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EUROTRASH Pre-Tour Thursday!

The biggest bike race on the calendar, the biggest bike race on the planet, the Tour de France, starts on Saturday and we have all the pre-Tour info you need. The 2016 Tour is the Top Story and nearly the only story, in other news: Jérôme Baugnies wins IWT Oetingen, Axeon Hagens Berman targets more National titles, Bookwalter and Caruso re-sign with BMC and new BMC bike color, plus Drapac joins Cannondale. We finish with the ‘Best of Tour 2015’ video. Café au lait?

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Top Story: The 2016 Tour de France
There is only one ‘Top Story’ today; the Tour de France. The Grand Départ is starting to warm up on the English Channel (La Manche) coast with the teams’ presentation on Thursday and stage 1 from Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday. Most of the teams have announced their line-ups, you can see some of them bellow, the others were in EUROTRASH Monday.

It All Starts on Today
A large crowd is expected for the teams’ presentation on Thursday, June 30, at Sainte-Mère-Eglise. But the event will be visible worldwide for the first time in live streaming on the Tour de France Daily Motion channel and Facebook Live as well as on Eurosport. The top riders will be interviewed by race speaker Marc Chavet while several teams are rumored to show up with newly designed kits.

First Grand Départ in La Manche
For the first time in the history of the Tour de France, the Grand Départ is held in the province of La Manche in Normandy. The headquarters are located in Saint-Lô. They opened at 2pm on Wednesday, the same day the 198 riders are expected to reach their hotel. 700 volunteers are busy preparing for the D-day at Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday. A total of 435 kilometers of racing will be held in La Manche, a record for a single province in a single edition of the event, during the first three stages.

35 nations on the start list
Team managers can modify their line-up until the eve of stage 1 but the provisional start list now gives a pretty clear picture of the field. 198 riders will represent 35 nations. France has the highest number of starters (38) ahead of Spain (18), The Netherlands (15), Belgium (14), Italy (13), Germany (12) and Switzerland (9). With the late replacement of Dries Devenyns by Leigh Howard, Australia also has nine riders in the field, which is one more than Great-Britain. Ethiopia is a new country on the record book of the event with the first participation of Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida). 49 nations had been previously listed.

165 participants are from Europe, 12 from Oceania (9 Australians and 3 New Zealanders) and America (5 from the USA, 4 Colombians, 2 Argentines, 1 Canada), 6 from Africa (3 South African, 2 Eritreans and 1 Ethiopian), 2 from Asia (1 from Kazakhstan, 1 from Japan).

Tosatto: 34th Grand Tour aged 42
Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff) leads the age group! At 42, he’ll start his 34th Grand Tour (13 Giro, 11 Tour and 9 Vuelta up to date). He’s followed by a few 39-year old: Greg Henderson (Lotto Soudal), Haimar Zubeldia (Trek-Segafredo), Angel Vicioso (Katusha) and Paolo Tiralongo (Astana). Aged 38, Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEDGE) will be part of the Tour de France peloton for the first time – he pulled out in 2014 after a crash. The youngest is Norwegian neophyte Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling), 22.

Hansen says 15, Chavanel climbs to 16
Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) will try to complete his fifteenth Grand Tour in a row. He hasn’t missed or abandoned any since the 2011 Vuelta a España. Starting the Tour de France for the sixteenth time, Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) is getting close to the record held by George Hincapie and Stuart O’Grady (17). It’s Zubeldia’s 15th attempt, Thomas Voeckler’s 14th and Tosatto’s 12th, just as many as Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale).

33 first timers
33 cyclists will take part in the Tour de France for the first time, among which 33 year old Domenico Pozzovivo of AG2R-La Mondiale and his team-mate Alexis Gougeard, Tour of California winner Julian Alaphilippe from Etixx – Quick-Step and Vuelta a España overall winner Fabio Aru (Astana). Nine of them have never participated to any Grand Tour.

See Ed Hood’s Tour course preview HERE and the main protagonists HERE.

Mont Ventoux - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  illustration - illustratie pictured during  the 100th Tour de France 2013 stage-15 from Givors to Mont Ventoux - photo Sabine Jacob/Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos © 2013One of the high points of the 2016 Tour – Mont Ventoux

Stages:
Stage 1: July 02, Mont-Saint-Michel – Utah Beach / Sainte-Marie-Du-Mont 188km
Stage 2: July 03, Saint-Lô – Cherbourg-Octeville 182km
Stage 3: July 04, Granville – Angers 222km
Stage 4: July 05, Saumer – Limoges 232km
Stage 5: July 06, Limoges – Le Lioran 216km
Stage 6: July 07, Arpajon-sur-Cère – Montauban 187km
Stage 7: July 08, L’Isle-Jourdain – Lac de Payolle 162km
Stage 8: July 09, Pau – Bagnères-de-Luchon 183km
Stage 9: July 10, Vielha Val d’Aran – Andorre Arcalis 184km
Rest Day 1: July 11, Andorra
Stage 10: July 12, Escaldes-Engordany – Revel 198km
Stage 11: July 13, Carcassonne – Montpellier 264km
Stage 12: July 14, Montpellier – Mont Ventoux 185km
Stage 13: July 15, Bourg-Saint-Andéol – La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc (ITT) 37km
Stage 14: July 16, Montélimar – Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux 208km
Stage 15: July 17, Bourg-en-Bresse – Culoz 159km
Stage 16: July 18, Moirans-en-Montagne – Berne 206km
Rest Day 2: July 19, Berne
Stage 17: July 20, Berne – Finhaut-Emosson 184km
Stage 18: July 21, Sallanches – Megève (ITT) 17km
Stage 19: July 22, Albertville – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc 146km
Stage 20: July 23, Megève – Morzine 146km
Stage 21: July 24, Chantilly – Paris Champs-Élysées 113km.

