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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Paris – Roubaix 2015 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile

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Paris Roubaix 2015 Logo

Paris – Roubaix is the flattest of all the classics but has around 30km of brutal cobbled sections (which I can vouch for). The race traditionally suits heavier, powerful riders but without Boonen and Cancellara, the race is ready to move onto a new generation. If wet, this race can descend into a true Hell of the North and will have plenty of crashes. Hopefully the weather stays dry and we have a classic duel.

Paris – Roubaix Profile

Paris Roubaix 2015 Profile

Paris – Roubaix Contenders

With no Tom Boonen or Fabian Cancellara, for once there’s no overwhelming favourite with previous history. It looks like there will only be two previous winners racing, such has been the domination of these two in the last decade.

Paris Roubaix Mud

This year’s Paris – Roubaix favourite has to be Alexander Kristoff, the form he has shown this spring has been immense. He has won 9 races so far this year, which is a huge haul – it’s hard to look beyond the winner of the Tour of Flanders.

In the chasing group are the likes of Peter Sagan, Niki Terpstra, John Degenkolb and Sep Vanmarcke.
Peter Sagan has been a bit iffy this year, but it feels wrong to rule him out completely.
Niki Terpstra won Paris – Roubaix in 2014 and has won the Tour of Qatar and numerous podium spots this year.
John Degenkolb came 2nd last year but also has won Milan – San Remo this year so is clearly in form.
Sep Vanmarcke has once again been repeating his excellent run of top ten finishes without a win, this will continue.

Paris Roubaix Arenberg

Following on from that group are the Sky duo of Bradley Wiggins & Geraint Thomas. Bradley will want to finish off his road career with a strong result, he looked good in this race last year so can get a decent result with some luck. Geraint Thomas won the E3 Harelbeke race a few weeks ago and has been impressive this year, he also seems to have stopped his habit of crashing when in good positions.

Quickstep’s backup plan will be Zdanek Stybar who has won Strade Bianche and finished 2nd in E3 Harelbeke during 2015.
In the absence of Fabian Cancellara, Stijn Devolder has been asked to step up and become the Trek team’s classics leader. Good results in Driedaagse de Panne and Tour of Flanders give Trek some hope.

Paris Roubaix Cobbles

The final group of contenders includes Greg van Avermaet, Matti Breschel, Jurgen Roelandts & Lars Boom.
Van Avermaet has done well all spring but has often been the face seen trying the do or die move out of the peloton, which has hamped some finishing positions – 2nd in Strade Bianche and 3rd in Tour of Flanders shows he can do well.
Matti Breschel has 4 top-20 finishes at Paris – Roubaix, his current form is suggesting a similar result – he will be backup to Peter Sagan.
Jurgen Roelandts has been sneaking into the top-10 quite a bit this season. 11th at Milan – San Remo, 7th at both E3 Harelbeke and Gent – Wevelgem and 8th at the Tour of Flanders.
Lars Boom hasn’t had the best spring but his 6th place at the Tour of Flanders has given Astana hope and he should be their main focus despite all the off-bike issues Astana have.

Paris Roubaix Crash

Paris – Roubaix Outsiders

Sebastien Turgot has previously finished second here and been on the cusp of the top ten in the last two years but won’t command the attention these results should deserve as he isn’t as strong as several of the others during the rest of the year.

Cannondale’s Dylan van Baarle is a rider whose best years are ahead of him – winning last year’s Tour of Britain put him on the map and good results this Spring mean he can do well in Paris – Roubaix.

Normally I just go for Edward Theuns, but I’m getting bored of that. His teammate Jelle Wallays won Dwars door Vlaanderen earlier in the Spring so is in an equally good position as Theuns.

Paris Roubaix Hincapie Mud

Paris – Roubaix Prediction

1 – Alexander Kristoff
2 – Sep Vanmarcke
3 – Geraint Thomas

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Paris – Roubaix 2015 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

E3 Harelbeke 2015 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile

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2015 E3 Harelbeke Logo

E3 Harelbeke is the first World Tour race of Flanders week and we’ve got a strong field of riders all aiming for the win. The race has already courted some controversy before even starting with the ‘sexist poster’ storm which had a nod to Peter Sagan’s podium antics in this race. Harelbeke has been known for its risque posters in the past but the majority seemed to think this strayed over the line. The race itself covers famous hellingen such as the Paterberg (scene of many of Boonen’s attacks), Oude Kwaremont and the Kapelberg. These tough climbs favour strong riders and the strongest, most in-form rider shows himself by riding away from the peloton.

