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

Milan-Sanremo this Saturday and we have the team news and course details for the 'Primavera'. Sad news of a race fatality in Belgium - Top Story. We also finish up Tirreno-Adriatico and the Nokere Koerse with reports and video. Sky team bought by INEOS, leads our other cycling news. Tour de France course news for the next few years, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Victor Campenaerts Hour Record diary part 3, UAE Special Olympics World Games medals and Paris-Nice 2019 facts and figures. Thursday EUROTRASH Sanremo time!



TOP STORY: Fatal Accident During Belgian Race
On Sunday, during the Mémorial Alfred Gadenne race in Dottenijs, a group of riders took the wrong course and after nearly two kilometers crashed into a van on the open road. Amongst the injured was the 19-year-old Stef Loos, he was taken to hospital, but Loos died of his injuries.

It comes as a big surprise that in Belgium and an area that loves cycle racing as much as the West Flanders Region, that this would happen. Normally the roads are closed and well marshaled, but there seems to have been a communications problem between the organization and the local police.

Gerard Verbrugghe, the race director of the Mémorial Alfred Gadenne race in Dottenijs, tells his story: "The peloton was split into three when they crossed a bridge over the highway. After the bridge we had to go to the right, into a small road," Verbrugghe told Het Nieuwsblad. "There were two blue arrows. Admittedly, we (the first car of the race organization) did not see it and drove straight on. A moment of inattention, but we returned quickly enough to be on the trail for the first group."

The second group turned right without any problems. But the third group, the one that included Stef Loos, did go straight on, resulting in the fatal accident. "There was indeed no signal," says Verbrugghe. "We deliver the signalers and the police prepare them. They didn't think it was necessary at that place. Why not? Well, because there is actually no conflict situation there, there is no intersecting traffic."

The group was also not preceded by a race organizers lead car. "That is only done when the gap is more than two and a half minutes. The gap of the peloton in question was less than a minute," concluded Verbrugghe. The collision happened two kilometers further on and off the course. The local police of Tournai have refused to respond and referred the case to the public prosecutor.

Our condolences to the Loos family and his friends.

Stef Loos:




Tirreno-Adriatico 2019
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) surprised the top sprinters at the end of Stage 6 beating Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) and his teammate Elia Viviani.

Jakob Fuglsang dedicated his victory on Sunday to his former teammate Michele Scarponi. On Monday the peloton had an honorary salute to the Italian, as the stage finished in Jesi, the birthplace of Scarponi. The final consisted of 10 local laps.

Deceuninck - Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe were in control of the peloton for their men; Elia Viviani and Peter Sagan. As a result the early break of Gijs Van Hoecke, Igor Boev, Mirco Maestri, Ben King, Dayer Quintana, Davide Ballerini and José Joaquín Rojas were not allowed more than 3 minutes lead. The sprinter teams started to worry, when the lead kept fluctuating around one and a half minutes with 20 kilometers to go. Rojas and Ballerini rode away from the rest, hoping to hold off the peloton, but they were caught with 3 kilometers to go.

Deceuninck - Quick-Step had their lead-out train working hard for Viviani, but it was Julian Alaphilippe who made the jump and crossed the line first ahead of Cimolai and Viviani. Adam Yates will start the final time trial stage as leader with 25 seconds in hand over Primož Roglič in the 10 kilometer time trial on Tuesday.



Stage winner, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step): "Wow, it’s such a perfect Tirreno-Adriatico for us. It’s been a successful week for Deceuninck – Quick-Step here in Italy and I am glad I could finish off the squad’s amazing work today. Kasper, Yves Max, everybody contributed to the pace and did a magnificent job on this stage, and for that I am extremely grateful. During the stage, Elia told me it was going to be a hard sprint and that he didn’t feel that good, so I was free to try and go for it. Everybody was tired today, you could see that in the bunch. I told him that we will see, then in the last kilometer I found myself on Max’s wheel and as soon as he dropped me in the front, I went full gas and that was it. I can’t tell you how happy and proud I am of my team, whom I want to thank, because this is also their victory."

Race leader, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): "Sprint stages are always tricky. Many teams were nervous today because there was a lot of wind. But the guys looked after me, I got here in one piece and there’s just the time trial left. I keep saying I’ll do the best I can and if it’s good enough, it’s good enough. The last kilometer was pretty much uphill. We know Alaphilippe can sprint on a road like this one. Maybe a couple of years ago, I could have done it too. I'm not so punchy any more. I hope to create a surprise tomorrow but the TT doesn't suit me and the gap isn't big enough but I'll do my best."

5th on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "The guys did a very good job today in preparing everything for the sprint. They pulled in the front, controlled the breakaway and rode hard in the finale to lead me out. Unfortunately, I still need more time to get back to my best form. I did the best I could but it wasn't enough to win."

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step in 4:42:11
2. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
4. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
9. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
10. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 6:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 25:15:59
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:25
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:35
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:55
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 2:24
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 2:39
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:46
8. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 2:58
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 3:03
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 3:26.

Stage 6:



Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) won the final overall of the 54th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico by 1 second from Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at the end of the Final Stage 7 time trial. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) won the 10 kilometer stage by 3 seconds from Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) and 4 second ahead of Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma).

Victor Campenaerts, Rohan Dennis and Stefan Küng had their sights on the win. European champion, Campenaerts set the target time of 11:23 and nobody managed to better him. Jos van Emden - who already twice finished second in San Benedetto del Tronto - finished short of the time of Campeanerts. World champion Rohan Dennis was previously considered the top favorite for the victory, but the Bahrain-Merida rider was 9 seconds off the mark of Campenaerts.

Sebastian Langeveld, Stefan Küng, Yves Lampaert and Alberto Bettiol all rode a good time trial, but not well enough to beat Campenaerts. At the first intermediate point, Mads Pedersen was faster than the European champion, but the Dane lost his speed in the second half and so Campenaerts won his first time trial at WorldTour level.

