Cycling News


Poels back in training after collarbone surgery
March 19, 2018 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
Only nine days after breaking his collarbone in Paris-Nice, Wout Poelsis back on the home trainer and hopes to be back in the Team Sky line-up for Amstel Gold Race in April. The Dutchman had gone into Paris-Nice as co-leader with Sergio Henao. Poels won the stage 4 individual time trial, which moved him from 17th to second in GC, only 15 seconds behind race leader Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana). Only two stages later, however, he crashed on a high-speed descent, leaving the race with the fractured collarbone, cuts to his left knee and chest trauma. He flew to England where he underwent surgery, and now has started his training again. "The operation went well and now I'm back on the bike," he tweeted, along with a photo of himself on the trainer indoors.ADVERTISEMENT The 30-year-old is said to be aiming to join the team for altitude training on Tenerife later this month and ride Amstel Gold. Poels had been foreseen as a back-up to Chris Froome in the Giro dItalia, and had said he would be prepared to serve as team leader should Froomes salbutamol case lead to a ban. You can read more at More...
DCMS select committee may yet call further hearings
March 19, 2018 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
Two weeks after the DCMS Parliamentary select committee report into anti-doping created shock waves across British sport, a member of the committee has told Cyclingnews that there may yet be more revelations to come. Giles Watling, MP for Clacton and a member of the DCMS select committee since September last year, revealed that "there may be further hearings" in the future. "It's entirely possible," he said. "If further evidence arises we could look at it."ADVERTISEMENT "You can never say that it's case closed,'" Watling added. "It's for other agencies to get involved. That may include the judiciary." The fall out from the findings of the DCMS report, at least within cycling, has been significant. The key implication, that Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins used tactical TUEs to gain a performance advantage, was met with derision and dismay, with many calling for Dave Brailsford to resign and for both Brailsford and Wiggins to be stripped of their knighthoods. You can read more at More...
Nairo Quintana on good form for Volta a Catalunya but says Valverde is likely better
March 19, 2018 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde will start the Volta a Catalunya as co-leaders of the Movistar squad, but Quintana has recognised that Valverde's form could well prove to be the stronger at this point in the season. Quintana's comment is the first indication of how the Movistar hierarchy of leaders may play out in a race in which both Valverde and the Colombian have shone in the past. Although Quintana has raced less than Valverde and the Volta is his first European race of the season, both have won the week-long Catalan stage race, Quintana in 2016 and Valverde in 2017. As if that was not enough of a strong hand, Movistar also have up-and-coming local racer Marc Soler, third overall last year in the Volta a Catalunya and the recent winner of Paris-Nice with a spectacular long-range, last-stage attack, in their line-up.ADVERTISEMENT Soler told reporters on the eve of the race that his role in the Volta this year would be one of domestique deluxe, helping Valverde and Quintana to get into a winning position "and then one of them could finish it off." A partial answer as to which of the two leaders might be the stronger came from Quintana on Sunday evening, who said, "We're both in good condition, and we'll start as co-leaders with equal levels of responsibility. But I'm sure Alejandro is in better form than me, and if I have to help him, I will." Valverde was less forthright, saying "we're all in good form, and the race will decide what happens. We've got a great team, but the others aren't lacking in top names. Sky, for example, have a great line-up for this kind of Volta, with a lot of climbing in it. You can read more at More...
Niewiadoma takes inspiration from Nibali with daring Trofeo Alfredo Binda attack
March 19, 2018 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
23-year-old Katarzyna Niewiadoma earned her first victory in a one-day UCI Women's WorldTour race and the first with her new Canyon-SRAM team in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda on Sunday. Although she has been on the podium of all three 2017 Ardennes Classics and second in Strade Bianche three years in a row, the top step of the podium in a Classic had eluded Niewiadoma and her team until now. Two weeks ago, Niewiadoma put in a spirited chase at the Strade Bianche, but it was too late to catch eventual winner Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans). In the Ronde van Drenthe last weekend, Alexis Ryan came up just short against Amy Pieters (Boels Dolmans) in the final sprint. In the Trofeo Binda, everything went to plan for Canyon-SRAM and Niewiadoma, giving the team its first one-day WorldTour win since the series was created in 2016. "My victory was because of an amazing team. We always had control over the race, stayed calm, and things went exactly as we planned. It's amazing that we were able to put our plan into practice."ADVERTISEMENT Just as at the Strade Bianche, Niewiadoma's teammate Alena Amialiusik was part of the first dangerous move when she broke away together with Ane Santesteban (Al Cipollini) and Elinor Barker (Wiggle High5) on the penultimate lap, with 42km to go. This meant that the Pole could keep her powder dry in the peloton behind. "We were playing different cards throughout the race. This meant I could be relaxed, wait for my moment, and save my energy for the last climb. The girls were amazing, in the front all the time and attacking to make the race hard. We wanted to get a small group and then create the final move from there." On the final lap, Niewiadoma went into action. She put in a first attack on the short, steep climb to Casale in order to whittle down the rather large peloton, catching the front quartet with Amialiusik in the process. A group of about a dozen riders started the final climb to Orino together, and Niewiadoma waited patiently before taking a big, long turn at the front to ride everyone off her wheel. After the top of the climb, the Pole continued on without second thought. She said that she had been inspired by a similar all-or-nothing attack in the men's Milan-San Remo the day before. "We were watching Milan-San Remo, and we saw Nibali's move where he attacked and never looked back. He mentioned that afterwards in the interview that he just went all-out and wanted to give all that he had left in his legs. And I thought that was so inspiring, to just do everything you can and keep on going, never looking back. I am so, so happy to deliver this victory to the team after this great effort." You can read more at More...
Quick-Step come away empty-handed from Milan-San Remo
March 18, 2018 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
In the discussion and prognostication in the week leading up to Milan-San Remo, when it came to Quick-Step Floors all the talk, as always, was of 'options' or 'cards to play'. As it was, they came away from the first Monument of the season with nothing to show for their superior strength in depth, with Elia Viviani their highest finisher in 19th. Viviani was one of three nominal leaders in a squad that also included last year's third placed Julian Alaphilippe and two-time podium finisher Philippe Gilbert. While Viviani would wait for a bunch sprint on the Via Roma, Gilbert and Alaphilippe could go on the attack on the Cipressa or Poggio climbs. Even without Fernando Gaviria, fifth last year but ruled out this time with a broken hand, they seemed to have all bases covered.ADVERTISEMENT Gilbert, however, was out of the running before the Poggio had begun after being held up by Mark Cavendish's heavy crash. Even before that, hopes of emulating last year's Tour of Flanders victory with a long-range attack had been scuppered by the headwind blowing up the Ligurian coast. "When Cavendish crashed, I was just behind him and managed to somehow squeeze and make it through, but lost some positions and couldn't return to the front, as the bunch was going full gas," Gilbert said. "Before the race, I thought about trying something from afar, but with the strong headwind on the Cipressa it was impossible, there really wasn't any opportunity to attack. I'll take from this race the fact that I felt good, despite the rain and the cold temperatures, and look now with optimism to my next races." You can read more at More...
Forca-Amskins and Manan lead Malaysian hopes at Tour de Langkawi
March 18, 2018 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
At the end of last season, Anuar Manan's cycling career was at a crossroads. The 31-year-old's four seasons with Malaysian Continental team Terengganu had unexpectedly come to an end, leaving him in search of a ride for 2018. In March of last year, the foundations were laid for a new Malaysian Continental team created by Faiz Syarifuddin and Farooq Meer. Manan, the only Malaysian stage winner of the Tour de Langkawi, would be the figurehead of the set-up. In October, Malaysian sports drink company Forca became the title sponsor and the progress was accelerated to ensure the team would be racing in 2018 under a Continental license. "Last year I rode with TSG and we had planned with my CEO a new Continental team that we wanted to set up," Manan told Cyclingnews of the team's creation. "At the end of 2017, I found out I didn't have a contract with TSG so we planned to make a team for 2018. TSG made the decision at the last minute because they wanted me to become staff on the team but I feel like I am not ready to retire. We started a bit early with the Continental team because we had the budget and my CEO had contact with a sponsor and everything so we just started."ADVERTISEMENT An important component in setting up the team was forging a new and unique identity separate from the other two Malaysian Continental teams, Sapura and TSG. "In March we came up with the idea of forming the Continental team. We have the riders, technical expertise and also race experience with guys like Faiz Syarifuddin and from there we came up with a proposal and we started looking for sponsors," Meer told Cyclingnews in Alor Seltar. "It was important to start fresh because we bring all the experience from previous teams and everything we had and we wanted to correct everything and whatever went wrong. We wanted to create something new. We wanted a team that was based on the sprint experience of Anuar and we wanted to go forward from there." You can read more at More...
