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EuroTrash Tour Thursday!

The Tour de France is set to kick off in Utrecht, it’s the biggest bike race on the planet and we have as much Tour info as we can find with some great video. It’s not all Tour, in other cycling news: Sky end deal with Great Britain national team, Giro’16 to start in Holland, Davide Appollonio has big problems and ‘Pleasure in Pain’ video from South Australia. Café au lait, monsieur?

TOP STORY: The Tour!
This year’s Tour looks to be one of the hardest fought for with all the top Grand Tour riders on the Utrecht start line. Nibali, Froome, Contador, Quintana, Rodriguez and Valverde are all primed and ready, barring the possible crashes on the cobbles the battles will be in the high mountains of the Pyrenees and more probably the Alps. The Alpe d’Huez is the last climb of the race and probably won’t be too important to the final overall, so could the Pra Loup be decisive? In 1975 Eddy Merckx was on his way to a record sixth Tour win, but he was put to the sword by Bernard Thévenet on stage 15 to Pra Loup. Merckx was the race leader and went on the attack, but on the final climb Merckx cracked and Thévenet was able to catch and pass Merckx two kilometers from the finish. The Frenchman won by 2 minutes and put a further two and a half minutes into the Belgian on stage 16. It was the end of the Merckx domination of the Tour and the start of his decline. Merckx’s 1975 Tour was not helped by a broken cheek bone and a kidney punch from a spectator, but he fought to the end to finish second overall, second in the points and second in the king of the mountains. We can only hope this year is half as exciting.

The day Thévenet cracked Merckx on Pra Loup:

Thévenet, le tombeur de Merckx / Thévenet, le… por tourdefrance

Tour de France 2015

The Tour get’s Ready for the Grand Depart in Utrecht
The Tour de France is ready to start in the Netherlands for the sixth time. Wilco Kelderman of Lotto NL-Jumbo will ride stage 1 with the national colors after he claimed the Dutch title for individual time trial. Being the local hero in Utrecht as he lives in Amersfoort only twenty kilometers away, Kelderman rode his bike to join his team at their hotel. “It’s really special to start my first Tour de France at home”, he said while LottoNL-Jumbo co-leader Robert Gesink told him how great it is as he already experienced it in Rotterdam five years ago. “It was a big success”, the “condor of Varsseveld” (Gesink’s nickname) remembered. “Cycling is big in the Netherlands these days. People deserve to have the Tour coming here. It’s going to be a big show.” Instead of taking part in the national championship last Sunday, Gesink went to reconnoitre stage 12 of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees after a short stay in Spain with his family. LottoNL-Jumbo has decided to focus on climbing this year with responsibilities given to Laurens ten Dam and Steven Kruijswijk along with Kelderman and Gesink.

“Tension will get higher and higher as we approach the start of the race this Saturday”, said Jos van Emden who will ride the Tour de France for the first time at the age of 30 in his seventh season as a pro cyclist. Four of the twenty Dutch riders lining up are beginners. Ramon Sinkeldam of Giant-Alpecin and Dylan van Baarle of Cannondale-Garmin are the other two with Kelderman and Van Emden.

In twenty-five years, this is the first time with so many riders from the Netherlands to take part in the Grande Boucle. They were thirty back in 1989 but a maximum of nineteen since then. Only France has more starters than the host country of the Grand Départ with fourty-one. The history of Dutch cyclists at the Tour goes as far back as 1936 with one of them, Theo Middelkamp, being their first stage winner that same year, and the last one, Lars Boom, having ended a nine-year drought in stage 5 to Arenberg via some spectacular cobblestone sections. Eighteen different Dutch riders have worn the yellow jersey since Wim van Est took it in 1951. The last one was Erik Breukink in 1989.

School children from Utrecht have been able to learn more about current and former Dutch cycling champions as they helped to inaugurate the press center along with Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, the mayor of Utrecht Jan van Zanen and former riders Bernard Hinault and Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. For the first time in the history of the race, a press conference was held exclusively for children who could ask questions to Tour de France participants Kelderman and Gesink from LottoNL-Jumbo, Koen de Kort, Ramon Sinkeldam and Roy Curvers from Giant-Alpecin, as well as female cyclist Marianne Vos who was introduced to them as an “enormous hero”.

“It’s definitely special for me to start the Tour de France in my home country”, explained De Kort who drove to Utrecht with his father like when he was a young cyclist. “I was born in Gouda, on the route of stage 2 but I grew up near ‘s-Hertogenbosch. I probably wouldn’t have become a cyclist if it wasn’t because the 1996 Tour de France started in my town. Pretty much everyone I know will be on the course this coming week-end. Unfortunately, we’ll be racing without Marcel Kittel this year but I’ll still have a job as a lead-out man for our sprinter John Degenkolb. I’ll share it with Sinkeldam, we’ll discuss daily what our role will be.”

