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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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

There are always people who think they have a hilarious height joke you haven't heard before. - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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My inbox was stuffed today with lots of news from the teams regarding Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Let's get started...

Matthews extends lead on stage one of Paris-Nice

Orica-GreenEdge sent out this update:

Yesterday's Paris-Nice prologue winner Michael Matthews has successfully defended the yellow jersey today on stage one of the WorldTour race.

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews spent the day in yellow.

The 25-year-old world championship silver medallist finished the day in a respectable fifth place and now leads by three seconds on the general classification thanks to two intermediate bonus seconds in the last 15km.

Arnaud Demare (Française des Jeux) took the stage victory in the 198km stage from Condé-sur-Vesgre to Vendôme.

"It was a hard day all day," said Matthews. "I'm glad we had a super strong ORICA-GreenEDGE team today to take care of the race and bring back the four escapees. The main focus today was on defending the jersey."

"It would be nice to win a stage but the jersey was the main focus. It's great to hold it for one more day especially as I managed to take two seconds in the last intermediate sprint. The final lap was tougher than I expected. I saw that some of the general classification guys were up there so I had to make the effort to chase them. Maybe it took away some of my energy for the sprint."

During the race riders had to tackle demanding conditions with low temperatures, a period of snow fall and sections of dirt roads on the final circuits. Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was pleased with the way the race played out today for the team.

"It was a hard day for the boys with really bad weather," explained Lapage. "At one point we had snow, temperatures of one degrees and only up to five degrees at the end. It was a hard stage with the wind also and the boys did a great job, everything went perfectly and exactly what we wanted."

"Michael took a two second time bonus on the last lap at the finish line sprint, he always had the team around him and everyone did a great job."

Heading into tomorrow's 213.5km stage the team will be defending the yellow general classification jersey along with the green sprint jersey on a tougher, longer stage.

"Tomorrow is a bit hiller so again we will control and try to keep the jerseys," continued Lapage. "I am sure we will have some help from other teams again controlling the race."

How it happened: Another bitterly cold morning awaited the riders as they set off from Condé-sur-Vesgre. Soon after the start flag dropped four riders crept away, quickly establishing ground on the peloton in a race that looked more like a 'race to the snow' than a 'race to the sun'.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), Steven Tronet (Fortuneo Vital Concept) and Theirry Houpond (Delko Marseille Provence) worked well together in the early stages rapidly growing their advantage to over ten minutes.

ORICA-GreenEDGE took up their positions at the front of the peloton setting the tempo to control the distance between themselves and the breakaway. As the race moved through the halfway mark, snow began to fall and the wind picked up creating tough conditions for the riders.

With 40km to go the breakaway's advantage plummeted due to strong winds and open roads which subsequently created echelons and a split in the peloton. Around 30 riders formed a front group including race leader Matthews along with teammates Daryl Impey, Simon Yates and Michael Albasini.

The breakaway of four riders were absorbed by the front group as ORICA-GreenEDGE, with help from Team Sky, worked hard into the first section of dirt roads.

Matthews picked up a two second bonus in the second intermediate sprint with 15km remaining and went on to finish the stage in fifth position consequently keeping him in the race lead with an advantage of three seconds.

Paris-Nice Stage one results:

1. Arnaud Demare (Française des Jeux) 4:29:53
2. Ben Swift (Team Sky) ST
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis Solutions Credits) ST
5. Michael Matthews (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST

General Classification after stage one:

1. Michael Matthews (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 4:37:30
2. Thomas Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) +0:03   
3. Patrick Bevin (Cannondale Pro Cycling) +0:04

And here's Lotto-Soudal's Paris-Nice report:

The first stage of Paris-Nice took the riders from Condé-sur-Vesgre to Vendôme. Almost immediately after the official start four riders attacked, Thomas De Gendt was one of them. They got a maximum advantage of more than ten minutes. Then Orica – GreenEdge controlled the gap at the front of the peloton. At about 40 kilometres from the finish the peloton split in several parts due to the work of Team Sky, the expected echelons occurred. Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens were riding attentively in the first peloton. After that it was time for the first gravelled roads and they brought some spectacle. The four escapees were caught at twenty kilometres from the end, De Gendt was the final rider left in front.