Cavendish suffers brutal crash in Milan-San Remo
March 17, 2018 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
MarkCavendish suffered another serious crash in Milan-San Remo, his third bad fall of the young 2018 season.The Dimension Data rider was relatively well positioned with just under 10km to go near the foot of the Poggio, but as the peloton parted at a traffic divider, Cavendish ran out of room to avoid it and took a direct impact. The waist-high bollard launched Cavendish through the air, and he somersaulted, landing heavily on his back. Cavendish started the season off with a stage win in the Dubai Tour, but crashed on the first stage of the AbuDhabiTour, suffering a concussion and whiplash when the race's lead vehicle suddenly slowed when its automatic braking system engaged, leading to the chain-reaction crash.ADVERTISEMENT He returned for Tirreno-Adriatico, but crashed again in the opening team time trial and was out of the race, having missed the time cut. He suffered a broken rib, facial lacerations and scraped hands, knees and hips in the fall, but was deemed fit to start Milan-SanRemo. He was tucked nicely in the middle of the peloton as it sped toward the Poggio in the last 10km of Milan-SanRemo when at the exit of a roundabout, he ran out of room to avoid a large bollard. Dimension Data announced on Twitter that he was being assessed by the medical team before the race ended. Cyclingnews will update this report with more information as it is available. You can read more at More...
Benoot 'felt like a hero' winning Strade Bianche
March 04, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Tiesj Benoot's eyes were red and tearful from the dirt roads and rain of Strade Bianche but the Belgian admitted that some of his tears may have come because he had just landed his first professional victory with a dominant ride in one of the toughest races of the season. "It's a dream come true. I was on holiday with my girlfriend in Siena last year and we ate an ice cream in Piazza del Campo. It's still difficult to appreciate what I've achieved though I'm sure it'll come soon enough," he said, the emotion of the moment clear to hear in his voice and see in his eyes. "I felt really strong today and I'm proud to say I felt like a hero. I'm proud to have won this race. People will remember it for a long time, I will too. It's my first win.ADVERTISEMENT "It's one of the nicest Classics for me. I think the best peloton in a one-day race; the best Flemish Classics riders and the best Wallonne Classics rider are here. In my first ride, I was eighth and I said I'd come back for more, that turned out to be true." Racing with your knife between your teeth Benoot is quietly spoken but articulate, even after racing in the rain for five hours. He was not afraid to be aggressive on the gravel roads of Tuscany, attacking with Pieter Serry (Quick-Step Floors) to go across to Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Wout van Aert (Verandas Willems-Crelan), then again to make sure he won alone in the centre of Siena. "In Belgium, we say you have to race with your knife between your teeth and that's what I did. At Strade Bianche you always have to fight for position. In these conditions, there's a part of the peloton that doesn't have that but I like these condition so I was happy to fight all day and then just made the right decisions in the finale," he explained. Benoot, not Boonen You can read more at More...
Peter Sagan: Strade Bianche lived up to its reputation
March 04, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) preferred not to stop after finishing eighth at Strade Bianche, pedalling as fast as possible through the passionate tifosi that had invaded the finish area in Piazza del Campo. Sagan spent all of the 184 kilometres and five hours of racing protected in a black rainbow cape covering up his white world champions jersey. He was not strong enough to go with the attacks of Romain Bardet, Wout van Aert and then Tiesj Benoot but tried to close the gap several times from the chase group. He fought his way up the steep climb to Siena, finishing 2:08 behind Benoot. Sagan had played down his chances of success after only recently completing an altitude training camp and the wet and muddy conditions meant there was nowhere to hide in this years Strade Bianche. As usual, Sagan tried to see the positive side of his performance.ADVERTISEMENT "Im pretty tired but Im upbeat because after the training Ive done at altitude, its always hard to start racing again. I think things will only get better," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport before climbing onto the Bora-Hansgrohe team bus for a long warm shower."I was happy to stay on my bike I suffered but its normal. I hadnt trained much this week because of the bad weather. "There is no doubt that Strade Bianche lived up to its reputation this year with a very hard day under difficult weather conditions," Sagan later added in a team press release. "We showed we had a strong squad with Daniel Oss, Marcus Burghardt and Gregor Mhlberger doing great work at the front. I'm happy with today's result, although, obviously, we could have wished for more. However, it's just the beginning of my European races and there is a long way ahead of us." Like many of the riders in action at Strade Bianche, Sagan headed to the Tuscan coast on Saturday evening to rest up for Tirreno-Adriatico, which begins in Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday. It will be Sagans final stage race before Milan-San Remo and his annual stint in Belgium for the Cobbled Classics. You can read more at More...
Liege-Bastogne-Liege finish could move from Ans in 2019 - News Shorts
March 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The finish of Lige-Bastogne-Lige could return to the centre of Lige in 2019 for the first time in over a quarter of a century, according to Belgian newspaper La Dernire Heure. La Doyenne has had an uphill finish in the suburb of Ans since 1992, but the current agreement between race organiser ASO and Ans council expires after this years race, and it is understood that the city of Lige is keen to bring the race finale back to the city centre. Although no final accord has been signed between ASO and Lige, La Dernire Heure reports that a finish within the city limits is likely, though a precise location for the proposed new finish line has yet to be decided upon.ADVERTISEMENT In the 1980s, the race finished on the flat of the Boulevard de la Sauvenire, and the character of the finale changed considerably with the move to the suburb of Ans in the early 1990s. Removing the Cote de Ans from the finish of Liege-Bastogne-Liege would make the stiff Cote de Saint-Nicolas the final climb of the race. In 2016, the organisers inserted an additional climb between the Saint-Nicolas and the Ans finish, the cobbledCote de la Rue Naniot. Although the Rue Naniot helped to trigger the winning move as Wout Poels claimed victory, it did not feature in 2017 and is not on the route for 2018. Lige-Bastogne-Lige currently starts on Place Saint Lambert in the centre of Lige, but a new finale could also herald a different start line for the Classic, with the municipality of Aywaille, just south of Lige, reportedly keen to host the start. Colorado Summit Cycling Series will test uphill prowess Quick-Step Floors for Dwars door West-Vlaanderen You can read more at More...
Van Aert ready for switch from cyclo-cross to Strade Bianche
March 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Wout Van Aert is a three-time cyclo-cross world champion but admitted he was nervous when he sat down between Peter Sagan and Michal Kwiatkowski at the pre-race Strade Bianche press conference on Friday afternoon. The Belgian's latest world title and his desire to compete in the spring Classics helped his Verandas Willems-Crelan team secure a late wild card invitation to Strade Bianche. He is arguably an outsider but his presence at Strade Bianche has added an extra twist to the race, sparking huge fascination in Belgium and huge curiosity about if his cyclo-cross skills will help him be competitive in one of the hardest races of the season. "I'm sitting between two great riders I'd never met until five minutes ago," Van Aert admitted with a smile.ADVERTISEMENT "I was perhaps more nervous for the press conference than for the race, which is actually stupid because as a cyclo-cross rider I also get a lot of attention and I have also given a lot of press conferences." He explained why he was nervous. "I think this part of season is a big challenge and it's a big experience to ride the Classics. I did all 'cross season so difficult to be at my best level in every race but I accept the challenge and I want to learn a lot this spring," he said. A baptism of fire You can read more at More...
Deutschland Tour presents course for climbers and sprinters
March 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The Deutschland Tour is returning to the racing calendar after a 10-year absence. The new 2.1 race will cover more than 740 kilometers in four stages from August 23-26. The ASO, organizer of the Tour de France, has taken over the race and plans to present it for the next 10 years. The race starts in Koblenz, and will run up alongside the Rhine River to the former West German capital of Bonn, where a 2,000 meter long, straight flat run-in to the finish line awaits the sprinters. Stage 2, starting in Bonn, is the races longest at 212 kilometers, and with its trip through the Eifel region, is also the Queen stage. It resembles the profile of an Ardennes Classic, with the peloton constantly going up and down, according to the race press release. A closing circuit in Trier includes a 2km long climb that is expected to create a small group going for the win.ADVERTISEMENT There is more climbing in stage 3 from Trier to Merzig, with nearly 2,900 climbing meters. It ends with two laps of a hilly circuit course. The Tour of Germany ends with a 200 km stage from Lorsch to Stuttgart, with a closing circuit that includes the Herdweg climb that featured in the 2007 World Championships. The stages are quite varied and will reward the aggressive riders. The sprinters and Classics riders have equal chances, so that things will remain exciting up until the final day, said former pro Fabian Wegmann, who helped plan the course. Stage 3 will also see a Newcomers Race, for young talents, including a race for a selection of U17 female riders. The final stage will also host a grand fondo race, the Jedermann Rennen, which will end on the finish line of the pro race. You can read more at More...
