PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
Anglirú - Spanje - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Vuelta 2011 - Tour of Spain - Ronde van Spanje - etappe-15 Avilés > Anglirú - Christopher Froome - Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) - foto Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos ©2011
Loads of contract news as half the peloton changes teams, or re-signs, but the TOP STORY has to be the 2017 Vuelta a España. Saturday sees the start of the Spanish Tour in France and we have more team line-ups. Contract News: Marcel Kittel, Mikel Landa, Elia Viviani and Louis Meintjes are all on the move and Niki Terpstra and Rigoberto Uran stay put. Café con Leche EUROTRASH time.

TOP STORY: La Vuelta a España 2017
This years Spanish Grand Tour looks like it will (again) surpass the other National Tours for excitement. Not only because the 2017 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France were far from vintage editions, but because of the team leaders that will line up in Nîmes on Saturday and their motivation.

Chris Froome has never hidden the fact that he want's to win the Vuelta, he's been so close and this year he could just pull it off. He also could do with a stage win and some exciting racing as his win in the Tour de France was solid, but short on excitement. If he wins he probably wont be seen in Spain again, job done.

Fabio Aru's season'17 has been good and bad. He didn't ride the Giro, due to injury, which started in his homeland of Sardinia. He did win the Italian National championships and a stage in the Tour de France and held the yellow jersey for a day, but then fell by the wayside due to bronchitis, to finish 5th overall. 'Il cavaliere dei quattro mori' could do with a big win to bolster his position in the peloton and help with contract negotiations. He won the 2015 Vuelta, so he knows how to do it.

Warren Barguil was the saving grace for the Tour de France. The young Breton enlivened proceedings and made himself the heart throb of the French fans. He will leave the Sunweb team at the end of the year and will either go out to show the Tour was no flash in the pan or sit back and enjoy the ride to Madrid.

Vuelta race No.1 will be on the back of Alberto Contador in his last race as a professional cyclist. He might not win overall, but you can bet the man from Pinto is out to make a show of his last race for the fans. The three time Vuelta winner helped Nairo Quintana to his victory last year, maybe someone else will reap the rewards of his attacks.

Vincenzo Nibali will be looking to save his 2017 season. A win in the Tour of Croatia and 3rd overall in the Giro hasn't set the World on fire. A good Vuelta will endear him to the Bahrainis, as long as he doesn't hang onto to too many team cars.

Orica-Scott has a three pronged attack with Esteban Chaves and the Yates brothers, Simon and Adam. With that kind of fire power they must be very serious. Chaves was invisible during the Tour, but he prefers the Vuelta and should be more visible. Simon Yates was in the action every day at the Tour as was Adam in the Giro. They both won the 'Best Young Rider' jersey in those events.

Romain Bardet showed what the French can do in the Tour. Whether he can repeat that in Spain we will see, but the 40.2 kilometer time trial in Navarro will put an end to his overall dreams.

As to the other possibles: Tejay van Garderen, Andrew Talansky, Louis Meintjes, Miguel Angel Lopez, Rafal Majka, Ilnur Zakarin, Rohan Dennis, Rui Costa, Bob Jungels, Domenico Pozzovivo, David De La Cruz and Steven Kruijswijk, will all be out to make a good show of the last Grand Tour of the season. And for some; last chance saloon.

Let's not forget the course, it is also made for drama. Short and fast stages with sharp climbs and summit finishes. The mythical climb of Alto de l'Angliru is the last climb of the race and you never know, it could be the decider of the 2017 Vuelta.

Full 'PEZ Preview' HERE.

Stage 1: 13.7km Nîmes - Nîmes TTT
Stage 2: 203.4km Nîmes - Gruissan. Grand Narbonne. Aude
Stage 3: 158.5km Prades Conflent Canigó - Andorra la Vella
Stage 4: 198.2km Escaldes-Engordany - Tarragona. Anella Mediterránea 2018
Stage 5: 175.7km Benicàssim - Alcossebre
Stage 6: 204.4km Vila-real - Sagunt
Stage 7: 207km Llíria - Cuenca. Ciudad Patrimonio de la Humanidad
Stage 8: 199.5km Hellín - Xorret de Catí. Costa Blanca Interior
Stage 9: 174km Orihuela. Ciudad del Poeta Miguel Hernández - Cumbre del Sol. El Poble Nou de Benitatxell
Rest Day 1: Provincia de Alicante
Stage 10: 164.8km Caravaca Año Jubilar 2017 - ElPozo Alimentación
Stage 11: 187.5km Lorca - Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto
Stage 12: 160.1km Motril - Antequera. Los Dólmenes
Stage 13: 198.4km Coín - Tomares
Stage 14: 175km Écija - Sierra de La Pandera
Stage 15: 129km Alcalá la Real - Sierra Nevada. Alto Hoya de la Mora. Monachil
Rest Day 2: Logroño
Stage 16: 40.2km Circuito de Navarra - Logroño ITT
Stage 17: 180.5km Villadiego - Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega
Stage 18: 169km Suances - Santo Toribio de Liébana
Stage 19: 149.7km Caso. Parque Natural de Redes - Gijón
Stage 20: 117.5km Corvera de Asturias - Alto de l'Angliru
Stage 21: 117.6km Arroyomolinos - Madrid.

Movistar Team confirms Vuelta a España lineup
The main 'home' squad is full of youngsters for Spanish Grand Tour's 72nd edition, starting in Nîmes on Saturday.

The Movistar Team has defined its nine-man selection for the 2017 Vuelta a España, starting in Nìmes (France) on Saturday, 19th August, and finishing in Madrid on Sunday 10th September. Jorge Arcas, Carlos Betancur, Richard Carapaz, Rubén Fernández, Dani Moreno, Nelson Oliveira, Antonio Pedrero, José Joaquín Rojas and Marc Soler are the names to represent the Blues at the final Grand Tour of 2017.

The Blues will be tackling a Vuelta a España with three differentiated parts (route preview + useful info / data here). Week one will include short, steep finishes near the Levante coast (Alcossebre, Xorret de Catí, Cumbre del Sol); week two will feature some of the longest, most iconic climbs in Andalusia (Calar Alto, La Pandera, Hoya de la Mora); and the final six days, starting with a 40km ITT at the team's home region Navarra, will take the riders through grueling mountains, like Los Machucos or the decisive L’Angliru. The Movistar Team will reach southern France on Wednesday to start preparing for the opening, 13.7-kilometer TTT on Saturday.

Quick-Step Floors Team to Vuelta a España
Nine riders representing six countries will make up our squad for the three-week race.

A plethora of summit finishes, nine more precisely, through the mountains of Andalucia, Cantabria and Asturias, will be the salt and pepper of the 72nd Vuelta a España, which is set to start from France, making it just the third time in history that the race will kick off from a foreign country, after 1997 (Portugal) and 2009 (Netherlands). Calar Alto, La Pandera, Sierra Nevada and Angliru will be just some of the race’s main difficulties, which should shape up the overall rankings, together with the opening team time trial and the 40.8km-long stage against the clock scheduled on the final week.

Only Spaniard to wear the coveted red jersey at the previous edition of the Vuelta a España, David De La Cruz will return to his home race this year as part of a very strong Quick-Step Floors squad ready to take on the season’s final Grand Tour and stick to its aggressive and spectacular style of racing, which earned plaudits and netted over 40 victories since January. The 28-year-old, a stage winner in 2017 at Paris-Nice and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, will be motivated to show his prowess on the mountains and leave again his mark on the general classification.

Winner of back-to-back white jerseys in the Giro d’Italia, Bob Jungels is slated to start the grueling Spanish race three years after making his Grand Tour debut here and notching up two stage top-10 finishes; if the 24-year-old Luxembourger will ride his second three-week race of the season, the same can’t be said about Julian Alaphilippe, who gets to ride his first Grand Tour this year, after a knee injury kept him out of the Tour de France.