During the local lap the two pelotons came back together, after that there were several attempts to escape the bunch. Tony Gallopin tried to get away on the final gravelled section but he wasn't able to obtain a significant gap. Everything remained together so the sprint with a reduced peloton was a fact. Arnaud Démare was the fastest, Ben Swift was second and Nacer Bouhanni third. Gallopin had a flat tyre in the final kilometre but got awarded the same time as the peloton. Michael Matthews remains GC leader.

Thomas De Gendt: “The team said it was a good opportunity to be in the break today because there was a big chance that echelons would be formed. In that way I could play a role for the team, especially for the riders who were present in the first echelon. I’m not so keen on riding in echelons myself, I probably would have been in the second or third group and then I’m not useful at all. By riding in the front group I was able to do some useful work.”

“We rode away in the beginning of the stage and there was a smooth cooperation, we got a lot of advantage from the peloton. When our lead was more than nine minutes, I started to think that perhaps something was possible. As long that it was snowing, the peloton rode at a slow pace. From the moment that it was dry, the men of Orica, Astana and Sky started to pull at the front of the peloton so the gap decreased fast. I tried to attack in the final 30 kilometres but I didn’t make it to the climb. I took some clothes from Tim Wellens and then I was dropped. If I’ll join another break during this Paris-Nice will depend on how the race will evolve in the coming days.”

Here's Tinkoff's Paris-Nice report:

Alberto Contador continued his Paris-Nice campaign with a strong ride in the first road stage, finishing with the peloton after a reduced bunch sprint in Vendôme. Performing well on a wintery stage that took in two categorised climbs and gravel sectors, the Tinkoff leader remains in a strong position to fight for the GC in the later mountain stages.

The first stage of the 51st Paris-Nice race took place over a 198km course that covered exposed and windswept roads, with a 23km finishing circuit with two gravel sectors. After a day’s racing that started with challenging and changeable weather conditions that could have made racing hazardous, Contador was pleased with his performance. "It's been a very complicated and very tense day, right from the outset. It was snowing at the start, then it seemed as if the weather would change but started snowing again. There were constant temperature changes as well as a lot of wind, however we stayed focused.”

Sport Director, Sean Yates, was pleased with the team’s performance. “Today was good, and the guys rode well all day to stay out of trouble before what was a hectic final. The race split with about 50km to go in the crosswinds, forming a select group of about 50. Alberto Contador and Rafal Majka were there with all the guys apart from Sergio Paulinho who got caught out. All the GC guys were there as well.”

The day’s gravel sections created the potential for punctures and crashes, and with steep climbs punctuating the gravel, and coming so close to the stage’s finish, the potential for lost time was great, and Rafal Majka, who started the race strongly in yesterday’s prologue, was hit by a puncture on the first gravel section of the finishing circuit.

Robert Kiserlovski

Robert Kiserlovski on one of the gravel sectors

“When we hit the first sector on the finishing lap Rafal punctured and managed to get a wheel from neutral service before dropping back to the chasing peloton which came back up to Alberto’s front group for the last lap. Luck was important today as anything could happen on the off-road sectors – our goal was to not to lose any time and to rally around Alberto and we did that well.”

Throughout the stage, the Tinkoff leader stayed close to the front, protected by his team mates, but showed fighting spirit in contesting the intermediate sprint 13km from the finish. With the aim of picking up time on the later uphill stages, as the tempo rose in preparation for a bunch sprint, Alberto managed to stay out of trouble.

“From here it was hell for leather to the finish.” Yates continued. “Alberto was good today and the motivation was there which is good to see. Lots of guys went out the back but everyone was up there for us apart for Sergio and also Michael Valgren who punctured on a dirt sector.

After a stage raced in tough conditions, Contador had a huge amount of praise for his team mates. “The squad was incredible today, providing support at all times. Getting into the finals sections was tense and the breeze made it more complicated. We were well positioned, we didn't encounter any problems or mechanicals, we stayed out of trouble and I'm satisfied with the way it played out. It's on days like this that you can lose the Paris-Nice. You might not win it but you can definitely lose it. So, overall, it was a positive day, we finished safely and we ticked one stage off."

With another day’s racing complete, Yates turned his attention to the team’s approach for tomorrow’s stage. “Tomorrow should be a fairly straight forward stage for the sprinters, and we will again focus on not losing any time with an eye on Wednesday’s uphill finish.”

