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

The main story of today's EUROTRASH has to be the Giro d'Italia - Lots of team news ahead of the Italian Grand Tour Partenza on Saturday. It's not all Giro: Greg van Avermaet is looking for help - Top Story. Other cycling news: Vuelta'19 teams selection, team announcements for the AMGEN Tour of California, Sergio Higuita joins EF Education First, Casper van Uden for Sunweb development, the Giro E and the FloBikes Giro d'Italia Trivia Drinking Game. Giro Thursday!



TOP STORY: Van Avermaet: "CCC is Looking for Reinforcements"
Greg van Avermaet was left empty-handed this spring. The Belgian was there in the finals, but often had to do it alone, so the Olympic champion is hoping for reinforcements. "For example, I think we should hire a shadow leader for the classics," the CCC rider told Het Nieuwsblad. "Don't forget that we are building as a team."

“As a team, we also try to get a classification rider and perhaps a sprinter. There are certainly possibilities, but the question is who wants to come." Tiesj Benoot has been mentioned as a possible reinforcement. "It is not easy to attract someone of that caliber," said Van Avermaet. "I would not, however, object. On the contrary. I also know that the team is busy with some riders, but I can't put names to it. Some riders are in conversation with four or five teams." Van Avermaet, however, knows what he wants; "and that is someone who will be in the finalé in the classics. Someone who also helps, but at the right time."

Van Avermaet was close in the Classics:




Giro d'Italia 2019
The first Grand Tour starts in Bologna on Saturday with a tough 8.2 kilometer time trial. The team announcements have started coming in, and you can see the Rider List HERE. The PEZ Course Preview HERE and the PEZ Rider Preview HERE. More team announcement will be added as they come in.

Keep it PEZ for all the Giro news and the best images.

Critical Stages And Key Contenders | Giro d'Italia Preview 2019 by FloBikes:




Sports Director Bart Leysen About the Giro Line-Up
On Saturday 11 May, the 102nd edition of the Giro d’Italia kicks off with an individual time trial in Bologna. Lotto Soudal will be at the start with Victor Campenaerts, Caleb Ewan, Jasper De Buyst, Thomas De Gendt, Adam Hansen, Roger Kluge, Tosh Van der Sande and Jelle Vanendert. Sports director Bart Leysen talks about the course and the Lotto Soudal line-up.

Bart Leysen: “The Giro d’Italia starts with an individual test against the clock in which the riders will immediately face a tough climb at the end, so the guys with GC ambitions already need to go full gas. There is a realistic chance that a candidate for the overall victory will grab the first pink jersey. The Giro can be broken down into two main parts. The first week and a half, some long days in the saddle are scheduled with a variety of both sprint and hilly stages.”

“From day thirteen onwards, the general classification riders will come to the fore. For example stage sixteen - with finish in Ponte di Legno - includes the mighty Passo Gavia as well as the feared Mortirolo and will play a crucial role in the battle for GC. The sprinters are granted one last opportunity in stage eighteen because the following two days, the overall standings will take a decisive shape with another two brutal mountain stages coming up. The 102nd Giro ends with an individual time trial in Verona but will, in my opinion, not cause any significant changes in the general classification anymore.”

“With Caleb Ewan (24) we have a world-class sprinter in our line-up. The first week and a half, I reckon there are six chances where it could be a bunch sprint. We have to seize every opportunity in which Caleb Ewan could sprint for victory. The first stage - which includes some hills along the way - will immediately be a difficult task. However, the Australian has already proven countless times to do well on hilly terrain so we will do everything possible to make it a sprint in Fucecchio.”

“After a nasty crash in Paris-Nice, Jasper De Buyst (25) returned to competition in the Tour of Turkey. Jasper will act as the lead-out man in the sprint stages, not only during the Giro but also the rest of the season. Roger Kluge (33) will be the guide of Caleb Ewan. Contrary to the Tour de France, the finales of sprint stages in the Giro are with narrow roads and sharp turns often quite technical. Both Roger and Jasper know extremely well when it’s time to move to the front and they are able to deliver Caleb in a perfect position. Also Tosh Van der Sande (28) is a rider who - just like De Buyst and Kluge - can pick the right moment during the run-up to the sprint. Besides, a technical finale suits him very well and he can also more than handle himself uphill. Those qualities come in really handy when racing in Italy. Should Jasper De Buyst have a mechanical at the very end of the stage, Tosh is the right man to take over the role as lead-out.”


Victor Campenaerts (27) will, first and foremost, be targeting the three individual time trials. The final test again the clock maybe suits him best but the European time trial champion will also do everything he can to finish as close as possible in the first two ones. Campenaerts will of course be given the freedom to focus on the time trials but with his abilities, he could also play an important role – mainly in the first week - in bringing the sprint train to the front.”

“For Thomas De Gendt (32), the Giro will be the first of three Grand Tours this season. Thomas will, if necessary, do his part in the service of Caleb Ewan, but he will of course be granted a free role in the transitional stages and maybe in the high mountains. Most points for the mountain classification are to be gained in the final week but most of all, Thomas is more than capable to go for a stage victory.”

“During the first week, Jelle Vanendert (34) could help to ease the workload of the sprint train. Later, he will get a free role in the tougher stages. Adam Hansen (who turns 38 on the 11th of May) will start his 28th Grand Tour. Adam is a versatile rider and could do his thing - together with Jelle Vanendert - before the real sprint battle commences. Seen his many years of experience, the Australian could provide the necessary calmness in the hectic sprint stages. He also perfectly knows how to keep the early break in check.”


“Our Giro line-up has already gained a lot of Grand Tour experience and is very strong in general. I would be a happy man if we’d manage to take one stage victory but we need to dare to aim higher.”

Caleb Ewan will be looking for stage wins:




Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Giro d’Italia
Our team returns to the race where we have won 26 stages and 11 secondary classifications since 2005.

Winner of the famed maglia ciclamino last year, when he captured a whooping four stages, Elia Viviani will make his sixth Giro d’Italia appearance after a consistent first part of the season, which resulted in four victories, all at World Tour level. The 30-year-old comes at the start in Bologna with the beautiful and iconic Italian Champion jersey on his shoulders, an extra motivation for the best sprinter of 2018 to add to his growing palmarès.

Twice winner of the best young rider classification (2016, 2017), Bob Jungels returns at the Corsa Rosa after two years hoping to be again a major player in the general classification, like he was at his previous outings, when he finished each time in the top 10. With two victories (Tour Colombia stage 3 and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne) under his belt this year, Bob is confident that he can be a protagonist, aided also by the almost 70 kilometers of individual time trial at the 102nd edition (Bologna, San Marino and Verona).

The experienced Eros Capecchi, Fabio Sabatini, Florian Sénéchal and Pieter Serry – who between them have nearly 50 Grand Tour starts – will also be on Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s squad for the first three-week race of the year, the line-up being rounded out by two Grand Tour debutants: neo-pro Mikkel Honoré, who has impressed as part of the team’s Ardennes Classics contingent, and James Knox, a top 10 finisher this season at the tough UAE Tour.

The race will kick off from the city that is home to the world’s oldest university for just the second time in its history, but unlike 1994, when the sprinters had their time in the sun, the time trialists will be the one in the spotlight now, on the difficult uphill finish to Santuario della Madonna di San Luca. Between Bologna and Verona (where the Giro d’Italia will conclude for the first time since 2010), the sprinters will have their fair share of chances, but ultimately the climbers will be provided with more opportunities to shine and make the difference.

“We come here with two leaders: Elia Viviani – who backed by a very strong and experienced sprint train, will look to win again stages in front of his home crowd, this time in the Italian National Champion jersey – and Bob, who’s going to have another tilt at the GC favored by the three stages against the clock. There’s a number of stages which should be important in the fight for the overall – from Ceresole Reale and Courmayeur to the one featuring both Gavia and Mortirolo later in the race – but the plan is to take it day by day and see what happens”, explained sports director Davide Bramati, who’ll lead the team from the car together with Klaas Lodewyck and Rik van Slycke.

11.05–02.06 - Giro d'Italia (ITA) 2.UWT
Riders:

Eros Capecchi (ITA), Mikkel Honoré (DEN), Bob Jungels (LUX), James Knox (GBR), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Pieter Serry (BEL), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).





