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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, December 24, 2015

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

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. - John Wooden.

Extended Eddy Merckx Interview on YouTube

The good guys at Rouleur produced this Merckx interview, in English. and a special thanks to Steve at Open Road Bicycles in Pasadena, California for letting me know about this video.

The great Eddy Merckx talks at length

Lotto-Soudal riders' thoughts while at training camp

The team sent me this summary:

During the Mallorca training camp earlier this month, the Lotto Soudal riders took the time to talk to the media. An impression.

Tiesj Benoot: “The expectations are higher now because of my performances this year and I have the ambition to live up to certain of those expectations. I can handle that. On the other hand, I am realistic as well and realize that I am only 21. The team supports me 100 per cent and keeps the pressure away from me. I look at it race by race and I just try to set a step forward. I would have loved to ride a Grand Tour in 2016, but together with my trainer I decided not to. I will probably add Milan-Sanremo and the Amstel Gold Race to my race programme.”

Kris Boeckmans: “It’s a surprise that I am here on training camp and even more that I was able to ride the bike a few times for two to three hours. It’s a cliché, but a good health is all I wish for 2016. It’s very difficult to tell when I can make a comeback in the peloton. First, I was told it would already be great if I could ride at least one race in 2016, then it changed to a race during the summer. We look at it day by day, because I am warned a setback is still possible.”

Tony Gallopin: “I am pretty satisfied about previous season. I did really well in Paris-Nice and I achieved a top ten in five one-day races of the highest category: Milan-Sanremo, Amstel Gold Race, GP de Québec, the World Championships and Il Lombardia. In 2016 I hope to animate the races again. Paris-Nice will be my first goal, then I’ll ride the Walloon classics and the Dauphiné will be my final preparation for the Tour.”

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin on the pavé of the 2015 Tour's fourth stage

André Greipel: “2015 was a very successful year. Everyone asks if I can repeat it in 2016, but that won’t be easy. I won sixteen times, of which four Tour stages and one Giro stage. I also won other WorldTour races and especially my victory at the Vattenfall Cyclassics was unique. My race programme for 2016 will almost be identical to 2015. First, I’ll ride Paris-Nice, then the classics, Giro and Tour and at the end of the season I hope to go to the World Championships as leader of the German team and will try to conquer that rainbow jersey.”

Adam Hansen: “I’m proud that I set the record of completing thirteen Grand Tours in a row. I’d like to continue on that path in 2016. Although you never know what comes. An injury or bad luck can always put an end to it. Still, I hope to add a few more Grand Tours. I have a different role in each Grand Tour. I already won a stage in the Giro and Vuelta and hope to once win a Tour stage.”

Jürgen Roelandts: “I give myself  7/10 for the past season. I did well during the spring, but didn’t get a top result. I was eleventh in Milan-Sanremo, seventh at the E3 and Ghent-Wevelgem, eighth in the Tour of Flanders and 21st in Paris-Roubaix where I rode solo in front until Carrefour de l’Arbre. Good results, but no top result. I hope it will be different in 2016. My last victory dates back to La Méditerranéenne in 2013, I hope to change that. I don’t see Tiesj Benoot as an opponent, we can only benefit when we enter the finale with two and I really wish him a first pro victory.”

Tim Wellens: “I learned a lot in 2015, maybe even more than during the years that all went well. For the first time I had some negative experiences. The Tour de France didn’t go as hoped; luckily I still had a good season thanks to my stage win and overall win at the Eneco Tour and my victory at GP de Montréal. In 2016 I will do it more like in 2014: be as good as possible at the Walloon classics and then ride the Giro. And I hope to stand at the start of the Olympic road race in Rio next summer in the best possible condition.”

Lampre-Merida's plans for January Australian races

This came from the team:

For 2016 too, the kick off of LAMPRE-MERIDA will be in Australia, in the criterium People’s Choice Classic, which will be the foretaste of the first World Tour race of the season, that is the Tour Down Under.

Merida bikes will be on the Australian roads on January 17th in Adelaide for the traditional criterium on the distance of 51 km.

The Tour Down Under will start on January 19th with 6 stages scheduled.

LAMPRE-MERIDA will be in Australia relying on a well balanced selection of riders.
Three cyclists will debut in their new blue-fuchsia-green Champion System kit: Marko Kump (Slovenia), Louis Meintjes (South Africa) and Federico Zurlo (Italy).
They’ll be part of a 7 riders selection which will include the captain Diego Ulissi, Manuele Mori, and the two young guns Tsgabu Grmay and Luka Pibernik.

Louis Meintjes

Louis Meintjes (shown at the start of 2015 Vuelta stage 20) will be wearing the Lampre-Merida kit at the Tour Down Under

The selection is characterized by two qualities: the low average age (25 years) and the internationality of the cyclists, who represent 4 nations (two African riders).

The team will be directed by Philippe Mauduit, who’ll be supported by the doctor Beltemacchi, the masseurs Negri and Redaelli and by the mechanics Baron and Tiede.

The selection will be competitive in all the 6 stages of the Australian race: the Slovenian duo Kump-Pibernik will be on the frontline in the sprints, also considering that Kump wants to be protagonist in the World Tour after the 18 victory in the 2015 season.

Ulissi is targeting Tour Down Under as an important appointment of his season and he’d like to repeat the 2014 performances when he obtained one stage victory and the third place in the overall clsssification: he’ll receive the support from Mori and Grmay.

Zurlo, who’ll debut in LAMPRE-MERIDA, will be useful both in support of the sprinters and for the hilly stages.

There will be high interest on the first race of Meintjes with the team of the manager Brent Copeland: the qualities of the South African young start could allow him to realize impressive performances in the Tour Down Under but, first of all, it will be interesting to evaluate the feeling between the rider and his new team mates.

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