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EUROTRASH Vincenzo Monday!

The 2016 road season has started and so has the contract negotiations for 2017. Race report and video from Australia, plus other Tour Down Under news. Two cyclocross races at the weekend; results, quotes and video. Tejay van Garderen extends with BMC, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and San Luis news and more team announcements. A full EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Vincenzo for Lampre-Merida?
On the eve of the 2016 WorldTour season kicking off in Australia, the contract rumors have started already. It’s being reported in many media outlets that 2014 Tour de France winner is in ‘negotiations’ with the Lampre-Merida team for next year. Obviously no contracts can be signed until after August the 1st, but to start these talks now and making it common knowledge seems strange.

Of course there are two sides to every story. It could be Lampre-Merida are trying to encourage sponsors for next year with the hope that Italy’s top Grand Tour rider will be in an Italian team, or should I say… the only Italian WorldTour team. On the other hand it could be Nibali looking for a wage increase or testing the waters for a new team. The problem now for Nibali will be with his present team, Astana and more particularly, team manager Vinokourov, has been negative towards the Italian in the past, this news won’t help relations with management. But, the other riders might not be quite so keen to give 100% to a team leader who is looking for a new team, a move which would not help them personally.

Roll on 2017!


The People’s Choice Classic 2016
Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) confirmed his status as a sprint star as he took victory in the People’s Choice Classic criterium in Adelaide. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) led-out the sprint, but was passed by Ewan and managed to hold on to second place. Adam Blythe (Tinkoff) took third.

As expected Orica-GreenEDGE wanted to control the race, they were helped by IAM Cycling who were working for Matteo Pelucchi, but he could only finish in 8th. After many failed breaks throughout the 51 kilometer race, a dangerous looking break by Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) escaped with only 6 laps to go on the 1.7 kilometer circuit. I was the Sky team who made the effort to bring them back and then held the race together for Kennaugh until a last attack from Florits Gerts (BMC) with 5 k to go. Geraint Thomas pulled Gerts back and then Ian Stannard kept the speed high.

Dimension Data, Cannondale and Orica-GreenEDGE moved up behind the Sky trio of Stannard, Luke Rowe and Ben Swift. Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data) took a long turn on the front before Mathew Hayman started the Orica-GreenEDGE train. IAM launched its train of Aleksejs Saramotins, David Tanner, Roger Kluge, Leigh Howard for Pelucchi with Ewan on his wheel with one lap to go.

Howard was Pelucchi’s last man in the train, but when he moved over the Italian couldn’t finish the job off. Nizzolo went for a long one, Ewan jumped past him for the win. Adam Blythe started his Tinkoff career off well with third place.

People's Choice Classic 2016

Winner, Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE): “I felt really good coming into this race, I’ve had some good races leading up to this and I think I should be peaking pretty well this week. We said before the race that we would sit back in the bunch a little bit and because there are no really sharp corners it was really easy to sit in. We conserved a lot of energy early in the race and about mid-way through we started making our way up through the bunch and I think what we did worked perfectly. It’s always hard to go into a race as the favorite, and to be able to actually pull it off is another thing, so I’m really relieved that I won today and it gives me a whole lot of confidence going into the next races as well. I was probably more nervous for today than I have been for any of the other race so far. My team just rode perfectly. We sat back for a lot of the race and cruised around. And they were awesome. Once you need to go to the front, they kept me up there and led me out perfectly. You get a bit messy in the end because it is hard for the team to take control of the front the whole time and I think IAM were sitting back a bit and they did it pretty well. We just jumped on them and Daryl did a perfect lead-out in the end. I did feel pretty confident. I didn’t see Trek come until the last two hundred meters. My biggest concern at the time was Pelucchi because he had a pretty strong lead out in the end but I could see him really dying on the wheel. So I felt good in the last lap and … yeah, I could sprint really well in the end. I don’t think a more relaxed approach. Obviously we have got ambition to win the GC and I have got ambitions to win stages myself. So it’s the start of a long week.”

