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EuroTrash Tour Teams Thursday!

The EuroTrash bag is straining with the latest cycling news. Announcements from the Tour, Giro and Vuelta, plus the Tour Down Under, Qatar and San Luis. The riders and teams are also keeping us busy with news good and bad. A big Thursday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Tour de France ‘Wildcards’
ASO, the Tour de France organizers have announced the teams that will be lining up in Utrecht for the Grand Départ on the 4th of July. As well as the 17 ProTour teams; Bretagne – Séché Environnement, Cofidis and Europcar of France, Bora – Argon 18 of Germany and MTN – Qhubeka of South Africa have received ‘Wildcard’ invitations.

On the whole the selection is fair, although the Italian ProContinental teams might not agree. The only weak link might be the Bretagne team, but as Tour race director, Christian Prudhomme, told L’Equipe: “Bretagne-Séché Environnement was given a chance in 2014 and took it. We appreciated that they went on the attack every day and ended the Tour with nine riders. They have strengthened the squad this winter with Pierrick Fedrigo as road captain. Jonathan Hivert also arrived in the team, while Eduardo Sepulveda is a Argentinian climber who wasn’t able to ride last year because he was sick. There’s always Brice Feillu who was the fifth best French rider in the 2014 Tour.”

Cofidis and Europcar deserve their places, not just because they are French, but both are as good as most ProTour teams. As to the non-French; Bora-Argon 18 were competing at the high end as NetApp-Endura and are also as close as you can get to ProTour if they had more money. Then we come to the first African team to ride the French Grand Tour; MTN-Qhubeka. They are not there as a novelty, as Prudhomme points out: “This team has recruited experienced riders like Boasson-Hagen, Bos, Farrar and it has a real nice cycling development project in Africa.”

It’s looking like this years Tour is shaping up to be one of the best.

Tour de France 2015 – Unofficial Trailer/Promo by Oradelciclismo:

ASO-headerTeams Selection for Paris-Nice, Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de France 2015
The organizers of the Tour de France have chosen the teams that will take part in the 73nd edition of Paris–Nice (March 8–15), the 67th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 7–14) and the 102th edition of the Tour de France (July 4–26).

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following seventeen teams UCI WorldTeam are automatically invited to the three races:
AG2R-La Mondiale (Fra), Astana (Kaz), BMC Racing Team (USA), Etixx – Quick-Step (Bel), FDJ.fr (Fra), IAM Cycling (Sui), Lampre-Merida (Ita), Lotto Soudal (Bel), Movistar (Spa), Orica-GreenEDGE (Aus), Cannondale-Garmin (USA), Giant-Alpecin (Ger), Team Katusha (Rus), Lotto NL-Jumbo (Ned), Sky (GB), Tinkoff-Saxo (Rus), Trek Factory Racing (USA).

In addition to these seventeen teams, the organizers have awarded the following wildcards:
Paris-Nice:
Bretagne-Séché Environnement (Fra), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra), Europcar (Fra).

Critérium du Dauphiné:
Bora-Argon 18 (Ger), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra), MTN-Qhubeka (Rsa), Europcar (Fra).

Tour de France:
Bora-Argon 18 (Ger), Bretagne-Séché Environnement (Fra), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra), MTN-Qhubeka (Rsa), Europcar (Fra).

All information about the Tour de France at www.letour.fr.

Tour 2015 Promo:

header-bora-agon18BORA – ARGON 18 receives Tour de France Wildcard
The only German wildcard candidate for the Tour de France 2015, BORA – ARGON 18, has today been invited to compete in the world’s most important cycle race. The young team of manager Ralph Denk will therefore be participating in the Tour de France for the second time in a row.

“It is a dream come true. A return to the Tour de France was our primary goal for this season. It was ambitious, but we have achieved it. I would like to thank ASO for the early announcement of the invitation, because we now have six months to prepare our team optimally,” said Ralph Denk, commenting on the assignment of the wildcard.

“We are stronger now that we have been joined by Dominik Nerz, currently Germany’s best classification rider. With Dominik we intend to compete for a top-10 position in the general classification and thus give German fans the opportunity to get excited even during the mountain stages. We can already promise that our team will make quite an impact at this year’s Tour de France too,” added Denk.