The team will be rounded out by Eros Capecchi, Tim Declercq, Belgian ITT Champion Yves Lampaert, neo-pro Enric Mas (confidence-buoyed after climbing to second overall at the Vuelta a Burgos earlier this month), Niki Terpstra – the most experienced rider of our Vuelta a España roster in terms of Grand Tour participations, with 11 presences under his belt – and Matteo Trentin.

“Vuelta will be again a tough race, with many brutal climb and steep gradients, some kicking out at 25%. Will be grueling even for the best climbers, and the extreme temperatures will make everything even more difficult and test the riders throughout these three weeks”, said sport director Geert Van Bondt.

“We hope to do a good race and be up there when it comes to both stage wins and the general classification. David De La Cruz will set his sights on a good result in the overall standings, and after finishing in the top 10 last year, we believe he can be again among the protagonists, but we will take it one stage at a time and see how the race progresses. If you look at the average age of our team, you can see it’s very young but nonetheless it is a complete team, with several experienced riders, capable of winning in almost every terrain, so we’re heading to the start in Nîmes with confidence and optimism”, Van Bondt concluded.

19.08–10.09 La Vuelta ciclista a España (ESP) 2.UWT


Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Eros Capecchi (ITA), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Tim Declercq (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Enric Mas (ESP), Niki Terpstra (NED), Matteo Trentin (ITA).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Geert Van Bondt (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Julian Alaphilippe:

Preview & Lineup: Vuelta a España
The final grand tour of the season is upon us and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are happy to announce an exciting lineup of climbers for the 72nd edition of the Vuelta a España.

After a strong showing at the Tour de France this year, Serge Pauwels will lead our African Team come Saturday together with our Basque climbing duo of Omar Fraile and Igor Anton. Pauwels and Anton will be able to target the most difficult of climbing stages while Fraile will adopt a similar attacking strategy to that which has won him the King of the Mountains jersey at the last two editions of this race.

With no less than 15 of the 21 stages considered either hilly or mountainous this year, our African Team is littered with climbing talent. Merhawi Kudus, Ben King, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Lachlan Morton provide us with numerous options for each stage, be that in a support role or in going for personal stage glory. It will also be Morton's debut grand tour appearance.

Youcef Reguigui, also capable of climbing his way into smaller groups, showed his turn of speed at the recent Tour of Poland and will be our go to man for the limited sprint stage options. Nic Dougall, our South African all-rounder, will complete our 9-man team.

Bingen Fernandez - Sport Director
We are on our way to the last grand tour of the year. For some of our guys this is going to be the second grand tour of the season and for some the first grand tour ever. They are ready to take it on, motivated to work hard and strive for a victory. We are looking forward to being part of the right moves and coming back home with some good results. A stage win will be the ultimate prize for our team.

Serge Pauwels - Rider
The Vuelta is traditionally a hard race with lots of climbing, that is why we are bringing a lot of climbers to the race. We have a strong group that can race aggressively and try to hunt for stage wins. I am really looking forward to my second grand tour this year. I have taken a short break after the Tour then put in a good training block last week. I hope to take my opportunity as well by picking a stage and trying to get the victory.

Sunweb for the Vuelta a España 2017
The 2017 edition of the Vuelta a España begins this Saturday with a team time trial to open the race in Nimes, France. Taking place from August 19th to September 10th, the race covers a total of 3,324 kilometers consisting of eight hilly stages, five mountain stages, five flat stages, one flat stage at altitude, a team time trial and an individual time trial. Team Sunweb head to the Vuelta a España with general classification ambitions and a team that combines experience with young, up-and-coming talent.

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) said: "With our GC ambitions it will be crucial for the team to be sharp straight from the first stage. After two very successful Grand Tours earlier this year the moral is high and the guys are eager to continue this line. We've had a good preparation period for this Vuelta and everybody is ready and motivated to make the last Grand Tour of the season a good one. With five debutants on the team we hope that they will be able to make the next step in their development and take some knowledge from the more experienced riders on our roster."

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Warren Barguil (FRA), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Lennard Hofstede (NED), Lennard Kämna (GER), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Sam Oomen (NED).
Coach: Arthur van Dongen (NED) and Marc Reef (NED).

Warren Barguil:
Serre-Chevalier - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - BARDET Romain of AG2R La Mondiale, BARGUIL Warren of Team Sunweb pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, 183.00 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

BMC Racing Team Backing Strength and Experience at Vuelta a España
BMC Racing Team will back a strong and experienced team at the Vuelta a España when racing gets underway on Saturday, 19 August.

Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said the team has multiple objectives at the third Grand Tour of the season.

"We are lining up at the Vuelta a España with one of the strongest rosters we have named in recent years. As a result, we have a number of different goals for the race. To start with, the Team Time Trial in Nimes is a big objective for us. Team Time Trials are always an important discipline for BMC Racing Team, but here at the Vuelta a España, a good result means starting the three-week race with good morale and motivation, and potentially the leader's jersey," Ledanois explained.

"For the General Classification, we have a number of riders who can be up there, including Tejay van Garderen, Nicolas Roche and Samuel Sánchez. These riders are very motivated for a good result overall so we will take things day by day and see how the race plays out. I would like to see aggressive racing from all of our riders and with guys like Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi and Rohan Dennis, we have a good chance for stage wins. In Daniel Oss and Francisco Ventoso, we have two strong riders who will play an important role in protecting our leaders, and for Kilian Frankiny, who will make his Grand Tour debut, this will be a good learning experience for the future."

BMC Racing Team's nine riders collectively have 14 Vuelta a España stage wins and seven top ten General Classification results from 26 participations to their names, with only Frankiny and Oss set to make their debut.

The 72nd edition of the Vuelta a España starts on Saturday, August 19th with a 13.8km Team Time Trial in Nimes, France and finishes on Sunday, September 10 with the traditional sprinters' stage in Madrid.

BMC Racing Team at the 2017 Vuelta a España:
Sports Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA), Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA).

Damiano Caruso (ITA)
"I have some really good memories from the Vuelta a España. The last time I raced was in 2014 when I was ninth on the General Classification. This year, the route is very hard with a lot of climbing and some nervous stages. My goal for the race is to help the team and try to win a stage."

Alessandro De Marchi (ITA)
"I come into the Vuelta a España after a good period of rest and work. The season has been good but not like I have wanted it to go. The Vuelta is a race I love and has always given me great emotions. It's the race in which I was re-born after a long and bad injury. I like to start the last part of the season with this race as it allows you to continue with strong motivation to the end of the season and be ready for the last, big races. It's always a race that has hard days but it's also open to riders who like to play and take risk. Personally, it's going to be a race of freedom. I would like to look for some good stages where I can really do the race I like. Obviously, the start with a Team Time Trial is really important for the team and I will give the maximum effort. I'm really happy to race and I'll try to enjoy every single moment."

Rohan Dennis (AUS)
"I am lining up at the Vuelta a España with a pretty loose General Classification objective. My goals are going for some stage wins and hopefully I will be able to test myself in the mountain stages against the General Classification guys."

Kilian Frankiny (SUI)
"First of all, I'm very excited for my first Grand Tour. To race my first Grand Tour in my first pro year makes it very special for me as I never thought I would do one in my first year and with such a strong team, it's an honor. It will be a big challenge, but I'm looking forward to it! My first goal is a good Team Time Trial on the first day. The whole race I hope to learn a lot and gain more experience for the future. I hope to get a good result on one of the climbing stages and to help the team as much as possible, before arriving with the whole team in Madrid."