2nd, Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek–Segafredo): “What can I say? We start again with a second place. But, no, actually the feeling is different this time. Ewan has been racing already for a few weeks, and for us it’s the first race and looking at it that way I think we have started from a good point. I think in hindsight that my gear was too small, I tried to anticipate the sprint, thinking that maybe it was the right choice – and maybe it could be – but Ewan went up in just in the last meters. But like I said, this is a good start for us, and now we look forward.”

Lampre-Merida DS Mauduit on the 5th place of Marko Kump: “I really appreciated the team spirit and the work of our group in supporting Kump during this first race, which is characterized by a short and fast course which we covered 30 times. Marko realized an impressive recovery on the final straight, but it was impossible to do better than the 5th place.”

6th, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data): “We were really having some fun out there today. I managed to win the first prime and then 6th to end off the day. It’s good to get the season started and it was great that we could do so with such an enjoyable criterium.”

The People’s Choice Classic Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica–GreenEDGE in 1:02:25
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek–Segafredo
3. Adam Blythe (GB) Tinkoff
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
5. Marko Kump (Slo) Lampre–Merida
6. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Rsa) Dimension Data
7. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
9. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale
10. Patrick Shaw (Aus) UniSA-Australia.

The People’s Choice Classic:

UCI Worlds Cup – Lignières-en-Berry, France 2015
Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) showed he is ready to defend his World Championships dominated the penultimate round of the UCI World Cup. It was another solo win, this time ahead of Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) and Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) in third.

Lars van der Haar was the fastest from the gun, Wout van Aert and Tim Merlier managed to stay with him as the race was blown apart. Laurens Sweeck and Sven Nys were the next chaser as Van der Poel was stuck near the back. Sweeck, Nys and Toon Aerts fought their way up to the leaders for six leaders at the end of the first lap. Van der Haar dragged van Aert off the front as Clement Venturini, Tom Meeusen and Kevin Pauwels caught the chase group. At the end of the second lap Sweeck had a 2 second lead on the chasers as Van der Poel was at 10 seconds. Nys caused a small crash which allowed Sweeck, Van der Haar, van Aert, Venturini and Meeusen to take the lead as Van der Poel, van Kessel and Vermeersch rejoined the chase group.

Nys, Van der Poel and Pauwels got to the front to make a lead group of 8 rider at the end of the third lap. Aerts, Vermeersch and Vanthourenhout were at 17 seconds.

Van der Poel attacked at the end of the fourth lap and by the end of the fifth lap he had 11 seconds on Van der Haar and van Aert, Meeusen at 22 seconds, Nys and Sweeck at 24 seconds. At the end of the 6th lap; the World champion had 16 seconds. Sweeck and Nys caught Meeusen and in turn Pauwels caught them, but they were 40 seconds down. At the start of the final lap; Van der Poel had 25 seconds on Van der Haar and van Aert and Meeusen, Pauwels and Sweeck were at 51 seconds. Nys and Venturini at 1:02.

Van der Poel was safe for the win, behind Van Aert dropped Van der Haar on the final lap, with Pauwels and Meeusen taking 4th and 5th.

Wout van Aert leads the UCI World Cup with 406 points, Lars van der Haar in second with 385, Kevin Pauwels on 356, Sven Nys on 351 and Mathieu van der Poel in fifth with 305.

UCI World Cup cyclocross race in Namur

Winner, Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corenon): “It was something special to celebrate. I had one really good acceleration. It was enough to get the win. It was a hard race. I got boxed in at the start. I had to come from far. I couldn’t ride my own line because there were some guys ahead of me. It was a bit frustrating at the beginning. I just took it easy. I rode my tempo from the beginning to the end. I saw the guys in front sticking together. I knew the tempo wasn’t high enough. I rode my own tempo to the front. It was quite easy to come back.”