The 102nd Tour de France starts on July 4 in Utrecht and will cover some 3,344 kilometers before the finish in Paris on July 26. The three-week tour includes five summit finishes, an individual as well as a team time trial. Ralph Denk’s team made quite an impression at its first Tour de France last year, taking seventh place in the general classification and third place in the individual time trial.

Ralph Denk with Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme:
Pressekonferenz Team Bora - Argon 18

header-MTN14-leftTeam MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung receive wild card to 2015 Tour de France
Historic day for African cycling
Earlier on Wednesday the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) announced the 22 teams that will participate in the 2015 Tour de France. Along with the 17 World Tour teams, 5 wild card teams were announced with MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung receiving an invitation. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung would like thank the ASO for the invitation and to congratulate the other 4 wild card recipients, Europcar, Cofidis, Bretagne-Seche Environnment and Bora-Argon 18.

To receive a wild card for the Tour de France is a dream come true for the entire MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team, while it is also a historic moment for World and African cycling. In all the 101 previous editions of the Tour de France, this will be the first time an African registered team will take part in this, the biggest cycling race in the world. We are extremely proud to be able to represent South Africa and Africa on one of the biggest stages in world sport.

The journey to reach the Tour de France has been a 7 year adventure and it certainly would not have been possible without our fantastic partners, particularly MTN who have shared our vision from the beginning as well as Samsung who have been on board since 2013. The added support from all our other partners, new and old, have allowed the dream of putting an African team on the starting line of the Tour de France to become a reality. We are now able to expose the work of Qhubeka to the world and in doing so, we will be able to change more lives in Africa through bicycles.

The 2015 Grand Depart will take place on the 4th July, starting with a 14km time trial in Utrecht. The riders will tackle 21 stages, covering 3344km in total before the 2015 Le Tour finishes on the famous Champs Elysees on 26 July. The ASO also announced the 20 teams that will take part in the Critérium du Dauphiné and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are delighted to have been included in this event as well. The Critérium du Dauphiné is a World Tour event starting on the 7th of June which will be vital in our Tour de France preparation.

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal: “When I received a text message from Christian Prudhomme saying welcome to the Tour de France asking me to call him back, I simply could not contain myself, I shouted to my wife and then things started going crazy. I have been waiting my whole life for this news. The pressure over the years of getting partners and riders to believe in this dream is finally a reality. We have so many people to thank that have been a part of this journey and I know our riders and staff will be the most motivated team in the world right now ahead of our 2nd training camp starting this weekend. We will not only ride in the Tour, we will compete and we will have the support of the whole continent behind us.

Brian Smith – General Manager: “I feel extremely proud to be part of a bit of African Cycling History. Its been a lot of hard work from many people and today has been very emotional when it was confirmed we would ride the Tour de France. This is a new chapter for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and we hope there will be many more chapters to come. This team is about making a difference and we are looking forward going to the Tour and making sure we make all our partners and supporters happy.”

Larry Annetts – MTN South Africa Chief Marketing Officer: “MTN congratulates the team for being invited to ride the 2015 Tour De France – it is a historic moment indeed for MTN South Africa and the entire continent. We wish everyone at Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung well at the upcoming Tour de France.”

Sarah Phaweni – Qhubeka Executive Director: “Qhubeka would like to congratulate Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung on their Tour de France Wildcard entry. This is proof that any dream is possible if you keep moving forward. The team has supported and raised awareness for the work we do as a non-profit for many years. It is great to have the chance to return the favor as we cheer for an African Team in the Tour de France.”

Learn more about the team at www.teammtnqhubeka.com.

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header-giroGiro d’Italia 2015 Leaders’ Jersey Designed by Lebole Cristina Chiabotto named Giro d’Italia Madrina

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Florence, 13th January 2015 – This afternoon saw the official presentation of the four 2015 Giro d’Italia classification leaders’ jerseys and this year’s Madrina of the “Corsa Rosa”. The presentation took place in fantastic scenery of Fortezza da basso in Florence, during the Pitti Uomo exhibition at the GazzaLook Lounge space.

