Van Avermaet in action at Primus Classic-Impanis Van Petegem
Greg Van Avermaet returns to racing on European soil this week with the Olympic champion to be feted at the 1.HC Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem. The BMC rider won the race on his only appearance, back in 2014, and will be aiming to back up his second place at GP de Quebec and GP de Montreal victory.
"It's always nice to race in Belgium with the crowds and after my win at the Olympic Games I think it will be extra special. I've won the race before and I'd like to continue my good form and good results this weekend at Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem," Van Avermaet said.
With a strong team in support of Van Avermaet, director sportif Valerio Piva added he aiming for the top step of the podium.
"We're going to Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem with a strong leader in Greg Van Avermaet who will line up after his win in Montreal last Sunday. Greg won this race two years ago and will be motivated to win again as it's his first time racing on home soil since the Olympic Games. We have a solid team in support of Greg and we'll be looking to race aggressively," said Piva
BMC Racing for Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Floris Gerts (Ned), Michael Schär (Sui), Greg Van Avermaet (Bel), Peter Velits (Svk) and Taylor Eisenhart (USA).
First foreign team for Guillaume Levarlet with Frenchman joining Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Frenchman Guillaume Levarlet has been announced as Wanty-Groupe Gobert's latest signing for the 2017 season with the 31-year-old moving back to the Pro-Continental ranks after two seasons with HP BTP - Auber93. Levarlet turned professional with La Française des Jeux in 2008, moving onto Saur - Sojasun after three seasons then spent time with Cofidis.
"I'm so happy with this opportunity. Now I'm sure that I can still focus everything on cycling. I absolutely wanted to take part in the big races again," Levarlet said.
While the opportunity to take part in races such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège was an attraction for Levarlet, he is also looking forward to working as a domestique and helping the younger riders on the team.
"I know my place in the professional peloton. I am not a team captain. I'm better as a teammate. Guillaume Martin is a talented rider. I'm looking forward to helping him in the mountain races such as Paris-Nice or the Critérium du Dauphiné," he added.
Wesley Kreder (Roompot-Oranje Peloton), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Etixx-QuickStep) and Xandro Meurisse (Crelan - Vastgoedservice) have previously been announced as Wanty-Groupe Gobert's signings for the 2017 season
FDJ extend with Reichenbach
Following a promising debut season with FDJ in which he finished 14th overall at the Tour de France, Sébastien Reichenbach has secured a two-year extension with the French team. The Swiss rider was regarded as the best signing of the season for FDJ by team manager Marc Madiot as he helped Thibaut Pinot to several top-ten GC results in the early season and also managed to finish fourth overall at Tirreno-Adriatico.
The 27-year-old rode for IAM Cycling for three seasons prior to joining FDJ on a one-year deal and with the announcement of his contract extension, he tweeted "Stabilité Confiance Evolution" as the primary reasons for remaining with the team.
One-year Direct Energie extension for Canadian Duchesne
Antoine Duchesne's best season yet in the professional peloton has been rewarded by his French Pro-Continental team Direct Energie who have extended the 25-year-old contract to the end of 2017. Duchesne told Pedalmag.com that with sponsorship of the team only secure to the end of next season, he was only offered a one-year deal.
"It's only one year because the team hasn't renewed their contract with (sponsor) Direct Energie yet for 2018. So next year will be another big year for me in proving again what I can do. I think I’ll start the season with a very different approach after everything that had happened this year," he said of the deal.
Duchesne had a breakthrough Paris-Nice, winning the king of the mountains classification, and was selected for his first Tour de France. A call up to the Olympic Games followed and despite recording a DNF, he carried his from into the Tour of Alberta where he finished eighth overall.
American Continental team Elevate Pro Cycling p/b Bicycle World to merge with KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Race Team
The Elevate Pro Cycling p/b Bicycle World and KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Race Team will meld into one team from 2017 and focus on success in North America with the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour its primary focus.
"By working with Paul Abrahams and everyone at KHS, I see our team being a driving-force at races throughout the 2017 season,"says Elevate Pro Cycling owner John McAllister.
KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo owner Abrahams echoed McAllister's statement, adding that "From the outset, our program has been dedicated to becoming the best team in America. By partnering with John and everyone at Elevate, I see an accelerated path to achieving this goal."
The announcement comes in the same week at the fellow Continental outfit Lupus announced it won't be returning in 2017 and Astellas Cycling Team revealed it is on the look out for a new naming rights sponsor.