PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
It was an up and down weekend for the top cyclocross men, one win each for Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, results and video. TOP STORY is the funding cut at British Cycling. In other cycling news: Astana team presentation, Fabio Aru early season, BMC 2017 roster, Joaquin Rodriguez retires (again), Skoda to Sponsor Team Wiggins, Axeon Hagens Berman 2017 Roster, Bram Tankink to stay at LottoNl-Jumbo, last riders for Cycling Academy Team, new job for Viacheslav Ekimov, hard climbs in la Vuelta 2017 and a video teaser of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. A full EUROTRASH Monday.

TOP STORY: Less Money for British Cycling
British Cycling will receive 4 million pounds (GBP) less in the build up for the Tokyo 2020 games than they did for Rio. From 345 (GBP) down to 30,267,816 (GBP). The reasons given have been that cycling receives a lot of money from sponsors, there are less athletes and a drop in lottery ticket sales.

This could all be true, of course, but there is the possibility that the bad press that British Cycling has been getting recently could have had some effect. The Shane Sutton case, the Bradley Wiggins TUEs and the secret package, and the Tramadol claims have hit the headlines in the press. Is it possible that these high profile events could have had some bearing on the funding cut?

Can Wiggins take some of the blame?
Kortrijk- Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Wiggins Bradley (Team Sky) talking to the press during a press conference prior to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne - Brussel - Kuurne races in Kortrijk, Belgium - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2015

DVV Verzekeringen Trofee – Essen 2016
Wout van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) won round 4 of the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee in Essen on Saturday. His main rival of the 2016/17 season, Mathieu van der Poel, was beset by problems, first a puncture and then a blocked chain and a crash into the barriers to finish 16th. Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) was 2nd at 18 seconds, with Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) 3rd at 38. Van Aert now leads the DVV Trofee by 2:34 from Pauwels.

Van der Poel took the early lead, but then punctured which put Van Aert at the front. Van der Poel and Meeusen, who had crashed, both made it to the pits but had lost over 20 seconds. Kevin Pauwels managed to stay with Van Aert, but he crashed leaving Van Aert in the lead. Van der Poel was trying to pull back the World champion when he crashed and got his chain stuck, this knocked any fight he had left out of him and he was nearly two minutes down with 4 laps still to go. At the front; Pauwels could not hold Van Aert, who had 20 seconds lead with 3 laps to go. Van Aert held Pauwels at that distance to the finish as Meeusen worked his way up to 3rd.

Essen - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Van Aert Wout (BEL) of Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace celebrates the win  pictured during stage 4 of the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee Essen cyclocross race on December 10, 2016 in Essen, Belgium  - photo Cor Vos © 2016

Race winner, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice): “I had to ride a bloc for a long time. It stayed around 10 seconds which is not reassuring. I could only hold something back in the last two laps, I saw that he (Van der Poel) dropped back a few spots when I accelerated. Only later I heard through the speaker that Mathieu had had a puncture. I rode offensively from the beginning and wanted to accelerate anyway. The victory is the most important. It was an exhausting race and I still had to go deep. Hopefully, I can recover well for tomorrow. To rest a lot at the training camp felt great. I will try to do the same at home the next few weeks. The condition is good.”

2nd, Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games): “I had to go deep to stay with him (Van Aert). I did not react fast enough when he accelerated. Thus, I just lost focus on the course and I crashed. Luckily I came away unscathed. I went deep, but tomorrow I want to deliver a good performance. ”

3rd, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea): “I wanted to take the holeshot, but Wout was in front of me. I wanted to be ready for the first bars and put my hands on the handlebar. Just at that moment I rode into a hole and I crashed. That was a blow. I almost took the exit to go home. The support from the fans was great. I kept riding for them. I was lucky that I could catch van der Poel after his puncture. He pulled a little too hard for me, but a little later I was able to get back. I had enormously good legs, but the win was too much. Wout’s lap times were not bad. I am still waiting for my first win here in my hometown.”