This year the jerseys have been designed by the Italian brand Lebole – an internationally renowned brand that is synonymous with menswear, elegance and Italian style – and made by Santini Maglificio Sportivo, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

Cristina Chiabotto, Italian TV presenter and celebrity, has been named as the Giro d’Italia’s 2015 Madrina.

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The Giro d’Italia is one of the world’s biggest Italian sporting events. It is estimated that 11.2 million people attend the race during its three weeks, with 2.4 million attending the stage starts, 2.3 million at their finish lines and 6.5 million along the route. The Giro is broadcast to 18 million people daily in 171 countries, with live broadcasts taking place in 162 of these. Last year over 4000 different media covered the race.

The 2015 Giro d’Italia jerseys and sponsors are:
MAGLIA ROSA – BALOCCO, General Classification leader
MAGLIA AZZURRA – BANCA MEDIOLANUM, King of the Mountain Classification leader
MAGLIA ROSSA – ALGIDA, Points Classification leader
MAGLIA BIANCA – EUROSPIN, Young Riders Classification leader

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Guests at the presentation were: Alberto Balocco, CEO of Balocco; Luca Lisoni, Head of Marketing and Communication at Clients Banca Mediolanum; Luca Landucci, Sales Director Out-of-Home Ice Cream and Frozen Food, Unilever; Luca Burgazzoli, Marketing Director at Eurospin.

The guests unveiled the jerseys alongside their creators: Monica Santini, CEO of Santini Maglificio Sportivo and Anna Lebole, Marketing and Communication Manager at Lebole.

Raimondo Zanaboni, Managing Director of RCS Advertising and CEO of RCS Sport said: “Giro d’Italia is a major asset of RCS Group, with an international prestige and value constantly increasing. We have one of the most relevant sport events on the world and we are very proud to be able to offer to our sponsors a high level event that allow us to grow with them year on year.”

Grande Partenza Giro d’Italia 2015 in Liguria:

header-lottonl-jumboleftBennett and Lindeman lead LottoNL-Jumbo team in Tour Down Under
Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s cycling team will make its debut in Australia next week. From January 20 to 25, the team in yellow and black will race the Tour Down Under. On January 18, the race kicks off with the People’s Choice Classic criterium. “The guys are excited,” Sports Director Frans Maassen said from Adelaide. “They are eager to start the new LottoNL-Jumbo era. “We want to finish as high up as possible in the overall with George Bennett and Bert-Jan Lindeman. We’ll see how far they can go. With all the Australian cyclists lining up in the race, it’s going to be a good challenge.”

George Bennett
George Bennett was the first rider to wear the new Team LottoNL-Jumbo kit in competition. On Sunday, the 24-year-old Kiwi finished fifth on New Zealand’s national road race. “I was isolated there,” Bennett said. “In the Tour Down Under, we race with a good group of riders, so I think more should be possible. I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to it.” Bennett ended up 15th overall in the Tour Down Under two years ago. “This year, I’m aiming for a top ten spot. That’s a nice goal, although I secretly dream of top five. I need to take my chances and fight for time bonuses. It always comes down to seconds here. “The race doesn’t completely suit my characteristics, but some things are in my favor. I do not suffer from a jet lag and I’m used to the heat. I have already gained some rhythm and besides, this race is like a home race to me.”

Bert-Jan Lindeman
Just like Bennett, Bert-Jan Lindeman joined Team LottoNL-Jumbo this winter. “For me, it means a lot that I immediately get to ride a WorldTour race. This shows that the team has a lot of confidence in me. I’m very happy with that,” said Lindeman. “The race will be decided in the hills. I hope that my form is good enough to compete with the best riders. In the run-up to those moments, I’m going to try and save as much energy as possible.”

Team line-up:
George Bennett, Rick Flens, Martijn Keizer, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Barry Markus, Timo Roosen and Maarten Tjallingii.
Sports Director: Frans Maassen.

2014 Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3:

header-katusha15Team Katusha opens WorldTour in Australia
Following a good tradition, the Russian Team Katusha opens the new cycling season with the first 2015 UCI WorldTour race – the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia.

Katusha will take part in both the stage race of the Tour Down Under, which will be held on January 20th to 25th and the traditional one-day 50 km race-criterium People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide, which will be held on January 18th.