Daniel Oss (ITA)
"After five times at the Tour de France and three times at the Giro d'Italia, this is my first Vuelta a España. I expect I will enjoy it and I hope we can have some good results as a team. The Team Time Trial is really important for us and it's a discipline that I love, so I hope we can start the three weeks of racing with a strong result here. As the race progresses, I'll be there to help our leaders as we make our way towards Madrid."

Nicolas Roche (IRL)
"I'm always looking forward to the Vuelta a España because it's probably my favorite race of the year. I'm excited to start the race for the seventh time in my career and I hope to do well on both a team and personal level. I think we have a strong team and it will be nice to get things underway with the Team Time Trial. The Vuelta is always tough and this year is no exception so we will take things day by day."

Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Replaced by Loïc Vliegen

Tejay van Garderen (USA)
"The Vuelta a España was my first grand tour back in 2010. I love the warm weather and beautiful Spanish scenery. It's a tough course with lots of steep uphill finishes that lends many different opportunities for attacks and an explosive style of racing. I'd like to try and climb as high as possible on the General Classification, and hopefully challenge for a stage victory. We also have a strong team to challenge for the team classification which would be a huge honor to win."

Francisco Ventoso (ESP)
"As a Spanish rider, the Vuelta a España is always a pleasure and this year even more so, because we have three stages in my region of Cantabria. This year there are a lot of climbs, 11 I think, so for sure it will be pretty hard with spectacular finals for the spectators. For me, the first goal is to help the team in the Team Time Trial and hopefully take the jersey. After that, I will help the team and support the captains throughout the race and for sure, I will enjoy the roads, the people and the team."

Statement Regarding Samuel Sánchez Anti-Doping Violation
BMC Racing Team was notified on Thursday, 17 August by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) of a potential anti-doping violation for the presence of GHRP-2 and its metabolite, in an out-of-race anti-doping control for Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez.

In accordance with BMC Racing Team's zero tolerance policy and UCI regulation, Sánchez has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect. Until the results of the B sample are provided, no further action will be taken.

All riders and staff are held to the highest ethical standard and BMC Racing Team is extremely disappointed to share this news on the eve of the Vuelta a España. Loïc Vliegen will replace Sánchez at the Vuelta a España.

Tejay van Garderen and Samu Sanchez:
Lo Port (Tortosa) - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tejay VAN GARDEREN (USA / BMC Racing Team) - Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ (Spain / BMC Racing Team) - Jarlinson PANTANO GOMEZ (Columbia / Team Trek Segafredo) pictured during stage - 5 of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2017 - photo Miwa Iijma/Cor Vos © 2017

UAE Team Emirates line-up for the Vuelta a España 2017
The UAE Team Emirates has defined its 2017 Vuelta a España selection for the race that will start in Nìmes (France) on Saturday, 19th August, and will finish, as usual, in Madrid on Sunday the 10th of September.

“We have a good team, all the guys are in good form,” says sports director Simone Pedrazzini “The team’s captains will be Louis Meintjes and Rui Costa, who are aiming to get a final Top Ten, while they will be relying on Darwin Atapuma and Jan Polanc for the mountain stages and Sacha Modolo for the sprints, they will all be trying to get a stage win”.

Louis Meintjes: “I have been doing high altitude training in Andorra to prepare for the Vuelta a España. The goal is to fight for the GC but we will have to see how my body has recovered after the Tour de France effort.”

Rui Costa: “This will be my first Vuelta a España and I’m happy to ride in it. I want to live day by day without thinking specifically about the General Classification, enjoying every single stage. The third one will already be a good test to understand what kind of shape I’m in.”

La Vuelta a España (19 August – 10 September)

Rider Roster:

Ait El Abdia Anass (Morocco), Atapuma Darwin (Colombia), Faria Da Costa Rui Alberto (Portugal),Meintjes Louis (South Africa), Modolo Sacha (Italy), Mohoric Matej (Slovenia), Niemiec Przemyslaw (Poland), Polanc Jan (Slovenia), Zurlo Federico (Italy).
Sports Directors: Simone Pedrazzini (Switzerland), Vicino Bruno (Italy).

Rui Costa:

Bahrain-Merida Team for the Vuelta
Appointment for the 72nd edition of the Vuelta Saturday 19th in Nimes, a lovely town in the Southern France. After the French take off, the race will cross several Spanish regions to end up in the capital Madrid on September 10th.

Twenty-one stages for a total distance of 3,324 kilometers. The Vuelta 2017 is also five mountain stages, one individual time trial (40k) and a team time trial, the first stage, of more than 13k. As the Vuelta tradition wants, there will be many climbs (around 50) with the difficult arrival of Sierra Nevada and the terrible one, the penultimate stage, of the Alto de Angliru with an average slope of 9.8% and a maximum of 23%!

"I've worked hard and I'm ready for this new challenge" - says Vincenzo Nibali, Vuelta's winner in 2010 and second in 2013 - "the route is very demanding but overall I like it."

"Competition is really strong" - continues the Italian rider - "and seeing the ranking minimum gaps of Giro d’Italia and Tour de France you cannot be distracted even for a moment. So many climbs, but also Navarra Circuit’s time trial with more of 40 kilometers can be decisive."

For Sports Director Paolo Slongo: “It’s the usual Vuelta with so many long e steep climbs and so much ground to attack. We are well prepared and we come from a good Tour de Pologne where Vincenzo and the team have given good signals."

"Unfortunately, it’s not the team we imagined with the absence of strong riders such as Izagirre, Navardauskas and Sioutsou, but this has allowed us to bring in two interesting young boys like Domen Novak and Antonio Nibali. For them it will be a great experience."

Lineup for Vuelta a España:
Valerio Agnoli, Manuele Boaro, Ivan Cortina, Javier Moreno, Antonio Nibali, Vincenzo Nibali, Domen Novak, Franco Pellizotti and Giovanni Visconti.

Team Katusha-Alpecin's line-up for Vuelta a España
Team Katusha Alpecin will take part in the 2017 Vuelta a España. The last Grand Tour of the year starts on 19th August in Nîmes, France, and will finish as usual in Madrid on 10th September.

The team roster:
Sports directors: Dmitry KONYSHEV, Xavier FLORENCIO.

Aqua Blue Sport for the Vuelta a España
US champion Larry Warbasse will lead the Aqua Blue team in his fourth Vuelta a España. The Tour de Suisse stage winner headlines a group of riders who could surprise from a break and Adam Blyth could take the sprint from a reduced bunch finish.

Aqua Blue Vuelta line-up:
Adam Blythe, Mark Christian, Conor Dunne, Aaron Gate, Peter Koning, Michel Kreder, Lasse Norman Hansen, Larry Warbasse and Stefan Denifl.

Larry Warbasse:
Villars-sur-Ollon - Suisse - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - »Larry» Lawrence WARBASSE (USA / Team Aqua Blue Sport) pictured during stage - 4 of the Tour de Suisse 2017 stage -1 - from Bern - Villars-sur-Ollon, 150.20 km - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2017

AG2R-La Mondiale for the Vuelta
If Romain Bardet has recovered from the Tour de France he should be fighting for the overall prize, if not then the French team might rely on Domenico Pozzovivo to take a stage win.

AG2R-La Mondiale Vuelta team:
Romain Bardet, Clement Chevrier, Nico Denz, Axel Domont, Julien Duval, Alexandre Geniez, Alexis Gougeard, Hugo Houle, Domenico Pozzovivo.

Romain Bardet:
Izoard - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Romain BARDET (France / Team AG2R La Mondiale) - Christopher - Chris FROOME (GBR / Team Sky) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 18 from Briançon to Izoard, 179.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

FDJ team at the Vuelta a España
Without an obvious team leader, the FDJ team will be aiming for stage successes.

