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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 12, 2016

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Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. - John Lennon

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Several Vuelta a España team line-ups announced

We'll start with Lotto-Soudal:

It’s nearly time for the third and last Grand Tour of the season. On Saturday 20 August the 71st edition of the Vuelta a España begins with a team time trial. Sports directors Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters will lead Lotto Soudal to Madrid, where the race ends on Sunday 11 September.

This is the line-up of Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Gert Dockx, Adam Hansen, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Louis Vervaeke and Jelle Wallays.

For 27-year-old Jelle Wallays this will be his Grand Tour début. For Louis Vervaeke (22) last year’s Giro was his first Grand Tour ever, this season he can race the Vuelta for the first time. For Gert Dockx (28) this will be his second Vuelta. It’s the fifth Grand Tour of his career. Tosh Van der Sande (25) rode his second Vuelta in 2015. He claimed five individual top ten places. Sander Armée (30) is about to start his fourth Grand Tour, he already rode the Vuelta in 2014.

Jelle Wallays

Jelle Wallays enjoying this year's GP Pino Cerami

The four other riders have more experience with this Spanish race. After an excellent Tour Thomas De Gendt (29) will now take part in his fourth ever Vuelta. Bart De Clercq, who turns 30 in the first week, will race the Vuelta for the fifth time. He got seventeenth overall in 2012 and fourteenth last year. Adam Hansen (35) will start his sixteenth consecutive Grand Tour since the Vuelta 2011. Maxime Monfort (33) has also ridden a lot of Grand Tours in his career. During his five previous Vuelta participations he finished four times on top twenty of GC.

Here's Giant-Alpecin's Spanish Tour announcement:

Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce its final nine-rider line-up for the third Grand Tour of the 2016 season, the Vuelta a España, which starts on August 20.

Following successful campaigns at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, winning two stages at each, the team heads to this year’s Vuelta with confidence. Team Giant-Alpecin returns to Spain after being close to the overall podium with Tom Dumoulin (NED) last year and after having won three stages. For this year the team will once again focus on stage success in the sprints and in the breakaways when the opportunities arise.

Like last year, the race gets underway with a team time trial of 29.4km, in the province of Ourense. The first mountain stage comes on stage three with a summit finish in Mirador de Ézaro. The rest of the race presents a plethora of different opportunities and should give the team with chances for more than one rider to compete for a stage result.

Team Giant-Alpecin will be targeting the sprints with Nikias Arndt (GER), and he will be looking to win his second Grand Tour stage victory after his success at the Giro d'Italia. The team has strong lead-out capabilities to support Arndt with experienced Koen de Kort (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) and fast Zico Waeytens (BEL). The 23-year-old Norwegian Sindre Skjøstad Lunke is set to make his Grand Tour debut in Spain, while Warren Barguil (FRA) will focus on stage results in his third Vuelta appearance. The opportunists in the line-up include Chad Haga (USA) and Ludvigsson who are capable of proving their strength against the clock, and German road captain Johannes Fröhlinger will be using his experience to lead the team through the 21 stages, as he starts his 13th Grand Tour. 

Nikias Arndt

Nikia Arndt is going to the Vuelta

Speaking about the line-up for the Vuelta, coach Luke Roberts (AUS) said: "Our objective will be on stage results. Firstly in the sprints where there should be plenty of opportunities for a fast finish during the three weeks. In parallel, we will apply an offensive strategy when the stages become more difficult to target results from the breakaways. Finally with Warren, we will see how the race evolves to give him the best chances for stage success."

COACHES: Arthur van Dongen (NED), Luke Roberts (AUS)

BMC has their roster set:

11 August, 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team today confirmed the nine riders who will line up at the Vuelta a Espãna next week.

Sports Director Valerio Piva said the team was selected to not only support Samuel Sánchez for the General Classification, but target stage wins throughout the race.

"We have chosen a strong, balanced team built around Samuel Sánchez and Tejay van Garderen. Sánchez is our leader for the General Classification and van Garderen is another protected rider. The rest of the riders have been selected for their ability to win stages. Riders like Philippe Gilbert, Ben Hermans, Silvan Dillier, and Danilo Wyss are all capable of going in a breakaway and trying to win a stage. Of course all nine are really good riders and we have a strong team who will help protect Sánchez and position him well," Piva said.

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen

The Team Time Trial on stage 1 of the Vuelta a Espãna is a priority for BMC Racing Team. "The first objective for us is the Team Time Trial. It's a tradition in our team and as the UCI World Champions in the discipline we want to do well, which means we will try to win this and take the first leader's jersey," Piva explained.

Sánchez and van Garderen have already shared their thoughts on the final Grand Tour of the season.  "I believe we will bring a very competent and focused team for what will be a very hard Vuelta a Espãna," Sánchez said.

"I'm excited for the Team Time Trial as it gives us a good chance to take the jersey." van Garderen confirmed.

Vuelta a Espana (20 August - 11 September)

Rider roster: Darwin Atapuma (COL), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Max Sciandri (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)

Matteo Trentin retains Tour de l'Ain overall lead

Here's Trentin's Etixx-Quick Step team report:

Tour de l'Ain continued on Thursday, when the peloton took on the third-category Côte de Cessiat twice, last time inside the final 30 kilometers. At that point of the race, the original four-man break of the day was at the front, but their action was preparing to come to a conclusion despite a maximum advantage of six minutes, as Etixx – Quick-Step controlled the move since the beginning of the stage (Saint-Didier-sur-Chalaronne – Montreal-la Cluse, 173.2 kilometers) and dragged the gap back to within touching distance on the ramps of Cessiat.