Team Katusha brings the following roster to Australia: Maxim Belkov, Giampaolo Caruso, Vladimir Isaychev, Sergey Lagutin, Tiago Machado, Rüdiger Selig and Alexey Tsatevich, all directed by Gennady Mikhaylov.

More race details on the web site: https://www.tourdownunder.com.au/

Tour Down Under photoshoot:

header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin team for the TDU
Team Giant-Alpecin line up for the first WorldTour race of the season next week at the Santos Tour Down Under, in Australia.

The line-up for the opening race of the season has been decided and it’s a strong team including two of 2014’s top performers, Marcel Kittel (GER) and Tom Dumoulin (NED), that will kick of the new season for Team Giant-Alpecin.

These two will be joined by Koen De Kort (NED) and Albert Timmer (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Lawson Craddock (USA) and Chad Haga (USA). This team of seven will be the first to take to the start line in the team’s new colours on the road.

Kittel returns to the opening WorldTour race of the season having taken the warm-up criterium, The People’s Choice Classic, last year. He will be joined by Tour Down Under debutant, Dumoulin who together with Geschke will have an eye on the overall classification, which using the past few as a reference shows to suit the punchy riders.

Looking ahead to the race, team coach Addy Engels (NED) said: “Our main focus will be for Tom and Simon to go for the GC, that is our overall target. But when you start a race with Marcel in the team you have to have an eye on the sprint opportunities.

“The team is not built around the sprints so we will adapt to the opportunities that come and test his shape in that way. We work hard to plan detailed race programs for all of the riders and so it is nice to look forward to racing now after lots of planning and preparation.”

“It’s a nice way for me to start the season and to find my legs again after the winter training,” confirmed Kittel. “Adelaide is a beautiful place and it is a relaxing way to start the 2015 season.”

Giant-Alpecin Line-up:
Lawson Craddock (USA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Koen De Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

Durianrider Training With Team Giant Tour Down Under 2015:

header-iamcyclingIAM Cycling to Tour Down Under
Michel Thétaz: “The Santos Tour Down Under represents the first test for the IAM Cycling wolves”
Next week the 2015 cycling season will kick off in Australia when the top tier teams take to the road again. Indeed, the first test on the World Tour calendar takes place Down Under. Having been promoted to the premier class in professional cycling following two successful years as a Pro Continental team, IAM Cycling wants to make an immediate impression in view of their new status. With riders like Martin Elmiger, Heinrich Haussler and Co. on hand, the team feels like it has a great chance. Michel Thétaz, founder of IAM Cycling and CEO of IAM Funds, is convinced that now is a good time to talk about the ambitions of his team.

“The emotion and satisfaction of getting a WorldTour license is part of the past. Now we stop celebrating and knuckle down to the task. In view of our commitments, we have strengthened group of riders as well as the staff. It’s important that we now build on the strong fighting spirit we espoused at the team presentation in early December. I am certain that the Santos Tour Down Under will give us the chance we need to highlight the team’s strengths. Since the beginning of the IAM Cycling team, I have promoted this anti-star system. We want all the riders to be involved in the success of the chosen leader for the various situations.”

On the Australian roads, IAM Cycling will have two riders resplendent in national champion’s jerseys following Heinrich Haussler’s recent victory at the Australian national road race championships, in addition to Martin Elmiger’s Swiss champion’s jersey, which he won in June 2014. Michel Thétaz joined in rejoicing the Australian puncheur’s new title. “The Santos Tour Down Under will be the first test that the IAM Cycling wolf pack will face to see whether all our hard work will pay off. And if there are adjustments that need to be made, we will have time to do the necessary work, if need be. But it is true that we could not have had a better start to the season than with this title that Heino won. Not only is it great for the team, but it is so important for a rider like Heino who has put in so much work on his side to get into the best condition possible for this season start. And I will be very proud to see two national champion’s jerseys within the IAM Cycling team for the coming months.”

Riders:
Stef Clement (Ned), Martin Elmiger (S), Heinrich Haussler (Aus), Roger Kluge (Ger), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), Vicente Reynes (Sp), David Tanner (Aus).
Directeur sportif: Kjell Carlström.
Support staff – Masseurs: Carina Kirssi, Tom Patton. Mechanic: Marc Chevènement.