The whole Giant-Alpecin team anticipated the children’s press conference with a 45-minute ride together with 150 fans in and around Utrecht in a sunny and friendly atmosphere. The host city is all fired up for the Grand Départ.

The Stages:
Tour de France (Saturday, July 4th to Sunday, July 26th)
1. Utrecht – Utrecht-13.8 km-Individual time trial.
2. Utrecht – Neeltje Jans-166 km-Flat stage.
3. Antwerp – Huy-159.5 km-Medium-mountain stage.
4. Seraing – Cambrai-223.5 km-Flat stage with cobblestones.
5. Arras – Amiens-189.5 km-Flat stage.
6. Abbeville – Le Havre-191.5 km-Flat stage.
7. Livarot – Fougères-190.5 km-Flat stage.
8. Rennes – Mûr-de-Bretagne-181.5 km-Medium-mountain stage.
9. Vannes – Plumelec-28 km-Team time trial.
13th July-Rest day (Pau).
10. Tarbes – La Pierre Saint Martin-Mountain stage.
11. Pau – Cauterets-188 km-Mountain stage.
12. Lannemezan – Plateau de Beille-195 km-Mountain stage.
13. Muret – Rodez-198.5 km-Medium-mountain stage.
14. Rodez – Mende-178.5 km-Medium-mountain stage.
15. Mende – Valence-183 km-Hilly stage.
16. Bourg-de-Péage – Gap-201 km-Medium-mountain stage.
21st July-Rest day (Gap).
17. Digne-les-Bains – Pra Loup-161 km-Mountain stage.
18. Gap – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne-186.5 km-Mountain stage.
19. Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire – Les Sybelles-138 km-Mountain stage.
20. Modane – Alpe d’Huez-110.5 km-Mountain stage.
21. Sèvres – Paris-109.5 km-Flat stage.

The Grand Depart in Holland:

Les villes étapes 2015 : Les Pays-Bas et le… por tourdefrance

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Announces 2015 Tour de France Team and Unveils New Team Bike & Kit
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced its 2015 Tour de France Roster. The team features U.S. National Time Trial Champion, Andrew Talansky (10th overall in the 2013 Tour de France); Dan Martin (2014 Lombardia Champion and 2013 Tour de France Stage Winner) and Ryder Hesjedal (2012 Giro d’Italia Champion). The three powerhouses will work together as co-leaders of the argyle squad and will be supported by a strong team including Tour veterans Jack Bauer, Kristijan Koren, Sebastian Langeveld, road captain; and Ramunas Navardauskas, 2014 Tour de France Stage winner. Dylan Van Baarle and Nathan Hass will both be riding their inaugural Tour de France.

“We are going into the Tour de France with three leaders, all who have very different riding styles, and those styles compliment each other. Andrew, Dan and Ryder have shown they work well together, and that will translate to the roads of the Tour,” said Charly Wegelius, Director Sportif. “Supporting them is a strong bunch. Ramunas showed his strength with a stage win last year, and Jack Bauer will be looking for redemption after coming so close to a win in 2014. Sebastian is our road captain and his leadership and experience will be invaluable in the wind in Holland, over the Cobbles and thought the entire race. Kristijan is skilled at moving around the peloton and helping riders maintain and keep their position. Dylan and Nathan will be riding their first Tour de France and will support and learn from the more senior riders on the team. Each rider is capable of stage wins, and working together we expect them to make the race exciting.”

“We have a very talented group of riders and by bringing three top guys: Andrew, Dan and Ryder, we’re going to make things very interesting. These three, and the team as whole, will work seamlessly and selflessly together to shake things up and create opportunities,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling. “You’ll see a lot of creativity from us at this Tour.”

The argyle squad will be racing the All-New SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD for the first time, as well as unveiling a limited edition team kit for the 2015 Tour de France, created by its innovative Italian clothing partner, Castelli. The All-New SuperSix EVO, recently launched in Kitbhuel, Austria, designed to deliver success in racing on the World Tour. The new jersey retains the distinctive Cannondale and Garmin logos, but reverse black with Cannondale’s signature shade of green. The signature Slipstream Sports argyle is prominently displayed in blue on front and back. “We’re really excited about racing the new Cannondale that the team has been testing for months and the Tour de France kit,” said Vaughters. “The bike is perfectly suited for racing the Tour and the lighter color of the new kit is perfect for hot weather and our signature argyle is more prominent.”