Sunweb for Giro d'Italia
Marc Reef - Team Sunweb coach: "We once again head to the Giro d'Italia with the ambition of delivering a good result in the overall classification and continuing on from the team's strong performances at the race in recent years. The route for this year's Giro is one of the toughest there has been and there are no easy days, so we expect it to be a really tough battle in the overall. The time trials are of course important for us and we hope to be able to gain some time there. We’ll also bring Tom into a good position for the tricky stages in the mountains, and look for opportunities to gain time there. We’re confident that this is a strong configuration of riders to support the team's GC goal, and after a good preparation period, we’re all looking forward to getting things underway in Bologna."

Line-up:
Jan Bakelants (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Jai Hindley (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED), Robert Power (AUS), Louis Vervaeke (BEL).

Tom Dumoulin:




A Strong and Motivated Team for the Giro d'Italia
Twenty-one stages and 3.578km to crown the winner of 2019 Giro d’Italia. Next Saturday, Bologna will host the Big Start of the 102nd Giro d’Italia with a 8.2km hilly ITT. On the program, there are two other ITTs (58km total) and also 5 high difficulty stages in which riders will have to face iconic climbs like Gavia and Mortirolo but also includes unprecedented climb to Lago Serrù: Colle del Nivolet. The Giro will end on June 2nd with the last ITT in Verona.

For the General Manager Brent Copeland: "This is a very important appointment during our season which we are all very excited about, we have worked hard to get to the start of this Giro with the best possible team, Vincenzo has worked tremendously hard to the build up of this race and his physical condition is at one of the best I have seen in years before a Grand tour, the rest of the team are all in just as good shape and therefore we are sure we will contribute to some very exciting racing for the fans and cycling in general."

Vincenzo Nibali will try to win the pink jersey for the third time: "The Giro is my great goal for the first part of the season and my preparation has been designed to be ready at the start of the Italian race. I feel ready to start this great adventure. The route is very demanding with lots of mountains and even many kilometers of individual time trials. The opponents are many, but I will be at start in Bologna with a lot of serenity and confidence; it will be the road to decide which will have been the best."

Domenico Pozzovivo will be very important especially in mountain stages: "Fortunately, the consequences of the crash at Flèche Wallone were less severe than was thought at the beginning and therefore the preparation continued without any particular problems. My task will be to help Vincenzo and, for this year, not aiming at the GC. This role will also give me the opportunity to try to win a stage."

"We have an excellent team" - explains SD Alberto Volpi - "well structured for all kinds of routes with experienced riders such as Domenico Pozzovivo and Damiano Caruso. Our leader, Vincenzo Nibali, has shown in the last few races to have a very good condition and I am sure we will be among the protagonists of the 'pink race'."

TBM’s line-up for Giro d’Italia:
Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Domenico Pozzovivo, Damiano Caruso, Andrea Garosio, Grega Bole, Kristijan Koren and Valerio Agnoli.





The UAE Team Emirates roster for the 2019 Giro
The eight men to lead the competitive team in the sprints and hunt for stage victories.

The team unveils the eight cyclists who will fly the UAE Team Emirates’ colors in the 2019 Giro d’Italia, running from Saturday, May 11 to Sunday, June 2.

General Manager Joxean Matxin (Spa), together with the sports directors Marco Marzano (Ita) and Bruno Vicino (Ita), assisted by Paolo Tiralongo (Ita), will lead cyclists from 4 different nations:
– Tom Bohli (Sui)
– Simone Consonni (Ita)
– Valerio Conti (Ita)
– Fernando Gaviria (Col)
– Marco Marcato (Ita)
– Juan Sebastian Molano (Col)
– Jan Polanc (Slo)
– Diego Ulissi (Ita)

"Not being able to count on one man for the general classification, we had to come up with a group to very competitive for the sprints and the hunt for stages wins," explained General Manager Joxean Matxin "The goal is to be aggressive, attacking, to try to be protagonists both with our group of fast cyclists supporting Gaviria and with cyclists who have always come up with excellent performances in the Giro: Ulissi, Polanc and Conti. We know the stages well, we love the spirit that comes with the Giro, and we are ready to do our best."





Movistar Team Confirms Giro d'Italia Lineup
Landa, Carapaz, Amador headline Telefónica-backed squad's announcement, which combines some of its most solid names with fresh debutants in Italy, such as Lluís Mas and Héctor Carretero.

The Movistar Team has defined the eight-man lineup they will bring to the start of the 102nd Giro d'Italia, Saturday 11th May. The Eusebio Unzué-managed squad will feature Andrey Amador, Richard Carapaz, Héctor Carretero, Mikel Landa, Lluís Mas, Antonio Pedrero, José Joaquín Rojas and Jasha Sütterlin, with Chente García Acosta and Maximilian Sciandri as sports directors.

The experience, merits and knowledge of the race by Landa -3rd overall in 2015; winner of three stages + the Maglia Azzurra, Carapaz -4th overall + stage victor in 2018- and Amador -4th in 2015, stage winner in 2012, Maglia Rosa wearer in 2016- will be supported by the expert teamwork from Rojas, Sütterlin and Pedrero, all with previous appearances in Italy. Alongside them, the Movistar Team will bring two Giro debutants: Lluís Mas, in his maiden Grand Tour in Blue colors, and youngster Carretero (23), who will continue to learn and progress by racing a three-week stage race for the first time here.

The 2019 Giro, which starts with a tough 8km ITT towards the San Luca sanctuary, includes another two time trials -in San Marino (Sunday 19th, st. 9) and Verona, end of the race on Sunday 2nd June- and plenty of tough mountains, squeezed -as it's already traditional in the 'Corsa Rosa'- into the final nine days of racing. The Blue expedition will reach travel to Bologna on Wednesday.





Yates and Mitchelton-SCOTT Eyeing Pink at Giro d’Italia
Twelve months on from a spectacular performance that saw them win five stages and wear the Maglia Rosa for 13 stages, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Simon Yates are eyeing the biggest prize when the 2019 Giro d’Italia kicks off on Saturday.

Yates, who has since bagged his first Grand Tour victory at the Vuelta a Espana, returns with more confidence and more learnings as he aims for back-to-back three-week race success.

The 26-year-old will be surrounded by a talented and experienced Mitchelton-SCOTT outfit, including the likes of powerhouses Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge and Chris Juul-Jensen to guide him through the first and flatter half of racing, before Brent Bookwalter, Lucas Hamilton, Mikel Nieve and Esteban Chaves take over as a formidable force in the mountains.

Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Giro d’Italia:
Jack Bauer (NZL, 34)
Brent Bookwalter (USA, 35)
Esteban Chaves (COL, 29)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 28)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 23) - Grand Tour debut
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 29)
Mikel Nieve (SPA, 34)
Simon Yates (GBR, 26)

The Race:
The 2019 Giro d’Italia will cover 3518.5km across its 21 stages, with 58km of time trialling split between three stages.

Albeit with quite a lot of longer stages in terms of kilometers, the first ten days of racing don’t offer any major climbing challenges so we will have to be patient for the real general classification battle to begin.

Organizers claim that with 46,500m of total elevation, the 102nd edition will be one of the hardest routes of recent years. With most of that coming packed neatly into the second half of racing, it’ll be then that the real battle begins.

Race History:
In the past seven years at the Giro d’Italia Mitchelton-SCOTT has claimed 13 stage victories, worn the pink leader’s jersey for 25 days and had a top general classification position of second in 2016.

Last year alone the Australian outfit lit up the Italian Grand Tour with an aggressive style, claiming five stage wins, including three in the Maglia Rosa, and leading the race for 13 days.

Simon Yates - Mitchelton-SCOTT Leader:
“I wanted to go back to the Giro, that’s what’s driving me at the moment, and that’s what I have the passion to get out of bed for every morning.

“I’m approaching the Giro the same way I would do any other race. I am, more or less, always in a leadership role within the team and I really like to try to win every race I start, so for me it’s just business as usual.

“There are many strong rivals, it’s a very packed field. I wouldn’t really like to single out anyone, I think they are all very strong and a lot of them have already won week-long races this year.

“In a way I have unfinished business at the Giro, but I would just like to have another go. We were so close last year so I’m motivated to give it another go and I’m trying to arrive in the best shape possible to try and do that.

“We start directly with a prologue, so we will know how everyone’s form is there. If I can race aggressively, like I would do normally, that’s how I would like to race because that’s what I enjoy but we’ll have to see once we get there.

