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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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Today's Racing

Today we've got the start of both the "HC" ranked Four Days of Dunkirk (4 Jours de Dunkerque), and the 2.1 Tour de Azerbaidjan.

Wiggins Wants to Put World hour Record Out of Reach

This from Reuters: Bradley Wiggins believes he can put the Hour world record "out of reach" when he tackles one of cycling's toughest challenges next month at London's Olympic velodrome.

A few weeks after fellow Briton Alex Dowsett set a new world record of 52.937 kilometers in Manchester, Olympic time trial champion Wiggins says it is not a matter of "if" he can better that distance, but by how much.

"It sounds a bit horrible to say, but I think I could break the record tomorrow," the 35-year-old Wiggins, who recently left Team Sky to return to the track, said in an interview in The Times on Wednesday.

"But I don't just want to break it, I want to put it right up there, as far out of reach as I can."

The seven-times Olympic medalist who left his track roots to become the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012, believes he can add two kilometers to Dowsett's mark.

"I've got 55km in my head and I believe that's realistic," he said. "And I think if I do that it will stand for 20 years."

Wiggins is not downplaying the iconic challenge which has seen four riders break the record in the last eight months, but believes riding around 220 laps of the velodrome at virtually full bore is no worse than anything he faced on the road.

"I don't see it as being any harder than climbing the Ventoux to save fourth place in the Tour de France," he said.

Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins races the 2015 Paris-Roubaix.

"I can't see it being any harder than keeping concentration for three weeks to win the Tour, or riding around Hampton Court with the weight of expectation to win Olympic gold.

"I've been in a lot of pressure situations, I know what I can do."

"The challenge is dealing with the heat, the crowd, pacing yourself early when the crowd is egging you on," he added.

Once he has completed his Hour attempt, his focus will return to Rio 2016 where Wiggins is eyeing a fifth Olympic gold medal and a British record-extending eighth in all.

"Whatever happens, that'll be it after Rio," he said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Oakley Owner Luxotica Had Stunning Quarter

Italian eyewear group Luxotica, owner of Oakley, Ray-Ban, Arnette, Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters, among other brands, had an incredible first quarter.

Sales were 2.2 billion Euros and profit grew about 34 percent to 210.4 million Euros (that's $234.7 million USD). With North American Sales accounting for 58 percent of the company's sales, the strong Dollar was a pleasant bonus for the firm's stockholders.

Luxotica acquired Oakley in 2007, but now plans to give it a serious reorganization which Luxotica thinks will double the firm's revenues.

My, that's some real money...

Giro d'Italia Team News

Lotto-Soudal sent this note about their Giro team:

For Stig Broeckx and Louis Vervaeke the Giro will be the first Grand Tour of their career. It’s the second pro season for Broeckx, who will celebrate his 25th birthday next Sunday on the second day of the Giro. His teammate Louis Vervaeke became pro on the 1st of July of last year, he’s 21 years old. We asked both riders what this selection means to them, what their role will be in the Giro and what their expectations are.

Stig Broeckx: “It means a lot to me to be riding a Grand Tour for the first time. One often hears you only become a real pro once you have completed a Grand Tour. I’m curious to race the Giro. We have a nice team with André Greipel and Jurgen Van den Broeck as leaders, I’ll be happy to support them. That’s a role that really suits me. The first week there will be lots of work to get a sprint with André and in the mountain stages I want to stay at Jurgen’s side as long as possible. Considering this will be my first Grand Tour I don’t say I will join a breakaway in one of the stages. I’ll have to wait how my body responds to the succession of race days. I want to make sure I have enough energy to finish the Giro, then I will be satisfied. Of course I hope the team achieves its goals and that I can contribute to that.”

Stig Broeckx

Stig Broeckx finishes a stage in the 2014 Tour Down Under

Louis Vervaeke: “At first I was afraid to start in a Grand Tour, but I talked to the sports direction and learnt that I am ready for it and that it is important for my development as a rider. I wonder how I will react to three weeks of racing. It’s fantastic to go to this race as a 21-year-old. I will have to work a lot for the team’s leaders, but I also want to have a go of my own in some stages and maybe I can fight for a stage win. That will probably be in the second or third week. I will be happy if I can finish the Giro and still feel fine at the end. Top five or top three in a stage would make it even more fantastic, but that’s an extra and not necessary to have a successful Giro.”

Lampre-Merida has chosen its Giro squad:

Team Lampre-Merida has announced the names of the 9 cyclists who'll take part in the Giro d'Italia (9-31 May).

The official announcement was given by team manager Brent Copeland in a meeting which took place in the headquarters of Fred Mello, sponsor and official supplier for leisure clothes of the blue-fuchsia-green team.