Before the escape was nullified, two riders tried to get away, but they too were reabsorbed on the descent, together with the men who were still in the lead. The reduced bunch gallop saw Matteo Trentin finish seventh, a result which helped him hold onto the yellow jersey he took at the end of stage 1. In the overall rankings, Matteo is followed by Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Thursday's victor, and Michael Schwarzmann (Bora-Argon 18). The Italian rider of Etixx – Quick-Step also leads the points classification, where he enjoys a nice cushion over the next rider, with two stages to go until the race draws the curtain.

Tosh Van der Sande

Tosh Van der Sande wins the second stage of Tour de l'Ain

"The guys worked hard and kept the peloton together. In the finale, we paid for our intense effort, because it's really difficult to control things with just six riders, and I found myself alone in the last kilometer. I tried to jump in the wheel of a train, but couldn't find any space to move once other things came to the front and made things crowded", explained Matteo Trentin after returning from his visit to the podium. "I tried to do my best, but I missed some luck, and I am a little bit disappointed for not repaying my teammates with a better result. At least I get to keep yellow for one more stage and from tomorrow, when we enter the big mountains, I will be ready to help the guys as much as I can."

Cannondale-Drapac wins team time trial at Czech Cycling Tour

This report came from the team:

Cannondale-Drapac won the opening stage team time trial at the Czech Cycling Tour on Thursday evening. Sebastian Langeveld led the green team across the line and will wear the first race leader’s jersey on stage two of the four-day race.

The 17.3-kilometer team time trial began in the northeastern Frydek-Mistek District of the Czech Republic. The out and back course was lumpy with a few rises on the mostly downhill run out to the turn-around point and a few descents on the mostly uphill run back to the start line.

“There were only three corners so technically it wasn’t bad, but it was quite hilly,” said Langeveld. “There were a couple significant drags on the way back. To race it as a team, it wasn’t easy. You had to start fast and lay the power down on the drags to bring it home.”

“It took a good team performance and an awareness of each other – so that nobody was going so fast to kill anybody else,” Langeveld added. “We finished with five. I think that says a lot about a course that is only 17 kilometers.”

While Cannondale-Drapac finished with only five riders, the American-registered squad had all eight riders in formation at the turnaround point. Sport director Johnny Weltz pointed to this tactic as a key to success.

“A few teams lost riders before the turning point, but we were able to stick together longer, and I think that made the difference,” said Weltz. “It gave the boys time to recover and be stronger in the last kilometers.”

Langeveld led the team across the line but it was Kristoffer Skjerping, fifth across the line, who stopped the clock at 20:05 for Cannondale-Drapac. The time was 11-seconds faster than CCC Sprandi Polkowice in second and 15-seconds faster than both Klein Constantia, in third, and Lampre-Merida.

“I felt really good today,” said Langeveld. “To be honest, after my abandon in the Tour, I’m super, super hungry from now on to just go for it, but for me, it doesn’t change if it was me or Paddy [Bevin] or Ruben [Zepuntke] or whoever in the leader’s jersey. The most important thing is the team effort. Somebody had to cross the line first, and today it was me.”

Cannondale-Drapac will start stage two with three leader’s jerseys. Langeveld leads the overall. Wouter Wippert tops the points classification. Ruben Zepuntke is the mountains classification leader. The second stage is 177-kilometers between Olomouc and Unicov that is expected to end in a reduced sprint.

“We haven’t had a chat about the team plan yet, but on paper, it’s a good opportunity to sprint with Wippert,” said Langeveld. “That goes hand and hand with defending the jersey – the leader’s jersey and the sprint jersey – so I suspect that is the goal.”

“It will be a real challenge to keep the jersey over the weekend,” noted Langeveld. “I think the biggest threat will come from Diego Ulissi. Lampre-Merida is 15 seconds behind us, so we do have that advantage. It’s a hard parcours, but we have a couple of guys that are in really good shape, and of course, we want to keep the jersey.”

Antwan Tolhoek signs with LottoNL-Jumbo

Here's the team's news release:

Dutchman Antwan Tolhoek will ride for his home WorldTour team, LottoNL-Jumbo for the next two years. The Tolhoek will make the switch from Team Roompot Oranje Peloton this winter to continue his development.

“Antwan Tolhoek is a young and developing,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said. “He comes out of the speed skating and roller skating world, and has only been cycling for couple of years. That makes him fit perfectly with our philosophy of taking young talents to the highest level. Recently in Austria and the Tour de Suisse, where he won the mountains classification, he showed what he’s capable of.”

“I’m extremely glad to take the next step in my career with team LottoNL-Jumbo,” Tolhoek added. “The team has a strong support group and presented to me a solid plan, which is encouraging. I came out of an environment where development was important as well. This team’s vision and support make me feel confident.

“Robert Gesink and Steven Kruijswijk found their way to the top by starting off as youngsters in this team. It’s my dream to participate in the grand tours, and I want to go for it with Team LottoNL-Jumbo. I want to keep on growing as a rider.”

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