2nd, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice): “The gap isn’t huge but today I did a good job. The sensations were good but I made too many mistakes on the technical sections. My pedals were troubling me and I switched bikes. That’s when Mathieu attacked. Quickly it was clear that we were riding for second place. I tried to keep the pressure on but without a mistake from Mathieu he would be the deserving winner. I’m happy with the race. You can’t win everything.”

3rd, Lars Vane Der Haar (Giant-Alpecin): “It’s a bummer that I had to let go of both Van der Poel and Van Aert. Luckily there are two more weeks left ahead of the World championships to work on my accelerations.”

UCI Worlds Cup – Lignières-en-Berry Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Corendon in 1:00:50
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 0:13
3. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:17
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 0:45
5. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:56
6. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Murprotec at 1:01
7. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink at 1:03
8. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:10
9. Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis
10. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:26.

UCI Worlds Cup – Lignières-en-Berry:

Kasteelcross Zonnebeke 2015
Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) solo’d to a muddy victory in Zonnebeke finishing well ahead of Rob Peeters (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) and Diether Sweeck (ERA-Murprotec).

Klaas Vantornout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) was the early leader, he was joined by Rob Peeters and eventually Diether Sweeck, Thijs van Amerongen (Telenet-Fidea), Mathieu van der Poel and Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink), but Sweeck attacked and no one could follow. Van der Poel started the chase, but he was too strong for the others and soon was in the lead with 15 seconds on Nys, until he had a mechanical problem which was looking like ending his race, but he managed to restart.

World champion Van der Poel’s lead grew and by halfway, Vantornout was the nearest at a minute. Van der Poel rode to the finish without any problem. Vantornout was not making any damage on the lead and then was caught with less than two laps to go by Peeters, Jan Denuwelaere and Diether Sweeck and then dropped. Peeters and Sweeck filled the podium with Denuwelaere in fourth.

Hansgrohe Superprestige cyclocross race of Diegem 2015

Winner, Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon): “This was a very nice race, a real old-fashioned mud cross. It was really as it should be. During the warm-up, I already knew immediately that I would have a good day. The work I did in recent months really starts to pay off. It is clear that I can also be there in a harder race. I took a step forward this season. Her I could pretty quickly ride my own pace and it went surprisingly well. This may not be a race from one of the series but this victory is always a bonus. I hope to have recovered sufficiently form this race for Sunday. I saw a few pictures of the course. It will be a completely different circuit compared to the mud in Zonnebeke. Now I want to get quickly to the hotel in France and recover as much as possible.”

2nd, Rob Peeters (Crelan-Vastgoedservice): “I was the first at the start and could pick my own lines. But after the first lap, I had to leave a gap. Maybe I started too fast. I then just rode my own pace and in the final I could close some gaps. It is always difficult, but it suits me. The world Championships this year will not be for me. Because of my performance this season, I haven’t qualified. If the coach has a different view, I will do my best for the team. If my performance in the coming days are really good, I can maybe still count on a selection. But I do not think it will happen this year.”

3rd, Diether Sweeck (Era-Murprotec): “I had a very fast start, but then I crashed. I had to recover from that and then there was a problem with my gear. I was constantly stuck at about 30 meters from Peeters and Denuwelaere, but in the last laps I still managed to pass Jan to get third place. So I am very satisfied with this podium.”

Kasteelcross Zonnebeke Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Corendon
2. Rob Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
3. Diether Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Murprotec
4. Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
5. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games
6. Joeri Adams (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
7. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan AA Drink
8. Berne Vankeirsbilck (Bel) Elite-2
9. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
10. Vinnie Braet (Bel) Superano Ham-Isorex

Kasteelcross Zonnebeke:

BMC Racing Team extend with Tejay van Garderen
BMC Racing Team today announced the extension of Tejay van Garderen’s contract beyond 2016, on the eve of the UCI WorldTour season.

The team recently confirmed the continuation of BMC Switzerland as title sponsor, which secures the future of BMC Racing Team past the 2016 season.

BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the extension of van Garderen’s contract is part of a long-term plan.