16th, Mathieu Van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon): “I was riding fast, but the two setbacks were too much. My chain was blocked and therefore I hit my hip hard. I suffered from that for a long time. From that moment I had a bad day and I thought about tomorrow. Tonight I’ll take care of my hip and hopefully I will be recovered for tomorrow.”

DVV Verzekeringen Trofee – Essen Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice in 1:00:56
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 0:18
3. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:38
4. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus at 0:39
5. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
6. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:40
7. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 0:41
8. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts
9. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Beobank-Corendon at 0:43
10. Jens Adams (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 1:12.

The full race in Essen:

Vlaamse Druivencross – Overijse 2016
Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) turned his bad luck on Saturday in Essen into victory in the Druivencross Overijse on Sunday. The Dutch champion rode solo for most of the race to win by nearly a minute from World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice). Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) was third.

Kevin Pauwels started fast, but it was Van der Poel who took control and was soon on his own with no one able to follow. Van Aert passed and dropped Pauwels but could not close on Van der Poel who was flying on the descent. The World champion held Van der poel at 15 seconds until halfway when Van Aert was forced to dismount and the lead went up to 20 seconds and then with three laps to go it was 30. Behind the two top riders of the season, Pauwels was losing more time and Jens Adams (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) and Wietse Bosmans (Beobank-Corendon) were fighting it out for fourth and fifth places, but Bosman cracked and Tim Merlier (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) took fifth.

Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Mathieu van der Poel (NED,Beobank-Corendon) pictured during the Druivencross Overijse  - photo PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon): “Whether I am the moral winner of this weekend? Well, I do not know. Wout won on Saturday, but I had bad luck and could not defend my chances. Today I wanted revenge and I am proud of this win. I won with a nice gap and have rode the frustration of Saturday out of my body. I immediately wanted to take control of the race, but the plan was not to ride the entire race in the lead. After two laps I felt that I had maybe started too fast so I stepped off the gas a bit. Wout seemed to get closer, but then he made a small mistake and I opened the gap again. I knew I just had to keep riding. A beautiful victory, a beautiful renewed course and a tricky race. Finally, we had a tricky race and here I could really express myself. I am proud of this victory.”

2nd, Wout van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice): “Mathieu was the strongest today. During the race it did not bother me. It was also not because I had the race on Saturday in the legs. I felt better recovered than last week in Mol, but compared to Mathieu I was inferior today. Yesterday I went very deep, while he could get more rest due to the circumstance. Then you are a bit faster at the start of the race. I could feel that. I had hoped for more here, but Mathieu did not want to wait. He flew away immediately and it was soon clear that he was the strongest. He deserved to win here.”

Van Aert crashed when warming up, cutting his right knee. “The dirt was removed from the wound. They have taken care of the wound, I have no stitches. It was too late, according to them. It’s a big wound, but I will not bother me much. We’ll see how it goes.”

Vlaamse Druivencross – Overijse Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon in 1:00:36
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 0:57
3. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 2:12
4. Jens Adams (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 2:25
5. Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 3:00
6. Michael Boros (Cze) ERA-Circus
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
8. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-NapoleonFGames
9. Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
10. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Beobank-Corendon.

Druivencross 2016:

Astana Team presents its 2017 Roster
On December 11, the official presentation of Astana Pro Team-2017 has been held in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. The event was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Independence of Kazakhstan.

The presentation was attended by honored guests of the team, representatives of state government, Kazakhstan cycling federation, sponsors and partners, journalists and Astana fans and supporters.

Before starting the official part of the presentation, Astana Team took a look back into 2016, remembered the most important moments of the last season and told about new changes in the team.

“I believe, we spent a very successful season. Together with Vincenzo Nibali we won the famous Giro d’Italia, while in total we scored 34 victories and 30 podium places in the most prestigious races around the world. I am especially happy with the fact that 7 wins and 4 podiums were scored by our Kazakhstan riders. Anyway, the year is over and now we are looking forward to the upcoming season. With full confidence we can say that our project is on the right way. There will be some important changes in Astana in 2017: in the roster, in cycling clothing, bikes and other technical things. We are sure that all these changes will lead to a new step of development, both, of the team and the entire project. Today, we are presenting the renewed team to give you an opportunity to be proud of us in the next season,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

During the official presentation the new Astana Pro Team bicycles Argon 18 were presented. Alongside, the new design of the cycling kit by Giordana Company was showed to the guests. The renewed kit received a more modern design while holding the traditional Astana turquoise color so loved by its fans. Giordana used all the newest technologies to make the clothing more comfortable for riders.

