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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, September 30, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

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Slipstream Sports bolsters sprint options with Sacha Modolo signing

Slipstream Sports (currently Cannondale-Drapac) sent me this news:

Cycling's World Championships

Slipstream Sports announced the signing of Sacha Modolo on Friday. The Italian joins the American-registered squad on a two-year contract after one season with Team UAE Emirates. Modolo has raced exclusively for Italian-registered or Italian-staffed squads during his eight-year career.

“The move to Slipstream is a big change, but it’s exactly what I need,” said Modolo. “After four years with Giuseppe Saronni, who I want to thank, and at 30-years-old, I was looking for new motivation, and I found it in this team,” said Modolo. “Everyone I’ve spoken to at Slipstream has expressed belief in me. For a rider, this is important to find confidence and feel responsibility.”

Modolo has won 45 races since turning professional in 2010. His first victory came on stage five of the Tour of Quinghai Lake in his second season as a professional. His most recent victory was two months ago at the Tour de Pologne.

“I’m proud of all of my victories, but I’m most proud of the two stages at the Giro d’Italia and the win at Tour de Suisse in front of Peter Sagan,” said Modolo. “This year, I was sixth at Tour of Flanders, and that was also very special.”

Modolo has proven a consistent winner. Since his first victory, he has won no less than three races in any given year. While the results remain consistent, the type of races Modolo is winning has changed as he his career has progressed.

Sacha modolo

Sacha Modolo racing in this year's Vuelta

“In the last few years, I’ve done good results in hard races,” said Modolo. “I hope to find a good environment with my new teammates to achieve more victories in bigger races.

“I’m very much looking forward to starting this adventure with new staff, new teammates and new equipment,” Modolo added. “My biggest goal will be to create a good team for a lead-out in the sprint, and I’m also eager to work for the team when needed. I want to thank Slipstream Sports for giving me this opportunity. I hope to pay back my new team with some nice victories.”

Jens Keukeleire joins Lotto-Soudal

The team sent me this news release:

Jens Keukeleire (28) will be racing for Lotto Soudal the next two years! It’s the first time in his pro career that he will ride for a Belgian team, after he rode two seasons for the French Cofidis team and six seasons for the Australian Orica - Scott team.

The past years Keukeleire set some beautiful results in different types of races. In 2015, he got sixth in Paris-Roubaix and ninth in E3 Harelbeke. Last year he won a stage at La Vuelta after a group sprint and he sprinted to fifth place in Dwars door Vlaanderen. This year Keukeleire became the overall winner of the Baloise Belgium Tour, a race he rode with the Belgian national team, and he finished second in Gent-Wevelgem behind Greg Van Avermaet.

Jens Keukeleire: “I wasn’t looking for a new team, but half-way the season I had a chat with Marc Sergeant and so the ball started rolling. I was still happy at Orica - Scott, but the fact that Lotto Soudal is a Belgian team made me decide to change team. The past seasons I often rode with the national team and being surrounded with fellow Belgians, both riders and staff, creates a specific atmosphere. I already have a bond with several riders and staff members of Lotto Soudal, so I am very much looking forward to be part of this team. Especially to be working together for the spring races. The past seasons, Orica - Scott focussed more and more on the Spring Classics too, but you can’t compare it to how a Belgian team deals with it.”

“It’s also a nice point in my career to move to another team. I have been making progress every year and now I’m approaching my top. At Orica - Scott there are many GC riders, for whom I had to work in stage races, at Lotto Soudal I will get more freedom in those races.”

“I am looking forward to riding the finales in the spring together with my Lotto Soudal teammates. Together we can make something nice of it, I’m sure. Next season I want to set a new step forward. I want to be even stronger in the one-day races so I am fresh in the finale and can battle for victory. Last year, I won a stage at La Vuelta and it is definitely my ambition to win another stage in a Grand Tour. I will also gladly help the team in bunch sprints. This year I won the Baloise Belgium Tour and that victory proves that I’m an all-rounder. I won that race thanks to a good time trial, a third place in the Ardennes stage and by picking up bonus seconds in the last stage. That’s a performance I would like to repeat.”

Jens Keukeleire

Jens Keukeleire

Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “Jens set some very good performances the past years at Orica – Scott, but in a Belgian team he will even feel better. He is looking forward to setting a next step in his career. I see Jens growing every year. This year he was rewarded with a second place in Gent-Wevelgem and the overall victory at the Baloise Belgium Tour; last year with a stage victory at La Vuelta. He turns 29 later this year, but is still making progress. At Orica he always was a team player and never the main leader. He was at peace with that role, but that will be different at our team.”

“Jens is a rider who can cope with a lot of race days, has a big engine and is rarely injured. He races all year long and performs very consistently, with the necessary outstanding performances. In the spring we can definitely use the reinforcement from Jens. A wide range of one-day races suits him. I saw him performing strongly at Clásica San Sebastián, working for his teammates. Jens is fast when he gets to the finish with a small group and he can play a role in our sprint train. Jens will be an asset to our team in many ways. He is a team player, but at Lotto Soudal he will also get the chance to further develop himself and to achieve personal goals.

Quick-Step Floors to resume racing this weekend

Here's the team's news release:

Marcel Kittel – the most victorious rider of the season – will lead the squad in the two Belgian one-day races scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.

Quick-Step Floors will be one of the five World Tour teams to line up for the inaugural edition of Omloop Eurometropool. The race which rolls out from Nieuwpoort and concludes in Poperinge some 177 kilometers later favours the sprinters, and for that reason Quick-Step Floors will back Marcel Kittel, winner of five stages at this year's Tour de France.

The 29-year-old German, who'll make his first outing in nearly a month, will rely on Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, stagiaire Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Pieter Serry and Martin Velits, a strong team capable of controlling the hostilities and bringing the race back together before it gets down to crunch time.

Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel at this year's Tour de France

One day later, trainee Alvaro Hodeg and Davide Martinelli will step in to replace Kasperkiewicz and Serry for the Tour de l'Eurometropole (188.6 kilometers). The 77th edition of the event won by our team twice in the past (2006 and 2007) will take the riders from La Louvière to Tournai (which played host to the start of the very first Flèche Wallonne) and should have again the sprinters in the spotlight, although the race is no stranger to long-range attacks going all the way to the line.

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