As the GC riders rolled down the start ramp, it was the countdown to the duel between Roglič and Yates. The Slovenian was faster than the British rider as the kilometers clicked by on the flat course, but it seemed like Yates could hold off Roglic to take the overall win. But the Mitchelton-Scott rider looked to be in trouble in the final kilometers as Roglič got closer and closer. Under the red flag of the last kilometer; Yates had 4 seconds in hand on his Slovenian rival. It turned out not to be enough for the final victory, the difference between the two turned out to be 1 second at the finish... In favor of Roglič.



Stage winner, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal): "It feels amazing to take my first victory in a WorldTour time trial. I was already close last year and also this year, I started the season with the goal of winning in the WorldTour. If that succeeds in the first time trial of the season, that’s of course fantastic! With for example Küng and van Emden - a real short-distance specialist - the world’s best time triallists were here today. Moreover, I hadn’t been able to beat Tom Dumoulin and Rohan Dennis before. That’s of course a big satisfaction. The team time trial gave me an idea about my shape, but of course you want to confirm that in-race, which also succeeded. It was quite windy today and until the intermediate point, we had a tailwind. So, I tried to save some energy during the first kilometers as I rode just beneath my average wattage. That also explains my time at the intermediate time check. Then, I would try - with some power left in the legs - to make the difference in the second part of the race. That strategy turned out to be the right one. During the final kilometer, I had the feeling that I went a little above my limit, but eventually everything worked out. After I finished, I still had to wait for over two hours in the hot seat. In the end, some really strong guys like Dumoulin and Roglič still had to start but eventually, no one was able to beat my time. Everything I do is in light of the Hour Record, but my victory today is a really good sign."

Overall winner, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): "I cannot describe and express my feelings. This is incredibly beautiful. It was very exciting and the difference is very small. It was really close. But sometimes you have to be lucky. I gave everything I had. There was a lot of headwind and I tried to make the difference in the second part. That worked out. I have to thank the whole team. This would have never been possible without my teammates. They were all very strong. I am proud of what we have shown again as a team this week. It was a very tough week and we rode really fast in every stage. This is a huge boost for me and the team in the run-up to the goals that are yet to come. In particular the Giro."

2nd overall, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): "I did the best I could. I said before the race that 25 seconds wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough indeed. But I did a good TT. I’d like to look back but my power was good and I held the position as long as I could. All the way round, the feeling was about the same, just suffering. The course didn’t suit me at all, I knew that. There’s no much more I could do. That’s bike racing. That’s sport at the highest level. But for sure next year I’ll come back and hopefully I can come back stronger and finally win this race overall."

3rd overall, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): "After the team time trial we had, it looked very difficult to end up on the final podium. We had to go for stages instead. We finish Tirreno-Adriatico with two stage wins. I’m happy for the result we eventually got. It wasn’t an easy time trial to finish with. It was no fun at all with all the wind out there."

Points winner, Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF): "This time I made it. I suffered a lot as I was in the car with [sports director] Roberto [Reverberi] looking at the results and crossing my fingers. It went well this time. Two years ago, I was very close to Peter Sagan who offered me his orange jersey writing on it ‘next time it’ll be yours’. It went that way. I’m happy. I might pay Peter back with my jersey if I manage to catch up with him."

KOM, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): "It’s been a really nice race. We won two stages, my friend Jakob [Fuglsang] is on the final podium and I get the green jersey. We can be happy with that. Today it was very difficult but it was a short time trial of only 10km. I’m satisfied to be here after crashing on my winning day. After tomorrow I’ll go in the mountains for altitude training before the Ardennes classics."

Best young rider, Sam Oomen (Sunweb): "It was really hard. I didn’t do a good TT I think. I didn’t feel good all the way. I’m just happy that I retained the white jersey. I’ve had a nice week of racing at Tirreno-Adriatico and I’ll keep riding my bike with pretty high ambitions."

3rd on the stage, Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma): "This time trial was my main goal this spring. I did not feel that my time trial was good enough for the win, but feelings can deceive sometimes. In the end it was not a bad time trial. I proved that I am among the best in this discipline. I really want to have this time trial on my palmarès, so I’m going to try again next season."

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Result:
1. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 11:23
2. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First at 0:03
3. Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:04
4. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First at 0:06
5. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 0:07
6. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:08
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb
8. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida at 0:09
9. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:11
10. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Sky at 0:12.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 7:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 25:28:00
2. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:01
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:30
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:25
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:32
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 2:34
7. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 2:42
8. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 3:01
9. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 3:12
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 3:18.

Stage 7:




Danilith Nokere Koerse 2019
Sunweb's Cees Bol won the 74th edition of Nokere Koerse on Wednesday. Bol was the first to cross the line after a crash disrupted sprint from a thinned peloton. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished in second place, Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) in third.

From the start in Deinze for the 74th edition of Nokere Koerse the main difficulty was the many cobblestone sections and the Nokereberg, which had to be climbed no less than seven times, also with the summit finish. Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel and Remco Evenepoel were the big stars on the start line.

After 28 kilometers of racing, five riders escaped on the Tiegemberg: David Boucher, Axel Journiaux, Yoann Offredo, Van der Poel's teammate Otto Vergaerde and Mattia Viel. First through the finish in Nokere after 56 kilometers, the lead was almost 8 minutes. Around half way the peloton slowly began to reduce the time gap, mostly due to the efforts of Deceuninck - Quick-Step. Other teams eventually started to get involved in the pursuit. 50 kilometers from the finish line the peloton was hit several times by crashes.

In the break; Journiaux and Viel were the first to be dropped. 40 kilometers from the finish line, Van der Poel tested his legs for the first time on the cobblestones of Wannegem and there was a counter reaction from Lars Boom, another rider with a past in cyclocross. Both riders were very active and seemed to want to make it hard for the sprinters. However, it all came back together again.

At 30 kilometers from the finish the lead of the three front runners had already fallen to just half a minute, so it was a matter of time before they were caught up. Several times cyclists tried to make the crossing, but in the end it was the early refugees themselves who threw in the towel when they entered the last 25 kilometers. After that there was a demarcated blow for pendulum, as it is called so beautifully.