Martin Elmiger:
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header-qatar15Tour of Qatar 2015: Speeding Up!
Caution to the wind! The six stages of the 2015 Tour of Qatar (February 8–13) will only give sprinters one opportunity to relax: a 10.9 km individual time trial near the brand-new Lusail Sports Arena, where the World Handball Championship is set to begin tomorrow in front of over 15,000 fans. Apart from this hiatus on the third day of racing, the race will be a sprint-fest… unless the fast men are blown away by the wind, which often gives the Qatari event a whiff of the Northern Classics.

Etixx – Quick Step has turned the Qatari desert into it’s stomping grounds, claiming seven of the last nine editions with riders such as Tom Boonen (four times) and Niki Terpstra (last year), but the opposition in the fourteenth edition of the Tour of Qatar will be fierce. Rivals for the mass sprints include Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and newly crowned Australian champion Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling). If it all comes down to a duel in the crosswinds, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Lars Boom (Astana), Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) will not go down without a fight. All-rounders such as Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Filippo Pozzato (Lampre) will be ready to pounce on any opening left by the sprinters and spring classic specialists. The multifaceted Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), winner of the 2012 Tour de France and last year’s time trial world championship, is also heading to Qatar to build his condition for Paris-Roubaix, which will be the last road race of his career and his top season objective.

Stages:
Stage 1, Sunday, February 8: Dukhan – Sealine Beach (136 km)
Stage 2, Monday, February 9: Al Wakra – Al Khor Corniche (194.5 km)
Stage 3, Tuesday, February 10: Lusail Circuit, individual time trial (10.9 km)
Stage 4, Wednesday, February 11: Al Thakhira – Mesaieed (165.5 km)
Stage 5, Thursday, February 12: Al Zubara Fort – Madinat ash-Shamal (153 km)
Stage 6, Friday, February 13: Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche (124.5 km).

All the information regarding the Tour of Qatar on www.letour.fr.

Tour of Qatar 2014 stage 5 finish:

header-lottosoudal15Vuelta Thoughts from Lotto Soudal
Saturday the route of the 70th edition of the Vuelta was announced in Torremolinos. The race starts on Saturday 22nd August in Puerto Banús and finishes on Sunday 13th September in the Spanish capital Madrid. During these three weeks there are nine summit finishes and two time trials.

Team time trial to start
Just like the previous editions the Vuelta starts with a team time trial. This time it’s over a distance of 7.4 kilometers and it takes the riders from Puerto Banús to Marbella. The next day the stage ends on a third category climb. Also the fourth stage finishes uphill, but not on a climb that yields points for the KOM classification. Thursday and Friday there are two more summit finishes, each time on a climb of second category. The stage on Sunday 30th August takes the riders to the first climb of first category, the finish line is drawn there. Tuesday 1st September the riders can enjoy a rest day.

Queen stage in Andorra
Then the riders have a tough week ahead of them. The eleventh stage, in Andorra, is the queen stage. Later that week there are two more finishes on a climb of first category. Just before the second rest day there is a summit finish on a climb hors catégorie. In the final week there is an individual time trial of 39 kilometerorganizations. The nineteenth stage finishes in Ávila. In the penultimate stage the peloton has to get over four climbs of first category, the finish lies after the final descent. The final stage, to Madrid, is 93.7 kilometres long. This is one of the few opportunities for sprinters.

For climbers and punchers
Mario Aerts sports director Lotto Soudal: “The organization chose the same recipe as previous years. I expect nervous finals the first ten days. After the first rest day the queen stage is scheduled. There are six climbs over a distance of only 138 kilometres and about 5000 altitude meters. The hardest part will be the stages between the two rest days. The stages after the second rest day are possibly not tough enough to change the top of GC. There are two definite chances for the sprinters and two other stages that might end with a sprint as well. It’s a Vuelta for climbers and punchers.”

Opportunities for the team
“I see several opportunities for Adam Hansen. He’s someone who can jump away a few kilometres from the end and take the win. An early breakaway could make it on different occasions as well, Adam could be present in one of those. The Vuelta is part of the race program of Jurgen Van den Broeck this year. After the first rest day he gets on a terrain that suits him, longer climbs and more climbs on one day. Also the time trial in the final week is not bad for him. The Vuelta is still far away, but there will definitely be opportunities for us.”