“Both Tejay and BMC Racing Team continue to strive towards reaching some of our goals which have not yet been accomplished together. It also solidifies his leadership in the team, in that Tejay is one of our captains. It’s important for the team as a whole to have Tejay continue on with us as a leader of the organization and completes what we started with him four years ago.

“We’ve recently announced the extension beyond 2016 and Tejay is part of that extension. We are happy to be able to announce today that he’ll be continuing on with us in the future.”

For van Garderen, it was a natural decision to stay with BMC Racing Team.

“This will be my fifth year with the team so when you get to know everyone so well over a period of time you become more like family. I really like the way the team operates. I like all of the guys and I definitely think this is the perfect environment for me to flourish with my career. My main goal is the Tour de France, it is the pinnacle of the season and I’d like to shoot for the podium or victory over the next few years.

“I think BMC Racing Team offer a higher level of support than what you get at other teams. The training camps, the altitude camps, wind tunnel testing, there is no stone left unturned.”

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other terms or conditions of the contract were released.

Tejay van Garderen:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-2

Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo Wild Cards 2016 Announced
RCS Sport announced today the wild card teams invited to three out of the four UCI WorldTour races it organises: Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo. This information enables all the teams the to organise their racing seasons optimally.

Wild cards for the fourth race, Il Lombardia, will be announced later in the year, after evaluating the racing performance of the teams requesting to participate in the Classic of the Falling Leaves.

Here are the teams that will participate in the three races:

UCI WORLDTEAMS – 18 (eligible)


GIRO D’ITALIA (6 – 29 May) – 4 wild cards (22 teams of 9 riders each)
SOUTHEAST – VENEZUELA (ITA) – the right was acquired by winning the Italian Cup

TIRRENO-ADRIATICO (9 – 15 March) – 5 wild cards (23 teams of 8 riders each)

MILANO-SANREMO (19 March) – 7 wild cards (25 teams of 8 riders each)

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Head of Cycling, commented: “First of all I would like to thank the many teams that requested to participate at our races this year. This makes us incredibly proud, but at the same time makes the choice of the wild cards more and more difficult. Following the philosophy we adopted in the last few years, we wanted to once again safeguard Italian cycling, while at the same time keeping a very close eye on all the other requests coming from all over the world.”

“In this year’s selections, in particular those for the Giro d’Italia, we wanted to give space to our national movement, but that doesn’t need to be the only factor that we are obliged to consider. The international development of all our races remains one of the cornerstones of our strategy and guided us in the final choice of the wild cards.”

Gazprom-RusVelo will ride the 2017 Giro d’Italia:

Tour Down Under with Mario Aerts
Last weekend, Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson took part in the national championships of their country respectively Australia and New Zealand. Within three days, on Sunday 17th January, the Lotto Soudal team will ride its first race of the year: the People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide. Tuesday the Tour Down Under will start, a race of six stages in the region around Adelaide and the first WorldTour race of the season. The team will stay one more week in Australia because on Sunday 31st January the riders will participate in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Melbourne. Those who want to follow the adventures of Lotto Soudal, have to take into account the time difference: in Adelaide it is nine and a half hours later than in the Central European time zone and in Melbourne ten hours.

The People’s Choice Classic is an evening criterium in the streets of Adelaide, a city in the south of Australia. The participants have to cover thirty laps of 1.7 kilometers, in total 51 kilometers. This race is ideal for sprinters.

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Just like last year, André Greipel is not a part of the selection for the Tour Down Under. Last year, this has proved to be the right choice so we want to do the same. André will start the competition at the end of the month at the Challenge Mallorca. In Australia Greg Henderson, the experienced lead-out of André Greipel, is our man for the sprints. The criterium in Adelaide is made for fast men but also in the Tour Down Under there are opportunities, definitely in the first and the last stage.”

The first stage of the Tour Down Under is indeed a flat stage of 130 kilometers. A day later, they head for Stirling, where it is possible that a small group will sprint for the victory. On Thursday the final will be tricky with a slope at the end, the last five and a half kilometers are going downwards toward Campbelltown. Also in the fourth stage, with finish at Victor Harbor, there is a slope approximately twenty kilometers from the end. Maybe an opportunity for some escapees?

