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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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

When asked what the stock market will do, J.P. Morgan answered, "It will fluctuate."

First 2016 Tour Down Under photos posted

The 2016 season is really getting rolling with the Tour Down Under. I've got about twenty photos of riders who have already arrived. To get the ball rolling, the People's Choice Classic will be run Sunday, January 17.

Racng in Australia

It's racing time in Australia

Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka start season in Argentina

Here's the news from Team Tinkoff:

Tinkoff will open the 2016 season with the Argentinean race that has grown in recent years to become South America's most prominent event. From January 18th to 24th, the team, led by Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka, will take on its first challenge of the season.

Tinkoff will kick off its new season with an overseas race that has become the opener for many professional top teams which, by taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions, can assess the form of their riders.

This race has increasingly become a global showcase for emerging Latin American riders who, thanks to the opportunity provided by worldwide visibility and a chance to compete alongside the world's best riders, earned themselves a place in the big WorldTour teams.

Now into its tenth edition, the Tour de San Luis is scheduled from January 18th to 24th and features seven stages with a total distance of 921.7 km to be covered.

Tinkoff will send a versatile squad with World Champion Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka as the marquee riders. They will be joined by Maciej Bodnar, Jesper Hansen, Pawel Poljanski and Nikolay Trusov.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan (in rainbow kit) is headed to Argentina

The first stage, for the first time in the race history, will be a team time trial of 21 kilometers on a slightly hilly course (El Duranzo).

Two stages feature an uphill climb to the finish, the fourth stage arrives at Cerro El Feint (1,710m) while the sixth stage ventures up to Sierras Comechingones and Filo (2,140m) providing the first Grand Tour test for the climbers.

"It will be my first participation in Tour de San Luis. I heard it's a great and well-organized race and I think it will be a good starting point for my 2016 season. I consider the Tour de San Luis as one of my preparatory races, however Tinkoff will have a strong leader. I'm excited to start my new racing season in Argentina!”, commented Rafal Majka.

The remaining stages are marked by a relatively flat course, an excellent opportunity for the team sprinters.

"I look forward to the upcoming «rainbow season»", says Peter Sagan. "I am also delighted to launch it at such a nice event - Tour de San Luis offers the best conditions to obtain a bit of racing pace. If I feel my legs in good form, I will also try to sprint for the first win of this season".

Patxi Vila, leading sports director for Tinkoff in Argentina, commented on the race: “The team will structure itself depending on whether it is a mountain or sprint stage. In that sense, Peter Sagan is Tinkoff's obvious option for the sprints, even if it is still too early. In fact, as this is the opening race of the season, it’s by far too early for all the riders."

"We could achieve a good result in the team time-trial since we have three riders most suited to it, Bodnar, Sagan and Trusov. The second stage and, in particular, the third one could favour Peter since it doesn't have a very steep finish, so hopefully he will be in the first group and be able to sprint for the win", commented Vila.

"In the fourth and sixth stages, Rafal Majka and Jesper Hansen could be our front men. At the Gran Canaria training camp we saw that Hansen was in good physical condition. In what regards Majka, his main objective this season is the Giro d'Italia, therefore it is too early for him to get in top shape now. The same holds for Poljanski. These three riders will be the ones to take up the reins in the mountains but we will adapt our strategy at each stage. We expect a strong performance by a number of South American riders, Colombians or Argentineans, who will be at their peak form and it might be difficult for us to win. Our main target is to keep improving the preparation of our riders for the season’s big goals and take our chances whenever we can."

"We will adapt our strategy and tactics after every stage. We will approach the race day by day, but of course we are a top professional sports team, and the desire to win is also part of our DNA”, concluded Vila.

Lampre-Merida for Tour de San Luis

Here's the Italian team's press release:

For the start of the 2016 season, LAMPRE-MERIDA will race in Australia (Tour Down Under) and at the same time in Argentina, participation in the Tour de San Luis (18-24 January).

The sports director Orlando Maini will manage a selection of 6 riders: Mattia Cattaneo, Davide Cimolai, Roberto Ferrari, Ilia Koshevoy, Matej Mohoric & Jan Polanc (three Italian cyclists, two Slovenian athletes and one Byelorussian).