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Tinkoff’s UCI WorldTour leading duo head Tour de France line-up
The most famous cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, has finally arrived. The 103rd edition of La Grande Boucle takes place from the 2nd to the 24th of July, and promises 3,519km of dramatic racing. Starting with the Grand Départ in Mont-Saint-Michel on the 2nd of July, this is the race that many in the professional peloton – from the GC riders, to the sprinters and climbers – have spent their entire season preparing for. Having won the race on two occasions, Alberto Contador will lead the Tinkoff team, while Peter Sagan, who, having won the Maillot Vert points jersey every year since 2012, will be looking to take stage wins.

As the most famous, historic and brutal stage race in the professional cycling calendar, many riders focus their entire season on preparing for the race. Early season stage races, such as Paris-Nice and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, will have given the GC riders pointers as to where they need to work on their form, while more recent races, such as the Critérium du Dauphiné, have given them a chance to tweak and fine-tune while lining up next to the riders who will be their main rivals during the twenty-one stages of the race.

“This will be a very important Tour de France for all of us,” explained Alberto ahead of the race. “It will be the Tour in which we would like to show Oleg Tinkov our gratitude for his support all these years. I’m exceptionally motivated for this race and we have been working throughout the year thinking about the Tour de France. Hopefully, everything will play out the way we want.”

With the race profile released last October, teams will have had an opportunity to assess the route and decide which stages suit their riders’ strengths. When it comes to the actual race, however, the best made plans can soon fall by the wayside depending on how the other teams are doing, the way the GC race unfolds, and the countless unforeseen circumstances that can change the race in an instant.

With Tinkoff leading the UCI WorldTour team rankings as well as holding the top two positions, the points on offer at the Tour could see an increase in the lead in this competition.

Joining the team leader, Alberto Contador, and Peter Sagan at the race are two newly crowned national champions in Rafal Majka and Roman Kreuziger. Joined by Robert Kiserlovski, the three have all proved strong helpers for Alberto in the mountains in the past. The roster is bolstered by the new Polish time trial champion, Maciej Bodnar who will have the chance to show off his new skinsuit on two occasions. Matteo Tosatto brings his wealth of experience to the team, and he’s joined by fellow Italian Oscar Gatto who will prove vital for the fast finishes around Peter. The line-up is then completed by Michael Valgren who will start his second Tour de France after his debut in 2015.

This year the Tour takes on some of the most challenging terrain France has to offer, while also challenging riders with some less traditional profiles that will encourage teams to be creative with their strategies. Looming over the race this year is the infamous Mont Ventoux – widely regarded by many riders both past and present to be the most daunting climb of the race – if not the cycling world.

While in recent years the Tour has started in a different country, the opening stage of this year’s race takes place in Normandy – starting in Mont Saint Michel and finishing at Utah Beach. While Le Grand Départ remains in France, the race will leave the country on three occasions during the course of the race – with stages taking place in the Principality of Andorra, Spain and in Switzerland, where many will have had fond and not-so-fond memories of races from earlier in the season.

Having had successful starts to their respective seasons, with stage and GC wins in the Classics, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Tour de Suisse and the Critérium du Dauphiné, Alberto and Peter come to the Tour de France occupying the two top spots of the UCI WorldTour rankings – with Peter having recently leapfrogged Alberto into the top spot after his two stage wins at the Tour de Suisse broke the race’s record for stage wins.

With such a strong GC rider in Alberto, and with Peter’s successes both in the Classics and his numerous stage wins in his season so far, Sport Director, Steven De Jongh, was confident in this two-pronged approach. “We come to the Tour with a very balanced team built around Alberto and Peter as our leaders. With Peter we can go for stage wins on the days that suit him, and then Alberto of course is targeting the GC – that’s our main overall goal.”

The team was built around providing support both for Alberto and Peter, explained Steven. “We have guys that can support both riders. With Bodnar, Gatto, Tosatto and Valgren we have strong rouleurs that will play an important role on the flatter stages, and then Gatto will be a good support rider for Peter in the finals. Tosatto’s experience will also be important in playing the bodyguard role for Alberto in these stages.”

With such a mountainous parcours, providing support for Alberto when the road turns upwards is absolutely essential, continued De Jongh. “Then for the mountains, Majka, Kreuziger and Kiserlovski will be there to support Alberto. The last week in the Alps will be very hard and they will play an important part on these kind of tough stages. I think it will be an exciting Tour, with two not so flat ITTs, and a large number of GC contenders coming into the race.”

