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Nine riders to watch at the Eneco Tour

Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Geraint Thomas… the 2016 Eneco Tour boasts an impressive start list, but who will win?

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Eneco Tour

The penultimate race in the 2016 UCI WorldTour1 calendar kicks off on Monday: the Eneco Tour2 (September 18-25). The eight-stage race is hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium and features flat stages, hilly stages, a team time trial and an individual time trial. A host of top names will be taking part this year, as the race has shifted from its usual August date into September due to the Olympic Games3. It is ideally placed to offer top-level racing for those wishing to sharpen their form before the 2016 UCI Road World Championships4 in Doha, Qatar, in October, as well as gain some valuable WorldTour points.

Here we take a look at some of the leading contenders

Peter Sagan, Tinkoff

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Peter Sagan. Photo: Graham Watson

Peter Sagan5 has to be considered a contender for almost every race he enters, even week-long stage races like the Eneco Tour. The world champion who remains within striking distance of Nairo Quintana s lead in the World Tour has never competed in the race before, but the combination of sprint stages, short time-time trial and finale based around the cobbled Muur van Geraardsbergen plays very well to his strengths.

Greg Van Avermaet, BMC

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Greg Van Avermaet. Photo: Graham Watson

The best season in Greg Van Avermaet6 s career got even better last week, when he followed up gold in the Olympics road race with a win at the GP de Montreal. The Belgian is one a very select few in the peloton whose all-round capabilities can be compared to Peter Sagan s, with whom he ll renew his rivalry

Geraint Thomas, Sky

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Geraint Thomas. Photo: Graham Watson

There aren t many riders better suited to the Eneco Tour s near unique blend of classic parcours and stage racing than Geraint Thomas7, and the Welshman ought to be able to mount a serious GC challenge. Sky also line up with Ian Stannard, who, fresh off his stage win in Cheshire at the Tour of Britain and sprinter Elia Viviani, who is one of several riders fine-tuning preparations for next month s World Championships.

>>> Geraint Thomas to lead Team Sky at Eneco Tour8

Tim Wellens, Lotto-Soudal

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Tim Wellens. Photo: Graham Watson

As overall winner in both 2015 and 2014, Tim Wellens will surely be more stringently marked than in those previous two editions, where he was able to slip away on a long-range attack on the penultimate stage. This year s equivalent stage has been toned down with less hills included, which may also hinder his chances to attack.

Niki Terpstra, Etixx-QuickStep

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Niki Terpstra. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

From sprinters Marcel Kittel and Fernando Gaviria, classics specialists Zdenek Stybar and Tom Boonen and strong time-trialists Tony and Bob Jungels, Etixx-QuickStep have options for all the varying terrain the Eneco Tour has to offer. Perhaps their best for GC is former Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, who finished third overall in 2012, and, despite a quiet Vuelta, could be on decent form having won the Dwars door het Hageland-Aarschot last month.

Tom Dumoulin, Giant Alpecin

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Tom Dumoulin. Photo: Graham Watson

Back in 2013, a 22-year old Tom Dumoulin9 hinted at what he was capable of in stage racing by finishing second overall at the Eneco Tour. Three years later, he s now most people s pick for best time-trialist in the world, a good enough climber to contest Grand Tours, and fully capable of going one better and winning the Eneco Tour this time around.

Fabio Felline, Trek-Segafredo

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Fabio Felline. Photo: Graham Watson

Unlike most other overall contenders, Fabio Felline enters the Eneco Tour with three weeks of hard racing in his legs from the Vuelta. Having ended that race strongly, the Italian who used his all-round talents to win the points classification might possess the extra stamina needed to better his fifth place overall finish last year.

Edvald Boasson Hagen, Dimension Data

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Edvald Boasson-Hagen. Photo: Graham Watson

A rejuvenated Edvald Boasson Hagen10 has been enjoying his best season since his peak years between 2009-2012, during which time he won a record-equalling two overall classification of the Eneco Tour. He s not going quite as well as earlier in the season, but still looks capable of competing for the overall.

Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Mark Cavendish. Photo: Andy Jones

Boasson Hagen will have to share leadership with Mark Cavendish11, who like many sprinters at this race, is using the flatter stages to help train for the upcoming Worlds in Doha. He ll face stiff competition, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), as well as the Etixx-QuickStep duo of Kittel and Gaviria, are among those eying up the bunch sprints.

References

  1. ^ WorldTour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Eneco Tour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Olympic Games (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ UCI Road World Championships (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Peter Sagan (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Greg Van Avermaet (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Geraint Thomas (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ >>> Geraint Thomas to lead Team Sky at Eneco Tour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ Tom Dumoulin (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ Edvald Boasson Hagen (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  11. ^ Mark Cavendish (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

Chris Froome: Data leak only confirms what I previously said

The Tour de France champion says the WADA data breach that saw his information posted online only confirms what he has said in the past

Chris Froome: Data Leak Only Confirms What I Previously Said

Tour de France1 champion Chris Froome2 does not take issue with his data being leaked by Russian hackers3 over night and says that it only confirms his previous statements on Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE).

Team Sky s star and Bradley Wiggins4 were part a group of 25 athletes who had their data stolen from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and published by hackers known as Fancy Bears . It was the second such leak this week involving athletes from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics5.

>>> Bradley Wiggins confirms Tour of Britain was his last road race6

I ve openly discussed my TUEs with the media and have no issues with the leak, which only confirms my statements, Froome said. In nine years as a professional, I ve twice required a TUE for exacerbated asthma, the last time was in 2014. Froome did not deny that the four leaked certificates from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) were his. In its second data dump, Fancy Bears (Tsar Team APT28) published data on 25 athletes, including five Brits.

It published six PDF certificates for Wiggins and four for Froome, concentrated on the 2013 Crit rium du Dauphin 7 and the 2014 Tour de Romandie. According to the leaked documents, the UCI s medical chief Mario Zorzoli approved corticosteroid prednisolone 40mg per day for one week in 2013 and again in 2014.



Already last year, Froome replied to a person on Twitter about his exception certificates or TUEs, saying I have had 2 during my career.

I have had 2 during my career RT @jknight5978: @chrisfroome9 Are you willing to release details of all your TUEs for the last few years?

Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) March 11, 201510

Froome said at the finish of the 2015 Tour de France that he avoided asking for a TUE to help with an infection that he had because he did not want to create problems. He told The Sunday Times: After everything we had been through in this year s Tour, it just felt that if we go down this route, we are opening the door for a whole new wave of criticism and aggression.

In an interview this summer, he expanded on TUEs.

I think the grey area most people are referring to are TUEs, using substances that aren t banned but do give a performance gain, Froome told the Scotsman11. I ve applied for two TUEs in my seven years as a professional. Each was a week long. For two weeks in seven years, I ve taken something for medical reasons. I feel quite strongly that you shouldn t be taking anything that you don t medically need.

Team Sky, agreeing with Froome, explained today that the leak showed that they went through the proper channels for the exceptions.

The Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) process, as set out by UKAD, is a means by which an athlete can obtain approval to use a prescribed prohibited substance or method for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition,’ Sky said in a statement.

Applications made by Team Sky for TUEs have all been managed and recorded in line with the processes put in place by the governing bodies.

Team Sky s approach to anti-doping and our commitment to clean competition are well known.

References

  1. ^ Tour de France (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Chris Froome (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ issue with his data being leaked by Russian hackers (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ Bradley Wiggins (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Rio de Janeiro Olympics (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ >>> Bradley Wiggins confirms Tour of Britain was his last road race (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Crit rium du Dauphin (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ @jknight597 (twitter.com)
  9. ^ @chrisfroome (twitter.com)
  10. ^ March 11, 2015 (twitter.com)
  11. ^ Scotsman (www.scotsman.com)

Giro d’Italia 2017 route: Sardinia start for 100th edition

The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia in 2017 will stay within Italy’s borders and feature as many of the race’s classic climbs as possible

Giro D’Italia 2017 Route: Sardinia Start For 100th Edition

The 2017 Giro d Italia1 will start in Alghero, on the island of Sardinia, organiser RCS Sport announced on Wednesday, September 14. The island will host three road stages, before the 100th edition of the race heads to the mainland. The last visit to Sardinia was in 2007, when the race took off with a team time trial won by the Liquigas team. This time around, there will be no time trial on Sardinia. Instead, there are three road stages: stage one from Alghero to Olbia over 203km, stage two from Olbia to Tortol over 208km, and a shorter 148km trip from Tortol to Cagliari on stage three.