The penultimate stage is with its 151.5 kilometers the longest of the six stages. The riders have to climb Willunga Hill two times. The second time will be decisive for the victory of the day and maybe also for the final victory since the last stage will end in a sprint. Like the People’s Choice Classic, the last stage is in Adelaide, where the riders have to cover twenty laps of four and a half kilometers.

Mario Aerts: “I rode the Tour Down Under five times as a cyclist and in our team there are also many cyclists who know this race very well. Nevertheless, we have planned two trainings of about five hours before Sunday and we will take our time to do a recon of some finals. For the GC we are counting on newcomer Rafael Valls, we would like him to end in the top ten of the ranking. Last year he won the Tour of Oman in February which proves he can be in good shape early in the season. During the stage to Stirling, I think there is a big chance that a small group will battle for the victory. The day after will certainly be important for the GC with a climb in the finale. During the stage to Victor Harbor the wind can influence the course of the stage. The stage to Willunga Hill will be decisive for the overall ranking.”

“We want to maintain our offensive style of last season and we have taken the riders to do this. Just think of Thomas De Gendt, who probably cannot wait to go along in a breakaway. Adam Hansen is always in shape in the Tour Down Under and will want to show himself to the home crowd. Pim Ligthart is also always in good shape at the beginning of the season. Last year he provided for the first victory of the season for Lotto Soudal by winning the GP La Marseillaise. Who knows he might pull the same off in Australia. As usual I expect the Australians, who will be extra motivated, to be tough competitors. Especially Orica-GreenEdge and BMC will be very strong.”

The Tour Down Under ends on Sunday 24th January but the team stays in Australia. On Sunday 31st January Lotto Soudal takes part in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Melbourne, a city more than 700 kilometers at the east of Adelaide. This race is 174 kilometers long and is partially driven on the circuit of the World Championships in Geelong in 2010.

Lotto Soudal team:
Lars Bak, Thomas De Gendt, Gert Dockx, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Pim Ligthart and Rafael Valls.

Stage 1 Prospect – Lyndoch (130.8 km)
Stage 2 Unley – Stirling (132 km)
Stage 3 Glenelg – Campbelltown (139 km)
Stage 4 Adelaide – Victor Harbor (138 km)
Stage 5 McLaren Vale – Willunga Hill (151.5 km)
Stage 6 Adelaide – Adelaide (90 km).

Adam Hansen:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-21

Cameron Meyer eyes the overall GC
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will get its World Tour campaign underway at the season opening Santos Tour Down Under, which takes place from the 17-24 January in Adelaide, Australia.

After Cameron Meyer, Nathan Haas and Mark Renshaw got us off to a great start at the Australian National Road Champs last week, our African Team are motivated to make an impression at our first UCI World Tour event of 2016.

Once again the Santos Tour Down Under will get underway with the curtain raising People’s Choice Classic Criterium on Sunday 17 January. The stage race then officially gets underway on Tuesday the 19th, and ends after 6 stages on Sunday 24th. Stage 5 is expected to be the race defining stage as it ends with two ascents up Willunga Hill. The remaining 5 stages have options for both the opportunists and sprinters.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will field an exciting line-up for a debut 2016 World Tour race. All 3 of our Aussie riders will start with Cameron Meyer and Nathan Haas both prospects for a decent overall result while Mark Renshaw, particularly as he will team up with Tyler Farrar, give us options for the bunch kicks. Our 3 South African riders, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Jaco Venter and Songezo Jim will complete our 7 rider roster.

Cameron Meyer – Rider: “I’m hoping to have a good week overall and the GC will be my first priority. After last week at the nationals my form seems to be pretty good and I should be up there among the favorites but I don’t think I am one of the clear favorites like Simon Gerrans, Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis. I think I can use this and look for my opportunities throughout the week.”