“The Tour de France is one of the major highlights of my season, and I believe that compared to last season, where I didn’t manage to win a stage win, this year I’ll reach my goal and win something,” explained the UCI world road race champion, Peter Sagan. “I have no particular selected day that suits me, but I am convinced that this year’s route includes stages that conform to my style of racing.

“Of course the green jersey is for me a big challenge. The cold and hard stages in Switzerland took a lot out of me, and the national championships was also not easy. So after the first days of the Tour I will know how I am really feeling. Our whole team has high ambitions and I am convinced that Alberto will prove successful. When I can, I’ll be there to help him. Let’s see what each new day will bring and we will appropriately adjust our tactics.”

The race this year forgoes its usual prologue, starting with a stage that is likely to end in a sprint. With a mountain stage so soon after the start however, it is unlikely that a sprint team will be able to hold the Maillot Jaune past this point – and nor would they want to, with the race becoming progressively harder from here, and the yellow jersey more difficult to defend.

While a great deal of planning had gone on ahead of the race, in the end it would all come down to how the race progresses – and many factors would influence this. Ahead of the race, De Jongh knew just how hard the race could be, having ridden it multiple times himself. “It’s hard to pick out what stages will be key because as we know any mountain stage at the Tour is hard! The time trial after the Mont Ventoux stage will be interesting, and then the mountains in the third week after a hard race will be tough.”

Having won the green points jersey four years in a row, many would be paying close attention to Peter’s performance in the points race, however De Jongh saw the points race as a very different one from the GC. “The green jersey is different to racing for yellow – I think its something that comes to you rather than you chasing it. If Peter rides like last year then we know he will pick up points along the way and he will be hard to beat.”

Via the Tinkoff team's Facebook page, Oleg Tinkov announced the line-up for the 2016 Tour de France, his last as a sponsor. As expected, Alberto Contador will lead the team in the overall competition and World champion Peter Sagan will again be on the hunt for the green jersey and (hopefully) stage wins. They will be backed up by: Matteo Tosatto, Robert Kiserlovski, Rafal Majka, Oscar Gatto, Roman Kreuziger, Maciej Bodbar and Michael Valgren. Pic:TinkoffTeam.

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Trek-Segafredo fans announce Tour de France line-up
Once again Trek-Segafredo’s worldwide fans had the honor of announcing the nine-man roster for the 103rd edition of the Tour de France.

Nine select followers of the team each disclosed the name of one of the nine riders over the past three days via their personal Twitter accounts, using the hashtag #BeOurMessenger. Their tweets were subsequently retweeted by the team and by each specific rider.

Bauke Mollema, seventh overall in 2015, and Fabian Cancellara will headline the nine-man team.

Mollema and Cancellara will be joined by climbers Fränk Schleck, Haimar Zubeldia, and Peter Stetina, who will play key support for Mollema in the mountains. Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns – each riding in their first Tour – will be strong prospects for breakaways and sprints, and rouleurs Gregory Rast and Markel Irizar complete the nine-rider squad.

Trek-Segafredo will showcase a global team with six nationalities:
Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Markel Irizar (SPA), Bauke Mollema (NED), Grégory Rast (SUI), Fränk Schleck (LUX), Peter Stetina (USA), Jasper Stuyven (BEL), Edward Theuns (BEL) and Haimar Zubeldia (SPA).

Last Tour for Fabian Cancellara:
Tour de France 2015 - stage 3

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Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team announces Tour de France roster
Rolland to lead, Craddock and others seek opportunities.

To the 103rd Tour de France, Cannondale sends Rolland, Matti Breschel, Lawson Craddock, Kristijan Koren, Ramunas Navardauskas, Sebastian Langeveld, Alex Howes, Dylan Van Baarle, and Tom-Jelte Slagter. The Tour de France begins on July 2 in Mont-Saint-Michel.

“We’ll be centering the team around Pierre Rolland, as this back-end loaded Tour de France uniquely suits his diesel-like qualities,” Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “He may not be the most explosive rider, but come the last few days of the Tour de France, he will surprise a few folks. We’ll also be helping Lawson Craddock realize his potential in his first Tour, and looking for opportunities to animate the race. We go into this race as a hungry mongrel of a team. But I’ll take that over a poncy, over-fed poodle any day.”

The Tour team is versatile, and capable of stage hunting as well as protecting Rolland. Navardauskas is a past stage winner, and Rolland has won two himself.

Rolland, 29, is in his first season with the Cannondale team. At the Tour, he’s finished 11th (2014), 10th on two occasions (2011 and 2015), and 8th (2012). “The Tour is simply the most beautiful cycling test,” Rolland said. “It is also one of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the time when I was young, I’ve always wanted to participate in this event and win stages. I’ve put in many days training, and with the team I have a really good feeling. Truly. I hope for a great performance, from me, from the team. What I’d really like is a new stage victory and to have the best possible overall standing. The competition is very hard, everyone is ready at 100 percent. I know it will be difficult, but I will do my utmost.”

