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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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This Week's Italian Races

The Milano-Torino semi-classic is today.

Here's the startlist as of September 30.

This came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo has gathered in Northern Italy to embark on the two Italian autumn races, Milano–Torino and Giro di Lombardia. The team is spearheaded by captain Alberto Contador with the ambition of winning the races and securing the Vuelta-winner’s first place on the UCI individual rankings with a top result at Giro di Lombardia.

Wednesday, Tinkoff-Saxo will start off with the historic race Milano – Torino, which dates back to 1876. Oliver Zaugg is in strong shape and is expected to play an important role in assisting Contador on the final climbs.

“With Alberto we have a good opportunity to fight for the win in Milano – Torino. He won the race in 2012 and I’ll be there to support him tomorrow. I feel strong at the moment and I’m actually quite excited about how my condition has developed after the Vuelta”, says Oliver Zaugg, who reckons that the action will take place within the 30-kilometer mark.

“The race is quite flat until the final part, where it kicks up with two steep climbs. I will try to save energy until the last 30 kilometers, where I will do my best to stay with Alberto to help him closing gaps and taking some of the wind”.

Alberto Contador currently resides on the top spot of the UCI’s individual rankings trailed by Valverde 14 points behind. Zaugg confirms that Giro di Lombardia is a key race.

“Lombardia will be really important. The competition is strong and for sure it will be difficult, but we need to do a good result”, adds Oliver Zaugg, who enjoys the final part of the season.

“I like the autumn races and I always feel strong in September and October. Lombardia is a special race for me. I won in 2011 and finished in the top-10 in 2012, so I want to keep creating good memories tomorrow and again on Sunday”.

liver Zaugg

Oliver Zaugg in this year's Vuelta. Photo ©Sirotti

Tinkoff-Saxo also sent this note about Alberto Contador:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador is ready for the start of Milano-Torino tomorrow, a race he won in 2012, following a victory at the Vuelta a España. He now returns to the Italian one-day race again after winning the red jersey.

“After the Vuelta a España I've basically dedicated most of my time to rest because I finished the the race really tired”, says Alberto Contador and adds:

“I have done some longer training rides these last few days, but I don’t know exactly how I will feel, when we’re deep into the race. I'll do Milano-Torino, Giro di Lombardia and Tour of Beijing, which is a new race for me. On the contrary, I know Milano-Torino and Lombardia well, and I like them both a lot, although one-day races are not my specialty. But I’m excited about getting back to racing this week to do a good result”, Alberto comments. 

Contador is currently leading UCI’s individual rankings, trailed by Valverde 14 points behind. He admits that it serves as an extra motivation for him. 

“Everybody likes to be number one by the end of the year. But I'm already very happy with leading the individual rankings right now, especially after failing to get any points at the Tour. But we have to keep in mind that I have very strong rivals, especially Alejandro Valverde, who’s very good at maintaining a strong shape during the season. He will be very difficult to beat”, concludes Alberto Contador.

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador wins the 2012 Milano-Torino. Photo ©Sirotti

And this note about Roman Kreuziger riding Milano-Torino just arrived from Tinkoff-Saxo:

A week after getting cleared by the Czech Olympic Committee (see September 23 news for an explanation), Tinkoff-Saxo's rider will form part of the squad that will assist Alberto Contador in his goal to win the 95th edition of the Italian classic race

The Czech rider will join the eight-strong team of Tinkoff-Saxo's riders that will aim at winning one of Italy's most prestigious autumn classics. Starting at Settimo Milanese, the 193.5-km parcours takes the riders through Lombardy and Piedmont to a finish at the basilica of Superga on the outskirts of Turin.    

Sports Director Fabrizio Guidi commented on Kreuziger's return: "We are happy to have Roman back in the group because he's a rider that deserves to be racing. Alberto Contador will be our leader and with the addition of Roman there is no doubt our team will be stronger. His presence makes us more motivated to win on Wednesday and that will be our goal. We want to repeat the victory we achieved two years ago."     

Roman Kreuziger

Roman Kreuziger at this years Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Photo ©Sirotti

Ben Hermans Extends With BMC

This release came from BMC:

Ben Hermans has received a contract extension after playing an integral role in his first season with the BMC Racing Team, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Tuesday.

"We are very pleased to be extending the contract with Ben into the future," Ochowicz said. "He has played a significant role this entire year covering all the bases on every level. His skills are many, but his greatest asset is his complete sacrifice for his teammates. We can always count on him." In August, Hermans helped teammate Tejay van Garderen repeat as winner at the USA Pro Challenge and played a key role in the BMC Racing Team's victory in the team classification while finishing ninth overall himself. At the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, he was runner-up on the Stage 4 finish at Powder Mountain on the way to a team-best fourth place overall finish. Earlier in the season, he was part of wins at the Amstel Gold Race (by Philippe Gilbert) and the Tour Méditerranéen (by Stephen Cummings). "This year, I did a lot of work for the team's leaders until the Tour of Austria and then Utah, where I got some chances for myself," Hermans said. "Next year, I would like to get some more chances earlier in the year. But it is not so easy when you have a team of so many big leaders. But I want to be there more in the final of races and in the earlier part of the season." Specific terms of Hermans's contract extension were not announced.

Ben Hermans

Ben Hermans after stage five of this year's Tour of the Mediterranean. Photo ©Sirotti

Romain Bardet to be with Ag2r-La Mondiale Until 2018

This just in from Ag2r:

Member of the Pro Cycling Team Ag2r-La Mondiale since 2012, Romain Bardet had a great season, culminating with an excellent 6th place in the Tour de France. The rider from Auvergne also won the Drôme Classic, finished 2nd on the Tour de l’Ain and got remarkable results on several World Tour races:

These excellent results and a common sporting project have led the Team Ag2r La Mondiale and Romain Bardet to extend their contract until the end of 2018. A mutual faithfulness to which Vincent Lavenu is attached and he is delighted: “It is with a great pleasure and proudly that I announce today the contract extension between our team and Romain Bardet until 2018. The renewal of our partnership with Ag2r La Mondiale has given us this opportunity.  Romain is a rider with prospects and we wish to support him as long as possible to permit him to reach the highest level. He has done our training program via Chambery Cyclisme Formation and that’s the reward of seeing him compete now at such a level. This is the meaning of our commitment to young riders.”

Romain Bardet

Romain Bardet in stage 8 of this year's Tour de France. Photo ©Sirotti

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