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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others. - Robert A. Heinlein

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Algarve winner Roglic extends with LottoNL-Jumbo

The team sent me this update:

Slovenian star Primoz Roglic extended his contract with team LottoNL-Jumbo for the 2018 season. Fresh of the Volta ao Algarve win, General Manager  Richard Plugge was happy to confirm the deal.

Roglic slotted in immediately with the Dutch WorldTour team after ending his ski jumping career. Last year, he placed second to Tom Dumoulin in the opening Giro d’Italia time trial in the Netherlands and won the long time trial through the famous Chianti hills. The debut season was backed up quickly in 2017 with the overall win on Sunday in Portugal’s Vuelta ao Algarve.

“We signed him as an inexperienced talent,” Plugge said. “Under our guidance, he has made some beautiful steps. He is a true athlete who diligently works on his development. He trained as a ski jumper, but in cycling, he is still improving. We put in a lot of energy and Primoz takes it on board. He is very coachable."

"I like it in team LottoNL-Jumbo,” Roglic added. "We were each satisfied with how it was going, so I'm glad we agreed so quickly on the contract extension. This will allow me to have more chances to score and to develop. There was interest from several other teams, but proper supervision is still very important to me. Moreover, I get along with everyone in the team and that counts.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic having a good day at the 2016 Giro d'Italia

The 27-year-old wants to develop his climbing skills to improve as a classification rider. Doing so, he wants to keep his time trialling sharp. "He has huge potential,” continued Plugge. “We want to show this exponent of his talent and development. Despite his age, he has not been cycling long and so he is still young in that sense.”

Roglic’s palmarès also includes overall victory in the Tour of Azerbaijan and at home in the Tour of Slovenia in 2015.

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this news:

ABU DHABI TOUR (WT)

The 2017 edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour takes place from February 23 to 26. It is a race for the sprinters with three out of four stages being relatively flat. Stage three is considered to be the most decisive. however a summit finish at Jebel Hafeet is sure to create some solid time gaps in the general classification. The race in its third edition, boasts an impressive line-up and has this year been added to the UCI WorldTour. Viewers will also be treated to onboard footage and live rider data throughout the race, offered by Velon - providing great extra input to engage fans.

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts (AUS) said: "On Thursday we start our next WorldTour stage race with the Abu Dhabi Tour. The race sees three sprinter-friendly stages and one hilltop-finish, which will see the climbers fight out the GC. Our line-up will be a mix of partly guys that start their season, whereas the other part already have done the Australian campaign or coming from Ruta del Sol last week. 

Phil bauhaus

Phil Bauhaus at last year Tour of Azerbaidjan

"After some solid racing in Australia, Phil is our guy for the sprint stages and he is keen to show his capabilities in Abu Dhabi. For Tom it will be his first race of the season, and we'll see where his legs are at after the climb of stage three."

RACE: Abu Dhabi Tour (WT)

DATE: 23-26/02/2017

COACH: Luke Roberts (AUS)  

LINE-UP: Phil Bauhaus (GER), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Lennard Hofstede (NED), Lennard Kämna (GER), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR), Albert Timmer (NED)

OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD (WT)

The 72nd edition of the men's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad steps up to WorldTour level for 2017, and is the much-anticipated opener to the Spring Classics season. Starting and finishing in Ghent, Belgium, the one-day race features a 197km course with 13 climbs and 10 cobbled sections, which should be enough to make it an exciting race.

Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (NED) said: "We are very much looking forward to the opening of the classics season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this weekend. The team's goal is to try to get into the breakaways and mark any serious moves in the second half of the race. Most of our guys are just coming out of a great opener at the Tour of Oman, so we are heading to the race with confidence and for more team efforts and a good result on Saturday."

RACE: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (WT)

DATE: 25/02/2017

COACH: Arthur Van Dongen (NED)  

LINE-UP: Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Roy Curvers (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Mike Teunissen (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL), Max Walscheid (GER)

OMLOOP HET NIEUWSBLAD WE (1.1)

One of the opening races to the season, the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, boasts a strong roster of pros to its start line. The race features nine climbs and plenty of cobbled sections with the final 35km of racing being held on the exact same course as the men's race.

