UCI Worldtour Transfers 2017 Round-Up

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Transfers round-up for the 2017 cycling season

As with every season, there has been a large amount of transfers and changes over the off-season. New teams have been created, old familiar teams and team names have been consigned to history. The highest profile transfers have seen the rainbow jersey of the world champion Peter Sagan change teams, as well as GC heavyweights Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador. Strong sprinters, classics specialists and GC helpers have also found new homes elsewhere.

Long-term great Fabian Cancellara retired over the winter, along with fellow World Champion Michael Rogers and Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal. There was also the sad retirement of Gianni Meersman, who after winning stages at the Vuelta Espana in September last year has been diagnosed with heart issues. The man who achieved notoriety for being knocked off his bike into a barbed wire fence during the Tour de France, Johnny Hoogerland also hung up his wheels (always feels a bit of a forced phrase…).

With the introduction of Bahrain Merida the peloton gains a splash of red, Abu Dhabi disappointingly went for a mostly black affair, just to make things more difficult from the overhead helicopter shots on TV. The peloton also loses the distinctive yellow of Tinkoff, with Oleg Tinkov throwing in the towel of his second attempt at a cycling team after a falling out with the powers that be.

With things shaken up considerably, we’re set for an interesting 2017 season.

New Teams:

Bahrain Merida 2017 Jersey
Bahrain – Merida

Folding Teams:

Tinkoff 2016 Jersey
Tinkoff Cycling

IAM Cycling 2016 Jersey
IAM Cycling

New Names for Existing Teams:

Bora Hansgrohe 2017 Jersey
Bora – Hansgrohe (previously Bora – Argon)

UAE Abu Dhabi 2017 Jersey
UAE Abu Dhabi (previously Lampre – Merida)

Orica Scott 2017 Jersey
Orica – Scott (previously Orica – BikeExchange)

Katusha Alpecin 2017 Jersey
Team Katusha – Alpecin (previously Team Katusha)

Quickstep Floors 2017 Jersey
Quick-Step Floors (previously Etixx – Quickstep)

Team Sunweb 2017 Jersey
Team Sunweb (previously Giant – Alpecin)

High Profile Rider Transfers:

[table id=6 /]

Other Notable Rider Transfers:

[table id=7 /]

Noted Retirees:

[table id=5 /]

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UCI Worldtour Transfers 2017 Round-Up was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

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Tour de France 2015 Recap

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Tour de France Logo

Another Tour is in the history books with Brit Chris Froome now a two time winner of the race. The hilly profile created lots of exciting racing and a tight finish with a race between Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome up Alpe d’Huez to decide the winner. The start back in Utrecht feels like a lifetime ago but after a little introspection the 2016 Tour is only 11 months and 1 week away!

2015 Tour de France Froome Quintana

Tour de France 2015 Prediction Recap

Yellow Jersey Tour de France icon
1 – Chris Froome (1st)
2 – Nairo Quintana (2nd)
3 – Alberto Contador (5th)
4 – Vicenzo Nibali (4th)
5 – Thibaut Pinot (16th)
6 – Romain Bardet (9th)
7 – Alejandro Valverde (3rd)
8 – Tejay van Garderen (DNF – Sick)
9 – Pierre Rolland (10th)
10- Simon Yates (89th)

7 of the top 10 predicted correctly!

Sprinter Jersey Tour de France icon Green
Green Jersey – Alexander Kristoff (10th) – Way off with this one, Kristoff was weirdly quiet through the Tour. Peter Sagan predictably dominated, riding in the break on many consecutive days to thwart Andre Greipel.

Polka Dot Jersey Tour de France icon King of the Mountains
King of the Mountains Jersey – Joaquim Rodriguez (5th) – Not a shocker, he was a contender and did have a go

Youth Jersey – Nairo Quintana (1st)

Outsiders:

Simon Yates – 89th – The overall position disguises the promise shown, Orica Greenedge had a horror first week and ended up severely depleted for the rest of the race. 8th on the Muur de Huy and 11th on Alpe d’Huez shows genuine talent at a young age.
Tony Gallopin – 31st – Spent most of the first two weeks in the top ten overall, had 5 top ten stage results without winning a stage.
Louis Meintjes – DNF – Got involved in a breakaway on Stage 12 and finished 5th but another who struggled with illness.
Sam Bennett – DNF – Had one top ten result but then became ill and really struggled before having to quit the race.
Eduardo Sepulveda – DSQ – Sepulveda was doing well until during a mechanical he hopped into the team car and was driven 100 metres up to the other car with a replacement bike. Riders can’t ride in cars at all and he got disqualified.

