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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

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

Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - Katharine Hepburn

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Rider transfer news

These are the press releases the teams sent me today.

Roman Kreuziger joins Orica-BikeExchange

Czech Republic champion Roman Kreuziger will ride for ORICA-BikeExchange across the next two seasons in what sports director Matt White has described as a ‘game-changing signing’.

The 30-year-old joins the Australian outfit from Tinkoff, adding valuable experience for the outfit’s Grand Tour general classification ambitions going forward.

ORICA-BikeExchange has enjoyed a breakout season in the first two Grand Tours of 2016, claiming second overall with Esteban Chaves at the Giro d’Italia and fourth overall and the best young rider jersey at the Tour de France with Adam Yates.

Having helped the likes of Alberto Contador to his 2015 Giro d’Italia title, Kreuziger, who finished 10th himself at the recent Tour de France, is ready to apply himself to the promising young stars of ORICA-BikeExchange.

“ORICA-BikeExchange was an easy choice for me when I started to consider my next team and my future as a rider,” Kreuziger said. “I really admire the ambitions they have going onwards, and I want to fully apply myself to help their young riders go for the ultimate success in the Grand Tours.”

Roman Kreuziger

Roman Kreuziger climbing in stage 9 of this year's Tour de France

“I think I’ll be able to fulfill that role both on and off the bike and at the same time try and go for a win myself in one-week races and some of the Classics where we will have several cards to play. I’m very thankful for being able to join one of the most promising and well respected teams in the peloton where I will also be part of what looks to be a fun environment to work in.”

Thrilled with the new addition, White is confident Kreuziger will make a significant positive impact for ORICA-BikeExchange’s ambitions in 2017 and 2018. “Roman is a real game-changing signing for us,” White said. “He is not only one of the classiest and strongest riders at WorldTour level, but he also brings a wealth of experience having worked for the best GC riders in the world.”

“He will be one of the riders who can make the difference for our young riders at the Tour de France in the attempt to go for the podium. And at the same time he’s proved that he can win himself in both the Classics and other WorldTour stage races.

“We are rapidly developing into a team with real depth throughout the calendar, including in all three Grand Tours. Roman's inclusion in our roster will be key in the years to come.”

Roman Kreuziger
Age: 30
From: Moravská Třebová, Czech Republic
Turned Professional:  2006

Major results:

- 1st 2016 National Championships Czech Republic - Road Race
- 10th 2016 Tour de France – General Classification
- 1st 2013 Amstel Gold Race
- 5th 2013 Tour de France – General Classification
- 1st 2012 Giro d’Italia – Stage 18
- 1st 2011 Giro d’Italia – Youth Classification
- 1st 2009 Tour de Romandie – General Classification
- 1st 2009 Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
- 1st 2008 Tour de Suisse – General Classification

Nicolas Roche to join BMC:

1 August 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Nicolas Roche (32), Irish National Road Race and Time Trial Champion, will join BMC Racing Team for the 2017 season, General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced today.

"Nicolas Roche is a fantastic addition to BMC Racing Team. Nicolas brings a wealth of experience and is exactly the sort of rider we are looking for to support our Grand Tour ambitions and work for his own personal objectives. A lot of our goals are centered around Grand Tours and we felt we needed an additional rider who could bring us experience in that field," Ochowicz explained.

"We are looking forward to a big season again in 2017 and I think Nicolas will be an asset for us, as he has proven in the past. Nicolas is a rider who brings a lot of dimensions with his portfolio, including Grand Tour stage wins and top ten finishes in the General Classification, so we are thrilled to welcome him to the BMC Racing Team family."

Nicolas roche

Nicolas Roche racing in this year's Giro d'Italia

Roche was attracted to BMC Racing Team's style of riding.  "I'm super excited because BMC Racing Team is a team that rides with a lot of the characteristics that I like. They're always up the front, riding with aggression and trying to make an exciting race. I think I'll enjoy the aggressive style of racing," Roche said. "Looking ahead to the 2017 season, my main role will be to really support Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen in their General Classification ambitions, and hopefully I'll have a good go at the Vuelta a Espãna."

2017 will mark Roche's 13th season as a professional cyclist, during which time he has claimed two Vuelta a Espãna stage wins, overall victory at Route du Sud, and two Irish National Road Race and Time Trial Championships.

Roche is the first Irish rider to join BMC Racing Team.

