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Strade Bianche - One of the most beautiful races on the calendar, race report and video, plus stage 1 of Paris-Nice and the GP Industria e Artigianato. Crowdfund a WorldTour team - Top Story. In other cycling news: Teams for Tirreno-Adriatico, the first Women's Tour of Scotland course, chose your favorite Vuelta Fans summit finish, Team Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano, sad passing of Kelly Catlin and Caleb Ewan talks Paris-Nice video. Monday coffee EUROTRASH time.



TOP STORY: La Gazzette delo Sport Launches Crowdfunding for Italian WorldTour Team
Following an interview with Mario Cipollini, La Gazzetta dello Sport is now calling for the formation of an Italian WorldTour team. The sportspaper is worried about the future of Italian cycling and is now calling on the public to fund a team through a crowdfunding scheme.

In the interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Cipollini spoke of his desire for an Italian WorldTour team: "Our sport remains beautiful and popular, but it hurts me to see Nibali, Viviani, Aru and the other Italian top riders in jerseys of foreign companies." He continued: "I think it's time to call on business people to invest in cycling. The Giro annually attracts ten million tifosi to the side of the road. If everyone puts two euros in that initiative, it is settled."

'Super Mario' suggests that the government could also help: "In the past I had personally asked Silvio Berlusconi, now I turn to Matteo Salvini [Deputy Prime Minister of Italy]. The message is also meant for Giancarlo Giorgetti, the minister of sport. We need a helping hand and perhaps fiscal incentives for those who believe in a new project."

"There are five and a half million passionate cycling fans in Italy. If everyone paid €10 we would have a super team every year that can beat the other teams," Valerio De Molli said to the pink sportspaper. "Italy has a rich history in cycling, but now we do not even have a team at the highest level. That is unfortunate," he added. De Molli is involved with the Kometa Cycling Team of Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador.

2016 was the last year that an Italian team was at WorldTour level, the license under the name of the Lampre-Merida team was taken over by UAE team Emirates at the end of that season. This season there are four Italian ProContinental teams: Bardiani-CSF, Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec and Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia.

It has been a long time since Vincenzo Nibali rode with an Italian sponsor (2012):




Men's Strade Bianche 2019
The French rider Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) won the 13th edition of Strade Bianche over 184km, with gravel sections, from Siena (Fortezza Medicea) to Siena (Piazza del Campo), Taking the win on the finish line in the historic square, Alaphilippe beat Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).

One of the most thrilling and spectacular one-day races of the year, Strade Bianche has a new winner - Julian Alaphilippe. The Frenchman took his fourth victory of 2019, now in his sixth season with Deceuninck – Quick-Step. He also became the first French rider to win the Italian Classic.

Despite not having the heritage of other one-day races, Strade Bianche has grown in terms of reputation and prestige since 2007 – the year it was created – becoming an instant favorite, and at the same time, one of the most revered, fascinating and unpredictable races on the calendar, dubbed “the sixth Monument of the year” by many, thanks to its unique combo of gravel roads, leg-sapping hills and Tuscan scenery, all leading to the breathtaking finale in Piazza Il Campo, the stunning square commissioned by the 'Council of Nine' more than six centuries ago.

Strade Bianche played totally the Deceuninck - Quick-Step's strength, which again had the numbers inside the last 50 kilometers, when Julian Alaphilippe, Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad victor Zdenek Stybar made the cut over the Martino in Grania dirt road sector, as part of a 16-man group. Strangely, it was on Monteaparti, at 800 meters, the shortest gravel segment in the race, that the winning move took shape, when Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) accelerated and was joined by Alaphilippe and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).

The trio traded turns until the steep Colle Pinzuto, where the Belgian was dropped, leaving at the front only Alaphilippe and Fuglsang, who worked well together, opening a one-minute gap over the main chasing group, where Lampaert and Stybar continued to do a magnificent job in chasing down attacks. Just before Via Esterna di Fontebranda, on the outskirts of Siena, Van Aert bridged to the leading duo, but only for a brief moment, as he was again distanced.

On Via Santa Caterina, the Dane tried to put Alaphilippe on the ropes, but Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s climber responded, before putting in an explosive attack on the 16% gradient, coming round and dispatching his opponent, thus ensuring he would go first into the final corners of the race.

Alaphilippe took his small gap onto the downhill finishing stretch in Piazza del Campo, where he delivering another perfect day for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who placed three more riders in the top 15 – Zdenek Stybar (4th), Yves Lampaert (11th) and Pieter Serry (13th) – and maintained a tight grip on the WorldTeam Classification.

Full race report and lots of great photos HERE.



