Niklas Arndt (Team Sunweb) took his squad’s maiden victory of 2017 with a small group sprint victory in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
The German’s victory in the UCI WorldTour’s first one-day Classic of the season came when he outpowered a 23-strong group. Second was Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) and third Cameron Meyer with the Australian National Team.
“We had a good plan to cover different scenarios on the difficult final lap,” Arndt, whose last win came in the final stage of the 2016 Giro d’Italia, said in a team press release. “I had to fight really hard to survive the final climbs.”
Cofidis Solutions Crédits (FRA), Fortuneo-Vital Concept (FRA), Direct Energie (FRA) and Wanty-Groupe Gobert (BEL) will be the four wild card teams in the 2017 Tour de France.
Following the two Australian rounds of the UCI WorldTour, Orica-Scott are the new leaders of the UCI WorldTour Teams ranking with 951 points, overtaking BMC Racing Team (867). Bora-Hansgrohe are a distant third. Santos Tour Down Under winner Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team), 21st in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race, remains the overall UCI World Tour individual leader (672 points), considerably distancing Orica-Scott’s Esteban Chaves (422). Nathan Haas (Team Dimension Data) moves up a spot into third.
Giacomo Nizzolo is an Italian cyclist with Trek-Segafredo. Born in Milan on January 30th 1989, he turned pro with Leopard-Trek in 2010. Nizzolo’s only win at UCI WorldTour level was a stage of the Eneco Tour in August 2012. He has never raced the Vuelta a España or Tour de France, but twice won the points classification of the Giro d’Italia, (2016 and 2015). Last year he netted one of Italy’s top autumn races, the Gran Piemonte, the Italian Championships road race, and a stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, after which he said his big goal for 2017 would be to improve in the Classics.
Two giants of the cycling world will form the high-powered Merida Factory Racing team to leave their mark on the 2017 ABSA Cape Epic. José Antonio Hermida and Joaquim Rodríguez (Purito) have shared many training miles over the years so now that both riders have stepped back from the world of UCI World Cup Racing and the professional road racing world respectively, new challenges have been bubbling away in the back of their minds.
Former Mountain Bike World Champion, José Antonio Hermida, is no stranger to the ABSA Cape Epic and has been a prominent figure in the world’s biggest stage race. José has managed to secure a number of stage wins and top positions in the grueling event and belongs to the prestigious ‘Amabubesi’ (translated: pride of lions) finisher club. Only riders who have finished the Cape Epic at least three times can call themselves members of the ‘Amabubesi’.
With an endless list of wins in some of the most prestigious and demanding road racing events in the world, paired with a natural ability to suffer just that little bit more, and his renown bike handling skills, Joaquim Rodríguez is the ideal partner for José in this new adventure. Joaquim finished the 2016 Tour de France in 7th position, demonstrating impressive strength even in the later part of his career.
Joaquim Rodríguez, although officially retired from the world of road racing, has taken on an active role in sharing his experience and knowledge with the younger and less experienced riders of the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team and will accompany the team to most of the races of the 2017 season while still keeping his fitness at the highest level.
The Spanish pair have been training partners for years and the combination of their physical ability, their friendship, and the undeniable fighting spirit should make them an interesting pairing to watch over the duration of the Cape Epic.
The team will be wearing a unique design of the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team jersey and will be equipped with one of the most capable stage racing bikes of today. Both riders will tackle the event aboard the superlight and hugely capable full carbon Ninety-Six Team. The lightning fast full suspension bike will offer the perfect combination of agility, comfort, and traction and will be specced with the latest equipment.
“This year the ABSA Cape Epic will be a particularly exciting event for me and for Purito as my team mate,” says José Antonio Hermida. “We have another high profile team in the event in George Hincapie and Cadel Evans. It will be my job to attack Cadel, while Purito will concentrate on keeping George under control,” José comments laughingly. He continues, “I, in particular, am very excited to be back after having a break for a coupe of years. The event itself, the organization, the other riders and the general spirit of the event have always treated me well and I am looking forward to going back. Especially after my retirement from the realm of World Cup cross country racing, I can put more effort into racing marathon and stage races. However, joining a new team setup (with Purito on my side) where I have to ‘guide’ a rider who has not yet been part of this event, will be an extra challenge. We have high expectations and are highly motivated—even without having any specific targets, we hope that we can leave our mark on this great event.”