Craddock, 24, will ride in his first Tour. “This race is iconic for a reason, and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since I got on two wheels,” said Craddock. “I’ve worked really hard over my career to perform to the standards that I know I’m capable of, and to see that work paying off to earn a spot in the biggest race in the world is truly a dream come true. But the easy part was making the team. Now I’ve got to prepare myself to race at a level that I’ve never raced at before and, most importantly, put the team in a chance to succeed.”

Craddock is in his first season with the team as well, and will look to support Rolland in the mountains and take a chance himself, should the opportunity present itself. He took a break to rest after a heavy spring calendar and then spent time at altitude in Nederland, Colorado with teammate Mike Woods. The team then spent time at altitude in Europe preparing for the Tour. This spring, Craddock finished in the top 10 at the Tour of the Basque Country, Critérium International, and the Amgen Tour of California.

“With it being my first Tour it’s hard to place certain expectations on myself,” Craddock said. “I’ve heard stories about the Tour with the stress both on and off the bike. My main goal is to come in and show that I can race consistently at a high level throughout the whole race. Personally, I think that’s the next step in my development. If I can do that, and just be able to put the team in the best possible position for success, then I will be happy. Just lining up on the start line of the Tour is a dream come true, so if I were able to wear a jersey there then I think my mind would just explode. That being said, I’m a born and bred bike racer, and I line up to every race I do with dreams of winning. I’m not just going to the Tour to be pack fodder.”

“The anticipation to race is huge, and I can’t wait to get to France and put the race wheels on,” Craddock added. “I imagine that the few days leading up to the start I’ll have a few more nerves than normal, but at the end of the day it’s just another bike race. Once the neutral flag goes down on the first stage I’m sure those nerves will be replaced with pure adrenaline.”

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for the 2016 Tour de France:
Matti Breschel, Lawson Craddock, Alex Howes, Kristijan Koren, Sebastian Langeveld, Ramunas Navardauskas, Pierre Rolland, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Dylan Van Baarle.

Pierre Rolland will lead the Cannondale team:
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Tour de France – Michel Thétaz: “The priority is to win a stage”
THE QUOTE:
“The priority is to win a stage,” commented Michel Thétaz, founder of IAM Cycling, just 72 hours before the start of the Tour de France at Mont-Saint-Michel.

THE EXPLANATION: According to Michel Thétaz: “We have the talent to win stages in multiple situations. With Sondre Holst Enger, we will focus on his youth and explosiveness to rub shoulders with the best in the sprints. Then we have more experienced riders who will be called upon to shine on the hillier and mountainous stages. With guys like Elmiger, Frank as well as Pantano, we want to continue the successful dynamics that we have enjoyed at the Giro and the Tour de Suisse.”

THE ANECDOTE: For the team presentation, which is scheduled for Thursday, June 30th at Saint-Mère-Eglise, at 6:50pm for IAM Cycling, the nine riders and their directeurs sportifs will arrive aboard vintage military vehicles that belong to the Utah Beach Museum.

THE ANALYSIS: Having taken 8th place in the 2015 Tour de France, Mathias Frank has this to say: “The cold that caused me to abandon the Tour de Suisse is now forgotten. I was well looked-after. And at the Swiss championships, I felt the way I should. I still have some strength to regain, but I am confident that will come quickly in the early part of the race. We have an interesting team with an aggressive temperament. And we come with guys who have the talent to play for the win on any stage. I will certainly not be the last one to try my luck.”

THE EMOTION: From Martin Elmiger. “The Tour de France will decide the rest of my career as a professional racer. That’s why I am going to try my best to make the most of it and especially to enjoy myself during one of the toughest races in the world.”

THE BOTTLE CARRIER: For his third participation in La Grande Boucle, Reto Hollenstein is ready to do anything required of him during these three weeks. “Personally, I feel it is an honor to be selected for the most beautiful race in the world. I do not yet precisely know what my role will be. In any case, I expect to protect and assist Mathias Frank in his hunt for a place in the top-10 overall. But if the team also gives me a chance to get into a breakaway, I will certainly take it.”

THE MENU FOR THE TOUR: Across the plains, two time trials, 28 cols with five summit finishes, and a total of 3535 kilometers will be travelled before the winner of the Tour de France will be known on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on Sunday, July 24th.

Riders:
Jérôme Coppel (Fr), Stef Clement (Ned), Martin Elmiger (S), Mathias Frank (S), Reto Hollenstein (S), Sondre Holst Enger (Nor), Leigh Howard (Aus), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Jarlinson Pantano (Col).
Founder: Michel Thétaz
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe
Directeurs sportifs: Kjell Carlström, Mario Chiesa.

Mathias Frank:
FlËche Wallonne Elite 2014

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Giant-Alpecin team for the Tour de France
Team Giant-Alpecin heads to this year’s Tour de France once again with the goal of stage success in the sprint stages with a difficult finale, the intermediate stages and the mountain stages. In addition, the team aims to further develop its riders and enhance the quality of the entire team, with an increasing focus on the overall classification.

Simon Geschke (GER), who took a fantastic victory in last year’s stage 17, will be lining up for his fourth Grande Boucle. French climber Warren Barguil, who finished 14th in his Tour debut last year, will be looking to take another step forward in his long-term GC development and will aim to improve on this result.