Strade Bianche winner, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step): "My start to the season was already good, with three victories in South America, but to win here is incredible! My team did a great job and having Yves and Zdenek together with me in the final was perfect for us. I had a good day and strong legs, but was also lucky not to have any crashes or punctures. Strade Bianche was my first big goal of the year, and to win here, at my very first presence, is truly amazing. In every race, others are looking at us to take the responsibility, and that’s what we did today. We were with three riders in the main selection, controlled every move and did a really smart race in all the key moments. When Fuglsang went, I knew that it might be the winning move. He was very strong today, but I made no mistakes and remained confident, although it wasn’t until the final corner that I believed I could win this race, in my opinion, one of the toughest of the calendar. It’s a wonderful victory, one which makes me extremely happy and boosts my confidence ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico."

2nd, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): "I’m happy to be on the podium of such a nice race but I felt really strong today and I wanted to win. I rode well but I lost so it’s a little bittersweet. I was thinking about how to beat Julian Alaphilippe but he was not so keen on working too hard so I knew that I had to somehow try to surprise him or to drop him in the last part of the last climb here before the finish. In a sprint finish, he was always going to be stronger than me. I tried a few times but nothing worked out."

3rd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): "The suffering was quite the same as last year when I did this race for the first time. In the last half hour of the race, I was in pain. I just lost the connection with Julian [Alaphilippe] and Jakob [Fuglsang] in the second last section. From then on, it was a long way of suffering. I’m happy that I survived and remained able to make the podium once again. Third place was definitely the highest possible for me today. When I came across to them, I was already on the limit and all I had in mind was to keep my pace to prevent anyone taking the third place from me. I never thought I could win. But I’ll definitely come back for winning Strade Bianche. This is my second podium in two participations. I hope one day everything will come together. This is a race where you get the reward when you dare to attack. That’s what I did for the second time in a row. I’m happy with the podium place I got but I want the top spot in the future."

5th, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): "It was a fast and dangerous race today. You are always in doubt after a crash like the one last week. But if you finish fifth, those doubts have now been taken away and that gives me high hopes for the coming weeks. Winning like I did last year is never easy. I was one of the strongest riders in the chasing group. If you battle against riders like Štybar, Van Avermaet and Lutsenko for fourth place, you can’t complain. But if you start the race to win, you are of course disappointed if you are not on the podium. During the decisive moment, I chose the wheel of Lutsenko – who was then riding at the front – because he seemed very strong. When they attacked, it was difficult to react. During the finale, I still tried something but with some riders not cooperating, that was not easy. Of course, you hope for a better result but I have to be satisfied with fifth place."

6th, Greg Van Avermaet (CCC): "I had a good day, but I did not have any super legs. I have tried to finish as high as possible and I am satisfied with my final. I have raced my own course, but I did not have the legs of last week. It is important to race safely on the sectors and sit on the front, I did the whole race, so I actually rode a perfect race. Only when Fuglsang went, I was far from behind. Only Alaphilippe could jump with him. It was difficult for me to come back into the race, but I am still satisfied. It is really hard to race against three Deceuninck - Quick-Step riders, so I have to make my own choices in races like this one. I did that, but Alaphilippe was simply the strongest man in the game."

10th, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): "We tried to the split the peloton several times during the race but eventually, I took the initiative myself which resulted in a group of fifteen riders at the front. That was a very good situation for us. When Fuglsang accelerated, I was too far back and I did not have the punch to still react. When three riders escape and they have with Lampaert, Štybar and Lutsenko still three teammates in the chasing group, it is an almost impossible task to still organize the chase. That way, we consistently lost time. In the end, the three escapees have proven to be the strongest today. Unfortunately, it was a battle for top ten for me."

Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I quite like this race and today everything went well, even on the gravel sections. My legs were amazing, but I punctured at the worst possible moment. I fought back afterwards, but hoped to rejoin the group a little earlier, to be able to take a breath before the next sector. However, that didn’t work out and I just caught them when we started the climb. I was really on the limit at that point, and also cramped up. The last 20 km were just painful, and I had no energy left. But the positive thing is that my form is really good. I think that I can look with confidence towards the next races."

Strade Bianche Men's Result:
1. Julian Alaphlipppe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep in 4:47:14
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:02
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:27
4. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 1:00
5. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 1:01
7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 1:04
8. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 1:08
9. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo at 1:12
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:21.

Strade Bianche'19 men:



Women's Strade Bianche 2019
Annemiek van Vleuten put the Strade Bianche 2019 to her name. In the last 12 kilometers Mitchelton-Scott's rider rode away from a leading group of favorites and then soloed to the win. Annika Langvad (Boels Dolmans) finished second, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) was third.

For Van Vleuten this was only her second race since her comeback after her knee injury, which she suffered during the World Cup road race last year in Innsbruck. She was fourth in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last Saturday.

After 11 kilometers Anja Longyka and Chiara Perini started the first break of the day and were joined Jelena Erić and Ilaria Sanguineti. They took a maximum of 35 seconds, but they were caught on the second of eight white roads sections. Sunweb and CCC lifted the pace on the fourth section and then on the fifth the race split with Lucinda Brand, Marianne Vos and European champion Marta Bastianelli in the front group, this move also didn't last.

