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

Big surprise - Mathieu van der Poel won two cross races at the weekend. Reports, results and video from Brussels, Gullegem and La Mézière. Plus the Australian road race and New Zealand time trial championships. 90 year-old US doper - Top Story. News from the Tour Down Under, season plans from Remco Evenepoel, Bob Jungels, Tom Dumoulin and Wilco Kelderman. Also Sunweb team presentation, Jonas Koch to CCC, Frederik Backaert to stay at Wanty-Gobert, Giuseppe Saronni steps back, UAE Team Emirates hopes for Fabio Aru - but interested in Vincenzo Nibali, Dimension Data Continental team, Škoda for Sunweb, Gobik for Kometa and Adam Blythe video. Coffee Monday time.



TOP STORY: 90 Year-Old World Record Holder Fails Dope Test
Carl Grove from Bristol, Indiana has been stripped of his 90-94 age-group title and World record from the US Masters Track Championships after failing a doping test. USADA has only issued a public warning to Grove for the violation they said likely came from consuming meat contaminated with the banned substance, epitrenbolone.

Grove won the individual pursuit and took the World record in a time of 3 minutes 6.129 seconds on the 11th of July 2018 in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania at the US Masters Track National Championships. He was the only competitor in his 90 to 94 age group. USADA say “the source of his positive test was more likely than not caused by contaminated meat consumed the evening before competing.” Grove had passed a doping test after competing the day before even though USADA later found a supplement he was using before the competition date had the presence of the banned substance clomiphene, although it was not listed in the ingredients. Due to the first test, Grove only lost the results from the day of his positive test.

The USADA statement: "USADA announced that Carl Grove, of Bristol, Ind., an athlete in the sport of cycling, has accepted a public warning for his anti-doping rule violations. Grove, 90, tested positive for epitrenbolone, which is a metabolite of the prohibited substance trenbolone, as the result of an in-competition urine sample he provided on July 11, 2018 after setting a world record at the Masters Track National Championships. While investigating the source of his positive test, it was also determined that a supplement Grove was using prior to that date was contaminated with clomiphene. During USADA's investigation into the circumstances of his case, Grove provided information which established that the source of his positive test was more likely than not caused by contaminated meat consumed the evening before competing on July 11, 2018. Prior to consuming the meat, Grove had tested negative for prohibited substances during an in-competition test on July 10, 2018.

"Before disclosing his consumption of meat on the evening prior to submitting his July 11 sample, Grove provided USADA with information about supplements he had used, none of which listed clomiphene or any other prohibited substances on the Supplement Facts label. Detailed analysis subsequently conducted on the supplement by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, confirmed the presence of clomiphene in one of the supplements. Since his positive sample was collected in-competition, Grove has been disqualified from competitive results obtained on July 11, 2018, the date his sample was collected."


So the contaminated meat defense does work for some people, don't tell Alberto Contador with his 50 picograms per milliliter, 400 times below the minimum standards of detection capability required by WADA. But that's history now, isn't it?

Carl Grove when he was a young 87 year-old:




DVV Verzekeringen Trofee - Brussels Universities Cyclocross 2019
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won the first Brussels University Cross, the penultimate round of the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee series on Sunday. The European champion took the fastest start and after less than two minutes of racing, rode the rest off his wheel. Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) finished at 45 seconds in second place with Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) was third at 58 seconds.

The first University Cross took place around the campus of the Brussels university. The organizers had drawn up a very technical circuit for this last but one round of the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee. Lars Boom (Roompot-Charles) rode his first cyclocross of the season and had a good start and was sat in 11th position for quite a while. Eventually the 2008 World cyclocross champion fell behind and was taken off the circuit just before the start of his final lap because he was too far behind.

Mathieu van der Poel was, as usual, not taking any prisoners and within a couple of minutes he had a lead of 15 seconds. Vanthourenhout was, as in Diegem, the only one who could hang onto the European champion for the longest.

In the second half of the race; Toon Aerts, who was at 13 seconds in the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee, lifted his pace. He limited his loss to half a minute for a few laps, but in the final laps he lost a further 15 seconds on the Dutchman. Van der Poel now has a solid lead in the series going into the final round in Lille, but will ride the Dutch National championships next week.



DVV Verzekeringen Trofee - Brussels Universities Cyclocross Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 1:03:33
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:45
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 0:58
4. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:07
5. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 1:20
6. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 1:31
7. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:51
8. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 2:34
9. Gioele Bertolini (Ita) Selle Italia-Guerciotti at 3:14
10. Michael Boroš (Cze) Creafin Tüv Sud at 3:18.

Brussels'19:




Cyclocross La Mézière - Brittany, France 2019
Clement Venturini (AG2R-La Mondiale), who has not ridden any international cyclocross races this season, and Quinten Hermans (Telenet-Fidea) joined the World champion, Wout van Aert (Cibel-Cebon), on the podium on Sunday in La Mézière cyclocross. The second and third placed riders finished at almost two minutes.

After his victories in the cross races of Ardooie and Bredene, this was only Van Aert's third victory in the rainbow jersey. Next week he will defend his Belgian title in Kruibeke.



Race winner, Wout van Aert (Cibel-Cebon): "I attacked early because I wanted a hard race. I needed a hard race because the Belgian championships next week will be a hard race. It’s never easy to win, but my gap was big and that’s good."