Kwiatkowski focuses on a third victory at Strade Bianche
March 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) is focused on winning Strade Bianche rather than thinking about the glory and recognition that a third victory would mean to his career. Only Fabian Cancellara has won Strade Bianche three times, and he's the only rider to have a sector of dirt road named in his honour. Kwiatkowski won Strade Bianche in 2014 while still an emerging talent. He took his second victory in 2017 and so will start this years race wearing race number one. His impressive victory at the recent Volta ao Algarve arguably makes him the favourite for this year's race, but he is not yet thinking about where hed like his special Strade Bianche milestone.ADVERTISEMENT "I'm really happy to be here as winner of last year, theres a little pressure for that reason, but I had a great winter preparation and had some good racing in Algarve and a wonderful period in the last two weeks before coming in to Strade Bianche. I have to be happy, even with the weather. I think the race will go on and we'll have a wonderful race, Kwiatkowski said with optimism despite the heavy rain falling in Siena as he later posed for the pre-race photo opportunity with Peter Sagan and Wout van Aert. "I think it's a wonderful idea that you can have your own sector of dirt road but I'm not thinking about that too much yet. Tomorrow well go for the win but not think too much about the sector. We've got strength in our team with Gianni Moscon and other riders. I'll be very happy whoever can compete for the win. That's the important thing, winning, rather than personal ambitions. "I'll start to think about having a dirt sector named after me when I'm close to winning." You can read more at More...
Vanmarcke to lead EF Education First-Drapac at Strade Bianche
March 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
An in-form Sep Vanmarcke, third in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last weekend, will lead the EF Education First-Drapac team into Saturday's Italian Classic Strade Bianche, where teammate Taylor Phinney will make his season debut after illness forced him from the Abu Dhabi Tour. Its a special race because its heroic, Vanmarcke said. Its very hard to race on gravel roads. Like with a cobbled classic, you need to be in good position, stay focused from start to finish and have some luck. The 12th edition of the 184km raceincludes 11 gravel sections totalling 63km. In the finale, riders will battle up a cobbled climb to the finish in the scenic and historic Piazza del Campo.ADVERTISEMENT An added challenge could come in the form of snow, which has covered northern Europe over theist few days, although forecasts currently call for milder temperatures and rain on Saturday. The snow can upset this race, making it very hard, said team director Fabrizio Guidi. Were not worried about this. The weather conditions support us and our goals. One rider looking forward to the potential weather-induced carnage is Alex Howes, who grew up in the harsh conditions of Colorado's Rocky Mountain winters. You can read more at More...
Maldonado positive for CERA at Vuelta a San Juan
March 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Ignacio Maldonado, from Uruguay, tested positive in a control carried out after the first stage of January's Vuelta Ciclista a la Provincia de San Juan in Argentina. Maldonado was competing at the January 21-28 UCI 2.1 race with the Uruguay National Team. He tested positive for the EPO variant known as CERA in a sample taken after stage 1 on January 21 and is listed on the UCI's provisional suspension file. Maldonado finished 27th in the opening stage of the Vuelta a San Juan, his best placing during the seven-day race, and he went on to finish 86th in the final general classification.ADVERTISEMENT Maldonado's top results previous to this year were a third place at the Uruguayan National Championships in 2017, and he won a stage of the Vuelta Ciclista del Uruguay in 2010. In February, a post from the official Twitter account for the Vuelta a San Juan claimed that there was a positive anti-doping result from the January race and that more information would follow. However, the post was quickly deleted and the organisation later said that a hacked Twitter account was responsible for a message that went out over social media. You can read more at More...
Brambilla out of Strade Bianche with pneumonia
March 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Trek-Segafredo's options for Strade Bianche suffered a blow Thursday when the team announced that Gianluca Brambilla, third in the race in 2016, had to be pulled from the roster after being diagnosed with pneumonia. Brambilla will also miss a planned start at Tirreno-Adriatico, according to the team's Twitter update. The 30-year-old Italian moved to Trek-Segafredo this year after five years with the Quick-Step team, where he won stages at both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espaa in 2016. He also earned his best result at Strade Bianche that year, finishing four seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo)and runner-up Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step) after making the final selection.ADVERTISEMENT The team added Nicola Conci in Brabilla's place. The Italian will join teammatesEugenio Alafaci, Fabio Felline, Michael Gogl, Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven and Boy van Poppel on the white gravel roads of Tuscany. #update: Team doctor confirms @glbrambilla has pneumonia. We will update here on his recovery process, but unfortunately no @StradeBianche and no @TirrenAdriatico for him. We wish you a speedy recovery, Gianluca! @kristoframon " Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) March 1, 2018 You can read more at More...
Cecchini welcomes physical and mental game of the Classics
March 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
As one of Italy's top one-day racers, naturally, the pressure is on for Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM) to perform at the Women's WorldTour opener at Strade Bianche - on home soil in Siena - a result that would yield the prestigious series' first leader's jersey. "Last year, I could see that I can be that kind of Classics-style cyclists," Cecchini told Cyclingnews. "One-day races are what I love the most because of their dynamics. The courses are challenging but not super hard, and that fits me better for the kind of cyclist that I am. The spring Classics are the kind of races that I like the most. They are a mental game, not only a physical game." Cecchini has been fighting for a Women's WorldTour victory since the series' inaugural season in 2015, and she's been close. Her best showing was last year: 10th at Strade Bianche, second at Ronde van Drenthe, fifth at Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio, ninth at Gent-Wevelgem and sixth at Tour of Flanders. After Ronde van Drenthe, she was a mere two points away from leading the Women's WorldTour, something she aims to accomplish this year.ADVERTISEMENT "I would like to start strong this year, that is my main goal," Cecchini said. "I would really like to lead the Women's WorldTour after being so close last year." Cecchini believes that an extended winter of training that began last November, combined with a new focus on one-day racing, might improve her performances this spring in the Classics. "I'm not the kind of woman who likes to chase my form into the season," Cecchini said. "I prefer to start in good shape, and if I feel like I need to take some rest during the season that's fine, but I like to maintain a good standard throughout the whole season." Italy's tri-coloured champion's jersey You can read more at More...
Longo Borghini primed to defend Strade Bianche title
March 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Elisa Longo Borghini is hoping for a repeat winning performance when she lines up with her Wiggle High5 team at this weekends Strade Bianche. Last year, Longo Borghini became the first Italian to win the race, the third edition of the one-day event for women. Alongside Longo Borghini at the opening round of the Women's WorldTour will be fellow national champions Eri Yonamine and Martina Ritter as well as Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Julie Leth and Emilia Fahlin. Longo Borghini, the current Italian national road and time trial champion, started her season last weekend with 11th place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. With some big Classics to come in April, she says that she's not in her best form but she is still up for defending her title. "I'm looking forward to racing because it's always a nice race, despite the weather. I feel fine, my preparation went fine, and now it's all about spinning the legs as fast as you can," she said. "Just because I'm not in my top form it doesn't mean I'm not in the game. It's just that I'm not in my super shape and I don't expect anything from the races. I'm going with my mind really free to race.ADVERTISEMENT "For sure I don't feel too good, I just feel normal. I feel okay, I'm just going to the race to enjoy it and to try to do the best for my team and for me." Strade Bianche was Longo Borghini's second major Classic victory after she won the Tour of Flanders in 2015. After crashing hard on one of the earlier gravel sectors, she was part of a five-rider move that broke clear on the penultimate sector of gravel, before eventually being caught by Lucinda Brand and Shara Gillow. The pair attacked in the closing kilometres but were caught on the sharp rise towards the finish at Piazza del Campo by Longo Borghini and her companions. Longo Borghini's pace proved too much and she distanced defending champion Lizzie Deignan and then Kasia Niewiadoma to take the title. It was an emotional win for the Italian and a moment that she didn't want to forget in a hurry. You can read more at More...
Van Garderen leads BMC at Paris-Nice
March 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Tejay van Garderen will have full BMC Racing backing at Paris-Nice with the American aiming high after his third-place finish at Volta ao Algarve to start his 2018 season. Van Garderen has chosen to ride Tirreno-Adriatico over Paris-Nice in recent years but with a fourth place overall at the 2013 edition of the 'race to the race' on his palmares, the 29-year-old is looking to place on the podium. "The last time I raced Paris-Nice was in 2015 where I had a disastrous day in the cold, so hopefully we can learn from that and correct the mistakes from the past and make a solid push for a high General Classification result," said van Garderen. "With the strength, experience, and motivation BMC Racing Team is bringing to Paris Nice we shouldn't be satisfied with anything less than a top result."ADVERTISEMENT Van Garderen will support Richie Porte at the Tour de France in July but across the spring will have opportunities to pursue his own GC goals. Team manager Jim Ochowicz has said that he expects van Garderen will win a stage race before the Tour. Paris-Nice a race where he will have the chance to push for victory. "Volta ao Algarve was a good form builder and confidence booster. To be able to nab a podium result was a good way to start the season as well as a chance to learn what I needed to address in training heading into Paris-Nice. I've done some more work on the time trial bike in preparation for stage 4," van Garderen said. BMC Racing has named a balanced squad for the eight-stage race with riders to support van Garderen on the flat stages and then in the mountains. Sports Director Fabio Baldato explained the team dynamics and tactics for the race. You can read more at More...