“I like to race aggressively but you can’t always do that unfortunately and that’s what I really learnt from last season. I will apply those lessons and hopefully come off with the win.”


Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“You’re only as good as your last win, and our last Grand Tour was a win so naturally we’re going into the Giro as one of the favorites.

“We’re heading to Italy with the aim of finishing off the job this year. That may mean we don’t win as many stages, but we’re looking at the bigger prize. We’re 12 months on from the last edition, we’ve learnt a lot in those 12 months, and our job is to put that to good use across the three weeks of racing.

“We’ve run a very similar template with Simon’s build up again this year, he is in similar shape which means it’s a good place to be starting our journey.

“We have had some bad luck with some late changes due to injuries, but it does show that we have some depth in the team to fill those places with some very capable bike riders and I’m certainly very confident that we’re going to be able to support Simon at an incredibly high level with the group that we’ve put together.

“It’s a very experienced composition we have been able to assemble, with Simon being the second youngest in the team, and they share a few Grand Tours caps between them.

“The thing that stands out in the first 12 stages is that there are no major climbs to really test the GC guys, but what it does have is kilometers – there’s a lot of long stages, a lot of stages over 200km in the first half. At the end of the day this will wear people down but because the Giro will be won in the second half, it’s about conserving energy and being efficient as a team in the first half of the race.

“If there’s ever a Giro that you could ride into, this would be this one. But in saying that, some of our biggest rivals have shown they are in very good shape already so there’ll be some tests early on, but nothing definitive.”


Simon Yates wants pink again:




CCC Team Taking a Mix of Youth and Experience to Target Stage Wins at Giro d'Italia
CCC Team will head to the start line of the Giro d'Italia, the first Grand Tour for the team in its new colors, this Saturday (11 May) with a strong and motivated mix of youth and experience that will be targeting stage wins.

Sports Director Gabriele Missaglia said that CCC Team will be looking to race aggressively with all eight riders having the freedom to race for their own results while keeping an eye on the General Classification.

"For us, the first goal of this year's Giro d'Italia will be to race aggressively and try to win a stage. I think we have a well-rounded rider roster that can look to make the most out of every stage and try to go in the important breakaways. While we don't have any of the favorites on our line-up, I am confident in the team and its ability to fight for stage wins. As well as fighting for stage wins, Víctor de la Parte and Laurens ten Dam will have the chance to see what they can do on the General Classification and I think both riders have prepared well for the next three weeks of racing," Missaglia explained.

"Francisco Ventoso, whose condition is looking good after his crash at Paris-Nice, has tasted success at the Giro d'Italia and he will bring that knowledge with him to our roster. As well as taking their own chances where possible, Ventoso and Łukasz Owsian will play an important role in helping Jakub Mareczko on the predicted bunch sprint stages."

CCC Team will have three riders making their Grand Tour debut in Italy. "As well as bringing a wealth of experience to the start line, we will also have some youthful energy on our rider roster with three riders making their Grand Tour debut. Kamil Gradek has had a strong Classics season and he will come to Italy with a solid block of racing behind him. Josef Černý has also had the chance to show his strength over the first part of the season while Amaro Antunes is finding his legs in the UCI WorldTour and I think we will see his form build over the course of the race with an eye on the tough mountain stages in the third week," Missaglia added.

Giro d'Italia (11 May - 2 June)
Rider Roster:

Amaro Antunes
(POR): First time racing
"I am very happy about lining up at my first Grand Tour this week. I have mixed feelings about the Giro d'Italia because while I am, of course, excited and motivated to start, I am not 100 percent sure about my condition. However, saying that, my goal is to get better throughout the race and to give my best for the team on what is a difficult parcours."

Josef Černý (CZE): First time racing
"I am really looking forward to my first Grand Tour. I am feeling motivated and I am happy with how my preparation has been going. My goal for the race is to try to jump in a good breakaway group and make it to the finish with the best result possible. All three weeks will be hard and long, the first week especially, but I know that as a team we can fight for results at this race."

Víctor de la Parte (ESP): 2017, 2018
"I am looking forward to racing my third Giro d'Italia because it is a race that I love and I also think that I am coming into it in good shape after some nice performances at my last races. The parcours is a little different this year with no mountain stages in the first part of the race and a really hard final week. I think we have a strong team that can show off the CCC Team jersey in all the different types of stages and we will try to fight for victory every day."

Kamil Gradek (POL): First time racing
"After the Classics, I had a break and started to prepare for the Giro d'Italia. This will be my first Grand Tour and my first Giro so, I only know the race through the stories people have told me but I'm feeling good now and I'm excited for the start of the race. It's going to be a heavy three weeks of racing but, I will take the race day by day and look to give 100 percent for the team at all times. We do not have the biggest names but names do not win races and I think we have a well-balanced team, with a good combination of freshness and experience, and we will be able to fight on any terrain."

Jakub Mareczko (ITA): 2016 - 2018
"The Giro d'Italia is one of my favorite races. It's my home Grand Tour and it is a race that I am always motivated for, this year is no exception. As always, there are some good opportunities for sprinters and having finished second on three occasions in the past, I want to be fighting for stage wins again this year. I am not 100 percent sure about the form I am coming into the race with but, I have confidence in myself and in our team."

Łukasz Owsian (POL): 2015, 2017
"This will be my third Giro d'Italia and I am happy with my preparation for the race and my condition coming into it. Firstly, I would like to have the opportunity to be in a good breakaway one day and try to fight for a stage win and secondly, I want to do a good job for my teammates and work hard for them when needed. This year's race will be very hard, the parcours is demanding but, we have got a good group of CCC Team riders lining up. It will be difficult, of course, but I think we have a team that has the strength and the motivation to try to fight for results every day."

Laurens ten Dam (NED): 2009, 2017, 2018
"I am feeling good about my condition heading to Bologna for the start of my first Grand Tour with CCC Team. This will be my fourth Giro d'Italia, the first two I won and the third, I finished second with my team leader but this year, to be honest, I am happy to have the chance to go for my own results. It is nice to have a different goal and I am feeling pretty confident. My build-up to the race has been going well, it was like it was in my best years, and I am thankful for the team giving me the freedom to do that. We will see what happens but my head is full of fighting spirit and we have a good team so I would really like to see us all make some good results."

Francisco Ventoso (ESP): 2005, 2011 (winner, stage 6), 2012 (winner, stage 8) - 2014, 2017, 2018
"I’m super happy to be back racing at the Giro d'Italia because it is one of my favorite races and, for me, it is the best Grand Tour. My feelings are good right now and I am getting better all the time after the crash at Paris-Nice which saw me injure my hand. I think this year will be another nice Giro for me and as always my goal is to help and support my teammates as much as possible but, this year, I will also look for my own opportunities. Our goal as a team is to win stages and I want to help try to do that. This year's race is different from others because there is no proper GC day in the first week however, I think we will still see a big fight. Overall, we have a really good team with a lot of morale and motivation so, I think we can do something nice over the three weeks."

Sports Directors: Gabriele Missaglia (ITA), Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Laurens ten Dam:




Lineup: Giro d'Italia
Nizzolo and O’Connor to spearhead Team Dimension Data’s Giro challenge.

Giacomo Nizzolo and Ben O’Connor will both form part of our imposing line-up for the 102nd edition of the Corsa Rosa, the Giro d’Italia, starting in Bologna on 11 May.

The 23-year-old Australian impressed hugely in 2018 as he rode to within a whisker of securing a top-10 GC position before his race was cruelly ended in a crash. He returns this year looking to make amends, and will be confident of consolidating his reputation as one of the world’s most exciting young riders.

While for Giacomo Nizzolo, the race presents an opportunity to compete for a first time in our kit in front his home fans at a Grand Tour; as well as finally securing that elusive Giro d’Italia victory. He’s competed six times previously having secured a podium finish in every one of the editions in which he has raced.

Also in the lineup is exciting South African Ryan Gibbons who’s been impressive so far in 2019 in Catalunya, Oman and Australia as well as Enrico Gasparotto, who fought to a strong 10th position at Flèche Wallonne.

The very experienced Danilo Wyss provides climbing support to O’Connor along with Eritrea’s Amanuel Ghebreigzhabier. While the hard work put in all season by Camarthen’s Scott Davies sees him make a deserved Grand Tour debut.

Completing our roster is Mark Renshaw who, after a delayed return to racing in 2019 after a collision with a car while training late last year, is in excellent form now having most recently ridden at the Tour de Yorkshire.

