24.7 kilometer time trial at Big Bear Lake next Friday.

Race website: www.amgentourofcalifornia.com

***More team news will be added when we get it.***

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header-lottonl-jumboleftGesink and Van Asbroeck lead LottoNL-Jumbo in California, Van Winden returns with team
Robert Gesink is aiming to get involved in the Tour of California after his strong performance in the Tour de Romandie. Team LottoNL-Jumbo is also counting on a good showing from Tom Van Asbroeck in the American stage race. In the Golden State, the Belgian sprinter can rely on the support of Dennis van Winden, who will make an immediate comeback to the team.

“I’m very happy to return to the highest level,” Van Winden stated. The Dutchman rode for Baku Cycling Project during the first months of the season and has signed with the Dutch squad until the end of the year.

“I’m proud to be a part of the family again. I want to thank Baku for the opportunity they have given me. It is a project I believe in and I’ll keep following them for sure. I’m looking forward to assisting Robert and Tom as much as I can in the Tour of California.”

Erik Dekker
Sports Director Erik Dekker is content with the return of Van Winden. “Dennis is a strong lead-out man. Our sprinters will certainly benefit from his presence. In California, we’ll start working on the Van Winden-Van Asbroeck train because in the sprints, we want to take on Cavendish.”

Robert Gesink
Gesink has shown his class on several occasions in the Tour of California. In 2007 and 2008 he was the best young rider and in 2012 he triumphed in the overall. In total, he won two stages.

“I think the Tour of California is a beautiful race. I’ve been successful here in the past and after riding the Tour de Romandie this is a logical step for me. I hope to be able to compete for top results even more than in Switzerland, because ultimately that’s what it’s all about. With Moreno Hofland’s win in Yorkshire the team’s year has taken off. I want to continue that success in America.”

Altitude training
Gesink will remain in the USA after the Tour of California with his family to train at altitude. “I want to prepare myself for the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France. I like being in the States as it offers me the perfect combination of training and fun.”

Team line-up:
Tom van Asbroeck, Laurens ten Dam, Jos van Emden, Robert Gesink, Mike Teunissen, Sep Vanmarcke, Dennis van Winden & Maarten Wynants.
Sports Director: Erik Dekker.

Sep Vanmarcke:
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header-cannondale-garminCannondale-Garmin Amgen Tour of California Roster
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced its 2015 Amgen Tour of California Roster, featuring five Americans including Alex Howes, Ben King, Ted King, Napa resident Andrew Talansky and Joe Dombrowski, who had a career-defining moment on Mt. Baldy in 2012 with a 4th place finish on the stage. The team also features Olympic Gold Medalist Lasse Hansen and neo pros Kristoffer Skjerping and Ruben Zepuntke.

According to Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, the squad will be racing to win every chance it gets:

“We’re hoping for a breakout performance from one of our many young riders. Stage wins are possibilities from Alex, Ruben, and Kristoffer. Joe Dombrowski first proved himself in California in 2012 on Mt. Baldy. I think he’s looking to see what he can do there again. Overall, our objective will be to race for the win as much as possible on every day that presents a chance.”

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling 2015 Amgen Tour of California Roster:
Joe Dombrowski, Lasse Hansen, Alex Howes, Ben King, Ted King, Kristoffer Skjerping, Andrew Talansky, Ruben Zepuntke.

The last ToC for Ted King:
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header-MTN14-leftMTN-Qhubeka for Amgen Tour of California
Great opportunity to share the message of Qhubeka in America
America’s greatest race, The Amgen Tour of California gets underway on Sunday 10th of May. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are excited to be taking part in the 8 stage UCI 2.HC event for the first time in the team’s history.

As America’s most prestigious Tour and hosted in the cycling crazy state of California, it is a great opportunity for our African team to go and share the message of Qhubeka with the people of North America. The Amgen Tour of California could be seen as America’s very own grand tour as all the hype around the event, star studded field and general organisation is of equal standard to many World Tour races already.