Cannondale, known for designing bikes that deliver a legitimate performance advantage, unveiled the completely redesigned SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD with a focus on setting a new balance power within elite race bicycles. Balancing every factor important to race performance, Cannondale has created the All-New EVO with improved stiffness, increased compliance and lighter system weight – all designed to deliver success in racing on the World Tour. “We rely on the team to be an integral part of the development process and we look forward to the new EVO being an essential part of the teams’ success at the tour.” Said Henning Schroeder, VP of Product at Cannondale.

Castelli has introduced new clothing multiple times in its history at the Tour de France. “We consider the Tour de France a very special event that deserves a special design,” said Steve Smith, Castelli Brand Manager. “This team is rider-centric, and Castelli has done its part to make sure the riders have the most comfortable and technically advanced clothing for this big event. Racing in hot weather is physically demanding, that’s a given, and despite the fact that Castelli makes some of the lightest and coolest fabrics in existence, wearing a lighter color will make a big difference, both psychologically and physically, to a rider’s well being.”

The limited edition Cannondale-Garmin Tour de France kit will be available in early July
at Castelli-dealers and shopslipstreamsports.com.


Astana team for the Tour’15
The Astana team have chosen the eight riders who will back Italian champion, Vincenzo Nibali, in his bid to defend his Tour title from last year. The team is: Michele Scarponi, Jakob Fuglsang, Lars Boom, Lieuwe Westra, Tanel Kangert, Rein Taaramäe, Andrei Grivko and Dmitriy Gruzdev.

Can Vincenzo repeat?
stage 7 - Criterium du Dauphine Libere 2015

Team Sky Announces 2015 Tour de France Squad
Team Sky has selected its squad for the 102nd edition of the Tour de France, which starts in Utrecht on Saturday 4 July and concludes on Sunday 26 July in Paris.

Team Sky’s leader Chris Froome is one of five British riders in the nine-man team, which also includes: Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, Nicolas Roche, Leopold König and Wout Poels.

Team Sky’s race leader Chris Froome said: “Last year’s disappointment is this year’s motivation for Team Sky. From the moment I crashed out in 2014 I’ve had the burning desire to get back to this year’s Tour in the best possible shape. I’m ready and I’m fortunate to have a strong team around me selected to meet the many different challenges of this year’s race – from the cobbles to the climbs. There’s a great spirit in the group and we’re ready to give our best for every kilometer of every day over the three weeks of the Tour. We’re counting down the days. We can’t wait to get started and we are up for the challenge ahead.”

Speaking about the Tour de France line-up Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said: “The Tour is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in years and we’ve chosen a team of talented riders for the race. We’ve studied this year’s route carefully and have selected the riders who we believe will best deliver our race strategy. Inevitably it is always a difficult decision. We’re all looking forward to a great race and we have a strong team – led by Chris Froome – that’s hungry for success. I’m confident that Team Sky will be competitive but of course we can take nothing for granted. One thing we can say for certain is that it’s going to be a great contest and a great three weeks of racing for the fans. That is fantastic for the sport of cycling.”

The Team Sky squad for the 2015 Tour de France:

Chris Froome – age 30 – Great Britain
The 2013 race winner will lead Team Sky’s challenge over the three weeks as he bids to recapture his Tour crown. After putting a crash in last year’s event behind him, Froome will look to continue his momentum following an impressive recent win at the Criterium du Dauphine. A gifted climber and powerful time trialist, he has all the skills to win the world’s biggest bike race.

Richie Porte – age 30 – Australia
One of the finest and most feared climbers in the peloton, the Tasmanian began the year in scintillating form, winning Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and the Giro del Trentino back to back. Disappointment followed in May at the Giro d’Italia, as he was forced to withdraw from the race due to injury. Now back to full fitness Porte will be raring to go heading into his fifth Tour de France.

Geraint Thomas – age 29 – Great Britain
Following the best start to a season of his career to date, Thomas lines up for his sixth Tour de France full of confidence. Whether claiming wins in tough Belgian one-day classics like E3 Harelbeke or climbing at the sharp end of mountainous stage races, ‘G’ can do it all. With overall victory at the Volta ao Algarve and second place at the Tour de Suisse his all-round credentials are unquestioned.

Peter Kennaugh – age 26 – Great Britain
Hailing from the Isle of Man, Kennaugh lines up for his second Tour de France appearance off the back of another strong season. After 12 eye-catching months in the British national champion’s jersey, which he successfully defended in Lincoln yesterday, Peter has various other victories on his palmares, and earned himself a stint in the leader’s jersey at this year’s Criterium du Dauphine.

