Nibali marks out Giro d'Italia as main objective of 2017
Vincenzo Nibali has confirmed that he will ride the Giro d’Italia in 2017, his first season with the new Bahrain-Merida team, though he will not decide on his participation in the Tour de France until after the corsa rosa.
The 100th edition of the Giro will spend two days in Sicily in the opening week, with a summit finish at Mount Etna and a finish in Nibali’s hometown of Messina the following day. Nibali was widely expected to return to defend his title, but stopped short of confirming as much during last month’s presentation in Milan.
“I’ll be there. The 100th Giro will be the main objective of my season,” Nibali told Sudpresse. “It’s a special edition of the race, I’m the defending champion and, what’s more, it goes through my home region.
“As for the Tour de France, we’ll see after the Giro. It’s not all defined yet, but I’m going to start in January with the new Tour de San Juan in Argentina. Then I’ll go to Abu Dhabi, before coming back to Italy to ride Tirreno-Adriatico.”
Nibali has made no secret of his desire to add Liège-Bastogne-Liège to his palmarès, but after a low-key showing in the race in 2016, he suggested that La Doyenne is not certain to feature on his schedule next season. “I’ll need to talk about it with my coach Paolo Slongo when we determine my full calendar for the first part of the season. Of the Classics, Il Lombardia is the one that suits me the best, but La Doyenne fascinates me…”
Lotto Soudal Ladies sign Anna Kiesenhofer
Former triathlete Anna Kiesenhofer has signed with Lotto Soudal Ladies for the 2017 season. The 25-year-old Austrian spent the 2016 season with the Frigoríficos Costa Brava-Naturalium squad and impressed at the Tour de l’Ardèche where she took the stage win atop Mont Ventoux
"I set some beautiful results this year. I knew from riding with a powermeter that my numbers were quite good, but when you race in a peloton it's intimidating at first as you think everyone is much stronger than you. On paper it looked like I was able to do well, but it's a different thing in reality. I couldn't believe it when I won on Mont Ventoux, that was so incredible," said Kiesenhofer, who is aiming to continue her progression as a climber from next season.
"I discovered my love for climbing by riding cyclosportives and doing long training in the mountains. Next season, I want to perform well in hilly races and mountainous races. I like time trialling as well. It's an honest discipline, it all comes down to your own strength. With my climbing and time trial skills I should be able to set good results in stage races in the future. Like I did this year in the Ardèche.
"I also want to learn everything else about cycling. That will definitely be the case at Lotto Soudal, with all the knowhow the team has. I'm looking forward to racing in Belgium. The Flèche Wallonne should suit me. I'm sure I will be able to develop myself further at Lotto Soudal."
Lotto Soudal Ladies have also signed Puck Moonen, Trine Schmidt, and Lensworld-Zannata duo Kaat Van Der Meulen and Annelies Dom for next season.
Tro-Bro Léon poster unveiled
Tro-Bro Léon has unveiled the official poster for the 2017 edition, which takes place in Brittany on April 17th. The distinctive design was created by race founder and graphic artist Jean-Paul Mellouet.
The poster depicts a muddied Martin Mortensen, the 2016 winner, seated on a small throne with a piglet – traditionally awarded as a prize to the best Breton rider – at his feet.
Tro-Bro Léon, dubbed L’Enfer de l’Ouest, features 24 sections of dirt and gravel roads known as ribinoù, and is one of the most compelling races on the international calendar. It began life as an amateur race in 1984, before opening to professionals in 2000. The roll of honour includes Jacky Durand (2001), Mark Renshaw (2006) and Frédéric Guesdon (2008).