Gesink and Kelderman to lead LottoNL-Jumbo in Lombardia
LottoNL-Jumbo released its roster for Il Lombardia, the final WorldTour race of the season, with Robert Gesink and Wilco Kelderman sharing leadership duties for the Dutch team. The pair will be joined in the Italian race by Enrico Battaglin, Koen Bouwman, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Paul Martens, Bram Tankink and young American Alexey Vermeulen
"With Gesink and Kelderman, we have two guys who can play a role in the final," director Addy Engels said. "With Martens, Lindeman and Tankink, we have some experienced men. Enrico Battaglin will return for the first time after he abandoned the Vuelta due a crash. Given its his home race, he will be motivated. Koen Bouwman and Alexey Vermeulen are the young riders of the squad."
Gesink, who hasn't raced since the Vuelta a Espana - where he won stage 14, finished second on stage 10 and was third on stage 17, said he was motivated to "show something beautiful" in his last race of the season.
"Lombardia is a marvellous race, where I often score a good result," he said. "I wonder how my legs are going. The Vuelta was great, but then I have not raced for a long time. I trained hard to hold my level, though. Together with Alexey Vermeulen, we leave early for Italy to explore the final. It has changed, so it cannot hurt to preview it."
Kelderman recently finished sixth overall at the Eneco Tour and expressed confidence the team could play a part in the finale of Saturday's race.
"I hope to be able to compete in the final,” Kelderman said. “I want to help Robert as long as possible in the final. Together with Gesink, we definitely can show something. It's wait and see how my shape is coming along for Saturday. Normally, the weekend after a big event, I'm going well. It's going to be different with the many and different climbs. The course is obviously not comparable to that of the Eneco Tour."
LottoNL-Jumbo roster for Il Lombardia: Enrico Battaglin, Koen Bouwman, Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Paul Martens, Bram Tankink, Alexey Vermeulen
Russian rider Sergey Lagutin returns to Gazprom-RusVelo
Russian Pro Continental team Gazprom-RusVelo announced today that it has signed Sergey Lagutin to a two-year deal that will take him through 2018. Lagutin, who won stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana this year, has ridden for Katusha the past two seasons.
This will be Lagutin's second stint with the RusVelo program; he rode with the team in 2014 after four years with Vacansoleil.
Lagutin said he was excited to return to the team, adding that it's the only squad where he feels at home.
"Mutual respect and professionalism are the main pillars of the team," Lagutin said. "I hope that I will have an opportunity to be a part of the team’s success in one-day classics and bigger races. Looking forward to share my experience with teammates and help them to achieve next season goals."
Gazprom-RusVelo general manager Renat Khamidulin said he was "delighted" to sign the 35-year-old rider.
"This season he made the biggest win in his career by taking the lead at the 8th stage of the La Vuelta," Khamidulin said. "It’s obvious that he is in good condition, but it’s more important that he is a true leader. Sergey has an ability to unite the team, help partners in difficult situations, he may lead the team and take a win himself."
Originally from Uzbekistan, Lagutin gained Russian citizenship in 2013.
Team USA wins Olympia's Tour opening team time trial
USA Cycling's U23 squad took out the first stage of the Olympia's Tour, an 18.9km team time trial in Hardenberg, The Netherlands. The six-rider squad of Axeon Hagens Berman riders covered the course in 20:38, 10 seconds faster than the team from Australia and 14 seconds better than the Rabobank Development Team.
Colin Joyce crossed the line first for the US team and will wear the leader's jersey during Wednesday's stage 2, while Geoffrey Curan will wear the UCI 2.2 race's jersey for best young rider. The rest of the six-rider team includes U23 and US Pro road race champion Greg Daniel, Justin Oien, Neilson Powless and Tyler Williams.
Powless said the team was well-prepared for Tuesday's effort.
"We knew the course and had ridden it multiple times so we had all our lines down, executed it perfectly and finished with everybody. It was beautiful," Powless said.
The team started last, providing the riders with the advantage of knowing the time to beat, Williams said.
"We knew we were on a good time for the last five kilometers or so," he said. "It was a real fast course. The start was kind of tricky, but after that you could get up to speed quickly. It was on glass-smooth roads that you could really get rolling on."
The seven-stage race, which includes an individual time trial and a road race on Thursday, continues with the 141.3km second stage in Assen.
Craven's path to Worlds team time trial will go through MTB marathon race
Dan Craven is taking an unusual path to the Worlds team time trial, where he will compete with his Cycling Academy trade team. The Namibian rider will join Cycling Academy teammate Roy Goldstein in the Epic Israel three‐day mountain bike stage race just nine days before flying to Doha, Qatar, for the UCI World Championships.
It's not the first time Craven has prepared for a race in an unorthodox style. Ahead of the Olympics, Craven asked his Twitter followers if he should accept a last-minute spot in the individual time trial without having the proper equipment or having done any specific training. Craven entered the Olympic time trial, finishing 35th out of 35 starters.
"It might be a very unusual way to prepare for the TTT, but I have not done much racing in the last weeks and this burst of intensity can only do me good," Craven said. "After the Epic, I will have enough time to recover fully before going to Doha, and I will have an extra spring in my step thanks to three days of intensive racing.”
The UCI World Championship Team Time Trial will take place October 9.