Ian Stannard – age 28 – Great Britain
Few riders possess the combination of horsepower and heart that characterise Ian Stannard. The Brit is a huge asset on the flat but is comfortable setting a fierce pace on the climbs. With a second victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad already in his pocket this season, Stannard will be hoping to repeat his Tour outing from 2013 where he helped Froome to victory.

Luke Rowe – age 25 – Great Britain
After coming through the ranks as part of British Cycling’s Academy the talented Welshman has spent all of his four pro seasons with Team Sky. In that time he has developed into one of the finest and most respected young riders in the sport, and is rewarded with his Tour debut. This year Rowe has taken a top 10 at Paris-Roubaix and contributed to wins at both Paris-Nice and the Dauphine.

Nicolas Roche – age 30 – Ireland
Strong, accomplished and experienced at the highest level, Roche has been part of a number of high-profile victories since joining Team Sky this season. Comfortable setting tempo on the climbs, the Irishman finished fifth in his own right at the Vuelta a Espana in 2013. Roche has 13 Grand Tours starts to his name and has completed each one, including the last six editions of the Tour de France.

Leopold König – age 27 – Czech Republic
The Czech climbing star rode to a superb seventh place overall in the 2014 edition of the Tour as he made his debut in the event. He improved on that Grand Tour milestone in Team Sky colours this year with sixth place at the Giro d’Italia. Now rested ahead of the race start, König will significantly add to the team’s firepower in the mountains.

Wout Poels – age 27 – Holland
The Dutchman has impressed greatly since joining the team at the start of 2015. Elite climbing prowess makes him invaluable in the high mountains, yet Poels has also shown he is capable of winning in his own right after a classy stage victory at Tirreno-Adriatico in March. After returning from shoulder surgery Poels was a key part of the team’s Dauphine success.


Movistar Heads Towards the Tour de France
Eusebio Unzué confirms telephone squad’s nine-man roster set to start in Utrecht on Saturday, July 4th: “It’s the most balanced squad and the one that brought us everything we needed in all terrains”
Five days before the 102nd edition of the Tour de France starts in Utrecht (Netherlands), Eusebio Unzué has confirmed the nine riders the Movistar Team will bring to the start. Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, Imanol Erviti, Jonathan Castroviejo, Gorka Izagirre, José Herrada, Adriano Malori, Alex Dowsett and Winner Anacona complete the roster, with José Luis Arrieta and Chente García Acosta as sports directors.

“It’s the most balanced squad and the one that brought us everything we needed in all terrains”, explained Unzué. “I already stated before the Giro that building the nine-man squad for Italy had already been really difficult, but seeing the names we had left out shows that doing so for the Tour was even harder. We start with riders ascribed to three different roles: a more climbing group, with Winner and José; allrounders like Gorka or Jonathan, useful in all situations; and talented rouleurs like Alex, Adriano or Imanol, who will keeps us calm into the flat stages.

“Our leadership is clear: Nairo is the team’s main reference on the road. However, and knowing how this race works and all the circumstances you can go through during a Tour de France, we can’t rule out Alejandro staying by his side and also keeping his chances alive (which are the whole team’s), until the facts show otherwise.”

Tinkoff-Saxo Announces strong Tour de France lineup to Support Contador in his quest for the Giro-Tour Double
Tinkoff-Saxo has selected the nine riders that will represent the Russian team at the biggest race of the season. Team captain Alberto Contador leads a star-studded squad of proven riders in an attempt to win the Tour de France 2015 and complete the daunting Giro-Tour double.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s selection for Tour de France 2015 consists of Alberto Contador, Peter Sagan, Rafal Majka, Roman Kreuziger, Michael Rogers, Ivan Basso, Daniele Bennati, Michael Valgren and Matteo Tosatto.

Elaborating on the composition of the squad, Steven de Jongh, Head Sports Director of Tinkoff-Saxo, tells that the team will field a strong squad capable of supporting Alberto Contador in the difficult attempt to fight for the overall win.

“It’s pretty obvious that our chief goal is to win the Tour with Alberto. We have our full attention on pulling on the yellow jersey in Paris and we are well aware of the fact that it will be a formidable challenge against many strong rivals. Additionally we will support Peter Sagan to win stages, whenever it’s possible and that depends on the situation on each stage”, says Steven de Jongh and adds:

“Looking at the list of riders that will represent our team, I reckon that we will field a very strong squad and most importantly versatile, as the Tour will present us all with an array of different challenges. Alberto is our captain and Rafal Majka will be his key support in the high mountains, while Kreuziger, Rogers and Basso will offer experience and strong backing in the medium mountains. Then we have a lot of horsepower in Bennati, Tosatto and Valgren for the flatter stages and they will also be able to help Peter in the search for stage wins”.

