Trek-Segafredo announce Tour de Suisse squad
While Trek-Segafredo is splitting its Tour de France team between Tour de Suisse and the Criterium du Dauphine, Bauke Mollema misses both races as he recovers from the Giro d'Italia in preparation for the French Grand Tour.
Colombian Jarlinson Pantano is the team's GC rider at Tour de Suisse, one year after winning the final stage and finishing fourth overall in 2016. Pantano hasn't raced since the Tour de Romandie and will be hoping to better his result from the Swiss race where he was 29th overall. Fabio Felline, who is likely to target the two time trials at the race, will provide Pantano with help in the mountains in a climber light squad.
With Pantano looking to shine in the mountains, John Degenkolb is targeting the flat sprint stages where he will come up against the likes of Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews. The German fast man can count on Boy van Poppel, Gregory Rast, Kiel Reijnen, Matthias Brandle and lead out man Koen de Kort in almost full sprint train. Felline can also be counted on to assist Degenkolb in his quest for stage wins. Degenkolb will be aiming for a confidence boosting stage win ahead of the Tour de France where he is targeting a win.
Brandle will also be targeting the time trials after his stage win against the clock at the Baloise Belgium Tour.
The team enjoyed stage 1 time trial success last year with the now retired Fabian Cancellara and will be hoping for a repeat victory come Sunday in the 6km Cham TT.
Konig a Dauphine DNF, top-10 for Ackermann
Making his first racing appearance since recording a DNF in January's Trofeo Andratx-Mirador des Colomer, Leopold König lasted just 50km into stage 3 of the Criterium du Dauphine before abandoning the race.
The 29-year-old was making his comeback from an ongoing knee injury and despite an early end to his race, his http://www.cyclingnews.com/teams/2017/bora-hansgrohe team is confident he is on track for the Vuelta a Espana in late August.
"We already knew that it will be hard to come back after 9 month without racing here in the Daupiné," said Jan-Niklas Droste of the team's medical department. "A lot of top guys are here for their final preparations before the Tour, the level is according to that very high. Leo had his first two good race days here, but now it's better for him to not over pace, therefore we decided to pull out of the race. But he will progress with his preparations for the Vuelta according to plan."
While the team lost König, 23-year-old neo-pro Pascal Ackermann recorded his second top-ten result of the race as he sprinted to third place in the bunch kick behind the stage-winning breakaway. Fifth at Scheldeprijs, Ackermann's result ensure it was the first time this season he notched consecutive top-ten results.
"It's a pity we didn’t catch the break. But our lead-out was timed really well and the boys did an excellent job to put me in the wheel of Demare on the last 500m," Ackermann said. "From there I launched my sprint. I was fast but couldn’t overtake Demare and Coquard, third from the bunch was the best I could do today."
Backaert content with third on stage 3 of the Dauphine
Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Frederik Backaert made three attempts to enter the stage 3 breakaway of the Criterium du Dauphine before the move stuck. The 27-year-old and his companions worked well together across the stage but the Belgian wasn;t sure the move would stick all the way to the line. Aided by a lack of co-operation between the sprinters' teams, the breakaway stayed away to the line.
"I had to try three times before the break was established. The cooperation was good and we were able to gain an advantage of six minutes," Backaert said. "Only FDJ was chasing and our DS Sébastien Demarbaix told me it was possible to go for victory. When our advantage dropped to 2:45 on the last climb I thought we were gonna be caught. But we kept on working hard and with only 2 kilometres to go I realised we were going for victory!"
With the six-man break knowing the winner would be decided between themselves, Backaert explained he thought of making an attack but decided to sit on and try his luck in the sprint, eventually finishing in third place.
"I doubted a moment to surprise everyone with a late attack. But I could have been 6th in that case… So I waited for the sprint which I did quite good," said Backaert, who was second at Tro Bro Leon earlier in the year. "I couldn't have done better. I am happy with this result. We shall see if I can go for victory again, but I think the sprinter teams won't commit a fault like this twice."
Mitchelton-Scott head to the Baby Giro
Chinese Australian Continental development team Mitchelton-Scott has named its team for its debut appearance at the Giro Ciclistico d'Italia, also known as the 'Baby Giro'. The Baby Giro was last held in 2012 with American Jos Dombro beating Fabio Aru to the overall title. The 2017 edition of the race starts June 9 in Imola and concludes June 15 with a stage from Francavilla al Mare to Campo Imperatore.
The all-Australian line up features two 18year-old's in Robert Stannard and Harry Sweeny, two 20-year-old's in Sam Jenner and Michael Storer and completed by two 21-year-old's Lucas Hamilton and Jai Hindley.
"It's perfect timing to start our journey as Mitchelton-Scott so we can tackle one of our biggest goals of the season with the team focused and collectively targeting some solid results," said sports director James Victor. "Straight off the back of highly successful Australian and Oceania summer campaign we have seen these riders achieve one-day race wins, tour stage wins, team time trial victories and a Tour of Toscana podium sweep for the Australian under-23 team."
"This young team, with an average age of 19, continues to shine across Europe and head into the Giro Ciclistico d'Italia with impressive results under their belts and justifiably high ambitions."
Hamilton and Hindley have both enjoyed a successful early-season of Italian results and the GC duo are aiming to continue their form.
"It has been a really good start to the year for the team, with everyone showing signs of strong form. We now start racing for Mitchelton-Scott and the first race is the Baby Giro. This will be one of our biggest races of the year," said Hamilton. "We are all looking forward to the race and I think we can go there with high ambitions. The Giro has a really decisive last day with a long climb so that will be important for the GC, but the other stages also really suit our characteristics so we are eager to rip into it."
"I think the 'Baby Giro' will be the perfect race to showcase the team here in Europe. All the guys are in great form so we will definitely be riding for a good result on the general classification," said Hindley
Scott Davis became the first Australian to finish on the podium when he placed third in 2002. Matthew Lloyd matched his result in 2006.
Mitchelton-Scott for the Baby Giro: Lucas Hamilton, Jai Hindley, Sam Jenner, Robert Stannard, Michael Storer and Harry Sweeny.