Renshaw made his Grand Tour debut in this race in 2005 and rode it a further 3 times in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Giacomo Nizzolo
“Like with every year the Giro d’Italia is one of the biggest goals of the season (for me). Of course, I will try to go for victory in some stages as well as from a team perspective target a good result in the GC. It looks like this year, more than ever, that there are a lot of competitors particularly in the sprints but I’m ready to fight, and I feel ready to target those stage wins.

“Racing in Italy for an Italian rider is always special so I’m really looking forward to racing on the Italian roads and seeing a lot of fans supporting us over the course of the three weeks.”


Ben O’Connor
“The Giro d’Italia again – and I have unfinished business I guess. Obviously, I’m aiming for a top GC result or even perhaps the Young Rider jersey but actually putting it on paper this year! Maybe the results haven’t show exactly how I would like so far, but I’m confident I’ve done all I can to be competitive and show Dimension Data and all our partners around Italy.

“It’s a special race: the vibrancy, color, passion, noise...it has it all. The boys and myself can’t wait to get this show on the road.”


Bingen Fernandez - Sport Director: “We’re really excited ahead of the first Grand Tour of the year. If you look at our lineup, it’s obvious that we will be looking at contending on a number of fronts. Giacomo Nizzolo is hugely experienced in this race, and despite a strong field, we’ll be looking to him to use that in the sprint stages.

“Ben O’Connor was one of the revelations of the event last year before he crashed and will be looking to draw on all of that experience – positive and negative - this year.

“And then along with the other riders riding in support of those guys, we have the likes of Enrico Gasparotto and Ryan Gibbons who can make a real impact on the punchier stuff, so expect to see a lot of us over the course of the three weeks.”






EF Education First Pro Cycling Names Giro d'Italia Squad
Bennett, Breschel, Brown, Caicedo, Carthy, Dombrowski, Kangert, and Modolo named to EF Education First Giro d’Italia squad.

"There's an old saying that applies to me: you can't lose the game if you don't play the game." - William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet.

Here we are, ready to play the game as the first Grand Tour of the year is charged and ready to take to the stage. The curtain will raise on the 102nd Giro d’Italia this Saturday in Bologna, where a 21-stage drama will commence. The power of the iconic pink leader's jersey driving them along through cities, past seas, up and down mountains to their final destination: Verona. The rider quickest against the three-week clock will stand head held high crowned by a roaring crowd within Verona’s amphitheatre.

Italy has immense pride in its aptitude to conserve tradition. The Giro itself has proven innovative over the years offering an antidote to, say, the Tour de France, but the race always comes down to the traditional arena of the Alps and Dolomites mountains. For riders, staff, and fans, the Giro feels like a celebration of Italy, from road to table.

EF Education First Pro Cycling Team sport director Fabrizio Guidi, an Italian who now calls Switzerland home, gets right to the point when asked about the high points of Italian dining.



“Tignanello wine and fiorentina are good together, but I think my favourite wine is Sassicaia and my favourite dish is Catalana di Scampi — but they don’t go together,” Guidi says. “Scampi has to be eaten with a white wine.”

“I did the Giro two or three years ago with [Alberto] Bettiol and Fabrizio and in one of the stages around Florence they basically got this special delivery for us of Fiorentina from, according to them, the best butcher in Italy,” says Joe Dombrowski. “There’s this knowledge and pride around the food in Italy that I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else in the world.”

Life in Italy follows a long-ago written script. Like the romance that plays out between Romeo and Juliet, passion has a twine that twists its way through society. Foods and wines must fall together like lovers in each other’s arms; design and architecture are fertilized by craftsmanship and beauty; flamboyance is the pillar of language and fashion.

So when it comes to a bike race, one that’s more than 100 years old, it embodies all this with tradition being its beating heart. It's a race that the nation has grown up watching, an occasion for family get togethers.



"I grew up with the Giro, watching it on TV with my father and my uncle and brother. We had one TV and we would meet as a family and watch it together,” Guidi explains. “Some of us would support one rider, some would support another. As a child it was fascinating to see the energy that people put into watching this sport.”

Its personality is different in comparison to cycling’s other heartlands, like France and Belgium Guidi says, “In Belgium you are strong if you can ride hard on the cobbles. Here in Italy everyone loves the one who can survive on the mountain.”

Sticking to tradition, this year’s race has back-loaded the mountain stages into the third and final week.

“The last week of the Giro is always the big crescendo, but the geography of Italy and the way the race is designed means it’s much more varied. It’s not like in the Tour de France where you have blocks of flat days and then you arrive in the Pyrenees and then the Alps. In Italy there can be something hiding behind every corner,” sport director Charly Wegelius says.

This year’s Giro d’Italia has a total of three time trials, giving the riders who aren’t as strong in the mountains the chance to claw some time back. But as a consequence of this those missing kilometers have to be made up elsewhere. This year there will be nine stages that exceed 200 kilometers in length. Stage 16 serves up an eye-popping 5,000m (16,400 feet) of vertical elevation over 226 (140 miles) kilometers, where the double act of Passo Gavia at 2,618m (8,589 feet) and Mortirolo at 1,854m (6,100 feet) will soften riders’ legs to clay.

“I have the impression that it’s more of a classic Giro, in that there’s long stages and some really big mountain stages in terms of the amount of climbing. The second half of a Grand Tour, the narrative is completely different, guys start to get tired, there’s just this sense of apathy and when you have that it turns into opportunities for the opportunists,” Dombrowski says, his thirst for the mountains quite obvious.

Being the Grand Tour that takes place in spring can mean the weather can be unpredictable. It’s not unheard of for the peloton to race between walls of snow at the top of climbs. Descents down mountains after monster efforts climbing up them can chill riders to the core, adding another layer of complexity to keeping it all together. Everything is scripted to be unpredictable.

"I think the race reflects the best things about Italy to be honest, a lot of passion, a lot of color, all kinds of unexpected things going on. Odd things can happen in this race. That’s a bit of a rarity in pro cycling at the moment. In 2010 there was a 56 rider breakaway that got 40 minutes on the peloton, which is unheard of generally in cycling,” Wegelius reflects, a pang of lust towards a race that he rarely works nowadays.

There’s something about this race, it embraces you, taking you on a journey it doesn’t want you to forget.

If what Shakespeare wrote for that famous love story in Verona is true, ‘Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs,’ then the passion for a bike race is made from the grimaces of pain fighting for pink.

The Rider Download
Choosing a team for a Grand Tour is a process, like making a fine Parmesan. You need the right ingredients that come together, mature and produce a great result.

Sean Bennett

Sean Bennett
says: “I was pretty excited when I was told that I was going to be racing the Giro. I’ve been listed as reserve for a while and have been hearing mixed things about my chances of racing it. I’m super grateful for the opportunity to race my first Grand Tour during my neo-pro season.”

Charly Wegelius says: “The Giro is going to be a steep learning curve for Sean. A Grand Tour is a deep dip into cycling. Sean, like most first-time three-week race riders, will find new limits. He’s probably going to redefine what it means to be extremely tired. We’re confident that he’s got the skills to make the most of this chance but he’s got no expectations on him. He’s there to watch and learn.”

Jonathan Caicedo

Jonathan Caicedo
says: “It’s a dream to race the Giro. I hope that I can help support the team and enjoy every moment.”

Charly Wegelius says: “Jonathan has had a quiet start to the year but every time he’s raced he’s shown himself to be determined. Apart from being good on a bike, he’s a very quick learner and a smart guy on the bike. He’s on the same kind of plan as Sean. We’re not going to put any pressure on him.”

Joe Dombrowski
Joe Dombrowski
says: “This race suits my own strength. The harder mountain stages come in week three, and I like that epic blast in the final week. It’s going to make for some good viewing.”

Charly Wegelius says: “Joe’s a regular at the Giro now. This race, along with the Tour of Switzerland, are two races in the year that really suit him the most. He’s been really diligent in his preparation. Given the right circumstances, Joe could pop off a mountain stage win if the race unfolds in a certain way.”

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel
says: “I knew that there was a free spot so I put my hand up. I really wanted to do another Grand Tour. It’s been a few years, so I thought it was about time.”

Charly Wegelius says: “Matti had some health problems at the beginning of the Classics season. The doctors did a great job to get him back on track and salvage some of his Classics season, but without having raced all the cobbled races, he’s got a lot more left in the tank than he would normally have. We’ll put that fitness and his experience to good use. Having an older head in a young group of riders is really essential.”