La Mézière Cyclocross Result:
1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Cibel-Cebon in 1:05:20
2. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:47
3. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
4. Antoine Benoist (Fra) Team Chazal-Canyon at 2:20
5. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts-777 at 2:39
6. Mickaël Crispin (Fra) Team Chazal-Canyon at 2:41
7. Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 2:48
8. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) at 2:52
9. Clément Russo (Fra)
10. Steve Chainel (Fra) Team Chazal Canyon.





FedUni Australian National Men's Road Race Championships 2019
In one of the most dramatic final laps seen at a National Championships, 2017 National Road Series champion Michael Freiberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) triumphed to claim the elite men’s road crown.

A prominent early breakaway group opened the always hectic 185.6-kilometer men’s road race, with Freiberg, Chris Harper (Team BridgeLane) and defending champion Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) joining 2013 champion Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott).

The quartet worked together for the majority of the 16 laps of the infamous Buninyong course before Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) made a move with Conor Murtagh (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) and Jason Lea (Team BridgeLane) to join the leading group with five laps remaining.

With the pace of the race obliterating the field and scattering groups across the course, Edmondson and Durbridge lost contact with the front group and Harper pounced to take a ten-second inside the penultimate lap.

Meyer and Freiberg reeled in Harper on the final lap, before an immediate counter-attack from Harper was answered by Meyer. Freiberg’s chance of a podium finish looking all but over when he trailed Harper and Meyer by 17-seconds just four kilometers from the finish line.

But in a determined act of raw power and tactical nous, the Perth cyclist caught the breakaway inside the final kilometer to claim a victory for the ages in the dying moments.

While the excitement of Freiberg’s victory rang through the crowd, there was an undertone of emotion for the remainder of the podium with Harper just missing the top step for a second straight year, while the dual time trial champion Meyer is left searching for the elusive crown.

Freiberg also collected the Langdon Building Sprint Competition jersey on his back, with Harper taking in both the Altus Traffic Most Aggressive Rider and Stages King of the Mountain categories.



2019 Australian Men's National Champion, Michael Freiberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast): “It’s been surreal. Down the home straight coming up on the boys, I didn’t really expect it and then I hit them with a bit of speed and I got a gap and I was like ‘Oh I’m going to have to go really deep here…I know how quick Cam is’ and I got a gap and I held it. The jersey’s so big, you get to wear it for twelve months. On the last lap, I was just hoping for a podium. That would have been fantastic for myself, to keep me going in my career, but catching them on that last straight was something really special. It’s the ones you have to fight the hardest for that mean the most and I think it’s been about eight or 10 years since I have been up on the podium at the world level, so this is really special for me.”

2nd, Chris Harper (Team BridgeLane): “It’s bittersweet. Everyone here, you’re coming here to win the jersey and second place is almost… It’s nothing to you really. Everyone wants the green and gold so it’s nice to be on the podium but at the end of the day, we’re all out here trying to get that jersey. So it is bittersweet. When we got rid of Freiberg on the climb, I sort of thought me and Cam, depending on how Frieberg went, I knew Cam given his track background had quite a good kick on him. Coming into the finish I wasn’t confident. I sort of tried to put him on the front to try to give myself every opportunity. Freibs came back, didn’t give up so all credit to him. That’s an amazing ride. I wasn’t thinking of attacking (in the sprint), I don’t think I would’ve been able to get rid of Cam. He was riding super strong all day so more just trying to conserve and give 100% in the finish. We knew Freiburg wasn’t too far behind. I think he caught us both by surprise a little bit just with that momentum.”

3rd, Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott): “I’m going to try to not cry too much. I think I’ve been every position bar first. I had every opportunity and I don’t know if I’m more upset at myself or letting my teammates down a little bit. I bluffed a little bit in the final there, I knew the legs had one kick in them and Freiberg went early and I was hoping he wouldn’t. When he was coming I tried to play the bluff on Harper and I had to get to as close to the line as I could with one kick and it was too much for my legs today. It’s all a bit much at the moment. I knew he (Freiberg) was going to ride tempo, I knew he didn’t have the acceleration on that last lap. He was at 20 seconds and I knew he’d keep plugging away. He’s a big boy and you get that roll coming down the home straight and I’ve seen guys come back in that final if you fox too much. The problem is I didn’t have anything to really push to the line so I had to play cat and mouse. It didn’t work. It’s hard to accept for me. Like I’ve been on the podium before so I’ve been wanting that green and gold for a long time. I know it’s a good ride and it’ll take a while that to settle in. It was a big day, you can see by the way the field finished, in dribs and drabs everywhere. It was a tough day out there. Hopefully my twelfth time lucky next year.”

FedUni Australian National Men's Road Race Championships Result:
1. Michael Freiberg (Aus) Pro Racing Sunshine Coast in 4:44:48
2. Chris Harper (Aus) Team BridgeLane at 0:01
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:23
5. Dylan Sunderland (Aus) Team BridgeLane at 3:24
6. Scott Bowden (Aus) Team BridgeLane
7. Mark O'Brien (Aus)
8. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 3:29
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 4:16.


FedUni Australian National Women's Road Race Championships 2019
In what is being heralded as one the most remarkable wins ever seen at a National Championships, 18-year-old Victorian Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt-Attaquer) has upstaged a host of WorldTour elite with a stunning victory in the 2019 Fed Uni Road National Championships Women’s Road Race.

