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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Racing in Early October

While the season is drawing to a close, October has several important races. Here are the races I plan to cover during the first week of October for BikeRaceInfo.com:

Regarding Il Lombardia, this came from Lampre-Merida:

Lampre-Merida will count on an international selection for trying to be protagonist in Il Lombardia, hometown race for the blue-fuchsia-green team.

Six Nations (Croatia, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain), one purpose: to be in the head positions in the second to last appointment of the World Tour circuit.

These are the cyclists that have been selected for Il Lombardia: Matteo Bono, Valerio Conti, Kristijan Durasek, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Nelson Oliveira, Jan Polanc, Rui Costa e Rafael Valls.

The team will be directed by Orlando Maini, in the staff there will be mechanics Posoni, Romanò and Viganò, the masseurs Capelli, Della Torre and Redaelli, the team doctor Beltemacchi and the driver Bozzolo.

Il Lombardia 2014 will start in Como, the finish line will be in Bergamo after 254 km of race. The climbs will be the following: Madonna del Ghisallo, Colle dei Pasta, Colle Gallo, Ganda, Bracca, Berbenno and Bergamo Alta.

"The final part of the course will be open to more solutions than in the past editions of Il Lombardia - sport director Maini explained - The altitude difference of the final sector of the course is notable, but there will be also space for recovering energy. Considering these characteristics, I think that an attack of a group of riders could solve the race: it will be important for us to be in the head part of the bunch with more riders as possible. I think that our cyclists have the necessary skills to approach the race in the proper way, so we'll start from Como with ambitions".

In order to study the new course of Il Lombardia, on Friday October the 3rd, in the morning, sport director Maini and Rui Costa, Oliveira, Niemiec and Bono will perform a recon on the final part of the race: 80 km from the Ganda to Bergamo.

Rui Costa

Rui Costa in stage 14 of this year's Tour de France. Photo ©Sirotti

Team Belkin sent this regarding the Tour de Eurométropole:

Theo Bos will lead the Belkin Pro Cycling team in the Tour de l'Eurométropole/Franco Belge this week (October 2-5). For the sprinter it’s his last race in green and black before he will join MTN-Qhubeka this winter. He hopes to give the team a farewell gift.

“Franco Belge is my last race for team Belkin,” said Bos. “I want to show my skills one more time and to bag a good result. Normally, there are opportunities for me every day. Sometimes the course goes up and down, but usually the stages end in a bunch sprint." Bos road the Omloop van het Houtland last week and had to settle for 20th. “Two times, a breakaway took off and twice, I wasn’t in there to sprint for the stage victory. My legs were good and still are, however.”

[Sports Director] Erik Dekker confirmed that Bos will spearhead the team. “We usually see a big group sprinting for the stage win in Franco Belge. With Theo, we have a strong sprinter in our team.”

“Sometimes the race has a weird twist. I remember when Juan Antonio Flecha won in 2008. It was snowing that week! It was a bizarre edition. In recent years, the weather has been excellent, though, and the race was very predictable. We therefore expect a sprint and want a stage win.”

TEAM line-up:
Jack Bobridge, Jetse Bol, Theo Bos, Graeme Brown, Rick Flens, Jonathan Hivert, Maarten Wynants and Dennis van Winden.

Sports Director: Erik Dekker

Theo Bos

Theo Bos wins stage three of the 2014 Tour of Poland. Photo ©Sirotti

Team Sky signs Five

This was a surprise.

From Team Sky's website: Team Sky has signed five new riders for the 2015 season – Andrew Fenn, Leopold König, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Wout Poels and Nicolas Roche.

Announcing the new riders, Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: "We’ve signed five quality riders for next season and each one of them will help strengthen and enhance the squad. We’ve always set our standards high and been very ambitious with our goals. We want to win the biggest races and constantly improve as a team and these new riders have the proven experience and developing talent to perform now and in the future."

He concluded: "We have a strong nucleus of riders at Team Sky and these signings will be excellent additions to the squad. They all bring their own qualities and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to the team and seeing them in action next season."

About the riders, this from Team Sky's press release:

ANDREW FENN, GREAT BRITAIN – age 24

Andrew Fenn joins Team Sky after an assured first three years in the professional ranks. In 2012, his debut season as a pro, he won back-to-back victories at the Trofeo Palma and Trofeo Migjorn in Mallorca. Winner of the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2008, Fenn is a powerful rider with a fast finish and is well suited to the Classics. He will provide strong support to Team Sky’s ambitions in spring’s toughest one-day races.

On signing for Team Sky, Andrew Fenn said: "Team Sky has always been built around a strong British core so to be the team’s first Scottish rider is very special for me. I’m joining a team that has helped nurture and develop some of the best riders in the world so I’m really excited to see what the future holds. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and fulfilling my potential with Team Sky.

Sir Dave Brailsford added: "Team Sky has a strong British influence at its heart so we’re very pleased to add Andrew Fenn to the team. Andrew’s a talented young rider who has come through the British Cycling system, so we know him and his abilities well. He has a bright future and we’re sure that he can develop into a key member of our team, and an integral part of our Classics squad."

LEOPOLD KÖNIG, CZECH REPUBLIC – age 26
One of the biggest up-and-coming talents in the sport, Leopold has been very impressive over the last few years, recently securing a magnificent seventh-place finish at this year’s Tour de France. His superb climbing and time trial abilities make König an elite all-rounder, with stage victories at the Vuelta a Espana, Tour of California and Tour of Britain just part of his growing palmares.