Hugh Carthy
Hugh Carthy
says: “This is probably the hardest Giro route that there’s been since I’ve turned professional. I’ve grown a lot as a rider over the past couple years, and I think I’m ready to give it a real good go this year.”

Charly Wegelius says: “Hugh is working hard, and, as he gets older, he just takes the workload much more in his stride. Slowly he’s getting up to knocking on the door to a nice result.”

Tanel Kangert

Tanel Kangert
says: “They have made stages way longer than we’ve had in the last couple years. I haven’t done a Grand Tour where you’re riding 200 plus kilometers every second day, but I’m an old man so maybe this gives me an advantage. I hope that the youngsters will tire faster and that maybe my endurance will help me.”

Charly Wegelius says: “Tanel has had a kind of a slow burn over the spring. He was sick at the beginning of March, which was probably a bit of a blessing in disguise considering his program coming up. We saw in Liège that he’s coming into condition at just the right time. I hope that Tanel can take advantage of not having the big GC riders in the team, who he’d normally have to work for, and make the most of the chance that he gets.”

Sacha Modolo

Sacha Modolo
says: “For me, the Giro is the best moment in the season, particularly this year because there are two stages that pass close to my home, so I will have more fans here cheering for me.”

Charly Wegelius: “Sacha is coming off a pretty hard spring. Things haven’t gone as he would have hoped up until now, but we have faith in him and when things don’t turn the way you want them, apart from doing all the checks to ensure everything is the way it should be, you’ve just got to keep the faith really and keep repeating good practices and doing the right things.”

Nate Brown

Nate Brown
says: “I’ve done lots of Grand Tours now and the Giro is my favourite one. It’s a super hard course this year. The last week is going to be brutal but I’m excited for it. On top of my excitement about the route, I found out the other day that Sean Bennett got the call-up, and I was pretty stoked about that for him. I asked if we could room together because I think we’ll get along great. Going into your first Grand Tour, you don’t really know what to expect. I remember my first one and I had no idea what I was doing. If I can give Sean a bit of knowledge to help him get through, I’ll have already accomplished something.”

Charly Wegelius says: “Nate is slowly turning into a guarantee for us. Like Hugh, Nate has needed a few years of work for him to really solidify himself, but he’s now a rider that we know we can send to any race and count on him delivering a reliable, high-quality performance. In a group where you have riders riding their first three-week races, guys like Nate are invaluable.”





AG2R-La Mondiale team for the Giro
Laurent Biondi discusses the members of the AG2R-La Mondiale team who will be at the start of the Giro d'Italia on May 11th in Bologne.

After eleven participations in the Giro, Hubert Dupont has already completed 231 stages over the Italian roads. During his career, he has completed an incredible 21 Grand Tours (four Tour de France, five Vuelta, and eleven Giro).

Vincent Lavenu: "We are starting this Giro d'Italia with great ambitions. During their careers both Alexis Vuillermoz and Tony Gallopin have proved that they are able to take victories at Grand Tours. And Tony proved last year at the Vuelta a Espana that he also has the ability to race for the general classification in a three week event. He is a very professional racer, and I know he will be prepared for the toughest stages. In 2014, in his only participation in the Italian event, Alexis Vuillermoz made a strong impression (11th), while working for the team all along. In general, I want to see aggressive and uncomplicated racers taking on the 21 stages. I know that the entire team can achieve great things."

François Bidard Born on March 19th, 1992. 27 years old
Height / weight: 1m80 / 65 kg
Giro: 3rd participation
Best result: 37th (2018)
2019 season: 1 top ten
"François showed his affinity for the Italian races by finishing among the best at the Trofeo Laigueglia early this season. He has already participated in three Grand Tours, and has improved in the general classification each time. His climbing skills and his team spirit will make it possible for him to accompany our leaders in the mountains. He may also try his luck in breakaway over the course of the three weeks of racing."

Nico Denz (Ger) Born on February 15th, 1994. 25 years old
Height / weight : 1m83 / 71 kg
Giro: 2nd participation
Best result: 62th
2019 season: 1 top twenty
"Nico was a revelation last year having just missed out on a stage victory (2nd) at the Giro d'Italia. He has also demonstrated his ability to be present at the front during tricky stages. Racing the classics has given him the experience and confidence to bump elbows with the best of them in the peloton, and he will be a valuable asset in our efforts to protect our two leaders. After a good season in 2018, he should be able to confirm his potential this year.”

Hubert Dupont Born on November 13th, 1980. 38 years old
Height / weight: 1m74 / 58 kg
Giro : 12th participation
Best result: 11e (2011-2016)
2019 season: 1 top ten
"At the Giro, Hubert will continue in the role that suits him perfectly: that of road captain. He will be starting the Giro for the twelfth time in his career. At almost 39 years old, he know the Giro by heart and he likes the difficult courses. He is able to ride outside himself to help his leaders in the mountains. He is an essential component in the organization of the team."

Tony Gallopin Born on May 24th, 1988. 30 years old.
Height / weight: 1m80 / 69 kg
Giro: 1st participation
2019 Season: 4 top ten
"Tony is getting ready to do his very first Giro in his 12 years of racing. Already a stage winner at the Tour de France (2014) and the Vuelta a Espana (2018), he now dreams of raising his arms in Italy. He is an experienced rider whose talent is well established. And he proved last year in Spain (11th) that he can also play a leading role in a three-week race. He will share the responsibilities at the head of the team with Alexis Vuillermoz."

Ben Gastauer (Lux) Born on November 14th, 1987. 31 years old.
Height / weight: 1m90 / 73 kg
Giro: 5th participation
“Ben Gastauer, is a great guy, and the team's quiet strength.
At 31, he will start his 12th Grand Tour. He is able to race as our third man for the overall team standings, but he will also be very important on tough days. His experience, as well as his calm, are huge assets to ease three weeks of racing! He also has the means to win a stage.”


Nans Peters Born March 12th, 1994. 25 years old
Height / weight: 1m77 / 72 kg
Giro: 1st participation
2019 season: two top ten
"Nans should have been at the Giro last year, but an injury delayed his introduction to this Italian event. At last year’s Vuelta, his first Grand Tour, he showed great recovery abilities. He was racing at the front during the 11th stage where he finished in 4th place. He has a real team spirit but mixes that with an aggressive racing streak. He can hope for great things during this three weeks.”

Alexis Vuillermoz Born on June, 1st, 1988. 30 years old
Height / weight: 1m74, 60 kg
Giro: 2nd participation
Best result: 11th (2014)
2019 season: 1 victory, 7 top ten
"Alexis wanted to change his program this season and return to the Giro, five years after his last participation (where he took 11th). After a victory in March at the Royale Bernard Drôme Classic, his progress was slowed by a crash at Tirreno Adriatico. But during the Tour des Alpes, he proved that he was not very far from his best form. His climbing skills and his recovery capacity over three weeks should allow him to demonstrate his strengths on the Italian roads and aim for a top ten, or even better. He will be the leader of our team over the next three weeks."

Larry Warbasse (US) Born on June, 28th, 1990. 28 years old.
Height / weight: 1m83 / 67 kg
Giro: 2nd participation
2019 season: 1 top twenty
"Larry will be one of the road captains for our team at this Giro. He joined our squad over the winter, and has perfectly integrated with the group. He knows how difficult Grand Tours can be, and has proved his ability to be at the head of affairs on the most difficult stages. His stage victory at the Tour de Suisse in 2017 also shows that he can win UCI WorldTour events."





Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè: Giro d’Italia Official Line-Up
Giro d’Italia n.102, the Italian-Japanese line-up is back. Marco Canola the leader, Juan Josè Lobato the finisseur for the short climb sprint, Nicola Bagioli and Sho Hatsuyama the escape-man, Ivan Santaromita the climber, Giovanni Lonardi the young sprinter, Damiano Cima and Hiroki Nishimura team-worker. This is the #OrangeBlue line-up ready to ride Giro.

A young line-up with some experienced leaders, the one selected by the #OrangeBlue Sports Directors for the most important appointment of the season, the Giro d’Italia n.102. 8 riders, from 3 countries, for a mix of youth and experience that will guarantee to the NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè team the chance to be protagonists on every stage of the “Pink Ride”. 26 yo the average age, conditioned by the 3 experienced leaders, with 4 young riders launched by the team at their first Grand Tour among professionals. Among them, also a stage winner of the 2018 Giro Under23: Giovanni Lonardi.

The NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè line-up is a new record for Japanese cycling. It is the first line-up ever with 2 Japanese riders in the same team starting a Big Tour. A very good signal for the Japanese cycling in the last year before Tokyo Olympics.

Line-Up
Marco Canola, the leader of the team who won a stage in the Giro d’Italia in 2014, is on his great return to the Giro d’Italia and very motivated to start strong to make his mark. At his side the Spanish athlete Juan Josè Lobato, winner of the Coppa Sabatini 2018, with 15 victories among PROs, is the most successful athlete of #OrangeBlue line-up at the start of the 102nd Giro d'Italia. Nicola Bagioli, Damiano Cima and Giovanni Lonardi compose a trio of Italian riders launched by the NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè team in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively with the latest one having already won two races in its first three months in professionalism. Hiroki Nishimura, born in Japan in 1994, will be the Japanese athlete ready to face his first Grand Tour to make an important experience, while the most experienced Japanese will be Sho Hatsuyama. Ivan Santaromita, Italian National Champion in 2013, will be the most experienced athlete on the team (35 years).

The official line-up:
Marco Canola, Juan Josè Lobato, Ivan Santaromita, Nicola Bagioli, Sho Hatsuyama, Hiroki Nishimura, Giovanni Lonardi, Damiano Cima.

Sports Directors Declaration:
Mario Manzoni and Takehiro Mizutani will be the Sports Directors on the team cars at Giro d’Italia, but the choices were taken in concert between all the DS, with Valerio Tebaldi and Alessandro Donati, also considering the recent injuries and the concomitant Tour of Japan. Due to injuries of Filippo Zaccanti and Joan Bou, and most of all of Alejandro Osorio the line-up has been revised until the last day.

Also Nicola Bagioli and Ivan Santaromita recovered in extremis from their injuries caused by a car accident (Nicola Bagioli hit by a car during training) and by falls in the last races (Tour of The Alps for Ivan Santaromita).

These are the words of DS Mario Manzoni about the Giro line-up: "The most beautiful, important and demanding race of the season awaits us. We wanted to get there with a few less injuries, but these will be behind us from the first minute of the race because we want to play our chances every day. We have a perfectly assorted line-up for intermediate stage arrivals such as Marco Canola and Juan Josè Lobato also important as a team man. For the toughest stages an experienced climber like Ivan Santaromita who can emerge in the third week, a young man already as mature as Nicola Bagioli will be able to escape in some stages, as it is Sho Hatsuyama. Our man for the sprint arrivals will be the young Giovanni Lonardi, already a winner among the PROs, together with Damiano Cima, a fundamental team man expected in this Giro in his final test of maturity. Hiroki Nishimura will be an important team man. We will try to always be protagonists in every stage, for all the numerous Italian and Japanese fans that will follow and support us."





Israel Cycling Academy to the Giro d'Italia
Italian Davide Cimolai will lead Israel Cycling Academy to its second Giro d’Italia with a clear goal: Win a stage, be aggressive, get an Israeli to the finish line of a Grand Tour for the second time in history.

Cimolai commented, “We are bringing a strong team. We can win a stage.” Spaniard Ruben Plaza and an experienced, versatile team will try to better the team’s performance from the historic 2018 Giro, which started last year in Jerusalem. Israeli Guy Niv has gotten the nod.

Israel Cycling Academy will send a “strong and versatile team” to its second ever Grand Tour, the 2019 Giro d’Italia, with a clear goal to win a stage and ride aggressively through one of the most difficult editions of the Giro in recent years. The team’s management expressed confidence that it will be stronger and more experienced than that which took part in the historic 2018 Giro d’Italia that started in Jerusalem last year. In particular, the team hopes to take advantage of its added ammunition in the flat stages: its new Italian sprinter Davide 'Cimo' Cimolai, who moved over to the team from Groupama-FDJ this winter.

“We feel that we can support Cimo and give him a chance to win for us,” said team manager Kjell Carlström. “He proved his ability this season with us and we feel we have a designated strong sprinter who can be there in the first part of the Giro.” The team will include another Italian, Kristian Sbaragli, as well as Canadian Guillaume Boivin and Irish National Road Race Champion Conor Dunne to support Cimolai. As well, the team is sending some strong climbers in Swedish-Eritrean Awet Gebremedhin and Israeli Guy Niv, and breakaway specialists Spaniard Ruben Plaza and Latvian Krists Neilands. “Overall, we feel we have a balanced and versatile team [for] this Giro,” said Carlström.

As an Israeli team with a very clear vision of developing Israeli Cyclists, the team stayed true to its identity by picking 25-year-old Israeli climber Guy Niv for its Giro lineup. This will be Niv’s second Giro, the last one ending in deep disappointment as a flu forced him to abandon during the 5th stage. “Niv showed consistency in his races this year, has improved significantly in all facets of his game and became stronger physically. With his understanding what is demanded for a rider in the Grand Tour after last year’s experience, we feel he is now ready to face the challenge successfully,” said Carlström.

Niv was enthusiastic to get the chance: “From the very moment I was forced to abandon in the Giro last year, I was on a personal mission to pay back the debt to myself and the team. I am confident that I will make it this time and be there in Verona in the last stage.”

Another bold decision for the team was to choose Eritrean-Swedish climber Awet Gebremedhin for the squad. This is only Gebremedhin’s second year as a pro, having a dramatic life story that included spending a year almost starving before gaining refugee status in Sweden and the chance to race again. “I am grateful,” he said. “I am still in a dream. I will do everything to justify the trust that ICA has put in me. If you would have asked me 4 years ago when I was hiding in a basement if this day will ever come, I would have said you are totally crazy. But it all happened: I got to meet my parents after years of separation, got married with my fiancée who I have not seen for 5 years, and now the Giro. I worked hard for this but it’s still unbelievable.”

Cimolai, the Italian sprinter who joined Israel Cycling Academy this year with the new role of top sprinter after years of working for others, was equally happy and hopeful. He enjoyed a successful start with ICA, finishing second on stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico behind Julian Alaphilippe, winning two stages and the GC (his first ever overall win) in the Vuelta a Castilla Leon, and most recently finishing 4th in Eschborn-Frankfurt. “It will be my first Giro and to do it with ICA is just wonderful. They gave me a chance to be a leader and trusted me. Now I want to reward my team with a stage victory and with the squad we have it’s definitely possible.”

ICA Squad for the Giro d’Italia:
Davide Cimolai, Ruben Plaza, Krists Neilands, Guillaume Boivin, Conor Dunne, Guy Niv, Awet Gebremedhin, Kristian Sbaragli.





La Vuelta 19: Teams Selection
The organizers of La Vuelta have chosen the teams that will take part in the 74th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour. La Vuelta 19 will start on Saturday the 24th of August and finish on Sunday the 15th of September, from Torrevieja (Costa Blanca) to Madrid.

In accordance with UCI rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
Bahrain - Merida (BRN)
Bora – Hansgrohe (GER)
CCC Team (POL)
Deceuninck – Quick Step (BEL)
EF Education First (USA)
Groupama - FDJ (FRA)
Lotto Soudal LTS (BEL)
Mitchelton - Scott (AUS)
Movistar Team (ESP)
Team Dimension Data (RSA)
Team Ineos (GBR)
Team Jumbo – Visma TJV (NED)
Team Katusha - Alpecin (SUI)
Team Sunweb SUN (GER)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Abu Dhabi (UAE).

In addition to these eighteen teams, the organizers have awarded the following wildcards:
Burgos - BH (ESP)
Euskadi Basque Country – Murias (ESP)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (FRA)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (ESP).





Caja Rural-Seguros RGA Will Participate in the 2019 Vuelta a España
Unipublic, the organizers of the most important cycling event in Spain, announced on Tuesday its four wild card teams that will participate at La Vuelta. Among them is once again Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, which will take part in its eighth consecutive edition of the Spanish grand Tour.

Just like every season, our team will try to return this confidence on the roads, showing its best performance in a first level race. La Vuelta 2019 will begin next August 24th with a team time trial in Torrevieja (Alicante) and will conclude in Madrid on September 15th. Furthermore, nine mountain stages and some finals marked in red for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA as those of Urdax-Dantxarinea or Bilbao on September 4th and 5th.

