Meintjes first to arrive in Israel for Giro d'Italia - News Shorts

Lotto Soudal to become Lotto-Fix ALL for Giro, Bouhanni racing again, Bakelants reveals good news after Il Lombardia crash

Dimension Data’s Louis Meintjes was one of the first riders to travel to Israel ahead of the start of this year's Giro d’Italia as the final countdown to the Friday's first stage began.

South African Meintjes, who flew in to Tel Aviv on Monday, is team principal Doug Ryder’s big hope for cultivating a Grand Tour winner at Dimension Data in the coming years, and this year's Giro d'Italia will be an opportunity for him to shine.

With the rest of the 2018 Giro peloton set to start arrive on Tuesday evening, attention will quickly turn to acclimatising to temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s this week, as well as shrugging off any minor jet-lag ahead of Friday's opening 9.7km individual time trial in Jerusalem. 

All the 176 riders will undergo pre-race anti-doping tests by the UCI Anti-Doping Foundation on Wednesday morning. The teams will train on the road in Israel and hold press conferences and events on Wednesday and Thursday, with the official team presentation on Thursday evening. Training is allowed on the time trial course on Friday morning with the first rider kicking-off the 2018 Giro d'Italia at 13:50 local time.  

Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data)

Lotto Soudal change name to Lotto-Fix ALL during Giro d'Italia

Belgian squad Lotto Soudal will be known as Lotto-Fix ALL for the duration of the Giro d'Italia, and the change brings with it a new jersey, with a blue-green design replacing the normally predominantly red jersey.

Secondary sponsor Soudal is a producer of silicone and adhesive products, and have chosen to push their Fix ALL range of sealants to the Italian market.

It's the third time that the team has become Lotto-Fix ALL, following changes in both 2016 and 2017 during Paris-Nice. UCI rules permit one jersey change per year for such 'special occasions'.

Bouhanni back to racing

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) will race for the first time in almost a month at the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, after abandoning the Circuit de la Sarthe just 100 kilometres into the first stage.

The sprinters' race will be an opportunity for the Frenchman to curry favour with the management at Cofidis after a rocky start to the season. Bouhanni is still without a win in 2018 and abandoned three of his last four races. His departure from Circuit de la Sarthe elicited a strong rebuff from the new team manager Cedric Vasseur.

The former rider told L’Equipe that confidence in Bouhanni had fallen. "He left his teammates alone in the rain," Vasseur told the French sports paper.

"A captain must be the last to leave the ship so Nacer must be able to finish the races, that's the minimum we ask. We cannot trust him anymore. I would not put him at the start of a cyclosportive.”

While Bouhanni has been floundering, his former lead-out man Christophe Laporte has enjoyed a starkly different trajectory with four wins to his name already this season.

Bouhanni will be joined by Julien Simon, Michael Van Staeyen, Dimitri Claeys, Kenneth Van Bilsen, Geoffrey and Daniel Teklehaimanot at the German one-day race.

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).

Bakelants has 'hardware' removed from back

AG2R La Mondiale's Jan Bakelants appears well on the way to full recovery after the removal of the metal pins that were inserted into his back during surgery after his crash last October at Il Lombardia.

Bakelants returned to competition at the end of March at the Classic Loire Atlantique. He was originally unsure whether he was ever going to be able to return to racing following the horrific crash at the 2017 Il Lombardia on October 7, when he fractured four vertebrae and broke seven ribs after falling into a ravine.

Posting on Twitter, Bakelants wrote: "For those wondering what the hardware in my back looked like. Glad I got rid of it. Time to move on."

He added a 'muscle' emoji for good measure, alongside the picture of various rather large screws and plates, using a one-euro coin to give it some perspective.

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