Speaking about signing for Team Sky, Leopold König said: "I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for Team Sky so to be joining them is a real honour for me. It fills me with huge excitement to know that I’ll be working with some of the best support staff in the world and riding alongside such a talented group of riders. Next season I want to focus on improving my stage racing abilities and pay back their trust in me by helping win races.

Brailsford said: "Leopold joins us from NetApp–Endura and is a very exciting talent. He’s ridden two Grand Tours in his career and has impressed in both. Leo’s a very gifted rider who has a great combination of climbing and time trialling ability, so he’ll be an excellent addition. We’re looking forward to working closely with him so that he can develop further."

LARS PETTER NORDHAUG, NORWAY – age 30
Team Sky welcome Lars Petter back into the fold after two years away. A founding member of the team in 2010, the Norwegian is an accomplished climber and his attacking style invariably sees him battling it out for victory at the end of races. With notable wins at GP de Montreal and Trofeo Deia during his first stint with the team, Lars Petter will be looking to emulate his good form in 2012.

On returning to Team Sky, Lars Petter Nordhaug said: "I’m unbelievably proud, thankful and happy to re-join Team Sky for 2015. I started my professional career with Team Sky back in 2010 and had three fantastic years, so for me this feels like coming home. I learnt a huge amount with the team and it resulted in my best year as a cyclist so far, in 2012. I look forward to picking up where I left off and continuing to progress as a rider by reaching new levels with the team in the future."

Brailsford said: "Lars Petter spent three seasons with us and his improvement over that time was clear to see, proving himself as a particularly strong one day rider. He’s a model professional, a great teammate, always committed to the team and will fit back into the group perfectly. We’ve always had a big fan base in Norway so following Edvald’s departure it’s great to have another Norwegian rider in the team. We’re delighted to have him back."

WOUT POELS, HOLLAND – age 26
Set to be the first Dutchman to ride for Team Sky, Wout is another accomplished climber and will strengthen the squad significantly. With experience of all three Grand Tours, he has taken stage victories at high-calibre races such as the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Tour of Britain and Tour de Luxembourg during his six-year pro career.

Dutch rider Wout Poels said: "I'm really proud to join the best GC team in the world. This team has a very clear goal for me over the coming years and I look forward to developing as a rider and getting the maximum out of my strengths and qualities. I feel my best years are ahead of me, so it was crucial to make the right choice on my future. I know I can achieve my goals racing with Team Sky."

Brailsford said: "We’ve followed Wout’s career for some time and have always admired his natural ability on a bike. He has huge potential and I’m sure we can help him improve and develop as a rider. Wout is particularly impressive on punchier climbs and he’ll be a great addition to the team."

NICOLAS ROCHE, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND – age 30
With 13 Grand Tour appearances to him name Nicolas has experience in abundance and will significantly add to the team’s firepower on the climbs. Joining fellow Irishman Philip Deignan at Team Sky, Roche is an attacking rider capable of racing hard for a team-mate or as a GC contender in his own right. In 2013 he finished an impressive fifth place at the Vuelta a Espana. This year he claimed victory in the Route du Sud and claimed a fifth place finish in the 2014 Tour of Britain.

On signing a contract with Team Sky, Nicolas Roche said: "It’s a great honour to sign for Team Sky and I have the opportunity to ride with some of the best riders in the world. I feel that I’m still developing as a rider so now’s the perfect time to join Team Sky and to continue my upwards path. I’m confident that under the guidance of Sir Dave Brailsford and the team, I’ll continue to improve."

Brailsford added: "Nicolas joins us from Tinkoff-Saxo and becomes the second Irish rider in Team Sky. He brings a wealth of experience, having ridden 13 Grand Tours in his career, and that will be invaluable to the team. Nicolas has the perfect character and temperament for us and we expect him to play a key role next season."

Wouter Poels

Wouter Poels in this year's Vuelta a España. Photo ©Sirotti

New Rider for Lotto-Belisol

This came From Lotto-Belisol:

After the signing of Tiesj Benoot and Thomas De Gendt, Lotto Belisol ads a third name to list of incoming transfers: Jasper De Buyst. He signed a contract for two years and makes the transfer from Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise. The talented rider from Flemish Brabant will ride a program on the track, as preparation for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016, combined with races on the road.

Jasper De Buyst: “Going from a ProContinental team to a WorldTour team is the dream of every rider. The last past years it all went very fast (De Buyst is only 21), but I do not regret that. Sometimes it was hard, but it made me stronger. My new team is participating in bigger races and points out a nicer program. Every young rider is looking forward to such a thing.”

“The goal is to prepare myself the coming years towards the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016. After the Olympics I shall concentrate myself on road races. The overwhelming experience of last Olympics (De Buyst was selected but didn’t came to action), will certainly be an advantage. The omnium will be the big goal. Of course I will ride road races, just like my time in the Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise team. A good planning is the most important part of combining those two. And in that period I can learn where my possibilities are on the road.”

“In the winter I will be riding six days. The Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent will be part of my schedule, complemented with some other six day races. Last year I won in Ghent and I hope to be strong there again.“

Jasper De Buyst:

Professional since 2013

2013-2014: Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise

Victories

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