Juan Manuel Hernández (manager): "This is the eighth consecutive participation of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in La Vuelta. It may seem habitual, but it means big news full of joy for the whole team every year. This race gifted us many of the best memories harvested during ten years in the professional level and, therefore, we keep the illusion of creating new ones."

"We are very grateful to Unipublic for the opportunity to return to La Vuelta, the main target of the year every season. Although to the date we have had bad luck with injuries, we keep working hard so that everyone recovers 100%. We will have eight riders to fight on all fronts, in the mountain stages and also in the sprints, where we are stronger this year. Of course, we will give new opportunities to our young cyclists so that they can measure themselves to the best riders of the world. In these seasons we have accumulated very good moments and we will return to La Vuelta with the maximum enthusiasm to relive them."






Pogačar leads UAE Team Emirates in the Tour of California
Team heads to the United States for the WorldTour stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates will line up at the start of the World Tour stage race, the Tour of California (May 12-18) with a young and ready team.

Sports directors Neil Stephens (Aus) and Bruno Vicino (Ita) will take the following seven cyclists:
– Kristijan Durasek (Cro)
– Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– Cristian Muñoz (Col)
– Rui Oliveira (Por)
– Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
– Tadej Pogačar (Slo)

Four riders (Muñoz, Rui Oliveira, Philipsen and Pogačar) are under the age of 23 but can lean on the experience of Ferrari, Durasek and Laengen.

Tadej Pogačar, in his first year in a World Tour team, has already shown his enormous talent: "I will try to fight for a good result in the general classification, hoping to still be able to count on the good form that has supported me in all the races of this first part of the season. It was a great start to the year for me, I learned a lot and at the same time, I pulled in some important results. I have great enthusiasm and I’m happy to go racing in the United States, where I competed only in Richmond in 2015, when I was in the junior world championship."

Of the seven stages on tap, as many as five will offer the sprinters the chance to win, while the remaining two (stages two and six) will present selective routes that will shape the general classification.





A strong Six Pack of TBM Heading California and led by Rohann Dennis
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team will attend with six riders, but with a strong lineup for the team debut at AMGEN Tour of California 2019.

AMGEN Tour of California is an annual professional cycling event that is the only men’s cycling event in the U.S. on the UCI World Tour calendar and attracts some of the most renowned cyclists and teams in the world. The seven-day Men's stage race will begin the 2019 race in Sacramento and conclude in Pasadena, covering more than 800 miles, this will be the eleventh time in the event’s 14 year history that the peloton will travel from north to south in the Golden State.

AMGEN Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines.

Tristan Hoffman, Team Bahrain-Merida Sports Director says: "We have high goals, we have a strong and compact team. Without a TT this year, stages with uphill finishes will be a priority for GC. There are two main sprint stages and two other with the possibility of a select group sprint. Depending on GC time gaps after the mountain finish at penultimate stage, the fight for the GC will most likely go until the last stage. We have two main focuses; Rohan Dennis for GC, no matter that this years' race will be without a TT. It will be challenging for Rohan but still the goal is top five. He proved in the past with 2 stage victories and 2 runner-up placements in the GC that Tour of California is suitable for him. We have all rights to expect stage wins with either Phil Bauhaus at sprinter stages, Ivan Cortina or another rider for breakaway stages."

"Our clear goals are top 5 in GC with Rohan Dennis, stage podiums with Phil Bauhaus, Ivan Cortina or any of our strong riders from the "Six-Pack" of TBM. We had to adjust to the situation, because of some injuries in our team and riders preparing for the other races, but no matter, we are very motivated for the upcoming AMGEN Tour of California 2019."


Team BAHRAIN MERIDA line-up for AMGEN Tour of California 2019:
Marcel Sieberg, Ivan Cortina, Rohann Dennis, Phil Bauhaus, Heinrich Haussler, Hermann Pernsteiner.





Israel Cycling Academy team for the Amgen Tour of California
The team announced its lineup for the Amgen Tour of California, headed by Colombian Edwin Avila. Norwegian sprinter Sondre Holst Enger, Swiss climber Matteo Badilatti, and two Israelis, Guy Sagiv and Israeli National Road Champion Roy Goldstein, also made the cut.

“With 30 riders in our team we are ready to face our biggest races of the season having the ability to put in line two strong teams and that’s what we were able to do,” said ICA pro manager Carlström. “We were definitely dealt with a big blow with the knee injury to our top GC rider Ben Hermans in the Flèche Wallonne classic 10 days ago. We intended that he will be our GC man in California, but he just could not recuperate in time, so we needed to change strategy: Instead of going with GC aspirations to California we send a very versatile team that can be in contention at every stage. We have two fast riders (Avila and Enger), a great climber (Badilatti) and guys for breakaways like Canadian Alex Cataford, plus two Israelis with very special motivation. Because for us as an Israeli team its’ like racing in our second home in many ways. This is very important to us: to reach a huge and supportive audience on the other side of the ocean and compete at the highest level you can find.”

The first Israeli to finish a grand tour, Guy Sagiv, will head to the World Tour race at the Amgen Tour of California. The team suffered a blow when Ben Hermans was scratched from their California lineup due to a knee injury, but the team is still sending a strong lineup headed by Colombian Edwin Avila. Guy Sagiv rose to hero status in his home country when he became the first Israeli to finish a Grand Tour last year. Sagiv has endured a slow start of the season due to injuries. Guy Sagiv backed the team decision to leave him of the Giro roster. He will instead ride the Amgen Tour of California in May. “I did not have enough stage races this year so realistically the Amgen Tour of California suits me better.” he stated.

Israeli Champion Roy Goldstein: “For us, it’s really home away from home. I expect so many Israeli flags on the side of the roads. It will give us goose bumps and amazing motivation. I followed this race for years and it will be great to take part in it.”

“I am excited that Israel Cycling Academy will be racing in the iconic Amgen Tour of California for the first time in mid-May,”
said ICA co-owner Sylvan Adams. “With a California Jewish population of nearly 2 million, including approximately 500,000 Israeli expats, I expect that ICA riders will feel the warmth from friendly spectators along the route, waving the Israeli blue and white flag, cheering for their team. ICA is the team of the entire Jewish people. The riders are motivated to race a great race in front of what they consider to be a real home crowd.”

ICA Squad for California:
Edwin Avila, Guy Sagiv, Roy Goldstein, Matteo Badilatti, Hamish Schreurs, Alex Cataford and Sondre Holst Enger.





Sergio Higuita joins EF Education First
EF Education First Pro Cycling is thrilled to welcome WorldTour newcomer Sergio Higuita to the team. The 21-year-old makes a mid-season transfer to the American outfit from Basque Continental squad Team Euskadi. The Colombian has made an early season splash in Spain and Portugal whenever the road rises.

“Sergio is quite an exceptional talent,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughers. “He’s rarely been off the podium in any race that has an uphill section. We’re pretty excited the UCI allowed us to bring him on board a little early this year!” Vaughters began to pursue Higuita following the 2018 Tour of Colombia. Higuita won a stage, the U23 classification and took fifth overall.



“Quite a few teams were interested in me, but EF Education First were the ones chasing me the most,” Higuita explained. “I chose EF because it’s a team that works together like a family, where exploring the world and seeing the beauty from the bike is most important to them. It’s important to me, too, to be happy on the bike.” Higuita was born in Medellín on Aug. 1, 1997 and lined up for his first bike race less than six years later. “I started riding because of a teacher at my school,” he explained. “She signed me up to take part in a race when I was five. It was on every year, and I did it all the way up until I was 13 or 14. I used to wait anxiously for the date, and the day before I couldn’t think of anything but the excitement of racing. I never won it, but I came close a few times.”

His interest in pro racing began not too long after he started racing a bike. Higuita would watch the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia on television. He admired Alberto Contador’s style of racing and aimed to emulate it. "I used to train with my friends and attack them again and again until I blew up,” he said. “Even now, I’m a very combative racer. I love being in the battle and giving it my all.”

Manzana Postobón noticed Higuita’s natural talent and his ever-growing passion for the sport. They offered him a contract when he was 17 and brought him to Europe the following season. “It was a very special moment,” said Higuita. “Before racing in Europe, I’d only competed at one proper race in Colombia, and I’d found that tough.”