Clément Carisey and Clément Russo were the next to escape and managed to take a 30 second lead, but 10 kilometers from the finish, they too were caught. On the cobblestones of the Huisepontweg the peloton was in one thin line, when Marco Canola tried to ride away, but the Italian crashed while in the lead. Boom tried to set up another attack in the last four kilometers, but the Dutchman from Roompot-Charles couldn't make a gap. The finish would now be decided by a sprint on the Nokereberg. Sunweb led the pack in the last kilometer, but there was a big crash in the last 300 meters which changed the race situation considerably. Amongst the many fallers was Mathieu van der Poel who left the race on a stretcher with a broken collarbone.

Pascal Ackermann seemed to be the man for the victory, but Cees Bol who had the finishing lunge to get ahead of the German and Jasper Philipsen. This was Bol's first pro win.



Race winner, Cees Bol (Sunweb): "Starting with five guys the plan was always to stay calm and be there in the crucial moments and we did that well. With around two and a half kilometers to go we took the front with Max and Asbjørn, with me behind, and I had the perfect run in to the line. It was a really good job from the guys and I’m super happy to have had the legs to finish it off for them: it was a team win."

2nd, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a super hard race. I opened up my sprint too early and therefore didn’t have enough power in the end. However, I’m satisfied with my performance. Congratulations to Cees Bol, he was simply the fastest today. We had a really strong team today, and we rode on the front for almost the whole race. I actually didn’t know about several of the crashes that occurred, and I think that we had a bit of luck today that helped us to avoid these."

3rd, Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates): "It was a good day, I always felt good and I had my chance to win. In the sprint, I had good legs, with so much strength, but unfortunately, I came back from too far out of the last corner. There was too little space to recover and Bol made perfect final surge. I’m still satisfied with third place, it gives me morale in view of the big classics."

Break rider, Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert): "Last Sunday I returned from Spain after a short training camp with our classics team. It was not a deliberate choice to choose for the break today. Ludwig De Winter jumped a few times at the start of the race. I tried it once and suddenly the break was gone. Of course you should then commit and I wanted to illustrate the offensive spirit of team Wanty-Gobert. Until recently I was suffering from a fatigue virus. That is now almost over, although I still sleep a lot. I like to take on races like today as an extra training. Moreover I am always enjoying myself in breakaways such as this one. After we were caught I was able to perform some work for our fast man Timothy Dupont. My next race is the Grand Prix Denain on Sunday. For the time being, I still miss some basis condition after a period without the bike. But in the classics I will try to compensate for that with mental freshness."

Danilith Nokere Koerse Result:
1. Cees Bol (Ned) Sunweb in 4:32:37
2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
4. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles
5. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
6. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
7. Justin Jules (Fra) Wallonie Bruxelles
8. Bram Welten (Ned) Arkéa Samsic
9. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Lawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Nokere Koerse'19:





See the PEZ Milan-Sanremo Preview HERE.

110th Milano-Sanremo: Provisional Entry List Announced
New Race Headquarters in Milan on the eve of La Primavera.



Provisional Entry List HERE.

The Provisional Entry List is announced today for the 110th Milano-Sanremo NamedSport on Saturday 23 March. Last year's winner, Vincenzo Nibali, will see many other champions alongside him, such as UCI Road World Champion Alejandro Valverde, previous "La Primavera" winners Arnaud Demare (2016), John Degenkolb (2015), Alexander Kristoff (2014), his team mate Fernando Gaviria, Julian Alaphilippe and his team mate Elia Viviani, Peter Sagan, Olympic Champion Greg Van Avermaet amongst many others.

UCI WORLDTEAMS – 25 teams of 7 riders each - 18 teams invited by UCI rules:
BAHRAIN - MERIDA (BRN) - Nibali, Colbrelli
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA) - Bardet, Naesen
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ) - Nielsen, Ballerini
BORA - HANSGROHE (GER) - Sagan, Bennett
CCC TEAM (POL) - Van Avermaet, Pauwels
DECEUNINCK - QUICK - STEP (BEL) - Alaphilippe, Viviani
EF EDUCATION FIRST (USA) - Clarke, Modolo
GROUPAMA - FDJ (FRA) - Demare, Guarnieri
LOTTO SOUDAL (BEL) - Ewan, Hansen
MITCHELTON - SCOTT (AUS) - Trentin, Albasini
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP) - Valverde, Bennati
TEAM DIMENSION DATA (RSA) - Kreuziger, Cummings
TEAM JUMBO - VISMA (NED) - Groenewegen, Van Poppel
TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN (SUI) - Battaglin, Spilak
TEAM SKY (GBR) - Rowe, Stannard
TEAM SUNWEB (GER) - Matthews, Dumoulin
TREK - SEGAFREDO (USA) - Degenkolb, Felline
UAE TEAM EMIRATES (UAE) - Kristoff, Gaviria

UCI Professional Continental Teams – 7 wild cards:
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI - SIDERMEC (ITA) - Belletti, Montaguti
BARDIANI CSF (ITA) - Barbin, Maestri
COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS (FRA) - Bouhanni, Laporte
DIRECT ENERGIE (FRA) - Terpstra, Bonifazio
ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY (ISR) - Neilands, Sbaragli
NERI SOTTOLI SELLE ITALIA KTM (ITA) - Visconti, Velasco
TEAM NOVO NORDISK (USA) - Planet, Peron



Useful Info:
The Race Headquarters on the eve of La Primavera, Friday 22 March, will be located at the CN l'HUB - l'HUB di Comunità Nuova, Via Luigi Mengoni 3, Milan. This is the day's program:

# 14:00 – 18:00 Accreditations and Preliminary Operations
# 14:00 – 19:00 Press Room opening times
# 14:15 – 15:45 License check
# 16:00 Race Management Meeting with Jury and Sports Managers
# 16:30 Race Management Meeting with photographers and TV

The Race Headquarters on Saturday will be located, as usual, in Sanremo at the Palafiori, Corso Garibaldi, opening at 11:00.



Course:
The Milano-Sanremo, brought to you by NamedSport, follows the classic route that has connected Milan to the Riviera di Ponente for the past 110 years, namely via Pavia, Ovada and Passo del Turchino, before descending towards Genoa Voltri. From here, the route heads west, passing through Varazze, Savona, Albenga, Imperia and San Lorenzo al Mare where after the classic sequence of the “Capi” – Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta – the peloton negotiates two climbs that have become part of the route in recent decades: the Cipressa (1982) and Poggio di Sanremo (1961). The Cipressa is just over 5.6km long with a gradient of 4.1%. The descent leading back down to the SS 1 Aurelia road is highly technical.



