Belgian national champion Philippe Gilbert leads the BMC Racing Team at the fourth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway less than one week after representing Belgium at the Rio Olympic Games. BMC won the race overall in its first edition in 2013 while Silvan Dillier was second overall last year having also won the last stage.
While Gilbert will look for a good result, sports director Klaas Lodewyck explained the team aims will become clearer after the first stage.
"With the squad we have we will focus on stage wins because we have a really strong team, especially with some puncheurs like Philippe Gilbert. Looking at the parcours it is essential to not lose time on the first stage, and then there are two days where we have a good shot of going for the win," Lodewyck said. "When you start winning stages, you're up there in the General Classification too."
It will be Gilbert's first appearance at the Arctic Race of Norway with the 33-year-old keen to make a good impression.
"It is my first experience at the Arctic Race of Norway but my brother raced there and told me it was super nice. My friend and former teammate Thor Hushovd is in the organization so I am very happy to discover the race and hope to make a nice result, but first I will see how I recover from the trip to Rio," Gilbert said.
BMC Racing Team for the 2016 Arctic Race of Norway: Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Amaël Moinard (Fra), Daniel Oss (Ita), Michael Schär (Sui) and Loïc Vliegen (Bel).
Philippe Gilbert celebrates his Belgian title (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
IAM Cycling's Jerome Coppel to retire after Tour de l'Ain
Frenchman Jerome Coppel will bring the curtains down his career at the Tour de l'Ain, a race in his own 'backyard', with IAM Cycling. The 30-year-old will have surgery on his left wrist on August 24 to bring his career to and end.
"My body is tired. I've just celebrated my 30th birthday, but I started competing professionally already 15 years ago as a cross-country skier. After reflection, I have decided to pull the plug because cycling has become too difficult of a sport to compete in if you cannot be always at 100%," said Coppel, who was third at last year's time trial world championships.
Coppel added that with IAM Cycling folding at the end of the season, it made his decision to retire a little easier.
"If I had the opportunity to sign for another year with IAM Cycling, I would continue, but I am just not prepared to start new with another team, in spite of the fact that I did receive offers from other World Tour teams. I've had a good season, and I am ready to finish in style, and in a race practically in my own backyard," he added.
Coppel will be looking for a good overall result with Marcel Wyss to also be a protected rider while Jonas Van Genechten leads the line for the sprints.
IAM Cycling for 2016 Tour de l'Ain: Clément Chevrier, Jérôme Coppel, Dries Devenyns, Pirmin Lang, Jonas Van Genechten and Marcel Wyss.
Lampre-Merida announce squad for debut Czech Cycling Tour appearance
Italian WorldTour team Lampre-Merida have announced its eight-rider team for its first participation at the Czech Cycling Tour. The UCI 2.1 race starts Thursday, August 11 with a team time trial Frydek to Mistek and concludes Sunday, August 14 with a 157.1km stage from Olomouc to Dolany.
Having recently won two stages at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, Marko Kump will look to keep his sprint momentum going at the race with Sacha Modolo also providing a sprint option. The in-form Diego Ulissi will be the team's trump card on the hillier days and provides an option for overall success should be remain in contention after the opening TTT.
Lampre-Merida for the Czech Cycling Tour: Davide Cimolai, Chun Kai Feng, Marko Kump, Sacha Modolo, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Xu Gang and Diego Ulissi.
Diego Ulissi (Lampre) enjoying his stage 11 victory at the Giro d'Italia (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
David Hasselhoff Tweets support for van Vleuten
Annemiek van Vleuten crashed out of the Rio Olympic Games while leading the race, suffering a severe concussion and three fractures to her spine. The Dutchwomen tweeted an update on her status from hospital Sunday night and received numerous messages of support.
One of those messages came from American actor David Hasselhoff, who tweeted "Glad you are ok !! You'll be back!! Lotsa love you are a winner !! David H"
The latest update on van Vleuten's condition came from the 33-year-old herself, stating "Still in the hospital. Waiting for some research&hope I can leave today. Knowing that this chance is 1 in 4 years, doesn't make it easy".
While it was a tough day for van Vleuten, the Netherlands celebrated winning the gold medal via Anna van der Breggen.