The route has something for everyone with flat sprint stages, some undulating stages, an individual time trial as well as a Queen stage that finishes a top Mount Baldy. It is no wonder that the general classification typically suits your grand tour type rider. Looking at the palmares of the race, Bradley Wiggins and Tejay van Gaarderen are the most recent victors of the yellow jersey.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are looking forward to putting on a good show over the upcoming 8 days with a strong team ready to show our stripes, particularly in the stages ending in a sprint. Tyler Farrar, Matt Goss and Gerald Ciolek are all keen to be back racing the Amgen Tour of California as Tyler and Matt are both previous stage victors while Gerald has podiumed on 4 occasions previously. Theo Bos will also be looking forward to giving the American tour a good crack in the coming week, as he rounds out a formidable sprint line-up.

For the general classification, the South African champion, Jacques Janse van Rensburg will lead the charge for our African team. Jacques will be able to rely on Daniel Teklehaimanot, Johann van Zyl and Matt Brammeier for assistance throughout the week.

African fans will be able to watch all the action live on Supersport from 23:00 daily on SS6.

Johann van Zyl – Rider
I’m super excited to finally race the Amgen Tour of California. I’ve been following the race closely every year wishing I was there. It is going to be special to go and promote our Qhubeka foundation for the first time during the Amgen Tour of California with the goal to get 5000 kids on bikes this year. We are lining up with a strong team that will have opportunities on the flat stages and GC. I am feeling good so I’ll try my luck in a break or two and also have a good crack at the stage 6 ITT.

Michel Cornelisse – Sport Director
We hope to do a good GC with Jacques as the Mount Baldy stage will suit his capabilities. With guys like Farrar, Goss, Ciolek we have a good candidates for stage wins and we know Farrar is really motivated to race in America. Bos has also just shown in Turkey that he is also just getting better and better so we are excited to get racing.

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header-bmc15-rosterRoster: Amgen Tour of California
Brabantse Pijl and Tour de Yorkshire stage winner Ben Hermans headlines the BMC Racing Team’s roster for the Amgen Tour of California. The 10th annual edition of the eight-day race begins Sunday.

Riders:
Jempy Drucker (LUX), Campbell Flakemore (AUS), Ben Hermans (BEL), Daniel Oss (ITA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sport Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA) & Jackson Stewart (USA).

Ben Hermans:
100 th  Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014

header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin Team for California
This weekend the peloton moves across the ocean for the 10th edition of the Amgen Tour of California. Team Giant-Alpecin will be looking for another top-10 result in the general classification at “America’s Greatest Race” as Lawson Craddock (USA) took third place in 2014.

Team Giant-Alpecin heads to the United States with a mixed team of climbers and riders who are good on the flat. Craddock will lead the team together with Warren Barguil (FRA), who is continuing his season after finishing the Ardennes campaign. Carter Jones (USA) will test his climbing legs in the two mountain stages.

The team is also bringing Koen de Kort (NED) and Zico Waeytens (BEL) to California. Both riders have the spring classics behind them and will go for good stage results during the flat stages. The lineup is completed by Roy Curvers (NED) and Thierry Hupond (FRA).

“California is a special race with hot conditions and not too many difficult stages, so it will be an ideal race for our guys to look for good stage results. For others, like Lawson and Carter, it will be an ideal opportunity to show their qualities as we aim for a top-10 result in the GC again.

“For the flatter stages we will bring Koen de Kort (NED) and Zico Waeytens (BEL), who will aim for a good result in a reduced bunch sprint,” said coach Aike Visbeek.

The teams sprinter Marcel Kittel (GER), who initially was announced for the Tour of California, will not participate. In consultation with the performance staff and Kittel himself, the team decided to follow a different program in building up to his upcoming season goals. An alternative racing program will be determined by the team. Kittel said, “After the Tour de Yorkshire we decided to take some more time for training, as I am not yet back to the race fitness needed for such a big and prestigious race as the Tour of California, and I will focus on training and working toward the next goals this season.”

Line-Up:
Warren Barguil (FRA), Lawson Craddock (USA), Roy Curvers (NED), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Carter Jones (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).