The peloton was down to about 35 riders. 11 riders escaped in the last 17 kilometers, including; Vos, Bastianelli, World champion Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Annemiek van Vleuten and Janneke Ensing.

Van Vleuten waited for the right moment, and rode away 12 kilometers from the line and immediately took 15 seconds. At the start of the last 6 kilometers the lead on the chasing group had grown to half a minute. Van Vleuten, who had finished three times in the top 10, didn't make any mistakes to win the Strade Bianche. Behind her it broke up in the difficult finalé in Siena. Annika Langvad eventually took second place just 3 seconds ahead of Katarzyna Niewiadoma in third.



Strade Bianche winner, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott): "This victory at Strade Bianche stands in the top five of all the races I’ve won in my career. The finish in Siena is beautiful. I like to race in Italy but it’s really special to win on the Piazza del Campo at the end of a hectic and very hard race. After my crash last year, I thought it would be difficult to get back into the level I had last year and I usually struggle to get into shape in Spring. I was not supposed to race Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche but those two races were added to my calendar after I realized I was at a higher level than I had thought. I’m very happy with this victory. It gives me the confidence that I can be in good shape in Spring also. The Ardennes classics are my next big target and later, the Giro d’Italia."

2nd, Annika Langvad (Boels Dolmans): "I’m in shock. This is my first ever race on this level except for the World Championship I did last year. I can’t believe it. It’s just insane. It was such a tough race. At the graveled Sector 4, I was wondering how I would make it till the end. I have very little experience with this. But I started to try and ride smarter and save myself. In the end, my teammates just worked like heroes. They sacrificed themselves for me. I felt it was such a big responsibility on my shoulders for my first road race with the team. When I went up the last climb neck to neck with Katia [Niewiadoma], I thought of all the work my teammates produced to put me up there, so I just gave everything and I’m so happy!"

3rd, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM): "I’m both happy and frustrated with being on the podium of Strade Bianche once again. I’m happy because I know that I gave everything. I’m frustrated because I didn’t win. But Annemiek [van Vleuten] was extremely strong and she’s a well-deserved winner. I wasn’t surprised when she attacked. The last 25km were very brutal. There were plenty of different attacks. Her move was definitely the strongest. I was going very deep. I just couldn’t hold her way up."

Strade Bianche Women's Result:
1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:48:49
2. Annika Langvad (Den) Boels Dolmans at 0:37
3. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM at 0:40
4. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Virtu Cycling at 0:44
5. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla
6. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at 0:51
7. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv at 0:52
8. Janneke Ensing (Ned) Sunweb at 0:54
9. Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans at 1:28
10. Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans at 1:50.

Strade Bianche'19 women:




Paris-Nice 2019
The first yellow leader's jersey in Paris-Nice went to Jumbo-Visma's sprinter Dylan Groenewegen on Sunday. The Dutchman won the opening stage of the French WorldTour race in Saint-Germain-en-Laye from Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step).

The opening stage of Paris-Nice was buffeted by the wind on the open landscape just to the west of Paris, the peloton shattered into pieces several times. Among others, defending champion Marc Soler (Movistar) was a victim. The Spaniard lost precious time on other GC riders. Martijn Tusveld and Michael Matthews were victims of crashes, the two Sunweb riders had to abandon.

Three riders went from the gun, unsurprisingly they were from French ProContinental teams who are looking for Tour de France WildCards. Amaël Monard (Arkeá-Samsic), Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie) and Romain Combaud (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) gained a lead of no more than 4 minutes, but thanks to the echelons they were soon caught.

Later Gaudin was again in the leading group. On the Côte de Beule (the last of two short climbs), the Direct Energie rider attacked and would be rewarded for his efforts. Despite the presence of Evaidas Siskevicus (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) and Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) in the leading group, the 32-year-old Frenchman took the points and the KOM jersey.

Eventually there were only 60 riders left at the front for the finalé. Fast men like Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Daniel McLay and Alexander Kristoff didn't make the cut, but also GC men like Ion Izagirre, Tejay Van Garderen, Miguel Ángel López and Marc Soler lost time.

With 2 kilometers to go, Philippe Gilbert put in a big solo effort, but the Belgian Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider's attempt failed. After that the sprinter's teams took over the peloton. In the bunch sprint, Groenewegen won by the smallest of gaps for Ewan. Fabio Jakobsen lunged for the final podium place.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) and Egan Bernal (Sky) took some bonus seconds for GC in the intermediate sprints, but it was Dylan Groenewegen who won the sprint and the overall lead.