Joaquim Rodríguez contributes, “I have had a fantastic start working with the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team and I am looking forward to getting involved in one of the biggest mountain bike events in the world. I am highly motivated and appreciate the opportunity to team up and learn from José, one of the top mountain bike racers in the world. Our goal is to perform at the highest possible level, and our recent physical shape should put us in a very competitive position. But above all, we want to have fun and enjoy this new adventure.”
With two UCI World Champions and three silver medallists, Germany finished the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, as the best ranked nation.
The UCI Road World Championships’ Ranking by Nations rewards countries that demonstrate consistency and depth of talent, with points distributed among the top 25 riders in each individual event – time trial and road race, Men and Women from Junior up to Elite.
Introduced at last year’s UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, USA, it encourages a team spirit, with athletes who do not make the podium still earning points for their country.
While Germany’s time trial UCI World Champions Tony Martin (Men Elite) and Marco Mathis (Men U23) certainly earned their nation considerable points, the fact that Germany also had three silver medallists and a total of 16 riders achieving top-25 results across the ten events contributed to the country’s win.
In total, Germany amassed 970 points during the eight days of racing in Doha. The winners were strongly challenged by the USA, which took over the lead of the ranking after the second day of time trials thanks to Amber Neben’s victory in the Women Elite and the gold / bronze double of Brandon McNulty and Ian Garrison in the Men Junior. However, the USA finally succumbed to Germany’s superiority and finished second in the Ranking by Nation with 674 points.
Last year’s Best Nation, the Netherlands, was third in Doha with 642 points.
Since 1927 (date of the first Men Elite road race), generations of champions have graced the podium in the different specialities and categories of the UCI Road World Championships. Below is the list of all the riders who have won medals at the UCI’s biggest annual event.
A dramatic rain-soaked battle through Flanders on Sunday saw Dutch rider Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) make a last-minute capture of the overall victory of the Eneco Tour, the last stage race of the 2016 UCI WorldTour. Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) round off the overall podium.
Whilst overnight race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) crashed out of the running, Terpstra’s victory was forged from a three-man break – with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Naesen – that formed in the closing 50 kilometres of Sunday’s stage. Boasson Hagen, a former double winner of the Eneco Tour, claimed the final stage.
With one race remaining, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) has returned to the top spot overall in the individual UCI WorldTour individual rankings, ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and Chris Froome (Team Sky). Movistar Team remain top ranked team whilst Spain continue to head the nations ranking. The last UCI WorldTour race of 2016, Il Lombardia, takes place on Saturday October 1st.
France’s Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) has announced that he will be retiring next year after hopefully completely a final Tour de France, by which time he will be 38.
As of September 18, Italy has moved into the top five of the UCI World Ranking for nations, pushing Great Britain down from fifth to sixth. Top-ranked nation France, followed by Belgium, Spain and Colombia remain ahead of Italy overall. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) remains in the lead of the individual World Ranking.
The 2016 UCI WorldTour has now completed 23,006.5 kilometres
First held in 1904, Il Lombardia is the last race on the UCI WorldTour calendar and the last of cycling’s five Classic Monuments of the season. It is usually around 240-260 kilometres long.
Held in northern Italy in the region of Lombardy, and organised by RCS Sport, its nickname is Classica delle Foglie Morte – the Race of the Falling Leaves.
Fausto Coppi holds the record for victories (five) followed by Alfredo Binda (four).
Considered a climber’s classic, this year’s edition of Il Lombardia contains 4,400 metres of vertical climbing, including two unprecedented climbs for the race, Sant’Antonio Abbandonato, followed by the ascent of Miragolo San Salvatore. These precede a tough, hilly, finish in Bergamo.
Vasil Kiryienka (35) of Belarus, rides with Team Sky. He turned pro in 2007 with the Tinkoff Credit Systems squad. A gifted time triallist and all-rounder, Kiryienka is the current UCI World Time Trial Champion as well as a winner of stages in the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España and Vuelta al País Vasco.
Major results and wins
2015: Giro d’Italia, one stage
2013: Vuelta a España, one stage
2011: Giro d’Italia, one stage / Vuelta al País Vasco, one stage
2008: Giro d’Italia, one stage
2007: Vuelta a Burgos, one stage
2015: World Time Trial Championships, gold / National Time Trial Championships
2012: World Time Trial Championships, bronze
2006: National Time Trial Championships
2005: National Time Trial Championships
2002: National Time Trial Championships