2015 Vuelta stage profiles:

header_movistar-leftDowsett breaks collarbone, to undergo surgery
Movistar Team rider crashes while training on Tuesday, will likely be operated tomorrow; plans on UCI Hour Record attempt unconfirmed.

Alex Dowsett and Movistar Team’s hopes to take on a successful UCI Hour record attempt were seriously damaged yesterday as the Essex-based rider suffered a crash during a training ride on home roads. Pain in his right-hand shoulder forced Dowsett to be moved to a hospital nearby, where radiological examinations confirmed a fracture in his collarbone.

The severity of Dowsett’s fracture will require surgery, which the Briton will likely undergo on Thursday. A media day scheduled for Tuesday 20 at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark, venue of the event on February 27, has been cancelled. In contrary, details on whether Dowsett’s attempt will go on as planned or be postponed will be specified in the next few days, subject to medical examination after his surgery and Dowsett’s own consideration.

Alex Dowsett Interview with Priority Sports:

header-cult-leftReihs returns to pro cycling after 12-year absence
Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s 35 year-old, Michael Reihs will be a key figure on the Danish squad in 2015. Not only on but off the road as well as the go-to-guy for most of the young riders and for the new members of the Cult Energy family as well. We sat him down for an interview and here’s how it turned out:

When did you start riding?
“I started riding a little when I was 10. Like most boys, I played football and tried many other sports too. My dad was a former elite rider so the decision was pretty much in the cards early on. In my first race, I finished second so I knew immediately that I had a good chance of making it in the sport.”

When did you turn professional?
“Well, years passed and I was hustling my up through the ranks and to the top league in Denmark. I was young and didn’t have any obligations in Denmark so I went to Italy with another Danish rider to live out the dream. We got in touch with our national coach at the time, Jørgen Marcussen who hooked us up with a team who ran different tests on us. Maybe they thought I was a softy ‘cause I never heard from them again. Downcast and crestfallen, we returned to our homes in Denmark but a phone call from Jørgen with the news that a Swiss team was looking for a Dane kick-started my career. I signed with the second division Phonak Hearing System team where I was given an opportunity to develop and I lived alone in Switzerland for two years starting my pro career at 21 years of age. I was now able to focus completely on training, resting and nothing else. I was then and still am very privileged to do what I love the most every day and that is a huge motivation – especially through these cold winter months of November and December where I do 3-4 hours a day five times a week on the road. January and February are even colder so naturally, I’m looking forward for some time in the sun during the January training camp.”

Where do you live now?
“Today, I live in Silkeborg, Denmark where my girlfriend and I built our own house 3 years ago and we’re fortunate to have two boys; Fabian of 5 and Aston 2. When I’m off the bike, I spend most of my time with my family. You don’t get to do that during the season so winter is well spent with them and friends outside the world of cycling. It gets boring talking solely about racing and I enjoy discussing other things when I get a chance to do so.”

What will be your role at Cult Energy Pro Cycling this season?
“I will continue doing what I did last year. I’ve been with Christa and Michael for a few years now and they dubbed me a culture bearer and they expect me to take the difficult and quick decisions on the road. I know the way Skelde (Michael) thinks and vice versa. This is our first pro season as a team but I think we have good opportunities of success. I’m confident that the management will put a good race program together for us and I’m eager as a rookie pro to return to the bigger races and I think we have the riders to achieve success,” concludes Michael Reihs.

The team will kick off the season later this month in Mallorca.

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header-colombia15Colombia’s new look to debut at Tour de San Luis
The increasingly short cycling winter season is over again, and on Monday January 19th it will be San Luis, Argentina, to host the first race of 2015 Team Colombia-Coldeportes. The team will land in the Argentinian province on Thursday January 15th: traveling from Europe will be Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli, the technical staff and rider Leonardo Duque, while the fellow five athletes in the line-up – Miguel Angel Rubiano, Carlos Julian Quintero, Rodolfo Torres, Juan Pablo Valencia and Edward Diaz – will fly to Argentina directly from Colombia.