Stage winner and overall leader, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma): "The team was really fantastic. My teammates did a really great job by protecting me well and keeping me out of trouble all day. It was a short stage, but very difficult because of the wind. The lead out was good and I’m glad I was able to finish it off. It was extremely close, but I knew right away that I had won. It was a typical Dutch day: a lot of wind, lots of echelons and a continuous fight for your position. We knew in advance that this could happen. It's awesome. The fact that I beat all the top sprinters and clinched the yellow jersey makes it even better. I am already looking forward to the coming sprint stages."

4th on the stage and 8th overall, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): "Today I didn't ride my best race, and I was always playing catch up on this short but windy stage with all those Echelons, which did cost a lot of energy. In the finale, I didn't have the legs, but I think it was just a bad day. I expect my legs to come around for the next stages. The boys did their best to deliver me to the finish and I hope to repay their efforts soon."

12th, Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale): "It was a very tense day. We were not far from the 'orange' warning for violent winds, and we were 160 riders ready to fight and to trap each other. I was lucky to have a strong team, and Tony knows the roads well.The day went off without a hitch despite the stress."

Paris-Nice Stage 1 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 3:17:35
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
4. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
10. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Direct Energie.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 1:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 3:17:25
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
3. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:05
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
5. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 0:06
6. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:09
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:10
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott.

Paris-Nice'19 stage 1:




GP Industria e Artigianato 2019
Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the GP Industria e Artigianato. The Italian one-day race ended in a sprint between the German and Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec). Cattaneo's teammate brought in the peloton 14 seconds later for third place. Race had to battle heavy rain.

There was a lot of fighting to get into the first leading group of the day. Sebastian Morata (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Andrea Peron (Team Novo Nordisk), Lorenzo Delcò (Biesse Carrera), Dario Puccioni (Sangemini Trevigiani), Emanuele Onesti (Giotti Victoria) and Luca Mozzato (Dimension Data) succeeded in escaping the peloton. Alexis Guerin (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) tried to cross, but he ended up in the chase group.

In the finalé of the UCI 1.HC race, after the break was caught, there was a lot of attacks, including from Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Dayer Quintana (Movistar) and Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), who tried on the last of four climbs of the Fornello (a short climb of 2.5 kilometers at 6.5%). But it was Schachmann and Cattaneo who managed to drop the others just 10 kilometers from the finish.

The rain made the descent a slippery affair, but the two front runners could not ease off on the descent as the group of chasers was not far behind. The Italian-German tandem worked well together to the penultimate kilometer, then Cattaneo started to hold back. Schachmann was not fooled and Cattaneo had no answer to his sprint in the streets of Larciano. Andrea Vendrame won the sprint from the chase group.



GP Industria e Artigianato winner, Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe): "Yesterday at Strade Bianche I had some bad luck. I punctured at a bad time and finished the race with cramps. However, I was able to recover and today everything went very well. Unfortunately it rained and the streets were wet and somewhat slippery. There were a few crashes here and there, and it wasn’t always easy, especially when one tried to put in an attack. On the last climb, I was in a good position. The climbers in the main field launched several attacks, but I was able to follow them. I had enough left in the tank to then make my own move, and in the finale, I ended up winning the sprint duel against Cattaneo. After yesterday’s disappointment, I’m particularly happy to take the victory here."

GP Industria e Artigianato Result:
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:40:03
2. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
3. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:14
4. Paolo Totò (Ita) Sangemini-Trevigiani-MG.Kvis
5. Davide Villella (Ita) Astana
6. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM
7. Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo
8. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
9. Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar
10. Lucas Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Readynez.

GP Industria e Artigianato'19:




Bouhanni to ride Tirreno-Adriatico
Nacer Bouhanni will be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico for the first time in his career. The French sprinter is the leader of the Cofidis team.

Bouhanni always preferred Paris-Nice, but Cofidis decided that Christophe Laporte would ride the French stage race. This is the first time the 28-year-old Frenchman has ridden the Italian early season stage race. Bouhanni will be supported by Cyril Lemoine and Anthony Perez. Cofidis also takes two Belgians to Italy; Kenneth Vanbilsen and Dimitri Claeys. In the difficult stages, the team will count on Julien Simon and Natnael Berhane.

Cofidis for Tirreno-Adriatico:
Natnael Berhane (Ert), Nacer Bouhanni (Fra), Dimitri Claeys (Bel), Cyril Lemoine (Fra), Anthony Perez (Fra), Julien Simon (Fra), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel).

Nacer Bouhanni:




Carapaz to Lead Movistar in Tirreno-Adriatico
The Movistar team has made its selection for next weeks Tirreno-Adriatico. The Spanish WorldTour team will go for the general classification with Richard Carapaz, who makes his debut in the Italian stage race. Mikel Landa is not there, as expected.

Carapaz preferred Paris-Nice last year, the Ecuadorian finished 11th in the French stage race. The 25-year-old rider - who will focus on the Giro d'Italia in May - will be joined by Jorge Arcas, Lluís Mas, Nelson Oliveira, Eduard Prades, José Joaquín Rojas and Jasha Sütterlin. Carapaz is their man for a good overall classification, but Prades can provide stage success. The 31-year old Spaniard got off to a great start with his new team, he already won a stage in the Tour de la Provence.

