LottoNL-Jumbo reveals a special Tour de France jersey
The new jersey has white instead of yellow shoulders to make it easy to identify the riders in the peloton, while the lower half of the jersey remains black.
Each rider’s name will be on the shoulders of the jersey, while the numbers on the lottery balls on the front and rear are the riders’ lucky numbers. For example Steven Kruijswijk’s include number 9 in his six number balls to represent his first ever top ten in a Grand Tour in the 2011 Giro d’Italia.
The jersey also has a red, white and blue collar to represent the Dutch flag and the Dutch pride of the team as this year’s Tour de France begins in Utrecht in the Netherlands.
"We’ve been in contact with the Tour de France and the UCI from the start of the season to develop a modified design,” team manager Richard Plugge revealed during the unveiling of he new-look jersey in Utrecht on Friday.
“We’ve made the upper half of the jersey white out of respect for the yellow of the leader’s jersey. Last week, general director of the Tour, Christian Prudhomme, let us know he appreciates our efforts to ride with a new jersey and helmet in July. In the end, the benefits of this decision are twofold: we respect the Tour de France and it gives us the opportunity to provide each rider with their name and unique numbers. Which is beneficial for the team’s visibility in the peloton.”
The special Tour de France jersey is made by race clothing sponsor Santini and is on sale at the team’s official internet store.
Vanmarcke targets cobbled stage at Tour de France
Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) is training at altitude for the first time in his career as he builds up to the Tour de France, where he will target victory on the cobbled fourth stage from Seraing to Cambrai. The Belgian is currently at Sierra Nevada, where he will spend 18 days in total training at altitude before riding the Tour de Suisse.
“I had already slept in an altitude tent before but a training camp like this was proposed by the team trainer last year, and this year we decided on it,” Vanmarcke said, according to Sporza. “A training camp is quite different to a tent. I train hard in the mountains and naturally take on extra red blood cells, which will improve my stamina.”
As well as the Tour de Suisse, Vanmarcke will line up at Halle-Ingooigem and the Belgian Championships ahead of the Tour, which gets underway in Utrecht on July 4. He will also take the opportunity to reconnaissance stage 4 of the Tour on two occasions.
“I’ve already looked at the stage on paper but I haven’t reconned the route yet,” he said. “On Monday, I’ll go by car to take a look, and then after the Tour de Suisse I’ll do it on the bike with the team.”
Extreme Weather Policy gets another go at the Dauphiné
After getting an initial run-through at the Giro d’Italia, the UCI's 'extreme weather policy' will be further examined at the Critérium du Dauphiné next week.
Representatives of the UCI, riders (CPA), teams (AIGCP) and organisers (AIOCC) came together to agree upon a plan to handle modification to races in the event of extreme weather, such as what happened in last year's Giro d'Italia on the stage that passed over the Stelvio. The Giro this year was not subjected to any unusually bad weather so the policy was not enacted.
Should the Critérium du Dauphiné face extreme conditions, the protocol would require a meeting prior to the stage of all the stakeholders (organisation, riders, teams, President of the Commissaires Panel) before taking any action.
Boonen post-cycling role part of Etixx-QuickStep contract discussions
During his Giro d’Italia cameo last month Tom Boonen told Cyclingnews that he has “no ambition” to leave Etixx-QuickStep but the Belgian has yet to pen a deal with Patrick Lefevere’s squad for 2016.
Boonen is one of a number of star names at Etixx whose contracts expire at the end of this season and he is currently in negotiation to extend a relationship with the team that stretches all the way back to 2003, his second season in the professional ranks.
The principal reason for the delay in confirming a new deal, Lefevere told Cyclingnews, is the discussion of what role Boonen might occupy with the team after he retires from racing.
“The only guarantee in this world is that we die but we’re talking,” Lefevere said. “I know if I say A to you, another press takes it makes it B. It’s true that Tom and I normally only need five minutes to sit down and talk about contracts but this time it’s more about a role after his contract. I don’t think Tom wants to be a director but Mr Bakala is keen on Tom staying in the team after he retires.”
Kittel in training camp
Marcel Kittel may have had an underwhelming season so far in 2015 but the Giant-Alpecin sprinter who has taken four stage wins at the last two editions of the Tour de France appears to be approaching top form. Although unsure about starting the Tour de France next month, Kittel's teammate Koen de Kort described how the 26-year-old showed his class during power training session at the team's camp in Sierra Nevada.
"We tried every possible tactic to defeat him – face to face, from his back, with an early attack," said lead-out man de Kort. Yet, the star from Erfurt beat the likes of Degenkolb et al nine out of ten times. "He has so much talent he can go from bad to good enough in a few weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if he went to the Tour and got to win a stage," asserted De Kort with a wide smile.