And finally some of the best Tour de France on-board camera footage:

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Tour de France 2015 Recap was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

Giro d’Italia Week 1 Review

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2015 Giro d'Italia Logo

So far we’ve had a varied week of racing with the shorter hilly stages proving to be exciting. A full run through is below.

Giro d’Italia Stage 1

Stage 1 was the 17.6km Team Time Trial which was won by one of the favourites and gave Orica-Greenedge the Pink Jersey at this stage for the second year running. Simon Gerrans had the honour of wearing the first one.

In the GC race, Contador gained 6 seconds over Fabio Aru and 20 over Richie Porte.

2015GiroStage1Greenedge
Orica Greenedge smashed the opening team time trial

Giro d’Italia Stage 2

Here was the first sprint stage and it was marred with crashes on the Genoese sea front – a peculiar one being when someone on a fixie attempted to join the peloton and wiped it out.

Sky’s Elia Viviani won the sprint after Andre Greipel went too early, Sacha Modolo nearly got punted into the barriers and Moreno Hofland just faded at the last.

The pink jersey swapped hands to Michael Matthews.

2015GiroStage2Viviani
Elia Viviani seemed happy to win

Giro d’Italia Stage 3

A huge breakaway went off on this stage and nearly made it but it ended up being a sprint for the powerful. Michael Matthews won the stage whilst in the Pink Jersey and held onto it for another day. Philippe Gilbert’s attempts to take Pink were thwarted as he took third.

One of the pre-race favourites Domenico Pozzovivo crashed out heavily, landing on his face, and had to abandon.

Pavel Kotchetkov took the Mountains Jersey that he’d hold onto for a few days.

2015GiroStage3Matthews
Matthews sprints to the win

Giro d’Italia Stage 4

Stage 4 again saw a large breakaway and was a very hard stage to predict on paper. The strongest of the breakaway kept ahead with Cannondale’s Davide Formolo taking a breakthrough solo win.

Some decent pacework by Astana’s Mikel Landa meant that only the strongest GC contenders stayed on the same with with Jurgen Van den Broeck and Rioberto Uran losing 40 seconds and Ryder Hesjedal, Franco Pellizotti and Benat Intxausti all lost minutes.

The Pink Jersey changed hands again to Greenedge’s Simon Clarke.

2015GiroStage4Formolo
Formolo solos to the win
Giro d’Italia Stage 5

Another day, another solo breakthrough win. Jan Polanc finished 1 minute 22 seconds ahead of the field after losing his breakaway companions on the final climb and proving the strongest rider.

Aru, Contador and Porte all finished together again with Uran losing another 30 seconds and everyone else upwards of two minutes. A three horse race is definitely developing. Alberto Contador moved into the race lead, 2 seconds ahead of Fabio Aru and 20 ahead of Richie Porte.

Viviani keeps his lead in the Sprinters Jersey and stage winner Jan Polanc received the Mountains Jersey for his efforts.

2015GiroStage5Polanc
Polanc wins Stage 5
Giro d’Italia Stage 6

Pre-Stage favourite Andre Greipel won the sprint finish but the real drama took place behind the sprinters.

Nippo – Vini Fantini ride Daniele Colli hit a spectator’s camera at full speed and crashed breaking his arm in horrendous fashion. Involved in the crash was Alberto Contador who dislocated his shoulder twice but entered the overall lead.

Unable to wear the pink jersey on the podium, Contador still maintained he would carry on and race.
Andre Greipel’s win saw him take over the lead of the Sprinters Jersey.

2015GiroStage6Contador
Contador couldn’t put on the jersey and he dislocated his collar bone shortly before standing on the podium

Giro d’Italia Stage 7

The longest stage since 1989 saw all the GC contenders reach the finish on the same time so no change in the classification. The finish was preceeded by a decent hill that allowed the power sprinters and genuine hill riders to attack the finish.

Diego Ulissi won the stage ahead of Movistar’s Lobato and Simon Gerrans. A stage for the non-usual contenders was marked out as one for a breakaway win but the length ultimately put pay to their plans.

2015GiroStage7Ulissi
Ulissi beats Lobato and Gerrans

Giro d’Italia Stage 8

A large breakaway with strong riders such as Pellizotti, Betancur, Niemiec and Intxausti escaped and a couple managed to stay away until the finish.

Benat Intxausti won the stage, 20 seconds ahead of an attacking Mikel Landa and fellow breakee Sebastien Reichenbach.