Astana general manager Alexandr Vinokurov pointed the biggest goals of the team in the next season: “Traditionally, Astana Team will focus on successful performance in the Grand Tours. This is our strong side, during our history we won 8 Grand Tours, so we are exciting to strive for the new successes. We have a strong leader Fabio Aru and the team will be built around him. Besides, we have a number of young, but very ambitions riders, who can surprise. Of course, we are planning Kazakhstan riders for the Grand Tours too. First of all, we are talking about Alexey Lutsenko, Andrey Zeits, Dmitriy Gruzdev and Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev, but, maybe, we will try Daniil Fominykh and Artem Zakharov too. However, besides the Grand Tours, there are a lot of prestigious races in the new UCI WorldTour calendar, which will be another goal for Astana. First of all, we are talking about week stage races, but also we would like to get some good results during the classic season,” said Alexandr Vinokurov.

In the final, the new roster of Astana Pro Team-2017 was introduced to the guests of the event as well as to the whole world’s cycling community. With exception of Miguel Angel Lopez, who is still recovering after his recent crash during the training, all other riders of the team arrived to the ceremony.

Riding for Astana Pro Team in 2017 are 28 riders from nine countries of Kazakhstan, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Ukraine, Estonia, Colombia and Russia:

Fabio Aru, Zhandos Bizhigitov, Pello Bilbao, Matti Breschel, Michael Valgren, Oscar Gatto, Andriy Grivko, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Laurens De Vreese, Artyom Zakharov, Andrey Zeits, Arman Kamyshev, Dario Cataldo, Tanel Kangert, Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev, Miguel Angel Lopez, Alexey Lutsenko, Riccardo Minali, Moreno Moser, Luis Leon Sanchez, Michele Scarponi, Nikita Stalnov, Paolo Tiralongo, Ruslan Tleubayev, Daniil Fominykh, Jacob Fuglsang, Jesper Hansen and Sergei Chernetckii.

The Astana 2017 team:
Presentation Astana Pro Team 2017 - 11/12/2016 -  - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2016

Fabio Aru to ride The Tour of Oman
In a change of plan, Astana’s Fabio Aru will start his 2017 season in the Tour of Oman on the 14th of February instead of the Volta a la Comunitat Velenciana. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Aru will start in Oman because his main objective for 2017 is the Giro d’Italia in May and not the Tour de France in July. The Italian sports paper also expects Aru’s first race in Europe to be Tirreno-Adriatico in March.

The Best of Fabio Aru:

BMC Racing Team Look Towards 2017
BMC Racing Team’s preparation for the 2017 season is officially underway with riders and staff gathering in Denia, Spain for the annual pre-season training camp.

BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the camp is a good opportunity to reflect on the 2016 season and get ready for the upcoming year of racing. “The 2016 season was another successful year of racing for BMC Racing Team, and we rounded out the year with 30 wins, 12 of which were at the UCI WorldTour level,” Ochowicz explained.

“Three of our riders, Rohan Dennis, Manuel Quinziato and Philippe Gilbert, became national champions. Greg Van Avermaet won a stage at the Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey for three days, and Richie Porte showed his potential as a Grand Tour leader with fifth overall. Jempy Drucker won a stage at the Vuelta a España, Darwin Atapuma wore the red jersey for four stages, and BMC Racing Team won the team classification.”

“Of course Greg Van Avermaet’s victory in the road race at the Rio Olympic Games was another big highlight of the 2016 season, and we had many other memorable victories throughout the year.”

