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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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Racing schedule:

Today we have the Nationale Sluitingsprijs Putte-Kapellen.

Tom Boonen back on the bike in six weeks?

Here's the update from Etixx-Quick Step:

BikeRaceInfo note: yesterday we posted that Tom Boonen may be off his bike for six months. Today Boonen's team posted this report:

Etixx - Quick-Step announces that Tom Boonen still feels good, and today he moved to the hotel supervised by team medical doctor Jose Ibarguren.

Boonen will pass a CT scan next Thursday, October 15, 2015, after which it will be decided when he will be able to fly back to Belgium.

"I'm pretty optimistic," Boonen said. "I'm still tired but I'm feeling good. Now I only need to give time for the fracture to heal, and time for myself to rest. I want to thank the medical staff of the hospital. I am in really good hands here. Also I received a lot of visits from the Abu Dhabi sports government. They really looked after me, just as my team is doing, since the moment of the crash."

"Tom is recovering well" Team Doctor Yvan Van Mol said. "Considering the good clinical evolution, we expect that Tom can start preparing for next season in six weeks."

Capecchi and Smukulis join Astana

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Eros Capecchi, currently riding for Movistar, and Latvian Gatis Smukulis of Katusha, will both join Astana. Astana boss Alexander Vinokourov said, "Capecchi has great experience and will have a supporting role for Vincenzo Nibali in Grand Tours; Smukulis will be very important in the Northern Classics, with the task of helping our captain Lars Boom."

Capecchi, 29, has been a pro since 2009 and won a stage in the 2011 Giro d'Italia and the GP Lugano; Smukulis, 28, has been Latvian national time trial champion several times and won the Under-23 Tour of Flanders.

Eros Capecchi

Eros Capecchi at this year's Tour Down Under

Lampre-Merida's plans for the Japan Cup

The team sent this release:

After having obtained in May two successes in the Tour of Japan and after having won the youth and the points classifications of the Nipponese race, Lampre-Merida will come back to the Land of the Rising Sun for participating to the Japan Cup (Sunday 18th of October).

The team, which will be directed by Bruno Vicino, aims to continue the favourable tradition of successes in the Utsonomiya race (6 victories). That’s why the quality of the line-up will be very high: Diego Ulissi will be the captain, Jan Polanc, a top quality outsider, Feng and the trainee Ravasi will be ready to join the breakaways ,and Mori will do his best to honor a race in which he always find extra motivations (winner in 2007).

“Our team has always been protagonist in the Japan Cup, even if we’ve missed some victories for some years - sport director Vicino explained - Our cyclists are going to participate in the Japanese race at the end of a long season, during which they spent much energy. But the motivations will be be higher than the tiredness: there are many Asian fans who’ll support us and we’ll receive as usual the war welcome from the sponsors.

The course changed, so now the 14 laps for the total distance of 144.2 km will be more demanding than in the past”.

DIego Ulissi

Diego Ulissi winning 2015 Giro stage 7

LottoNL-Jumbo will end its season at Putte-Kapellen

LottoNL-Jumbo rides in Putte-Kapellen, the last race of the year for the team. Traditionally, the Belgian race closes the cycling season, and this year, Sports Director Nico Verhoeven will field eight ready riders.

"The Sluitingskoers is always a special race," said Verhoeven. "A long time ago, we raced on local circuit. Now you have nine rounds on a 22-kilometre closed parcours. It is a EuropeTour race and a good race to win. We expect it to be a bunch sprint. Tom Van Asbroeck lost by a millimetre last year, so it would be nice if he could take revenge this time."

On Saturday October 17, LottoNL-Jumbo celebrates fan day at Olympos in Utrecht -- the last team duty before 2016 preparations. Most riders will participate in a recreational ride, the 6e of Lotto, and then go on holiday.

“On Saturday we end the year with our fans. They can participate in various activities,” added Verhoeven. "When you talk with supporters then you notice how great their experiences are. If you look at our season, the supporters enjoyed Kruijswijk in the Giro d'Italia and Gesink in the Tour, and also the results of Wilco Kelderman and Jos van Emden in the Eneco Tour left a mark. But in 2016, we have to win more races."

In last year’s Sluitingskoers, sprinter Van Asbroeck fell short of the win. This year, he returns with aspirations and good legs.

"Usually, it's a race for sprinters. Last year, I was beaten and now, I hope for more,” said Van Asbroeck. "I still have great aspirations and good legs. I can use the speed of Paris-Tours in Putte-Kapellen. We have a motivated team, but you never know how a race will develop. We go there and make the best out of it."

Koen Bouwman

Koen Bouwman will be on the start line

Team line-up: Koen Bouwman, Twan Castelijns, Mike Teunissen, Maarten Tjallingii, Timo Roosen, Maarten Wynants, Tom Van Asbroeck and Dennis van Winden.

Sports Director: Nico Verhoeven.

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