In her first year racing in the elite field after claiming all three national crowns as an under 19 rider just twelve months ago, Gigante announced herself as she outfoxed a field littered with World Championship medallists, Commonwealth Games gold medallists and four national champions.

World Championship silver medallist and two-time winner of the race Amanda Spratt and Mitchelton-Scott teammate Sarah Roy completed the podium.

The win continues a whirlwind twelve months for the talented Brunswick Cycling Club rider who experienced a simply stunning 2018 in the junior ranks. Representing Australia at both Road and Track World Championships, Gigante claimed six national crowns on the road and track, while horrifyingly breaking both of her arms in a devastating crash in May.

Amidst juggling her road and track commitments, Gigante amazingly achieved a perfect ATAR of 99.95 in her final year of high school.

The race was on from the gun as the field of elite and under 23 women set off in cool and calm conditions off to tackle the nine laps of the infamous Mount Buninyong course.

An early breakaway group of seven riders including Gigante, Roy, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Chloe Hosking (Alé-Cippolini), Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Taryn Heather (Specialized-WR), Michaela Parsons and Ella Bloor (Specialized-WR) established a lead of nearly two minutes on the field.

Roy and Hosking set the early pace early, with the gap stretching to more than four minutes at the midway point of the race, while Mitchelton-Scott’s Grace Brown attacked off a splintering peloton and formed a chase group of 13 riders desperately trying to close the gap on the leaders.

At the front, Hosking, Parsons, Bloor and Heather were dropped with three laps remaining, with Gigante making the decisive attack from Gillow and Roy on the penultimate lap.

On the way up the final climb, dual champion Spratt began her chase of the youngster, and while she passed Roy and Gillow, it was not enough to reel in the young star who streamed down the final straight to a roar from the home crowd.



2019 Australian Women's Elite and U23 National Champion, Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt Attaquer): “I’m so happy. So, so, so happy. I can’t believe it. I didn’t expect to win the under 23s, I was hoping for a medal, maybe a win if I was really lucky,” revealed Sarah. “So to win under 23s, it would’ve been really amazing, so to win elite, I just can’t believe it. In the break, I had some of my idols like Amanda Spratt, Chloe Hosking and Sarah Roy there and to just be doing turns with them and riding near them was so cool. Then when I heard that three Mitchelton-Scott girls were chasing us with a lap to go, I thought ‘oh, my idols are chasing me’. It was so cool. When I came down after the last corner, I just thought ‘don’t give up, just keep going.”

2nd, Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott): “Of course, we came here to win but we also have to acknowledge that she had an absolutely incredible ride. She showed last year in Ballarat what she’s capable and the talent she has. Hats off to her she rode away from a class field even in that breakaway.”

FedUni Australian National Women's Road Race Championships Result:
1. Sarah Gigante (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer in 3:03:36
2. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:50
3. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:54
4. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
5. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:10
6. Rachel Neylan (Aus) Team Virtu Cycling
7. Emily Roper (Aus)
8. Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
9. Brodie Chapman (Aus) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
10. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:59.

# Thanks to Cycling Australia for the race reports. #

Women and Men's road race:




Hexia Cyclocross Gullegem 2019
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) at the age of 23 took his 100th cross victory on Saturday in Gullegem. Escaped with Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts-777), but in the end he soloed to the finish. The European champion's brother David van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) completed the podium taking 3rd place.

Van der Poel's 100th victory in Gullegem took a little longer than usual, he attacked early with Diether Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) and Vermeersch in his wheel, but Vermeersch surprised and managed follow the Dutchman for some time, until two laps to go. In the last twenty minutes Vermeersch had to let his future teammate go, but held on for second place.

Behind; Diether Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) and David van der Poel fought for the last podium spot, but in the end the older Van der Poel was the stronger.



Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): "It's nice to have so much, that's always a good sign. I was happy with the feeling today and I look forward to tomorrow. The intention was to take it easy today with a view to tomorrow, but winning a cross at ease doesn't exist any more. It was not my intention to race the whole cross alone, so I took Gianni along. Of course I also thought of losing the sprint, it would be a shame if this happened here in this cross, so I wanted to take a reasonable margin. I felt pretty good."

Hexia Cyclocross Gullegem Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 55:16
2. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts-777 at 0:05
3. David van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
4. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 0:11
5. Michael Boroš (Cze) Creafin Tüv Sud at 0:31
6. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:42
7. Diether Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 0:43
8. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 0:45
9. Braam Merlier (Bel) Creafin Tüv Sud at 1:49
10. Kerry Werner (USA) at 2:13.

Gullegem'19:




Bevin Becomes New Zealand National Time Trial Champion
Patrick Bevin secured the first win of the season for CCC Team by powering to the New Zealand national time trial championship win for the second time in his career.

Bevin, who previously claimed the title in 2016, will bring the silver fern skinsuit back to the WorldTour for the 2019 season after dominating the 40 kilometer course and stopping the clock at 50:45.

With an average speed of 47.291 kilometers per hour, Bevin crossed the line 1:52 faster than Hamish Bond who claimed the silver medal, and 2:04 in front of Hayden McCormick in third place.

Bevin returns to the start line on Sunday for the road race where he will aim to become national champion in both disciplines, before traveling to Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under.