Mitchelton-Scott with options for Strade Bianche
March 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The Mitchelton-Scott women's team will start Strade Bianche this Saturday with a balanced squad led by Georgia Williams, Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt. Annemiek van Vleuten skips the race with the Dutchwoman riding the Track Worlds on home soil in Apeldoorn but sports director Gene Bates believes his riders can still make the race. "Missing Annemiek is obviously something we will notice, but I think we have a really well-rounded team here " more of an opportunistic team than a clear favourite but sometimes that's nice going into the race as a bit of an underdog with nothing to lose," said Bates.ADVERTISEMENT New Zealand road champion Williams and Spratt will have leadership roles for the race and Bates expects to duo to spring a surprise or two. "Spratty is getting better and better. She is targeting later in the spring, but we are really pleasantly surprised at how well she was going already at opening weekend so we can expect to see a lot from her. Also, Georgia Williams is super strong," he said. With snow and cold conditions expected for the race, Williams believes the weather will play a role in the outcome of the race. You can read more at More...
Tour of Alberta leaves $1.6 million wave of debt in its wake
March 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The recently cancelled Tour of Alberta and the organisation that promoted the event for its five-year run still owe creditors more than $1.6 million (Canadian), according to bankruptcy documents Cyclingnews obtained this week. The Alberta Peloton Association, the organisation formed specifically to promote the UCI 2.1 race, claimed $1,615,408 in outstanding liabilities against $19,410 of assets, all of which come from "machinery and equipment." The Alberta Peloton Association claims it has no cash on hand or any other assets, according to the documents. Hotels for teams, staff and the large entourage necessary to put on the race make up the lion's share of the debt, with the Edmonton Westin, which housed the race entourage for multiple days in 2017 and 2016, owed $214,497, according to the document. Medallist Sports, the US company hired to manage the event, is owed $68,571.ADVERTISEMENT Other major debts include $177,644 owed to television production company 3G Wireless, $27,198 owed to the City of Edmonton, $41,681 owed to a commercial tent rental company, $155,685 owed to M31 Design Group, $92,025 to television logistics company NEP and $65,880 owed to the World Triathlon Corporation, which shared a venue with the race in 2016. The race debuted in 2013 to much fanfare in North America, supported initially by the province's ministry of culture and tourism as a way to show the area to a world-wide audience. With a field that included six WorldTour teams and the up-and-coming Peter Sagan, the Tour of Alberta got off to a good start. The race featured a prologue and five stages, a format the race stuck with through 2016, when it dropped to five days and by then only attracted two WorldTour teams. A slowing economy for the province's once-booming oil industry took the blame. In 2017, the race dropped another day and another WorldTour team down to just one. Teams still owed prize money You can read more at More...
Bora-Hansgrohe confirm Peter Sagan for Strade Bianche
February 27, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Bora-Hansgrohe has confirmed world champion Peter Sagan will start his 2018 European campaign at Strade Bianche Saturday. Sagan started his season in Australia at the Tour Down Under where he won a stage and wore the leader's ochre jersey for one day. Upon arriving back in Europe, Sagan then met the Pope before heading to a training camp in the Sierra Nevada and skipping 'opening weekend'. The 28-year-old has raced every edition of the Italian one-day classic since 2012 with second place to then-teammate Moreno Moser in 2013 and the same result to Michal Kwiatoski the following year his best result to date. In 2016, Sagan was fourth but abandoned the race last year due to illness.ADVERTISEMENT Supporting Sagan's bid for victory will be Italian Daniel Oss, German champion Marcus Burghardt, Pole Maciej Bodnar, Austrian Gregor Mhlberger, German Christoph Pfingsten, and Latvian Aleksejs Saramotins. Despite a lack of recent racing in his legs, Sagan is expected to one of the favourites for the race as he starts his classics campaign for 2018. Oss provides a second option in the final forBora-Hansgrohe after a strong showing over 'opening weekend'. You can read more at More...
Kwiatkowski braves the elements for Milan-San Remo recon
February 27, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski is already preparing to defend his 2017 Milan-San Remo title when the race rolls out next month, even enduring a day of training in the snow on the route of the Italian Monument. The polish rider posted a video on Twitter of himself riding in a snowstorm with the frosty precipitation piling up on his brow and glasses. "San-Remo recon done," Kwiatkowski says in the video. "Lovely." The 291km race, which takes place March 17, has seen its snow days in the past, but Kwiatkowski - and the rest of the peloton, no doubt - will be hoping for a bit warner weather this year.ADVERTISEMENT Kwiatkowski won last year's race in a three-up sprint ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Julian Alaphlippe (Quick-Step Floors), two weeks after he won Strade Bianche. After San Remo he was second in Amstel Gold and third at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. So far this year the 2014 World Champion has won two stages and the overall at Volta ao Algarve. San Remo recon, if anyone asked #Kwiato #allezKwiato @TeamSky " Micha Kwiatkowski (@kwiato) February 26, 2018 You can read more at More...
Trek-Segafredo name strong Strade Bianche squad
February 27, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
American WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo has named its team for the one-day Strade Biancherace with a number of riders capable of challenging for victory. The team won the race in 2016 with Fabian Cancellara and starts Saturday's race confident of further success. The team enjoyed a fluster of early season wins in late-January and early-February with six victories. Having animated the 'opening weekend' in Belgium with fourth place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad a highlight, Jasper Stuyven will be a leader for the race. The Belgian's capabilities suited to the parcours. New signing Gianluca Brambilla was third in 2016 at Strade Bianche and will look to again animate the finale. Fabio Felline is aiming for a strong classics campaign in 2018 with Strade Bianche a key spring race for the Italian. Dane Mads Pedersen is another rider Trek-Segafredo can look to for a leadership role. The Danish national champion won a stage at the Herald Sun Tour earlier in the month and like Stuyven, was active across 'opening weekend'.ADVERTISEMENT Michael Gogl and Boy van Poppel are likely to work as domestiques in the race for Trek-Segafredo and complete the squad. The 184 kilometre 2018 Strade Bianche starts and finishes in the Tuscan city of Siena. Trek-Segafredo for Strade Bianche:Jasper Stuyven, Fabio Felline, Gianluca Brambilla, Michael Gogl, Boy van Poppel, Eugenio Alafaci and Mads Pedersen. You can read more at More...
Van Keirsbulck confident ahead of Le Samyn defence
February 27, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) will be heading into Le Samyn on Tuesday ready fight off the expected cold temperatures and to defend his 2017 title in the Belgian one-day race. Van Keirsbulck, who rode with Quick-Step Floors for six years before moving to Wanty last year, overpowered Alex Kirsch (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect) in a two-up sprint to win the 2017 race, while Quick-Step's Iljo Keisse led a small group home 11 seconds later. It was an act of revenge of sorts for the 27-year-old Belgian afterQuick-Step seemingly grew tired of waiting for him to deliver on his considerable potential and turned him loose after the 216 season. Van Keirsbulck will have another opportunity on Tuesday, when he'll line up at the head of the race that will feature Quick-Step's Phlippe Gilbert, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra.ADVERTISEMENT "It is always fun to start with number 1," Van Keirsbulck said. "The circumstances are different than last year. It will not be too bad, just very cold. I will dress warmly to warm up my muscles for the final. Then we will see who is still present." Although the course features four short-but-steep climbs in the beginning, the real action will take place on the four laps of the 25km closing circuit, which includes four cobblestone sections. "The course is tiring, but the cobblestones here suit me," Van Keirsbulck said. "Quick-Step seems well armed, and when Gilbert is here he wants to win the opening race in Wallonia." You can read more at More...
Abu Dhabi Tour: Stage 5 highlights - Video
February 26, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) continued his early-season winning comeback from the crash that ended his 2017 Tour de France with final day stage and overall Abu Dhabi Tour honours. The Spaniard was unstoppable in the summit finale at Jebel Hafeet, taking all before him and relegating Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez to second on the stage and third on GC. "As long as I continue winning, I will continue riding," Valverde said. "I don't know if I'm the best rider in the world, but I'm a rider who wins big races and is always up there." Race leader at the start of the stage, Rohan Dennis (BMC), had already been distanced on the climb and soon after the majority of the peloton as Valverde and Lopez skipped away. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) lead home the first chase group at 15 seconds but had to settle for fourth place overall. Wilco Kelderman crossing the line in Alaphilippe's group and taking third place overall.ADVERTISEMENT Kelderman's teammate Tom Dumoulin had another day to forget with a second mechanical in as many days ending any hope for a result or redemption for the time trial mishap. To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, click here. You can read more at More...