Final kilometers:
The ascent of Poggio di Sanremo starts 9km before the finish line. The climb is 3.7km long with an average gradient of less than 4% and a maximum of 8% in the segment shortly before the crest of the climb. The road is slightly narrower, with four hairpin turns in the first 2km. The descent is extremely technical, on asphalt roads, narrow at points and with a succession of hairpins, twist and turns as far as the junctions with the SS 1 Aurelia. The final part of the descent enters urban Sanremo and the last 2km are on long, straight urban roads. 850m from the finish line there is a left-hand bend on a roundabout. The last bend, leading into the home straight, is 750m from the finish line.

#MilanoSanremo





Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Milano-Sanremo
Julian Alaphilippe and Italian Champion Elia Viviani headline our squad for the season’s longest Monument.

With almost 300 kilometers on the agenda, seven hours in the saddle and one of the most electrifying finishes in cycling, it goes without saying that Milano-Sanremo is one of the most prized races in the world. The Classic dubbed by many as “the easiest in the world, but the most difficult to win” will run this weekend its 110th edition, taking the riders over the now traditional course which includes Passo del Turchino, Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta, which will soften the bunch before the Cipressa and Poggio, the last hurdles standing between the riders and the iconic finish on the Via Roma.

Elia Viviani has been one of the standout sprinters so far this year, capturing four victories, all at World Tour level, and taking his all-time career tally to 71 pro wins. The most recent of these came at Tirreno-Adriatico, where Viviani got the better of the other sprinters and claimed victory number 22 in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey, which boded well ahead of his sixth start in “La Primavera”.

“The team is in good shape, knows how to handle the pressure and is prepared for the race. Milano-Sanremo is one of my dreams, it’s at the top of my list actually, and winning it would be really amazing. Of course, we won’t be alone over there, as many teams will start with the same goal of taking the victory, but we go into the race motivated, extremely confident and with a plan”, said the Italian Champion.

Finishing third at his first attempt, in 2017, Julian Alaphilippe will start “La Classicissima” buoyed by his impressive string of results, consisting of victories in all the races he has started this season: Vuelta a San Juan, Tour Colombia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Strade Bianche.

“We had a beautiful week in Tirreno-Adriatico. I feel good and have a very strong morale after picking up two stage wins there. The team is solid and doesn’t lack options, as you can see. I hope to carry my recent form into Milano-Sanremo, to have a good race and feature in the finale”, Alaphilippe explained when asked about his ambitions for the season’s first Monument.

A multiple Monument winner and twice a podium finisher at the prestigious Italian Classic (2008 and 2011), Philippe Gilbert will also be at the start line on Saturday morning, ticking off his 49th presence in a Monument and his 15th in Milano-Sanremo. Powerhouse Tim Declercq, Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert, experienced lead-out man Maximiliano Richeze and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad champion Zdenek Stybar will complete the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team for one of the most important rendez-vous of the year.

23.03 Milano-Sanremo (ITA) 1.UWT
Riders:

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Tim Declercq (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Wilfried Peeters (BEL).





Trek-Segafredo for Sanremo
Trek-Segafredo has announced their selection for Saturday's Milan-San Remo. The American team is counting on, John Degenkolb, who won La Primavera four years ago. Jasper Stuyven could also be a man for final.

In 2015 Degenkolb won on the Via Roma, by out-sprinting Alexander Kristoff and Michael Matthews. Since then, the 30-year-old Degenkolb has been looking for a second win. Degenkolb's team, Trek-Segafredo, also counts on strong riders such as Jasper Stuyven, Toms Skujiņš and Edward Theuns. The Belgian finished tenth in Milan-San Remo last season. The selection is supplemented by Gianluca Brambilla, Markel Irizar and Dutchman Koen de Kort.

Trek-Segafredo lineup for Milano-Sanremo:
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), John Degenkolb (GER), Koen de Kort (NED), Markel Irizar (SPA), Toms Skujins (LAT), Jasper Stuyven (BEL), Edward Theuns (BEL).

John Degenkolb - 2015 Sanremo winner:




Sunweb to Milano-Sanremo
Luke Roberts - Team Sunweb coach: "On Saturday we have the epic classic, Milano-Sanremo which totals over 291 kilometers. It retains its traditional parcours that always create a bit of an unpredictable outcome. Last year we saw an attack on the Poggio that survived to the finish, but we have also seen the race favor the sprinters that can pass the climbs and come to a reduced bunch sprint. After Michael's tough crash in Paris-Nice last week we're pleased to see him back in action this weekend. After a recovery period off the bike we will have to see what's possible in the race. He has a good basis and is cleared to race by our medical team and hopefully he can get to the final if we have a reduced bunch. We also have Tom coming from Tirreno-Adriatico where he finished 4th, he will of course look to cover the attacks on the Poggio alongside Søren, who's condition is looking good coming into the classics."

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Marc Hirschi (SWI), Michael Matthews (AUS), Casper Pedersen (DEN), Nicholas Roche (IRL).

Tom Dumoulin:




Bora-Hansgrohe to Milan-Sanremo with Sagan and Bennett
The Bora-Hansgrohe team starts with a very strong selection, led by Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett. Sagan for an attack or a sprint from a group and Bennett for the bunch gallop.

The Irishman had good form in Paris-Nice, but is the 28-year-old Bennett up to a Milan-San Remo win? Since the Irishman has never been able to manage a place of honor in La Primavera, it's all new ground. In fact, his best result is 66th place, although Bennett was working for Sagan in the previous editions. Bennett is in top form, there can be no mistaking that. The strong sprinter already started the season well with victories in the Vuelta a San Juan and the UAE Tour. In Paris-Nice he made a real impression with two victories.

Bora-Hansgrohe will not only count on Bennett, as Peter Sagan is also on the start line. The Slovakian finished second in 2013 and 2017, while finishing sixth last year. Sagan announced earlier that he would like to win on the Via Roma. "It remains a special competition."

