For Contador, it is one of his final appearances on the bike before he finally, truly retires. Contador has been living the life of a recently retired rider since the Vuelta a Espana, but the Spaniard still has the Japan Cup and the Shanghai Criterium next week before he can set sail into the sunset. Contador will only race in Saturday’s criterium and not in Sunday’s road race.
The Japan Cup has a different feel for Porte as he returns to racing after dramatically crashing out of the Tour de France in July. The race is his one and only event in the second half of the season and will mark the beginning of his preparation for the forthcoming season.
Also racing at the Japan Cup this weekend are last year’s winner Davide Villella and his teammate Davide Formolo, Alexey Vermulen (LottoNL-Jumbo), and home rider Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek-Segafredo), plus many more.
Team Sunweb confirm rosters for men's, women's and development teams
Sunweb confirmed the 2018 line-ups for their elite men's and women's squads as well as their development team on Friday, while announcing one last addition to the latter in Taiwan's Sergio Tu.
After a busy offseason last year that saw the team move on from John Degenkolb but sign Michel Matthews and Wilco Kelderman, among other names, it's been a somewhat quieter transfer season for Sunweb's WorldTour men's squad this time around, at least in terms of acquisitions. Warren Barguil, who claimed two stages, the mountains jersey and 10th overall in July's Tour de France, looks to be the biggest name cutting ties with the team. Edward Theuns, who finished out his Trek-Segafredo career with a victory in the final stage of the Tour of Turkey, is the marquee name set to join the team next year.
On the women's side, a pair of promising youngsters were the headline signings of this transfer season. American Ruth Winder and Dane Pernille Mathiesen are both set to join Sunweb in 2018.
"We're happy to finalise our 2018 roster and are already looking forward to the year ahead," said Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kamna. "With the new signings to the team we can make another step in our growth, alongside laying the foundations for the future with the addition of some huge talents. Talent development remains to be one of the core pillars of our elite sport approach. The focus this winter will be to make a smart, multi-year plan for each individual rider and offer them the scientific support structure to grow. It is a demanding approach and requires a lot of dedication and interaction between riders, movement scientists, coaches and scientific experts, in order for us to be able to optimise the ingredients for success across training, nutrition, data and equipment. After one of our most successful seasons to date, we're motivated to continue this momentum into the 2018 racing season."
Team Sunweb for 2018: Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Phil Bauhaus, Roy Curvers, Laurens ten Dam, Tom Dumoulin, Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, Chad Haga, Chris Hamilton, Jai Hindley, Lennard Hofstede, Wilco Kelderman, Lennard Kämna, Michael Matthews, Sam Oomen, Tom Stamsnijder, Michael Storer, Mike Teunissen, Edward Theuns, Albert Timmer, Martijn Tusveld, Louis Vervaeke, Max Walscheid
Team Sunweb Women for 2018: Lucinda Brand, Ellen van Dijk, Leah Kirchmann, Juliette Labous, Liane Lippert, Floortje Mackaij, Pernille Mathiesen, Coryn Rivera, Julia Soek, Ruth Winder
Sunweb Development Team for 2018: Nils Eekhoff, Felix Gall, Leon Heinschke, Marc Hirschi, Max Kanter, Jarno Mobach, Niklas Märkl, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Martin Salmon, Florian Stork, Sergio Tu, Jens Vanoverberghe
Astana extend Fominykh
Astana announced an extension with Daniil Fominykh on Friday that will see the 26-year-old Kazakh ride on for a fifth season with the squad.
Fominykh, a former national champion in the time trial, spent much of the 2017 campaign building back to form after a serious crash derailed his prior season.
According to Astana general manager Alexander Vinokourov, Fominykh showed enough of his ability during that process to earn another year with the team.
"The last season was quite difficult for Daniil because of his injury and five months out of racing," Vinokourov said via a team release. "So, in 2017 the main goal for him was to come back in a good rhythm, to continue working for 100% and to come back on the way of his progress in cycling. Fominykh is still young, and he has a good potential both in individual and team time trial races. This is the reason, we decided to provide the rider another chance to show himself in the upcoming season."
Broeckx continuing to recover
While a return to the peloton remains an unknown, Stig Broeckx continues to work his way back from the 2016 crash that left him in a coma for months.
The Belgian fell in a massive pileup caused by the collision of two race motorbikes at the Baloise Belgium Tour last year riding for Lotto Soudal. Broeckx only emerged from the ensuing coma after several months, but as of May, the 27-year-old was able to pedal a stationary bike.
Team doctor Servaas Bingé told Belgian Radio 1 Friday that Broeckx is continuing to recover, and recently attended Lotto Soudal's team day.
Bingé said Broeckx told him he is 'happy' and also shared an anecdote from Broeckx's father that during the Belgian's rehabilitation he had been resetting a clock to zero to repeatedly extend what were meant to be half-hour recovery sessions.
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