The selection for the Pink Race of an historic team like Lampre-Merida wass characterized by the right union between the Italian tradition and internationality, between the experience and the dynamism of the young riders.

These are the 9 riders who'll be at the start from San Lorenzo al Mare:

Gan Xu

Gan Xu will be on the start line for the 2015 Giro d'Italia.

The cyclists from Team Lampre-Merida will represent 6 different nations (Argentina, Cina, Ethiopia, Italy, Poland and Slovenia) and 4 Continents (Africa, America, Asia and Europe). The average age is 29 years.

The Team Lampre-Merida will wear the traditional blue-fuchsia-green clothes which will be enriched on the shoulders and on the sides by the logo Cieffe, a new sponsor that chose to support the team.

The team will be directed by Orlando Maini and Marco Marzano, who'll receive the assistance from Daniele Righi.

In the support staff there will be the doctors Carlo Guardascione and Matteo Beltemacchi, the masseurs Capelli, Del Gallo, Della Torre, Napolitano and Negri, the mechanics Baron, Pengo and Romanò and the driver Bozzolo.

The team manager Brent Copeland will be assisted by the general coordinator Andrea Appiani.

BMC's Giro d'Italia roster:

Santa Rosa, California - The BMC Racing Team's roster for the Giro d'Italia includes Damiano Caruso, a top 10 finisher at last year's Vuelta a Espana, and past stage winner and world road champion Philippe Gilbert.

Only Brent Bookwalter returns from last year's nine-man squad, while four riders will make their first Giro start: Marcus Burghardt, Silvan Dillier, Stefan Küng and Rick Zabel.

Sport Director Valerio Piva said the BMC Racing Team will support Caruso for the overall classification and take immediate aim at the "maglia rosa" race leader's jersey in the team time trial that opens the three-week race Saturday.

Damiano CAruso

Damiano Caruso will be BMC's GC man.

"We will try to make a good start in the team time trial and maybe try to win one of the first stages," Piva said. "The rest of the race we will support Damiano. He will have the support of Darwin Atapuma in the climbs, so hopefully a top five result in the general classification would be nice."

New to the BMC Racing Team this year, Caruso finished ninth last September at the Vuelta a España. Last week, he finished third on Stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie. "This year, I have a big opportunity and the team has given me a big responsibility," Caruso said. "Last year, I did a good Vuelta and now I want to improve on that result in the Giro. I think I am realistic in wanting to be top 10, but in my heart, I hope to do better. This year, the Giro has a very hard start. The first five or six stages are very hard in Liguria and Toscana. It is very important to be ready from the start."

Gilbert will make his fourth Giro start - but his first since 2009 when he soloed to win the penultimate stage. "The Giro will be difficult because I am still suffering from my crash at Flèche Wallonne ," Gilbert said. "I have done a lot of work to recover, but my goals have kind of changed because I do not know if I will be at my best level. I am hoping to do a good start with the team in the team time trial and then see day-by-day what I can do."

Küng won a stage at the Tour de Romandie last week and earned "most combative rider" honors at the WorldTour race. The world individual pursuit champion on the track also soloed to win the Volta Limburg Classic last month. "I remember when we talked to Stefan about doing the Giro," Sport Director Fabio Baldato said. "His eyes got very big and he was really excited. This will be a good experience for him and I am sure he and the other young guys like Rick and Silvan can contribute. Doing a three-week race really helps you take the next step toward becoming a stronger, more experienced rider. You see their body and their attitude change in a grand tour much more than in a one-week week race or a classic."

Riders: Darwin Atapuma (COL), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Stefan Küng (SUI), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sporting Manager: Allan Peiper (AUS)

Sport Directors:Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA)

Cannondale-Garmin Roster for Tour of California

This announcement came from Cannondale-Garmin:

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced its 2015 Amgen Tour of California Roster, featuring five Americans including Alex Howes, Ben King, Ted King, Napa resident Andrew Talansky and Joe Dombrowski, who had a career-defining moment on Mt. Baldy in 2012 with a 4th place finish on the stage. The team also features Olympic Gold Medalist Lasse Hansen and neo pros Kristoffer Skjerping and Ruben Zepuntke.

According to Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, the squad will be racing to win every chance it gets: "We're hoping for a breakout performance from one of our many young riders. Stage wins are possibilities from Alex, Ruben, and Kristoffer.  Joe Dombrowski first proved himself in California in 2012 on Mt. Baldy. I think he's looking to see what he can do there again. Overall, our objective will be to race for the win as much as possible on every day that presents a chance."

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling 2015 Amgen Tour of California Roster: Joe Dombrowski, Lasse Hansen, Alex Howes, Ben King, Ted King, Kristoffer Skjerping, Andrew Talansky, Ruben Zepuntke

Ben King

Ben King wins the first stage of the 2015 Criterium International.

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