BMC heads to France for Haut Var and Tour La Provence
At Haut-Var, Tom Bohli, Floris Gerts and Miles Scotson will ride alongside the likes of the veteran Francisco Ventoso, Damiano Caruso and Brent Bookwalter. Silvan Dillier and Joey Rosskopf complete the line-up as the team go stage hunting in the Var department of France.
Rohan Dennis, Amaël Moinard and Danilo Wyss swap in for Gerts, Ventoso and Scotson for the second edition of the Tour Cycliste International La Provence. It will be Dennis' first ride since his racing in Australia last month.
Yvon Ledanois will be in the team car for both races. "We are not heading into these races with a particular team leader. Instead, we will look out for any opportunities that present themselves to us to go for stage victories," he said.
"We are still early in the season, and the number one goal will be to help our riders continue their preparation, so they are ready to race at the highest level at the UCI World Tour races which lie ahead. I think we will have a good dynamic with both teams and I trust that every rider will give their best to achieve results."
BMC Racing for the Tour du Haut Var (February 18-19): Tom Bohli, Brent Bookwalter, Damiano Caruso, Silvan Dillier, Floris Gerts, Joey Rosskopf, Miles Scotson, Fran Ventoso.
BMC Racing for the Tour Cycliste International La Provence (February 21-23): Tom Bohli, Brent Bookwalter, Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Silvan Dillier, Amaël Moinard, Joey Rosskopf, Danilo Wyss.
Kudus hoping to continue good run in Oman
He finished ninth overall but was the only rider to come close to eventual winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) following his stinging attack on Mas de la Costa. Kudus has his eyes set on the only summit finish in Oman, Green Mountain. The Eritrean finished sixth on the climb last year and said that he has done some specific training for the ascent.
"The preparation for Oman has gone really well. I have worked well with my coach over the last few months, and we have worked on my 30-minute power because the Green Mountain takes around 27 minutes," he explained. "So, I really tried to improve for that and also, I did the stage last year, so I know what a good time is. Last year's result has already given me good motivation to do well this week. We also have a good team here with a nice mix of climbers and sprinters, so I hope we get some good results here."
Backing up Kudus will be Nathan Haas and Kristian Sbaragli, who will both be looking for stage wins.
Dimension Data for the Tour of Oman: Merhawi Kudus, Nathan Haas, Kristian Sbaragli, Lachlan Morton, Mekseb Debesay, Jay Thomson, Tyler Farrar and Youcef Reguigui.
Izagirre headlines Bahrain-Merida for Ruta del Sol
Ion Izagirre will headline the Bahrain-Merida team as they head to the Ruta del Sol this week. It will be Izagirre’s first appearance at the five-day race since 2014 when he finished fourth overall, while also riding in support of race winner Alejandro Valverde.
The Spaniard, who was a surprise late signing for the squad last year, began his season at the weekend with sixth at the Vuelta a Murcia. Joining Izagirre on the team will be local rider Javier Moreno, Ondrej Cink, Yukiya Arashiro, Ivan Garcia Cortina, Antonio Nibali and Domen Novak.
"We are looking forward to Vuelta Andalusia, the homeland of Javier Moreno who is very motivated and wants to share all his experience and motivation with his teammates," said directeur sportif Harald Morsher. "I'm also glad that we are improving day by day and I see that the Andalusia time trial race will also be a huge motivation for our riders as Ion Izagirre is the Spanish time trial champion in 2016."
Bahrain-Merida for Ruta del Sol: Ion Izagirre, Javier Moreno, Ondrej Cink, Yukiya Arashiro, Ivan Garcia Cortina, Antonio Nibali and Domen Novak.
Sunweb aiming for aggressive Ruta del Sol
Team Sunweb say they will employ an aggressive approach to the Ruta del Sol this week, looking in particular towards the mountains. Their climber-heavy line-up includes Warren Barguil, Chad Haga and Laurens ten Dam.
Experienced heads Georg Preidler and Johannes Frohlinger are also in the seven-man line-up along with Sam Oomen and Sindre Skjøstad Lunke.
"For the riders lining up at Andalucia, this is their first race of the year, and it will be a good reality check to see where their legs are going into the new season," said team DS Aike Visbeek.
"We have had some good training camps and TT-specific tests through the winter, which gives us confidence going into the race. In Spain, we will have a team with quite some climbing skills, and we will aim to get some good stage results. Our strategy will be an offensive one, with a special focus on the TT stage, where we will implement all we have learned over the recent months."
Team Sunweb for the Ruta del Sol: Warren Barguil, Chad Haga, Laurens ten Dam, Georg Preidler, Johannes Frohlinger, Sam Oomen and Sindre Skjøstad Lunke.