E3 Harelbeke Profile

2015 E3 Harelbeke Profile

E3 Harelbeke Contenders

John Degenkolb has become a favourite from his race winning display at Milan – San Remo last weekend, he has had decent results in the past and is clearly in form. Sagan and Cancellara are standard favourites, Cancellara has won 3 times in the last 5 years and Sagan won E3 Harelbeke last year. Sep Vanmarcke is a good shout for a top 5 place, which he’s done three times so far in this race, his weaker team seems to stop him winning the bigger races. Geraint Thomas has finished 3rd and 4th in the last two years and is a good shout to do well again if he can ride for himself – Ian Stannard is the other key Team Sky option.

Niki Terpstra came second last year, but will be racing at Dwars door Vlaanderen a couple of days before which may hinder him here. Greg van Avermaet is perpetually in the mix for these sorts of races but is missing the big win so far this season – his attack on the Poggio last weekend was a huge effort and a sure sign of strength. Sebastian Langeveld has a number of top ten finishes at Harelbeke and should get a similar result this year but would be doing well to make the podium.

Edward Boasson Hagen performed well at Milan – San Remo and has top ten finishes here – he seems to be in decent form and a part of the usual MTN team of people who were good four years ago. Zdenek Stybar won this year’s Strade Bianche but despite only having a 19th place to show for his efforts at Harelbeke, is still a contender. And finally, Sebastian Turgot has finished tenth here twice and should be the focus of AG2Rs efforts.

E3 Harelbeke Outsiders

As usual, there’s a couple of outsiders who can do well provided they get a break and their teams let them off the leash. Luke Rowe for Sky can do well provided he is released from protective duties for Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Bradley Wiggins.
Yves Lampaert is a part of a strong Etixx – Quickstep line-up and again if he gets a chance he’ll be able to give a strong showing after winning Driesdaagse van West-Vlaanderen recently.

E3 Harelbeke Prediction

1 – John Degenkolb
2 – Greg van Avermaet
3 – Peter Sagan

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E3 Harelbeke 2015 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

Strade Bianche 2015 Review

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Strade Bianche

For all the pre-race talk of Peter Sagan and two time winner Fabian Cancellara fighting it out on the way to the finish of Strade Bianche, it didn’t pan out anything like that.

Strade Bianche 2015

The selection took place on the hardest stretch of gravel roads and saw a very elite group hit the front of the race with around 50km to go.  The likes of Vanmarcke, Nibali, Sagan, Cancellara, Valverde, van Avermaet and Stybar got free and set a pace that meant the peloton never caught up.

Then with 20km to go, Vanmarcke attacked on the same spot where Sagan and Kwiatkowski got free last year which gave us a final elite group – Sagan blew up in a big way on the climb and Cancellara drifted on and off the back of the group until losing touch for good.

Vanmarcke attacks

Vanmarcke attacks

Valverde and van Avermaet went on the attack with 15km to go, Stybar joined them and they reached the final climb all together having dropped all other contenders.

Cancellara pulls Oss along

Cancellara pulls Oss along

Valverde, the best climber, found himself on the front of the group in the worst position. Van Avermaet attacked and came round him with Stybar on his wheel and surprisingly Valverde started dropping back unable to respond. Stybar had enough to overtake van Avermaet and drop to the finish line to celebrate the win.

The early season scenery in Tuscany in the sun gave an excellent background to the racing and as mentioned in the commentary, if Strade Bianche was 80 years old, we’d definitely consider it a monument.

Stybar wins Strade Bianche

Stybar wins Strade Bianche

The amount of top quality riders battling together from all the top teams led to some great racing and due to the nature of the roads it meant we didn’t see riders protected until the finished – with the exception of Oss working for van Avermaet, no other rider had team-mates to work for them and this led to the exciting finale.

Strade Bianche Top 5

1 – Stybar

2 – Van Avermaet

3 – Valverde (my pre-race tip for the win)

4 – Vanmarcke

5 – Rosa

 

 

Strade Bianche 2015 Review

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Strade Bianche

For all the pre-race talk of Peter Sagan and two time winner Fabian Cancellara fighting it out on the way to the finish of Strade Bianche, it didn’t pan out anything like that.

Strade Bianche 2015

The selection took place on the hardest stretch of gravel roads and saw a very elite group hit the front of the race with around 50km to go.  The likes of Vanmarcke, Nibali, Sagan, Cancellara, Valverde, van Avermaet and Stybar got free and set a pace that meant the peloton never caught up.

Then with 20km to go, Vanmarcke attacked on the same spot where Sagan and Kwiatkowski got free last year which gave us a final elite group – Sagan blew up in a big way on the climb and Cancellara drifted on and off the back of the group until losing touch for good.