Race winner, Paddy Bevin (CCC):
Congratulations, Paddy! How does it feel to become the New Zealand national time trial champion again?
“I said I wanted to come here and take the jersey back. It’s a hard race to really target and it’s the first race of the year, but I’ve really progressed with my time trialling in the past couple of seasons. It’s become a real focus so to carry the silver fern in Europe is going to be a huge honor and a source of pride as we start riding the time trials in the WorldTour.”

How did you feel out there in your first race of the season?
“It was tough. It is a super honest course. I was very conscious of pacing it right and making sure I came home at least as strong [as the first half]. I had a negative split, I was faster on the second lap, which was good. I wanted to be around the 50-minute mark as that is what has won it in the past. It’s a course that is very dependent on conditions, you can probably get a two or three minute split on a good day versus a bad day so you never really know.”

How will time trials factor into your season this year?
“I’m lucky in that I have a time trial-focused program this year so I will do a lot of the week-long stage races up until the Tour de France, if all goes well. It would be really cool to ride with the silver fern at the Tour de France, and then the second half of the year will be focused on the World Championships in Yorkshire. I had a good Worlds in Austria last year and it was a real step up for me. It’s all about keeping that progression going with my time trialling and I have the opportunity now to have that as my focus.”

New Zealand National Time Trial Championship Result:
1. Patrick Bevin (CCC Team)
2. Hamish Bond
3. Hayden McCormick.

New Zealand Time Trial Podium:




Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Tour Down Under
Italian Champion Elia Viviani will lead the squad at the first race of the year

Taking place between 15-20 January, Tour Down Under will kick off the World Tour calendar, which our team won last season with a record number of points. The first three days will give as many opportunities to sprinters, although the stage 2 finish will be more selective, with an uphill drag to the line in Uraidla favoring the punchy riders.

The general classification will begin to take shape one day later, when the field will tackle the Montacute climb (2.3km, 8.9%) inside the last ten kilometers. The stiff gradient could lead to a flurry of attacks, especially as from the top there’s a fast downhill all the way to the finish in Campbelltown, which returns to the race after a two-year absence.

Despite a rolling terrain, the penultimate stage should come down to a bunch sprint, with the peloton’s fast men set to fight not only for victory, but also to wrap up the points classification, before the climbers’ big showdown on Willunga Hill (3.6km, 7.1%), on whose slopes the overall victor will emerge.

Last season, Elia Viviani opened his account in Australia, taking an emphatic win at Tour Down Under stage 3, the first of the 18 he ended up nabbing in his first year with the team. Most successful rider of 2018, the Italian Champion returns to the race hoping for a similar start and will be joined by Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, neo-pro Mikkel Honoré, James Knox, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini.

“Stage victories are the main goal with Elia first of all. That would be a good start to the year. He is very motivated as usual, but we need to see who else is there. There will be a few opportunities, but also changes in the course, including Willunga Hill on the last day now, which will impact on the dynamic of the race.”

“Our team is strong, and besides Elia we have Dries, who knows the race, and also James, who can have a bit of a free role for the GC if the legs will be there. We will take it day by day though and see how everybody reacts to the high temperatures in Australia”
, said sports director Rik Van Slycke.

15.01–20.01 - Santos Tour Down Under (AUS) 2.UWT
Riders:

Rémi Cavagna (FRA), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Mikkel Honoré (DEN), James Knox (GBR), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Italian champ, Elia Viviani- Going Down Under:




Michael Woods Starts Season in Tour Down Under
Michael Woods introduces the selection for the Tour Down Under to EF Education First. The number three of the last World Championship in Innsbruck starts in Australia in his season.

For the 32-year-old Canadian, it will be his third appearance in the Australian stage race. In 2016 he was already fifth in the final ranking.

The selection includes three Australian riders with Mitchell Docker, Lachlan Morton and James Whelan. The Brit Dan McClay, the New Zealander Tom Scully and the Italian Alberto Bettiol make the seven complete.

Woods was missing last year and Brendan Canty was the 22nd best ranked rider on behalf of the American formation. The Australian left the team at the end of the season and is now without a team.

EF Education First for TDU'19:
Alberto Bettiol (Ita), Mitchell Docker (Aus), Daniel McClay (GB), Lachlan Morton (Aus), Tom Scully (NZ), James Whelan (Aus), Michael Woods (Can).

Michael Woods Vuelta stage winner:




Movistar Team kicks off 2019 at Tour Down Under
Edu Prades, Lluís Mas to wear Blue colors in a race for the first time at WorldTour opener - race to end with an unprecedented hill-top finish at Willunga on Australia Day (Sunday 20).

For the ninth consecutive time since Telefónica started backing the squad in 2011, the Movistar Team will be traveling this weekend to Australia to race in the 21st Tour Down Under (UCI WorldTour), a six-stage event from Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 January, prefaced by the People's Choice Classic criterium (Sunday 13) in Adelaide.

At the first race of the 2019 calendar, DS José Luis Arrieta will be conducting a seven-man lineup which includes Lluís Mas and Edu Prades, two of the four signings by Eusebio Unzué's men's team for this year. Also on the roster will be three regular names in previous TDU appearances: Jasha Sütterlin - who contested some of the 2018 race's sprint finishes, Jaime Castrillo - a stage Combativity award winner in his maiden pro race last season- and 2016 sixth-place GC finisher Rubén Fernández. The list, which features no less than six Spaniards, is completed by Rafa Valls and Héctor Carretero.

