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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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

There is nothing permanent except change. - Heraclitus

BikeRaceInfo covered these now completed races:

Coming up:

Herman Frison discusses Lotto-Soudal's 2016 team debut in Spain

This note came to me from Lotto-Soudal:

Yesterday, the eleven riders that are selected for the Challenge Mallorca (28 – 31 January) arrived on the Spanish island. Lotto Soudal has chosen the same approach as last year: no Tour de San Luis, no races in the Middle-East and a different composition of the team for Tour Down Under; those riders again get a few weeks rest after they return from Australia.

andre Greipel

André Greipel will race at Mallora

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Last year’s approach has yielded success, our new race programme had a positive evaluation, so we decided to make the same choices this year: race less and don’t send our riders for the Flemish classics to the Tour Down Under. By not riding races like the Tour de San Louis in Argentina or the Tours of Qatar and Oman we want to spare them racing in exotic temperatures and a jetlag. Last season, we didn’t know how it would turn out, but it proved to be a success. When the riders get the necessary rest in the meantime, they can longer keep up the top condition in the spring thanks to the different race programme. We saw that last year.”

In 2015 the team had the most successful season ever. Lotto Soudal scored the entire year, with victories from the GP La Marseillaise on 1 February until the Eurométropole Tour at the beginning of October. The team won forty times. Can the team do as well as last year and do they feel any pressure?

Herman Frison: “We don’t experience any pressure. The team is almost the same as last year, with only four new riders. Rafael Valls has to be an asset for the one-week stage races, Jelle Wallays is a rider for the classics. Guys like Tiesj Benoot and Jens Debusschere will be stronger than last year and you can always count on André Greipel. Last year, we put our trust in them and that remains the same. We are convinced that we can perform as well as last year and why not even better? Hopefully, we can already triumph before the Belgian opening weekend at the end of February, by winning at Challenge Mallorca, GP La Marseillaise, Etoile de Bessèges, Ruta del Sol or Volta ao Algarve. It’s not a must, but it always is good to have won before the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad or Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.”

The Challenge Mallorca consists of four individual races, or Trofeo’s. A team can select different riders each day. Both sprinters and climbers get courses that suit them. On Thursday the race takes place in the southern part of Mallorca and there’s a chance the sprinters will battle for the victory. On Friday the course is tougher. The third day the riders immediately have to climb the Coll de Sóller. About twenty kilometres before the finish in Deià they will reach the top of the Collet Alt de Cuber, at 920 metres of altitude. Then there is a descent of ten kilometres, followed by a last uphill part. Last year Tim Wellens was second in Deià, behind Alejandro Valverde. Tiesj Benoot finished eighth. Sunday, when the race finishes in the capital Palma, the fast guys get another opportunity, because the last 35 kilometres are flat.

Herman Frison: “The first and last day the race could end with a sprint, then we aim for a win with Greipel. Those days Debusschere, Roelandts and Sieberg will race as well. The second and third day we will choose for riders like Benoot, Vervaeke and Wellens. Saturday is the hardest, with start at the bottom of the Sóller. With our team we stand a chance in sprints and the tougher stages. Without pressuring the riders, we have to aim for at least one victory. If we want to achieve the same results as last year, then we have to be good right from the beginning. Last year we also won pretty soon, we have to start the same way now and don’t hide our ambition.”

After the Challenge Mallorca the Lotto Soudal riders will stay five more days in Mallorca to train.

Herman Frison: “Mallorca is perfect to train, we already held our training camps on the island in December and January. We decided to add some training days to our stay. All tests are done, it is all about training now. The basic condition has to be fine, it’s more intensive now. Wim Van Hoolst, trainer from Energy Lab, will draw the schedules and it won’t be easy. During a training the riders will for example have to ride uphill for twenty minutes twice in a row at a certain wattage and heart rate, which will be determined individually. There will also be power and sprint trainings as well as one long training of more than six hours.”

Team Challenge Mallorca: Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Bart De Clercq, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Tomasz Marczynski, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.

Challenge Mallorca

Team Liv-Plantur's upcoming plans

The team sent me this update:

RACE PREVIEW: JANUARY 25 - FEBRUARY 2, LADIES TOUR OF QATAR (2.1)

First on Team Liv-Plantur’s calendar for 2016 is the Ladies Tour of Qatar, which is now in its eighth edition. The race kicks off with a 97km opening stage on the same course as this year’s road world championships and closes with a circuit race on the Doha Corniche.

"With Sara we can go for stage results in the sprint," said coach Hans Timmermans (NED). "Our training camp in Calpe, Spain, has gone very well and we are going to Qatar with confidence. In the stages with a risk of echelons we will have to race attentively and grab bonus seconds whenever possible. In this way we will explore our GC possibilities."

RACE: Ladies Tour of Qatar (2.1)

DATE: 02-05/02/2016

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

LINE-UP: Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Sara Mustonen (SWE), Julia Soek (NED), Kyara Stijns (NED), Molly Weaver (GBR)

Leah kirchmann

Leah Kirchmann at the 2015 Amgen Tour

Bardiani-CSF to make 2016 debut at Volta Valenciana

The squad sent me this note:

Bardiani-CSF announced today its first line-up of 2016, the one that will race from February 3 to 7 the five stages of Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana (UCI Europe Tour, category 2.1). For the Italian team this is the first race in Spain since its foundation in 2013.

Lead by team directors Roberto Reverberi and Stefano Zanatta, the GreenTeam will be present with Sonny Colbrelli, Nicola Boem, Nicola Ruffoni, Simone Andreetta, Enrico Barbin, Paolo Simion, Luca Sterbini and neo-professional Mirco Maestri.

2016 Bardian-CSF jerseys

2016 Bardiani-CSF kit

Race course, introduced by 16 km team time trial in Benicassim, is composed by mixed routes suited for the riders selected – Colbrelli and Ruffoni for sprints and fast arrivals, Boem for faraway attack and a team built for breakaways.

“Riders are just back from a positive training camp in Tuscany” said team director Zanatta “where we had the chance to work also on team mechanism for sprints and time trial. General form is good enough since we’re at the beginning of the season, but it’s the same also for our contenders. I expect the riders will show a strong wish to win and to do well, even if we won’t win anything. This must be our approach in every races in 2016”.

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