Also in the lineup is John Degenkolb (GER), who will focus on the sprint stages with a tough finale. Degenkolb has had a difficult comeback from the training accident in January. He has shown a great deal of dedication and hard work in making his return to competition, and he made good progress over the last few months of racing at the Amgen Tour of California and the Critérium du Dauphiné. Following the Giro d’Italia, the team identified participation in the Tour as the ideal next step toward Tom Dumoulin’s (NED) second goal of the season, in Rio. Dumoulin will be primarily focusing on stage results.

Laurens ten Dam (NED) is set to make his eighth appearance in the Tour de France and his first with the team. He will bring crucial experience and will provide valuable support in the mountains. Georg Preidler (AUT) showed his potential during this year’s Giro d’Italia with a third place in the queen stage, one of three top-10 results for him in the Giro. Team Giant-Alpecin’s lineup for its sixth start at the Tour is completed by road captain Roy Curvers (NED) and trusty lead-out men Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) and Albert Timmer (NED).

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said ahead of the Tour: “Our goals will be to go for a stage victory, as we see several opportunities to achieve that, and also to explore our possibilities in the GC with Warren. We have made a long-term plan with him, aiming to develop his general classification performance over the next few years. This will be his second appearance in his home Grand Tour, and we believe a top-15 is again a realistic target for him.

“We have a great blend of experience and youth in our lineup. This year’s Tour de France offers more opportunities in the mountains, with some tough stages, and we took that into consideration when we made our final selection.”

Line-up:
Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), John Degenkolb (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Georg Preidler (AUT), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).

Simon Geschke:
Pra Loup - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Simon Geschke (Team Giant - Alpecin) pictured during le Tour de France 2015 - stage 17 - from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup on wednesday 22-07-2015 - 161 KM - photo VK/NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2015

Giant-Alpecin Introduces Special “July kit” for Tour de France
Team Giant-Alpecin is proud to unveil the special-edition kit that will be worn by its riders exclusively in the 103rd edition of the Tour de France. The white “July kit” has been developed in close cooperation with the team’s premium-quality clothing partner, Etxeondo. The team maintains its recognizable design, referencing its DNA through the two dominant “Keep Challenging” stripes on the jersey.

CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) said: “We are proud to present our special-edition white “July kit”, which symbolizes a fresh start to the season after leaving behind the most challenging period in the team’s history.

“As everybody knows, we experienced a dramatic preseason, with the training accident in Calpe, Spain, injuring a significant part of our team. But we kept calm, stuck to our way of working and continued to focus on our long-term vision. Now, six months later, we are here at the Tour de France at full strength, and it feels like a new beginning again, as all the riders involved have recently returned to competition.”

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Fortuneo-Vital Concept Tour Team
The Fortuneo-Vital Concept team line-up for the Tour de France: Vegard Breen (Nor), Anthony Delaplace (Fra), Armindo Fonseca (Fra), Brice Feillu (Fra), Dan McLay (GB), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra), Chris Anker Sorensen (Dan), Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) and Florian Vachon (Fra).

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Direct Energie team for the Tour de France
Team Riders:
Sylvain Chavanel, Bryan Coquard, Antoine Duchesne, Yohann Gene, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Adrien Petit, Romain Sicard, Angélo Tulik, Thomas Voeckler.
Directeurs Sportifs – Manager: Jean-René Bernaudeau, Jimmy Engoulvent, Lylian Lebreton.

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Bouhanni will not start the 2016 Tour de France
Nacer Bouhanni will not take part in the 2016 Tour de France. He suffered an attack at the team hotel on the night before the French national championship road race, requiring an emergency 4-stiches intervention.

It then turned out that Nacer needed more medical attention. In the face of the worsening situation, he had surgery on Tuesday at 18:00 at the Nancy CHU. The decision was made to give the priority to the rider’s health who now needs to rest in order to focus on new goals.

The Cofidis roster selected for the 2016 Tour de France, Nacer Bouhanni is replaced by Nicolas Edet. 3-times Tour de France starter, Nicolas has already demonstrated his climbing skills on this race. He will be one more asset in addition to Arnold Jeannesson and Daniel Navarro into the “mountain group”. The team’s strategy will be reoriented as a result of this withdrawal. The willingness and the determination of the whole team remain intact with the purpose of winning a stage.

Cofidis Tour Team:
Borut Bozic, Jérôme Cousin, Nicolas Edet, Arnold Jeannesson, Christophe Laporte, Cyril Lemoine, Luis Angel Mate, Daniel Navarro, Geoffrey Soupe.

No Tour for Nacer:
Monte Zoncolan  - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Nacer Bouhanni (France / Team FdJ - Uvex) pictured during Giro-D'Itaia 2014 stage 20 from  Maniago - Monte Zoncolan 167km  - photo Claudio Minardi/Cor Vos © 2014

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Tour de France – Dries Devenyns out of the Tour, replaced by Leigh Howard
Dries Devenyns will not be taking the start of the Tour de France, which is scheduled to take place from July 2nd to the 24th. Though he had been selected to take part in his fourth Grande Boucle, one of his main goals for the season, the 32 year old Belgian rider will be unable to compete due to a bout of gastroenteritis, which can be traced back to the end of the Belgian road race championships.