Warren Barguil:
Cambrils, 26-012015, Warren Barguil

header-hincapie-racingThe Hincapie Racing Team Readies For 2015 AMGEN Tour of California
First Appearance for Team at America’s Greatest Race

The Hincapie Racing Team announced its anticipated roster for the 10th edition of the AMGEN Tour of California, which kicks off May 10th in Sacramento and concludes 724 miles later on May 17th at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This will be the team’s first time racing the event.

The lineup includes: Ty Magner, Oscar Clark, Toms Skujins, Andzs Flaksis, Dion Smith,Robin Carpenter, Joe Lewis and Joe Schmalz. Chief Sports Director Thomas Craven and Assistant Director Chris Wherry will guide team strategy.

“Receiving an invitation to the AMGEN Tour of California is an honor, and signifies what this team has accomplished in a short time,” said Chief Sports Director Thomas Craven. “We’ll be facing our toughest competition yet with some of pro cycling’s biggest teams and most accomplished riders, but our approach will be like any other event: we’re here to race.”

Under Craven, the Hincapie Racing Team ride with a resolve that resulted in 39 victories in 2014, highlighted by stage two of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, plus wins in 2015 at the US Professional Team Time Trial National Championships, The Anniston Criterium and stage two of the San Dimas Stage Race.

“We’re not going to contest the overall but we’ll look to put ourselves in a position to win stages at every opportunity,” added Craven. “Ty Magner and Dion Smith will be in the mix on sprint stages and Robin Carpenter will be looking for opportunities on the strong man days. We have a roster that can factor into most every stage.”

The Hincapie boys winter training:
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header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step to Amgen Tour of California
Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in Amgen Tour of California,a 1,156km one-week race starting on Sunday, May 10th, and ending on Sunday, May 17th.

The first two stages, 204.3km Stage in Sacramento and 193.1km Stage 2, from Nevada City to Lodi, are favorable for the sprints. There is also more than 13,000 meters of climbing during the race, starting with the 168.9km 3rd Stage in San Jose.

Major climbs of the stage race include Balcom Canyon in Stage 5, Mount Hamilton in Stage 3, and a Stage 7 summit finale on Mt. Baldy (eight percent average gradient), which takes place on the penultimate day of the race. The most decisive stages are the 24.1km ITT at Big Bear Lake, the 128.7km queen stage with a finish on Mt. Baldy, and the final stage, a sprinter friendly 96.5km Stage 8 from L.A. Live to the Rose bowl in Pasadena.

Mark Cavendish will be at the start of the race after an outstanding performance at Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey last week. The British rider won three sprint stages, finished 2nd in the final stage, and won the Points Competition. The Manx Missile has nine victories so far this season and will look to continue his success with a strong Etixx – Quick-Step team around him.

Riders:
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Mark Cavendish (GBR), Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Mark Renshaw (AUS), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL), Martin Velits (SVK).
Sports Director Brian Holm (DEN) & Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

Julian Alaphilippe:
JulianAlaphilippe

header-sky-leftTeam Sky has confirmed its rider line-up for the Tour of California
Riders:
Ian Boswell, Philip Deignan, Nathan Earle, Sergio Henao, Pete Kennaugh, Christian Knees Danny Pate and Xabier Zandio.
*rider line-ups subject to change.
For further information visit: www.teamsky.com.

Philip Deignan to lead sky in California:
Santos Tour Down Under stage-3

header-tinkoff-saxo15Tinkoff-Saxo takes on Amgen Tour of California with diverse goals and Sagan in a leading role
Tinkoff-Saxo embarks on the 10th anniversary edition of Amgen Tour of California with a fast team headed by team captain Peter Sagan. The focus is on stage wins during the 1,156km quest but talented Jay McCarthy could equally have a go in the search for a GC result on the decisive Mt. Baldy.

Come Sunday in Sacramento, Tinkoff-Saxo aligns a squad consisting of riders returning from a break after a long stint at the spring classics as well as teammates coming fresh off the back of racing in Turkey. Sports director Tristan Hoffman notes that the clear team leader is Peter Sagan aiming for stage wins, while other riders could have a dig along the way.