FDJ DS, Thierry Bricaud said: "This Vuelta is well balanced and we have a group of great individuals like Lorrenzo Manzin and Daniel Hoelgaard for the sprint finishes or Anthony Roux in the stages designed for the baroudor. This FDJ team has a balance that combines experience, youth and those who want to be the protagonist in a race. Everyone will have the opportunity to pick up something, and we will put everything in place to help them chase the stages."

The full line-up:
Arnaud Courteille, Odd Christian Eiking, Marc Fournier, Daniel Hoelgaard, Johan Le Bon, Tobias Ludvigsson, Jeremy Maison, Lorenzo Manzin, Anthony Roux.

Odd Christian Eiking:

Trek-Segafredo Vuelta Team
Alberto Contador will say good-bye to his fans at the Vuelta a España and is bound to make an extra special effort. He has a strong team to back him up with the possibility of stage wins from John Degenkolb.

Vuelta line up:
Julien Bernard, Alberto Contador, John Degenkolb, Markel Irizar, Jesus Hernandez, Koen de Kort, Jarlinson Pantano, Peter Stetina, Edward Theuns.

Alberto's last race:
Izoard - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - CONTADOR Alberto (ESP) Rider of Trek - Segafredo pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 18 from Briançon to Izoard, 179.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

LottoNl-Jumbo Eye Success in Vuelta a España
Kruijswijk leads the nine-man squad at the Spanish Grand Tour from August 19th to September 10th

The time for the last Grand Tour of the season has come: the Vuelta a España will start on Saturday, August 19th with a 13,7 km Team Time Trial in Nîmes (France) and finish on Sunday, September 10th in Madrid (Spain). Team LottoNl-Jumbo, equipped with Bianchi high-performance bikes, eyes success through the 21 days of one of the World’s biggest stage race.

The race route, with nine uphill finishes, suits well Steven Kruijswijk’s climbing skills. The 30-year-old Dutchman - fourth overall at the 2016 Giro d’Italia, with five days in pink jersey - recently displayed his good shape in the mountain stages of the Tour de l’Ain and will be the team headliner for the Spanish campaign. New Zealander George Bennett - 10th last year at the Vuelta a España and overall winner of the 2017 Amgen Tour of California - will be a key support for Kruijswijk’s GC ambitions but he could also aim for stage wins, while Spaniard Juan José Lobato, fresh stage winner at the Tour de l’Ain, will be the team’s card for the sprint finishes.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo's line-up for the 2017 Vuelta a España:
George Bennett, Koen Bouwman, Stef Clement, Floris De Tier, Steven Kruijswijk, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Juan José Lobato, Daan Olivier and Antwan Tolhoek.

Steven Kruijswijk:

The #GreenArgyle nine for Vuelta a España
Cannondale-Drapac takes a rookie team to the 2017 Vuelta a España. With four riders making their Grand Tour debut and another starting his first Vuelta, there are plenty of new experiences on offer for the squad in Spain (and France and Andorra). The team clad in green will be led by Basque sport director Juanma Garate in cooperation with Tom Southam.

The 2017 Vuelta a España starts with a 13.9-kilometer team time trial in Nîmes, France on Saturday, August 19.

“The Vuelta this year has a team time trial, one individual time trial, four stages that will most likely end in a bunch sprint, six hilly stages and nine uphill finals,” said Garate. “The design of this year’s Vuelta opens a lot of possibilities for aggressive teams and riders.”

With no GC contender in the line-up, Cannondale-Drapac will capitalize on its squad’s motivation to animate in pursuit of stage wins.

“The average age in our team is 27 years. It’s probably not the youngest team at the start, but I think we do bring the team with the most rookies,” said Garate. “Not only do we have four riders racing their first Grand Tour, but we have another two riders who have only ever done one Grand Tour in their careers.

“We want to continue with the attitude that we showed as a team during this season, specifically in the Giro and the Tour,” Garate added. “Of course we don’t have high GC ambitions, but we do want to win a stage as we did in the Giro and the Tour de France.”

The Vuelta finishes on September 13th with nine laps at the traditional city criterium in Madrid.

Mike Woods is the guy that can really surprise people. Not people from within the cycling world, because people surely know him after his stellar performance in his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, earlier this year. He’s really focused for the Vuelta, and Mike feels really comfortable when there is a steep uphill final. There are plenty of those this Vuelta. He’s the key rider of our Vuelta team. I don’t want to put pressure on him, but I think he’s going to be our man this month.

Woods: Racing the Giro was a great learning experience. Watching Pierre Rolland’s heroics really rubbed off on me, and I learned that I am capable of going deeper and taking greater risks tactically than I had previously thought. Definitely the experience of riding a Grand Tour has given me a better perspective on bike racing, and it has made me, in general, stronger. But after a big season already, I am really traveling into the unknown here at the Vuelta, so I’m not putting too much pressure on myself.

I have had a solid preparation for this race with a great training camp with Alex Howes in Colorado. I came very close to winning stages at the Giro, so obviously I would like to try and win a stage at the Vuelta. But I am going to keep my personal ambitions relaxed until I get a better feel of how I am going in the race. I’m looking forward to it as well as hanging out with the guys and having Sean and Olga as team chefs. Doing a Grand Tour is the ultimate brocation: all-you-can-eat great meals, epic adventures, massages, goofing around on a team bus all while racing around Spain. It should be pretty sweet.

This is Simon’s ninth Grand Tour and he’s going to be our road captain. He’s smart, and he can read the race well. His role this Vuelta is going to be super important because he’s done as many Grand Tours as all the rest of our line-up combined.

Clarke: I like the Vuelta because of its relaxed approach. It gives you a chance to really enjoy the race. There’s less of a stress factor and generally, there’s really good weather. It’s a fun race to be part of. My personal goal is to target various stages throughout the Grand Tour and also to help look after and nurture the young guys that will be doing the Vuelta as their first Grand Tour. It’s important to make sure they have a bit of guidance to help them through in the best way possible.

Villella is only 26 years old, but he has a lot of experience doing two Grand Tours a year. This Vuelta is going to be all about breaks, and I hope Davide can arrive at the finish of a stage in a break. He has sometimes missed the confidence when arriving at the line with the break, and we will work on that and try to get him more confident. We are sure he can win from a break.

Villella: The weather is always very warm in the Vuelta, which makes it a challenging race. And sometimes the race gets really crazy, like it did last year in the shorter stages that were part of the Vuelta. Any Grand Tour is special, since everyone knows the races so well. My personal goal is to try and get in a good breakaway that possibly holds it to the line, so that I can win a stage. But mainly I will be a support for the team. I’m aiming for creating a good team spirit during the three weeks.

Will Clarke was the last one added to our roster. He had a crash in Colorado, but he was our reserve rider, and he will take to the start instead of Davide Formolo, who is ill. He and Tom Scully will have more or less the same role. When there is an open final, these two can really surprise in the final. And they willl lead-out Tom van Asbroeck in the sprinter’s stages.

Clarke: I’m super happy to get the call-up for the Vuelta. It was one of my goals for the year. I have never raced for three weeks in a row, so I’m just looking forward to going through the whole experience. Everyone says once you have done a Grand Tour, it raises you to a new level.

Personally, I would like to get in some breakaways and be active in the race to support my teammates. I think as a team we are fully capable of stage wins, so coming away with that is the aim. I’m still pretty sore from my crash in Colorado. My arm and hip are a bit swollen, with stitches in my knuckle. It’s not ideal, but as a bike rider, I think we all have these moments, and you become stronger by pushing through them.

This is going to be Joe’s fourth Grand Tour. I was happy about his performance in the Tour de Suisse, after the Giro d’Italia, but he was mentally really tired. Now he’s had some rest and he will race the Vuelta highly motivated, more than ready to be competitive in the mountains again. This Vuelta has a lot of opportunities for him. He needs to ride offensively at the start of the stages, because we need to anticipate riders like Froome or Contador. He needs to be smart, to not lose too much energy when trying to get into a break for example.