The route scheme for the Tour Down Under has been significantly changed for 2019, as the final criterium in Adelaide is replaced by the spectacular, dual climb to Willunga Hill (2.9km at 7%) on the last stage (Sunday 20), held on Australia Day. Stages will remain considerably short - none of them north of the 151km on day six - with up to four sprint opportunities and another demanding climb to Corkscrew Road (2.5km at 9%) on Friday before Campbelltown's finish.





CCC Team to Target Stage Wins at Santos Tour Down Under
The CCC Team jersey is set to make its stage race debut at the Santos Tour Down Under where Patrick Bevin and Jakub Mareczko will lead the team at the first UCI WorldTour race of the season.

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said the primary goal for the versatile seven-rider roster will be stage wins, while also keeping an eye on the General Classification.

“We have a lot of firsts coming into the opening races for our season in Adelaide. We are a newly-branded team, with some new staff, and new riders, many of whom have not been to the Santos Tour Down Under before. But, the objective is still to win. We will focus on each stage according to its challenges and we will see how the General Classification develops,” Stewart said.

“We have Jakub Mareczko for the sprints, Patrick Bevin is capable of a good General Classification result, and in general the riders will have some freedom to take opportunities as they develop. I think the route looks similar to previous years with some fast finishes and some difficult hills. It should make for some hot, fast, and dynamic racing.”

Patrick Bevin is coming into the race with strong early season form which he displayed at the New Zealand time trial championships yesterday, where he dominated the race against the clock to take the win. “I am really excited to go back to the Santos Tour Down Under, which will be the first WorldTour race with CCC Team and on a course I love to race on. I think the updated route is great, it creates a better race overall that is going to go down to the very last meter of the last stage,” Bevin explained.

“I am hoping to get a good General Classification result. I snuck into the top ten at my first Santos Tour Down Under which had both the Corkscrew and Willunga climbs so I am eager to return.”

CCC Team will bring a sprinter to the race with Jakub Mareczko eying a maiden WorldTour stage win in his debut race with the team. “I am really excited for the Santos Tour Down Under as it is my first race with CCC Team. There are quite a few sprint opportunities so I hope to do well, especially as it is at the WorldTour level. I have been working hard in the off season with my trainers and now we will see how my form is at the race.” Mareczko said.

“There are some experienced riders in the team with me and we worked together on the sprint train at our camp in December. Of course, in a race scenario it is different but I am confident that we will work well together and they can lead me to where I need to be in the stage finales.”

Santos Tour Down Under (13-20 January)
Rider roster:

Patrick Bevin (NZ), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Łukasz Owsian (POL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).
Sports Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).

Jakub Mareczko:




Evenepoel to Ride San Juan then UAE Tour
The new professional Remco Evenepoel will officially announce his 2019 program at the Deceuninck - Quick-Step presentation on January the 8th (PEZ will be there), but according to Patrick Lefevere, the top talent will ride the UAE Tour (February 24 to March 2) after the Vuelta a San Juan (20 to 27 January), he told the French newspaper Ouest-France. Also Het Nieuwsblad reports that the Nokere Koerse will be his first professional race in Belgium.

According to Het Nieuwsblad, Evenepoel is making its debut on Belgian soil this spring, in contrast to earlier reports. On 20th March he will start in the Nokere Koerse, then two days later the Bredene Koksijde Classic (the former Handzame Classic) would be on the agenda.

These last two races have not yet been confirmed by the team. "This weekend on the training camp it will be discussed with the riders. The program of Remco will be announced on Tuesday 8th of January." It seems that his original program, which leaked out in early November, has undergone a number of changes.

Remco Evenepoel:




Team Sunweb Present 2019 Roster in Berlin
The turn of the new year marks a new chapter for Team Sunweb, as they welcome a bundle of new and exciting partners on their journey. The team returned to Germany for the fifth consecutive year to present all three programs at Umspannwek, Alexanderplatz in Berlin – men, women and development – in their new and distinct, red, two-stripe kit for the first time in 2019.

The new and updated website is now online. Head to www.teamsunweb.com to see all of the updates.

Tom Dumoulin:


US champ Coryn Rivera:


The full Sunweb team 2019:






Bob Jungels to Ride the Giro d’Italia
The 26-year-old will make his third appearance at the Corsa Rosa, where he has twice finished in the top 10 overall.

First Luxemburger in more than half a century to win a stage at the Giro d’Italia, back in 2017, when he out-sprinted all the other GC favorites in Bergamo to claim what at that time was the biggest victory of his career, Bob Jungels will return to the race which this year will be bookended by individual time trials, hosted by Bologna and Verona, respectively.

In 2016, at his debut there, Jungels rode to a solid sixth and the prized maglia bianca, which he spectacularly retained one year later, when he again concluded in the general classification top 10. On both occasions, he enjoyed a stint in the pink jersey, for a total of eight days at the top of the overall standings.

“I love the Giro, it’s a beautiful and challenging race which always forces you to push beyond your limits, and I love the fans who cheer for us and give such a warm welcome every single time, making it an unforgettable and overwhelming experience. That’s why I am beyond excited to return there in May together with the Wolfpack, discover new towns and climbs, and hopefully help enhance our palmarès”, said Bob Jungels, for whom the Corsa Rosa will mark his seventh Grand Tour outing.