Team Katusha starts WorldTour 2016 in Australia
Following a good tradition, Team KATUSHA opens the new cycling season with the first 2016 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 19th to 24th and the traditional one-day 51 km race-criterium People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide, which will be held on January 17th.

Team KATUSHA brings the following roster to Australia: Maxim Belkov, Vladimir Isaychev, Sergey Lagutin, Tiago Machado, Egor Silin, Rein Taaramäe and Alexey Tsatevich, all directed by Dmitry Konyshev.

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


Tinkoff to seek opportunities at Santos Tour Down Under
Tinkoff is back in Australia for the 18th edition of the iconic race with a versatile and motivated squad that will try to seek opportunities in every stage. Tinkoff’s squad consists of Ivan Rovny, JayMcCarthy, Michael Gogl, Oscar Gatto, Adam Blythe, Michael Valgren and Manuele Boaro.

Tinkoff has spent the off-season further strengthening its setup and preparing for 2016. According to Lars Michaelsen, Tinkoff’s leading sport director at Tour Down Under, spectators at the side of the road and viewers at home can expect to see a motivated group of riders who are ready to seize their opportunities in the race.

However, being the curtain-raiser of the new season and with two new recruits in the team, Oscar Gatto and Adam Blythe, and a neo-pro, Michael Gogl, Michaelsen remains cautious and with a number of unknown factors, the team will adapt its strategy and tactics at each stage.

“With the exception of Jay McCarthy who raced in two criteriums and took fifth at the Australian National Championships, this is the first race of the season for our guys here. As a result, we will have to tackle Tour Down Under on a day-by-day basis. Obviously, they have been thoroughly prepared during the European winter period but it still is early to know where they stand in terms of form”, commented Michaelsen.

“Of course, that doesn’t mean we aren’t motivated! We are here to give our absolute best and we will try to seek every opportunity we can and seize it. There is no doubt about that but we will adapt our strategy to the current situation every day. All our riders are motivated and ready to fight for each other from the start of the first stage”, said Michaelsen.

In 2016, Santos Tour Down Under will feature a mix of familiar and new terrain. Analyzing the race’s stages, Michaelsen said, “On stage 1, I think that a morning breakaway will take place and, hopefully, we will have one rider there. Then things will come together and we will see a sprint finish where Adam Blythe can take his chances. In stage 2 we could have another sprint finish with more or less 50 riders in Stirling, something that could suit Oscar Gatto”.

“On stages 3 and 5 we have a number of uphill challenges. On stage 5, Willunga Hill has played a decisive role in the previous editions and will do as well this year. On stage 3, we have the Corkscrew, 5.7km before the finish and then it’s all downhill. Still, I would say the Corkscrew is a nasty climb and it could also be decisive”, stated Michaelsen.

Unlike the previous years, Tinkoff’s squad moved much earlier to Australia in 2016 and used the perfect weather conditions as a training camp, both for the race itself as well as the rest of the season. “We came to Adelaide much earlier this year and took advantage of the conditions to train. This is a good way to build a platform and the foundations not only for this race but for the challenging year ahead of us. Last but certainly not least, we are happy to welcome Oscar Gatto and Adam Blythe in the team and it’s good to see them racing in the nice Tinkoff kit”, concluded Michaelsen.


Etixx – Quick-Step with motivated team to Tour de San Luis
South America’s biggest race is ready to roll from the 18th of January, when 29 teams will line-up for the 10th edition of the Tour de San Luis. Seven stages, 921 kilometers, a team time trial and some tough climbs – these are the ingredients of an event which has become in no time one of the fans’ favourite – an event which proved to be very successful for Etixx – Quick-Step at the previous participations, when the team notched multiple stage victories.

Once again, Davide Bramati will be the team’s sport director for the race, which he previewed before heading to Argentina: “It’s a very interesting edition of the Tour de San Luis, with an atypical start, giving that the first stage will be a team time trial. The stages are rather short, but intense, and some of them are scheduled to finish in cities we know very well from the previous years. The organizers found again the right balance between flat and mountain, and I’m sure this will lead to a great show on the road, which the fans are going to enjoy.”