Dombrowski: The Vuelta is often decisive on more punchy finishing climbs with less traditional mountain stages than the Giro. I haven’t studied the route in great detail yet, but in a three-week race there are always lots of opportunities and you can play different cards as the race develops. I am motivated, and with that and an open mind you can go far. Winning a stage would be nice.

The overall ambiance of the Vuelta is nice. It seems to retain a more laid-back feel compared to races earlier in the season. We have a young team, with some fun guys. You bond tightly with the group of riders and staff at a Grand Tour. It’s almost a month together 24/7. With the group we have, I think there will be good camaraderie, and the good times at the dinner table can bring us together in the race each day.

We have seen what Tom Scully can do when there is a nervous final. That’s how he won stage four of the Route du Sud. When there is no longer any control in the race, Scully shines. He has a lot of power, and he can make the difference. This is his first Grand Tour, and we are proud to have him on our rookie team.

Scully: When I heard I was going to ride the Vuelta, at first I was excited, then I started to get a bit anxious, but now I am motivated that it’s actually going to happen. Just completing a race of this distance and duration will be valuable for me to grow as a rider. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in helping out the team and take any opportunities that might come up. I can’t wait for this three-week road trip with a great bunch of people: riders, mechanics, soigneurs, sports directors – just the whole Slipstream Sports crew really.

The Vuelta is going to be Brendan’s first Grand Tour and the Vuelta is really a good race for that. For Brendan, this is an opportunity for him to grow as a rider. He looks young, but he is already 25 years old, so this is the moment to start to look forward and think about three-week races. I think this kind of races adapts to his characteristics. I would like to use Brendan, especially the last week, to make him stronger at the end of the Vuelta, looking toward next year.

Canty: I wasn’t too sure if I was going to get to start in a Grand Tour this season, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if I didn’t, but it was always in the back of my mind that the Vuelta could be the best possibility. I’m very excited to be given the opportunity and look forward to seeing how the race unfolds. I’d like to make it to the finish in Madrid as a start, but more importantly, I hope to be able to make valuable contributions towards the teams’ objectives throughout the three weeks.

Being selected for the Vuelta has also been a catalyst for my parents to book flights and make the trip over to Spain. I’ll be really looking forward to seeing them during the last week of the Vuelta, and that’s some added motivation. I’m also yet to be sick of rice or pasta during stage races, so I’m curious if my perspective changes after racing for three weeks. We have team chefs Sean and Olga with us, so I’m sure the food will be another highlight.

For sure, there will be opportunities for Tom Van Asbroeck this year, and since he’s lighter than a couple of months ago, he can survive the climbs. When there is a peloton of fifty or sixty riders left, he might even be able to be part of that too, so we will see how he climbs in the first week and then we make a strategy for the second and third week. In those weeks, there are a lot of stages that suit fast finishers who can survive the climbs. So maybe we will have some nice opportunities to win stages with him.

Van Asbroeck: I raced the Vuelta once in 2015. The experience was good, and I’m guessing this time around will be as hard as my first Vuelta. At least I know now how hard that is! Two years ago, I was really suffering the day after the first rest day, so I am definitely going to pay attention to that these next few weeks. I’m hoping to be able to do my thing in the sprinter’s stages and maybe win a stage. I will go into ‘survival mode’ on the mountainous stages, and I hope there’s still something I can do in those stages to support our team leaders though.

For sure, there will be opportunities for Tom Van Asbroeck this year, and since he’s lighter than a couple of months ago, he can survive the climbs. When there is a peloton of fifty or sixty riders left, he might even be able to be part of that too, so we will see how he climbs in the first week and then we make a strategy for the second and third week. In those weeks, there are a lot of stages that suit fast finishers who can survive the climbs. So maybe we will have some nice opportunities to win stages with him.

Van Asbroeck: I raced the Vuelta once in 2015. The experience was good, and I’m guessing this time around will be as hard as my first Vuelta. At least I know now how hard that is! Two years ago, I was really suffering the day after the first rest day, so I am definitely going to pay attention to that these next few weeks. I’m hoping to be able to do my thing in the sprinter’s stages and maybe win a stage. I will go into ‘survival mode’ on the mountainous stages, and I hope there’s still something I can do in those stages to support our team leaders though.

Toms is a super smart and strong rider. When Toms has in his mind to be in a break, he’s in the break. So it’s really interesting to have him on the team this year. This is going to be his first Grand Tour ,and I think Toms needs to realize racing a three-week race is not impossible. Specifically, he can be an important rider in the first two weeks.

Skujins: Every first-time Grand Tour rider would tell you that a successful three weeks are ones you complete and make it to the final day. Sure that’d be a success in itself, but I don’t want to just make it to Madrid. I want to be there and feel like I’ve impacted the race. Having been in a break. Helped the team win a stage or two and learnt some more Spanish. I’m also looking forward to three weeks of chef Sean and Olga’s cooked meals. I think my girlfriend Abby will have to brush up on her cooking skills because after three weeks of great food I won’t be able to eat anything less than excellent.

Cannondale-Drapac for the 2017 Vuelta a España:
Brendan Canty (AUS), Simon Clarke (AUS), Will Clarke (AUS), Joe Dombrowski (USA), Thomas Scully (NZL), Toms Skujins (LAT), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL), Davide Villella (ITA), Mike Woods (CAN).

Mikel Landa signs with Movistar Team
Spain's biggest current and future talent for Grand Tours joins Blue squad for the 2018 and 2019 seasons
The Movistar Team will enjoy Mikel Landa making part of its roster from January 1st, 2018. The 27-year-old from Murgia in Álava, the Basque Country, will wear the Blue jersey for the next two years after a brilliant 2017 season, which has confirmed him as Spain's brightest hope for three-week stageraces in this new generation. “It's great news for us," explained Movistar Team general manager Eusebio Unzué. "Being still a young rider and with everything that's he's shown, he should be the rider who leads Spanish cycling for the next few years."

The recent winner of the Vuelta a Burgos and a stage victor in this year's Giro d'Italia, where he also claimed the KOM jersey, Landa went just one second short to claiming his first Tour de France GC podium finish three weeks ago. It would have been his second top-3 result at a Grand Tour after his third spot overall in the 2015 Giro d'Italia, where he took two mountain stage wins. The Basque climber also has a Vuelta a España stage win to his account (2015), as well as victories at the Giro del Trentino, the Vuelta al País Vasco (two stages in each) and Burgos (three stages).

Landa signed his first pro contract with continental outfit Orbea in 2010, before joining the WorldTour a year later with Euskaltel-Euskadi. He spent his next three years at home, prior to traveling abroad and covering two-year terms with Astana ('14-15) and Sky ('16-17).

Mikel Landa:

Team Katusha-Alpecin have signed a 2-year deal with world class sprinter Marcel Kittel
Team Katusha-Alpecin has made a two-year agreement with Marcel Kittel, bringing the German rider to the team for the 2018 and 2019 cycling seasons.

“We are very happy to have Marcel in the team. We can say that he is at the moment the best sprinter in the world. He showed this quite impressively in the Tour de France where he won five stages. He will be one of our most important riders and can look forward to strong team support. We will try to support him in the best possible way to ensure that he can continue his successful results,” said general manager José Azevedo.

"I'm really looking forward to a new challenge in new colors. For me, this moment is exciting. With this step, I also hope to get new inspiration. I think, I find all the requirements in the team that I need to be strong in the sprint finals. I saw that the sprint train is functioning very well. Team Katusha-Alpecin has undergone a major change in recent years. I've been watching these changes for a long time and I think it's good. That is why I am looking forward to being part of the team and share the direction they are headed. Team spirit has always been important to me and for this reason also I've become a pro cyclist,” said Marcel Kittel.