“Peter Sagan is our leader in California following a break after the Classics. We think he had a good buildup towards this race and our goal this year is for him to win stages, having had in the past nice victories as well. We have a very strong train and all our riders are in good shape. A number of stages are a little bit harder, where we could try to drop some sprinters, giving Peter the opportunity to win but he will also try in the flat stages from the onset. I saw the final starting lineup and there’s a number of equally fast riders, so we expect a high-level, competitive peloton”, says Tristan Hoffman and adds:

“Jay McCarthy comes directly from the Tour of Turkey, where he made a very big step forward and he might make another one here. Stage 7 with the climb to Mt. Baldy will prove very tough for him but he could be able to survive and stay as long as possible with the best. He must also do a good individual time-trial on the 24.2km stage 6. For the TT we also have Maciej Bodnar, who is a proven time-trialist”.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s squad for Amgen Tour of California includes Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Jay McCarthy, Daniele Bennati, Michael Mørkøv, Michael Kolar, Matti Breschel and Jesús Hernández.

Spanning 1,156 kilometers over the course of eight stages, the 10th edition of Tour of California takes the riders from Sacramento to Southern California and Pasadena for the final stage. Besides fully supporting Peter Sagan on flat and hilly stages, Tinkoff-Saxo is also eyeing opportunities with 22-year old Jay McCarthy, who tells that he has returned to California with a morale boost in the luggage.

“I was surprised with my first good result in Turkey but that acted as a boost to my confidence which in turn led to more good results. As my confidence in myself grew the good results continued and hopefully I can hold on here in the Tour of California. The team has given me a chance and I might be able to go for the GC but of course our leader here is Peter Sagan and we will all have to look after him in the sprints”, says Jay McCarthy, who participated in his first Tour of California at the age of 20.

“My first Tour of California was two years ago with Tinkoff-Saxo and Mick Rogers as our leader, who finished second overall. I was in pretty good shape as well and I felt I had supported Rogers as much as I could. I look forward to racing once again here. There’s only one hard uphill finish and together with the time-trial it will be the two days that will affect the GC. However, even the early stages can be open and very windy, so we will have to look at the race day by day and see what possibilities arise”, concludes Jay McCarthy.

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header-ale-cipollini15The Cipollini Girls at Tour of California!
We are excited to announce the presence of the Ale Cipollini Women’s Cycling Team at the AMGEN, Tour of California this month. Despite the short time in the cycling arena, they have already reached the “top five” of the best women’s teams in the world for the expertise, background and complete dedication. The team, sponsored by CIPOLLINI bikes, ride both models RB1000 and LÓGOS.

Join us on May 7th at 4:30 pm at Riva Grill on the Lake, South Lake Tahoe and meet the girls that are making noise in the cycling industry!

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header-sciconTour of California- The Logistics of Racing Outside Europe
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‘California’- a place name that conjures up images of glamour, sunshine and Arnold Schwarzenegger driving around in an SUV power by vegetable oil. But for one week each year center-stage is hijacked by professional cyclists and their entourages.

The Amgen Tour of California seeks to emulate the European Grand Tours with a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each Spring. Divided up into 8 grueling stages with a cumulative distance of around 700 miles.

But we want to focus on the logistics behind the cycling teams and not the actual race itself. The vast majority of World Tour and Continental teams are based in Europe and the ‘journey to victory’ starts a long time before the race itself.

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Scicon currently sponsor 9 professional cycling teams of which 4 are racing at this year’s Tour of California, Cannondale-Garmin, Trek Factory Racing, Tinkoff-Saxo and MTN-Qhubeka. Scicon, as bike bag manufacturer, play a huge role in facilitating safe transportation of thousands of bikes every year to and from races and training camps around the world.

As you can see, each of the 8 riders has 3 bikes: 1 road, 1 TT and 1 spare. Cannondale-Garmin also take a couple extra spares on top of that.

Henriette Greenwood- Logistics Manager of Tinkoff-Saxo tells us:

“We currently book an average of 1100 flight tickets per year and that includes 240 bikes in bike bags to races like the Tour of Down Under, California, Colorado, Dubai, Qatar etc. and of course, also to our training camps.”