BMC Racing Team welcomes five new riders to the 2017 roster. “We retain our core group of riders and welcome five new team members to our ranks, ranging from some of the most experienced riders in the peloton with Martin Elmiger, Nicolas Roche and Francisco Ventoso, and two riders just starting out their professional careers, Kilian Frankiny and Miles Scotson. Our 28-rider roster is a balanced one, and with these 28 riders we hope to continue our success and build towards the big goal of the season, the Tour de France.”

BMC Racing Team 2017 Roster
Continuing Riders: Tom Bohli (SUI), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Stefan Küng (SUI), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Daniel Oss (ITA), Richie Porte (AUS), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

New Riders: Martin Elmiger (SUI), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Miles Scotson (AUS), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).

Olympic champion, Greg Van Avermaet will lead BMC in the Classics:

Joaquin Rodriguez has made a final, courageous and bold decision to not continue with his professional cycling career as a rider
Joaquin Rodriguez has decided to contribute his exceptional experience to team BAHRAIN MERIDA together with the teams technical staff for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Joaquin Rodriguez, age 37, one of the great cyclists of Spain who has had a professional cycling career lasting 17 years with an exceptional amount of results competing in the worlds most prestigious races.
After he signed to ride for the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team and before the first “working” training camp, together with his agent and family has decided that it is to his best interest to not continue as a pro cyclist but he is very excited to announce continuing and contributing his exceptional experience to the team.

Because of his rich experience in the peloton and his wide knowledge which he built during his long lasting professional career, Bahrain Merida management team offered him an important position among the technical staff of the team. One of his main roles will be working with young talents and giving them the opportunity to learn from his cycling experiences. As a winner of many competitions in the world of professional cycling, Rodriguez has huge amount of knowledge as a pro cyclist as well as he will be an important part of the contribution to the promotion of Merida bikes as an important ambassador, working closely with their representatives and team specialists. Last but not least, he will also help to promote the country of Bahrain and work closely with Bahrain Tourism Association. Team BAHRAIN MERIDA are very pleased to announce that Rodriguez will be joining the team and staff at most of the important races in the upcoming season.

After taking this difficult decision, Joaquin Purito Rodriguez commented: “After taking enough time to think and also trying to come back to a working routine, I realized it was not possible for me. So, with the support of my family and friends, I decided not to come back to the competition at the highest of levels. I would like to thank everyone that supported me to come back; I am honored and you really made my decision difficult, but I believe it is better not to come back if I am not sure I can do it at the top level and be competitive to offer my fans what they deserve.”

“Of course, I am grateful also to the BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team. They believed in me, they gave me all the conditions to return and they gave me the freedom of choice, but I realized, speaking with them, that I am not prepared physically and mentally, for a 100 % come back.”

“I wanted to announce this before the start of the new season, because the riders are the protagonists and they deserve the full attention.”

“Having said this, I am very proud to announce that In the future I will work for the BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team, I will contribute, help and transmit my experience and knowledge to the young riders in the team. It is a big challenge which I am very grateful to the team for this amazing opportunity.
Having 17 years of cycling career, I hope I can continue my work confidently in my new role and stay connected with cycling and cycling fans. And as I said at the past Tour the France – Thank you, cycling! You are and always will be, the best thing that happened in my life. Thank you everyone!”

Brent Copeland, Team Bahrain Merida General Manager commented on Rodriguez decision: “We support Purito with this difficult decision, we know how hard it is for a professional cyclist to end his racing career and we wanted to give him the opportunity to end his career with our team, we left the final decision up to him and wanted him to be free with what he best decided, as we have said before the first contact with Joaquin was made with the intention of him working with the technical staff of the team so we are pleased that he has decided to continue in this direction, the opportunity for our riders and staff to use his priceless experience and knowledge is something that is worth an immense amount to the team and we take pride in having Purito in this position, there is no better way to support a rider with his kind of personality, expertise and knowledge than offer him an important role of this sort, at BAHRAIN MERIDA we believe that an expert rider as Purito should be kept within the cycling world, we salute him as one of the worlds best cyclists and we welcome him as one of the teams staff members and look forward to many more years of working together.”