Kittel, 29, born in Arnstadt, Germany, was a time trial specialist in his youth where he earned twice gold in the Junior World Championships and has won the U23 European Championships. He turned professional in 2011 and rapidly developed his dominance in the sprints. In the 2017 Tour de France he won five stages, bringing his career total to 14 for the Grande Boucle. He is the most successful German of all time at the Tour de France in terms of stage wins. In addition, he has four stages in the Giro d’Italia (2014, 2016), one stage in Vuelta a España (2011) as well as five wins in Scheldeprijs, the overall twice in the Dubai Tour and five stages in the Tour de Pologne, plus this year’s opening stage in the Tour of California. He currently rides for Quick-Step Floors.

“The little icing on the cake is of course to race again in the same team with my good friend Tony Martin. He gave me good insight into the team in my decision-making process. His opinion about the team was of course important to me," added Marcel Kittel.

Marcel Kittel Tour stage winner:

Cannondale-Drapac Re-Sign Rigoberto Uran on a Three-Year Deal
Cannondale-Drapac is thrilled to announce a contract extension with Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran. The Colombian has committed to a three-year deal with Slipstream Sports.

“I’m very happy with the team,” said Uran. “The environment here suits me. I have a lot of respect for the people that are part of the team – the mechanics, the soigneurs, the staff, my teammates. They know how to have fun off the bike and be serious when it’s time to race. That’s important to me.

“A three-year contract offers security, and the team is willing to allow me to focus my season on the Tour de France,” Uran said. “I was very happy to sign.”

Uran has spent the last two seasons racing in #GreenArgyle. The 30-year-old joined Slipstream Sports from Etixx – Quick-Step. His early tenure with the team was disrupted by illness. He battled bronchitis during the 2016 Giro d’Italia and his 2017 Ardennes campaign was derailed by a particularly nasty cold.

“Cycling is a sport where people have a bad year or two and they get written off quickly,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “And let me qualify that Uran’s ‘bad year’ included a seventh place finish at the Giro d’Italia while racing with bronchitis. We knew what he was capable of.”

Missing out on key objectives during his first 18 months with Cannondale-Drapac made his Tour de France success even sweeter. Uran was able to string together a four-week block where his health and his form were optimal. The result culminated in both Uran’s and Slipstream Sports’ most successful Tour de France campaign to date.

“The goal of the team was to win a stage and finish in the top five overall,” said Uran. “We won a stage and came second. It was very good for the team and very good for me.”

Despite all that Uran has accomplished, he has yet to win a professional stage race.

“Always second,” he noted pragmatically.

He aims to change that with Cannondale-Drapac, and he has his sights set on the biggest prize.

“I’ll race many races, and I have many goals,” said Uran. “The biggest, of course, is the Tour de France. I want to win the Tour.”

“We’re fully prepared to support Uran in this pursuit,” said Vaughters. “His ambition is one that we share, and the team is excited to work with him on his biggest goal. Rigo is a great mentor and leader. Good times and bad, he inspires people.”

Nationality: Colombia
Date of Birth: 26 January 1987
Residence: Monaco, France

Key results:
1st Tour de France stage nine (2017)
1st Giro d’Italia stage 10 (2013)
1st Giro d’Italia stage 12 (2014)
1st GP Quebec (2015)
2nd Tour de France (2017)
2nd Giro d’Italia general classification (2013, 2015).

Rigoberto Uran:

Dylan van Baarle signs with Slipstream Sports for Another Two Seasons
Cannondale-Drapac is excited to announce the retention of Dylan van Baarle for another two seasons. The 25-year-old turned professional with Slipstream Sports in 2014. For Van Baarle the question was never “why stay?” but “why leave?”

“I really feel confident in the team and comfortable with the team,” said Van Baarle. “I’m happy to stay, and I’m happy the team wanted me to stay.”

“The feeling is mutual,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “We know exactly what we’re getting with Dylan – talent, commitment and motivation. It’s been fun to see him grow with us these last four years.”

Van Baarle has emerged as a Classics specialist during his time with Slipstream Sports. He was fourth across the line at Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2017, two spots higher than his sixth place finish in 2016.

“We have a really good Classics team with Sep [Vanmarcke] and Sebastian [Langeveld],” said Van Baarle. “I think we started something this year with the three of us, and we didn’t finish it yet. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to stay.

“For sure my development in the Classics is something I’m very proud of but also this year in the Tour with Rigo[berto Uran] being second in the general classification, that was also something special for me and something new for me,” Van Baarle added. “I hope to be there in the next two years when he’s racing for the GC again. The Classics and the Tour are my most valued memories.”

During the next two seasons, Van Baarle hopes to convert top tens into the top step.

“I want to try to win a big Classic,” he said. “That’s my goal and that’s my dream. I want to develop myself more as a rider. Every year, I climb a little bit better, and I can still develop there. I hope to win a stage in the Tour as well. Those are the main goals for the next two seasons.”

“I believe in Dylan’s ability to excel in the Classics,” said Vaughters. “He has the engine and the attitude to do something special. I’m super happy with the strides he’s already made and the results he’s already achieved, and I’m excited for the possibilities still to come.”

Van Baarle credits his trajectory over the last two seasons to his coaching relationship with Vaughters.

“JV has really helped me develop as a rider,” noted Van Baarle. “It all started two years ago, actually when they negotiated my last contract. In the beginning it was a little strange but nowadays it feels normal. We have a really good relationship, and for me, it really works.

“I train really hard, and in the last two season, my work showed in the results,” Van Baarle added. “That only motivates me more for the next winter to train hard again or maybe even harder.”

Nationality: Dutch
Date of Birth: 21 May 1992
Residence: Zoetermeer, Netherlands

Key results:
1st Tour of Britain general classification (2014)
4th Ronde van Vlaanderen (2017)
6th Ronde van Vlaanderen (2016).

Dylan van Baarle:

Elia Viviani signs for Quick-Step Floors through 2019
Experienced and valuable lead-out man Fabio Sabatini extends contract by two years.

One of the most versatile riders of the peloton, who has shown his talent on countless occasions on the track and road, and at times even on the cobbles, Elia Viviani will join Quick-Step Floors as of January 1, 2018. Winner of 45 races since turning pro seven years ago, Elia is also the reigning Olympic Omnium Champion and a five-time gold medalist at the European Track Championships, all results which serve as further confirmation of his extraordinary versatility.

Elia Viviani, one of the most decorated Italian riders in the peloton, didn’t hide his delight at having signed a contract that will see him sport the colors of the current World Tour leader for the next two years: “Quick-Step Floors is the best choice I could make. When Patrick Lefevere came with this offer, I just couldn’t say no to one of the biggest teams in the world. I am honored to join a squad with such a fantastic pedigree, one that has excelled in the art of sprinting over time. I couldn’t be happier about this transfer, so that’s why I want to thank Patrick and the entire team for this chance and their trust.”

“I also want to thank Team Sky for the three years spent together and the great memories, but now the time has come to take on a new challenge. This is the right step in my career, because I’m confident it can help me progress. I am 28 now and I really want to find out next season what I can do in an outfit which gives me opportunities. I’m also excited about being on the same team with Fernando Gaviria, one of the fastest riders in the peloton, who I got to know from the events we raced together as opponents in the past two seasons”, concluded Viviani, the third new name unveiled by our squad ahead of next year, following the announcements of neo-pro Jhonathan Narvaez and Florian Sénéchal.

At Quick-Step Floors, Elia Viviani will reunite with former teammate Fabio Sabatini, who’s been a part of our set-up since 2015. One of the peloton’s most experienced riders, a 12-year pro with 17 Grand Tour participations to his name, Sabatini has been a trusted lead-out man for some of the peloton’s biggest sprinters over the years, catapulting them to many wins.