The sports directors for IAM Cycling, in agreement with the team doctor, will discuss a possible date for a return to competition based on the evolution of his condition.

As a replacement for the Swiss professional team, the sports management has selected the 26 year old Australian, Leigh Howard.

Leigh Howard:
Santos Tour Down Under 2016 stage 3

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Nairo Quintana: In 20 Questions
The Movistar Team leader for the 103rd Tour de France reflects on his feelings, the route, contenders and team-mates before heading towards the Mont-Saint-Michel.

Nairo Quintana feels like many things have changed since the Movistar Team got him into the pro scene back in 2012. “I’m much more mature and calm, and I’ve got a strong team by my side which helps me out wherever they can. Thousand things have changed, all for the better.” That’s one reason to believe he’s ready to finally win the Tour de France. The other one is his amazing season: “We did things right, rode well in all stage-races we took part in since January, winning three of them and making the podium in San Luis and País Vasco. We’re well prepared for this challenge.”

“I rested up a bit more than normal in the winter to come into the racing season fresher, and it’s been proven during it that we were right. Winning two WorldTour races that wasn’t yet on my palmarès was so exciting, and made me more confident. The team is growing more adapted to my needs, I feel better and better with them, and always offer my best,” says the Combat rider, who always tries — conscious about his increasing popularity – to “offer a smile to everyone I come across.”

“I like the mountains on this year’s route. The Tour’s mountain-top finishes are ones I enjoy so much. Andorra will be already pretty hard and make some gaps. Mont Ventoux – I hope to do better than in 2013 and get closer to the win. And then there’s Morzine, a place I hold dear in my heart as I took my first big pro win there in the 2013 Dauphiné.” He doesn’t dislike the TTs, either: “La Caverne’s requires strength of mind, and will be extra tough coming after Ventoux and the Pyrenees; Megève’s won’t be so decisive nor a real mountain TT, because the mountains will come afterwards. However, one in bad form could lose the race there.”

Nairo assumes “we made a mistake in the Netherlands in 2015, and we can’t fail again.” He fears “the stress of racing, danger and crashes,” yet he knows he’ll have “a powerful team, with plenty of good rouleurs plus talented climbers.” That includes Alejandro Valverde, one to be “respected by our rivals” and a “huge addition, which makes me so happy. We know he will give his 100% for the #SueñoAmarillo.”

“Froome and Contador will be the biggest rivals, but many others are to follow and be aware of,” underlines Quintana, who assures not to be any superstitious, “though I promised a friend of mine to bring him a lion from the podium ceremonies if I got to win the Tour.” “I thank everyone for their messages on social media – they bring me so much strength to keep seeking for this #SueñoAmarillo. See you in Paris!”

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Jérôme Baugnies wins IWT Oetingen
Jérôme Baugnies got this Wednesday the sixth victory of the season for Wanty-Groupe Gobert in the International Wielertrofee Jong maar Moedig – Oetingen (1.2). The success of the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team was complete when Dimitri Claeys mounted the second step of the podium.

“We really did a great team race. I’m happy to win after a disappointing Belgian championship”, Jérôme Baugnies said.

In a difficult race with 25 climbs the team lined up with Jérôme Baugnies, Frederik Backaert, Dimitri Claeys, Tom Devriendt, Mark McNally and Kevin Van Melsen.

In the first kilometers the sequence of climbs and the high pace shifted the peloton into many parts, perfect for an attacking race. “This is a difficult race because it is very hard since the start with many climbs. It makes the race difficult to control from a tactical point of view.”

On the local laps 21 riders got clear including three riders of Wanty-Groupe Gobert – Mark McNally, Dimitri Claeys and Jérôme Baugnies.
On the last climb of the day Jérôme Baugnies attacked. Nobody could follow him and he crossed the line alone, his second win of the season after a stage in the Rhöne-Alpes Isère Tour. “I think I was the best today. I didn’t want to wait for the sprint because there were dangerous riders. I was in the lead straight from the start and I showed that my condition was good.”

“I was trying to win this race for a couple years because I live at only 10 km from Oetingen. There were a lot of fans alongside the roads. I enjoyed it.”

Sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren was obviously satisfied. “After the disappointing result on the Belgian Championship we must react for our fans. Today it was perfect. Everyone did perfectly his job. Baptiste Planckaert was certainly dangerous for the sprint. Mark McNally stayed all the time on his wheel. We really dominated the race”, he concluded.

IWT Oetingen podium:
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Axeon Hagens Berman Targets More National Titles
Nearly a dozen riders from the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team will be chasing more national titles this week at the USA Cycling Amateur Road Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.

Already this season, riders from the American Under 23 development team have captured six national championships, including the U.S. professional road crown by Greg Daniel in late May. However, due to illness contracted while he was winning the Tour de Beauce earlier this month, Daniel will not be one of the 11 Americans competing in the individual time trial Wednesday or in Friday’s road race.