Rafal Majka, last year’s winner of the polka dotted jersey, is expected to play a key role in supporting the team ambitions.

“Here, just before Tour de France I feel very good. I`m now well rested after the Tour de Suisse and ready to begin. The Grand Boucle is the most important race for Tinkoff-Saxo in the entire season and my main goal will be to help Alberto Contador in achieving the overall win. I believe we can do it and Alberto can win two Grand Tours in one year”, says Rafal Majka.

Peter Sagan, green jersey winner of the last three editions, equally declares himself ready for the Tour after a great build-up that culminated with yet another national championship title.

“The Slovak Champion title makes me happy and confirms that I am in great form. I am ready for the Tour, where we have a very strong squad. I will contribute to the effort with the highest commitment and I really look forward to Saturday’s start.”

Despite fielding seven-time grand tour winner Alberto Contador, Steven de Jongh notes that Tinkoff-Saxo will not be favorites to take the win.

“After Alberto conquered the Giro, he spent time in Livigno resting and training, he showed good signs at Route du Sud followed by some days of concentrated training and then a short period of rest before the start in Utrecht. We know how much class Alberto has, but we don’t enter the Tour as the main favorites. His form will, despite a very meticulous effort, be a question mark compared to the form of Froome, Nibali and Quintana”, comments de Jongh, who remains assured that not only the mountains will prove decisive:

“We’ve been studying the parcours closely and there are many stages, where you can’t win the Tour but you can lose it. The flat stages of the first week with possible crosswinds, steep finishes such as Mur du Huy and cobbles will make for a tough start to the race. So we took the decision to bring one more guy for the flat stages in exchange for a climber. In the end, what matters the most is that we send a committed squad that comes fully prepared to support Alberto”, finishes Steven de Jongh.


The role and ambitions of the nine Tour riders
Tonight it’s the official team presentation of the 102nd Tour de France in Utrecht. The nine Lotto Soudal riders talk about their role and ambitions for this edition.

Lars Bak (35) – 5th Tour
“I’m starting my fifth Tour de France and it’s still something unique, even if you take part seven team times as Jens Voigt did I imagine. Just like last year my job starts at kilometer zero in the flat stages where I have to pull at the head of the peloton to chase down the breakaway. Si I’m going to the Tour to support André, but when you go to that race you dream of a stage win of course. We can ride aggressively now we don’t have a GC rider. For a rider like me there might be two to three chances to win, then you need to have good legs and be in the break. There are several riders in our team that want to join breakaways, we need to motivate each other and try to win as many stages as possible. I already won a stage in the Giro, so why wouldn’t it be possible in the Tour.”

Thomas De Gendt (28) – 3rd Tour
“This will be my third Tour. I’m really happy the team selected me. I specifically prepared for it and would have been disappointed if I couldn’t have come to Utrecht. I hope to show myself, like I already did a few times this year, but of course it’s the goal to get to the finish in a breakaway. Winning a stage would be a dream. But don’t win a stage wouldn’t be a drama. It would be fantastic to wear the polka-dot jersey during the Tour. I will also help the team in the sprint stages. I think it’s good we go to the Tour with a lot of riders that have a free role. That was the same at Vacansoleil and worked well. Riders motivate each other that way.”

Jens Debusschere (25) – 1st Tour
“Of course I’ll mostly work for André. I will take over the role of Jürgen Roelandts in the train. And if there are opportunities to try something myself, I’m keen of course. In the cobblestone stage I will probably get a free role. I know the cobblestone sections and probably I have more feeling with the cobbles than a lot of riders in the Tour. We had a good preparation at the Ster ZLM Toer and Tour de Luxembourg, but it’s dangerous to conclude anything. Those races were of course good for the sprint mechanism. It’s fantastic for me to make my Tour début in such an experienced team. I’m looking forward to the biggest cycling event in the world.”

Tony Gallopin (27) – 5th Tour
“The Tour is the biggest race of the year, especially for a Frenchman. Because of my performances of last year cycling fans will forever remember my name. It will be very difficult to repeat that scenario. I definitely want to win another stage. To wear the yellow jersey everything has to fall into place, just like last year. I don’t want to choose between both; it’s a different feeling. There are a few stages that suit a rider like me, but first we’ll try to get through the first week and I will work together with the others for a good team result.”

