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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath. - Aeschylus

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Ag2r-La Mondiale announces Vuelta a España squad

The team sent me this:

Vuelta a Espana (August 19th - September 10th)

Romain BARDET
Born on November 9, 1990
26 years old
Height / Weight: 1m84 / 65 kg

Vuelta: 1st participation
Palmarès: 2nd Tour de France (2016); 3rd Tour de France (2017); Six victories including three stage wins in the Tour de France (2015-2016-2017); Stage win Critérium Dauphiné (2015)

Julien Jurdie (Team director): “Romain will participate in two Grand Tours in the same season for the first time since turning pro in 2012. His level of condition after finishing the Tour de France allows him to approach the Vuelta with confidence. His ambitions will be different from those that he went with to the Tour. But he hopes to figure prominently in the stages that correspond to his strengths.”

Clément CHEVRIER
Born on June 29, 1992
25 years old
Height / Weight: 1m77 / 56 kg

Vuelta: 2nd participation
Palmarès: 18th du Tour de Wallonie (2017)

Julien Jurdie: "As with Domenico (Pozzovivo), he participated in the Giro at the beginning of the season. Clément wanted to participate in a second Grand Tour this season, and his recent run of good form convinced us that we should put him in the Vuelta line up. Though he is still quite young, he has a lot of experience, and will prove very useful on the hilly stages. He will also be able to play his own card on certain stages.”

Nico DENZ (GER)
Born on February 15, 1994
23 years old
Height / Weight : 1m83 / 71kg

Vuelta: 1st participation
Palmarès : 4th Cholet Pays-de Loire (2016); wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de l'Avenir for a stage (2016)

Julien Jurdie: "Nico joined the team in August 2015 and will participate in his first Grand Tour this year at the Vuelta. After a good summer of preparation, he proved that he could be very useful for the team, most especially recently during the Tour of Poland.”

Axel DOMONT
Born on August 7, 1990
27 years old
Height / Weight: 1m79 / 65 kg

Vuelta: 2nd participation
Palmarès: 1 stage victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe (2014); 2nd in a Vuelta stage (2016); 2nd in a stage Critérium du Dauphiné (2017).

Julien Jurdie: "Like last year, Axel will participate in two Grand Tours in the same season. He has proven over the seasons and especially during the recent Tour de France that he is a valuable teammate for the whole team. At the last Vuelta, he was close to a stage win (2nd) during the 8th stage; so he can certainly win!"

Julien DUVAL
Born May 27, 1990
27 years old
Height / Weight:1m79 / 69 kg

Vuelta: 1st participation

Palmarès: 3rd in a stage Four Days of Dunkirk (2017); 3rd Polynormande, Roue Tourangelle (2017).

Julien Jurdie: "After Samuel Dumoulin crashed so hard recently, we chose to take Julien to the Vuelta. During his first year on the team, he has proven his team spirit and his qualities as a teammate.Now is his chance to discover a three week race. He will be a very important rider in our team to protect our leaders, especially on the second stage into Gruissan, where there could definitely be echelons.”

Alexandre GENIEZ
Born on April 16, 1988
29 years old
Height / weight : 1m82 / 64 kg

Vuelta: 5th participation
Palmarès: 8 victories including two stages of the Vuelta (2013, 2016); 9th in the Giro d'Italia (2015)

Julien Jurdie: "Alexander has had a very difficult spring and after a long period of doubt he has come back to the top level by winning the last stage of the Tour de l'Ain. He can look forward to the Vuelta with confidence. It is a race he knows very well and where he has already won two stages in the past. His main role will be to accompany Domenico (Pozzovivo) and Romain (Bardet) as long as possible in the mountains, and he will also have the freedom to try to take another stage victory."

Alexndre Geniez

Alexandre Geniez winning a stage at this year's Tour of Provence.