“It’s quite an interesting course, especially for those that are strong in the time trials. The first week doesn’t seem to be that hard at first, but some of the stages look unpredictable. There aren’t many where you can say that a climber or a sprinter will definitely win, and so they will be a gamble, which is the kind of racing that I like”, said Bob about the parcours of the 102nd edition. “That’s the great thing about the Giro – it isn’t such a controlled race as say something like the Tour – and that suits me, especially as the route is open, with tough climbs as Gavia and Mortirolo, but also almost 60 kilometers of time trialling.”

The reigning Liège–Bastogne–Liège champion and winner of both national titles in 2018, Jungels will start his fourth season in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey at Tour Colombia (12-17 February), where our team have won a staggering four stages last year.

Jungels for the Giro'19:




No Amstel Gold Race for Dumoulin, Again
Tom Dumoulin will once again miss the Amstel Gold Race in 2019. The Sunweb team-leader has, just like in recent years, only included the Liège-Bastogne-Liège in his Classic's program. Dumoulin told WielerFlits.

Dumoulin's season starts at the end of February with the UAE Tour, the new WorldTour race, a combination of the Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour. The Dutch rider will then participate in Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

Dumoulin usually goes on a training camp, which means he misses the hilly classics. "I think that's a shame", he says. "But okay, so be it." He will appear at the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège as final preparation for the Giro d'Italia.

After the Italian stage race Dumoulin has no set schedule. The Dutch championships are always a question mark for Dumoulin, who skipped the time trial championship last season, but did ride the road race.

Dumoulin will race in the Tour de France with GC ambitions. Did the Dutchman consider missing the French GT? "That was never an option, it was only the Tour, or the combination Giro/Tour."

The main goal in the autumn is the World Championships in Yorkshire, where the 2017 time trial champion wants to regain his rainbow jersey. And the road race? "I'm going to put little focus on that, since the road course does not suit me at all. The time trial is good again. That is what I am going to focus on completely."

Tom Dumoulin 2019 Provisional Program:
UAE Tour (UAE)
Tirreno-Adriatico (Ita)
Milan-San Remo (Ita)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Bel)
Giro d'Italia (Ita)
Tour de France (Fra)
World Championship cycling Yorkshire (GB).

Tom Dumoulin - Giro winner:




Kelderman to Support Dumoulin in Giro - Oomen to Ride Tour
Wilco Kelderman will assist leader Tom Dumoulin in both the Giro and the Tour, as Sam Oomen will only ride the Tour de France. In the Vuelta a España the focus of Sunweb will be on the development of talent, with opportunities for Max Walscheid in the sprints.

Kelderman, who finished 10th last year in the Vuelta, will be in the service of Dumoulin in Italy. Then the 27-year-old climber will also start in the 106th Tour de France. Oomen will make his debut in 2019 French Grand Tour. The Dutch talent already rode the Vuelta in 2017 and a Giro in 2018. In the Giro Oomen showed he could compete with the best, Oomen was 9th in the general classification and 3rd in the standings for the white jersey for best younger.

For Walscheid it will be his second start in the Vuelta. The best stage success of the 25-year-old German was an 11th place in the final stage. Walscheid had two victories last year, he won stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire and the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro.

Wilco Kelderman in the Tour de Suisse'18:




Jonas Koch Completes CCC Team’s 2019 Rider Roster
CCC Team will start the 2019 season with 24 riders having signed German rider Jonas Koch as a late addition to the roster, General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced today.

Koch, 25, raced with CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2017 and 2018 and is set to make his WorldTour debut with CCC Team.

“We are pleased to welcome Jonas Koch to CCC Team. Initially, we planned on maintaining our roster of 23 riders but we have a busy race program ahead so 24 riders will afford us some more flexibility when it comes to race rosters. Jonas was already on our radar, having spent the last two years with CCC Sprandi Polkowice, and he managed some solid results in 2018,” Jim Ochowicz explained. “At 25-years-old, Jonas is young and will have the opportunity to develop further with CCC Team. Jonas’ top ten results at Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, Brussels Cycling Classic, Handzame Classic, and the Tour of Norway last year are signs of his potential so we are excited to see what Jonas can do with us.”

It is a dream come true for Jonas Koch to sign his first WorldTour contract. “It has always been my dream to ride in such a great team. I am very thankful and super motivated for this opportunity with CCC Team. There are so many people involved in this almost lifelong process that deserve a huge thank you, especially Piotr Kosmala and Piotr Wadecki who have supported me the whole time as a pro cyclist,” Koch said. “My main goal is to integrate well in the team and do a good job for my teammates. I want to support our team captains with everything I have and want to demonstrate my abilities in smaller races as well.”

In keeping with CCC Team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

CCC Team 2019 Rider Roster:
Amaro Antunes (POR), Will Barta (USA), Patrick Bevin (NZ), Paweł Bernas (POL), Josef Černý (CZE), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Simon Geschke (GER), Kamil Gradek (POL), Jonas Koch (GER), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Łukasz Owsian (POL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Michael Schär (SUI), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT).

