Hodeg leads Quick-Step Floors at Tour de Pologne - News shorts

Alvaro Hodeg will be the top sprinter for Quick-Step Floors at the Tour de Pologne as the team hunts stage victories during the opening three days of the seven-day race.

There is a good chance that Quick-Step Floors will reach beyond their current 51 season victories with Hodeg and his lead-out team 2016 Tour de Pologne stage winner Davide Martinelli, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini. The first three days are for the sprinters before the race heads into the mountains where Quick-Step will target wins and the overall ranking with Laurens De Plus, Eros Capecchi and Dries Devenyns.

"Always a well-organised race, the Tour de Pologne is the first big and important appointment for many of the riders after the summer break, so motivation won't be a problem," said sports director Rik van Slycke.

"The rolling parcours, with many steep climbs, is a selective one and the weather could also be a factor during the week, like it was the case on many of the previous editions, but we are prepared to play a role there, be it in sprints, breakaways or uphill finishes."

Quick-Step Floors roster for Tour de Pologne: Eros Capecchi, Laurens De Plus, Dries Devenyns, Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui, Davide Martinelli, Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini.

Aru looks for 'significant results' in Poland

Fabio Aru will line-up at the Tour de Pologne as UAE Team Emirates' best chance of winning the seven-day race held from August 4-10.

The Italian abandoned his targeted Giro d'Italia in May, later admitting that he spent too much time training at altitude, and subsequent tests pointed to him suffering from gluten and dairy intolerance. He then announced that he would not compete at the Italian Championships or the Tour de France, in hopes of gaining form for the later races in the season such as the Vuelta a España, Italian Classics and Worlds.

He recently raced at the Tour de Wallonie where he was 10th overall and says he is looking to gain "significant results" in the climbing stages at the Tour de Pologne.

"I will arrive in Poland after having regained a good racing rhythm in the Tour de Wallonie. The route for the Tour de Pologne is well suited to my skills and could help me find an even better pedal stroke," Aru said in a press release.

"There are four climbing fractions; it would be nice for the team and for me to manage to obtain some significant results.

Aru will line up with teammates Sven Erik Bystrøm, Simone Consonni, Valerio Conti, Rui Costa, Polish climber Przemyslaw Niemiec and Edward Ravasi.

"The team line-up features some excellent climbers, so we can aim for some satisfying achievements. This is also an important event in consideration of the Vuelta; it is a crucial step in preparing for the Spanish race."

UAE Team Emirates roster for Tour de Pologne: Fabio Aru, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Simone Consonni, Valerio Conti, Rui Costa, Przemyslaw Niemiec, and Edward Ravasi.

De Kort and Irizar renew with Trek-Segafredo

Trek-Segafredo announced Friday that Markel Irizar and Koen de Kort have extended their contracts.

Irizar, 38, and De Kort, 35 are two experienced riders and next year will be their 16th and 15th seasons, respectively. Both are experienced road captains and complete riders who can lead their teammates and leaders safely through all kind of terrains, from the classics to bunch sprints to stage races," said the team's press release.

Koen de Kort, who joined Trek-Segafredo in 2017 said he's felt comfortable with the team from the beginning. "I feel extremely well supported here, everybody gives it their all to let the riders perform at their maximum. At Trek-Segafredo I have found a very motivating and stimulating environment where I can do what I can do best. I was very pleased that the team felt the same way about me, so we came to very easily and quickly to an agreement for two more years, that was really nice.”

Irizar has been with the same program for what now will be 10 seasons, beginning in 2010 when it was under the RadioShack brand, and said he is happy to return for 2019. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to stay with the team for one more year.

"The 2019 season will be the 10th season in this team and on Trek Bikes so I can say that this is 'my team'. I would like to thank the sponsors and the management of the team for the confidence that they have had over these years. I feel the young guns are pushing really hard and I am super motivated to share my experience with them and to support them as much as I can our young guys and try to help them with our experience."

AG2R La Mondiale announce teams for Tour de Pologne and San Sebastian

AG2R La Mondiale have announced their teams for the seven-day Tour de Pologne and one-day Clasica San Sebastian.

Tony Gallopin will lead the team at San Sebastian after the Frenchman won the race in 2013 and has finished in the top-five on four occasions. He will have support in his bid for victory from teammates Mattéo Montaguti, Pierre Latour, Mathias Frank, Alexandre Geniez, François Bidard and Hubert Dupont.

"After I had to abandon the Tour de France, I rested a bit at home before quickly returning to training," Gallopin said. "I am happy to get back to racing at the Clasica San Sebastian, a race that I like and that has proved successful for me in the past. The circuit is difficult but I think the puncheurs can compete with the climbers. That has been evident in the results the last two years certainly. Usually, I have been able to get out of the Tour in good shape, which allowed me to perform well a week later. Admittedly, I do not know what my feelings will be this time. But I remain confident and I want to have fun.”

At the Tour de Pologne, the team will field Mikael Cherel, Jan Bakelants, Ben Gastauer, Celement Venturini, Silvan Dillier, Clement Chevrier and Nans Peters.

"After going a month and a half without having raced, the Tour de Pologne marks the beginning of my second half of the season," said Gastauer. "I have participated in this event only once back in 2011, and I have good memories from that race. I think it's an ideal, well balanced course. It’s the perfect place to regain the pace of competition ahead of my goals for the second part of the season, especially the Vuelta a España."

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