Haussler: I just wanted to smash it
February 26, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Few 77th place finishes will mean as much to a rider as Heinrich Haussler at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. After a horrible 2017, where he was plagued by problems both mental and physical, the 34-year-old made his 2018 season debut in Belgium on Sunday and not only got through the race, but animated it, too. When things kicked off on the Oude Kwaremont with 85 kilometres remaining, Haussler was alive to it and wound up in a strong group of 20 riders. It looked for a while like it the decisive move of the day, though the race would eventually come back together for a sprint in Kuurne. Even so, after the recurring knee injury that limited him to just 12 race days last year and contributed to bouts of depression, it was the perfect start to a new chapter.ADVERTISEMENT "I've been through a lot of bad stuff last year, more mentally than physically," Haussler told Cyclingnews in Kuurne. "Going through the winter, things weren't exactly perfect but I still managed to get through all my training and all I wanted to do injury-free, but then I actually came back from the first team training camp and broke my collarbone. That gave me even more motivation, not to come back stronger but to try and do everything perfectly and live 100 per cent as a professional, because I'm getting older and seriously, these races, they mean everything to me." Haussler's directeur sportif Tristan Hoffman revealed how keen Haussler was to return to action at Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but the team decided it would be more sensible to re-introduce him at Kuurne. You can read more at More...
Team Rwanda to make Tour de l'Avenir debut in 2018
February 26, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
A Rwandan national team will take the start line of the Tour de l'Avenir for the first time in 2018.The national selection won the team classification of theTour de l'Espoir nations cup in Cameron to earn a placeat the 'mini Tour de France' 17-26 August. The national Rwanda team also won the Tour de l'Espoir overall withJoseph Areruyaand a stage via Samuel Mugisha. Tour de l'Avenir race director Philippe Colliou has confirmed the selection of Rwanda with Cyclingnews. The invitation comes off the back of a successful six-months for the landlocked nation which hosted the African national championships for just the second time in its history last week. From 2019, the national Tour of Rwanda will also be elevated to 2.1 status and the national federation is seriously pursuing a bid for the World Championships in the mid-2020s.ADVERTISEMENT "There's a big difference between the level here [Cameron] and the level of the Tour de l'Avenir, but it was important to allow the best African nations to encounter something new and cross a new threshold," said Laurent Bezault, UCI Consultant and African Adviser for the UCI Africa Tour. "It's the route African cycling must take in order to compete on an international scale. It will undoubtedly be difficult, but it lets them see how far they still have to go. Like I always say, if it works elsewhere, there's no reason why it can't work here." Rwanda's team for the Tour de l'Avenir will likely be lead by 22-year-old Areruya. A stage winner at the Baby Giro last year with his Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental team, Areruya won two stages on his way to overall Tour of Rwanda success last year. He started 2018 in similar winning fashion, taking a stage win on his way to overall La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in January. The first time a Rwandan cyclist had won a 2.1 stage race. Areruya's purple patch of form continued in West Africa with overall Tour de l'Espoir victory. Trade and national teammate Samuel Mugisha leading home Areruya in a one a one-two finish on stage 3 into Yaound to set up the overall win. Muguisha would finish the race in 11th place overall while Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo was fourth and Didier Munyaneza was ninth. Samuel Hakiruwizeye and Jean Damascene Ruberwa also raced the Tour de l'Espoir and could be considered for Rwanda's team at the Tour de l'Avenir. You can read more at More...
Spotted: New disc brake equipped, aero Cannondale
February 26, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
A new aero, disc brake frameset from Cannondale was seen last week at the Abu Dhabi Tour. EF Education First-Drapac riders Dan McLay and Kim Magnusson were seen racing on the bike throughout the week. The UCI's list of approved frames and forks lists the latest approved model for Cannondale as the SystemSix, a previously unknown model and a name that aligns with the top of the line SuperSix all-round race bike used by the team over the past few seasons. The black frameset spotted at last week's race ran hydraulic Shimano Dura-Ace disc brakes front and rear and with just one version of the model listed on the UCI's approval document, suggests that Cannondale have followed the likes of Specialized and Giant by only offering their latest model equipped with hydraulic disc brake mechanisms and no rim brake option.ADVERTISEMENT Modern aero features such as truncated tubing, lower flared seat stays and bladed forks all feature on the frameset, which also appears to have internal cable and hose routing, plus a proprietary, frame specific seat post. Cannondale have not yet responded with any further details about the frameset when contacted by BikeRadar, although we expect further details to be announced in the near future. You can read more at More...
Surprise second place for Wisniowski at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
February 25, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Team Sky turned up for opening weekend with three debutants for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and despite four of the seven riders for the team not finishing the race in the freezing conditions, the British squad will be satisfied with second place on the day. ukasz Winiowski chased back to a select group following Sep Vanmarckes (EF Education First-Drapac) attack on the Muur van Gerardsbergen, and managed to win the bunch sprint to take second place to Michael Valgren (Astana Pro Team), whose late attack won the Dane the race. Owain Doull, who endured a far tougher start to the 2017 campaign following surgery on a burst appendix, sprinted to 11th in the finale and the result gives the Welshman promise for the upcoming season.ADVERTISEMENT It was alright, I suffered a bit all day, Owain Doull told Cyclingnews while cooling down after the race, I was just pinned most of the time but I think it was the same for everybody. It was good though, obviously Lukasz [Wisniowski] was second, I think I made the top ten [Doull finished 11th " Ed.], so all in all, a pretty good day considering we havent got our main Classics guys here, its not our full squad. Weve still got Yogi [Ian Stannard], Kwiato [Michal Kwiatkowski], Gianni [Moscon], a lot of big guys still to come in so were pretty happy with that. Sprinting for second You can read more at More...
Lotto Soudal take the initiative but leave empty handed at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
February 25, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
There was a cruel irony in Lotto Soudals first Classics outing of 2018 at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The theme of last spring was aggressive racing and decisive selections being made early, and a subtheme was Lotto Soudal missing out on almost all of those selections. Seemingly eager to make amends at the first possible opportunity, the Belgian team took the race by the scruff of the neck on Saturday and went on the early offensive through Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot, only for the race to boil down to the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg in the final 17 kilometres, by which point they were nowhere to be seen.ADVERTISEMENT We should have just waited for the Muur..." said a rueful Wellens at the finish line. You never know if the early moves are the right choice but today it was the wrong choice. Riding the first cobbled Classic of his career, the Belgian forced his way into a group that went clear in the aftermath of the Molenberg, some 53km from the finish. That move having been neutralised, Wellens then launched a big attack on the Berendries, just under 40km out, ripping the bunch to pieces and establishing what looked like a potentially race-defining selection. Wellens on the cobbles You can read more at More...
Valgren: Cancellara was a lucky charm for me
February 25, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Of all the newspaper pull-outs and race programmes distributed in Belgium on Saturday morning, none had Michael Valgren down as even a one-star favourite for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The Danish rider, however, confirmed his emergence as a cobbled Classics rider with a stylish victory that was inspired in part by a certain Fabian Cancellara. I met him two days ago by coincidence, Valgren said of the three-time Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix champion in his winners press conference in Meerbeke. I was out training before coming here really early and I was on a climb and Fabian came up riding and said hey, why are you training so early? and I said I was going to Belgium. We talked for a few minutes and he said good luck. Maybe that was a lucky charm.ADVERTISEMENT Hes the rider I was looking up to when I started racing, because he was also on Saxo Bank with Bjarne Riis and Im Danish, it was a Danish team. Hes won the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, stages at the Tour de France and I just like his style on the bike and in races. He was always the guy I was looking up to. Cancellara would certainly have been proud of Valgrens solo victory. It may have owed more to the tactical upper hand of his Astana team than brute physical superiority but it was no less worthy for it. The 26-year-old had to respond to the attacks over the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg just to earn a lottery ticket for the finale, and his team turned out to be the strongest in the race. Having closed down threatening moves earlier on, Astana placed three riders in the group of 10 that led the race on the run-in to the finish. No one else had a teammate, and the trio were able to work over their opponents. On to the Tour of Flanders You can read more at More...
Dennis: Valverde is the most threatening rider in Abu Dhabi Tour finale
February 25, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) knows more than he could ever want to know about mechanical malfunctions in time trials, but while he was hardly unsympathetic to Tom Dumoulins plight on stage 4 of the Abu Dhabi Tour, he was just as relieved to have enjoyed a clear run himself. Saturday's 12.6km test on Al Maryah Island looked like coming down to the finest of margins between the two outstanding time triallists in the field when Dumoulin hurtled through the intermediate time check a mere second ahead of Dennis' provisional best mark. Dennis was already watching from the hot seat at the finish as Dumoulin looked to maintain his advantage over the back end of the course, but the world time trial champion's challenge came to an abrupt end when he was forced into a bike change due to a problem with the electronics in his rear shifter. A frustrated Dumoulin would cross the finish in 12th place, some 31 seconds down on Dennis, who ultimately took stage victory by 14 seconds from Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky).ADVERTISEMENT "Everyone knows all too well that Ive had my fair share of those sorts of issues and its never nice to lose a race because of that," Dennis said. "I still believe I would have won today, it was 31 seconds in the finish and we usually say a bike change is 30 seconds. So if he was one second up then he would have lost two seconds over the second part of the course. Im not going to say Im unhappy to win, but it is a shame that somebody loses in that situation." Beating Dumoulin in a time trial is by no means a novelty for Dennis, who claimed the opening stage of the 2015 Tour de France before enormous crowds in Utrecht, the bulk of whom were very loudly willing their man to be the first Dutch maillot jaune in a quarter of a century. At this point in his career, however, Dennis is more keen to try to match his contemporarys achievements in harnessing his time trial power in the high mountains of the Grand Tours. He acknowledged, too, that Dumoulins calm under fire was something to mimic. "Everything hes done is a confidence boost in whats possible for me," said Dennis, who will target a high overall finish at this years Giro dItalia, where Dumoulin returns as defending champion."I think were quite similar as riders, so if someone like him or even someone like Wiggins does it, then a Grand Tour is possible. Jebel Hafeet You can read more at More...