Nine riders are entered in the 34-kilometer time trial: Will Barta of Boise, Idaho, Adrien Costa of Bend, Oregon, Geoffrey Curran of Tustin, California, Colin Joyce of Pocatello, Idaho, Phil O’Donnell of Dahlonega, Georgia, Justin Oien of San Diego, California, Neilson Powless of Roseville, California, Tyler Williams of Chandler, Arizona, and Chad Young of Newmarket, New Hampshire.

Two others will join them for the 177-km road race: Jonny Brown of Memphis, Tennessee and Logan Owen of Bremerton, Washington.

Brown, Costa and Owen are recent past national road champions. Brown won the 17-18 junior road race the past two years. Costa won the 17-18 junior time trial last year and the 15-16 junior time trial and road race in 2013. Owen captured the 17-18 junior road race in 2013.

In nationals competition the past week, Axeon Hagens Berman riders won the Under 23 British national road title (Tao Geoghegan Hart), the Irish Under 23 individual time trial (Eddie Dunbar), the Under 23 Latvian road race and time trial titles (Krists Neilands) and the Portugese national road title (Ruben Guerreiro).

To date this year, the Axel Merckx-led program has won a team-record 23 races, including 18 in UCI and national championship competition.

Interview with National road champion, Greg Daniel HERE:
USPRO Road Race Championship

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New Colorway for BMC Racing Team’s Teammachines at the Tour de France
BMC Racing Team riders will have a fresh look for this year’s Tour de France on top of white Teammachine SLR01’s from BMC Switzerland’s 2017 collection, which will be revealed at the Tour de France team presentation tonight.

It is the first time in history that the team will ride bikes that aren’t naked carbon with decals, and the first time that BMC’s top-spec Teammachine is actually painted. The Teammachine’s new graphic concept reflects the influence of its Swiss heritage; a first look at the bike’s graphic design leaves the impression it is clean, and almost minimalistic, but on closer inspection, fine details betray the depth of thought and effort invested in the design. Understated and dignified, supported by a detailed and technical look: the Teammachine’s design falls perfectly in line with the legendary Swiss design that BMC Switzerland is proud of.

According to BMC CEO David Zurcher “After almost a decade of racing the Tour de France with our signature team kit and legendary black bikes, we wanted to make a bold statement in 2016. This is our response; the right machine for the race, with a little something special for the riders, whilst also giving a sneak-peek into a colorful new world from BMC Switzerland and its racing teams in 2017.”

The white Teammachine SLR01 as seen ridden by BMC Racing Team riders at this year’s Tour de France is commercially available, in keeping with the company’s philosophy that its UCI WorldTour team riders use the same bikes their fans can purchase through BMC Switzerland’s retail network. The Teammachine is BMC’s flagship race bike and is engineered with ACE Technology: a proprietary computer program that simulates and iterates digital prototypes to produce a perfectly optimized result. In the case of the Teammachine, 34,000 digital iterations were made to achieve the perfect balance between lightweight, stiffness, and vertical compliance.

BMC Racing Team will unveil the new white Teammachine SLR01’s from BMC Switzerland’s 2017 collection at the Tour de France team presentation:
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Bookwalter to Start Tenth Season with BMC Racing Team
Brent Bookwalter has extended his contract with BMC Racing Team and is set to line up for his tenth season with the team in 2017.

Bookwalter joins Danilo Wyss as the longest-serving rider with BMC Racing Team, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. “Brent has been part of the BMC Racing Team family for a long time and we have seen his career go from strength to strength during this time. Particularly in the last few years, Brent has enjoyed some fantastic results, and given the long-standing partnership between Brent and BMC Racing Team we didn’t hesitate to extend his contract,” Ochowicz said.

Bookwalter said it has been special to see his career grow at the same time as BMC Racing Team. “Over the past nine years I have felt that a really good relationship between BMC Racing Team and myself has developed. We have both come a long way since then. Back in 2008 the team was in a totally different place than it is now and I was a much younger, less experienced, different rider too. So it’s been rewarding to have that continuity, to really grow and develop together,” Bookwalter explained.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to experience a lot of success and good memories along the way. At this point in my career, BMC Racing Team feels like a family and it feels like home. I couldn’t imagine walking out to ride in the morning and not putting my leg over a BMC bike.”

Brent Bookwalter:
USA Pro Challenge 2013 (2.HC) stage - 4

Caruso Re-signs with BMC Racing Team
As he approaches two years with BMC Racing Team, Damiano Caruso has extended his contract beyond the 2016 season.

Caruso joins a number of his fellow BMC Racing Team riders who will remain with the team, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. “Damiano in an exceptional rider and one who is very important to our Tour de France team. He’s one of our best climbers and we expect him to do a great job of supporting our leaders in the coming three weeks. It was a natural decision to extend Damiano’s contract. After almost two years with BMC Racing Team, Damiano has become an integral member of the organization,” Ochowicz explained.

Caruso is looking forward to continuing his relationship with BMC Racing Team. “After almost two years riding for BMC Racing Team I am really happy to confirm that I have extended my contract. After talking with team management it was very easy to find a mutual understanding as to why continuing with BMC Racing Team is the best solution for me. I am really happy with the decision and I hope to give some satisfaction to the team,” Caruso said.