Big ambitions and expectations lay on the new season for Claudio Corti’s team: the Escarabajos’ roster was strengthened in numbers and quality, with the addition of strong riders like Alex Cano, Cayetano Sarmiento, Brayan Ramirez and Walter Pedraza to a line-up that combines experience and talented youngsters. Along with the enthusiasm for the final preparations, expectation is growing in the team’s headquarter in Adro (Italy) for the unveiling of the Wild Card teams for the next Giro d’Italia: sharing the same feelings are all the Colombian and South-American fans, hoping to be once again represented at the Corsa Rosa by the only Latin American team in the Pro Continental ranks, and currently sounding their desire on the social networks.

The new season also brought a new version of Wilier Triestina Zero.7 frame, with a brand-new design, and a new team kit realized by Nalini, making its debut in San Luis, with the Colombian flag’s colors standing out more than before.

“We have been talking a lot with the riders over the last few weeks, so we expect to be in good conditions when the race starts, even though you can’t tell anything for sure until we start racing and comparing with our rivals – Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli explained. “Rubiano likes this race a lot, and we are confident in his chances to compete for a stage win and a good overall placement. Generally speaking, everything seems to be in place to have a good start of the new season.”

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header-etixx-qr15Big Crowd at Another Successful Velodrome Team Presentation!

Etixx – Quick-Step Cycling Team had a third successful “Velodrome Showcase” Official Team Presentation on Wednesday, in an event where sponsors and their guests, as well as fans in the Tribune, were able to watch each 2015 rider be introduced one-by-one, and then enjoy the riders competing against each other in several track events throughout the evening. The event was held at the track named after Belgian Cycling Legend Eddy Merckx at the Vlaams Wielercentrum in Gent (Belgium).

The evening began with Etixx – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere addressing the crowd, thanking them for attending and talking about the upcoming season. Riders were then introduced, and racing began. Mark Cavendish eventually emerged as the overall winner of the races.

Tom Boonen and the boys line up for the off:
etixx15-trackpres-boonen-620

“This event went very well for the third year in a row, it is evident just in how loud it is in here,” Boonen said. “I think it’s a special team presentation. Not every team has the possibility to do this kind of thing, but as a Belgian team we train a lot here in Gent in the Winter, two times a week. That is actually how the team came up with the idea for this kind of event and three years later, here we are with a big success. I think everyone loves it. If you go to a normal team presentation riders go up on stage and talk about themselves, and that’s it. But here it’s like a six-days feeling. It’s a more relaxed and fun atmosphere than you would have at a typical presentation. Plus, because we are all competitive. Boys will be boys. Give them a bike and they want to go fast. That’s a recipe for entertainment. The fans get really enthusiastic about it and for the riders it’s also fun. It’s nice to have interaction this way. ”

“I don’t think there’s another team in the peloton that does a race as a team presentation,” Cavendish said. “It shows the Belgian roots of Etixx – Quick-Step. I think it’s really entertaining that our sponsors, their guests, and fans can come here and watch a bike race instead of us just standing and talking. It’s really nice, I think it integrates well, and it is as much fun for the riders as it is for the crowd. I think it gives the public another event to see, which is bike racers racing bikes. We’re all competitive guys but on and off the bike, even when we’re racing against each other, we’re a family. That’s what makes Etixx – Quick-Step special.”

“It’s an amazing day, to start the season in Gent like this, on a Belgium based team, is always a pleasure,” UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski said. “It’s a great way to show off the new clothing and the sponsors of Etixx – Quick-Step. “I’m super proud to show myself in front of the Belgian public as World Champion and it’s always great for me to race here. With these rainbow stripes I am proud and hope our sponsors and supporters are as excited as we are for the upcoming season. The supporters even in the tribune is great, because they are always there for us on good days and bad days on the road. So, it’s really important to pay them back for their effort and spend time with them here. As for the event, it’s difficult for me to be competitive with the guys like Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra, or Mark Cavendish on the track. They are such great riders in that discipline. For me, it’s more fun. But I did race on the velodrome as a junior, so it’s always nice to be back here. Now after two training camps, the group has come together with good spirit and we are really motivated to start our racing schedule on the road next week.”