Last year, Fernando Gaviria came out of nowhere to win two sprint stages in spectacular fashion, catching the eye of everyone. As a result, he was immediately signed by Etixx – Quick-Step, together with fellow countryman Rodrigo Contreras, who impressed as well, by coming 5th in the general classification and winning the best young rider jersey. Both will make their return to San Luis now, which will act as their first pro race.

“Our goal is to take a stage victory and we are confident that Fernando can do it. On the flat, he will rely on a strong team, which includes Richeze, Vandenbergh, Sabatini and Wisniowski, all strong cyclists, ready to work for the team. For the mountains, we count on Rodrigo, but without putting any pressure on him. We want to take it day by day, see how he feels, and if the signs are good, then maybe he’ll try to do a good GC”, concluded Davide Bramati.

Rodrigo Contreras Pinzon (COL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL), Lukasz Wisniowski (POL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA).

Stage 1 El Durazno – El Durazno 21.0 km (TTT)
Stage 2 San Luis – Villa Mercedes 181.9 km
Stage 3 Al Potrero de los Funes – El Cabildo 131.0 km
Stage 4 San Luis – Cerro Del Amago 140.0 km
Stage 5 Renca – Juana Koslay 168.7 km
Stage 6 La Toma – Merlo 159.5 km
Stage 7 San Luis – San Luis 119.6 km.

Fernando Gaviria:
Cycling: Team Etixx Quick-Step 2016

2017 Tour de France: Düsseldorf – A New Start for Germany
In 2017, Germany will host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France for the fourth time. The peloton will hit the road in Düsseldorf, on the banks of the Rhine and in the heart of one of most vibrant cities in the country, for what is an already highly anticipated 104th edition. Germany has the greatest number of stage wins in the last three editions of the Tour de France. Led by a golden generation of cyclists such as Tony Martin, André Greipel, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, Germany is ready to write a glorious new chapter in the history of the biggest cycling race in the world.

2017 will see the Tour de France start abroad for the 22nd time. Thirty years after West Berlin’s turn in 1987, the peloton of the biggest cycling race in the world will hit the road in Germany — this time from Düsseldorf. The capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, which straddles the Rhine, will be the beating heart of the world of cycling for a weekend. It is a well-deserved reward for German riders, who are an integral part of today’s cycling elite, and cycling fans, very numerous in the country and, particularly, in Düsseldorf.

Based on the stage profile, Tony Martin has the best shot at wearing the legendary yellow jersey in his home country at the end of the opening day. The first stage, scheduled for July 1, 2017, will be a 13 km individual time trial through the streets of Düsseldorf. The stage will start opposite the Messe fair grounds, following which the riders will roll down the banks of the Rhine for several kilometers before crossing it twice and heading for Königsallee, the city’s most iconic street. Finally, after breezing past the opera, the riders will head north-west towards the finish line, also located near Messe. The pancake-flat course will whet the appetite of power riders, notably the 2013 individual time trial world champion.

The next day, Sunday, July 2, 2017, cycling fans will again throng the streets of the center of Düsseldorf, where the second stage will begin. After a tour through the city center, the first mountain points will be up for grabs at km 6, on the Grafenberg. The peloton will then make its way back to Düsseldorf one last time before heading to a destination as yet unknown, which will be revealed at the presentation of the route of the 2017 Tour de France, on October 18, 2016.

The Düsseldorf stages of the 2017 Tour de France:
Saturday, July 1 : Düsseldorf > Düsseldorf, 13 km (TT)
Sunday, July 2 : Düsseldorf > ?

Tour de France 2017 Grand Départ in Düsseldorf por tourdefrance

Wanty-Groupe Gobert hopes for 15 victories in 2016
Wanty-Groupe Gobert is currently preparing for the new season in Benidorm, Spain. The selection for 2016 consists of 22 riders. It counts nine new names on the roster including UCI Europe Tour’s numbers three and seven Dimitri Claeys and Gaëtan Bille, Tour de l’Avenir stage winner and Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23-winner Guillaume Martin plus sprinter Kenny Dehaes. Sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren looks ahead to the new cycling year with ambition.