The triple world champion has not had an ideal preparation for La Primavera due to illness, but he said he felt better and better during Tirreno-Adriatico. His team also relies on Maciej Bodnar, Marcus Burghardt, Jempy Drucker, Oscar Gatto and Daniel Oss.

Bora-Hansgrohe for Milan-Sam Remo:
Sam Bennett (Ire), Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Jempy Drucker (Lux), Oscar Gatto (Ita), Daniel Oss (Ita), Peter Sagan (Slo).

Two stage wins in Paris-Nice for Bennett:




It’s Time for Milano-Sanremo
UAE Team Emirates goes with power-couple Gaviria-Kristoff.



After the end of Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, the UAE Team Emirates takes a straight road to Milan for the Milano-Sanremo monument on Saturday 23 March.

The technical staff selected the seven riders who will take place in the nearly 300-kilometer race, cutting south through Lombardia to Liguria.

Sports Director Marco Marzano (Ita), with General Manager Matxin (Spa) will guide the following riders:
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
– Fernando Gaviria (Col)
– Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
– Marco Marcato (Ita)
– Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)
– Diego Ulissi (Ita)

Join us with the video to look at the upcoming Milano-Sanremo:




Van Avermaet Searching for Second Monument Victory at Milan-San Remo
Greg Van Avermaet is set to headline CCC Team’s roster for the first Monument of the season, Milan-San Remo, and will be backed by the core Classics team.

On the back of solid racing at Tirreno-Adriatico, Van Avermaet will be joined by Michael Schär, Gijs Van Hoecke, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Łukasz Wiśniowski, and Alessandro De Marchi, who showed strong form at Paris-Nice.

At 291 kilometers long, Milan-San Remo, known as ‘La Primavera’, is one of the most unpredictable races on the calendar, Sports Director Fabio Baldato said.

“The decisive points of Milan-San Remo are the same as usual. The Cipressa climb and descent and the Poggio climb and descent are the points where the difference can be made and as we saw last year, Nibali did a great move and avoided a bunch sprint. Most of the time it is a sprint with 30 or 40 riders, but that is the nice thing about the race, it is open for everyone to try something,” Baldato explained.

“Greg Van Avermaet is our clear leader, he is our caption and is looking really good, but we also need to be ready to react to different situations. Alessandro De Marchi is coming in from Paris-Nice with strong form and the guys from Tirreno-Adriatico are also in good shape so we need to be smart and be ready to take every opportunity we get in the race.”

Van Avermaet, who will line up for his 12th consecutive edition and has previously finished in fifth place, is looking forward to the challenge on Saturday.

“We all know that despite the length of Milan-San Remo, it can be an easy race to finish but one of the hardest races to win. It is also one of the most open races in that anyone has a chance if they are still there on the Poggio. I’ve been in the top ten on two occasions and I know I can do a good performance, particularly if we race hard as I can do a good sprint after a long, hard race. Anything can happen at a race like Milan-San Remo so I will give everything I have on Saturday,” Van Avermaet said.

“I felt really good at Tirreno-Adriatico and I take a lot of confidence from the legs I had at the end of those long stages we did there. It was the perfect preparation race for the upcoming Classics so I think the whole team benefited from the long stages and difficult parcours.”

Milan-San Remo Rider roster:
Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL)
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Gabriele Missaglia (ITA).

Greg Van Avermaet:




A Strong and Determined Team for the 110th Sanremo
A year has already passed since Vincenzo Nibali's masterpiece. His attack with 6.5km to go remains one of the most spectacular actions of the past season. Saturday the 110th edition of the "Classicissima" will be staged from Milan to Sanremo for 291km. The route is the usual one with the passage from Pavia, Ovada, Passo del Turchino and then descending towards Genoa.

From here, the route strikers west and after the classic sequence of the "Capi" (Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta), the bunch negotiates two climbs: the Cipressa and Poggio di Sanremo. From the top, a highly technical descent brings the riders to the finish line in Sanremo's center.

"I am happy with the signals I received from Tirreno-Adriatico" - explains Vincenzo Nibali - "because they show that my condition is growing. The Sanremo is perhaps the most difficult race to interpret and this is its great charm. It will not be easy to repeat the task of last year, but I will do my best to try."

"For me the Sanremo is one of the most loved races" - said Sonny Colbrelli - "it seems easy, but it only takes a second to win it or lose it. The Paris-Nice gave me good feedback and I hope to be with the best at the end of Via Roma."

"We have a well-balanced team" - comments SD Alberto Volpi - "with Vincenzo who will be our captain and two great quality riders like Sonny and Matej who will be able to take advantage of the right opportunity. The rest of the team is made up of experienced riders and for this I think we will have a good race."

TBM’s line-up for Milano-Sanremo:
Vincenzo Nibali, Sonny Colbrelli, Kristijan Koren, Marcel Sieberg, Dylan Teuns, Matej Mohoric and Heinrich Haussler.





AG2R-La Mondiale Sanremo 2019
In his first participation in 2013 (where the race was reduced to 245 km because of the weather), Romain Bardet finished in 17th place. "I want to participate in this race, to have fun. I do not expect anything particular because it is a very random event. Along with Oliver, he and I will form an effective duet. I will let myself be guided by my instinct," Romain Bardet explained.

Julien Duval: "Tackling your first Milano-San Remo is exciting. I'm coming out of Tirreno-Adriatico, and that race seems like the best preparation for La Primavera. I'm not too worried despite the distance (287.5 km). I have already raced 250 km races. It's a tough race, but it usually gets worse in the end. It is important to manage your efforts. We have two great leaders, with Romain Bardet capable of blowing up the race on the Capi, and Oliver Naesen, who could very well be in the mix at the final. It's very motivating.

I had a good start to the season, racing for the first time at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Tour d'Oman, which gave me the chance to settle in, working smoothly with Oliver with a view to the classics. We are entering a beautiful part of the season, with the races in Flanders. These are races where there are tons of fans on the road, with loads of tension and adrenaline. And then to race alongside a leader like Oliver adds to the pleasure. The goal is to win a Monument. And why not this Saturday?"