World road champion Michal Kwiatkowski:
etixx15-trackpres-kwiatkowski-620

header-lottosoudal15Energy Lab assists the riders on training camp
Twenty Lotto Soudal riders are in Mallorca for the second training camp before the start of the new season. In December there was already a training camp in Benicàssim. Wim Van Hoolst, together with Paul Van Den Bosch trainer at Energy Lab, tells what’s on the programme. Four riders had an aerodynamic test in the velodrome of Palma de Mallorca last Thursday.

Wim Van Hoolst, trainer Energy Lab: “There is a difference between the training camp in December and this one. In December it was mainly endurance training and power training. Now the trainings have a much higher intensity. This is the last straight line before the start of the season, so quality is more important than quantity. There are specific exercises uphill with tempo switches. There are trainings with motorbikes as well. The speed is then raised, so a sprint is simulated.”

Dividing in three groups
“There are twenty riders on this training camp and each day the riders train in three groups, depending on the race programme or type of rider. These groups are different every day. Those who will ride Tirreno-Adriatico in March will train for the team time trial. On the rest days all riders that are here in Mallorca will take their time trial bike for a spin.”

Tests
“We do tests here as well. The riders have to do a maximal effort of ten minutes. We then measure the power, which gives an indication of their shape. Based on that we make up new training zones. They also did that test on the first training camp, now we take a look at their improvement. The role of Energy Lab on training camp is to make groups, prepare the trainings and then evaluate the performance. We do that by looking at the training software, that is reading the data of the SRM meter. With that info we can adapt the trainings if necessary.”

Aerodynamic test in Palma
“Last Thursday we had rented the velodrome in Palma de Mallorca to let four riders do aerodynamic tests: André Greipel, Marcel Sieberg, Tony Gallopin and Tiesj Benoot. Normally these tests take place in Ghent. First we make up the aerodynamic profile of the rider. They ride at three different speeds: 40 km/hour, 45 km/hour, 50 km/hour. Each time the power is measured. Then we test different positions on the track at a speed of 50 km/hour, the speed in a time trial. We look at the average power output over two minutes. We try to get the lowest power output that is possible. Lower power output at the same speed means you are positioned more aerodynamically on the bike. The rider always has to have a good feeling, sit comfortably and put enough power on the pedals. We always try to improve, even a small bit, that can be 5 to 30 watt.”

Lotto Soudal #askyourquestion

Team NN simple stacked.pdfTeam Novo Nordisk and Craft Performance Apparel Announce Four-Year Partnership
Craft to Provide Apparel to Team Novo Nordisk’s Nearly 100 Athletes

Team Novo Nordisk, a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes and runners, spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, and Craft Performance Apparel, a global leader in innovative sportswear announce a new partnership, naming Craft as the official apparel supplier for Team Novo Nordisk through the 2018 season. Craft will provide racing kits and casual wear to the team’s nearly 100 athletes.

“Everyone at Team Novo Nordisk is thrilled to join forces with Craft,” said Team Novo Nordisk co-founder and CEO Phil Southerland. “Craft’s dedication to supporting world class athletes through the development of the most advanced cycling clothing available coupled with the company’s support of our team’s mission to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes, makes this a very special partnership.”

“We at Craft are very excited about our new partnership with Team Novo Nordisk. This partnership allows us to equip the team with the most technical and functional team wear from the Craft brand, which we hope will help bring their performance to the next level,” said Kjell Kaspersen, CEO of Craft and New Wave Denmark, the parent company of Craft. “In addition to seeing this as a unique possibility to strengthen our involvement in the world of cycling, we also appreciate the opportunity to assist in increasing awareness of diabetes, which is one of the fastest growing conditions in the world.”

Team Novo Nordisk is comprised of nearly 100 athletes from more than 20 countries, who will compete in over 500 events worldwide this year. The Team Novo Nordisk professional men’s cycling team kicks off the 2015 racing season next week in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis before heading to the Middle East for the Dubai Tour.

For four decades, Craft has created functional sportswear designed for optimal performance. The company strives for innovation in their products, and is always looking for new ways to develop garments and strengthen their brand.

2015 Team Novo Nordisk

header-vuelta-leftLa Vuelta a España 2014
We now know the route of the 2015 Spanish Grand Tour, so what better time to look back at the best bits of the 2014 race:


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