Lars Boom and Dylan Groenewegen headline the team for Saturday's Omloop. The parcours, which visits a number of iconic Flemish climbs – including the Muur van Geraardsbergen – tends to break up the bunch by the end of the race, particularly if the weather turns sour. Boom will likely be LottoNL-Jumbo's option in the event of a selective race, while Groenewegen will stand ready for a sprint should a bigger group make the finish.
Both riders will also ride Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Though Jasper Stuyven stunned the fast finishers in 2016, the race typically favours the sprinters. Groenewegen just missed the podium last year, finishing fourth. He has already shown his early-season form with a series of placing in Dubai and the Algarve.
LottoNl-Jumbo for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Lars Boom (Ned), Jos van Emden (Ned), Dylan Groenewegen (Ned), Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel), Tom Leezer (Ned), Timo Roosen (Ned), Bram Tankink (Ned), Maarten Wynants (Ned)
LottoNl-Jumbo for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Robert Wagner, Lars Boom (Ned), Twan Castelijns Jos van Emden (Ned), Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel), Tom Leezer (Ned), Bram Tankink (Ned), Maarten Wynants (Bel), Dylan Groenewegen (Ned), Timo Roosen (Ned)
AG2R names Omloop, Kuurne line-ups
Oliver Naesen and Stijn Vandenbergh will lead AG2R-La Mondiale at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
Naesen, who joined the team over the off-season after IAM Cycling folded, showed potential for Classic success in 2016 with a WorldTour one-day victory at GP Ouest France and a podium finish at the Eneco Tour in the heart of Classics country. Vandenbergh is new to the team as well, having proven a reliable presence for Quick-Step's cobbled campaigns the last several seasons. He is still working his way into shape for the 2017 season, but AG2R views the weekend's races as a chance to build form.
"In spite of the fact we have several new riders, I feel that this group is already working very well together," said sport director Julien Jurdie via a team press release.
"During the various spring classics, we will be focusing on scouting out all the opportunities to make use of all our assets. The objective of this first Belgian weekend will be two-fold: try to get a result, but also to work in preparation for the Monuments in April.”
AG2R La Mondiale for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Quentin Jauregui (Fra), Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel), Nico Denz (Ger), Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania), Hugo Houle (Can), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Julien Duval (Fra), Alexis Gougeard (Fra)
AG2R La Mondiale for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: Rudy Barbier (Fra), Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel), Nico Denz (Ger), Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania), Hugo Houle (Can), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Julien Duval (Fra), Alexis Gougeard (Fra)
Full house expected for UEC General Assembly
For the first time in its 27-year history, all 50 member federations of the Union European de Cyclsme (UEC) are expected to attend the General Assembly on March 5 in Brussels, where the President’s and the Management Board's mandates will be renewed for the next four years.
"The representatives of the 50 European national federations have all confirmed that they will attend the Electoral Congress at which European candidates for the UCI Management Committee, the 15 voting delegates for the UCI Congress on 21 September and the two UEC auditors will be appointed," the continental confederation announced in a statement released Monday. The outcome of the voting could influence the UCI Presidential elections in September.
UEC President David Lappartient, who has been talked about as a potential candidate in the upcoming UCI presidential election, said the historic participation reflects increased interest in the UEC's policies and initiatives.
"We welcome this participation as recognition of the work carried out by the UEC over the last four years," Lappartient said. "Our continental confederation has worked for these national federations by developing concrete actions specifically designed for them.
"The direct involvement and active participation of national federations in the life of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme have been one of the foundations of our success and we have always strongly believed that territorial realities are an asset to help develop cycling. I would like to thank all the presidents and leaders of our national federations who work with such great devotion and passion."
Behind the scenes with Trek-Segafredo - Podcast
In the latest episode of the Cyclingnews Podcast, we take you behind the scenes at Trek-Segafredo, the team of Alberto Contador and John Degenkolb and the former home of Fabian Cancellara.
Through interviews with team manager Luca Guercilena, sports director Dirk Demol and several of the riders, we take you inside the team during their winter training camp in Spain.
We look under the hood of the ambitious WorldTour team, tracing their roots from the merger between Leopard Trek and RadioShack-Nissan, all the way through to their present goals of winning the Tour de France and becoming the number one ranked team in the world.
Guercilena became the manager in 2013 after a turbulent year in which former boss Johan Bruyneel left the team and was subsequently banned for 10 years for his part in the US Postal team’s doping programme. It was left to Guercilena to pick up the pieces and his quiet revolution since then has transformed an ageing team into a younger, more dynamic force.
In the podcast he talks about how he stamped a new identity on the team, his approach to transfers – touching on how close the team came to signing Vincenzo Nibali last year – and his hopes for 2017.