Good-bye Purito:
Jeansagnière - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain / Team Katusha)  pictured during stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2016  from Crêches-sur-Saône / Chalmazel to Jeansagnière (168 KM) - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

Skoda to Sponsor Wiggins
Rumor of the Week is that Skoda UK are to sponsor Team Wiggins in 2017. If the deal comes off, the Czech car company will replace Sky as the team sponsor. Skoda is well known in cycling circles as it supplies cars to many pro teams as well as the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.

New sponsor for Bradley Wiggins:

Axeon Hagens Berman Reveals 2017 Roster
Eight returning riders and eight newcomers will make up the 2017 roster of the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team, the world’s leading Under 23 development squad.

Headlining the returnees are a host of Americans: Tour de Bretagne winner Adrien Costa, Under 23 national road and time trial champion Geoffrey Curran, Under 23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Logan Owen and Amgen Tour of California “best young rider” and Tour de l’Avenir stage winner Neilson Powless. Irish Under 23 national time trial champion Eddie Dunbar is also back, along with Americans Will Barta, Jonny Brown and Chad Young.

New to the team are Americans Edward Anderson, Christopher Blevins and Ian Garrison, Chris Lawless of Great Britain, Under 23 national time trial champion Jhonnatan Narvaez of Ecuador, Portugese twin brothers Ivo Oliveria and Rui Oliveria and Michael Rice of Australia.

Axeon Hagens Berman General Manager Axel Merckx said the team’s objectives for 2017 will remain unchanged – developing talented young athletes into champions.

“Our goal has always been to help the next generation of professional cyclists,” Merckx said. “I am confident our returning riders will blend well with the promising new riders we have coming on board.”

Anderson of Richmond, Virginia, competed in road racing and mountain biking this past season while Blevins was the winner of the Course de la Paix Juniors (Peace Race), a five-day Nations Cup stage race in the Czech Republic. The Durango, Colorado, resident also raced mountain bikes this season and finished just off the podium, in fourth, at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in July.

Garrison was the bronze medalist in the junior individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Qatar. The Decatur, Georgia, resident was also the winner of Stage 4 at the Tour de l’Abitibi Nations Cup stage race in Canada in July.

Lawless is the reigning British national criterium champion and a past national junior road race champion (2013). He was also part of the winning team pursuit squad at the British national track championships in 2014.

In addition to being the reigning Under 23 national time trial champion, Narvaez is a three-time silver medalist (2014-2016) for Ecuador in the Pan American junior road race and won the “king of the mountains” title at the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc in June.

The Oliveiras are the first twins to be part of Merckx’s program. Rui was third on a stage of the Volta ao Alentejo while Ivo was the bronze medalist in the Under 23 national time trial and winner of the individual pursuit at the 2014 UCI Juniors Track World Championships.

Rice becomes the fifth Australian to join the team since its founding in 2009. A stage winner at the Tour de Beauce, the Australian Capital Territory resident arrives from the Garneau-Québecor squad.

This year, the American continental team won a team-record 34 races and seven national titles. Three riders – U.S. national road champion Greg Daniel, Portugese Under 23 national road champion Ruben Guerreiro and British Under 23 national road champion Tao Geoghegan Hart – signed with WorldTour teams. That brings to 21 the number who have advanced to that level under Merckx’s tutelage.

Joining Merckx as sport directors will be American Jeff Louder and Dutchman Koos Moerenhout. Louder is a former 15-year professional who returns for his third season with the team. Moerenhout was the Dutch national road champion in 2007 and 2009 who was a teammate of Merckx from 2001 to 2006 on the Domo-Farm Frites, Lotto-Domo, Davitamon-Lotto and Phonak teams.

“Jeff did an amazing job with the team last year,” Merckx said. “His knowledge of the North American circuit is undeniable and he brings a lot of international experience as an athlete.”

“Koos has many years of experience and he is well-appreciated and respected in Europe as an athlete and a sports director,” Merckx said. “It will be good to have someone on the ground in Europe who will be able to coordinate all the tours of Europe and potentially add some races here and there on our calendar.”

Axeon Hagens Berman will conduct its pre-season training camp Jan. 8-18 in Calabasas, California.