Lineup: Milan Sanremo
The eagerly awaited first Monument of the year sees a strong Italian flavour in our selection for the iconic race, as Giacomo Nizzolo and Enrico Gasparotto both earn starting spots.

The 110th edition of 'La Primavera' is 291km long with the renowned punchy climbs in the latter stages, the Cipressa and the Poggio, likely to once again play the decisive roles in who takes the victory.

Who to watch
Giacomo Nizzolo

The man from Milan has already made a big impact since he joined our team at the start of 2019. Despite off-season knee surgery he’s already won a stage at the Tour of Oman and snared two other top-5 stage finishes and will be eager to impress in front of his home fans.

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
'The Beast" has already found some early season speed, racing strongly at both the UAE Tour and at Tirreno-Adriatico, earning top-10 stages finishes in both. He's a man who, should he make it to the final in the front group, will be well marked by his rivals.

He said it
"Milano-Sanremo is always a special race because at the start there are at least 50 riders who can play the game for the victory. It’s not a really hard race, if you take into account its profile, but after 290km every small hill can feel like a big, big climb. So we will try to spend the least energy as possible and be ready for those crucial final stages." - Giacomo Nizzolo.





Caleb Ewan previews Milan- San Remo
Saturday 23 March, Lotto Soudal will be at the start of Milan-San Remo. This year marks the 110th edition of the Italian WorldTour race, labelled as one of the five Monuments in cycling. Also this year, La Primavera will be an exciting battle for the victory between the strong sprinters, punchers and Classics specialists.

It will be a long day for the riders because just before ten o’clock, the peloton will take off at the Piazza Castello in Milan for the 291-kilometre journey - around seven hours in the saddle - to the Italian Riviera. After about 140 kilometres of racing, the riders will face the first difficulty of the day as they will ascend the Passo del Turchino. Not long after, the peloton hits the Ligurian coast where at 50 kilometres from the line, the triptych Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta awaits. Afterwards, the riders will set course for the final two climbs of the day, the famed Cipressa and Poggio. Once the riders reach the top of the Poggio, only five kilometres remain until the finish on the iconic Via Roma.

Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan will be at the start of Milan-San Remo for the third time in his career. Last year, the Australian sprinted to second place as Nibali managed to hold off a charging peloton after a solo attack on the Poggio. This year, Ewan would like to become the third Australian to win Milan-San Remo, but remains cautious as a lot of riders are eager to claim the victory as well.

Caleb Ewan: “Of course, I want to do better than last year. Milan - San Remo is the biggest goal of my first part of the season. I will definitely aim for the win. My two earlier participations have learned me that it is a relatively easy race to finish but that also means there are more candidates for the win. There will be a lot of teams at the start that can control the race. So, I am hoping that a reduced bunch will go to the finish and that I will be able to sprint for the win on the Via Roma. The form is really good so I am looking forward to Saturday.”

“The fact that I live close to San Remo can maybe be a benefit. I don’t train too often in that area but I have done some training rides on the final climbs so it is quite nice to be familiar with the course. The weather forecast for Saturday looks good. But as it stands now, there will be a tailwind along the coast, which isn’t great for the sprinters because the pace will be higher on the climbs. It can also cause the racing to be more aggressive.”

“In my opinion, there are three important points in the race. The first one is the Cipressa, then the ascent of the Poggio and afterwards the final kilometres to the finish. The ideal scenario would be to have one or two teammates left at the top of the Poggio to help me getting into a good position for the sprint. I feel lucky to have such a strong team behind me that will protect me all day long. It is important to be well-surrounded because you need to save as much energy as possible during the day to go for a good result in the end.”

“There are so many candidates for the victory and that is exactly what makes Milan - San Remo such a hard race to win. On the one hand you have the punchers like Alaphilippe, who’s in excellent shape and is also sprinting well. If he attacks on the Poggio, it is going to be a hard finale. For the sprinters, there are guys like Viviani and Gaviria and you also never know what Sagan will do. The person that saves the most energy throughout the day will win.”


Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Caleb Ewan, Adam Hansen, Jens Keukeleire, Roger Kluge, Nikolas Maes, Tomasz Marczyński and Tosh Van der Sande.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Herman Frison.

Caleb Ewan:




Team Sky to become Team INEOS
Sky and 21st Century Fox have agreed the sale of Team Sky to INEOS. INEOS will become the sole owners of Tour Racing Limited (the team’s holding company) from 1 May this year and will continue to fund the current team in full, honoring all existing commitments to riders, staff and partners.

The launch of Team INEOS will take place at the Tour de Yorkshire which starts in Doncaster on 2 May.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman and Chief Executive of INEOS, said: "Cycling is a great endurance and tactical sport that is gaining ever more popularity around the world. Equally, cycling continues to mushroom for the general public as it is seen to be good for fitness and health, together with easing congestion and pollution in city environments. INEOS is delighted to take on the responsibility of running such a professional team."

Jeremy Darroch, Sky Group CEO, said: "We are pleased that the team’s future has been secured under new ownership. This brings to a close Sky’s decade-long involvement with cycling, which has created unprecedented success and inspired millions more people to cycle regularly. I’d like to thank all members of Team Sky, past and present, for their contribution to our journey together. We wish the team and INEOS all the best for the future and look forward to watching the next chapter in the story."

Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Principal, said: "Today’s announcement is great news for the team, for cycling fans, and for the sport more widely. It ends the uncertainty around the team and the speed with which it has happened represents a huge vote of confidence in our future. In Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, I know that we have found the right partner whose vision, passion and pioneering spirit can lead us to even greater success on and off the bike. It heralds the start of a hugely exciting new chapter for us all as Team INEOS. I would like to personally thank Jeremy Darroch, who over a decade ago had the vision to back us when others thought we were crazy. His support for the team through thick and thin has been remarkable and everyone at Team Sky thanks him for all he has done for our sport."

The practicalities of the transfer are subject to further discussion with the Union Cycliste Internationale.

Happy faces at Team Sky, soon to be Team INEOS:




Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2020: Southbound
The starts from the South of France are among the options offering unusual prospects and scenarios. By hosting the Grand Depart of the 2020 Tour de France, Nice is writing a new chapter of its long history with cycling, which started in 1906 with a first visit by the Tour. For the 100th edition, the town was also asked to provide a superb gateway onto the continent when the peloton reached the mainland from Corsica. Almost 40 years ago, the 1981 edition also started from Nice, where Bernard Hinault made another show of strength and class. The prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes department is also an annual fixture of the cycling calendar with the Race to the Sun, often providing nail-biting finales.