André Greipel (32) – 5th Tour
“It’s a cliché to say that we want to win a stage. People expect that a sprinter who always won a stage the previous editions will do it this year as well. It’s not that easy, but we have a team to make it happen. We trust each other implicitly, we have lots of experience and riders who want to do everything for each other. That gives some pressure, but that’s normal in a race like the Tour de France. The sooner we win, the better, but we’ll focus on what we have to do. Not only me, but all teammates have the capacities to aim for a stage win. We push each other to the highest level, we motivate each other and together with the whole staff we have a strong team to perform as good as possible during these three weeks.”

Adam Hansen (34) – 6th Tour
“It was a relief that the injuries after my crash at the Ster ZLM Toer weren’t too severe, so there wasn’t any danger I’d miss the Tour because of it. Because of the visit to Belgium this is a special edition for the team and I’m happy to be here. Of course I’ll do everything I can to lead André to the victory. I also hope to get in a breakaway that can fight for the stage win. I already won a stage at the Giro and Vuelta and I would like to add a Tour stage to my victories. We have a dynamic team, with lots of riders who love to race aggressively and we’ll help each other when we can.”

Greg Henderson (38) – 4th Tour
“The Tour is the most important race of the year, with the best riders at the start and everyone is in top shape. On top of that there is a lot of media attention and lots of spectators. I’ll take on my role as lead-out of André. That train, which already led André to a number of victories, is as good as the same, only Jens takes the place of Jürgen Roelandts. Jens and Jürgen are similar riders, it won’t change a lot. Both are strong, fast and good at their job. I like to share my experience with a young guy like Jens. My job is also to make sure everyone is calm in the finale, so we can take the right decision on a crucial moment. Last year I had to abandon after a crash, that can always happen, the first week is dangerous again. That’s why I don’t ask for luck, but for no bad luck.”

Marcel Sieberg (33) – 6th Tour
“I’m here to do my job for the team and André. I’m probably one of the few riders who doesn’t immediately think of joining a breakaway. I’ll have do to my job in the flat stages and get the train running on the right moment. I’m also looking forward to the cobblestone stage. We have a team with several riders who love to ride the classics and I think we’ll perform very well that day. The mountain stages aren’t my cup of tea. With my length and weight it’s not easy to survive, but I definitely want to get to Paris. Three years ago we finished with nine riders on the Champs Elysées; I want that again.”

Tim Wellens (24) – 1st Tour
“The moment is finally there. After weeks of preparation I’m longing for the actual start. It’s like a dream that comes true. Winning a stage would be incredible, if I won’t be able to play a role it would be a disappointment. I quit the Dauphiné as a precaution, but I wasn’t really worried. The day before I had race my best five minutes ever, and you can’t do that when you are not in excellent shape. The saddle sore is over. I’ll look at it day by day during the Tour, I hope to get some luck, but the better the legs, the less luck you need. It’s a luxury to go to my first Tour this way, because I can try a lot and the pressure isn’t too high.”

André Greipel:
Ster ZLM Toer 2015 stage-5

Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
Lampre-Merida for the 2015 Tour de France
The technical staff of Team Lampre-Merida have selected nine cyclists who will participate in the 2015 edition of the Tour de France (4-26 July).

These are the names of the 9 riders who’ll be at the start in Utrecht:
– Matteo Bono: 32 years old, Italy, 3 caps in the Tour de France, climber rouleur.
– Davide Cimolai: 26 years old, Italy, 2 caps in the Tour de France, sprinter.
– Rui Costa: 28 years old, Portugal, 6 caps in the Tour de France, 3 stage victories in the Tour de France, Portuguese champion, climber rouleur.
– Kristijan Durasek: 27 years old, Croatia, 1 caps in the Tour de France, climber.
– Nelson Oliveira: 26 years old, Portugal, 1 caps in the Tour de France, Portuguese TT champion, rouleur.
– Rubèn Plaza Molina: 35 years old, Spain, 4 caps in the Tour de France, rouleur.
– Filippo Pozzato: 33 years old, Italy, 5 caps in the Tour de France, 2 stage victories in the Tour de France, fast rouleur.
– Josè Serpa Perez: 36 years old, Colombia, 2 caps in the Tour de France, climber.
– Rafael Valls Ferri: 28 years old, Spain, 3 caps in the Tour de France, climber.

The cyclists from Team Lampre-Merida will represent 5 different Nations (Colombia, Croatia, Italy, Portugal and Spain) and 2 Continents (Europe and South America).
The average age is 30 years.