Axeon Hagens Berman 2017 Roster:
Edward Anderson (USA), Will Barta (USA)*, Christopher Blevins (USA), Jonny Brown (USA)*, Adrien Costa (USA)*, Geoffrey Curran (USA)*, Eddie Dunbar (IRE)*, Ian Garrison (USA), Chris Lawless (GBR), Jhonnatan Narvaez (ECU), Ivo Oliveria (POR), Rui Oliveria (POR), Logan Owen (USA)*, Neilson Powless (USA)*, Michael Rice (AUS), Chad Young (USA)*.
*Indicates returning rider.

The Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team returns eight riders from the 2016 season, including four who helped win the team title at the Redlands Bicycle Classic

Bram Tankink Adds Another Year to Team LottoNL-Jumbo Contract
Bram Tankink extended his contract with Team LottoNL-Jumbo for one year, through 2017. It means that the Dutchman, who just celebrated his 38th birthday, will begin his 10th season with the Dutch WorldTour team.

“I decide season by season and this year, and I decided to add on a year to my career,” said the road captain. “I feel good, I’m motivated and I am very happy with this team. Why should I stop now?” This season, Tankink rode the Giro d’Italia to support Steven Kruijswijk. Next year, he wants to captain the team to a higher level. “This year’s Giro was a unique experience and that is something I would like to experience again,” he said.

“I can use my experience with the new professionals teach the new pros through the season. To be a professional is a result of hard work and talent, but it is important to realize that cycling is a profession and a way of life. I hope to instill this in the new guys.”

Technical Director Nico Verhoeven is relieved to have Tankink’s experience in his ranks for 2017. “Bram adds value to the team, as a helper and certainly as road captain. He can read the race through his years of experience and share his experience with the other riders.”

Tankink will work in one-day races and stage races. “Bram is a good rider who can be used anywhere. He can climb cols with best half of the peloton, so he can stay by Gesink and Kruijswijk. He is also helpful in the spring classics for riders like Lars Boom.”

Bram Tankink at the 2016 Vuelta a España:
Urdax-Dantxarinea - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Bram Tankink (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo)  pictured during stage 13 from  Bilbao to Urdax-Dantxarinea - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2016

The Last Pieces in the Puzzle for Israel Cycling Academy Team
Academy signs 2 more promising Israeli riders to complete the squad for its 1st season as a Pro Continental team.

Israel Cycling Academy team moved today to complete the major project of rebuilding its roster for its first ever year as a Pro Continental squad, by signing two more promising Israeli riders. The final 2 spots on the 16-rider roster now belong to 2 up-and-coming Israeli riders, both of whom raced for Israel Cycling Academy last year. Team Manager Ran Margaliot has no illusions, and stated both clearly and sincerely, that there is a long road ahead of the Israeli riders: “Right now, Pro Continental is way above their level. But we believe that the only way to succeed is to put them in front of the biggest of challenges, and demand 1 thing: When you get the chance to race, make an impact! Don’t ride to ‘just survive’.”

The two Israelis, Aviv Yechezkel and Roy Goldstein, are the last two pieces to the 16 rider roster who will face the challenge of the team’s first-ever season as a Pro Continental team. Together with Israeli National Champion Guy Sagiv, Israel will be represented by 3 riders-the most of any other nation on the new & revamped squad. The rest of the riders on the team are coming from 11 different countries, and, the team includes 5 current National Champions!

“Carrying 3 Israelis on the team, and hopefully more to come, is not just a number, it’s a statement that we are loyal to our Israeli roots and to our #1 goal- and the reason we founded this team” said team founder Ron Baron. “We know that they (Israeli riders) are not ready yet, but we are committed to push the best Israeli talents up to the worlds biggest cycling stage, and to develop and revolutionize the Israeli Cycling scene.”

Yechezkel (22) is the current Israeli Time Trial Champion, and has already shown that his aggressive racing style comes along with a high racing IQ, and intelligent actions in the peloton. This past year he found himself receiving praise, on multiple occasions, from his teammates with more international experience “because of his willingness to sacrifice it all for the good of the team”.