Mikel Landa is not there this year. The Basque climber - last season winner of the Queen stage to Sassotetto - broke his collarbone in the Trofeo Ses Salines. The 29-year old rider has still not recovered from his injuries. Landa now hopes to make his comeback in the Tour of Catalonia (25-31 March).

Movistar team for Tirreno-Adriatico (13-19 March):
Jorge Arcas (Spa), Richard Carapaz (Ecu), Lluís Mas (Spa), Nelson Oliveira (Por), Eduard Prades (Spa), José Joaquín Rojas (Spa), Jasha Sütterlin (Ger).

Richard Carapaz winning Giro'18 stage 8:




AG2R-La Mondiale team for Tirreno-Adriatico
Fourth in the 2014 edition, Jean-Christophe Péraud earned the highest place for the AG2R-La Mondiale team at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Didier Jannel: "Unlike other years, Tirreno Adriatico does not have a big mountain stage. We will be faced with a sequence of hills where the classics specialists will be able to show off their skills. The race opens with a team time trial that is 21.5km long, and I think that it will play a 60% role in determining the final overall classification. So it will be important to be in the game right from the start. Alexis Vuillermoz is in good shape, as he proved recently. And he will be our leader for the overall standings. We can also count on a rider like Silvan Dillier who has already performed very well in the first two classics of the season. Julien Duval and Nans Peters, who was at the front of the early season French races, will also be important to the team."





Stuyven to Start in Tirreno-Adriatico
Trek-Segafredo has announced the their rider selection for the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico. Jasper Stuyven and Gianluca Brambilla are both returning form medical problems. Stuyven has had a few difficult weeks behind him. In the Volta ao Algarve, the Belgian classic specialist crashed in the opening stage to Lagos. To make matters worse, the 26-year-old rider became ill during the Flemish opening weekend, which meant he had to miss Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Stuyven is now fit again and in Tirreno-Adriatico he will have the chance to prepare for the rest of the spring classics. Brambilla was struck by illness and couldn't ride Strade Bianche.

The team is completed by Fabio Felline, Nicola Conci, Markel Irizar, Mads Pedersen and Toms Skujiņš, the latter finished 9th in Strade Bianche. The 54th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico starts Wednesday with a team time trial in and around Lido di Camaiore.

Trek-Segafredo team for Tirreno-Adriatico (13-19 March):
Gianluca Brambilla (Ita), Nicola Conci (Ita), Fabio Felline (Ita), Markel Irizar (Spa), Mads Pedersen (Den), Toms Skujiņš (Lat), Jasper Stuyven (Bel).

Jasper Stuyven:




A "Tirreno" with Many "Walls"
It will be a different Tirreno-Adriatico with many short and steep climbs - some of the walls have slopes close to 18% - and without long climbs. The battle for the Overall should be more open not only to more traditional ranking men, but also to riders with different characteristics. The program also includes the TTT of Lido di Camaiore and the final ITT of San Benedetto, as well as two stages dedicated to sprinters.

The "Race of the Two Seas" is a race that really appeals to Rohan Dennis, last year winner of the last stage: "I'm pretty motivated to help the TT team and also the final TT - says the Australian rider - the rest is all about maximizing the benefit I get from helping the team in the road races for the upcoming races."

Last year he was second in the GC, the Italian Damiano Caruso would like to repeat the brilliant performance: "My condition is similar to last year if not better. The crash at the UAE Tour has slowed me a bit, but I think I can make a good Tirreno. Only thing, it’s pity for me that there are no big climbs."

For SD Gorazd Stangelj: "with this year's route, the race should be much more open. It will be very important to have a good start with TTT on Wednesday and then manage the day by day race. For the Overall, I would focus on Vincenzo Nibali and Damiano Caruso, while Rohan Dennis will make a big contribution in the two time trials."

TBM's line-up for Tirreno-Adriatico:
Vincenzo Nibali, Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Phil Bauhaus, Jan Tratnik, Matej Mohoric and Marcel Sieberg.





Astana riders for Tirreno-Adriatico
Astana has already had a very successful 2019 season and this will probably continue in Tirreno-Adriatico, as the Kazakh team will take riders in top form; Jakob Fuglsang and Alexey Lutsenko.

Astana has already won the Tours of Valencia, Murcia, Colombia, Oman, Andalusia and Rwanda this year, plus the Tour de la Provence. The blue brigade also hopes to triumph with Fuglsang or/and Lutsenko in Tirreno-Adriatico. Both riders have already been successful this season in multi-day races. Lutsenko won the Tour of Oman, while Fuglsang was the best in the Ruta del Sol. The Dane was also one of the top riders in Strade Bianche last Saturday. The 33-year-old climber finished second in Siena after a tough duel with winner Julian Alaphilippe.