Jonas Koch:




Frederik Backaert completes Wanty-Gobert for 2019
The Wanty-Gobert team has completed its squad for the 2019 road campaign. The Belgian Frederik Backaert, 28 years young, has extended his stay with the Walloon ProContinental formation since 2014 until the end of 2019. The rider from Brakel, prominently in the offensive in the Tour de France 2017, finished 9th in the GP Samyn in 2018 and 15th in the E3 Harelbeke. Wanty-Gobert now has 21 riders lining up for 2019.

Frederik Backaert: "It is a relief to be able to extend at Wanty-Gobert. I have always been confident and motivated, so I started my preparation already a whole time ago. I did not yet go on a foreign training camp, in order to be fresh for the start of the season. But I did not rest here in Belgium. The past week for example I clocked 700 training kilometers. My program heading to Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn consists of Challenge Mallorca, Tour de Provence and Tour of Algarve."

"I cannot wait to return in the group, with the will to show me in the classics and obtain a ticket for the Tour de France. I am also aiming for the Belgian championships, with some cobbled sectors in my home region. I am also very happy to be part of a team with two riders from my area with whom I often train: Bart De Clercq and Aimé De Gendt. I look forward to continue riding on the Cube bikes, because in October I accompanied the German brand to discover their new range in Portugal."


Hilaire Van der Schueren: "Backaert remains an important element in the classics. I also rely on him in the sprint preparation. I expect him to be ready for the opening weekend with Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn. Our group for the races in Flanders has strengthened with the coming of Aimé De Gendt and Loïc Vliegen, which offers a wider collective for the cobbles. With 21 riders our recruitment is complete. This will allow us to compete in two programs and collect UCI points throughout the whole season."

Frederik Backaert:




Giuseppe Saronni Takes a Step Back in UAE Team Emirates Management
Giuseppe Saronni takes a step back within the UAE Team Emirates . The general manager remains involved with the team as an advisor, the ex-road World champion told La Gazzetta Dello Sport.

"I no longer want the responsibilities that I had in the past," said Saronni. "I need time for myself and the family, after having lived under stress and tension for 30 years. I want to feel free, after carrying out a lot of tasks and taking care of the construction of the team. I will not spend any more time on it, but I will still remain a reference of the board of the team, as a friend or consultant."

The leadership of UAE Emirates is in the hands of CEO Mauro Gianetti this season. Carlo Saronni is the operational manager and José Antonio 'Matxin' Fernández is responsible for the team. Allan Peiper and Neil Stephens have joined the DS staff.

Giuseppe Saronni:




UAE Team Emirates Hopes for Aru, Interested in Nibali
UAE Team Emirates is still in uncertainty about the future of Fabio Aru. The team's Italian leader didn't have a great 2018. A lot of research has been done to find the reason, but the exact cause is still not known. General manager, Giuseppe Saronni: "The medical staff have made their analyses and we hope to have found a solution," Saronni told La Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Aru did not finish the Giro d'Italia last season and in the Vuelta a España he finished 23rd on the final classification and so the team were disappointed, expectations will be high in 2019. "The situations and conditions of last year were very different. We have checked, tested and hope that the problems are gone, or at least the most important problems. They have been identified so that we can remedy them."

"2018 was the first year that Aru was with us. We have accepted some situations in which he did not do well. The first person who was not happy was himself," added Saronni. "We have made high-level professionals available to overcome his difficulties. I do not know what else I can do. It's up to Fabio now."

The decision about which Grand Tour Aru will race in the upcoming season has not yet been taken. Saronni backs up Aru, who says that the Tour is better for him but that he prefers to ride the Giro as he is Italian. "The first signs he gives at the beginning of the season are important." Aru starts his season in Mallorca at the end of January. "It is essential to start with good feelings there."

Vincenzo Nibali ends his contract with Bahrain-Merida in 2019 and is in the sights of Saronni and UAE. "The most interested sponsor (in Nibali) is Segafredo, that's normal, because they are both Italian and they were close to signing in the past. Who would not want Vincenzo? He is also very interesting to us. Contact has already been made and a proposal has been made. But it is clear that an Italian sponsor is an added value. In addition, there is a will that goes beyond just the competitive aspect."

Nibali and Aru:




2019 Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental Team
The Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental Team is once again set to provide a vital stepping stone towards the World Tour for aspiring u23 riders in 2019.

We are delighted to confirm our Dimension Data for Qhubeka continental team is set for its 4th full season based in Europe, in 2019. In what has become a clear pathway for African riders to the World Tour, we are excited for the journey that awaits our 11-rider class of 2019.

In the last 3 seasons alone, no less than 5 African riders have graduated to the professional ranks from our feeder team. Stefan de Bod is our latest success story having secured a neo-pro contract with our World Tour team in 2019, joining fellow alumni, Ryan Gibbons, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Nicholas Dlamini.

For the 2019 season, our squad will comprise of 6 African riders, 4 of which are new additions to the feeder team. 20-year-old Connor Brown from South Africa, 19-year-old Natnael Tesfazion from Eritrea, and 19-year-old Mulu Hailemichael and 20-year-old Million Beza from Ethiopia.

Both heading into their 3rd seasons with us, 2018 Tour of Rwanda champion Samuel Mugisha and our punchy Moroccan sprinter, El Mehdi Chokri will look to make the most of their final year as u23 riders.