Damiano Caruso:
Les Gets - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Caruso Damiano (Italie / BMC Racing Team)  pictured during the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2016  - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

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Drapac Capital Partners joins Cannondale Pro Cycling Team as co-title sponsor
Drapac Capital Partners named as co-title sponsor of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and major shareholder of Slipstream Sports LLC

Today, June 30, Drapac Capital Partners becomes the co-title sponsor of the Cannondale Pro Cycling team, managed by Slipstream Sports. The Drapac name and signature red hue will adorn the team’s jerseys immediately. The new team name is the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team.
The sponsorship is a five-year deal that brings shared vision to the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and marks an agreement between Drapac Capital Partners and Slipstream that goes well beyond pen and paper, as Drapac’s philosophy of preparing riders for lives after cycling is one Slipstream wholly supports and will enact at the WorldTour level.

“Michael Drapac and I have been friends for some time. I have always been impressed with his entrepreneurial vision and understanding of markets. However, what piqued my interest in partnering with Michael is his passion for helping athletes find their way through life in a healthier way,” Slipstream CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “Although it’s seldom acknowledged, most professional cyclists have given up everything in order to pursue excellence in their sport. While commendable, this leaves them very vulnerable to an ever more complex world.”

Drapac is the chairman and founder of Drapac Capital Partners and now part owner of Slipstream Sports, in addition to serving as a board member. What began as a small investment in residential real estate while in university is now Drapac Capital Partners, a property funds management business. Drapac’s business efforts have garnered various sustainability awards — his company was the first property group to be a member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment — and that mindset has transcended business.

“I’ve always been interested in sustainability, particularly cultural sustainability,” Drapac said. “Sustainability is being aware, responsible, and accountable for the full costs of what we do, and trying to minimize the impact of those costs. So a sustainable initiative, in business, cycling, anything, really, is about making an intention to be aware, accountable, and responsible. And making an intention to minimize the impact of what we do.

“We want to win bike races, but not at the expense of broader values. Sustainability in this sense is about ‘what are the broader values in the cycling team?’ We need to look at that. We want to win the Tour de France. We want to win Paris-Roubaix. But we also have other metrics by which we measure our success.”

One of those metrics will now be how riders fare after their racing careers are finished.

The partnership is a natural extension of both organizations’ ideals. The first team Vaughters managed and financially backed was 5280-Subaru, a junior development team. The founding of the Drapac program came from the idea that developing complete athletes as opposed to one-dimensional racers was a better way to run a cycling operation.

As part of its steadfast commitment to athlete well-being, the Cannondale-Drapac Professional Cycling Team will offer a service to its riders next season that encourages growth beyond the sport of cycling. Together with Crossing the Line Sport, an organization designed to assist athlete transitions out of professional competition, the pro team will offer workshops, individual counseling services, mentoring, and robust educational support to its riders.

It is the first program of its kind at WorldTour level. Crossing the Line Founder Gearoid Towey and Gayelene Clews, a psychologist who works with the firm, are former Olympic athletes themselves. Michael Drapac will oversee the wellness program internally as its executive vice president.

“It is our shared goal to be pioneers in the welfare of athletes in cycling. Having dealt with this personally, I know how hard it is and how close to the edge many riders feel,” Vaughters said. “Our joint venture will seek to help these highly talented individuals find their footing in all phases of their careers. This philosophy will not only help them later in life, but will enhance their performance here and now.”

The professional team will also offer a bridge to younger athletes on Drapac’s development team, Drapac-Pat’s Veg.

While little will change for the existing Drapac team in 2016, the partnering of the two teams in 2017 will see the bulk of the resources from the current Drapac Professional Cycling Team transitioned to Drapac-Pat’s Veg, the Continental-level development team announced earlier this year, while also providing the opportunity for a number of riders and staff to move to the WorldTour at Cannondale-Drapac.

Drapac-Pat’s Veg requires riders to either attend university courses or pursue professional-level certifications or apprenticeships. The team is structured to provide favorable racing schedules that allow racers to attend classes or pursue professions. Riders on the development team will be given every opportunity to make the WorldTour team. The development team will be a UCI Continental registered squad based in Australia that competes in Europe for part of the season. The program also stresses that riders take time to be involved in their communities.

“We need to teach our athletes to be whole. When the door of being an athlete closes, you would hope that they have the resources — financial and emotional — to transition to another phase of their lives. We need to understand that the human cost of professional sport is just horrific,” Drapac said. “That’s why I created the holistic development team.”

For Vaughters, the measures are a way to illustrate that success on the bike and off shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

“Racing is a risky proposition, but knowing you have the knowledge and skills to find your way, no matter what, lets you embrace the bold decisions needed to win,” Vaughters said. “Taking the pressure off athletes all too accustomed to living contract to contract also encourages ethical decision making. And that has been the goal of Slipstream Sports, from its very inception. Welcome aboard, Drapac!”

For more on the development team, visit www.drapacpatsveg.com

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The Best of Tour ’15
The excitement is building for the start of the Tour on Saturday, so let’s look back at how the 2015 Tour de France was won:


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