2018 season will be the last for Jeremy Roy - News Shorts
February 24, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Loyal to FDJ for 16 years, Jrmy Roy announced today that 2018 will be his last season in the pro cycling peloton, according to a press release from the team. "It never is a simple choice, but I've decided 2018 will be my last season," Roy said. "I am proud to belong to the category of the 'One-team men' since team FDJ accompanied me throughout my whole career." Roy, 34, has raced with the French team since 2003. In his career he has won wages at Paris-Nice and Tour du Limousin, as well as one-day racesGrand Prix D'ouverture La Marseillaise and Tro-bro Lon, all in France. Roy has competed in nine Tours de France going back to 2008. He did not compete in the Tour last year, racing his second Giro d'Italia instead.ADVERTISEMENT "It is not time now to speak of career-change plans or to schedule any 'last day' date because, before that, I still have great races to ride and big objectives to fulfil with my teammates," he said. Roy started this season at Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, Etoile de Bessges and La Provence.Next up for Roy is Strade Bianche. Registration open forLEtape California Registration is now open forLEtape California by Le Tour de France, a mass-participation ride starting from Folsom, California, on Sunday, September 2 of Labor Day Weekend. The weekend starts on Saturday withFrench food, sights, appearances from cycling legends and family cycling fun " followed by the LEtape ride on Sunday. Rally Cycling ready for weekend double-header in France Quick-Step Floors for l'Ardche and Royal Bernard Vote online for favourite Vuelta a Espana summit finish You can read more at More...
Gilbert points to Molenberg as key climb in new Omloop het Nieuwsblad course
February 24, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
"Time fliestime flies." Philippe Gilbert(Quick-Step Floors) wondered where a decade had gone as he looked ahead to Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The race holds a special place in the Belgian's heart as his first Classics victory, way back in 2006. He won it again in 2008 and, after his spectacular re-emergence as a cobbled Classics rider last year, he has the chance to take a record-tying third on Saturday. Since then, Gilbert has built a mighty palmars, with two titles at Il Lombardia and one each at Lige-Bastogne-Lige and the Tour of Flanders, to mention just the Monuments. It also contains Amstel Gold Race times four, La Flche Wallonne, Paris-Tours and, of course, the World Championships.ADVERTISEMENT It's the missing Monuments that Gilbert now covets most; Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix are needed for the complete set. Given they are still a few weeks down the line, he was cautious when asked about his Omloop chances at Quick-Step Floors' pre-race press conference on Friday. "Back then it was different, Iknew I had little chance of winning Flanders or a big classic so I tried to advance my form because it was more realistic to win a race of 200km than a race of 260km," he said, referring to his past victories. "Now things have changed. I've had to learn to hold off on my form a bit over the last years and put more of an accent on the later races. 'It's the first race in Belgium, it's always important' You can read more at More...
Viviani consolidates points lead as Abu Dhabi summit finish looms
February 24, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Sprinters hold the top-seven general classification spots after three stages at the Abu Dhabi Tour, with Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) leading Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) by three seconds, and the rest grouped in ones and twos behind. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) breaks up the sprint party in eighth place, 10 seconds back, and Saturday's time trial should shine even more light on the final general classification outcome and provide a buffer for the specialists. The big test will be Sunday's climb toJebel Hafeet, an 11km ascent that averages 6.6 percent gradient and reaches 11 percent in spots. Kristoff won the opening sprint and held the lead for a day before Viviani won stage 2 in Yas Beach and seized the leader's jersey. The Italian finished fourth to Bauhaus on stage 3 to keep the overall lead, but more importantly, Viviani won the second intermediate sprint of the day at 82km and took a commanding lead in the points classification, a prize he'll hope to keep as others set their sights on the GC.ADVERTISEMENT "I am satisfied after these flat stages, because I have the leader's jersey and a hefty advantage in the green jersey classification, thanks to three top-five placings and today's intermediate sprint. Now I'll go full gas in the time trial and then try to help our GC guys on the fifth stage." Friday's 133km stage fromNation Towers to Big Flag, although flat, was not a straightforward affair once crosswinds blew things apart after the second intermediate sprint with about 40km remaining. Viviani took the sprint and then made the first group once crosswinds tore into the peloton.several teams tried to open a workable gap in the winds, but the race came back together when the wind changed direction, blowing into a hard head wind. From there the sprinters' team picked up the chase, with Quick-Step sending James Knox up to marshal the team's interests at the tip of the spear until the sprint trains started jostling for position inside 10km to go. You can read more at More...
Van Avermaet: It's more difficult for me without Sagan
February 24, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
While almost all the world's top Classics riders are in Belgium this weekend for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, there's one glaring absentee in Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). Some might breathe a sigh of relief at not having to work out how to beat the three-time world champion, but for Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing)it's the opposite. Sagan won Kuurne last year and finished on the podium at the past two editions of Omloop, but has decided to plot his route to the spring differently this year, training at altitude in Spain before resuming racing at Strade Bianche. For Van Avermaet, who has beaten Sagan to the top step of those last two Omloop podiums, the 'opening weekend' remains an important step on his calendar, but he says his chances of a record third title are made harder " not easier " by his rival's absence.ADVERTISEMENT "For me, it's not an advantage that Peter is not here. I like to race with Peter. He opens up the race and rides with me full gas," Van Avermaet said at BMC's pre-race press conference in Sint-Martens-Latem on Friday. "It's strange to say, but sometimes it's easier to have a guy like that next to you, rather than being the favourite everyone is looking at. So it's going to be more difficult, I think." With wins at Omloop, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, and Paris-Roubaix last spring, Van Avermaet shook off the last remaining vestiges of his 'nearly man' reputation, and indeed he'll be a marked man. The theme of that 2017 Classics campaign was early aggression and open, selective racing, and Van Avermaet's hoping his new status doesn't change that. Muur-Bosberg You can read more at More...
Dowsett settles into new role in Kittel lead-out train
February 24, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
During his time at Movistar, Alex Dowsetts strengths as a rouleur meant that he was often placed on bodyguard duty on flat stages, shielding and shepherding men like Nairo Quintana in the body of the peloton. At Katusha-Alpecin, the Britons characteristics are proving just as useful, albeit deployed in a rather different manner, as part of the lead-out train of fellow new arrival Marcel Kittel. Dowsetts ability to hold top-end speed means that he plays a role towards the front on the run-in, but Marco Haller et al step up to the plate to pilot Kittel into the finish straight. Im really enjoying it so far. Ive got a really cool job, its something to really work hard towards, although its a bit of a shock to the system being back in a lead-out, Dowsett said at the Abu Dhabi Tour this week. Theyve changed a lot in the last five years. Now everyone can lead out, but no single team can control by themselves, so its more about trying to look after the team, while saving a bit of energy for the end, when every team just opens the taps. Its just frighteningly fast in the last 3k.ADVERTISEMENT Kittels early outings for Katusha have not worked out quite as planned, though there were encouraging signs aplenty in his second place finish on stage 3 on Friday. 24 hours earlier, Dowsett and his red guard were very much to the fore when the peloton swung into crosswinds in the final hour of stage 2, and they briefly helped to split the race into three echelons. We all knew there was a possibility of crosswind stuff, and when everybody knows theres a possibility of crosswind stuff, then theres crosswind stuff, Dowsett said. We wanted to be on the front going into it in case it happened and then we went. All bar one of us were there, which is great for morale, so it was a productive day even though it came back together. Dowsett might enjoy a productive day of his own on stage 4, a pan-flat 12.6km time trial at Al Maryah Island, though he dismissed the idea that he might have been given licence to save his legs during Fridays stage. Classics You can read more at More...