Alexis GOUGEARD
Born on March 5, 1993
24 years old
Size / Weight: 1m76 / 66kg

Vuelta: 2nd participation
Palmarès: 9 wins including a stage of the Vuelta (2015)

Julien Jurdie: "Alexis has had a mixed season.After working hard in July, he has proved that he has regained his high level by winning the Polynormande. We know his strengths as a very generous teammate and an aggressive rider. He can ride very hard, and will be an important member of the team to protect our leaders during the nervous stages.And don’t forget that in his first participation of this race in 2015 he managed to win a stage, and very well could do so again.”

Hugo HOULE (CAN)
Born on September 27, 1990
26 years old
Size / Weight: 1m85 / 71kg

Vuelta: 1st entry

Palmarès: Pan American and Canadian Champion ITT (2015)

Julien Jurdie: "Hugo has participated in the Giro in the last two seasons. Now he will discover the Vuelta. At 26, he seems to have gained a new level physically, and knows well how to be the perfect teammate.He can rub elbows in hectic stages, but also can be present in the hilly ones as well. A classics specialist, he will be most useful on the very nervous stages.”

Domenico Pozzovivo
Born on November 30, 1982
34 years old
Size / Weight: 1m65 / 53 kg

Vuelta: 3rd participation (6th in 2013)

Palmarès: Six Top Ten at the Grands Tours (Giro and Vuelta); Thirteen victories including a stage of the Giro d'Italia (2012), a stage Tour of Catalunya (2015) and a stage of the Tour de Suisse (2017)

Julien Jurdie: "Domenico Pozzovivo proved this season that he had regained the level of being among the best riders in stage races. He has been very consistent since the beginning of the season. His return to competition at the Tour of Poland (6th) is a good sign that he will be a serious threat for a place in the top-10 or even better at this Vuelta.”

THE NUMBER: 2

Julien Duval, a pro since 2013, and Nico Denz, who turned professional in August 2015, will be participating in their first Grand Tour at the Vuelta in Espana.

Dylan van Baarle signs with Cannondale-Drapac for another two seasons

The team sent me this annoucement:

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

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

Dylan van Baarle

Dylan van Baarle in 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DYLAN VAN BAARLE

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

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

Jürgen Roelandts leaving Lotto-Soudal for BMC

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

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

Jurgen Roelandts

Roelandts racing in the 2016 Giro d'Italia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Leezer signs for another two years with Team LottoNL-Jumbo

Here's the team's press release:

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

Tom Leezer

Tom Leezer racing Flanders in 2014.

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

Bewley boosts Orica-Scott’s engine room for another season

Here's the update the team sent me:

ORICA-SCOTT are pleased to announce the re-signing of New Zealand powerhouse Sam Bewley. The 30-year-old Kiwi has spent the past six seasons with the Australian outfit and has continued to develop each year as a versatile, selfless domestique.

Bewley has enjoyed being in a team that has gone from strength to strength and is grateful to be a part of the special journey. “It means a lot to continue with this team as it continues to grow into a real force across the board now,” said Bewley. “I have been with the team since 2012 and I have grown along with this whole organisation. To remain with ORICA-SCOTT and be a part of the momentum we have is something special.”

Bewley is excited at the prospect of being in the Australian outfit as they strive towards the next main goal of achieving their first grand tour victory. “I want to continue to be get better and better in the role I have grown into so I can play an important part in the results this team will achieve in the future,” Bewley continued. “I want to be part of our first grand tour victory, and hopefully more after that.”

Sport director Matt White sees the importance and value of having a rider like Bewley in the squad, as a loyal and dedicated team player. “We have had Sam since the start and we continue to see his commitment to the team’s goals,” White said. “Everyone needs workers and Sam is a guy that gets in, gets his hands dirty and lays it on the line when it’s required. Every team needs guys that are 100% selfless to their teammates and their leaders and Sam certainly ticks that box for us.”

Sam Bewley

Date of Birth: 22nd July 1987 (30)
Place of Birth: Rotorua, New Zealand
Turned Pro: 2010

Key results

-       1st 2015 Giro d'Italia - Stage 1 (TTT)
-       3rd 2014 Vuelta a Espana – Stage 1 (TTT)
-       1st 2012 New Zealand Cycle Classic – Stage 3
-       3rd 2012 UCI Road Cycling World Championships – Team Time Trial


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