Tom Dumoulin heads to the Tour de Romandie aiming for success in the two tests against the clock. The WorldTour stage race kicks off with 3.95 km prologue in La Chaux-de-Fonds and features a 15.1km time trial on stage 3 in Sion.
Eight of Dumoulin's professional wins have come against the clock but the 25-year-old is yet to taste victory in 2016 with the Paris-Nice prologue, in which he finished a narrow second, his sole time trial this season. Giant-Alpecin coach Arthur van Dongen explained Dumoulin will look to set up a tilt at the GC with top performances in the prologue and stage 3.
"We have two main goals for this race; to go for a stage victory with Tom [Dumoulin] in either the prologue or the time trial, and to focus on the general classification with him," van Dongen said. "The 2016 edition parcours is very demanding and I am expecting a hard race. It will be very important to finish preparing the form of the guys before the start of the Giro d'Italia. We have a balanced team and the experienced Johannes [Fröhlinger] will be our road captain and he will be helping to guide the team in the different scenarios that present themselves."
Dumoulin started his season at the Tour of Oman, finishing fourth, before heading to Paris-Nice for 12th overall but was then forced to withdraw from his third stage race of the year at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on stage 3 as he prepares to challenge for the Giro d'Italia next month.
Giant-Alpecin for the Tour de Romandie: Tom Dumoulin, Johannes Fröhlinger, Chad Haga, Cheng Ji, Tobias Ludvigsson, Georg Preidler, Tom Stamsnijder and Albert Timmer.
Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin is one of the top time trialists in the current peloton (Bettini Photo)
Hugh Carthy and Caja Rural – Seguros RGA head to Giro del Trentino
British neo-pro Hugh Carthy is looking to continue his good start to the 2016 season with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at the Giro del Trentino. The 21-year-old won the best young rider classification at the Volta a Catalunya last month, finishing ninth on the general classification.
“I am very excited for Giro del Trentino. It is a very beautiful race and a good opportunity to race against teams that are preparing for the Giro d'Italia. We arrive here in Italy with a strong team with lots of variety. I am sure we can present the team well in every stage," Carthy said in a team release.
Following the WorldTour stage race, Carthy finished eighth at both GP Miguel Indurain and Giro dell'Appennino to suggest he will be a rider to watch at the 2.HC race in the North of Italy.
Sports director Josemi Fernández explained the Pro-Continental team are looking to start the race on the front foot with a strong performance in the team time trial to set up a successful week.
The stages in Giro del Trentino are very hard, which makes the race ideal for riders and teams wanting to do a final test before the Giro d'Italia. We aim to do well in the team time trial and fight for the win every day,” said Fernández.
Caja Rural – Seguros RGA for the Giro del Trentino: Hugh Carthy, Sergio Pardilla, Eduard Prades, Ángel Madrazo, Antonio Molina, Diego Rubio, Fabricio Ferrari and Miguel Ángel Benito.
Lotto-Soudal's Broeckx ready to return after broken collarbone
Stig Broeckx suffered a broken collarbone after being hit by a medical moto at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, ruling the Lotto Soudal rider out of the spring classics. In a statement from his team, the 26-year-old explained how the tragic fatal accident involving a race motorbike and Antoine Demoitié shaped his recovery.
"It's such a shame this happened, it shouldn't be part of cycling. A few weeks ago there was the fatal accident of Antoine Demoitié which caused a lot of emotions because I knew Antoine well. If it made me realize that it could have turned out worse for me as well? Believe me, I was aware of that immediately after the accident," reflected Broeckx, who added he has accepted an apology from the motorbike pilot.
"The motor rider who hit me contacted me a few days later to apologize and I accepted his apologies. I know he has a heart for cycling and really cares for the riders. The problem was the high speed with which he passed by the peloton and the fact that he didn't honk to warn that he was coming."
Broeckx added that he hopes safety within races can improve following the recent spate of motorbike incidents in the professional peloton.
"We have to draw conclusions from this accident and what happened to Antoine Demoitié. Of course safety is important to all people involved in cycling, but it would be good to make everyone even more aware of the dangers," he said. "I am convinced that when all parties sit together measures can be agreed. Just like there is an extreme weather protocol there should be more rules regarding cars and motors in races. I think of speed limits or the distances to the riders. Because of a succession of events this is the moment to undertake action."
With his injuries healed and several weeks spent in Mallorca to rebuild his form and condition, Broeckx will head to the Tour of Turkey where he is aiming to prove his worth again to his teammates.
"I can't wait to race again, because it's frustrating that I have hardly been able to race after all the hard work in the off-season. Objective tests showed that I had made progress. I felt that I was ready to do lots of work for the team. Now that will have to happen in the rest of the season. I am keen, let that be clear. At the Tour of Turkey I want to show my teammates that they can rely on me again."
Stig Broeckx (Lotto Soudal) (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Brazilian National Team debut at Giro del Trentino
For the first time in its history, the Italian Giro del Trentino stage race will feature a national team from Brazil comprised of six riders from the Pro-Continental Funvic-Sour Cycles team, and two riders from the UCI World Cycling Center, Andre Eduardo Gohr and Caio Godoy Ormenese.
"Giro del Trentino Melinda is very famous in Brazil," said one time Farnese Vini rider and 2012 Brazilian national champion Otavio Bulgarelli, "we know this is the key dress rehearsal for the top Giro d'Italia contenders, so we are very happy of the opportunity to be here and race along the cream of the crop."
"The Olympic Games' route is very demanding, and that's why Giro del Trentino Melinda looked like the ideal opportunity to compete against some of the rivals we will find in Rio," added team manager Estela Farah.
Tour de San Luis stage winner Kléber Ramos Da Silva will lead the team's aspirations having recently finished second overall at the Volta Ciclistica Internacional do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.
"We know that European cycling is a different story from the Brazilian, one, where most of the races are suited for sprinters, but the goal of Team Funvic's project is to make us compete in top cycling so that we can lead the growth of our national movement," said Da Silva. "It will be a tough challenge, but one we will take in with enthusiasm and determination."
Da Silva and Bulgarelli will be joined by teammates and Nazaret Magno, João Gaspar, Flavio Cardoso and Murilo Ferraz Affonso.
For the Giro del Trentino race page and start list, click here