Tinkoff's Maciej Bodnar rides to fourth Polish national time trial title
Maciej Bodnar won his first Polish time trial title since 2013 and fourth career red and white jersey, 28 seconds ahead of ONE Procycling's Marcin Bialoblocki in Swidnica. The Tinkoff rider, who fractured his jaw in a pre-Tour of Flanders training ride in April before making his comeback at the Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg then riding the Tour de Suisse, covered the 52km course in 1:07:28.
"I'm so happy - it was a difficult period for me after the crash, so today's win is very special," said Bodnar, who was able to fine tune his capabilities against the clock in the Luxembourg prologue and two time trials in Switzerland. "I was calm with the team before the race and had my family and girlfriend here too, which was really nice. Everything went really well, we never lost concentration, even when I was 30 seconds down at the first check. Also as its Olympic year the win gives me a big chance to race there for Poland.
"I came here from the Tour de Suisse, which was a really hard race with tough conditions, but I recovered well. Today was 53km and over 30 degrees so it was tough but the numbers were good. Last year I came back after a crash to win at the Tour of Poland, and I've come back again to win here."
With Rafal Majka and Pawel Poljanski as teammates for Sunday's road race, Bodnar explained he is confident Tinkoff can do the double.
"We have a really strong team - the parcours is difficult, but I feel good and we have Rafal and Pawel who are going well. I think we are in a good position to make the race but it is always difficult against the Polish teams with up to 15 riders so we will have to be clever."
Tsgabu Grmay to make history at the Tour de France
On July 2, Tsgabu Grmay will make history as the first Ethiopian to race the Tour de France when he lines up with Lampre-Merida. The 24-year-old made his grand tour at last year's Giro d'Italia and also rode the Vuelta a Espana.
"The participation in the Tour de France it's my long time dream. Thanks to God now I am going to do it!," Grmay said in a release from his team, adding that he first saw the Tour in 2007. "I was so excited to see such cycling champions battling on the great climbs.
"I am so so so happy. I still I can't believe that I am going to do the Tour! As I said, the Grande Boucle is my long time dream," he said. "It was very long way coming from Ethiopia to race the Tour de France: few years ago, when you were thinking about coming from Ethiopia and participating in the Tour de France, it was something impossible for me and for all Ethiopian people. But now this thing is going to change... I am going to show that is possible and I am really really happy and proud."
Having turned professional with the MTN-Qhubeka team, Grmay thanked his former team and current team manager, Brent Copeland, for the opportunity to make history.
"In chronological order, I thank the persons who supported me in my career: Jean-Pierre Van Zyl (JP), who found me in Ethiopia and giving me a lot of opportunity and teach me a lot of things which were important for becoming a cyclist," he said. "The World Cycling Centre from the UCI and then Team MTN QHUBEKA and Douglas Ryder and also my agent Robbie Hunter and my trainer Michele Bartoli, who were great cycling champions and now are helping me a lot.
"It’s also very important for me to thank my team, Lampre-Merida, and the team’s sponsors for giving me this opportunity and for all things what the team have done for me for the last two years, with a special thanks to Brent Copeland, who believes in my talent and he gives me a chance to be a good rider and to change my life too!"
Grmay added that he hopes to inspire fellow Ethiopians and make his mark on the race.
"I believe it's big thing for the Ethiopian cycling. Every cyclist from Ethiopia now will start cycling thinking it's possible to achieve big goals and maybe also participating in the Tour de France," he said. "This means that they’ll cycle with one of the biggest power inside them for achieving their goals, big or small doesn’t matter, it’s important that they’ll do their best and enjoy cycling. I am so happy and lucky to inspire the new generations by this way.
"In this Tour de France, I will fight from all my heart and I really want to make a good result for myself and for my team. So I will see what I will be able do in this Tour and at the end of the Tour I will be grateful with what I have got."
Click here to see the full Lampre-Merida team for the Tour de France.
Filippo Ganna wins Italian U23 title
World individual pursuit champion Filippo Ganna has added the Italian U23 national championships to his growing palmares, winning the tricoloure five seconds ahead of Giovanni Carboni (Unieuro Wilier). Ganna has also won the Paris–Roubaix Espoirs and GP Laguna this season
The 19-year-old currently rides for Team Colpack and will join Lampre-Merida next season, having ridden as a stagiare with the Italian team last year.
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