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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, January 28, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten. - Tony Robbins

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Van Avermaet to open 2017 season at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana

BMC sent me this news:

27 January 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Greg Van Avermaet will start the 2017 season in Spain next week when he lines up at the five-day stage race, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Sports Director Valerio Piva said that BMC Racing Team is looking to seize every opportunity at the first European race of the year. "We are going to the race targeting stage wins, starting with the opening team time trial and from there we will take the race day by day. We have a diverse team including riders such as Van Avermaet, who is already looking in great shape, as well as Ben Hermans and Nicolas Roche, who are both capable of being competitive on the General Classification when we reach the crucial, steeper stages of the race," Piva said.

For Van Avermaet, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana provides an opportunity to test out his form at the beginning of the season. "Last year was a big year for me, so I am excited to get the 2017 season underway. I didn't have the perfect winter with my injury, but I feel ready and now is the point where I want to start racing and improve my fitness going into the Classics, which are important to me this year. This race is new for me, but we know the roads, so I am feeling relaxed and ready to try my luck and go for the stage victory where possible," Van Avermaet explained.

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet having the best possible day at the 2016 Olympic road race

Van Avermaet added that the team is eager to build upon BMC Racing Team's success in Australia. "All the riders in Australia got BMC Racing Team's season off to an impressive start. Everyone was racing incredibly well, and with Richie's overall win at the Santos Tour Down Under, we are all extra motivated to continue the team's success on European soil."

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (1-5 February)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Ben Hermans (BEL), Stefan Küng (SUI), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)

Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA)

Jelle Wallays wants to sharpen his condition at GP La Marseillaise and Etoile de Bessèges

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

While a part of the Lotto Soudal team is still in Australia for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race next Sunday and another part is in Mallorca for the Challenge Mallorca, a team is heading for France to participate in the GP La Marseillaise (29th January) and the Étoile de Bessèges (1st until 5th February).

The Grand Prix La Marseillaise is the French season opener. The finale of this Europe Tour race has been redrawn and is hence more difficult. The riders have to climb the three kilometres long Pas de Bellefille. Next Tuesday, the five-day stage race Étoile de Bessèges starts. This stage race from the Europe Tour ends on Sunday 5th February with an individual time trial.

Jelle Wallays is making his season’s debut in the GP La Marseillaise. It is the second year that he will defend the Lotto Soudal colours. We inquired about his condition and his ambition for the following weeks.

Jelle Wallays: “My first season for Lotto Soudal was a pleasant surprise. During spring it did not run smoothly due to injuries and crashes but the second part of the season made up for it. I won the GP Cerami, finished the Vuelta and I felt strong until the last race. I am really satisfied that I signed with a WorldTour team and that I showed that I was worthy of my place at the highest level."

“I think that this season I will experience the advantages of finishing my first Grand Tour. I rode The Vuelta without any problem and one day I was even in the attack. It is very important that I made it to Madrid. I hope I will benefit from it this year. I feel really good during training and I am happy that I can start the season in my current shape.”

“At the end of last season, I felt I had put a step forward. I think I can have the ambition to ride the finales of the classical spring. During the Belgian opening weekend I want to go for it. In the past I have always been able to play a role in these races but in the end I failed to compete for the prizes. This year I want to animate the finale thanks to the progress I made. The GP La Marseillaise and the Étoile de Bessèges are part of my preparation for the classic races. It are two hard races and the atmosphere is always nervous because everyone wants to know where they stand at the moment. I want to sharpen my condition. Either by pulling for a teammate or by attacking myself and making the race hard.

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Kris Boeckmans, Jens Debusschere, Jasper De Buyst, Tony Gallopin, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Jelle Wallays.

Sports director: Frederik Willems.

Stages

Team UAE Abu Dhabi reports on Vuelta de San Juan 4th stage

Young guns on move for Team UAE in the 4th stage of the Vuelta de San Juan, San Martin-San Martin, 160.5 km on a completely flat course.

The Italian riders Oliviero Troia and Filippo Ganna, twenty-two and twenty years old, both at their first race as pro, had the assignment from the sports director Scirea to escort the team's sprinter Guardini in the final part of the stage.

The young duo acceptes the assignment and carried out it very well: Ganna led the trio in the final kilometer and Troia (photo Bettini) launched Guardini in the sprint, leading him in a very good position in the front of the peloton.

Guardini, in a sprint which took place on a long straight and at high speed keept up for long distance, crossed the finish line in 6th place. Gaviria won the race, preceding Viviani and Ruffoni.

"These are not the kind sprints that suit Guardini best - sports director Scirea explained - Andrea's top skill is the explosive power, while in today sprint it was needed more a regular power and a top speed kept up for many meters.

"However, Guardini is trying to give always his best, his shape is improving and also the feeling with his team mates is going better and better, as shown today by Ganna and Troia in the approach to the sprint. I'm also satisfied for the attitude of the team during the stage, when we covered and supported properly Rui Costa".

The 5th stage (162.4 km) will be the queen one of the Vuelta de San Juan, with the only one summit arrival: the race will start from Chimba and the riders, after having covered the Kom hills of the Alto de Villicum (3rd category, 56 km in the race, 1070 mt of altitude), of the Banos de Talaca (2nd category, 100 km, 1400 mt of altitude) and of the Alto de la Crucecita (2nd category, 114,7 km, 1752 mt of altitude) will climb the summit arrival of Alto Colorado (1st category, 2565 mt of altitude).

Team UAE will participate in this stage without his main climber, who's Atapuma, who was involved in a crash in the 2nd stage of the Argentinian race: Dr Angelucci, the team's physician who's with the team in Argentina, explained that Atapuma is feeling good, the progress after the cras has been good and without problems.

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