Team Sky announce Tour de Suisse squad, Modolo wins GP du canton d'Argovie - News Shorts

First race of 2017 for Astana's Angel Lopez, Bouwman moves into Dauphine KOM lead

Team Sky announce Tour de Suisse squad 

Team Sky have announced a versatile squad for the 2017 Tour de Suisse, with riders capable of challenging for both stages and the overall title.

Having ridden the last two editions of the Tour de Suisse, Geraint Thomas misses the race as he continues his recovery from the Giro d'Italia and preparation for the Tour de France in support of Chris Froome. Colombian national champion Sergio Luis Henao is also missing from the squad with the Paris-Nice winner a possible starter at the Route de Sud next week.

From Sky's Giro squad, Philip Deignan provides options for the mountains alongside Colombian Sebastian Henao and Spaniard Mikel Nieve. Neo-pro Tao Geoghegan Hart also provides an options for the hillier days after helping Team Sky claim the inaugural Hammer Series title.

Jon Dibben and Owain Doull will be aiming to impress in the two-time trials with Dibben fresh from taking out the Tour of California time trial. Both riders are first-year professionals and will also be used as domestiques for the mountains days and in the sprint train for Danny van Poppel.

Van Poppel is likely to feature at the pointy end of stage 1 time trial results before focusing on the sprint stages. Italian Salvatore Puccio completed the squad and provides more muscle for the lead out train.

The Tour de Suisse takes place June 10-18 starting with the 6km time trial in Cham and concluding with a 28.6km time trial in Schaffhausen.

Team Sky for the Tour de Suisse: Philip Deignan, Jon Dibben, Owain Doull, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Sebastian Henao, Mikel Nieve, Salvatore Puccio and Danny van Poppel.

First racing appearance of 2017 for Miguel Angel Lopez ahead of Tour de Suisse defence

Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez made his long awaited racing debut in 2017, lining out at the GP du Canton d'Argovie where he was 60th and 27 seconds down on winner Sacha Modolo.
 
The one-day race was an important test ahead of his Tour de Suisse defence where he will lead the Astana team. The 23-year-old's season has been interrupted by a training ride crash last November when he broke his tibia.

Crashing out of the Vuelta a España last year, Lopez made a winning return to racing as he took out Milano-Torino which proved to be the last race he finished in 2016. 

Astana went in the sprinters' 1.HC race supporting Oscar Gatto with Matti Breschel a back-up option. Sports director Dmitri Sedoun explained he would have preferred more from the race but considering the team aim this week is the Tour de Suisse, he was pleased with the outcome.

"First of all, it was like a warm-up race before the Tour de Suisse, and I can say our team did it pretty well," Sedoun said. "We wanted to help Oscar Gatto to get a good result, and also Matti Breschel was ready for something more. But, honestly, the circuit was not hard enough to make the difference. Sprinter's teams controlled the situation and there was not any relief to get some space in attack."

In 2017, Astana has won just one race so far via Michele Scarponi who was tragically killed in a training accident just days after winning at the Tout of Alps. The team will be hoping its squad can bag a win at Tour de Suisse via Lopez in the mountains or the sprint stages with Gatto.

Astana for the Tour de Suisse: Miguel Angel Lopez,Dmitriy Gruzdev, Matti Breschel, Pello Bilbao, Jesper Hansen, Oscar Gatto, Arman Kamyshev and Daniil Fominykh.

Koen Bouwman moves into Critérium du Dauphiné KOM lead

Dutchman Koen Bouwman moved into the outright lead of the Criterium du Dauphine's king of the mountains classification after a day in the stage 5 breakaway. The 23-year-old added 10 points to his haul to replace current race leader Thomas De Gendt as the KOM leader for his first WordTour classification leader's jersey.

"Koen has the mountain jersey now,"s ports director Grischa Niermann explained. "He started very strongly by gathering points on the first col of the day. After that he was involved in every attempt to attack, but Lotto-Soudal would not let him go. In the end, he broke away again. And he said it was not his best day! Now, he is firmly in the lead.

The KOM classification is set to be decided in the following three stages with the races heading into the French Alps.

"That climb is really steep: 8.5 kilometres with an average over 10 per cent," Niermann said. "We will also see it again in the Tour de France. I expect a battle between the GC riders. Hopefully, Stef can ride along with the favourites there."

Modolo wins GP du canton d'Argovie 

Sacha Modolo bounced back from missing out on a win at the Giro d'Italia to claim victory in the 1.HC GP du canton d'Argovie. The UAE Team Emirates rider abandoned the Giro on stage 17 but proved to have the fastest legs, getting the better of John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) in the sprint finish.

The win was Modolo's third of the year following on from two stages at the Tour of Croatia.

"I welcome with huge pleasure this victory, because it comes in a key moment for me. After I left the Giro d’Italia in the final week, my morale was not good, nevertheless I kept on training hard and today, my first day of race after the Giro, I had good feelings and I succeeded in sprinting for the victory," said Modolo. "My team was perfect, Mohoric was in the main breakaway of the race and this allowed us to pedal in the bunch, saving energies in view of the sprint.

"I was just behind Albasini and at -200 mt I decided to start my sprint, I was not sure that no one could overtaking me, however I was pretty fast and I achieved the best result."

With the win in his pocket, Modolo explained he will start the Tour de Suisse full of confidence, ready to add to his 2014 stage win at the race.

"I'm happy and more confident in view of the stages for sprinters which are scheduled in the Tour de Suisse," he said.

 

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