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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Two races continuing, the HC-ranked USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which runs through the 23rd, and the Tour du Limousin, which goes through the 21st.

Cult Energy finds co-sponsor

This press release is certainly good news:

Today, Thursday the 20th of August the Danish Pro Continental team, Cult Energy Pro Cycling are hosting a press conference at Cult Energy headquarters in Lystrup, Denmark to inform the public that the team management has succeeded in finding a co-sponsor. The Danish based professional cycling team joins forces with the German continental team, Team Stölting. For the following three seasons, the team will be named Cult Energy-Stölting Group.

Owner of Cult, Brian Sørensen is happy to break the big news in Aarhus: “We are happy, proud and incredibly relieved. The signing of this sponsor agreement is the happy ending of a long, hard struggle and naturally it is great news to deliver to the riders. Cycling is up and rising in Germany and there is potential for a solid partnership with exciting prospects for both us and the riders. I think it's a partnership with great perspective and it not only ensures the team's survival but it also contains promise of an exciting future project for both Cult, Stölting and the riders. We never gave up and the agreement shows that where there is a will there is a way. Now we’re looking forward to hitting the German roads with a Danish cycling team,” Sørensen concludes.

Cult energy team truck

Cult Energy team truck

Naturally, this is the day sports director, Michael Skelde has been looking forward to: “This is a big day for us and I’m proud to let you all know that with this agreement, we will continue having have a strong team in the next years to come at Pro Continental level. It has been more than a hectic year. Besides running the team and participating in races, we have been looking for and negotiating with potential sponsors since we started the project in the Autumn of 2014. With Stölting we have come to a solid agreement running for the following three years. Stölting have been in cycling for several years and the mutual understanding is a solid foundation for everyone within the team and the long-term agreement allows us to finally fully concentrate on making results on the road.”

Managing director RA Christian Große Kreul says: "Today is a really important day for both of the partners. CULT and Stölting had partnership negotiations from the very beginning and since then, the relationship grew better and better. For Stölting, it was the logical step to rise to Pro Continental level, but we didn't want to do it without a trusting and powerful partner. So, we are very happy to joining forces with CULT now. Of course, we also like the idea of having some of the best experienced and young German riders into the team. We truly believe in the team performing like our respective companies: Successful against much bigger competitors by going its own way!"

The Stölting Group specialises in safety, cleanliness and people. As a leading service provider in the fields of cleaning, security and HR, the company, based in Gelsenkirchen, offers complete solution packages for all property issues. Originally founded in 1899 as a window cleaning business, Stölting has since developed into an infrastructure and HR service provider with 5,000 employees over 23 locations and a nation-wide network of professionally managed branches.

Moreno Hofland looking for success at Vattenfal Cyclassics

LottoNL-Jumbo sent me this report:

Moreno Hofland will be extra motivated at the start of the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany, on Sunday, August 23. The rapid Dutchman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo hopes to bounce back in the German one-day race after disappointing results in the sprints at the Eneco Tour.

“I’m eager, for sure,” Hofland said. In the first stage of the Eneco Tour, the 23-year-old finished eighth, but was twice in a row outside the top ten after that. The first three days I missed some chances and that was too bad. It also eats at you, but in Limburg, I was strong and I was able to join best. Only two leaders and a small group that included Wilco [Kelderman] finished ahead of me. That's a good sign with Hamburg and Plouay coming up.”

Hofland hasn’t raced the Vattenfall Cyclassics before. “I’ve watched the race a number of times on television, though. The climbs on the local lap always assure that a small bunch sprints for victory. I’d like to hit back in that sprint after the Eneco Tour.”

Moreno Hofland

Moreno Hofland at the 2015 Ster Toer

Jan Boven thinks the course around Hamburg suits Hofland. “Moreno is a dangerous man for this race, but I have to say that our whole team is strong,” the Sports Director said. “The run-up has changed and is new for everyone, but the local lap is how it’s always been. It is important for us to have a lot of men in the first group in the final kilometres and be attentive, but always keeping in mind that with Moreno with have a strong sprinter with us.”