The first stages of the 107th edition should prove just as exciting. While the riders will be forced to raise on their pedals straightaway for the ascent of cote d'Aspremont, the three laps of the circuit designed for the opening stage should normally lead to a bunch sprint on Promenade des Anglais. But the man sporting the Yellow Jersey the next morning will certainly struggle to retain it given the profile of another Nice-Nice stage this time highlighting the hilly profile of the city's hinterland. On the 190 km of the course, the riders will have to tackle col de la Colmiane, col de Turini and Col d'Eze! A fierce battle of climbers on only the second day of the race...



Key points
Ø After Fleurance (1977, 1979), Nice (1981), San Sebastian (1992), Monaco (2009) and Porto-Vecchio (2013), the Tour de France will start from the south for the 7th time as it returns to Nice.
Ø The first two stages of the 107th edition will consist in two opposite challenges with a course designed for the sprinters as an opener and a climbing festival the next day which should suit the best climbers of the peloton.



Opening stages of the 2020 Tour de France:
27/06/2020, stage 1: Nice moyen pays > Nice, 170 km
28/06/2020, stage 2: Nice haut pays > Nice, 190 km





AG2R-La Mondiale for Catalunya
In twelve seasons among the professionals, Tony Gallopin has never raced the Volta Catalunya, which he will take part in for the first time, as will Alexis Gougeard and Geoffrey Bouchard.

Axel Domont: "After the Tour de la Provence, I was bothered by tendonitis at my patellar tendon that forced me out of racing the Drôme Classic and Paris-Nice. It was frustrating because I felt that I was in good condition. I never stopped training, but I went a long time without being able to ride using a lot of power. But now it’s alright, and I am happy to resume competition. I tell myself that this forced break will be good because it will allow me to have more freshness for my big goals. The Volta Catalunya will allow me to reassure myself about my form and give me a chance to evaluate my level. As with every race where Romain Bardet will be on the start line, we are ambitious and will be at the start with the intention of playing a leading role."





Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Aike Visbeek - Team Sunweb coach: "Catalunya offers a challenging course with the two mountain-top finishes of Valter 2000 and Molina shaping the GC. After a tough Paris-Nice we've had to make some adjustments to our line up but we still bring a strong squad in support of Wilco; with Jan, Louis and Rob helping in the mountains. Wilco himself was a little sick heading into Paris-Nice but hopefully he can build on the form he had on the final day there. We'll also look for some opportunities in the sprints with Michael depending on his condition post injury, so we will need to be both attentive and offensive at the head of the race."

Line-up:
Jan Bakelants (BEL), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Lennard Kämna (GER), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Michael Matthews (AUS), Robert Power (AUS), Louis Vervaeke (BEL).

Wilco Kelderman:




CCC Team aims for Stage Wins at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
CCC Team is heading to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (25-31 March), with a versatile roster ready to take on the one-week UCI WorldTour race. The team will aim for stage wins and will take on the race with no particular leader for the General Classification, Sports Director Jackson Stewart said.

“It is another difficult Volta a Catalunya, noticeably with the Vallter 2000 mountain top finish and then, the next day, the short and difficult stage up to La Molina Alp. We have a strong roster of opportunists and we will look how each stage develops in our pursuit of a stage win. We will go in without any pressure for the General Classification and see where we end up,” Stewart explained.

One rider looking for chances in breakaways is Joey Rosskopf, who lives in Catalunya and whose familiarity with the course should work in his favor.

“Since moving to Girona a few years ago, competing in the Volta a Catalunya has been especially exciting for me. It’s one of the only times all year when I get to race on the same familiar roads where I regularly train. With the team we’re bringing to Catalunya, I think we will all have the chance to race aggressively and opportunistically,” Rosskopf said.

“I was feeling pretty good on the bike in Tirreno-Adriatico, so as long as my legs hold up and continue to recover from the past week, I look forward to taking any chance I can, to jump in a breakaway and animate the race.”

CCC Team’s line-up for Volta Ciclista a Catalunya includes two riders who are coming off of unlucky crashes that forced them to abandon their most recent races – Simon Geschke who broke his elbow at Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia and Patrick Bevin, who suffered some abrasions on stage six of UAE Tour.

“I feel like my form is good and I hope to target some of the sprinter friendlier stages. It’s never an easy feat at Catalunya, as the parcours is so hilly. It’s the first race of a three-tour series for me, so I’m really looking forward to what is a busy spring ahead,” Bevin explained.

Geschke is hoping to get back to his top form to be ready for the Ardennes Classics.

“I’m really looking forward to come back to racing. It feels like a second start of the season for me, after having only one race day this year. I’m very happy that my recovery went well enough to make it back for Catalunya. I hope to be at a level which allows me to do good and valuable work for the team. I don’t expect to be in my top shape right away, but the training in the last three weeks went well and I’m definitely ready to race again. My goal is to take this race as an opportunity to get the race intensity into the legs and make the next step on my way to being at my best, at the Ardennes Classics,” Geschke said.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (25-31 March)
Rider roster:

Patrick Bevin (NZL), Josef Černý (CZE), Simon Geschke (GER), Łukasz Owsian (POL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Laurens Ten Dam (NED), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT).
Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Piotr Wadecki (POL).

Patrick Bevin:




Diary Victor Campenaerts - Part 3 - Successful Rehearsal
In the run-up to the Hour Record attempt, Lotto Soudal will give twice a week an inside look into the preparation of Victor Campenaerts. On the one hand, Victor will talk about the run-up, on the other hand we will each time highlight a specific topic.
Part 3: 27 days to go – Successful rehearsal

Victor Campenaerts: 'Confidence boost'
“Winning the closing time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico is of course a performance that makes me very proud. Even though I raced with the Hour Record attempt in mind this week, a WorldTour victory against the world’s best time triallists means a new step in my career. Two years ago, my goal was to finish inside the top three in a time trial on the highest level and last year, I wanted to win a WorldTour time trial, which didn’t succeed. The fact that I beat Dennis and Dumoulin for the first time, gives my victory that extra touch.”