His first European race was Tour of Asturias. He cramped during the open stage and crawled across the finish line in 92nd place, 23 minutes down on stage one winner and new EF Education First teammate Hugh Carthy. “I was a new cyclist, in a new country, and it was difficult,” Higuita noted. “But I was hungry. I said to myself: ‘Tomorrow you’re going to go out and fight for what you’ve always wanted.’ And so I fought to get into the break that day. And I did.” Every new objective achieved and milestone reached fueled Higuita’s determination, commitment and happiness. “My proudest moments are the ones where I make the people who I love happy with me for who I am,” said Higuita. “When I see them happy, it makes me happy, too. Each time I reach goals or have important results, and I can see that it makes them really proud. That motivates me to continue, to keep going.”

Higuita’s contract with EF Education First was predicated on the condition that he move from Manzana Postobón, his home for three seasons, to Euskadi for the first half of 2019 to gain more European miles in his legs. “All I wanted to do is learn, so it was a great opportunity for me,” said Higuita.

He understates. He did more than learn. He claimed top ten results, including one victory, in more than half his race days. He finished sixth, fourth and 12th in three of the four Challenge Mallorca races. He claimed the best young rider jersey, in 13th overall, at Volta Valenciana. He was 7th overall, and second on the queen stage, at Andalucia and third at GP Miguel Indurain. He won stage four of Volta Alentejo en route to finishing fifth overall. “These races have helped strengthen me physically and the results have given me confidence,” said Higuita. “All of these moments make me happy, that’s most important, and they also get me better known as a cyclist.”

The results also accelerated his start with the team. A mid-season transfer originally planed for July was moved to May. Higuita will line up for the Amgen Tour of California in argyle. “I don’t really have the words to explain my happiness,” Higuita said. “But now I have to keep going. It was hard to get here, but it will be even harder to stay here. I am so excited to debut at the Tour of California. I’m looking forward to working for guys like Rigoberto Uran and Tejay van Garderen. I looked up to them when I was younger. To be able to ride alongside them is a big motivation for me to give my best.”





Sunweb Sign Casper van Uden to the Development Program
Team Sunweb are pleased to announce the signing of Casper van Uden to their Development program for two years, from the start of the 2020 season. A prodigious talent who has tasted success in the junior ranks, Van Uden scored some top results in 2018 including a fourth place finish at the tough La Philippe Gilbert Juniors.

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Juniors earlier in the season highlighted Van Uden’s strength, where he won the race in a sprint from a leading group of eleven, his biggest victory to date. A rider who can survive in the tough classics and compete for results with his fast sprint, Van Uden also competes on the track, making him a well-rounded rider.

Coach and scouting coordinator for Team Sunweb, Hans Timmermans, had this to say on the signing: “Casper was on our list from an early age and he continues to impress and progress as a rider. He is a talent we really believe in, and he started this season off in exceptional form by winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in a very impressive manner. He’s an all-round cyclist, with talent in the classics where he can survive a tough day in the saddle and finish it off with a fast sprint. Also riding on the track to a very high level, we will look for him to continue in this discipline in the future to develop into a complete athlete and cyclist.”

Casper van Uden added: “I’m really looking forward to joining the Development program at Team Sunweb next year. Within the team it feels like one big family and everyone motivates and encourages each other to improve not only as riders but also as people. I’m confident that it is the right environment for me to continue to grow as a rider, learning from some of the best coaches and teammates. I can’t wait to get started.”





All Set For Giro E
The first multi-stage event in for electrically-assisted bikes, on the same roads and the same days as the Giro d'Italia, will show the beauty of Italy and the future of assisted mobility.

Six bike manufacturers, 10 teams, 18 stages, 60 cyclists, 1,829km distance, 43,546m of elevation gain... it’s all packed into one event: the Giro E, with its first edition starting next Sunday, 12 May and ending on Saturday 1 June, in Croce d’Aune. From the plain of the Bisenzio Valley to one of the iconic climbs that have forged the history of cycling: found among these opposites is the heart of the Giro E, an event that, while not being a race, has all the familiar features and characteristics, going from zero to 2,623 meters, from the sea to the peaks.

“Giro E is a Mille Miglia on bicycles, an event that enhances the beauty of Italy and allows you to enjoy it from the saddle, immersed in breathtaking landscapes and in the atmosphere of the Giro d'Italia”, explains Paolo Bellino, RCS Sport CEO and Giro E creator.

This event is many things at once, not only the first electric bike Grand Tour in history, but also the first event of global importance dedicated to pedal assisted bicycles.



On the one hand, for the riders, it is a front row seat for the 102nd Giro d'Italia: participants will be able to experience the thrill of the signature podium at the start, of riding the roads on the stages of the Corsa Rosa, and soaking in the scenery and the audience of the "hardest race in the most beautiful place in the world”. Then they cross the finish line under the arch which has always previously been reserved for champions such as Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome before climbing onto their own podium, for refreshment in a dedicated hospitality area, watching the pros. All this is all possible thanks to e-bikes, which bring the Dolomite coves or the Sormano Wall within the reach of normal cyclists, enabling them to enjoy the scenery without the stress of long, challenging routes on traditional bikes.

In teams of six, the riders will be challenged in regular tests, to create a ranking. Each team’s captain will wear one of the four Giro E jerseys, and take part in the final sprint at the end of each stage. There are teams focusing on the Under 23 youth, and others celebrating champions from different eras. Cycling personalities already confirmed include Gianni Bugno and Felice Gimondi (BFD team), and the former World Champions Edita Pučinskaitė, Regina Schleicher and Diana Žiliūtė of the all-female Kilocal-Selle SMP team. There are also a number of famous sportsmen and women who comprise the Milano Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics team: Antonio Rossi, Dominik Paris, Jury Chechi, Alessandra Sensini and Christian Zorzi.

On the other hand, for the technology, Giro E is the world’s first true test of pedal-assisted e-road racing bikes, and more generally for electronic technology in the world of cycling. It is the first event worldwide which provides a comparison of the different technical choices that underlie the various manufacturers’ projects in e-road bikes: in doing so, Giro E gives a unique perspective on the new way of pedaling that is conquering the world. Alongside Pinarello, with the Nytro model that has been changing perception towards electric racing bikes, will be De Rosa, Epowers, Olmo, Trek, and Fusion: different philosophies and different bikes, which for the first time will be on the road one next to each other. For Giro E they will all be limited in speed to a maximum 25kph.

Finally, following the path traced by the legend, “the hardest race in the most beautiful place in the world", Giro E is an ambassador for Italy itself.

Giro E represents Italy’s ability to attract tourists, not just to the great cities of art but also to the vast parts of the country where life is in slower and there are many enchanting places to discover and showcase. Only the poetry of the Giro, built over 102 years of epic challenges, coupled with the electric motor of the new power-assisted racing bikes, could bring this new caravan to incredibly beautiful places that were previously inaccessible to many regular cyclists. The National Tourism Agency team has taken the opportunity to invite journalists from all over the world to alternate riding on various stages and tell the story of the Giro and Italy in 15 different languages.

Giro E
Giro E is an amateur cycling experience for ten teams of six riders each who, with electric-assisted racing bikes, will face regular tests on part of the route of 18 stages of the 2019 Giro d'Italia (excluding the three ITTs). Giro E takes place in Italy, on the same days and on the same roads as the Corsa Rosa is held: from 12 May to 1 June.

Despite not being a race, at the end of each stage, based on the results of the timed tests, four jerseys will be awarded: Viola for the general classification, Orange for regularity, Red for sprint, and Green for the younger team. Each stage will have a variable length, depending on its difficulty, to a maximum of 115km. The average total elevation for each stage is 2,400 meters.

More info at: GIRO E.

The Teams
Agenzia Nazionale del Turismo // Bike For Dream // Castelli-Segafredo // Pinarello // Mediolanum // De Rosa // Toyota // Milano Cortina 2026 // Epowers Factory Team // Kilocal-Selle SMP

TITLE SPONSOR: Enel X
OFFICIAL CAR SPONSOR: Toyota
OFFICIAL NUTRITION SPONSOR: NamedSport





Giro d'Italia Trivia Drinking Game by FloBikes
FloBikes visited the ancient Roman stadium in Verona, Italy—the finish site of the 2019 Giro d'Italia—to test their knowledge of Italy's grand tour. Get a question wrong and drink Italian amaro, a regionally crafted liqueur that literally translates to bitter.

Watch the Giro live and on demand on FloBikes.com or on the FloSports app. The action starts on May 11th!







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