All three stages feature classified climbs, but are likely to end in bunch finishes. As the race did when it visited Ireland for the Big Start in 2014, the opening stage will take place on a Friday (May 5) with a rest day the following Monday (May 8) to allow for the transfer of riders and equipment ready for stage four. The full route of the 2017 Giro d Italia will be announced on October 25 in Milan.

Giro D’Italia 2017 Route: Sardinia Start For 100th Edition

Giro d Italia 2017 stage one profile: Alghero to Olbia, 203km

Giro D’Italia 2017 Route: Sardinia Start For 100th Edition

Giro d Italia 2017 stage two profile: Olbia to Tortol , 208km

Giro D’Italia 2017 Route: Sardinia Start For 100th Edition

Giro d Italia 2017 stage three profile: Tortol to Cagliari, 148km

>>> Five things we learned from the 2016 Giro d Italia2

The Giro organiser told Cycling Weekly earlier this year that it will hit as many of the country s 20 regions as it can while travelling from the south to the north. It wants to pay respect to the host country and the cities that hosted the first Giro in 1909: Naples, Chieti, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Genoa, Turin and Milan.

Giro D’Italia 2017 Route: Sardinia Start For 100th Edition

Vincenzo Nibali wins the 2016 Giro d Italia (Watson)

The Giro may swing by its other big island of Sicily with a stage to Messina before heading over to the heel of the boot in Puglia. Giovinazzo and Alberobello, famous for the cone-like trulli homes, will host stages. Making a nod to the Italian and Giro greats Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, it will pass through Tuscany s hills and Florence and up to Piedmont, where Coppi trained in the Tortona hillsides. A possible temptation for Chris Froome3 (Team Sky) and Tom Dumoulin4 (Giant-Alpecin) could be the long time trial through the Franciacorta hills near Brescia.

RCS Sport is continuing its trend with local wine producers after similar stages in the Barolo, Prosecco and Chianti hills. The meat of the race will be through the Alps where this year, Esteban Chaves5 (Orica-BikeExchange) won the queen stage6, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) crashed into a snow bank7 in the leader s pink jersey and Vincenzo Nibali8 (Astana) rebounded to claim a second Giro title. Italian fans continue to hold Marco Pantani close to their hearts despite his drug problems. The Giro should visit two of his stomping grounds with summit finishes at the Oropa Sanctuary and the Piancavallo ski resort in the Dolomites.

Giro D’Italia 2017 Route: Sardinia Start For 100th Edition

Italian fans salute on stage ten of the 2016 Giro d Italia

The last race day should be in Bergamo, host city of the 2016 Il Lombardia9 this October 1. The race could cover a stage similar to Lombardia with around 4000 metres of climbing ahead of the rest day and two days later, take off for a summit finish on the Stelvio Pass at 2757 metres via the Mortirolo Pass10. Local media reported in recent weeks that the Giro s finish could be in Rome, but insiders are uncertain and say Milan seems more likely geographically. The 2017 Giro d Italia would instead pass through Rome on its way north early in the first week.

Milan, after all, is where the 1909 Giro began and where Luigi Ganna won the first title and RCS Sport s home.

Piazzale Loreto, Arena Civica and Vigorelli Velodrome could host the finish, but for confirmation of this and the rest of the Giro, fans will need to way until October 25.

References

  1. ^ Giro d Italia (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ >>> Five things we learned from the 2016 Giro d Italia (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Chris Froome (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ Tom Dumoulin (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Esteban Chaves (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ the queen stage (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ crashed into a snow bank (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ Vincenzo Nibali (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ 2016 Il Lombardia (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ Mortirolo Pass (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

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