That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that the 32-year-old has been rewarded for his services and loyalty with a new contract, that will run until the end of 2019: “I am happy Elia joined the team, it will be really great to work together with him again. When Patrick talked with me and explained this new project, I was enthusiastic. Both Patrick and the team showed how much they believe in me, so it was only natural to extend my contract and continue helping this great squad!”

“We have followed Elia’s career for a long time and now we are happy to welcome him to the team. He is a proven winner, a rider who has an impressive palmarès and an equally impressive set of skills, and I’m convinced he will fit perfectly in our team with his mentality and winning attitude”, Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors’ CEO, said.

“Having signed one of the peloton’s fast finishers means we’ll offer him the services of one of the best lead-out men out there, and that’s what Fabio Sabatini is. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience, which you could see on display on numerous occasions in these past years, as he has helped our sprinters take memorable victories and forge a remarkable palmarès”, Lefevere concluded.

Elia Viviani:
Payerne - Suisse - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Sonny COLBRELLI (Italy / Team Bahrain - Merida), Elia VIVIANI (Italy / Team Sky) pictured during 71st Tour de Romandie (2.UWT) - stage 3 - from Payerne to Payerne (187k) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2017

Niki Terpstra to go into Eighth Season with Quick-Step Floors
Former Paris-Roubaix winner already looking forward to a new cobbled classics campaign.

At 33 years of age, Niki Terpstra has etched his name in the history books, boasting an impressive palmarès that includes a career-defining Paris-Roubaix victory, a pair of wins at Dwars door Vlaanderen, the overall classification at the BinckBank Tour and Tour de Wallonie, and three World TTT Championships titles, a performance only two other riders have achieved since the race was introduced in the program, in 2012.

This season, despite being hampered by bad luck on numerous occasions, Niki still showed his class on the cobbles, riding to fourth at Gent-Wevelgem, before improving on that result and taking a solid third at the prestigious Ronde van Vlaanderen. These results and the commitment displayed every time he pinned on a number have now materialized into a one-year contract extension with Quick-Step Floors.

“When I first came to the team in 2011, I was really excited and proud to have signed with a squad with such a tremendous history of victories, especially in the Classics, races I have a deep affection for. Now, seven years later, the feelings are the same, and I’m both proud and happy to stay with this amazing team. I know everybody here just like they know me, I feel at home, and this gives you huge confidence in what you do”, Niki explained when asked about the decision to sign a new contract with Quick-Step Floors.

The Dutchman is now keen on ending the season on a high, before shifting again his focus on the northern classics, at the beginning of 2018: “This year was not the luckiest for me, so I am really eager to make up for this and get good results again. My main focus is on the Classics in the first months of the year and the small stage races, I really want to be there in the mix and fight for victories. Until then, I want to give it my all in this final part of the season and get some nice results. Having secured the contract for next year gives me a lot of motivation and allows me to focus 100% on the now.”

“We are delighted to have Niki extend his contract with Quick-Step Floors. He’s been with us for seven years now, a period in which he carved out several spectacular successes, which we are confident he can replicate next year. There aren’t many riders of his caliber when it comes to the northern classics; you can take the entire pro peloton and see that only six or seven riders have a cobbled Monument to their name, so it was only natural to continue our successful partnership”, Patrick Lefevere said after reaching an agreement with the 33-year-old.

Niki Terpstra:

Leezer another two years with Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Tom Leezer and Team LottoNL-Jumbo join their forces also in 2018 and 2019. Dutchman Leezer, 31-year-old and living in Lanaken (B), will start his 11th season as a pro rider within the Dutch World Tour squad.

“The offer I got, shows a lot of respect”, Leezer says. “One and a half year ago we have started the sprint train project and I’m glad to be part of it. Although we are ahead of schedule with Dylan Groenenwegen’s win at the Champs-Elysées, I’m looking forward to the next steps. Cycling still provides me a lot of fun and I like coaching the sprint train. My cooperation with Dylan is outstanding. We are different characters, but our understanding in the race is anyway excellent.”

Tom Leezer:

Louis Meintjes returns to Africa's Team in 2018
Ryder Cycling today announced that South African cyclist, Louis Meintjes will return to Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in 2018. Meintjes (25), placed eighth in the General Classification at the 2016 and 2017 Tour de France.

Meintjes signing further accelerates Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s ambition to take African cycling to the highest level.

Founded in 2007 by Doug Ryder, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has notched up several milestones in the past decade. In 2013, it became Africa’s first-ever UCI-registered Professional Continental cycling team. In 2015, the team made history by becoming the first African team to compete in the Tour de France alongside four other wild-card teams. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka secured World Tour status in 2016 and signed sprinter, Mark Cavendish, whose performance during last year’s Tour de France catapulted the team to fame, when he won four stages.

Louis Meintjes – Rider
I am super excited to be coming back home to an African team, and to work with the Qhubeka charity once again. My choice to come home was easy, as Team Dimension Data stands out from other professional teams. They don’t only ride to win, but also for a more important cause - to mobilize people on bicycles in Africa. In the past two years I’ve gained tremendous experience from a European team, and I aim to use that experience to contribute to the success of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. African cycling has stepped up to a world class level over the last 5 years. I want to thank Doug Ryder and Team Dimension Data for believing in me. Together, we can take Africa’s team to the top step of the podium by 2020.

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka
Louis was a part of our initial journey and we are delighted to have him rejoin our team as we embark on the next part of the team’s dream. Our aim is to podium at a grand tour and to go beyond the magic number of 100,000 bicycles distributed through the Qhubeka charity to people in communities. This team has realized the dreams of many riders and children in communities through sheer dedication, commitment and purpose and we look forward to continuing this success and strategy. We believe that Louis has the potential to stand on the top step of the podium in the World Tour stage races taking African cycling development to new heights.

Jeremy Ord - Executive Chairman, Dimension Data
We’re thrilled to have Louis back in Africa’s team. Since Dimension Data became a sponsor in 2015, and then title sponsor of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in 2016 when the team secured its World Tour status, it has achieved a number of amazing milestones.

On 18 July 2015 – Mandela Day – Steve Cummings won a stage of the Tour de France for the African team. In the 2016 Tour de France, Steve Cummings won another stage and Mark Cavendish scooped four stage wins to catapult the team to fame. In the same year, the team notched up 33 race wins, 71 podiums, 8 national championships, and a Grand Tour jersey. The team has continued to excel in 2017 with a stage win in the Giro for Omar Fraile, and a stage win in the Tour de France for Edvald Boasson Hagen.

With Louis’ track record and the experience he’s gained in Europe over the last two years, combined with the upcoming talented new signings, we believe the team is set to do great things in 2018 and beyond. We look forward to being part of that journey.

Anthony Fitzhenry - Founder, Qhubeka
We are delighted with the signing of Louis Meintjies as it is of paramount importance to create platforms for African athletes to perform at the highest level, which inspires millions of children on the continent into an athletic healthy lifestyle. Our partnership with Team Dimension Data continues to deepen as we work towards a shared vision of showcasing African cycling talent and changing more lives with bicycles through Qhubeka's various learn-to-earn, work-to-earn and disaster relief programs.

Jim Moffatt - Managing Principal, Deloitte Global Consulting
Deloitte is delighted to see Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s ongoing commitment to the continent of Africa, the children who have been helped through charity, and African cycling. They continue to build a world-class team and we look forward to supporting the team through our digital capabilities as they race their way to the top of the podium by 2020. Together, we can continue to make an impact that matters and help Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka powered by Deloitte go beyond their goal of 100,000 bicycles distributed through the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign and take African cycling to the next level.

