News shorts: Trek completes 2016 roster with Alafaci extension

Ferrari extends, Bora-Argon 18 and Thurau split, Liv-Plantur sign four

Trek completes 2016 roster with Alafaci extension

The Trek Factory Racing team announced they would complete their roster for 2016 with a contract extension to Eugenio Alafaci, the Italian rounding out a 25-rider squad.

The team will consist of 25 riders, down two riders from this season, but added more North Americans - Ryder Hesjedal is the first Canadian in the team, and while American Matthew Busche moved across to UnitedHealthcare, Trek added Kiel Reijnen and Peter Stetina.

"Obviously, we must also pay attention to the desires of our sponsors, and the US market is always growing for Trek and this is why we also need to adapt our roster to have some Americans on board and we think that we have found some good guys," general manager Luca Guercilena said.

In addition to Hesjedal, Reijnen and Stetina, the team also added neo-pro Julien Bernard, Jack Bobridge (Budget Forklifts), Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida), and Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen), winner of the Ronde van Drenthe and runner-up in the Scheldeprijs. Left out of the team are Jesse Sergent, Kristof Vandewalle, Calvin Watson, and Hayden Roulston and Fabio Silvestre, both expected to retire.

"We lost Danny Van Poppel and Bob Jungels, two strong, young riders, but we added guys like Stetina and Reijnen, who are not so young but young still for the WorldTour, and can do something, especially in the USA races. And Hesjedal is a big value that we have added to the team and we are expecting from him good results. And with a guy like Bobridge, who we know is a huge talent, we want to see him get back to his form at the highest level possible. And then we have Theuns and Bonifazio, who I actually consider some of the best riders in the EuropeTour ranking," Guercilena continued.

"I think we needed some change because this season was not super and on top of this we know with the new reform we need aggressive riders and ones that can be more combative on the climbs.

"It is really important, notably in the Grand Tours, that we are present in the overall classification, and all the stages relevant to this. This year we were highly competitive in the Tour de France and need to be consistent the same way across all three Grand Tours.

"We also needed ‘fresh air'. We wanted to change a little bit to start again with a group of riders that are ready and able to fight. And, as usual, we wanted young talent to develop, and that is still the most important thing."

Trek Factory Racing 2016: Eugenio Alafaci, Julian Arredondo, Fumy Beppu, Fabian Cancellara, Marco Coledan, Stijn Devolder, Laurent Didier, Fabio Felline, Markel Irizar, Bauke Mollema, Giacomo Nizzolo, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Fränk Schleck, Jasper Stuyven, Boy Van Poppel, Riccardo Zoidl, and Haimar Zubeldia. Additions: Julien Bernard, Jack Bobridge, Niccolo Bonifazio, Ryder Hesjedal, Kiel Reijnen, Peter Stetina, and Edward Theuns.

Eugenio Alafaci (Trek Factory Racing)

Ferrari extends with Lampre-Merida

Roberto Ferrari, 32, has renewed his contract with Lampre-Merida through the 2017 season, the team announced today. The Italian has been a key rider in the team's sprint lead-out squad, and manager Brent Copeland was keen to keep him.

"Ferrari is a great guy for the team, and he's also importance rider because he can play the double role of captain for the sprints and of leader of the leadout train. There are few athletes like Roberto in the cycling world, that's why is so important for the team having prolonged the deal with him for 2016 and 2017."

Ferrari himself has become more comfortable in the lead-out role since moving to Lampre-Merida three seasons ago and said he could not ask for a better team. "In the past three season which I spent in the team, I appreciated the high level of the structure and the perfect group spirit. My profile as cyclist evolved to a role as lead-out rider for the sprints, in addition to some personal chances to battle for a top result.

"The two year deal is something important, I'll try to contribute to helping the team to achieve as many successes as possible and to eventually obtain personal satisfaction."

Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida)

Bora-Argon 18 and Thurau split

Bora-Argon 18 announced Thursday that they have mutually split ways with German rider Björn Thurau. The statement read that the rider will soon announce the new team he will race for in 2016.

"In a team it's like in real life: following an initial euphoria you notice that you have different ideas about the common path. That happens. I’d like to thank Ralph Denk for handling the separation straightforward, because now I’m free for my new team. My signing will be announced in the coming days,” Thurau said.

Thurau signed with Bora-Argon 18 at the start of the 2015 season, coming from three seasons with Europcar. Bora-Argon 18 noted in the press release that their decision to part ways is in accordance with the regulations of the UCI.

Bora-Argon 18 manager Ralph Denk, "Björn wants to ride for a team next season where he can make better use of his qualities. Björn is a passionate rider, who is known for his aggressive riding style. He couldn’t prove it very often in our team for tactical reasons this season. As we further focus on potential GC riders next year, he expects new impetus from a change as well as a race environment that is more suitable for him. I wish him and his new team many successful races."

Bjorn Thurau in the stage 1 breakaway.

Liv-Plantur sign Kirchmann, Markus, Silk and Taylor

Liv-Plantur announced the signing of four new riders to their program for the 2016 season. They added Canadian all-rounder Leah Kirchmann, Dutch riders Riejanne Markus and Rozanne Slik, and Australian Carlee Taylor.

Kirchmann joins the team from the US-based Optum Pro Cycling, and is a former national time trial, road and criterium champion, who said, “I’m very excited to join Team Liv-Plantur for the 2016 season. This will be my sixth year racing as a pro and my first season racing full time in Europe. I’m confident that working with the experienced staff, riders and partners of the Team Giant-Alpecin program will help me to continue challenging myself in different ways to reach my full potential as a rider, with the Rio Olympics quickly approaching.”

Markus and Silk join the team from spending several years with Parkhotel. Taylor joins from Lotto Soudal Ladies and adds to the team’s climbing prowess along side Sabrina Stultiens.

“Carlee is a climber, and she and Sabrina Stultiens will become our important riders for the difficult classics and climbing stages. She also has shown her ability to perform well in races like the Ronde van Vlaanderen, for example, and she will be valuable to the team at those races,” said Team Liv-Plantur coach Hans Timmermans.

The team has lost riders Lucy Garner and Amy Pieters, who both signed with Wiggle Honda, and Willeke Knol and Claudia Lichtenberg, who both signed with Lotto Soudal Ladies.

Leah Kirchmann (Optum) gets some help putting on the sprint leaders jersey.

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