Trek-Segafredo have revealed their eight-rider squad for the 2016 Tour of Poland, capable of challenging for an overall result and stage wins. Canadian 2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal returns to racing after June's Critérium du Dauphiné for his second appearance at the Polish WorldTour race to provide the team with an overall option.
There is a strong Italian contingent in the team in Eugenio Alafaci, Fabio Feline, Marco Coledan, and Niccolo Bonifazio, but no place for the national champion Giacomo Nizzolo. Bonifazio has been top-ten in sprints in all five stage races he has started in 2016 and will be looking for a breakthrough win in the professional ranks with Trek-Segafredo after seven wins for Lampre-Merida.
Felline, who crashed out of Amstel Gold Race with a fractured skull, continues his comeback after racing the Italian national championships and along with Boy van Poppel, Fumiyuki Beppu, and Stijn Devolder completes the roster.
The Tour of Poland starts July 12 with a 138km stage from Radzymin to Warszawa and concludes July 18 with a 25km time trial in Kraków.
Trek-Segafredo for the 2016 Tour de Pologne: Boy van Poppel, Eugenio Alafaci, Fabio Feline, Fumiyuki Beppu, Marco Coledan, Niccolo Bonifazio, Ryder Hesjedal and Stijn Devolder.
Third Giro Rosa stage win for Evelyn Stevens
Following stage on stages 2 and 6, Evelyn Stevens (Boels-Dolmans) took out back-to-back victories on stage 7 time trial of the Giro Rosa to stamp her authority on the race and move from third overall into second, 23 seconds behind teammates Megan Guarnier. The UCI World Hour Record holder covered the 21.9km course from Albisola Superiore to Varazze in 36:21 minutes, four seconds ahead of Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv).
"This is awesome. Coming into this, I really wanted to win the time trial. I don't know if I've ever actually won a time trial in a stage race. I don't think I have. I've always gotten second or third. To actually win the time trial – especially coming up to Rio and showing I deserve my spot and I'm ready to go – it's awesome," said Stevens.
Stevens' first sighting of the course came in the morning as the former US champion did a recon, finding the parcours suited to her capabilities.
"I've been climbing well so I decided I wanted to go as hard as I could to the top of the climb," said Stevens. "I probably wasn't going to win it on the downhill but I couldn't lose too much time there. It kind of flattened a little bit out at the end, so if you could push there…I pushed there, as hard as I could."
A three-time top ten finisher at the Giro Rosa, Stevens explained she didn't enter the race with overall aspirations but will look to hold onto her high position with two days to come.
"We're in a really fantastic position," added Stevens. "It's funny. I didn't really have any GC ambitions coming in. To be 1-2 is really nice. Karol-Ann [Canuel] and Amalie [Dideriksen] have done so much work already this week, and they're going to have their hands full these next couple days but we're in a good place."
Aqua Blue Cycling Team aim for Pro Conti status in 2017
Cyclingnews has learnt that 2017 could see the formation of the first Irish professional continental team with the Aqua Blue Cycling Team, currently based in Cork, stepping up into to cycling's second tier.
No professional riders have been signed as of yet but a source close to the team’s management has told Cyclingnews that former track rider Martin Irvine may come out of retirement and ride for the team.
The team are expected to have a performance hub in Monaco next year with 16 riders within the team, and a support staff of between 8 and 10.
The squad are hoping to receive invites to a number of high-profile races in 2017 including the Dubai Tour, Volta ao Algarve, and Tour of Yorkshire, with a programme spanning Europe and the United States.
SEG Racing Academy's Nick Schultz to stagiaire with Orica-BikeExchange
Orica-BikeExchange have announced its first stagiaire for the 2016 season with 21-year-old Nick Schultz to join the team from August 1. The SEG Racing Academy rider won the final stage of the Tour de Bretagne Cycliste to finish tenth overall in May, following up his performance with seventh at Ronde de l'Isard, tenth at Ronde de l'Oise and, most recently, second at Oberösterreichrundfahrt where he also won the young rider classification.
"Nick Schultz has been making some good progression throughout the Australian racing season and this year with his SEG Racing Academy he's had a very solid season so far," Orica-BikeExchange sports director Matt White said. "He is developing well and we are excited to give him the opportunity to ride with a WorldTour team."
White added that Orica-BikeExchange will throw Schultz into several different races in preparation for his objective of a good result at October's World Championships in Doha.
"He's a rider who has been ear-marked for the World Championships later in the year," said White "So along with the Australian national team and SEG Racing Academy we have worked out a programme so that he can still have optimum preparation for the tail end of the season.
"Nick will join us for Vuelta a Burgos then another one-day race in September, followed by Japan Cup at the end of the year, so it's quite a mix of races for him to experience."
Schultz explained that is looking forward to spending time with the Australian WorldTour squad.
"I'm very excited to join Orica-BikeExchange as stagiaire," said Schultz. "Being from Australia, it's really special to make my debut with this team and get the support and trust from the people behind one of the best teams in the world. I hope to learn a lot and continue to make progression, this is a next step in my development."