Team line-up: Jos van Emden, Rick Flens, Moreno Hofland, Tom Leezer, Nick van der Lijke, Paul Martens, Sep Vanmarcke and Robert Wagner.

Sports Director: Jan Boven

BMC's USA Pro Cycling Challenge news:

Aspen, Colorado - BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis rode to his second straight runner-up finish at the USA Pro Challenge Wednesday while teammate Brent Bookwalter kept the overall lead by finishing ninth.

Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) won the finish into Aspen for the second straight year while Ruben Zepuntke (Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team) was third. 

Kiel Reijnen wins stage 3

Kiel Reijnen wins stage 3

Into the last kilometer of the 163.2-km race, Dennis was following the lead of past Swiss national road champion Michael Schär, who had encouraged him to go for the stage win with a long attack.

"I was glad I did not make that decision," Dennis said. "It was very fast on the front: 75 or 77 kilometers an hour. I could not pedal any faster on his wheel. A couple of UnitedHealthcare riders came underneath me and I didn't think it was worth it, so I sort of jumped in behind them. The last corner, I nearly put Brent into the fence. He started yelling my name so I moved left and thought I might as well go. It ended up being about 300 meters, so it was bit too far."

In the overall standings, Bookwalter, who took the race lead by winning Tuesday's mountain-top finish still leads Dennis by six seconds. Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) is third. Nineteen riders remain within 90 seconds of the lead with four days of the race to go.

Bookwalter said he was impressed with the team support he received at the base of Independence Pass as the race turned into the teeth of a strong headwind while chasing an 11-man breakaway. A reduced peloton caught what was left of the breakaway on the downhill plunge into Aspen.

"Our boys were up there, just plowing away like a herd of cattle, bringing the breakaway back," Bookwalter said. "So I am really proud of them there. The downhill was a lot of headwind, so the headwind went a long way toward making the group bigger and neutralizing the attacks."

Tinkoff-Saxo signs Russian champion Trofimov

The team sent out this release:

Russian champion Yuri Trofimov to join Tinkoff-Saxo in 2016. The versatile Russian champion will bring a wealth of experience to the Tinkoff-Saxo roster where he will support team leader Alberto Contador in next season's major challenges but also assume leading roles in a number of races.

Tinkoff-Saxo is delighted to announce that Yuri Trofimov will strengthen its squad in the next season and play an important role in achieving the ambitious but challenging goals in 2016. 

The reigning Russian champion and accomplished rider has been with Katusha since 2011 and had a notable 2015 season that saw him assume the lead of the team in the Giro d'Italia, where he stayed in fifth position of the GC until Stage 18 when illness slowed him down. Nevertheless, Trofimov ended the first Grand Tour of the year in 10th place. When asked what he considered to be his strength as a rider, Trofimov was quick to reply: "I never give up, no matter how hard it might be".

A few weeks after the Giro, Trofimov went on to be proclaimed Russian road champion, a very important moment in his career, according to him. He scored a commanding victory in a tough, 204km-long race that  included the best Russian riders. Trofimov has competed in all three Grand Tours and considers his stage win in the 2014 Dauphiné to be one of the best races of his career.

Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov commented on Trofimov joining the team: "I am very excited to have in our Russian team our national champion. This is my sixth season as team owner and for the very first time I will have a Russian champion in the team. In addition, it is especially important that Yuri is very keen on riding for our team, in order to help our leader Alberto Contador but also aim at scoring his own victories".

Trofimov said on his move to Tinkoff-Saxo: "For me it was a hard decision since a new team brings new opportunities but also means a new challenge. I join the team which together with its leader Alberto Contador is going to fight for victory at the Tour de France. I am also going to have opportunities for myself to win races".