The more important battle was seen behind where Fabio Aru tested out Contador’s shoulder with repeated attacks. Ultimately the big three and Uran managed to finish on the same time as Contador managed to keep with Aru throughout.

By taking the stage win Benat Intxausti also took the lead in the Mountains jersey.

2015GiroStage8Intxausti
Intxausti puts on the Mountains Jersey

Giro d’Italia Stage 9

In many ways a similar day as the one before it. A strong breakway of Betancur, Slagter, Geschke, Tiralongo, Hesjedal and Kruijswijk stayed away until the finish with Paolo Tiralongo finishing 20 seconds ahead of second place (sound familiar?) Steven Kruijswijk and Simon Geschke.

Aru again repeatedly attacked Contador who had the answers again, however Aru managed to gain 1 second on Contador and Porte by sprinting to the finish. Rigoberto Uran’s overall hopes took another bash by losing 50 seconds to the contenders and it’s hard to see how he will pull it all back.

Simon Geschke mopped up the KoM Points and we had another new leader.

2015GiroStage9Tiralongo
Tiralongo Wins

Current state of predictions:
1 – Contador (1st, wore Pink stage 5)
2 – Uran (8th)
3 – Porte (3rd)
4 – Aru (2nd)
5 – Pozzovivo (Crashed – DNF)
6 – Hesjedal (21st)
7 – Van den Broeck (16th)
8 – Intxausti (28th – 1 stage win)
9 – Pellizotti (58th)
10- Ulissi (44th – 1 stage win)
KoM – Franco Pellizotti (16th)
Sprint – Michael Matthews (23rd, won stage 3)

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Giro d’Italia Week 1 Review was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

Giro d’Italia 2015 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile

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2015 Giro d'Italia Logo

It’s Giro d’Italia time again! Some of the world’s best riders will fight it out over the next three weeks to see who will win overall and who will become a hero for a day. The Giro has a long history and expect to become acquainted with the smaller Italian teams like Bardiani and Androni over its course.
A mixed first week followed by an easier second week leads into a third week showdown between the key contenders and we will see who wins the pink jersey.

Giro d'Italia 2015 Route

Giro d’Italia Stages

Stage 1 – San Lorenzo › Mare Sanremo (17.6k)
Stage 2 – Albenga › Genova (177k)
Stage 3 – Rapallo › Sestri Levante (136k)
Stage 4 – Chiavari › La Spezia (150k)
Stage 5 – La Spezia › Abetone (152k)
Stage 6 – Montecatini Terme › Castiglione della Pescaia (183k)
Stage 7 – Grosseto › Fiuggi (264k)
Stage 8 – Fiuggi › Campitello Matese (186k)
Stage 9 – Benevento › San Giorgio del Sannio (215k)
Rest day
Stage 10 – Civitanova Marche › Forlì (200k)
Stage 11 – Forlì › Imola (153k)
Stage 12 – Imola › Vicenza (Monte Berico) (190k)
Stage 13 – Montecchio Maggiore › Lido di Jesolo (147k)
Stage 14 – Treviso › Valdobbiadene (59.4k) Time Trial
Stage 15 – Marostica › Madonna di Campiglio (165k)
Rest day
Stage 16 – Pinzolo › Aprica (177k)
Stage 17 – Tirano › Lugano (134k)
Stage 18 – Melide › Verbania (170k)
Stage 19 – Gravellona Toce › Cervinia (236k)
Stage 20 – Sint Vincent › Sestriere (196k)
Stage 21 – Torino › Milano (185k)

Giro d'Italia 2015 Poster

Giro d’Italia Contenders

GC
Lets be honest, there’s only three genuine GC contenders from the off. Previous winner Alberto Contador is looking to do a Giro d’Italia/Tour de France double this year and has a strong team to back him up here with Basso, Kreuziger and Rogers to look after him.
Team Sky have decided to back Australian Richie Porte and again it is a strong lineup. Konig and Nieve are the mountain stage lieutenants with Kiryienka and Eisel the powerful flat stage guardians. The issue is whether or not he can limit losses on the one bad day he seems to have in a grand tour.
Rigoberto Uran is the other option, in good form during the Tour de Romandie he can climb well and time trial well. The team behind him isn’t as strong with less big hitters to look after him and it’s this that may make him lose time at the worst moments.

Honourable mentions go to Domenico Pozzovivo, Fabio Aru, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Ryder Hesjedal and Benat Intxausti. I would expect these riders to make up the rest of the top ten (barring injury/crashes) but there should be some daylight between them and the top 3.