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other terms or conditions of the contract were released.

LottoNL-Jumbo signs Juan José Lobato:

Spanish sprinter Juan José Lobato will join team LottoNL-Jumbo for the next two years, 2017 and 2018. Lobato already won four races in 2016. He wants to keep improving in the sprints and in the Ardennes Classics with the Dutch WorldTour team.

“Lobato is a strong addition in our plan towards 2018,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said. “He is a decent rider uphill and in tough finishes. He’s able to compete for the victories, especially when the finishes are slightly uphill.”

Lobato rode for Andalucía, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Movistar so far in his professional career and won 15 races – four from this year. “I’m really happy to join Team LottoNL-Jumbo for the next two seasons,” Lobato added. “I felt that I needed a change for 2017 and to sign for a Dutch Team is important in the development of my skills in the sprints and classics. If you want to be a big sprinter and a big rider in one-day races then joining team LottoNL-Jumbo makes perfect sense.”

Juan Jose lobato

Lobato winning stage 4 of this year's Tour of the Sarthe

Lobato will link up with team stars including Dutchmen Steven Kruijswijk and Dylan Groenewegen. “Everyone sees that Team LottoNL-Jumbo is working well with overall riders like Steven Kruijswijk, but they are also doing a fantastic job with young and fast talents like Dylan Groenewegen. That helped in my decision to sign for this team. I want to learn from the trainers and grow in the team’s structure.”

Ryder Hesjedal to retire at end of 2016 season

This news was posted by Hejedal's Trek-Segafredo team:

Ryder Hesjedal has confirmed that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season. The 35-year-old began as a professional in mountain biking in 1999 before switching full-time to the road with Discovery Channel in 2005, a career that has spanned 18 seasons professionally and over 20 years including the junior ranks.

Hesjedal signed a one-year deal with Trek-Segafredo after the 2015 season and recently decided to close his career upon the culmination of the contract. "Yeah, it definitely wasn't an easy decision, but it seemed like the right time," said Hesjedal. "I am ready to move on to other challenges in life. It's been two decades focusing on the competition of cycling in two different disciplines, and now I want to use that experience in other ways."

Ryder Hesjedal

Ryder Hesjedal finishing this year's Clasica San Sebastian

Hesjedal won silver medals in Junior, Under-23 and Elite categories at the 1998, 2001 and 2003 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships, but his best accolades accumulated on the road. The 2012 Giro d’Italia champion has stage wins in the Vuelta a España (2009, 2014), a second place in the Amstel Gold Race (2010), and 5th Overall in the Tour de France (2010).

In 2015, Hesjedal finished 5th in the Giro, prompting the Canadian to make another bid for the Italian grand tour with Trek-Segafredo, but his effort was cut short due to illness.

Hesjedal: "I am indebted to Luca (Guercilena) and Trek-Segafredo for believing in me and giving me another stab at the Giro, but things just didn't work out with me getting sick. 2016 is not finished and I am highly motivated for the final races. When I leave it will be knowing that I gave everything until my last race.

"I am really grateful for my time in the sport and for all of the support I have received over the years from my teams, family, friends and especially the fans. I truly love cycling and to be able to race at the level I have for so many years has been everything I dreamed it would be since I was a kid and just riding for fun. I want to get back to that and do different things on the bike and in life in general."

Hesjedal has not yet decided on his final race but has confirmed he will line up in the Tour of Alberta as well as the Montreal and Quebec WorldTour events.

Contador continues Tour of Spain preparations at Vuelta a Burgos

This came from Contador's Tinkoff team:

Following his participation in the Clasica San Sebastian, his first race back after injury during the Tour de France, Tinkoff’s GC leader Alberto Contador lines up at the five day Vuelta a Burgos in Spain. The race will be a strong test and preparation race in the build-up for the Tour of Spain, for both Alberto and his teammates.

Alberto will be joined at the race by a selection of riders capable of supporting him in his goal of a strong GC position, as well as racing for their own stage successes. Jesús Hernandez, Sergio Paulinho, Ivan Rovny and Yuri Trofimov come to the race from San Sebastian where they raced alongside Alberto. Michael Gogl comes to the race after a strong fourth place overall at the Tour of Denmark, while the team is completed by Adam Blythe and Jay McCarthy.

