Giant-Alpecin have announced a two-year extension with Simon Geschke that ensures the German is contracted until the end of 2018. Geschke, who won stage 17 of last year's Tour de France, is currently recovering from surgery to remove a collarbone plate.
"I am very pleased to be able to renew my contract because I feel good in this team. They have a lot of confidence in me and they know my strengths. We’ve made progress in my development over the last few years, and I look forward to improving further," said Geschke who is in his eighth season with the team.
The 30-year-old will focus on hilly classics and stages in the three grand tours while offering his experience and advice to the younger members of the squad.
"We are delighted to continue working with Simon for the next two years," said coach Rudi Kemna. "Team Giant-Alpecin recently expanded its focus from being a pure sprinters’ team to being competitive in the classics and even the Grand Tours. While we won’t forget our roots and will continue to target sprints, we will also increasingly give importance to hilly races that are suited for puncheurs. Simon is one of the riders who is good on that type of terrain as he can play a key role in helping the team to achieve its goals in those hilly races. The team also aims to strengthen itself in this area.
"Simon is part of the core of the team, and his experience is crucial to a lot of our younger riders. He has a very positive attitude and tries to seize the opportunities he gets to have an impact in races. He’s loyal to the team and we are happy that we can continue to move forward with him."
Simon Geschke celebrates his first Tour de France stage win in Pra Loup (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Stölting Service Group for Velothon Wales and Tour of Norway
German Pro-Continental team Stölting Service Group have announced its rosters for the 2.HC Tour of Norway and one-day 1.1 Velothon Wales. Former Tour de France stage winner Linus Gerdemann will captain the team on its first visit to Norway and will be given freedom to pursue his own goals if the opportunity arises. Meanwhile 2014 Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek provides the team an option for the sprint stages.
"We have a strong team here in Norway so I think that we can have a good race and take our opportunities as they come," said sports director Jochen Hahn. "We're coming into the race without a designated single captain – everyone will have their opportunities and we will try for stage results and then see how the race for GC develops."
Stölting Service Group will look to Lennard Kämna on the hilly stages with Fabian Wegmann for the punchy finishes. Rasmus Quaade and Mads Pedersen round out the squad for the race which gets underway May 18 with a 1734.1km stage from Drammen to Langesund that is expected to suit the sprinters.
"The race situations here depend quite a bit on the weather conditions," Hahn added. "The key stage would normally be stage two with the race's main climb, but before there has been a headwind on the descent and the race has come back together. We will see how the racing goes and take it day by day."
For the second edition of the Velothon Wales, which features The Tumble climb, Stölting Service Group send a young group of riders with Romain Lemarchand the eldest at 28.
We're looking forward to racing in Wales. The narrow roads and sharp climbs made for a good race last year, and we hope for more of the same this time," said sports director André Steensen. "We come with a varied line-up that has several cards to play and want to use our form for a good result."
Stölting Service Group for Tour of Norway: Gerald Ciolek, Linus Gerdemann, Lennard Kämna, Mads Pedersen, Rasmus Quaade and Fabian Wegmann.
Stölting Service Group for Velothon Wales: Michael Carbel, Rasmus Guldhammer, Alexander Kamp, Romain Lemarchand, Christian Mager and Lasse Norman Hansen.
Mads Pedersen will return to action at the Tour of Norway with Stölting Service Group
Zardini back on the bike following GP Lugano crash
Edoardo Zardini has been given the all clear to get back on his bike, three months after the Bardiani-CSF rider fractured four vertebrae when he crashed during the GP Luguno. The Italian is unable to train as he explained but can resume riding his bike in the meantime.
"It's the end of the tunnel. Mentally, it was not easy. Having the chance to pedal on a bike it's a great joy," he said. "I can't train hard again. Until the end of May the priority are gym sessions and physical therapy. From June, I'll be able to start a new preparation. Then, together with team directors, we’ll plan when returning to race."
The 26-year-old added since the Giro d'Italia started earlier this month, he has been cheering on his teammates from home.
"Well, riding a great Giro was my seasonal goal. I want to wish all the best to my teammates, I'm confident they can reach great satisfactions," he said.
The team also announced that first year neo-pro Simone Velasco is continuing to recover from mononucleosis but could make his debut in June.