Vanmarcke attacks
Vanmarcke attacks

Valverde and van Avermaet went on the attack with 15km to go, Stybar joined them and they reached the final climb all together having dropped all other contenders.

Cancellara pulls Oss along
Cancellara pulls Oss along

Valverde, the best climber, found himself on the front of the group in the worst position. Van Avermaet attacked and came round him with Stybar on his wheel and surprisingly Valverde started dropping back unable to respond. Stybar had enough to overtake van Avermaet and drop to the finish line to celebrate the win.

The early season scenery in Tuscany in the sun gave an excellent background to the racing and as mentioned in the commentary, if Strade Bianche was 80 years old, we’d definitely consider it a monument.

Stybar wins Strade Bianche
Stybar wins Strade Bianche

The amount of top quality riders battling together from all the top teams led to some great racing and due to the nature of the roads it meant we didn’t see riders protected until the finished – with the exception of Oss working for van Avermaet, no other rider had team-mates to work for them and this led to the exciting finale.

Strade Bianche Top 5

1 – Stybar

2 – Van Avermaet

3 – Valverde (my pre-race tip for the win)

4 – Vanmarcke

5 – Rosa

 

 

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Strade Bianche 2015 Review was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling

Strade Bianche 2015 Preview

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Strade Bianche LogoStrade Bianche is Italy’s version of a Spring Classic and a relatively new addition to the calendar. It takes place on regular roads with gravel tracks thrown in to make things interesting. The race gets its name from these sections as the white roads give it a distinctive look.

 

Strade Bianche

White roads

The race suits punchy one-day riders, with a climb in the last 1km of 9% peaking at 16% before a quick drop to the finish, it requires contenders to be relatively light rather than just powerful. It’s this climb that has seen Sagan come second twice in the last two years whereas a flat finish would see him walk it.

Strade Bianche 2014 Finale

Strade Bianche 2014 Finale

2015 sees a strong field line up at the race. Two time winner Fabian Cancellara will be aiming for a third win, one-day race king Alessandro Valverde will be racing and Peter Sagan will aim to go one better.

There is a lot of strength in depth aiming for a win too. Omloop winner Ian Stannard will race, although the final climb may not suit him, so will Niki Terpstra who was one of the Quickstep triplet that allowed Stannard to win.

Greg van Avermaet and Vincenzo Nibali race despite off the bike problems, and Sepp Vanmarcke will fly the flag for LottoNL. Simon Gerrans returns after breaking his collarbone to start his season and Carlos Betancur starts his European season for AG2R.

Strade Bianche

Strade Bianche

For those looking for a more left-field option for a good result, Sonny Colbrelli for Bardiani always seems to do well in Italian races like this, Adam Yates can do well and is suited to the final climb but his finish will depend on how well Gerrans does. Peter Kennaugh can also do well if released from Sky teamwork duties.

Top 3 Prediction

1 – Valverde

2 – Sagan

3 – Cancellara

Strade Bianche 2015 Preview

Standard

Strade Bianche LogoStrade Bianche is Italy’s version of a Spring Classic and a relatively new addition to the calendar. It takes place on regular roads with gravel tracks thrown in to make things interesting. The race gets its name from these sections as the white roads give it a distinctive look.

 

Strade Bianche
White roads

The race suits punchy one-day riders, with a climb in the last 1km of 9% peaking at 16% before a quick drop to the finish, it requires contenders to be relatively light rather than just powerful. It’s this climb that has seen Sagan come second twice in the last two years whereas a flat finish would see him walk it.

Strade Bianche 2014 Finale
Strade Bianche 2014 Finale

2015 sees a strong field line up at the race. Two time winner Fabian Cancellara will be aiming for a third win, one-day race king Alessandro Valverde will be racing and Peter Sagan will aim to go one better.

There is a lot of strength in depth aiming for a win too. Omloop winner Ian Stannard will race, although the final climb may not suit him, so will Niki Terpstra who was one of the Quickstep triplet that allowed Stannard to win.

Greg van Avermaet and Vincenzo Nibali race despite off the bike problems, and Sepp Vanmarcke will fly the flag for LottoNL. Simon Gerrans returns after breaking his collarbone to start his season and Carlos Betancur starts his European season for AG2R.

Strade Bianche
Strade Bianche

For those looking for a more left-field option for a good result, Sonny Colbrelli for Bardiani always seems to do well in Italian races like this, Adam Yates can do well and is suited to the final climb but his finish will depend on how well Gerrans does. Peter Kennaugh can also do well if released from Sky teamwork duties.

Top 3 Prediction

1 – Valverde

2 – Sagan

3 – Cancellara

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Strade Bianche 2015 Preview was originally published on Me vs. Pro Cycling