Davide Cimolai

Davide Cimolai wins stage 5 of the 2015 Paris-Nice

The South American race will start with a TTT, which will be followed by stage which will give opportunities for every rider: three stages for the sprinters, two for the climbers and one which is characterized by a mixed course.
This is the list of the stages:
- 18/1, 1st stage: El Durazno-El Durazno (TTT, 21 km)
- 19/1, 2nd stage: San Luis-Villa Mercedes (181,9 km)
- 20/1, 3rd stage: Potreros de los Funes-La Punta (131 km)
- 21/1, 4th stage: San Luis-Cerro de Amago (140 km)
- 22/1, 5th stage: Renca-Juana Koslay (168,7 km)
- 23/1, 6th stage: La Toma-Filo Sierras Comechingones (159,5 km)
- 24/1, 7th stage: San Luis-San Luis (119,6 km)

The goals of LAMPRE-MERIDA, whose selection for the race is characterized by a low average age (25 years old) will be confirmation of the fit of its riders, who trained profitably during the winter break, and the attempt of being protagonist on every arrival: Cimolai and Ferrari will improve their feeling in the sprints, Cattaneo, Koshevoy and Polanc will try to exploit the opportunities in the more demanding stages.

There will be also a high interest in the debut of Matej Mohoric in LAMPRE-MERIDA.

Giant-Alpecin race preview

This update came from the team:

RACE PREVIEW: JANUARY 11 - 19 

PEOPLE'S CHOICE CLASSIC (CRT)

Held on the streets of Adelaide, the People’s Choice Classic is a circuit race that serves as a preview to the Santos Tour Down Under, setting the stage for the week ahead. The 51km criterium will be held this Sunday, Jan. 17.

“For this year’s edition our focus will be on attacking,” said coach Aike Visbeek (NED). “With Koen and Bert we have two fast guys who can go for a result if it comes down to a sprint.”

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke is already in Australia

RACE: People's Choice Classic (CRT)

DATE: 17/01/2016

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP : Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Carter Jones (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT)

SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER (WT)

The 2016 road season officially gets underway in Australia with the first WorldTour race of the year, the six-stage Santos Tour Down Under. After five road stages, with distances ranging from 130.8km to 151.5km, the race finishes with a 4.5km circuit race through the heart of Adelaide.

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: “Simon had some minor knee problems leading up to the race, which have since been resolved. But because of that, we have been forced to change our plans a bit. Tobias showed some good progress last year and during the winter training camps, and he will get the opportunity to go for a good GC result. With Georg and Carter we have two climbers to support Tobias in the important GC stages.

“On the flat stages, Koen and Bert will go for their chances in the sprints. We will apply more offensively oriented tactics because obviously we aren’t among the clear favorites for the overall win.”

RACE: Tour Down Under (WT)

DATE: 19-24/01/2016

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Carter Jones (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (NED)

Ford becomes Team Sky supplier

Here's the release from Team Sky:

LONDON, Jan. 12, 2016 – Ford today announced a new multi-year partnership agreement with Team Sky as the elite cycling team’s exclusive supplier of cars and vans.

Team Sky, which has won the legendary Tour de France three times in the past four years with Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, will be using Ford’s latest vehicles to support its racing programme from the start of 2016. This will include the three annual Grand Tour events comprising the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

“Our new partnership with Team Sky is a fantastic opportunity to embrace this vibrant sport, and to connect with a new audience of passionate cycling fans,” said Anthony Ireson, director, Marketing Communication, Ford of Europe. “This partnership enables us to showcase Ford’s latest products right at the heart of the action to both the avid cycling fans that line the route of these incredible road races and those that tune in from around the world.”

The partnership agreement affords Team Sky access to a range of Ford vehicles to provide specific support for all key areas of the Team Sky racing and non-racing programme.

Liveried in the distinctive blue and black Team Sky colours, the most visible cars in the peloton will be the Ford Mondeo wagons used by the team’s sports directors and team mechanics. These will be joined by a range of other Ford vehicles with the in-car technologies for any race and any environment.

All Kuga sports utility vehicles and S-MAX sports activity vehicles, as well as two of the Mondeo Wagons will be equipped with Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive technology ready for tough Belgian cobbles or Alpine descents. This technology measures how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface and can adjust torque delivery between the front and rear wheels in under 20 milliseconds.

“Ford is the perfect partner for Team Sky, sharing our core values of combining technology and innovation to meet the specific and often varied demands needed in any high performance environment,” said Sir David Brailsford, team principal at Team Sky. “As we embark on our racing programme, Ford’s range of vehicles will play a vital role for Team Sky delivering the right car for the right environment as we strive towards even greater success and more race wins in 2016 and beyond.”

The Ford-Team Sky partnership kicks off in late-January in its first race of the European season at the Majorca Challenge races, starting on Thursday Jan. 28

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