For the 2nd year in succession our continental feeder team will be registered in Italy and based out of our service course in Lucca. The registration with the FCI and support from CONI allows our African riders to obtain sport permits, without which, racing for the full season in Europe is nearly impossible for most African riders.

As an Italian registered team though, it is mandatory that we have at least 4 Italian riders on our squad and so we are delighted to welcome back Matteo Sobrero and Luca Mozzato for the 2019 season. They will be joined by the talented 20-year-old duo of Alexander Konychev and Samuele Battistella.

The final rider on our roster is the Slovenian Zwift Academy winner, Martin Laveric. Laveric was one of 30,000 Zwift Academy entrants, who contributed to 850 Qhubeka bicycles being donated to kids in Africa. The 19-year-old was awarded his contract after winning the Zwift Academy final which took place at our 2019 World Tour team training camp in Cape Town last November.

In one final coup for our feeder team, we are happy to welcome former Italian professional and 2002 u23 World Champion, Francesco Chicci as Sports Director of Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental in 2019.

Kevin Campbell - Team Manager: "Our U23 team has been truly successful over the past 3 years in introducing young riders to the rigors of racing at the highest levels of international cycling. All of our 2019 team members have already shown that they have talent in abundance and we hope to support their development as cyclists so that they can earn positions on the best professional teams in the world."

"Naturally, while allowing our young riders to develop and improve, we also hope to achieve success in the races we compete in and we are hoping for victories in European and African events in 2019."


Learn more about the team at www.africasteam.com.





Team Sunweb to Drive ŠKODA for the Upcoming Years
ŠKODA and Team Sunweb are delighted to be teaming up as ŠKODA delivers the team cars to the German cycling outfit.

Team Sunweb will use the spacious and well-equipped ŠKODA SUPERB COMBI Ambition Business. The cars will serve both the Men’s and Women’s team, as well as the Development program.

Team Sunweb was formed in 2008. Over the years it has grown into one of the world’s leading cycling teams, using its innovative, highly praised and well-known Keep Challenging approach.

Official Car Supplier
ŠKODA has been involved with the Tour de France since 2004, as official sponsor and official car supplier. The SUPERB and SUPERB COMBI are used by Tour de France organizer ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) and by several teams. The third generation of ŠKODA’s flagship model was introduced in 2015.





The Teams of the Fundación Alberto Contador will Wear Gobik's Clothing in 2019
With a minimalist design of black body and white sleeves, the teams of the Fundación Alberto Contador will wear Gobik's designs this 2019. The continental, U23 and junior structures of the team will carry the Murcian signature halfway around the world.

Thus, the cyclists integrated in the teams of the foundation will be able to wear the "Invincible" jersey next to the "Absolute" shorts in a set that will be in the main races of the calendar.



Jersey "Invincible" plus shorts "Absolute" in 2019 version
The "Invincible" jersey is based on a combination of ultra-lightweight, highly elastic and breathable fabrics that favor airflow. The mesh fabric used in its extra-long sleeves has been made to tackle the wind more efficiently. Panels and seams reduced to the minimum expression that seeks lightness and aerodynamism.

Below, the teams of the Fundación Alberto Contador will wear the "Absolute" bib shorts, a prow model of the brand that improves concepts such as compression with respect to previous versions.

A winning set that rewards maximum performance in high competition
"In Kometa they have very clear and ambitious medium-term objectives, and that is a key point of connection for us" assures Alberto García, CEO of Gobik, who also admits the attractiveness of Italy, as an interesting market because it is the focus of activity for the Foundation's teams.

In turn, Fran Contador, manager of the Fundación Alberto Contador, admits common qualities between the teams and the brand: "The passion for what we see. At Gobik they show day by day that they enjoy what they do, they take care of the details to the extreme, they put a lot of passion into all their work and they also transmit it with high quality products with a lot of innovation and a very attractive aesthetics behind them".

And this aesthetic is reflected in a design in which, as has been said, the black predominates in the central section of the garment, with the marked geometric pattern usual in the Gobik: "That care of details is something we like very much and that fit perfectly with our project. The truth is that we are very happy to have been able to reach this agreement with Gobik".



Gobik's leap with the Fundación Alberto Contador
Fran Contador recognizes passion in Gobik's designs, and that same passion explains why "Gobik is achieving incredible success so quickly. We had the opportunity to get to know each other a long time ago and that contact is the germ of this collaboration: they invited us to get to know their fabrics, Alberto had the opportunity to try out their garments and he ended up delighted".

For Gobik, joining the Alberto Contador Foundation is like closing the circle: "The year 2019 has become Gobik's gateway to the world of road racing. And we wanted to surround ourselves with structures of Spanish origin. We believe that our customers, our fans, want to see "their" brand also on the podiums of professional tests," says Alberto García.

About the Fundación Alberto Contador
The Fundación Alberto Contador is a non-profit organization that aims to promote cycling and cycling in general, emphasizing its healthy and transport aspects, as well as its profusion among underprivileged groups.

At the same time, it promotes the fight against stroke by raising awareness of its impact on society through knowledge of this ailment, its causes and ways of preventing it and helping its patients.

We take this opportunity to wish you all a happy 2019!
Greetings to all of you. kometacyclingteam.com.





Adam Blythe Talks

A little presentation video by Lotto Soudal new signing, Adam Blythe:








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