Lutsenko finished 7th on the white roads. The two leaders are supported by Davide Ballerini, Zhandos Bizhigitov, Dario Cataldo, Omar Fraile and Dmitriy Gruzdev. The 54th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico starts Wednesday with a team time trial.

Astana for Tirreno-Adriatico (13-19 March):
Davide Ballerini (Ita), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz), Dario Cataldo (Ita), Omar Fraile (Spa), Jakob Fuglsang (Den), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz), Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz).





CCC Team Heading to Tirreno-Adriatico with Focus on Stage Wins
Greg Van Avermaet will lead CCC Team at Tirreno-Adriatico, where the team’s primary focus will be on winning a stage at the week-long race.

Joey Rosskopf joins CCC Team’s Classics team at the race, which will act as the final preparation before the team returns to Belgium.

Sports Director Valerio Piva said the first goal of the race will be the team time trial on stage one.

“The parcours of this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico is a little bit different to the last years. It’s not a really mountainous race with uphill finishes, it’s more of a traditional Tirreno-Adriatico with a lot of up and down undulating terrain. There is one really hard stage with a final circuit and short climb, so I think Greg Van Avermaet can finish with a good result on this parcours. However, the main objective is to try and win a stage and finish the preparation for the Classics.

“A good result on stage one can make a difference on the General Classification, because there is a big chance to take time in the team time trial. Then, we will take things day by day and try to win a stage with Greg. We don’t really need to protect Greg every day, so the other riders will all have a chance to take an opportunity and race aggressively.”


Van Avermaet, who won Tirreno-Adriatico in 2016, is looking to fine-tune his form ahead of the spring Classics season.

“I always enjoy racing at Tirreno-Adriatico. I have some really nice memories there with my overall win and stage wins over the years so I would like to add to the tally in the CCC Team jersey. The team time trial on stage one will be the first one for most of us this year and given we have won the last three times, it is always an important stage for the team so I hope we can start the week with a good result. From there, I think I have a chance in a few of the stages so we will see how the race goes.

“A stage race like Tirreno-Adriatico is the best way to get some solid racing kilometers in the legs so if I can finish the race with good sensations then I will head to the rest of the Classics with a lot of confidence.”

Tirreno-Adriatico (13-19 March)
Rider roster:

Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL).
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Greg Van Avermaet:




UAE Team Emirates aims at Tirreno-Adriatico
Gaviria and Rui Costa lead the team in the Corsa dei Due Mari.

Seven of UAE Team Emirates’ riders will fight over the roads of Tirreno-Adriatico, from March 13 to 19:
– Tom Bohli (Swi)
– Simone Consonni (Ita)
– Valerio Conti (Ita)
– Rui Costa (Por)
– Fernando Gaviria (Col)
– Jan Polanc (Slo)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)

Sports Directors Marco Marzano (Ita), Allan Peiper (Aus) and Bruno Vicino (Ita), with the supervision of General Manager Joxean Matxin (Spa), will guide the team.

The Race of the Two Seas or Corsa dei Due Mari includes seven stages from Lido di Camaiore (a team time trail of 21.5 km) to San Benedetto del Tronto (an individual time trial of 10.1 km). In between there’s never a dull moment with a couple of stages for strong sprinters and three stages marked with hard climbing.

Fernando Gaviria, winner of two stages in Tirreno-Adriatico (Montalto di Castro in 2016 and Civitanova Marche in 2017), said, "It’s a beautiful race where I’ve been able to celebrate twice. The team is designed for the stage wins, I’ll try to be competitive in the sprints. It’s a great team and everyone has god legs. We will aim to fight for the stage wins and do well in the overall classification. The race design has changed someone what from past years, so it’ll be interesting to see how this change influences the race."





Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Tirreno-Adriatico
Julian Alaphilippe and Elia Viviani will be hoping to continue their impressive start to the year at the “Race of the Two Seas".

Four days after notching up his maiden victory on Italian soil at Strade Bianche, Julian Alaphilippe will be lining out for the 54th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico (13-19 March), the seventh World Tour appointment of the season and a race again bookended by time trials, but which puts on the table a completely different route than the one of the past years, without a mountain top finish and more suited to the puncheurs, who’ll find many stages to their liking and even have a shot at topping the overall classification.

Pomarance, Fossombrone and Recanati, with their narrow and twisty roads and viciously steep hills whose maximum gradients reach 20%, will weigh heavily in the final outcome, especially as the end of each stage will bring into play also vital bonus seconds for the first three riders. Between the Lido di Camaiore TTT (21.5km) and the individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto (10km), also the sprinters will get a few chances to shine, at Foligno and Jesi.