Louis Meintjes:

Jürgen Roelandts Leaving the Team After 10 Seasons
Jürgen Roelandts is leaving the Lotto team after ten seasons. Next year the 32-year-old Belgian will wear the shirt of BMC. Lotto Soudal and Jürgen Roelandts can look back on a wonderful cooperation and can close this chapter with a positive feeling. In the past ten seasons Jürgen set some memorable results, like his victory at the Belgian Championships in 2008 as a neo-pro, his second place at E3 Harelbeke in 2011 and his third places at Ronde van Vlaanderen 2013 and Milan-Sanremo 2016. Jürgen was an important member of André Greipel’s sprint train too and that way he contributed to several victories for the team.

Jürgen Roelandts: “It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the team after ten years. I thought long and hard about it, but I felt like it was time to get out of my comfort zone and to set new goals. As a pro I never rode for another team, so this is an exciting adventure. I feel this is what I need at this point in my career.”

“I chose for BMC because apart from a strong team for the Classics they also have a lot of expertise in time trialling and I want to focus more on that discipline in the future. At BMC I will be racing at the side of Greg Van Avermaet again, with whom I rode in the Lotto team at the start of my career.”

“I am very grateful to Lotto Soudal for the opportunities they gave me. I had many beautiful moments at the team. Starting with winning the national title in 2008 and my victories in the Belgian jersey afterwards (Roelandts won the fourth stage of Tour de Pologne and third stage of Circuit Franco-Belge in the national shirt, LTS). I animated a lot of finales of the Spring Classics, but unfortunately I didn’t win one of those races. I did get some podium places. I also have wonderful memories of the Tour, especially of the edition of 2012 when we had a very strong sprint train and André Greipel won three stages. I am still on good terms with the team and I can look back on a very good cooperation with the teammates and staff over the past ten years."

Jürgen Roelandts will probably not race anymore this season after he underwent hip surgery on 1 August. Jürgen is walking on crutches right now and will not be able to resume training until September.

Jürgen Roelandts: “In the severe crash I had at Tour Down Under 2012 my hip was already hurt and I hit it again in my crash at Ronde van Vlaanderen three years ago. I probably have incurred a tear in the labrum in that last crash. Since then my hip always hurt a bit while racing, but it didn’t hold me back from setting results. You could compare it to having sore feet. It was only this spring I felt that it influenced my performances. At Paris-Roubaix I was in the running for victory when I got a cramp in my hip. Further examination showed that I had a labral tear.”

“I could do my work for the team at the Tour, with some good lead-outs for André Greipel, despite the fact that I wasn’t completely fit due to the hip injury. Finishing the Tour is never easy and that I was still able to do my job with this injury is satisfying. On August 1, I underwent surgery at AZ Herentals and a day later I was already released from hospital. Everything went well. This surgery requires a rehabilitation of six to eight weeks. I ride half an hour a day on the home trainer: fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening. By half September I will be riding on the bike again. My season is probably over, but this surgery was necessary. I still want to race a few more years and that would have been hard with the pain.”

Jürgen Roelandts:

Iljo Keisse stays with Quick-Step Floors
One of the most hard-working riders in the peloton, the 34-year-old Belgian has signed for two more seasons.

Iljo Keisse is a rider who doesn’t need any presentation: not only that he has a long and impressive list of accomplishments, which includes 26 Six Day victories and a gold medal at the European Track Championships, but he’s also responsible for some of the most memorable wins witnessed on the road in the past seasons, of which his stage triumphs at the 2012 Tour de Turkey and 2015 Giro d’Italia stand out.

During his spell with Quick-Step Floors – which he started seven years ago and happily agreed to extend until the end of 2019 – Keisse proved he’s a world class domestique, one of the most revered in the pro peloton; be it Classics or Grand Tours, the Belgian has always put his strength, experience and determination in the team’s service, helping it become one of the best and most successful in the world.

“I’ve been with Quick-Step Floors since 2010 and I know everybody here, it’s really like a second family after so many years. It would feel strange to move to another team and to be honest I don’t think I would be able to find a better squad to ride than with this”, said 34-year-old Iljo, an important element in the team at the northern classics and the Giro d’Italia this season. “I’m really happy with where I am and with my role on the team. I feel my work is appreciated by my teammates and the sport directors. I’m also grateful that Patrick wanted to keep me on board; it gives me a lot of motivation knowing I will ride with this squad for another two years and continue to do what I do best, especially as I feel I’m getting better at this, despite turning 35 in a few months.”

Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors’ CEO, talked of the role Keisse has played in the past seasons and will continue to have in the team’s structure: “Iljo has proven his worth on numerous occasions and showed that he’s a real team player and a rider who always puts the squad’s goals above his own objectives. We wanted him to stay in the team and be part of our successes in the next two seasons, but also to have him share his huge experience to the younger riders and guide them in the pro peloton.”

Iljo Keisse:

Astana Proteam Signs Jan Hirt
Astana Proteam is happy to announce a two-year deal (for 2018 and 2019) with Czech rider Jan Hirt.

"During the last few years I’ve worked a lot to constantly move ahead in my professional development. And now, I am very happy that in the next season I will do so long-awaited step into the WorldTour. I am proud that this step I will do with Astana, one of the strongest teams around the world. That’s something incredible! I am ready to give my best to help Astana Team to reach high results in the upcoming season," said Jan Hirt.

Jan Hirt (26) is specializing on stage races and Grand tours. In the current season Hirt showed his climbing abilities at the Giro d’Italia, taking 12th place in the final general classification of the race. Among his best performances could be noted a stage and overall win at the Tour of Austria (2016), third place in the general classification of the Tour of Croatia (2017) as well as stage victories at the Czech Cycling Tour (2014) and Tour de Azerbaijan (2013).

"Jan Hirt is a young and quickly progressing rider. In the last two years his development really impresses, while at the Giro d’Italia he proved his great potential for the Grand tours. I am sure, Jan will bring some strengthening to our team, while his moving to the WorldTour level will help him to do a big step ahead in his professional career," said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Jan Hirt:
Solden - Austria - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jan HIRT (Czech / Team CCC Sprandi Polkowice) - Steven KRUIJSWIJK (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo)  pictured during stage - 7 of the Tour de Suisse 2017 - from Zernez - Solden, 160.80 km - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2017

Young Italian Matteo Fabbro to sign with Team Katusha-Alpecin
Team Katusha-Alpecin is happy to announce that it reached an agreement with young Italian talent Matteo Fabbro. Fabbro (22) is a climber and currently riding for Friuli Cycling Team.

“This is so incredible. I am really happy to make the step to this ambitious WorldTour team. A dream comes true. Now already I want to thank team manager José Azevedo for the faith he has in me. I will do everything not to disappoint him. He explained to me the team philosophy and I think I will feel at home in Team Katusha-Alpecin. Most likely I will be the only Italian in the team but that’s no problem for me. I like the international environment. I look forward to showing what I am capable of,” said Matteo Fabbro.

Matteo Fabbro had a quite unlucky 2017. After a collarbone fracture in the Vuelta de la Juventud (Colombia) he returned to competition in the U23 Giro d’Italia where he crashed and broke that same left collarbone. He returned to competition a third time to immediately win the hill climb prologue in the Giro delle Valle d’Aosta. On Friday Fabbro will start in the Tour de l’Avenir where he performed well in 2016. In that season he obtained two victories.

“I am happy to have Matteo with us in 2018 and 2019. He is a very talented climber. We followed him the last two seasons and now the time is right. Matteo is a guy to cherish. We will give him the necessary time to grow. He is still young and we have patience. I am convinced Matteo Fabbro has a nice cycling future with our team,” said Team Manager José Azevedo.

Matteo Fabbro:

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