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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, January 1, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception. - Attributed to Aldous Huxley

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Dear Readers,

Thank you for visiting our site, buying our books and contacting and trading with our advertisers. You have made this a wonderful year and our gratitude is profound.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Happy New Year! Now go out and ride.

Caleb Ewan looking for record-equalling third consecutive victory at Bay Cycling Classic

Here's the report from Orica-Scott (formerly Orica-BikeExchange)

22-year-old sprint ace Caleb Ewan is looking for a record-equalling third consecutive victory at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic starting this Sunday, 1 January.

Victory in 2017 would take his overall total to four titles, including as the youngest ever winner for his first victory in 2011.

Only 12-time Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen has a more impressive history at the ‘Bay Crits’. The now retired sprinter has the current record of three consecutive (’01 – ’03) and six overall titles at the criterium series.

Ewan won three of the four criteriums on his way to victories in 2015 and 2016. With the 2017 edition reduced to three stages due to a jammed-packed Australian summer of cycling, sport director Matt Wilson admits the previous two feats will be hard to match.

Caleb Ewen

Caleb Ewen at the 2016 Tour Down Under

“We have exceeded expectations the last couple of years,” Wilson said. “The Bay Crits are always a bit of an unknown coming out of the off-season but we will be focusing on stage wins and would obviously love the overall too if it is up for grabs.”

“Caleb has won the Geelong Eastern Park stage on his way to overall victory in the past two seasons so it will be interesting to see how much the removal of that stage will open up the overall.”

Ewan will be joined by lead out man Mitch Docker, plus powerful workers in Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn and Damien Howson.

Durbridge is no stranger to the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic having won the criterium in Portarlington back-to-back in 2013 and 2014 and will no doubt have his eye on the same stage in 2017.

“The ‘Bay Crits’ are a great way to kick start the season,” Wilson concluded. “The guys may rotate in and out of the three days of racing depending on their individual programs and preparation for the Australian races to follow.”

ORICA-BikeExchange (ORICA-SCOTT in 2017) at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (1-3 Jan):

Mitch Docker (AUS, 30)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 25)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, 22)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 25)
Damien Howson (AUS, 24)

Lotto Soudal accepts challenge from Special Olympics

The team posted this wonderful news

Last week Lotto Soudal accepted the challenge from Special Olympics Belgium. Special Olympics is an international movement that, since 1968, offers Olympic sports to people with an intellectual disability. Special Olympics Belgium was founded eleven years later, in 1979. This non-profit organisation wants to promote social inclusion with projects and events in which both regular athletes and athletes with an intellectual disability can participate.

In 2016 five Play Unified Challenges were held. Special Olympics Belgium dared the brothers Borlée, Pieter Timmers, Thomas Van Den Spiegel, Yanina Wickmayer and the Red Devils to battle against athletes with an intellectual disability. At the team presentation Lotto Soudal got challenged. Jürgen Roelandts accepted the challenge on social media last week on behalf of the entire team. More concrete details about the challenge will follow in 2017.

Lotto Soudal is happy to support Special Olympics Belgium. Main partners Lotto and Soudal are already longer involved in the organisation.

Team Movistar enters 2017 season

Here's the team's first post of the year:

The Movistar Team starts its 2017 season with the always difficult goal of remaining in the lead of the cycling peloton, an objective increasingly hard to achieve given the continuous evolution of a thrilling sport. This year's roster will be the most diverse in 38 years for the Abarca Sports organisation - 13 riders from outside Spain, to 15 locals -, which has come reinforced from the transfer window this winter. Looking to build an ever more consistent, well-bonded group, it's acquired intelligent, solidary riders, a mixture of both dependable veterans (Bennati, De la Parte) and talented youngsters (Barbero, Bico, Carretero, Carapaz). Even if the best signings are coming from inside the team itself.

Nairo Quintana

Nairo Quintana finishing 2016 Vuelta's stage 20

Nairo Quintana - whose aim of reaching Tour de France glory stays untouched - and Alejandro Valverde - the tireless, imcomparable talent who becomes even bigger as a person outside the racing - will again be the top members of a group which has trusted all good inside their previous roster. The potential of Soler, Sütterlin, Fernández -all three re-signing through 2019- and Dayer Quintana. The consolidation in the sport's elite by Jesús Herrada, Castroviejo, Anacona, Oliveira and Betancur. Plus, the invaluable help from experts Erviti, Amador, Gorka Izagirre, José Herrada, Malori, Sutherland, Rojas and Dani Moreno. Secured present and future for a group that will keep breeding their 'sophomores' Arcas and Pedrero alongside the rest of the Blues' 'kindergarten', 12 of their members under 27 years old.

Pablo Lastras' signing as part of the staff was the other pre-season highlight for a group which keeps relying on support by nearly thirty sponsors, led by Telefónica, which will continue as title at least through 2019 thanks to the contract renewal announced last September. The support they won't ever miss, though, is their fans, which have increased amazingly over the last year till the point they've taken the Movistar Team to 2nd place between all WorldTour squads (1.2 million). They're unstoppable energy.

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