“I felt that I belonged in the Pro ranks this year” said Yechezkel, who spends some of his breaks from cycling working as a farmer on his Kibbutz. “But I have no illusions…with the amazing team that’s been assembled, and the level of the races, it will take everything that I have to justify my inclusion in the races. I will have to be way better than I have ever been, and I am sure that it will take some time until I get there.”


Goldstein (23) echoed his teammates sentiments saying: “I am honored to receive the chance to race Pro Continental, but I know that in order to justify it, I will have to work incredibly hard in order to show that I deserve the chance to race. There is so much I still need to do in order to reach this level, but extremely hard work does not scare me one bit.”

Although young, and with a lot of work ahead of them, both riders fully understand the responsibility, expectations, and pressure that have come to rest on their shoulders: “I will not lie”, said Aviv, “I feel it’s a test; not only for me, but for all of Israeli Cycling. We have an enormous chance that the team has given us, to reach a whole new level, never before reached…But if we fail, it could have a crushing effect on other riders who want to follow in our footsteps. So the need to succeed here is not just for ourselves!”

With the final two signings officially done, Israel Cycling Academies Roster for 2017 is as follows:
Guy Sagiv (Israel National RR Champion), Aviv Yechezkel (Israel National TT Champion), Roy Goldstein (Israel), Guillaume Boivin (Canada), Ben Perry (Canada), Zak Dempster (Australia), Jason Lowndes (Australia), Dennis Van Winden (Holland), Krists Neilands (Latvia), Mikhel Raim (Estonia National Champion), Luis Lemus (Mexico National Champion), Dan Craven (Namibia National Champion), Jose Manuel Diaz (Spain), Dan Turek (Czech Republic), Hamish Schreurs (New Zealand), Tyler Williams (USA).

Israel Cycling Academy was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem, as Israel’s first Professional cycling team, with a clear vision to help Israeli Cycling and bring young cyclists, especially Israelis, to the top levels of cycling. The team recorded wins in races over 4 continents in the last 20 months, and is backed by sponsors like Cannondale, Lazer, Hertz Israel, and Verge, as well as the Israeli-Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams-Israel Cycling Academy is now set to go Pro Continental for the 2017 season.


Ekimov For Russian Cycling President
At the Katusha-Alpecin team presentation in Spain last week, Viacheslav Ekimov stated that he would be standing down as the manager of the team to be replaced by top DS, José Azevedo. At the presentation he said he would be spending more time with his family, but since then the Russian Cycling Federation has announced that Viacheslav Ekimov is in the running to replace Igor Makarov as president. Makarov is the owner of the Katusha team and is stepping down from the Russian Presidency.

The other candidate for the President’s job is Alexandre Vinokourov, no not that Vinokourov, the manager of the Astana team, but a Moscow businessman. The Russian election is on the 14th of December, 2016.

Ekimov wasn’t bad on the bike either – 1989 Tour de Trump – NBC:

Two Hard Climbs in Valencia for the 2017 Vuelta a España?
The strong rumor in the Valencia region is that the 2017 Vuelta a España is expected to return to the climbs of the Cumbre del Sol and Xorret del Cati.

Cumbre del Sol made its debut in 2015 where Tom Dumoulin dropped Chris Froome and Joaquim Rodriguez for the leaders jersey. The Xorret del Cati is much shorter than the Cumbre del Sol, but steep with a short descent to the finish line, it was last used in the Vuelta a España in 2010, but did feature in the 2016 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana where Wout Poels (Sky) won the stage and the overall.

According to local newspaper Informacion, the Spanish Grand Tour will be in Valencia for four stages. Segorbe to Xàbia, Ontinyet to Cumbre del Sol, Dénia to the Xorret del Cati and then leave Valencia from Petrer to finish in Caravaca in Murcia. The Vuelta route presentation is on January the 12th in Madrid.

The finish of stage 9 of the 2015 Vuelta a España on the Cumbre del Sol:

Jayco Herald Sun Tour
The season for some riders will start in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, the race have made a teaser video for the 2017 edition:

2017 Jayco Herald Sun Tour Teaser Video:

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