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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Sunday, October 25, 2015

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

Bradley Wiggins to ride 2016 Tour of California

Bradley Wiggins, winner of the 2014 Tour of California, will return to the race next May as a member of his team, Team Wiggins. Wiggins will be putting a fine edge on his preparations for the Rio Olympics.

Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins setting a new World Hour Record in June, 2015

Etixx-Quick Step director will try to bring back old Marcel Kittel

Interesting article posted yesterday on the Danish website feltet.dk.

There have been some big team changes among the top sprinters for 2016. Mark Cavendish left Etixx-Quick Step, which picked up German speedster Marcel Kittel to fill the hole.

Etixx-Quick Step director Brian Holm will have a real challenge in managing Kittel, however. Kittel had a terrible 2015 season, missing the Tour de France and scoring only one victory, the first stage of the Tour of Poland.

Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel winning 2015 Tour of Poland stage 1

Kittel was ill with a virus, Holm said, "Kittel should not have raced while he had been ill for years, and it destroyed him. I am looking to see if we can get his old form back. That will be the task, and we will try to make his program so that he can get started again. If he is not not on top, he will not race. We will look after him.

"If he comes back after his virus, it will be interesting. He will return and he will win races. He has something that the others do not have. He is a winner and he has an extra gear, so there are not many who can stay with him."

Kittel has won eight Tour de France stages and has worn the Yellow Jersey.

Ag2r-La Mondiale team reacts to the 2016 Tour de France

Romain Bardet: "I appreciate the 2016 Tour route"

He came ninth of the 2015 general classification Winner of stage 18 between Gap and Saint-Jean de Maurienne. He was also elected Tour most aggressive rider
“It appears to be a unique route. We are not stuck in the routine of the last Tour routes. Mountain stages will have a major impact this year.  The first mountain test is coming as early as stage f5 (Limoges- Le Lioran on July 6th) which is close to my home. The roads in the department of Cantal are my training roads, I love to ride there. The tour will begin in a spectacular backdrop and the rider will remember, for a long time, this splendid province. That is why I appreciate the 2016 Tour route.

Romain Bardet

Romain Bardet after 2015 Tour de France stage 19

Julien Jurdie, Sports Manager: "We will have many opportunities"

"This 2016 Tour route will be pleasant to discover and a challenging one too. The last two weeks appears to be really tough. There are many innovations which is compelling for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team. I am satisfied because we will have many opportunities to win stages. The 2016 itinerary features also a rolling 23-mile time trial on stage 13 and a difficult 10.5-mile time trial to Megeve for the 18th stage. It will be interesting tests for us.”

Vincent Lavenu, General Manager: "This 2016 Tour is the ideal playground to express ourselves"

"It is always a great pleasure to discover the new Tour itinerary. I hate rumours, therefore I did not check social medias before the official presentation. It will be a dynamic Tour with great mountain stages, especially in our Alps. The route fits with our AG2R LA MONDIALE riders’ profiles. This 2016 Tour is the ideal playground to express ourselves. I hope we will have a competitive team that will match our objectives. “

Alexis Vuillermoz, Winner of 2015 stage 8 between Rennes and Mur de Bretagne:

“It is a Tour that could be suitable for aggressive riders! Many finish lines will be at the bottom of mountains’ col which is, often, appropriate to single men or small breakaway groups. Last year I was frustrated because I failed in a mountain stage. That is why this year I want to show I am not only an attacker but also a great climber. The tour will take place in the Jura which is my home region (during the stage of July 18th between Moirans-en-Montagne and Berne). I know as well the roads as the people around there. I can assure you it will be a substantial moment of the Tour de France.”

Christophe Riblon: One stage victory in 2010 and 2013.

"Focus from the first to the last day of competition”

“The 2016 Tour route is beautiful and inspiring too! There will be no calm days with an interesting program on each stage. We need to be focus from the first to the last day of competition. Many stages could be appropriate to real fighters too…”

Christophe Riblon

Christophe Riblon descending in stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France

Sebastien Minard : "My main objective"

“The official Tour de France presentation is always an exciting moment to live! The last stage will start at Chantilly, which is my home. It will be a particular emotion to ride there only if I am selected for a seventh Tour. I was not among the Tour riders this year and, for this reason, my main objective for 2016 is to be in.”

Davide Viganò to Androni Giocattoli

This from the team:

After confirming Marco Bandiera  - twice on the final podium of the Tour of Italy- and Francesco Chicchi - victorious in Crevalcore in Week of Coppi and Bartali and in Guanare during the Vuelta Venezuela –the  Team Manager Gianni Savio has hired Davide Viganò. The rider, after having raced in big teams - such as Quick Step, Lampre and Sky - returns to the Androni Giocattoli Sidermec team.

Viganò, who got three wins this year - a stage and the final classification of the Tour of Slovakia and a stage in the Tour of Portugal - hopes to be a player in the last races of the season.

Anyone for the Giro-Tour Double?

Paolo Marabini, writing for La Gazzetta dello Sport, wondered about the change in riders' attitude toward training and racing. He said that Alberto Contador was the last top rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to attempt the Giro-Tour double.

He also noted that both the Giro and the Tour in 2016 should be less demanding than some previous editions, therefore possibly inviting other riders besides Contador to make the attempt.

Of course, being an Italian, he looked to Vincenzo Nibali as a possible candidate for the double.

Vincenzo Nibali

Nibali for the double?

Renowned team manager Gianluigi Stanga (Gatorade, Chateau d'Ax, Milram are some of the teams he has managed) said that the idea of the dual commitment belongs to previous generations of riders, not the current one, a situation Stanga finds unfortunate. Stanga said that legendary status is gained by going to the limits of the the possible and asked that the top riders think about that.

We'll see.

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