Having already won three races this season, in Australia and the United Arab Amirates, Elia Viviani will ride in his home country for the first time since coming out on top at the Italian Championships last June, and the 30-year-old will be looking to add to his impressive palmares, backed by a robust Deceuninck - Quick-Step team also containing Kasper Asgreen, Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv, Maximiliano Richeze and Tirreno-Adriatico stage victor Zdenek Stybar.

“We’ve always started Tirreno-Adriatico with a good result in the team time trial and we hope it will be the case also now. The route is different than in the past years, without a long ascent to favour the pure climbers, which means we should see other riders in the mix for the GC. Our team, as you could see, is very strong, doesn’t lack options for any of the seven stages and arrives at the start buoyed by our string of superb performances in the past weeks”, said sports director Davide Bramati.

13.03–19.03 Tirreno-Adriatico (ITA) 2.UWT
Riders:

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Kasper Asgreen (DEN), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Wilfried Peeters (BEL).





Preview Tirreno - Adriatico
Wednesday 13 March, the 54th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico will kick off in Lido di Camaiore, a village situated along the Tuscan coast. The Italian WorldTour race starts with a team time trial and ends seven days later with an individual test against the clock in San Benedetto del Tronto. As the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ will not head into the high mountains, it promises to be an exciting and open battle for the trident trophy between the time trialists, puncheurs and one-day specialists. Last year, Belgian Lotto Soudal rider Tiesj Benoot finished fourth in the overall standings of Tirreno-Adriatico. Bart Leysen, sports director at Lotto Soudal, previews the course and discusses the team goals this year.

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “There is no real mountain stage and not even a mountain finish in this year’s Tirreno. That way, the Classics specialists with good climbing abilities can not only compete for stage wins, they also have a shot at the overall win. The top contenders for the Grand Tours certainly won’t have the advantage this year. At Lotto Soudal, we have with Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens two cards to play.”

“I expect that five of the seven stages will be important for the general classification. Only the two relatively flat stages won’t play a key role. The team time trial and the individual mission against the clock are part of those five crucial days. Given that in stage races such as Tirreno the GC is decided with a handful of seconds, the team time trial on the very first day will already be of crucial importance. Last year – when we finished sixteenth – was a disappointment for us. The composition of our team this year should allow us to aim higher so that we can start the Tirreno with our two leaders on a good note. The closing time trial – the specialty of Victor Campenaerts – will be an important last hurdle in the overall battle.”

“It is more than likely that a heavily reduced group will go for the victory during the three hilly stages. It will mainly be about bringing Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens – who already demonstrated to be really strong finishers – in the best way possible to the line. Last year, Tiesj finished fourth in the general classification and in the past, the Belgian also proved that he can manage tough finales really well. In this year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, every second will count. We constantly need to be attentive to avoid losing precious seconds due to possible splits in the peloton.”


Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Tiesj Benoot, Victor Campenaerts, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Jens Keukeleire, Tomasz Marczyński, Tosh Van der Sande and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Kevin De Weert.

Tim Wellens:




Lineup: Tirreno-Adriatico
The UCI World Tour continues in Italy this week with Tirreno-Adriatico getting underway in the region of Tuscany on Wednesday.

Once again it will be 7 stages that make up the Italian stage race, with the familiar team time trial in Camaiore and individual time trial in San Benedetto book-ending the race.

Stage 2 through until 6 will not pass over any major mountains but climbs a plenty will make this year's Tirreno-Adriatico one for the puncheurs. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will look to start with a strong team trial performance, before targeting individual stage success.

Who to watch...

Tom-Jelte Slagter

The many climbs of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico will suit the capabilities of a rider like Slagter. With a few opportunities to test his legs this week, look out for Slagter during any of the 5 road stages.

Steve Cummings

Based in Italy for most of his professional career now, Cummings is right at home on these Italian roads. Seeing a trademark "Stevo" attack on the final stage of Volta Algarve has left us us waiting eagerly in anticipation for what is to come from our British star at Tirreno.

He said...

"I am looking forward to Tirreno-Adriatico this year with Team Dimension Data. I have only done the race once before in 2013, so it is good to be back racing in Italy instead of France, where I usually am this time of the year. There are some a really nice stages here, where I hope to have good legs to either support our team goals or to take my own chance if that is part of our strategy." - Tom-Jelte Slagter.

Key stages
Stage 1 & 7
- with no mountain summit finishes this year, it looks as the time trial stages will play the biggest role in sorting out the GC contenders this year.

Stage 5 - of the road stages, stage 5 is probably where a rider can gain the greatest amount of time, or loss for that matter. The stage ends with 2 and a half laps around Recanti, with 2 climbs on the circuit. The final climb to the finish line is only 2.8km but it averages 8.8%.





