Lutsenko first Astana rider named for 2017 Tour de France
Astana has named its first two rider for the 2017 Tour de France, confirming Kazakh Alexey Lutsenko and Dane Michael Valgren for their third appearances in La Grande Boucle. The team will announce one rider per day of its nine-man squad in the lead-in to the Tour. Fabio Aru and Criterium du Dauphine winner Jakob Fuglsang are the two GC leaders for the 2017 Tour.
"I am coming to the Tour with concrete goals: to help our two leaders and try and get a personal result. I know what to expect from this race, and I am ready," said Lutensko
Lutsenko debuted at the Tour in 2013, abandoning the race on stage 18. He returned in 2016 and finished in 62nd place overall.
In 2017, the 24-year-old has racked up 37 race days with third place at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and victory in the Asian cycling championships time trial his best results of the season so far.
A stage winner at Salon-de-Provence during the 2016 Paris-Nice, Lutsenko will be aiming to replicate his win on stage 19 of the Tour.
Valgren told Cyclingnews in January that he is excited to be riding the Tour in support of compatriot Fuglsang and explained in a team announcement he will also aim for a stage win in July.
"It's always an honour to be selected in the team for the Tour. This year we have a really strong team for GC with Jakob and Fabio and I am looking forward to support them. What about me? To win a stage - is a big goal of mine," said Valgren.
Former mountain biker and first year WorldTour rider Ondrej Cink will make his Tour de France next month with Bahrain-Merida. The 26-year-old explained his place in the squad was sealed after Tour de Suisse where he rode in support of Ion Izagirre. The Swiss WorldTour stage race was the longest of Cink's road career to date and he is unsure whether he will last the distance to Paris.
"My longest race was Switzerland, and it was very difficult for me. I'm tired, and I can not even imagine what will happen to me in three weeks," he told supercycling.cz.
To ensure he doesn't arrive fatigued for the July 1 start, Cink will skip the Czech national championships. In 2017 he already has 41 race days to his name having started at the Tour Down Under in January.
His best result with Bahrain-Merida is ninth overall at the Ruta del Sol.
Martinelli out of Italian national TT after crash
Davide Martinelli will miss the Italian national time trial title this week following a training ride crash. The Quick-Step Floors rider hit the deck on Sunday but hasn't been able to recover in time for Friday's race against the clock. He was sixth last year at the nationals and was aiming to improve upon that performance.
"I was training near my home when a dip in the road caused me to end up on the ground. I was going quite fast but luckily I managed to limit the damage," Martinelli said. "I'm really bummed because it meant a lot to me to race in the National Championship time trial, especially as I look to the future. Last year was a great experience which I would have liked to repeat. However, this is the situation."
With teammates Gianluca Brambilla, Eros Capecchi, Fabio Sabatini and Matteo Trentin all set to contest the road race on Sunday, Martinelli is hopeful of helping Quick-Step Floors claim the tricolore.
"In the next several days I will try to recover in the hopes that I can make it to the starting line for the road race in support of my teammates, at least for the first part of the race," he added.
Cannondale-Drapac announce Cyrus Monk as first stagiaire for 2017
20-year-old Cyrus Monk will be a stagiaire with Cannondale-Drapac from August 1 following an announcement from the WorldTour team.The Australian rides for the team's development squad, Drapac–Pat's Veg Holistic Development Team, while also studying a physiology degree at Melbourne University.
"I'm really looking forward to being a part of cycling at a WorldTour level. After following cycling for so long, I'm excited to be in a position of the riders who I've looked up to," said Monk. "I was a little frustrated with my early races, and thought that I would need some more concrete results, but luckily my consistency was enough to catch Cannondale-Drapac's attention.
Monk will race the Tour of Britain, Colorado Classic and a handful of one-day races in Italy with Cannondale-Drapac from August 1. Having raced the Herald Sun Tour in February, finishing 27th overall, Monk's racing programme has largely consisted of Victorian Road Series (VRS) events and he currently leads the overall standings.
Jonathan Dibben was the sole Cannondale-Drapac stagiaire in 2016, going on to sign a deal with Team Sky at the end of the season.