Wilco Kelderman will make his first racing appearance outside of Europe in 2016 this coming week as he leads the LottoNL-Jumbo squad for the Canadian WorldTour one-day races, Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.
"I feel good and can’t wait to race again in Canada. These are two beautiful races that suit me," said Kelderman.
The 25-year-old was 64th in Quebec last year before impressing with sixth place in Montreal and will again target the second of the races for a top result.
"In Montreal, I hope to race for top 10 place again, but I would certainly go for the same result two days earlier in Quebec. Quebec has a short-style climb and Montreal is really a climbing course with the long climb in it. Given that, Montreal suits me better," he added.
Kelderman has had an up and down season thus far with stints in the leader's jersey at WorldTour stage races Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and Tour de Suisse but is yet to claim a victory. The Dutchman recently finished second overall at the Tour du Poitou Charentes with director sportif Nico Verhoeven expecting Kelderman to carry his condition to Canada.
"With Wilco Kelderman, we take a rider who definitely is in shape to compete in the final. Last week, he showed himself with a second place in France," Verhoeven said, adding "The successive laps make it heavy and exhausting. We have different riders for the different race situations. If, as expected, it is a tough race, we will go with Wilco Kelderman for the win. If the race remains closed, [Moreno ]Hofland and [Tom] Van Asbroeck can go for the sprint."
LottoNL-Jumbo for 2016 Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal: Wilco Kelderman, Tom Van Asbroeck, Twan Castelijns, Moreno Hofland, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen, Alexey Vermeulen and Dennis van Winden.
Pieter Weening extends Roompot-Orange Peloton contract to end of 2018
Pieter Weening will continue to ride in the orange of Dutch Pro-Continental squad Roompot-Orange Peloton next season having extended his contract into a third year. Weening joined the squad last year after four seasons with Orica-BikeExchange.
"Pieter has been a major asset for the team," team manager Michael Zijlaard said in a statement from Roompot-Orange Peloton. "He knows how a professional cyclist should live and he knows to work towards specific goals. With his ambition and competition insight, he is an example for the talents in our team."
Weening won a stage and the overall at the Tour of Norway in May, adding a stage at the Tour de Suisse in June and recently returned to Norway where he was sixth overall at the Tour des Fjords.
"Roompot - Orange Peloton has proved an excellent choice. I can do what I want in this team and focus on the race that are good to me. It's also nice to experience that you can do something for the young riders," said Weening. "And as long as I stay fit and at a good level, I want to continue cycling."
Manzin targets Madrid stage for Vuelta a Espana success after fifth place in Peñíscola
FDJ's fastman Lorrenzo Manzin recorded his first top-ten result in a grand tour on stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana and is looking to add to his tally this coming Sunday in the final stage of the race around the capital, Madrid.
"It was a tough sprint. The pace was high at the end of a quiet day. I'm in the top 5 but I would have liked to be in the top 3, I'm a bit disappointed. My fifth place will go unnoticed after my team mates' good results but I can't wait for Sunday's sprint in Madrid," the 22-year-old reflected.
The French team lost Kevin Reza to injury on stage 10 to leave Manzin as the sole sprinter. Manzin has been growing in confidence and form since the start of the Vuelta, explaining that there was a sense of satisfaction in contesting the sprint which was won by BMC's Jempy Drucker.
"I will satisfy myself with this because a few months ago I was not able to contest a sprint," he said of the stage. "Today there was some tailwind with six strong riders in front but when you stay in the wheels it's fine. Matthieu Ladagnous helped me a lot until the last two kilometres. Since the beginning of the Vuelta, we have a good mindset."
Vuelta a Espana director Javier Guillen describes Camins del Penyagolosa finish
The Vuelta a Espana takes a break from racing on Tuesday after 16 gruelling days in which Nairo Quintana has asserted himself as the strongest riders in the race, holding a 3:minute advantage over Chris Froome. When the Vuelta resumes on Wednesday, the peloton will start the 177.5km stage in Castellon and finish at Llucena / Camins del Penyagolosa for the first time in the history of the race.
"I discovered this climb a long time ago. I went to see it with my technical team five years ago, we were in a car and suddenly everybody stopped talking," Guillen said.
Short at just 4km, the average gradient of 13% peaks at 22% inside the final kilometre with time gaps sure to open up on the general classification.
"It was tough tough tough. But when we arrived to the top, we saw that the conditions were quite quite difficult," Guillen added of his first impressions of the climb.
While Guillen was keen to introduce the climb as soon as possible, the race director explained that after several attempts the organisers found a way to host the stage finish at the summit.
"We tried to do something in terms of approach – some people to try to explore some possibilities and at the time we did not find the right conditions (for a stage finish here). But a year ago with the new Province administration we tried again to do this stage and we received a very good welcome," he said." Everything was easy. I told them that we needed more space at the top.
"This climb suits the Vuelta's personality and in terms of cycling I think it can be a very big success," he said, adding a comparison of the Vuelta's other short, sharp climbs. "It's simply brutal, it's amazing. It's the toughest 4km we have in the Vuelta so far. Bola del Mundo (2010) it's 2.6km, Camperona (2016) it's 2.8km. Ezaro is 2.5, Cuitu Negru (2012) is 3-something."