I got this Paris-Nice news from Lampre-Merida:

After the prologue, the riders who're participating in the Paris-Nice competed in the 1st stage, which started in Condé-sur-Vesgre and ended in Vendôme adter 195km during which the cyclists faced the cold weather.

The wind and a light snow were the mates of the athletes and went along with the 4 attackers (De Gendt, Quemeneur, Hupond and Tronet) which escaped from the bunch in the very early kilometers and had a maximum advantage of 9'30".

The race entered in its crucial part at 40 km to go, when the wind promoted an echelon which split the peloton: unfortunately, no Lampre-Merida riders succeeded in pedaling in the head part of the bunch and they were members of the first chasing group.

At 20 km to go, just before entering in the final circuit with the dirty road sectors, the breakaway was neutralized.

The efforts made by the blue-fuchsia-green riders allowed Rui Costa's group to bridge the gap to the head of the race and the Portuguese champion could reach the arrival in the same group in which the fastest riders fight for the victory in a sprint: Rui Costa was 26th, Démare won preceding Swift and Bouhanni.

"It was a very complicated day for all the cyclists - sport director Mauduit said - For us, the stage became even more difficult when Meintjes faced a flat tyre in the same moment the echelon split the group, forced our important climber to a difficult chase. Also all the other riders from our team were in the chasing groups and Rui Costa, Pibernik and Kump succeeded in joining the head bunch.

"It was not a good stage for us, we missed our targets, however we had to keep our morale high and we had to focus even better our attention on the purpose of joining the breakaways".

Giant-Alpecin's and Liv-Plantur's upcoming racing

The teams sent out this release:



With Paris-Nice underway in France, over in Italy the 51st edition of Tirreno-Adriatico gets underway this Wednesday. The seven-stage race starts with a team time trial before tackling various different terrains including sprinters and mountain stages and finishing off with an individual time trial of 10km.

“Our goal for Tirreno will be to go for stage results," explained coach Marc Reef (NED). “With our sprinter Nikias coming back from a knee injury we needed to change our tactics a bit and apply a broader approach.

Nikias Arndt

Nikias Arndt

"Tirreno traditionally represents multiple stages with difficult finales, so next to Nikias we will also have Zico to go for results in those scenarios. We are glad to have Ramon back in the team for the first time since the accident. He will get the opportunity to get back into racing first."

RACE: Tirreno-Adriatico (WT)

DATE: 9-15/03/2016

COACH: Marc Reef (NED) 

LINE-UP: Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Carter Jones (USA), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL)


The second race of the Women's WorldTour takes place this Saturday with the Women's WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe. The race favours the attacking riders with its up and down parcours and cobbled sections along the route. 

Coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: "The weather often has an impact on this race with the wind and cobbles to be aware of. With Leah and Floortje we have two leaders who are capable of doing a strong race and the team is going to support them in the positioning before the key sections. If we look at the past weeks anything is possible and we can be confident in getting a good result." 

RACE: Women's WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe (WWT)

DATE: 12/03/2016

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 Kirchman

Leah Kirchman at last year's Amgen Tour


The one-day race Drentse Acht van Westerveld covers a distance of 140.5km and it will be a good opportunity for Team Liv-Plantur to show themselves again. The race is very susceptible to crosswinds and so echelons can be expected to play their part in the outcome.

"Our race plan will be more focused on the open parts of the race and we will look to take the initiative if possible," said coach Hans Timmermans (NED). "For us, it would be good to have a hard race and we will need to be attentive to being in the right breakaways with as many riders as possible. I expect to be involved in the decisive moments of the race and we are eager to have another top 10 result."

RACE: Drentse Acht van Westerveld (1.2)

DATE: 13/03/2016

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

LINE-UP: Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Riejanne Markus (NED), Sara Mustonen (SWE), Rozanne Slik (NED). Julia Soek (NED)

Cannondale's plans for Tirreno-Adriatico

The team sent me this release:

The Cannondale Pro Cycling Team heads to Tirreno-Adriatico with a top-shelf squad built to contest the general classification.

The Tirreno route is considered tough by any standard. There are two time trials — one team endeavor and an individual effort — and rough mountains to contend with over Tirreno’s seven stages. Competition will be stiff as well, with myriad grand tour hopefuls lining up from Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) to Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) to American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).

Rigoberto Uran will aim to test his early season form in advance of his bid for the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia while Davide Formolo looks to learn a few tricks from the Colombian stage racer.

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran last year in his Quick Step colors

“Rigo is the leader,” Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “Rigo is obviously very focused on the Giro and slowly working his way to that point. Unlike Uran, Formolo will look to take his chances sooner rather than later."

“Davide is a younger rider and would love to take his chances early in the season,” Vaughters added. “I think Rigo’s attitude on that is going to be, ‘If I can help this guy in Tirreno then he’ll be doubly loyal in the Giro.’ But it’s up to Formolo to show he can take on that level.”

Bet on it. The young Italian has been strong in training and is racing on home turf. “For me, racing in Italy is always something special. I can trust my fans on the road, and they can help me psychologically. Rigo for me is like a teacher; I love to be his teammate and I can learn from him because he is really open,” Formolo said. “My ambition in Tirreno is to check my level. It’s my first WorldTour race in 2016, and I want to check my condition after the winter. I worked hard at home. I think I am ready.”

In addition to Uran and Formolo, the Tirreno roster is strengthened by Simon Clarke, the team's road captain who won the GP Larciano on Sunday. Fresh off his win, Clarke was already thinking forward to Tirreno as he accepted his podium prize.

“We have a super team here and we knew that going into Larciano. And I think the effort by the whole team proved that everyone’s coming to Tirreno ready to go and ready to race,” Clarke said. “We’re really motivated from this victory and the form that everyone has to continue with some good riding this week in Tirreno.”

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

Tinkoff sent me this news about Tirreno-Adriatico:

Taking riders from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic coast, the seven-stage Tirreno-Adriatico Italian race has attracted a star-studded line-up for its 51st edition, beginning on Wednesday in Lido di Camaiore. Peter Sagan and Roman Kreuziger are part of a strong Tinkoff roster, aiming to leave an impression on this WorldTour race.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan winning stage 6 of last year's Tirreno-Adriatico

The ‘Race of the Two Seas’ begins its 51st edition in Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday with a team time trial on a flat course through this popular seaside destination. Considered a key part of preparation for the Milan-Sanremo race, the Tirreno-Adriatico brings GC riders, climbers, sprinters and time trial specialists alike, all looking to make their mark.

After another strong performance at Strade Bianche last weekend, Peter sees the race as an important gauge of fitness. "Tirreno-Adriatico is an important race to assess our form ahead of the Classics but also to see what goals we can have for Milano-Sanremo. It's a race I like a lot and that's why I'm here to take part.”

Sport Director, Lars Michaelsen, sees the race playing an important part in the team's calendar. “Overall, this is an important race for the guys to sharpen their form and come back hopefully stronger for Milan-Sanremo. A lot of the guys here will be heading into the cobblestone classics after so it’s a good opportunity to get the racing kilometres in the legs."

“We have Peter Sagan here, and we have a strong team to race for stage success with him. Roman is a bit a question mark as he is returning from sickness, so we will see how he develops in the race. Overall, hopefully we’ll have some good weather, no crashes, and stay healthy ahead of an important part of the season.”

Joining Peter Sagan and Roman Kreuziger will be Daniele Bennati, Adam Blythe, Manuele Boaro, Maciej Bodnar, Oscar Gatto and Evgeny Petrov, making up a team that will be on a strong position to challenge for the win on multiple stages, as well as push for a strong finish on the General Classification. The parcours takes in different types of terrain, however the GC riders will be looking to make their mark on stages 4 and 5, where the race encounters the bigger categorised climbs.

“We have the initial 22.7km-long team time trial, which goes round our owner's house, Oleg Tinkov. This will be a proud moment for both Oleg and the team and so it’s a stage we hope that we can perform well at.” Michaelsen continues, “Stage 2 is a long stage at 207km. This sees us head south, pass Pisa, down to Cecina, before heading inland from the coast towards the climbs. Before the finish town there are a few climbs, one quite close to the finish, so this is a good opportunity for Peter to go for a stage result."

“Another opportunity comes for Peter on day 3. The race stays inland over typical Tuscan climbs, then heads to the coast towards Montalto di Castro. This is usually a sprinters stage, but depending on the GC anything could happen with a breakaway. Stage 5 is the first big uphill finish. It’s a long climb but it comes in stages with plateaus, breaking up the rhythm for the climbers. It could be a good chance for Roman here," concludes Michaelsen.

Peter Sagan added: “I head to the start with the goal to bring home a stage win but we will have to take each day as it comes. We will have to see how I feel every day and what we can achieve. In my opinion we have a strong squad and we will all give our best to obtain the best GC result for Roman Kreuziger. Last but certainly not least, it's important to win the first stage, the team time-trial in Lido di Camaiore. It is Oleg Tinkov's home, so victory there would have a special meaning for our team."

The team will be looking to perform well in the first stage team time trial, to set up a strong position to contest the later stages. While a relatively straightforward, flat course, there are some twists and turns which may catch riders off guard and have an impact on the day’s results.

Stage 2 will suit the all-rounders, which after 110km of flat roads, begins to climb, ending with a summit finish. Stage 3 features a number of fast descents and punchy climbs, which have the potential to split the field, however the sprinters teams have ample chances to catch any breakaways to contest the finish in Montalto di Castro.

The longest is stage 4, at 216km, taking in some of the first major climbs of the route, including the Valico della Somma, and a final loop that climbs the Montefalco twice on its way to the finish in Foligno.

Stage 5 is the race’s mountain stage, with the route culminating in the Monte San Vicino and with four categorised climbs to contend with beforehand.

Peter Sagan took the win on the 6th stage last year, and will hope to repeat this at least once on this year’s edition. With only one short climb to contend with before a flat stage, a sprint finish is likely. And finally, the time trial specialists may still surprise on the final stage, ending in San Benedetto del Tronto – especially if only seconds separate the general classification riders.

Tirreno-Adriatico first big test for Tejay van Garderen

BMC sent me this:

07 March, 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Tejay van Garderen will have the chance to test his form at his first WorldTour race of the season when he lines up at Tirreno-Adriatico from 9-15 March.

Van Garderen will lead a strong team who come in off the back of Strade Bianche, BMC Racing Team Sports Director Max Sciandri said. "We're bringing a really solid team to Tirreno-Adriatico in support of Tejay van Garderen. Given BMC Racing Team's success with the Team Time Trial, we of course have our eyes on winning the opening stage and starting the week of racing well." Sciandri said. 

Van Garderen is looking forward to going head to head with some of his biggest rivals. "This is the real start of the season for me. The winter of training and races up until now have been geared towards preparing for the WorldTour events. I'm in great shape and have a strong, motivated team around me, so I'm looking forward to getting things started in Italy," van Garderen explained.

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen in his 2016 BMC kit

Tirreno-Adriatico will kick off on Wednesday 9 March with a 22.7km Team Time Trial starting and finishing in Lido di Camaiore.

Tirreno-Adriatico (9-15 March)

Rider Roster:  Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Daniel Oss (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).

Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA)

Lotto-Soudal for Tirreno-Adriatico

Here's the team's update on the Italian race:

The 51st  edition of Tirreno-Adriatico will take place from 9 March 2016 till 15 March 2016. In seven stages, the peloton will ride through the centre of Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic coast. This year, the punchers and the climbers will get a few opportunities to win a stage, but also the time trialists will be happy with the route.

This stage race starts with a team time trial of almost 23 kilometres in Lido di Camaiore. The first stage begins with a run-up of 150 kilometres before the riders need to climb. At the end there’s a second hill with parts up to eighteen per cent, something for the punchers. Day three is an opportunity for the sprinters, although there’s a slight uphill road at about 300 metres from the finish. After that, a transitional stage is scheduled. The riders need to surmount four climbs, the final one is at fifteen kilometres from the end.

The fifth stage will be very important for the GC. Five mountains are on the menu and there’s an uphill finish. The day after will possibly be a chance for the sprinters, but the final five kilometres are tough. It will depend on how the sprinters deal with that. This Italian race ends with an individual time trial of ten kilometres on a flat course. The time trial probably won’t influence the GC positions.

Lotto Soudal will participate with Bart De Clercq, Maxime Monfort and Tiesj Benoot among others. The competition for the overall victory will come from riders such as Vincenzo Nibali, Tejay Van Garderen, Thibaut Pinot and Bauke Mollema. The winner of last year, Nairo Quintana, won’t start. Riders Maxime Monfort and Rafael Valls give a preview.

Maxime Monfort: “All riders stay in Italy after the Strade Bianche because the line-up for Tirreno-Adriatico is the same. The days between these two races will be used to rest and to do some little trainings of about two hours. The Tirreno starts with a team time trial this year, a beautiful discipline. It’s something special but I like it though, you really need to ride as a team. The strong riders will do the bigger part of the work, if someone is very good then it’s difficult because you need to be vigilant with regard to the rest of the team. It will be a matter of giving your all without dropping the others. Even if you’re used to ride with each other, it remains very tough.”

Maxime Monfort

Maxime Monfort earlier this year

“In the past, I always participated in Paris-Nice. Last year I rode my first Tirreno-Adriatico. This race may be considered as a preparation on the Giro d’Italia because some stages in this Tirreno are also scheduled in the Giro. But I always aim for a good position on GC in every stage race. I’m very motivated and I’m in a good shape but if someone else of the team is better than me, then I’ll do my very best to defend his position as well as possible.”

“After the Volta ao Algarve I had a good feeling, although I was a bit disappointed about my performance in the time trial. But okay, I get a new chance in Tirreno to do it better. The condition is good, the past two weeks I was able to train well. We start with a very decent team, I really look forward to this race.”

Rafael Valls: “I didn’t race since the Tour Down Under, because the riders who participated in this race got a rest period. When I came back from Australia, I did some trainings of about two hours during the first week. I took the time to recover. The weeks after that I trained more and longer in my home region. I really look forward to race after I've been out of competition for a month.”

“It’s the first time that I participate in Tirreno-Adriatico. I aim for a top ten position on GC. The main competitors will be Kwiatkowski, Nibali, Valverde and Van Garderen. I expect that they will fight for the overall victory, they’re very good climbers and they can ride a decent time trial as well.”

“Two time trials are scheduled in this stage race. That’s not my best discipline, but I’ve been working on it. We’ll do a recon of the course of the team time trial beforehand. That stage will be important for the GC, time gaps will already be created during this team time trial. The individual time trial is only ten kilometres long, that’s good for me. I’m interested in the second and fifth stage, I think I have a chance to obtain a stage win during these days.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: “Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere, Bart De Clercq, Pim Ligthart, Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts and Rafael Valls.

Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Mario Aerts.

And finally here's LottoNL-Jumbo's Tirreno-Adriatico news:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s roster for the Tirreno-Adriatico includes three different options for success. The Dutch team will sprint with Moreno Hofland, attack the hills with Enrico Battaglin and compete in the general classification with Primoz Roglic.

“Tirreno-Adriatico is an important race for Moreno Hofland and Tom Van Asbroeck,” technical director Nico Verhoeven said about the Italian stage race. “There are three big chances of a bunch sprint and we want to play a role in them with our sprinters. Moreno is in good form. He came out of Qatar and Oman in good shape. He was quite unlucky in the classics opening weekend afterwards, but his form isn’t gone.”

Enrico Battaglin is suited to the other stages in between. “I expect that he will compete with the best in a number of stages,” Verhoeven added. “The profile shows plenty of opportunities for that type of rider. Enrico was strong in the Ruta del Sol and trained well for two weeks afterwards. I’m curious to see how he goes in this race.”

Primoz Roglic will take care of the overall picture for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. “We’re curious to see if he will be able to continue what he showed in the Volta ao Algarve,” Verhoeven continued. Roglic is confident. “I think that everything will be all right,” he said. “I’m not nervous, I know I’m good and want to show myself as much as possible. I will be able to aim for a good result in the general classification. The fifth stage will be the decisive one. The team time trial is a new thing for me, but I’m not worried. We will have enough time to train for it and to get used to each other.

“I don’t know much about Tirreno-Adriatico besides that it is a tough race. Everything is new for me this year, but that also works in my favour. I’m not afraid of anything.”

Line-up Team LottoNL-Jumbo: Tom van Asbroeck, Tom Leezer, Mike Teunissen, Enrico Battaglin, Primoz Roglic, Maarten Tjallingii, Moreno Hofland and Timo Roosen.

Sports directors: Addy Engels and Jan Boven.

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