“I had to wait in suspense for over two hours and I saw how all the riders, one after another, were not able to beat my time. In addition, I had to deliver three doping samples because the urine was not dense enough due to the big amount of water I drank. I almost missed my flight to Belgium but luckily, I could return with the rest of the staff and Tiesj Benoot. The day before the time trial, I promised to buy champagne if I would win and I am a man of my word… My girlfriend Fanny would normally pick me up at the airport, but we cancelled those plans due to a sore throat. Luckily, she’s an athlete herself so she understands that it is not a good time to get sick now.”

“The word ‘Hour Record’ has been running through my mind for several months and that obviously won’t change during the coming weeks. During the past Tirreno-Adriatico, it has often been the talking point. The coming days will mainly be about recovery after which I will complete the preparations on Belgian soil. I will start my ‘jet lag training’ as of Friday. Then, I adapt my life rhythm day after day to the hour difference with Mexico to reduce the shock once I get there. Meanwhile, the team’s staff members are finalizing the preparations what concerns logistics, planning, equipment,... It is obvious that I got a confidence boost and that I am looking forward to what is about to come…”

The support of Victor
A sizeable team is involved in the preparation of the Hour Record attempt. The staff members of Lotto Soudal are preparing everything to leave for Mexico without any worries. The following people will assist Victor in Mexico.
- Trainer Kurt Lobbestael
- Doctor/ altitude specialist Ruud Van Thienen
- Osteopath /physical therapist Toon Hens
- Mechanic Simon De Wolf
- Performance manager Kevin De Weert

Furthermore, Lotto Soudal could rely on the experience of its own partner Energy Lab, complemented by several specialists. The British Matthew Bottril for the time trial positioning, Bert Blocken as professor aerodynamics and Stefan Deckx for strength, stabilization and supplementation in cooperation with Lotto Soudal partner Sanas.

Victor Campenaerts:




Mirza and Durasek Congratulate Team UAE Cyclist on their Special Olympics World Games Medal Haul
Emirati National Road Race and Time Trial Champion, Yousif Mirza, and team mate Kristijan Durasek took time out from their UCI WorldTour schedule to visit Abu Dhabi and lend their support to First Abu Dhabi Bank’s partnership with the Special Olympics World Games.



The duo attended the finals of the Men’s 10km Road Race at Yas Marina Circuit and met with members of the UAE Special Olympics Cycling Squad. Mirza and Durasek – who are no strangers to the challenging cycling conditions that the riders have faced this week – provided advice and encouragement to the team and also congratulated a number of the riders on their medal winning achievements.

Over the past three days the UAE Special Olympics men’s cycling team has picked up a number of medals across a series of different cycling events. Their success began on Saturday when 16 year old Micha Hambleton took a Silver medal in the Men’s 2km Time Trial with a time of just 03:47. Yesterday, his twin brother Jonah was able to go one better in the Men’s 10km Road Race (M02) with an impressive sprint finish that saw him distance the rest of the peloton by well over a minute and bring home the team’s first Gold medal of the Special Olympics World Games. A second Gold medal was then achieved by Abdulla Ali Aldhuhoori who also won his Men’s 10km Road race classification (M03).

Yousif Mirza said: "It’s an honor to be here at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. I am extremely proud of the UAE National Team and what they have achieved. They are a credit to the country, the Special Olympics movement and to the sport of cycling. It was inspiring to meet them and talk about our shared passion for riding bikes – and it goes to show that cycling really is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone."

The UAE Team Emirates riders then took to the track at Yas Marina Circuit to participate in the Special Olympic Cycle Unified event, where they rode alongside members of the community with and without Intellectual Disabilities.

Kristijan Durasek, Moose Al Balooshi, Abdulla Al Dhuoori, Hani Al Naqbi, Yousif Mirza, Mohammed Al Shehhi Saeed, Micah Hambleton and Jonah Hambleton:




Tour de France: Yvelines to Host the Finalé Until 2023
For the most part, the Tour de France is decided at high altitude in mountain ranges. However, each year the show offered by the last stage is still among the most popular with viewers from all over the world. The celebration of the Yellow Jersey, the final stakes that are still up for grabs in the race and the images of Paris in the summer contribute to the charm of this exceptional procession. For this grand finale, Paris is always twinned with a start town nearby (or indeed a little further away), where Christian Prudhomme, in the race director’s red car, waves the flag to give starter’s orders. In this final day sequence, the Yvelines department is among the most faithful of destinations that have left their mark in the history of the Grande Boucle, featuring, for example, on the route of the very first edition in 1903, immediately before the finish in Ville-d’Avray. Somewhat nearer to the present day, the famous duel in 1964 between Anquetil and Poulidor, of which the sumptuous photos on the climb up the Puy-de-Dôme have gone down in history, was followed by a time-trial between Versailles and Paris, won by Anquetil. In 1979, another duel materialized in the Chevreuse Valley, with a breakaway by the Yellow Jersey, Bernard Hinault, and his closest pursuer, Joop Zoetemelk, which finished with a sprint on the Champs-Elysées, in which Bernard “The Badger” Hinault tasted victory. Ten years later, it was on a time-trial between Versailles and Paris that the Tour de France witnessed the closest finish in its history, as Greg LeMond triumphed just eight seconds ahead of Laurent Fignon.

In the more recent past, the Yvelines department has made a habit of providing prestigious opening stages to Paris-Nice, as well as first-rate starts for the conclusion of the Tour de France. Such was the case in Rambouillet in 2012, then at the Château de Versailles to complete the 100th edition in 2013, and finally in Houilles last year. The race will continue to visit the department until 2023, starting with a return to Rambouillet on 28th July.

Key points:
# The Yvelines department has signed an agreement with the Tour de France organizers to host the start of the final stage until completion of the 2023 edition.
# In the Chevreuse Valley or commencing in Versailles, in department number 78, the Tour de France has witnessed dramatic turnarounds or shows of bravery that have remained in the annals of the race, with more pages of history still to be written.











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