Copeland to manage new Bahrain team
Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that Brent Copeland will be the manager of the new Bahrain team, which is set to enter the peloton in 2017 and will be built around Vincenzo Nibali.
Copeland is currently manager at Lampre-Merida, which had previously been approached by Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s emissary Milan Erzen about a possible merger between the teams.
Speaking to Cyclingnews last month, Copeland confirmed that Erzen had spoken with him and Lampre-Merida general manager Giuseppe Saronni. “We sat down and listened to him. That's as far as it's gone so far," Copeland said.
According to Monday’s edition of Gazzetta, that merger will not take place, though Merida may yet cease its involvement with Lampre and provide bikes to the Bahrain team. Copeland, the newspaper says, will be the “ambassador” for the new team.
Copeland has been in his current role at Lampre since the end of 2013, rejoining the squad after a hiatus with Moto GP rider Ben Spies and a spell as European manager of MTN-Qhubeka. Cyclingnews was unable to reach Copeland for comment on Monday.
Dillier surges in Tour de Suisse
Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing) spent all but 10km of stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse in the breakaway on a hilly, rainy 192.6km stage from Grosswangen to Rheinfelden, but his efforts paid off with third place on the stage and, thanks to the time bonus and the three second lead over the main peloton, he moved into third overall behind race leader and late breakaway addition Peter Sagan (Tinkoff). He is tied on time with former leader Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) at three seconds.
"My future father in law recommended that I go for this stage as it had a final circuit with two climbs and he knew the climbs well," the Swiss rider said. "So I did a recon a week ago and it was good to have seen it before today as there were some technical descents and it's also good to know what the climbs are like. The climbs were quite steep but not that long, so you need to have the power to get over them but you don't have to have the climbing rhythm for 20 minutes or so."
Dillier initiated the breakaway and had to wait for some time before having companions to help him through the stage.
"I attacked after 10 kilometers and was alone for four to five kilometers. I knew there were guys chasing but I wasn't sure if the peloton would slow down and let me go. Once the peloton did ease up I waited for the seven riders to join me."
He was then the final of the early move to stay clear on the final climb when first Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and then Sagan bridged across. The trio worked well to reach the finish ahead of the peloton.
"When Albasini jumped over and then Sagan, I knew we had a good group. It was full gas in the last kilometers. Sagan never stopped pushing the pedals so I thought I just have to follow the wheel. I knew that I was close to taking the leader's jersey but as soon as Sagan joined us I knew he was already in front of me and to beat him after such a long breakaway would be tough. I still tried to do my best sprint.
"I have had a really good feeling since GP Gippingen. I will see how it continues throughout the Tour de Suisse but I generally am really happy with the shape so it's nice to be up there."
Boonen, Kittel headline Etixx team for Ster ZLM Toer
Marcel Kittel will return to competition with his Etixx-Quickstep team for the first time since dropping out of the Giro d'Italia at the Ster ZLM Toer this week. Kittel, who won two stages in the Giro and wore the leader's jersey for a day, is aiming to ramp up his form for the Tour de France in the four-stage event that runs from June 15 to 19.
The race begins with a short, flat prologue in Goes and a flat stage suited to sprinters like Kittel. The next two states will play into the hands of his teammates Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra, as they traverse some of the same climbs used for the Ardennes Classics. The final stage from Someren to Boxtel is another for Kittel, who will be fine tuning his lead-out train.
Directeur sportif Tom Steels gave his impressions of the race: "For a few years, the course is the same: it starts with a short individual time trial and continues with four stages which should be equally divided between the sprinters and the attackers.
"The ITT will be very important in the final outcome and we have many riders who can get a good result there – Tom, Marcel and Niki – all of whom proving in the past that they are good in prologues. Of course, we must not forget Niki comes here from the Dauphiné, so we must see how he recovered, while Marcel, who'll link up with Fabio this week and use the race as build-up for the Tour de France, had a break following his successful Giro. If everything goes well, we hope to get a stage win and have Niki play an important part in the overall classification."
Etixx-Quickstep for Ster ZLM Toer: Tom Boonen, Marcel Kittel, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Davide Martinelli, Nikolas Maes, Gianni Meersman, Niki Terpstra, Fabio Sabatini.
Primoz Roglic claims first Slovenian national title
LottoNL-Jumbo's Primoz Roglic continued his recent good run against the clock with the 26-year-old winning his first Slovenian national time trial title ahead of Lampre-Merida's Mateh Mohoric. Roglic covered the 44km course in Ljubljana 1:49 minutes ahead of Mohoric with former teammate David Per (Adria Mobil) in third at 2:02 minutes.
"I'm happy that I was able to win a time trial again. Every time that I race against the clock, I don’t know what I can expect," said Roglic who won the stage 14 Giro d'Italia time trial through the Chianti vineyards.
Roglic's debut Giro almost had the dream start with the former ski jumper finishing second to Tom Dumoulin in Apeldoorn by less than one second. While the national championships were always a season goal, Roglic explained his Giro stage win gave him greater confidence for the victory.
"I scheduled it at the beginning of this season, so it is good that I can win here," he said. "I want to specialise in time trials in the future, but for now, it is especially important for me to find out what my strengths are. If it is in time trials, then I definitely want to focus on those."
Roglic's next race is the Tour de Pologne where he will target victory in the final day time trial
"The Tour of Poland ends with a time trial, and even there, I hope to take the win," he added.