Yuri Trofimov

Trofimov at the 2014 Dauphiné

For Trofimov, the Russian identity of Tinkoff-Saxo was an important factor: "I leave one Russian team for another one and I will still have Russian riders by my side. For me that is an important aspect", commented Trofimov.

For Steven de Jongh, Head Sport Director of Tinkoff-Saxo, Trofimov will be a key support in the mountains. "After the Giro we saw the need for a very good climber that would support Alberto. Yuri has been a while with Katusha and was looking for new opportunities. We are excited to see him joining our team and we are sure he has all the skills to make him an excellent addition to our squad", commented de Jongh.

"Yuri's race program will be set up around Alberto's with the Tour de France being, obviously, the major focus of the season. However, he has proven to be a good leader, so he will be given that role within the team in some races", concluded de Jongh.

Further extensions as well as new signings will be announced during the second half of August.

Lampre-Merida renews a few contracts

This came from the Italian team:

Young, talented, winning riders and still blue-fuchsia-green in 2016.

Valerio Conti, 22 years old, signed the agreement for racing in 2016 for Lampre-Merida, becoming one of the main members of the grass roots of the team, together with the Slovenian Jan Polanc and Luka Pibernik.

Valerio Conti has been in the team of the manager Brent Copeland since 2014 andhe obtained one victory, GP Beghelli 2014. A fast climber, he's going to take part in the Vuelta a Espana, his second experience in a grand tour (debut in the 2014 edition of the Spanish race), a few days after having honored the participation with the Italian National team in the pre-olympic race in Rio de Jaineiro.

Valerio Conti

Valerio Conti after the 2014 GP Beghelli

The rider from Rome chose to continue his blue-fuchsia-green experience because he's aware that this is the best solution to improve his qualities in order to become one of the most important Italian cyclists.

Jan Polanc (23 years old, in Lampre-Merida since August 2013) and Luka Pibernik (21 years old, first season in the team) both have an agreement with the team for the whole 2016 season. The Slovenian duo has already demonstrated their quality: riding on the new Merida Scultura, Polanc won the Abetone stage in the Giro d'Italia 2015; in June, Pibernik obtained his second victory in the national championship.

In 2016, Lampre-Merida's technical staff will rely on a trio of young guns who'll give additional satisfaction in the next season. The team management is working in order to complete some deals which will grant further value to the team's roster.

Cannondale-Garmin signings

This notice came from the team:

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced that Patrick Bevin and Ryan Mullen will join the team in 2016.

Bevin burst on to the radar of many cycling fans when he dominated the second half of the 2014 National Road Series (NRS). The 24-year-old New Zealander has enjoyed major success in the 2015 NRS, including victories in the Oceania and Asia Tours. At the Tour of Korea, he nabbed seven podiums, including five second-place finishes and a stage win, and took second overall.

Jonathan Vaughters, CEO Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, said: “In Asia and Australia, Patrick has shown great diversity in skills from bunch sprints to climbing. He is a rider who seems to have it all and he’ll be a great addition to the team.”

Bevin is looking forward to the opportunity to continue his progression as a rider at the top level of the sport: “I am delighted to be joining Cannondale-Garmin for the next two years,” he said. “To race at the World Tour level is a big opportunity for me and I hope to play an important role in many team performances and victories over the coming seasons.”

Ryan Mullen

Ryan Mullen riding the 2014 U23 world time trial championships.

Hailed as one of the top young time trialists in the world, Mullen made history in 2014 when he became the youngest rider ever to win Ireland’s elite national road and TT championships. Last September, at just 20 years old, he took second at the U23 men’s TT worlds, narrowly missing the title by less than half a second.

“Ryan is one of the best, if not the best, up and coming TT talents in the world,” said Vaughters. “It will be exciting to see how he progresses as a rider.”

Mullen added: “For me, Cannondale-Garmin is the perfect learning environment. They have a wealth of experience between riders and staff and working with them, I  will hopefully make big steps forward over the coming seasons.”

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary