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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, January 8, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Conrad Hilton was very generous to me in the divorce settlement. He gave me 5000 Gideon Bibles. - Zsa Zsa Gabor

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Astana's Tour Down Under roster

Here's the report from the team:

Astana Proteam is ready for the first 2017 UCI WorldTour evet - the Santos Tour Down Under, which will be held in Australia from January 17th to 22nd. Just before this race will be held a traditional criterium People's Choice Classic (January 15th).

Paolo tiralongo

Paolo Tiralongo (leading) is headed to Australia

Team's roster: Matti Breschel, Laurens De Vreese, Oscar Gatto, Luis Leon Sanchez, Paolo Tiralongo, Michael Valgren and Artyom Zakharov.

Sports director: Stefano Zanini.

Quick Step neo-pro Enric Mas discusses upcoming season

The team posted this update:

Our Spanish neo-pro Enric Mas talks about his first years in cycling, his best results so far and the expectations ahead of his first race with Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team.

I was born 22 years ago, in Artà. I'm sure not many people have heard of it, as it's just a small town in Mallorca, but if you ever have the chance to visit it don't miss it, as the landscape is breathtaking and you can find some great roads for training.

When I was just a kid, I wasn't at all into cycling, basketball being my main focus back then, but everything changed in 2006. A friend of mine kept inviting me for a ride, and one day I finally said yes. I was awed by what it meant to ride a bike, to enjoy the scenery and feel both pain and pleasure. It was totally different from basketball; there, you played against another team, but here it was just you and your bike.

Enric Mas

Enric Mas

That same year I joined Club Ciclista Artanenc and stayed there for two seasons, before going to mainland Spain, where I rode for a really good club based in Valencia. I spent one year there and then I joined the Fundacion Contador team, where I got to learn many things and meet Alberto, who is my idol. I raced for Fundacion Contador two years and the memories I have from that period are indelible. Then, in my last year in the U23 ranks, I got the opportunity to ride for Klein Constantia, one of the best teams in the world for young riders, and I can't say how important was this step in my development.

Besides having a well-structured international calendar, another thing that pleased me was that Klein Constantia was like a family; I got along with all my teammates and lived many great moments which I will always cherish. One of these was winning the Tour de Savoie; 2016 was an unbelievable year, with many top results, but the one in France stands out as the best, because it's such a prestigious race and everything clicked for me there. I felt excellent throughout the week, was always comfortable on the climbs and I could notice how much I've improved in the time trial. All these led to me winning this fantastic race and making the step to the World Tour.

Joining Quick-Step Floors Cycling was a dream come true. In October, when we gathered in Brussels for two days and I got to meet all my teammates was something that really left me speechless, even now I can't find the words to tell you how I felt and what emotions I had when I realized where I was. Just rubbing shoulders with all these great riders and being aware that I'm part of one of the best teams in the world means a lot for me and shows me that hard work pays off.

Next week, I'll make my debut for Quick-Step Floors at the Tour Down Under. Just to think of it gives me huge joy: my first pro race will be a World Tour one! This is for what I'm preparing here in Calpe, where I'm training with my teammates to make sure everything will be in its place for my first race, before traveling to Australia.

Today, on my birthday, I went for a two-hour ride and after coming back to the hotel and going to the massage, I watched the game of my favourite team, Real Madrid. I'm a big fan of this team ever since I was few years old and my uncle took me to the Santiago Bernabeu. He too is a big fan of Los Blancos and told me that on the day I was born, Real Madrid won 5-0 against Barcelona. Today, it was 5-0 again, but this time against Granada. Was a nice present for my birthday, together with the small celebration the team had for me in store.

That's it for now. I'll continue my training and count the days left until I will sport the Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team kit in a race. Of course, I'm not starting the Tour Down Under with any big goals; all that I hope is to have a good race, some luck and be there for the team. 2017 is going to be a season in which I'll take it one step at a time and continue my learning process, and Australia is the first chapter of what I hope to be a nice story.

Team UAE Abu Dhabi at training camp

The team sent me this news:

Team UAE is working hard in the team meeting in Terracina.

Yesterday, the group of riders and staff who reached the Hotel Fiordaliso on Tuesday was joined by the five cyclists who attended in Abu Dhabi the press release of launch of the team (Ganna, Guardini, Meintjes, Mohoric and Rui Costa), so the team roster (24 athletes) is pedaling on the Colnago bikes almost in its full outline (soon, the Emirati champion Yousef Mirza will join the mates in Italy).

Which are the goals of the team in this kind of training camp during this period of the season, few days before the official kick-off (15 January, People's Choice Classic Criterium, Australia)?

This question can be answered by Samuel Marangoni and Giacomo Notari, the members of the team's internal trainings and performances staff, which is supervised by Dr Roberto Corsetti who receives the support from Marco Marzano.

“The opportunity to meet the whole roster in a single place is fundamental, this training camp fulfill our need to set a relationship with each rider – Giacomo Notari pointed out – We need to obtain the trust from the cyclists, they must feel that they can share with us their ideas and, most important, their feedbacks about their trainings, their performances and their feelings while they're on their bikes.

In November, we had taken a first step during the team meeting in Darfo Boario Terme, here in Terracina we're improving the efficency of the activity of our sector”.

Samuel Marangoni explained which kind of training the riders are performing pedaling on their Colnago bikes: “The cyclists who'll debut in Australia or in Argentina are working on the intensity of the rythm, also exploiting the fact that they're pedaling in a group: we simulated some race situation which soon became friendly competitions between the cyclists, this is a good way to be ready to face the race intesity.

Each athlete are training following their personal training programs and we're monitoring the efficency of their works by the means of the date we collects thanks to the power meters Power2Max and by the means of tests, such as the Mader test. Moreover, we're also simulating time trial situations with group of 6 or 8 riders and they'll be precious for the efficency in the team time trials”.

Talking about the team's lineup which will race in Australia, the trainers are sure that: “All the riders who'll participate in the Santos Tour Down Under trained properly in the past weeks. Ulissi had good legs, Swift is the high profile rider we expected he could be and Laengen impressed us for his qualities which are even higher that what we could imagine”.

The day in the training camp ends with sessions of works in the gym: “Before dinner, the riders spent 45' performing stretching and core stability exercises – Giacomo Notari explained (in photo, he's leading a stretching session) – These exercises helps the muscles to be more relaxed and this is important because they help to prevent injuries, to improve the effency on the bikes and to support the key work of the masseurs”.

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