Bora-Hansgrohe have named their nine-rider team for next month's Giro d'Italia with an international flair to the squad. With world champion Peter Sagan again focusing on the Tour of California in May in his build-up to July's Tour de France, it will be up to others to represent the team in Italy.
Ireland's Sam Bennett and Italian Matteo Pelucchi are the two designated sprinters in the team and will be challenging for stage wins over the three weeks of racing. Bennett has never previously ridden the Giro while Pelucchi has two giri to his name and a second-place stage finish among his results. While there is a high quality of fast men for the 100th edition, the two will be keen to claim their first win at Grand Tour level.
Rüdiger Selig and Cesare Benedetti are likely to be important riders for the sprints, as will Czech time trial specialist Jan Barta. Portuguese national champion José Mendes will be a man for the general classification and mountains with the Austrian trio of Patrick Konrad, Gregor Muhlberger and Lukas Postlberger to complete the team.
The 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia starts May 5 in Sardinia before heading south to Sicily, then moving onto the mainland with the final stage to finish in Milan.
Bora-Hansgrohe for the Giro d'Italia: Cesare Benedetti, Patrick Konrad, Gregor Muhlberger, Lukas Postlberger, Jan Barta, Sam Bennett, José Mendes, Matteo Pelucchi and Rudi Selig
Back to school for Team Sky ahead of Tour de Yorkshire
Team Sky went back to school to announce their line-up for the Tour de Yorkshire. Staff members headed to the Martongate School in Bridlington to hand out freebies and video messages from the squad were played during the school assembly.
Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe will return to racing action at the three-day race, the first time they’ve competed since Paris-Roubaix earlier this month. Joining them will be Danny Van Poppel – a stage winner last year – and neo-pros Tao Geoghegan Hart, Jon Dibben, Christian Knees and Lukasz Wisniowski.
“I'm really looking forward to Yorkshire and racing in front of the home fans. It's not a race I've had the opportunity to do before, but I've watched it on the TV the last few years wishing I was there,” said Geoghegan Hart, who is racing on home soil for the first time in a Team Sky jersey.
Team Sky won the first ever Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 with Lars Petter Nordhaug and notched runner-up honours on GC in 2016, with Nicolas Roche finishing second behind Direct Energie’s Thomas Voeckler.
Costa goes stage hunting at the Giro d’Italia
Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) says that he plans to target stages when he makes his Giro d’Italia debut next month. Costa, who has previously won three stages at Tour de France, will line-up alongside climber Darwin Atapuma and sprinter Sacha Modolo, both potential stage winners for the squad.
"I am doubly pleased to be the first time in my career at the start of the Tour of Italy. The Giro is a fantastic race, in a beautiful country, and it is exciting to have the opportunity to run it in its own hundredth edition," said Costa.
"The Giro 100 will offer a good number of characteristics that may fit my features, I have always liked to go hunting for stages and it would be great to be able to get a few at the corsa rosa; a win would be worth a lot, since I’m going to debut.”
Since turning professional in 2009, the only Grand Tour Costa has ever ridden is the Tour de France. However, Costa has good memories of racing in Italy, having secured his world title in Florence back in 2013.
"I have never been to the Giro d’Italia for a matter of scheduling, I was confronted with the Tour de France as the Grand Tour, but during the winter I realised the idea of trying to measure myself with the corsa rosa," he said. "I spoke with the technical staff, team preparers and management and decided that it would be a good idea.
"I have not been in Italy that often during my career, but I have always been satisfied and received affection from Italian cycling fans. The memories of Florence 2013 will remain indelible in my mind, and I hope to add as many unforgettable images during the Giro d’Italia."
BMC head to Tour de Yorkshire two riders short
The BMC Racing team have announced their squad for this week’s Tour de Yorkshire, where they will line up with only six riders, two fewer than the maximum team size.
"With the busy racing schedule at this time of year and a few riders out with injury or illness, we have made the decision to take six riders to the Tour de Yorkshire start line,” said directeur sportif Jackson Steward in a statement on Wednesday.
“Although we are a couple of riders less than most teams, I believe we are still capable of getting a good result with the strong riders in our team, whether that be stage wins or going for the general classification.”
Samuel Sanchez is one of the injury-stricken riders. The experienced Spaniard was meant to compete in the three-day British race but has still not adequately recovered from a nasty crash at the Vuelta al País Vasco. Brent Bookwalter, Amaël Moinard, Joey Rosskopf, Manuel Quinziato, Floris Gerts and Miles Scotson are the six riders selected.