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: "Nieuwsblad is always the first real moment where teams and riders can see how their form is coming out of the winter. I am feeling confident with the team because we have had good camps and the team's philosophy is really becoming prominent with our new riders. With strong team work we will be there on Saturday and try to be present in the finale. We have a solid plan in place and we are looking forward to getting out there."

RACE: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad WE (1.1)

DATE: 25/02/2017

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

LINE-UP: Lucinda Brand (NED), Ellen van Dijk (NED), Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Rozanne Slik (NED), Julia Soek (NED)

OMLOOP VAN HET HAGELAND (1.1)

Sunday sees the women return to the roads again with the Omloop Van Het Hageland in Belgium. The race features a 126.6km route from Tielt to Tielt-Winge. Last year saw Leah Kirchmann (CAN) take second place and the team will be looking for another great result this year.

"Hageland is a race that can go into 2 directions," explained Team coach Hans Timmermans (NED). "The parcours itself is not super demanding, but the weather can be decisive in this race. In the end it will either come down to a bunch sprint, breakaway or a solo and we have good race plans for each scenario. This race is also a comeback for Sabrina after a season out with knee injury, so it will be good to have her back in action on Sunday."

RACE: Omloop Van Het Hageland (1.1)

DATE: 26/02/2017

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

Lotto-Soudal to race Abu Dhabi Tour

Here's the team's news:

The day after tomorrow (February 23) the Abu Dhabi Tour begins, a four-day stage race that lasts from Thursday 23 February until Sunday 26 February. The race, which was last year scheduled in October, has been upgraded to WorldTour level. It will be a mix of desert, city courses, sprints and an opportunity for climbers.

The opening stage runs through the desert, where echelons could be formed. The riders will need to be attentive. Stage two mainly takes place in the capital Abu Dhabi on wide roads. Saturday a climber’s stage is scheduled, although the main part of the stage is completely flat. The finish lies on the Jebel Hafeet, at 1025 metres of altitude. This climb is eleven kilometres long and has an average gradient of 8.5% with a peak of 11% at three kilometres from the finish. The Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit is the location for the last stage. The riders need to cover 26 laps of 5.5 kilometres. As it’s expected that the pace will be really high it is very unlikely that escapees can stay ahead of the bunch.

Louis Vervaeke is one of the eight Lotto Soudal riders that arrived in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The Belgian already rode Challenge Mallorca this season where he finished second and fourth in the two stages that Tim Wellens won. That was a proof of his good shape and he is determined to show that in the Middle-East as well.

Louis Vervaeke: “It was great to start the season with two good results at the Challenge Mallorca. It confirmed that I had a good winter. After Mallorca, I went to Girona where I rent a house together with Sean De Bie and Jasper Stuyven. I trained there for two weeks to optimally prepare myself for the rest of the season. Jasper was there as well. It’s always nice if someone else is staying in the house as well, so it’s less lonely. We don’t have a schedule for the chores. We do that spontaneously. There is one rule though: the person who doesn’t cook, has to do the dishes. The second week Jef Van Meirhaeghe joined us in Girona and I have to admit that he did a lot of the cleaning and cooking that week.”

“In the mountain stage in Abu Dhabi I want to show that my performance at Challenge Mallorca wasn’t a coincidence. It will be my first WorldTour race of the season, which makes it extra exciting. The stage to Jabel Hafeet is peculiar, because the route is completely flat until the climb towards the finish. That’s something that should suit me, an explosive end of the race. I am aiming for a place on top ten on Saturday. It will be my first race in the Middle-East. I am curious to see how that goes, racing through the desert. We do have a strong team in case there should be echelons. I am looking forward to helping André Greipel to win a stage.”

“After Abu Dhabi I have no races for three weeks. I will go back to Spain to take my condition to the highest level for my most important goals this spring: Volta a Catalunya, País Vasco and the Walloon Classics. Last year, I was eleventh overall at País Vasco, at only one second of the tenth place. This year I want to finish on top ten.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Lars Bak, Sean De Bie, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Maxime Monfort, Rafael Valls and Louis Vervaeke.

Sports director: Mario Aerts.

Stages:

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