“We have strengthened the team in a way that we are able to win every race that we start in. This wasn’t the case in 2015. Especially in the sprints we should be doing better now. With Thomas Degand we have a real climber back with the team. On this terrain Guillaume Martin is also hugely talented. Gaëtan Bille and Thomas Degand are strong time triallists and this makes that we have a potential winner in every discipline of cycling,” according to Van der Schueren.

With Roy Jans, Kenny Dehaes, Danilo Napolitano, Antoine Demoitié, Robin Stenuit and Tom Devriendt, Wanty-Groupe Gobert now has six fast men on the team.

“In every stage race we start at the moment, the way of racing usually ends in a bunch kick. We have a double race program and if you divide the number of sprinters we should have someone fighting for victory in every race. Of course this is also a balancing act between the sprinters and this is something to work on during this training camp. If there is rivalry between them we must solve this but competition is also a good thing to show that your position and place in the team are not evident,” Van der Schueren explains.


Wanty-Groupe Gobert has two strong captains for the Classics’ season in Marco Marcato and Enrico Gasparotto.

“For the Ardennes races we count on ‘Gaspa’ and for the Flemish races on Marcato. They won’t start these races as sole team leader however,” the sports director warns. “I hope someone from the younger generation steps up like Dimitri Claeys for example. He gets a new chance to show what his true potential is.”

The experienced sports director hopes to do just as well as in 2014, his first year with Jean-François Bourlart’s team. In this season Wanty-Groupe Gobert won ten races while in 2015 seven races were won.

“I would like to get about twelve wins but I secretly hope for fifteen in 2016. That should be possible,” Van Der Schueren concludes.


High5 Dream Team Launch 2016 Season In Style
The 2016 High5 Dream Team was officially launched in true Rochelle Gilmore style at Mawson Lakes, Adelaide yesterday.

The launch took place just two days before the UCI Women’s edition of the Tour Down Under, the Santos Women’s Tour.

It was a fun day in the sun for the athletes who went for a nice casual team ride in the morning before having their make-up done by professional event stylists. After lunch the athletes engaged with media and conducted a very relaxed fun photo-shoot by the lake.

The action packed day was interrupted by some very heartfelt, emotional short speeches made by both the athletes and staff. Team owner Rochelle Gilmore reflected on what the Dream Team and each of the athletes meant to her personally whilst Donna-Rae Szalinski spoke about the gratitude each and every one of the team members feel in regard to the wonderful opportunity the team and partners provide – as a pathway to becoming a complete, professional athlete.

Tears welled up in the eyes of all athletes and staff when current World Individual Pursuit Champion, Rebecca Wiasak presented Rochelle Gilmore with a signed jersey from the 2015 No.1 NRS Team, the High5 Dream Team. Bec spoke sincerely about what Rochelle’s efforts in Women’s Cycling meant to her and all of the other female athletes who have been inspired by Rochelle, to be the best they possibly can be.

The launch was capped off with a special guest appearance by the High5 Dream Team at Oakley’s exclusive “Meet & Greet the Athletes” event in the heart of Adelaide city.

The High5 Dream Team is an Australian Professional NRS Team, created to develop athletes to the level of being ready (as a complete athlete) to take the next step into European based professional cycling teams.

Whilst the core ambitions of the team are to learn and develop camaraderie, team work, ethics, race tactics, appreciation and gratitude; the team will also have a clear ambition to end 2016 again as the No.1 Australian Women’s NRS Team.

Please take a moment to experience the unique, sincere atmosphere inside the High5 Dream Team:

A Day in the Lives of the Riders
A video made by the riders to give you an insight into their lives at Team Giant-Alpecin and show you what #KeepChallenging is about.

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

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