Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) laid out his spring racing plan on Twitter Sunday. The 28-year-old, returning to the organisation that saw him take a breakthrough Omloop Het Nieuwsblad win back in 2012, is still hunting his first career Monument Classic in 2017, and his spring schedule reflects his pursuit of that elusive big one-day win.
Vanmarcke opens his season at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana before heading to the other side of the Iberian peninsula for the Volta ao Algarve. Then he'll make a run at the newly upgraded Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche WorldTour one-days, extending his stint racing in Italy at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Dwars Door Vlaanderen kicks off the heart of Vanmarcke's Classics campaign, with E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem to follow before the pair of Monumental challenges the Belgian will finally hope to conquer: the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. According to his Tweet, the hillier Amstel Gold Race looks set to be Vanmarcke's final major appearance during the Spring Classics.
Bahrain-Merida and Bora-Hansgrohe eye WorldTour debuts after promising showings at People's Choice Classic
Newly formed Bahrain-Merida and newly upgraded Bora-Hansgrohe will make their first appearances as WorldTour teams in a WorldTour race Tuesday in Australia's Tour Down Under. Both squads delivered promising showings in the event's one-day precursor, the People's Choice Classic.
Bora-Hansgrohe claimed both second and third place, with Sam Bennett nabbing runner-up honors behind Caleb Ewan and reigning World Champion Peter Sagan taking the final step on the podium. The fast-finishing duo figure to feature on the flatter stages of the upcoming six-day race, having proven to be in form to contend.
"It was the first race of the team and they did a really, really good job. Being their first race, the leadout worked very well and they had a nice finale. We took second and third and that makes me happy for the next days. I look forward to the race," said Bora sports director Steffen Radochla.
Bahrain-Merida was not far off the pace at the People's Choice Classic either, with Niccolò Bonifazio finishing fourth in Adelaide.
"It's good for the coming days. It's important to start well, the real race starts in two days, I saw the boys were ready," said Bahrain sports director Philippe Mauduit.
No broken bones for Arzuffi after Fiuggi crash
Alice Maria Arzuffi (Team Selle Italia Guerciotti) managed to avoid any broken bones after taking a hard fall Sunday at the Fiuggi Regione Lazio World Cup round, the Italian cyclo-crosser said via Twitter after a visit to the hospital.
Arzuffi, runner-up in the Italian National Championships last week, was taken away from the Fiuggi course on a stretcher after crashing in the first lap. Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling) ultimately took the victory, her second World Cup win of the season.