Giro d'Italia 2015 Cavendish

Stage Wins

There is an interesting mix of sprinters at this year’s Giro d’Italia, with many being powerful hill stage sprinters capable of winning Stages 3 and 7 in particular.

Michael Matthews has previous at the Giro with his breakout performance and spell in the pink jersey last year. I’d expect at least one stage win and potentially a repeat with Orica-Greenedge looking well set up for the team time trial.
Andre Greipel is always in the mix with the flatter sprints but is capable of getting over some of the hills – He’s not been at the Giro d’Italia since 2010 but does have two stage wins.
Sky’s Elia Viviani won’t have much of a sprint train around him but will be relishing the chance to go for stage wins. His track pedigree means he generates a lot of power and will be in contention.
The combination of Gianni Meersman and Tom Boonen will be looking for stage wins for Etixx-Quickstep. I’d expect Meersman to focus on the hillier stages such as possibly stages 4 and 9 with Boonen maybe going on his own on the pure sprint stages. With Boonen coming back from injury a lot is in the air.
Giacomo Nizzolo‘s first Giro d’Italia will hopefully act as a breakthrough. He has a few good results this season from Paris – Nice but has a habit of going missing in big sprints.

Riders such as Sonny Colbrelli, Roberto Ferrari, Heinrich Haussler, Alessandro Petacchi, Moreno Hofland, and Juan Jose Lobato will also be fighting it out in the sprints. I don’t expect all of them to be up there each day but any of them stand a chance of a stage win if they get everything right on the day.

Giro d'Italia 2015 Coast

Giro d’Italia Outsiders

FDJ’s Jussi Veikkanen is potentially a highlight of an otherwise weak team. I’m expecting a breakaway attempt or a decent TT result, a definite wildcard on a stage during the three weeks.
Bardiani normally light up the race and I expect 2013 Giro d’Italia KoM winner Stefano Pirazzi to go on the attack on a few stages and if the leaders let him go, could get a stage win.
On the same theme, Enrico Battaglin will attack on the smaller hill finishes.
Cannondale’s David Formolo is a decent shout for the Youth Jersey with good performances over the season so far. He’s definitely capable of a top 25 overall.

Giro d’Italia Prediction

1 – Contador
2 – Uran
3 – Porte
4 – Aru
5 – Pozzovivo
6 – Hesjedal
7 – Van den Broeck
8 – Intxausti
9 – Pellizotti
10- Ulissi
KoM – Franco Pellizotti
Sprint – Michael Matthews

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Giro d’Italia 2015 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

Great weekend for the Brits

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Two stage races in Spain finished this weekend and both of them had British winners (and naturally both ride for Team Sky).

Chris Froome was busy in Andalucia in the first head to head against Alberto Contador this season, Froome claimed first blood by launching an attack and riding away from his main rival. It was a close run thing however with Froome winning by just 2 seconds.

Chris Froome beats Alberto Contador

Chris Froome beats Alberto Contador

The gulf in class between them and the rest of the field was obvious with Benat Intxausti finishing third but two and a half minutes back. The team dominance of Sky showed itself with 5 riders finishing in the top 8 places (and 6 in the top 13) whereas Tinkoff-Saxo relied solely on Contador to get a result – their next best rider was Ivan Basso in 28th.

Meanwhile over in the Algarve, Geraint Thomas earnt himself a rare stage race victory. He won stage 2 and then stayed in front the rest of the race to win by 27 seconds over world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, third was Katusha’s Tiago Machado at 1 minute 11 seconds.

Geraint Thomas wins in Algarve

Geraint Thomas wins in Algarve

Against the team aspect of Sky came through with Richie Porte marshalling Thomas through the hardest stages and came 4th overall with a stage win as well. Geraint has shown glimpses of promise in the stage races in the past, leading Paris-Nice until crashing badly on the final stage and these week-long races are the sort he can genuinely become a serious contender in. Plus he comes across as an all round decent bloke.

This weekend combined with Cavendish’s race win in Dubai and the Brits are off to a great start to the season.

Great weekend for the Brits

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Two stage races in Spain finished this weekend and both of them had British winners (and naturally both ride for Team Sky).

Chris Froome was busy in Andalucia in the first head to head against Alberto Contador this season, Froome claimed first blood by launching an attack and riding away from his main rival. It was a close run thing however with Froome winning by just 2 seconds.