Pedersen rediscovers love of cycling with Aqua Blue Sport
February 23, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
At 20, life could hardly get any better for Casper Pedersen with the Dane fast-tracked into the Olympic track programme and selected for the 2016 Rio games. The 2014 Paris"Roubaix Juniors runner-up had cemented his place in the team pursuit squad and was to be the first reserve. A phone call from the national coach the night before the race brought Pedersen's world crashing down. He would instead be the sixth rider and would not ride in any event. Instead, he watched on as Denmark won the team pursuit bronze medal and Lasse Norman Hansen enjoying the same success in the omnium. Pedersen, the only rider to fly home empty-handed. Once home, Pedersen didn't touch the bike for two months and entered thoughts of giving up the sport. Beset by depression. Slowly but surely, Pedersen started to regain his love for cycling and with it, the competitiveness of the sport.ADVERTISEMENT In 2017, Pedersen turned the page and moved teams to Giant-Castelli. The year started with a return to the track and a ride in Denmark's team pursuit squad at the Cali World Cup and a gold medal. Silver in the Madison at the Los Angeles World Cup with Julius Johansen followed. Success followed on the road with Pedersen winning a stage at the 2.2 Flche du Sud and the 1.2 GP Horsens Posten. The U23 European road race title on home road in Denmark, a place in Denmark's team for the Tour de l'Avenir, and then the opening stage of his home Tour of Denmark further washing away the disappointment of Rio. Pedersen then ended the year by signing a contract with Aqua Blue Sport and silver in the team pursuit at the Manchester Track World Cup in November. "After turning pro with Aqua Blue and moving to Girona, every part of my life is built around cycling. I can really feel that this is what my life is about," Pedersen told Cyclingnews. "I just finished school last summer so this is the first summer without school also. This is the first year of being a complete cyclist as well." You can read more at More...
Mitchelton-Scott name opening weekend squad
February 23, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Australian WorldTour team Mitchelton-Scott has named its team for the 'opening weekend' combo of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Italian Matteo Trentin will take on a leadership role in his first classics campaign with the team with Sunday's race the major target. Australian Luke Durbridge has recovered from the broken collarbone he sustained in January at the national championships and will have a free role for the two races. Former Paris-Roubaix winner Mat Hayman and Australian national champion Alex Edmondson provide further depth for the team aims. "I am really looking forward to the weekend, the start of the classics is always exciting, and it will be good to get back into that style of racing. To be honest I don't know how to compare my form to the rest of the classics guys, with my recovery I raced twice in Spain and the terrain is different and also there were not many other classics specialists at those races," said Trentin, who's season debut was delayed due to a broken rib.ADVERTISEMENT "We come in on the back of a really good team camp in Almeria and since the rib injury back in January I've been feeling better and improving all the time. It is still early in the season, but I feel good and I'm quite pleased with my shape after Murcia and Almeria." While Trentin is aiming to hit the ground running, the 28-year-old also sees the two races as key to setting up a strong classics campaign. "It will be a different level of competition at the weekend and Luke is also returning from injury, but if we have good legs in these races then we can aim to be up there at the key moments. It's also going to be important and good for us to test ourselves against the other classics riders and see how we are going," he said You can read more at More...
Paris-Nice attracts strong start list for 2018
February 23, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The 74th edition of Paris-Nice will feature a strong start list of general classification riders, stage hunters and sprinters. Race organisers ASO have confirmed team leaders for the 18 WorldTour and four Pro Continental squads that will contest the March 4-11 race. Defending champion Sergio Henao will lead the charge for Team Sky, who have dominated the general classification since 2012. Sky's squad will include Wout Poels, who will also start as a favourite for the overall title. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) makes his European season debut at Paris-Nice, and in his debut at the 'race to the sun' will aim to add to his Herald Sun Tour victory in early February. The Australian team can also look to Simon Yates for the general classification, while Matteo Trentin will be an option for the tougher sprint finishes.ADVERTISEMENT American Tejay van Garderen was third last week at the Volta ao Algarve and leads the GC challenge for BMC Racing. He can count on support from Nico Roche in his bid for the yellow jersey. UAE Team Emiratesare one of several teams with dual ambitions at the race and will start with the aim of delivering Dan Martin to overall victory and Alexander Kristoff to stage wins. Martin was third overall last year and will be confident of at least a return to the podium. Former world champion Rui Costa is a versatile card for the team to play across the eight stages. Lotto-Soudalare also chasing GC and stage win success, with Ruta del Sol winner Tim Wellens aiming for yellow. Andre Greipel will lead the charge in the sprints, while Thomas De Gendt will be looking to replicate his breakaway stage win from 2017. Provisional 2018 Paris-Nice start list You can read more at More...
Moschetti scores Polartec-Kometa's first win
February 23, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Italian U23 road champion Matteo Moschetti scored Polartec-Kometa's first win of the season Thursday at the Tour of Antalya, outsprinitngJakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) andKonrad Gessner (Leopard Pro Cycling) on the rain-soaked finishing straight. The 21-year-old now leads the overall in the four-stage 2.2. race in Turkey by four seconds over Mareczko and five seconds overGeorg Zimmermann (Tirol Cycling Team), who benefited from time bonuses at intermediate sprints during the stage. Gessner is fourth, at six seconds. Moschetti had to overcome several challenges during the155.6km stage, including a crash with 40km to go that forced him to stop for a bike change and also to change his shoes after breaking a cleat. He regained the field in time to set up for the sprint and play off the Wilier Triestina train ofMareczko, who was fresh off of two stages wins at the Sharjah Tour in Dubai.ADVERTISEMENT "This victory shows me that I have to trust a little more in myself," Moschetti said. "In the end we were Michele Gazzoli and me, but at 1,500 meters there was a crash and Michele broke his gear. I was left alone. I came through the last corner in the top 10, and when they were preparing the sprint for Mareczko, I decided to start it and I got it." The win is the first victory in the inaugural season for Polartec-Kometa, a Continental team managed by the Alberto Contador Foundation. Contador said it was "a pleasant surprise to win so soon, because it is a very young team with which we seek to train future champions, but without demanding immediate triumphs. Winning at the beginning of the season is a motivation for all and a joy for our sponsors, who are making a great effort to carry out this project". You can read more at More...
Naesen: I think we can be ambitious
February 22, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Belgian champion Oliver Naesen says his AG2R La Mondiale team can go into this weekend's opening Belgian weekend at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne with big ambitions after his top 10 finishes in the races last year. Naesen finished seventh in Omloop last year in a group 52 seconds behind the podium trio of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac). In Kuurne, Naesen finished eighth from a large group that was six seconds behind winner Sagan's lead group of five. "Last year, I finished twice in the top 10 in these races," Naesen said, "and so I think we can be ambitious."ADVERTISEMENT With the changes to this year's Omloop finish - which will use much of what used to be the Tour of Flanders finale: the Tenbosse, Muur van Geraardsbergen, and Bosberg all come in the final 27km of the 196.2km race - Naesen believes the Saturday race favours his skillset even more. "Now we will borrow the Mur de Grammont, and that suits me well," he said. "We have a great team to compete this weekend." Joining Naesen at Omloop het Nieuwsblad will be Stijn Vandenbergh, Alex Gougeard, Swiss champ Silvan Dillier, Julien Duval, Gediminas Bagdonas and Nico Denz. AG2R La Mondiale will line up a nearly identical sqaud the next day at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, with the exception of Quentin Jauregui substituting in for Gougeard. You can read more at More...
Docker pumped for first classics campaign with EF Education-Drapac
February 22, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
After six years with Orica-GreenEdge, the timing was right for Mitch Docker to make a change. In 2018, the 31-year-old is riding for a new team inEF Education-Drapacbut his love for the cobbled classics remains unchanged. EF Education-Drapac may be a new team for Docker but it is also a familiar one. Docker's first contract was back in 2006 with the Drapac-Porsche Continental squad, the team going on to acquire Pro-Continental status then merging with the Cannondale team at the end the 2016 season. The signing though was a step forward and not a return to the past as Docker explained. "I think there comes a point in any job and especially in a cycling career where you need to change things up and push out of you comfort zone," Docker told Cyclingnews of the change. "I am feeling that here in this team that it is a fresh start and I am motivated in a different way again and really feeling comfortable."ADVERTISEMENT Like a number of Australian professionals based in Europe, Docker makes the long trip Down Under for the off-season and starts the new year on home roads. With the weather of his home city Melbourne increasingly unreliable, "One day it is 40 degrees and the next its 15 and raining", Docker timed his run back home as late as possible. The decision was also taken to ensure he be can in peak form and lay the foundation for success in the cobbled classics from February through to April. Docker's first race in Europe with EF Education-Drapac comes at opening weekend where he will line out at both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. A seasoned campaigner on the classics, Docker will be a key support rider for the team through to Paris-Roubaix and believes a major win is within reach. The Australian backing in Sep Vanmarcke to take a breakthrough monument win after a handful of podiums in recent seasons. "We have a real contender in Sep who I think can take out these classics," he said. "I feel like in Orica we were a growing team and striving for that result in the future. I feel like stepping into EF Education-Drapac that we are ready to step on the podium and maybe take a monument or one of the big boys. I am excited to go for that goal and I am there to support him. If not, I will be there to look for opportunities as well. As always I am excited about the classics but a bit more so this year." You can read more at More...
