Rolland unveils race programme, Boonen his lean legs - News shorts

Pierre Rolland revealed the first several races on his 2017 calendar via social media Wednesday.

The 30-year-old Frenchman, now in his second year with Cannondale-Drapac, will get his season underway with a pair of Spanish stage races: the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana followed by the Ruta del Sol.

He'll then take on Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of the Alps before making a run at the Giro d'Italia, where he finished fourth in his lone career appearance in 2014. However is more likely to target stage victories this time. 

Shortly after Rolland's first Grand Tour start of the season he'll begin working toward his second, with a visit to the Route du Sud leading into a planned start at the Tour de France. Rolland counts three top-10 finishes in the Tour on his career palmares, as well as two 11th-place results but will again target stage victories.

Despite enjoying what he describes as his "best start to a Tour de France" in 2016 with Cannondale, before crashes derailed his campaign, Rolland recently told Cyclingnews that the Tour has become formulaic, dull, and simply not enjoyable for a GC rider.

"With the Tour it has become almost mathematical," he argued, speaking at Cannondale-Drapac's recent winter training camp in Catalunya.

"You could do a power test on all the riders and you'd come out with the exact GC, pretty much. It's so bland."

"You know exactly what's going to happen beforehand," Rolland argued. "You know how a certain climb will be ridden, you know it'll pick up, then a descent, then the final climb it will just be ramped up. It lacks a bit of dynamism."

Boonen looks lean before his season debut at Vuelta a San Juan

Tom Boonen may be close to retirement but looks determined to start off the 2017 season lean and on form at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.

The Classics winner is already in South America with his Quick-Step Floors teammates and Pieter Serry revealed Boonen form via an image on Instagram after their first training ride in the southern hemisphere heat.

The Vuelta a San Juan will be held between January 23-29.  

A photo posted by on


Voeckler to ride Tropicale Amissa Bongo in final season

Thomas Voeckler has confirmed that he will include the Tropicale Amissa Bongo stage race in Africa in the final season of his long career. The Direct Energie rider has already stated that he will retire after the Tour de France in July.

The much-loved, tongue-wagging French rider will line up in the African stage race for a fourth time after also riding in 2012, 2014 and 2016. He won a stage in the race in 2012.

The Tropicale Amissa Bongo consists of seven stages across five provinces of Congo from February 27 to March 5. Pro Continental French teams Direct Energie and Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM will line up at the race alongside 10 teams from Africa.

Keisse and Kalz claim Bremen Six Day title

Belgium's Iljo Keisse and Germany's Marcel Kalz wrapped up the win at the Bremen Six Day on Tuesday evening. With 418 points, the duo proved the clear victors over German-Dutch tandem Leif Lampater and Wim Stroetinga, who finished down a lap.

Jesper Morkov of Denmark and Yoeri Havik of the Netherlands rounded out the podium, two laps down with 260 points.

Belgium's Kenny De Ketele and Germany's Christian Grasmann started the German track event as defending champions, but illness forced Grasmann to pull out of the race, with Austria's Andreas Graf stepping in as a replacement. De Ketele and Graf finished in fourth.


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