The team will be directed by Philippe Mauduit and Simone Pedrazzini, who’ll receive the assistance from Marco Marzano. In the operative staff there will be the doctors Luca Pollastri and Matteo Beltemacchi, the masseurs Capelli, Del Gallo, Lima, Napolitano and Redaelli, the mechanics Baron, Bortoluzzo, Coelho and Romanò and the driver Bozzolo.

Rui Costa:
stage 6 - Criterium du Dauphine Libere 2015

Giant-Alpecin Ready for the 2015 Tour
Team Giant-Alpecin heads to this year’s Tour de France once again with the goal of winning a stage in the sprint stages with a difficult finale, the intermediate/transition stages and the mountain stages. Further to this, the team aims to develop the riders’ form and further enhancing the quality of the entire team.

To achieve successful results, German sprinter John Degenkolb will lead the team with his focus on obtaining good results in reduced sprints. With Warren Barguil (FRA), Georg Preidler (AUT) and Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), the team brings three debutants to Utrecht. For Barguil it will his challenge to discover his capabilities in the Tour, which will be an important step in his development as a GC rider. With the young Frenchman, the team aims for stage success in the intermediate /transition- and mountain stages. Preidler is an all-rounder and his qualities will be employed as a support rider in the lead-out as well as the mountain stages. Sinkeldam will be a valuable member of the sprint preparation for Degenkolb.

Other riders forming the line-up for Team Giant-Alpecin’s fifth start at the Tour include road captain Roy Curvers (NED), starting his fourth Tour, and trusty lead-out men Koen de Kort (NED) and Albert Timmer (NED), who both participated in all Tour de France tours the team has competed in thus far. The line-up is completed by Tom Dumoulin (NED), who is aiming for a good result in the opening time trial, and Simon Geschke (GER), who together with Dumoulin returns for his third Tour.

The team looks forward to the start in the Netherlands, and for five of the team’s riders this will be an extra special experience: to start the Tour de France on their home turf. Specific preparations have been made by the team for the Tour de France, starting back in the winter of 2014. The riders, coaches and experts have been fine-tuning every detail of the team’s equipment, training, support and logistics in a continuous preparation process, using aero wind tunnel tests, course recon’s and the altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada.

Coach Marc Reef (NED) is looking forward to the Tour: “Our main goal will be for a stage win, and the team for this year’s Tour has a good chance to achieve this goal. Based on the team’s specific strengths, we already have some great opportunities for success in the first week and fully expect to achieve positive results throughout.”

Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), John Degenkolb (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Koen de Kort (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED), Christian Guiberteau (FRA) & Rudi Kemna (NED).


Europcar for the Tour
Bryan Coquard, Cyril Gautier, Yohann Gene, Brian Nauleau, Perrig Quemeneur, Pierre Rolland, Romain Sicard, Angélo Tulik and Thomas Voeckler.
Manager: Jean-René Bernaudeau.
Directeurs Sportifs: Andy Flickinger & Lylian Lebreton.

It wouldn’t be the Tour without Voeckler’s gurning:

Tour de France – Michel Thétaz: “If we can grab a place in the top-10 with Mathias Frank when we arrive on the Champs-Elysées, it will be a great success”
Summer is knocking at the door bring along a heat wave to welcome the Tour de France that kicks off at the end of this week. Saturday, July 4th, the second Grand Tour of the calendar, marked by the hunt for the yellow jersey, begins with a typically crazy atmosphere and a 13.8 kilometer individual time trial through the streets of Utrecht in the Netherlands. After the IAM Cycling team savored its first invitation by the Amaury Sport Organization to La Grande Boucle last year, this time they are basking in their WorldTour status by sending their nine ambitious riders ready to make their mark beginning with Le Grand Départ. Having joined the pro peloton in January of 2013, IAM Cycling, which is the only professional team from Switzerland, intends to climb the ladder gradually and prove its merits as a member of the elite world of professional cycling.

Happy with the early part of the season where his riders have earned no fewer than 30 podium places, Michel Thétaz, the founder of IAM Cycling and the CEO of IAM Funds, is delighted to be taking part in another tour around France. Following the national championships, Thétaz is keen to set the tone regarding his expectations: “Since this is our second participation in the Tour, we will try to correct and erase the mistakes and imperfections of our previous attempt. First, we will try to spread the risk a little more. Last year, when Mathias Frank, our leader, crashed heavily and had to withdraw from the race, we were caught off guard and forced to develop a new strategy. This will not be the case this year. After long discussion with the team management, we decided not to take a sprinter, particularly because there are not that many stages that are guaranteed to end in a mass sprint. Instead, we are focusing on the opportunists who could go for the stage victories from a breakaway. We are also relying on climbers like Pantano, Coppel, and Wyss, who depending on circumstances, will also be given their chances to shine. Then if we can enter the top-10 with Mathias Frank when we arrive on the Champs-Elysées that will be a great success. We’ll work together so that we can target stages where we will search for victories. Always opportunistic, we will also be aiming for the top-5 in the team time trial particularly because we have exceptional riders for this discipline. And who knows whether we will toss in a few surprises at Saturday’s time trial. With Mathias Brändle in top form, we can even hope to be in the yellow jersey at Sunday morning’s start in Utrecht.”