Dennis: Things don't happen overnight
February 22, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
If it wasn't for bad luck, Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) wouldn't have had any luck at all this past couple of years. This is the man who built his 2016 season around the Rio Olympics time trial, and was on course for a medal when his challenge was ruined late on by a broken aero bar that forced a bike change and ultimately saw him drop to fifth place. In 2017, Dennis took aim at the Giro d'Italia, but his race was over before it really began, as a crash during stage 3 in Sardinia meant that the Australian would never make it to the mainland. To compound that disappointment, a crash during the World Championships time trial in Bergen ruined what had all the appearances of a medal-winning ride. "I haven't much luck for the last three years. Every other time trial during the year goes smoothly, and then when it comes to Worlds or Olympics, I get a puncture, or I get a crash, or my bike fails," Dennis told Cyclingnews at the Abu Dhabi Tour. "But I think it's just a matter of going, 'Oh that's happened' and trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. What's out of your control is out of your control."ADVERTISEMENT What Dennis has been seeking to control this past year or so is his transition from time trial star to three-week contender, and although his two Grand Tours in 2017 ended prematurely " illness forced him out of the Vuelta a Espaa " he has stuck to the task of balancing the intricate equation of paring down weight without sacrificing power. He has yet to test the results of his labours in the crucible of the high mountains in a Grand Tour, but the early evidence against the watch has been encouraging. "It's funny because last year, my time trialling was better and I did less work for it. I don't know if I'll eventually cop the consequences of doing less work for time trialling but I'm hoping not," Dennis said. "It still is a battle. I haven't mastered the whole losing weight to the point that Tom Dumoulin did last year, but then he didn't look crazy skinny at the Giro. He was lean, but he wasn't at the leanness of some of the other GC riders and he was the strongest by far. "I don't think it's a matter of making yourself look sick. I think it's about being strong as well, especially in a race like the Giro where it can get cold as well. If you get sick it's not really a good start, is it?" Giro ambitions You can read more at More...
Ewan: To win, I really had to nail the timing
February 22, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) was in the process of talking a small group of reporters through his third-place finish on stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour when an emissary from the race organisation arrived to inform his soigneur that his presence was required post-haste at the podium to receive the white jersey of best young rider. Moments after missing out on stage victory to Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and with a drive of over an hour and a half back to his hotel in Abu Dhabi ahead of him, Ewan could perhaps have done without this particular consolation prize, but he accepted the request with good grace. Even in the frantic moments immediately after a stage finish, Ewan provided a most lucid analysis of a bunch sprint, and he scarcely needed the additional time granted by the podium ceremony to formulate his thoughts on the day's action. He simply hit the front a mite too early on the drag to the line, and was overhauled by Kristoff and Andrea Guardini (Bardiani-CSF) in the closing metres.ADVERTISEMENT "I looked at the finish before the start today, and I knew it was going to be headwind and I saw there was a drag up to the finish so I knew that, ideally, I wanted to come from behind," Ewan explained. "But then when you want to come from behind, you run the risk of not being able to get out." Almost as soon as Ewan opened his effort, he sensed he had erred, but he had no option but to commit to his sprint. Kristoff acknowledged afterwards that Ewan's familiar tucked position meant that he struggled to get much benefit from sprinting in his slipstream, but the Norwegian eventually came past to claim the spoils. "When I went, the finish line looked like it was just there, but once I settled into my sprint, I realised it wasn't coming much closer," Ewan said. "After probably a few seconds of my sprint, I realised that maybe I went a bit too early and in a sprint field like this you have to be able to nail your timing to get a win. All the best sprinters are here. To win, I really I had to nail the timing." Tour de France You can read more at More...
Lotto Soudal aiming for Abu Dhabi Tour stage wins
February 21, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Belgian WorldTour team Lotto Soudal is hunting stage wins at the Abu Dhabi Tour this week. Andr Greipel leads the sprint ambitions with the German aiming to add to his Tour Down Under stage wins last month. Although the team is banking on the opening three stages of success, Sander Arme and Bjorg Lambrecht will be given the opportunity for success on the final day climb up Jabel Hafeet. "We really want to win a stage at Abu Dhabi Tour this week and we have most chance on the first three days, all sprint stages," said sports director Mario Aerts.ADVERTISEMENT The sprint field at the WorldTour Abu Dhabi Tour is world class in 2018 and Aerts is under no illusion of the challenge ahead. However, with a confident squad assembled in the Persian Gulf, Aerts believe the team can add to its haul of six wins thus far this season. "Andr Greipel will have to face some strong opponents, because the list of top sprinters is long: Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan, Marcel Kittel, Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani. His two stage wins at Tour Down Under gave Andr a lot of confidence and he is surrounded by a good team, with experienced riders such as Adam Hansen and Marcel Sieberg." Due the number of teams with sprint ambitions, Aerts added that he believes there will be cooperation in controlling the stages and there will be three clear chances for wins with Greipel. You can read more at More...
Frame focused on growth and development with Trek-Segafredo
February 21, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
A former world champion in the team pursuit on the track, Alex Frame has moved out of the velodrome and is firmly focused on making his mark in the WorldTour with Trek-Segafredo. The 23-year-old New Zealander was signed up to the team from 2018 after two strong seasons on the JLT"Condor squad that included a number of wins at 2.2 level. With Trek-Segafredo starting its 2018 season in Australia with the Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Herald Sun Tour, it was little surprise that Frame was selected for all three events to start his Trek-Segafrdo career considering the ease of flying across from New Zealand.ADVERTISEMENT The 15 race days provided Frame with opportunity to trial new roles and test his capabilities at the top level of the sport. Learning the tricks of the trade front of mind for the Kiwi. Frame explaining to Cyclingnews that he never felt "out of my depth or anything" but suffered in the heat of the Australian summer. "The level, it is not too much harder or faster than some races that I have done in the past. Even Tour Down Under was a pretty low-key race for some of the hitters," Frame told Cyclingnews. "I want to get used to it and would love to be competitive, even this year, in Europe racing against the same guys." Although Frame has several seasons of racing under his belt, he is keen to learn as much as possible in 2018 and ensure his transition into the WorldTour ranks is as smooth as possible. That doesn't mean Frame won't take the opportunity to pursue his personal ambitions should the moment arise. You can read more at More...
Barnes, Niewiadoma lead Canyon-SRAM in Setmana Ciclista Valenciana
February 21, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The European racing season will get underway at the UCI 2.2 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana from February 22-25 in Spain. Canyon-SRAM are fresh off of training camp in the area and show they aim to start strong by sending a powerful, well-rounded team to the hilly four-day opener. Newcomer Kasia Niewiadoma, who signed a three-year deal with the team after spending five seasons with Marianne Vos' Dutch squad, will line up in Rotova for the start of stage 1 in her new kit. She will likely be a key player on the climbs while teammate Hannah Barnes will take on the sprints. The roster also includes Alena Amialiusik, Pauline Ferrand-Prvot and Christa Riffel. The team is complete with 2017 Zwift Academy winner Tanja Erath.ADVERTISEMENT "We've had a nice training camp here in Spain for two weeks, and I think everyone is really ready to race now," Barnes said. Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, in its second year, begins in Rotova with 118km that will feature Alto de Barxeta (6.2km at 3.1 per cent) and the Alto de Barx (6km at 5.6 per cent) before finishing in Gandia. The second stage will start in Castello and climb the Desert of Les Palmes (7.5km at 5.1 per cent) and end in Vila-Real. Stage 3, from Sagunt to Valencia, will be 137km with a climb to L'Oronet (5.5km at 5 per cent per cent) and the final stage in Benidorm will offer three laps of a circuit that includes the climb over Alto Finestrat (7km at 4.7 per cent), for 118km in total. You can read more at More...
Gilbert aims for record third Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
February 21, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Quick-Step Floors will head into the opening Belgian weekend with strong but flexible rosters for Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. The Belgian team will kick off its Classics effort backing up Philippe Gilbert's attempt to win Omloop for the third time, a result that would put him on equal footing with four other riders who have also won the race three times. Gilbert last won the race in 2006 and 2008, but the 35-year-old has seen a resurgence since returning to Quick-Step last year, winning the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold among other races. Also in Gilbert's favour is the change to the course for this year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which will use much of what used to be the Tour of Flanders finale:the Tenbosse, Muur van Geraardsbergen, and Bosberg all come in the final 27km of the 196.2km race.ADVERTISEMENT "It will be interesting to ride the new Omloop finale, similar with the one Flanders had until 2011," said Quick-Step Floors director Tom Steels. "The new finale is a demanding one, and we'll just see if it will lead to an open race or make the riders take a more defensive approach. We will be there with many cards, strong guys who have shown a good form these past few weeks; some of them can go from afar, while others can make use of their speed in case it comes down to a small group sprinting for the win. We are confident and really looking forward to these races." Gilbert, Dries Devenyns and Zdenek Stybar will be joined in the Omloop by Fernando Gaviria, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert and Niki Terpstra, who will also race the next day in Kuurne with Tim Declercq, Maximiliano Richeze and Florian Snchal. Sunday's roster could change depending on what happens on Saturday, however, as the team warned in its roster announcement. You can read more at More...

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