Henriette also explained that they have a dedicated ‘overseas package’ which is always readily available at their service course in Luxembourg. This overseas package includes a list of spare bike parts, water bottles and nutrition as long as your arm. Here’s a simplified version of the equipment set aside for each rider in the form of an infographic:

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MTN-Qhubeka Team Principle Douglas Ryder explains to us that travel logistics play a huge role in his team as they are flying a lot further than other teams as many of their riders live in Africa:

“60% of our riders live outside of Europe where the majority of races are held meaning we have to fly to races that other teams don’t have to.”

Douglas goes on to state:

“This is why having a good bike bag is so important. The AeroComfort is the best in the business and we want to get our riders out to races like the Tour of California in the best shape.”

This year is in fact the first year that MTN-Qhubeka have been invited to participate at the TOC which makes it all the more important that they pack safe and ride fast!

Trek Factory Racing, on the other hand, have been racing the TOC since the team was founded in 2011 as Leopard Trek. Former rider Chris Horner actually won it back in 2011.

Scicon’s sponsorship of this team also began back in 2011. They have been traveling with the AeroComfort for 4 years now and Tim Vaderjeugd, Communications Manager, tells us:

We have complete faith in our Scicon Bags.

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Something that all the teams seem to echo is the huge increase in the number of races outside of Europe. Head Mechanic at Cannondale-Garmin Geoff Brown claims:

“The globalization of professional cycling is great for the sport, and it is critical for teams to get the equipment we need where it needs to be, safely – so we are lucky to have a sponsor like Scicon that helps ensure our equipment arrives in great condition for racing and training.”

It means more work for Geoff but also more trips to exotic places too which I’m sure none of the riders and staff are complaining about! Cycling is, for most people including professional riders, about exploring new places, going on adventures and of course, looking stylish at the airport with their Team Edition AeroComfort 2.0 bike bags.

Watch the video below to see the 2015 collection of Team Edition AeroComfort 2.0s.

But why do so many teams choose to fly with Scicon? We currently sponsor 9 pro teams but in fact, a total of 20 teams are using this bike bag.

What sets the AeroComfort 2.0 apart exactly? Have a look at our product illustration below to get a better idea:

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The TSA locks are obviously especially important for when the teams are flying across to races such as the Tour of California as the Travel Sentry Agents can access the contents of the bike bag at customs.

The biggest benefit to the teams is the vast amount of money they save by using the AeroComfort as opposed to a bike box. This bike bag weighs 8.9kg, most teams’ bikes weigh around 6.8kg (as that’s the minimum allowed) so that totals just under 16kg which is within pretty much all airline baggage limits.

Whereas if the teams were using bike boxes, which usually weigh between 12-20kg, they might be pushed over into excess baggage fee territory.

Lets put that into real terms-

Lets take a bike box which weighs in at 17.5kg (this weight is based on a leading bike box model)

+ 6.8kg bike = 24.3kg total weight

VS 15.7kg total (including bike) with the AeroComfort 2.0 TSA

And lets take a standard airline company that many pro cycling teams including Cannondale-Garmin will be using to fly across to the Tour of California- Lufthansa, who are pretty reasonable when it comes to bike fees in comparison to some other airline companies.

They allow bikes on for free if under 23kg but will charge €100 ($150) each way if over the given allowance (inter-continental). This means that the total excess baggage charges for the four teams traveling to the Tour of California with the AeroComfort should be €0 whereas if they were traveling with a heavier bike box it would cost them roughly €4800 extra for a round trip. Bear in mind too that Lufthansa’s fee are quite low in comparison to some other airlines who charge per kg in excess and have more restrictive dimensional restrictions.

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And this is just for one race. If we take the figure given to us by Tinkoff-Saxo of 240 bikes transported via plane per year to and from races and training camps then the total amount of excess baggage would be between €24,000- €36,000!

This is a huge amount of saving for a team, especially one with a more limited budget e.g. MTN-Qhubeka or a female team like Velocio-SRAM (who are racing in this year’s women’s Tour Of California). Also, some continental teams and almost all women’s teams don’t have a team bus or a large service course meaning that the riders tend to look after their own equipment. This means packing and flying out with their bike bag themselves, much like an amateur rider who participates in a lot of sportives and/or often goes on cycling holidays.