Tirreno Adriatico
Luke Roberts - Team Sunweb coach: "On Wednesday we start the seven-day Tirreno Adriatico, beginning with the traditional 21.5 kilometres opening team time trial, followed by two relatively flat stages and three demanding stages before a final 10.1 kilometres individual time trial. With Tom we chase a good result in the overall classification and we bring a very solid support team to Italy for this goal. Nicholas will be our road captain and we'll look to set ourselves up for a good GC position right from the opening team time trial."

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Sam Oomen (NED), Rob Power (AUS), Nicholas Roche (IRE).

Tom Dumoulin:




Women's Tour of Scotland Announces Course
The course of the first Women's Tour of Scotland was announced last week. With finishes in Dunfermline, Perth and Edinburgh, it promises to be an interesting race. The three-day stage race (2.1) will be held from the 9th to the 11th August.

In October, the news came out that a brand new UCI race will take place in Scotland. The Scottish race will join the OVO Energy Women's Tour, the Prudential RideLondon Classic and the Tour de Yorkshire in the UK.

The Women's Tour of Scotland consists of three stages. The riders will cover more than 350 kilometers in total. The opening stage takes the peloton over a distance of 103 kilometers from Dundee to Dunfermline. On the way the riders will ride over the Tay Road Bridge, towards the Fife region. At about twenty kilometers from the line they will climb Cleish Hill.

The second stage starts in the largest city in Scotland: Glasgow. From here it goes to Perth, located on the banks of the River Tay. Along the way the peloton takes in a few tough climbs, but the 139.4 kilometer stage seems made for the sprinters.

On the final day, the riders ride out and back from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It is, among other things, the birthplace of former track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy. The final stage deserves the title queen stage, as there are four climbs on the program. There are three steep slopes in the finalé. The Start and finish are in Holyrood Park.

A total of eighteen to twenty teams will participate in the first Women's Tour of Scotland.

More information at: womenstourofscotland.com.

Women's Tour of Scotland 2019 (9-11 August):






La Vuelta Fans Will Choose Their Favorite High-Altitude Finale on 2019
Cycling fans will be able to choose again their favorite high-altitude finale in #LaVuelta19. Through the campaign “The most viral high-altitude finale”, that will take place on La Vuelta’s Facebook profile, followers will be able to vote on their preferred high-altitude finale out of the eight most spectacular ones featuring in the 74th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour.

The direct elimination process will begin during the quarter finals, participants will vote in weekly surveys on which of the two high-altitude arrivals they think will provide the best cycling spectacle and, thus, which one deserves to advance into the next round. Each survey will remain open for seven days. After that period, the winner will be announced and the following week there will be another face-off between two finales so that followers can continue voting.

Two VIP access bracelets to the finale voted as the public’s favorite will be raffled among the voters. The final will commence on the 4th of June, and the winning finish-line will be announced on the 18th. La Camperona was chosen in 2018 as the favorite high-altitude finale of La Vuelta 18 by more than 6.500 votes.

VOTING CALENDAR
· ROUND 1 |
Tuesday, 13th of March: Plataforma de Gredos VS Ares del Maestrat.
· ROUND 2 | Tuesday, 26th of March: Santuario del Acebo VS Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre.
· ROUND 3 | Tuesday, 9th of April: Mas de la Costa VS Alto de La Cubilla. Lena
· ROUND 4 | Tuesday, 23rd of April: Cortals d’Encamp VS Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega.
· SEMI-FINAL 1 | Tuesday, 7th of May: Winner ROUND 1 VS Winner ROUND 2
· SEMI-FINAL 2 | Tuesday, 21st of May: Winner ROUND 3 VS Winner ROUND 4.
· FINAL | Tuesday, 4th of June: Winner SEMI-FINAL 1 VS Winner SEMI-FINAL 2

More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com





The Team Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano is Finally Ready for its Season Debut
Basso Bikes is proud to join the team Aromitalia Vaiano for the season that is finally about to start this Saturday, with the Strade Bianche 2019. The girls will officially ride their Basso Diamante for the first time during the race, which is part of the Women's World Tour since 2016. We hope to achieve many successes together with the team.





Kelly Catlin Dead at 23
The cycling world mourns the death of Kelly Catlin. Catlin ended her life last Friday, her father Mark Catlin told Velonews: "Not a minute goes by that we do not think of her. The pain is unimaginable."

Rally UHC Cycling, the road team that Catlin rode for, said that the news of her death was hard to take. "It is very difficult to reject such a great person at such a young age. Kelly was not only our teammate, but also our friend. Our condolences go out to her family and everyone who knew her well."

Catlin took silver in Rio de Janeiro Olympics and was also three times World champion as part of the American pursuit team. Last year, Catlin won bronze during the World Championships track cycling in Apeldoorn on the individual pursuit behind Chloe Dygert and Annemiek van Vleuten.

Everyone at PEZ send their condolences to her family and friends.


 


Caleb Ewan Talks Paris-Nice
Lotto Soudal's pocket sprinter, Australian Caleb Ewan previews Paris-Nice in a video interview ahead of the French stage race:








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