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador at the start of Clasica San Sebastian

Despite wins in most of the major Spanish stage races in the calendar, the Vuelta a Burgos is a race that Alberto has never etched on his palmares. However, with the race forming part of Alberto’s build towards the Vuelta a España following his Tour de France disappointment, it may be more of a case of finding form than racing for the victory.

The race offers the team a range of different opportunities, and Sport Director Ivan Basso confirmed that the riders will have their chances over the five days. “For Alberto, he comes here from injury so we have to see how he is. We will focus on bringing him through the race in a good way, and we will see how he recovers from San Sebastian and go from there.

“For the other riders, it’s a good race to take their opportunities for results. We will see day-by-day who can do what. In this race I think you can get your own results, which is important for the riders. I want to see the Tinkoff spirit, which is in our DNA, to see the team fighting, motivated, committed and working hard in the race.”

The race gets underway with a relatively flat stage that suits the sprinters before the GC will see a shake up with the second day’s team time trial. Stage 3 will be more suited to the breakaway, or a small group coming to the finish with three categorised climbs to tackle, while stage 4 also will be a tough test that should shed the pure sprinters.

Finally, the race comes to a climax with the queen stage on Saturday, covering seven categorised climbs, including the final mountain top finish after 163km of racing. This final day will be a good test for Alberto to see how his climbing legs have recovered after the Tour, and how his recovery process is coming along.

Basso continued, “It’s nice for me as it's my second experience as first Sport Director, and I’m happy to share this with Jan Valach – we’ll repeat the same experience of Croatia where we had a great race. This is a much different race, first of all because our GC captain is there, Alberto, and it’s an important race as we have 12 other WorldTour teams there, and it’s a very difficult race. We will try each day to see what we can do.”

Giant-Alpecin and Liv-Plantur race preview

This came from the teams:

VUELTA A BURGOS (2.HC):

Team Giant-Alpecin have one Spanish excursion this August before the Vuelta a España, with the Vuelta a Burgos. The race starting Tuesday provides the riders a good opportunity to test themselves out in high mountains, on short and steep uphill finishes and in the crosswinds. The five stages that make up the 2016 edition will maintain a similar format from past seasons.

Coach Morten Bennekou (DEN) said: "Burgos will be a good race for those who are riding the Vuelta to fine-tune their form. The goal for the team as a whole is to aim for stage opportunities, to go on the offensive and get into the breakaways. We expect to see some promising performances and we want to show ourselves during the stages.

"The race will also give the opportunity to our stagiaires Jochem and Martijn, to get a good idea of what the professional world is like and also at riding as a team at this level."

RACE: Vuelta a Burgos (2.HC)

DATE: 02-06/08/2016

COACH: Morten Bennekou (DEN) 

LINE-UP: Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Jochem Hoekstra (NED), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR) , Martijn Tusveld (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL)  

LA ROUTE DE FRANCE (2.1):

Team Liv-Plantur will line up this Saturday for the 10th edition of La Route de France. The week of racing typically offers plenty of sprints and break opportunities. This year will comprise nine stages through north-east France, including a prologue and an individual time trial covering almost 900km of riding.

Coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said ahead of the race: "La Route de France is an open race with chances for both sprints and breakaways and we have a strong team for both eventualities. We expect a challenging week but it should be a very exciting one.

"With Floortje we have one of the fastest riders and it is an important step in her development to be a leader in such a stage race. Then with Rozanne, Carlee and Molly who are good climbers, we will aim for stage results in the hillier stages."

RACE: La Route de France (2.1)

DATE: 06-14/08/2016

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

LINE-UP: Floortje Mackaij (NED), Rozanne Slik (NED), Julia Soek (NED), Kyara Stijns (NED), Carlee Taylor (AUS), Molly Weaver (GBR) 

OLYMPIC ROAD RACE:

This weekend sees the Olympic men's and women's road races take place. The route is tough and hilly and is expected to suit the climbers. The men riders will cover 256.4km starting and finishing in Flamengo Park, as the women will do 130.3km, riding through beautiful Rio locations including the Copacabana.

Team Giant-Alpecin has four riders in action with Warren Barguil for France, Tom Dumoulin representing the Netherlands, Simon Geschke for Germany and Georg Preidler for Austria.

Team Liv-Plantur are racing the following day with Leah Kirchmann representing Canada and Sara Mustonen for Sweden.

RACE: Olympic Men's Road Race

DATE: 06/08/2016

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Georg Preidler (AUT) 

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