From professional mechanics to pro riders to cycling tourists, the AeroComfort 2.0 TSA is the number one choice in bike transportation worldwide with good reason.

header-cannondale-garminTwo Broken Ribs for Martin
Unknown to Cannondale-Garmin rider, Dan Martin, he was riding the Tour de Romandie with two broken ribs from his crash in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Irishman Tweeted that it was impossible for him to ride his time trial bike in Romandie, but was proud to have finished the Swiss race. He said: “Turns out I rode Romandie with 2 broken ribs from my LBL crash. I thought it was painful.”

That crash:

header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step Extends Contract with Julian Alaphilippe For Two Seasons
Will Ride for the Team Until 2017

Etixx – Quick-Step has reached an agreement with Julian Alaphilippe to extend his contract for two seasons (2016, 2017). The 22-year-old French Rider showed himself in 2014 when he won the 4th Stage of Tour de l’Ain. He also had breakout performances in the 2015 Ardennes Classics, finishing 2nd in La Flèche Wallonne, as well as Liege-Bastogne-Liege. His most recent impressive race was at Tour de Romandie, with a 2nd place in Stage 2 and a 3rd place in the 3rd Stage.

“I am absolutely happy with this choice,” Alaphilippe said. “In this team I feel I can develop in the right way, without pressure, and can learn a lot from the staff and from the riders we have on the team. I really found my place within the group. I’m an emotional guy, and I think on this team we share the same passion. We are professional, but among the riders we are good friends. There is a great atmosphere on the team. Etixx – Quick-Step is a team where I want to spend the next two years to improve and become a better and stronger rider. We are a team that is dedicated to success, with a big team tradition for the Classics and one-day races. So in order for me to continue to grow up as a rider, I think this is the best fit. It’s also important to have the confidence of the team and Patrick Lefevere. Patrick trusted in me a few years ago when I was a young guy and then I passed through the satellite team of Etixx – Quick-Step before joining the WorldTour team along with Petr Vakoc in 2014. I feel right at home and want to keep this team as my home for the next two years.”

“We are happy to close this agreement with Julian,” Lefevere, CEO of Etixx – Quick-Step, said. “He’s a genuine guy, always happy, but also a rider with a lot of potential. He has a lot to learn, but he is willing to do so. Even we don’t know where his potential stops. So we decided to invest in him and give him time to grow up, step-by-step, surrounded by the team and our staff. Julian has paid us back with great results. But he also has a great attitude. He’s perfectly integrated in the team and he shares the same values of the organization. He feels like he’s part of the team as well, so for us that is important. It is encouraging to know we have riders who believe in our structure that fosters development.”

Video of Julian Alaphilippe finishing strong at Liege-Bastogne-Liege:

header-wiggoWiggins Thinks he will take Hour Record
Bradley Wiggins has been quite vociferous about his chances of bettering the 52.937 kilometers set by Alex Dowsett last week and told The Times newspaper that he would aim at 55 kilometers and boasted that his record would stand for 20 years. The Belgian born Brit said he could: “break the record tomorrow. But I don’t just want to break it, I want to put it right up there, as far out of reach as I can.” Not a bad hope for a rider who finished 20 minutes down in the Tour de Yorkshire, but we only have to wait a month to find out.

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mini_PEZ_jersey
PEZ Giro Fantasy League 2015
It’s time to enter your fantasy Giro d’Italia team on Velogames. Go to the Velogames web site, choose your riders and jersey and then enter the PEZ mini-league No. 06215338. No prize, just for fun. Good luck.

Who will win the PEZ Fantasy Giro?
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header-tornanti48 Hairpin Bends by Night
The story of Giuliano Calore and of his attempt to enter the history of cycling with an enterprise as evocative as impossible: descending the Stelvio Pass at night, 48 hairpin bends by bike with no handlebars, no brakes, only illuminated by a headlamp and the moonlight.

Take a look at the film teaser HERE.


The PEZ INSTAGRAM
Take a look at our new Instagram page for a live feed of #PeloPics, #DailyDistractions, and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews

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The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.

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