Chris Froome beats Alberto Contador
Chris Froome beats Alberto Contador

The gulf in class between them and the rest of the field was obvious with Benat Intxausti finishing third but two and a half minutes back. The team dominance of Sky showed itself with 5 riders finishing in the top 8 places (and 6 in the top 13) whereas Tinkoff-Saxo relied solely on Contador to get a result – their next best rider was Ivan Basso in 28th.

Meanwhile over in the Algarve, Geraint Thomas earnt himself a rare stage race victory. He won stage 2 and then stayed in front the rest of the race to win by 27 seconds over world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, third was Katusha’s Tiago Machado at 1 minute 11 seconds.

Geraint Thomas wins in Algarve
Geraint Thomas wins in Algarve

Against the team aspect of Sky came through with Richie Porte marshalling Thomas through the hardest stages and came 4th overall with a stage win as well. Geraint has shown glimpses of promise in the stage races in the past, leading Paris-Nice until crashing badly on the final stage and these week-long races are the sort he can genuinely become a serious contender in. Plus he comes across as an all round decent bloke.

This weekend combined with Cavendish’s race win in Dubai and the Brits are off to a great start to the season.

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Great weekend for the Brits was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

A Review of the 2014 Tour de France

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The Tour de France 2014

The Tour de France 2014

We’ve reached that point where after 3 weeks of action the main race of the season is once more over for another year. It’s been an eventful Tour in some ways and also not so much in others. Here’s a short review of this year’s events.

Stand-out Riders

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali

It’s hard to look past Vicenzo Nibali, with the highest winning margin since Jan Ulrich’s 1997 win, this is the most imperious a Tour de France winner we’ve seen in a long time. People will argue that it was gifted after Chris Froome and Alberto Contador crashed out in their various ways but their crashes were down to either poor positioning or poor bike handling which ultimately vindicates that Nibali was the best rider. He had an answer for everything, winning into Sheffield, dominating the cobbles and leading from the front in the mountains. 4 stage wins showed how far in front he was in terms of class compared to the rest of the field.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan


Peter Sagan
was another stand-out, despite not managing to win a stage, his consistency again meant another record total in the Points Jersey competition. It took until the 8th stage for him to finish outside of the top 5, a new Tour record and the variety of these stages shows the all round ability that he has. Almost unchallenged throughout, his four second places shows how close he was to that stage win this year.

 

 

Jean-Christophe Peraud

Jean-Christophe Peraud

French cyclists had a bit of a rennaisance this Tour with Jean-Christophe Peraud, Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet all featuring very highly. This was the first time a Frenchman had been on the podium since Richard Virenque in 1997 and the first time two were on the podium since 1984. It’s been two or three generations of cyclists since France last won their own race and this current crop has given some hope, second placed Peraud is 37 however.

 

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka made his mark on the Tour by winning the King of the Mountains jersey thanks to an impressive display and two stage wins. He definitely stepped up and used the freedom from Contador’s crash to forge his own path and achieve his own personal glory.

Michael Rogers’ stage win also showed the depth that Tinkoff-Saxo has.

 

Not an out and out sprinter, Ramunas Navardauskas became a somewhat surprisingly consistent high finisher on sprint stages, particularly those that finished slightly uphill or had short climbs before the end. His win on Stage 19 gave Garmin some glory within the race and his third place on the Champs-Elysees ahead of established sprinters like Greipel and Renshaw showed he may be useful in the future as well.

Major Disappointments

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador

Both Froome and Contador can be included here as neither enjoyed their Tour experiences, Froome should make it back to fitness for a stab at the Vuelta but Contador’s leg is too bad to consider it. The key part of the season lost to these two through a couple of errors.

 

 

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish

Sprinting-wise Andre Greipel went missing a lot and Arnaud Demare struggled at this highest level. I’m a bit loathed to include Mark Cavendish in this, but he will be very disappointed to end the Tour the way he did, especially on home soil and with a genuine chance to wear Yellow for the first time. Although strictly speaking not a sprinter, Simon Gerrans was nigh on annonymous as well after his part in the crash on the opening day.

Andrew Talansky

Andrew Talansky

 

Lots and lots of other injuries and crashes meant that highly thought of riders such as Andrew Talansky, world champion Rui Costa, Mathias Frank, Andy Schleck abandoned and didn’t reach Paris. Talansky in particular could’ve finished highly after his impressive Dauphine.

 

 

 

Conclusions

 

Nibali destroyed the competition this year, France believes it can win again, Sagan can win the green jersey every year for as long as he likes and the UK has fully embraced the Tour de France.

Roll on 2015 and a showdown between Froome, Contador, Nibali and Quintana!