Matthias Brändle (Aut), Sylvain Chavanel (Fr), Stef Clement (Ned), Jérôme Coppel (Fr), Martin Elmiger (S), Mathias Frank (S), Reto Hollenstein (S), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), Marcel Wyss (S).
General Manager: Michel Thétaz.
Sports Managers: Serge Beucherie, Rik Verbrugghe.
Directeurs sportifs: Mario Chiesa, Eddy Seigneur.

Sylvain Chavanel:
Ronde van Vlaanderen 2015 men elite worldcup

Orica-GreenEDGE Team for the 2015 Tour
The Orica-GreenEDGE team has named the riders who will line up in Holland for the start of the Tour de France on Saturday. They are: Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews, Adam & Simon Yates, Michael Albasini, Daryl Impey, Luke Durbridge, Sven Tuft and Pieter Weening. Here is the team’s Tour video:

Giro d’Italia 2016 Big Start from The Netherlands
Three stages in the Province of Gelderland and the official start on Friday 6 May from Apeldoorn – home of the world famous velodrome – with an 8.1km Individual Time Trial. The first in line stages, for sprinters, will be held on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8. Monday 9 is the first Rest Day and air transfer to southern Italy. It will be the 12th foreign start for the Corsa Rosa, the third in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands’ Province of Gelderland, will host the Giro d’Italia 2016 Big Start, from 6 to 29 May, organized by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 99th edition of the Corsa Rosa will start for the 12th time from outside the Italian borders, it will be the third time from the land of tulips and windmills, following Groeningen in 2002 and Amsterdam in 2010.

Big Start on Friday 6th May
Thanks to the concession of the Union Cycliste Internationale to allow the long transfer from the Netherlands, the Giro will have an extra rest day on Monday 9 May, when the Carovana Rosa will return to Italy straight to the southern part of the country.

The Stages in the Province of Gelderland
Stage 1, Friday 6 May – The first stage, an 8.1km Individual Time Trial, will go through Apeldoorn, finishing in the city.
Stage 2, Saturday 7 May – 180km stage for the fastest wheels in the peloton, starting from Arnhem and finishing in Nijmegen.
Stage 3, Sunday 8 May – The third stage, which is expected to be a bunch sprint, will start from Nijmegen and end in Arnhem after 190km.
Rest Day, Monday 9 May – Rest day and transfer to Italy.


Sky to Stop Sponsorship of the Great Britain National Team
Sky Sports and British Cycling will part ways at the end of 2016. The TV company has been sponsoring the National team since 2008 and helped them achieve many top performances bringing many medals. Sky TV will still be sponsoring Team Sky, the WIGGINS team and Sky Academy initiatives. The team will still have the backing of the National Lottery, but British Cycling have not said where the extra money will come from.

Lucy Garner riding for the GB National team:
women's Tour of Great Britain 2014 stage-3

Big Fine for Appollonio?
Davide Appollonio is looking at a four-year suspension if his B-sample shows positive for EPO positive. And as he signed an agreement to zero-tolerance with his Androni-Sidermec team, he is also due to pay a fine of €100,000 fine. In an out of competition test in June, it was found that Appollonio had EPO in his system. If the second sample is also positive then the team will terminate his contract as well as hold him to the agreement. In Italy he can also be charged with doping by the police. Team manager Gianni Savio said to La Gazzetta dello Sport: “We never put pressure on riders. We only ever required commitment, seriousness and loyalty. We have always applied zero tolerance of doping, saying that we would be inflexible. I personally think that those who now dope is a stupid criminal because doping is a crime.”

Davide Appollonio during his Sky days:
Tour de Luxembourg stage-2

Pleasure in Pain – A Cycling Movie filmed in South Australia
Great little film by southaustralia.com (https://www.southaustralia.com/) as part of the Through Local Eyes Film Project. Hundreds of thousands of cycling enthusiasts descend on South Australia each January to see the world’s best cyclists compete in the Santos Tour Down Under, while images of the race are broadcast to millions around the world. Narrated by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, Pleasure in Pain explores the universal truths of a sport regardless of age, experience or level of expertise.

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