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  • At 20, life could hardly get any better for Casper Pedersen with the Dane fast-tracked into the Olympic track programme and selected for the 2016 Rio games. The 2014 Paris–Roubaix Juniors runner-up had cemented his place in the team pursuit squad and was to be the first reserve. A phone call from the national coach the night before the race brought Pedersen's world crashing down. He would instead be the sixth rider and would not ride in any event. Instead, he watched on as Denmark won the team pursuit bronze medal and Lasse Norman Hansen enjoying the same success in the omnium. Pedersen, the only rider to fly home empty-handed. Once home, Pedersen didn't touch the bike for two months and entered thoughts of giving up the sport. Beset by depression. Slowly but surely, Pedersen started to regain his love for cycling and with it, the competitiveness of the sport.ADVERTISEMENT In 2017, Pedersen turned the page and moved teams to Giant-Castelli. The year started with a return to the track and a ride in Denmark's team pursuit squad at the Cali World Cup and a gold medal. Silver in the Madison at the Los Angeles World Cup...

  • Australian WorldTour team Mitchelton-Scott has named its team for the 'opening weekend' combo of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Italian Matteo Trentin will take on a leadership role in his first classics campaign with the team with Sunday's race the major target. Australian Luke Durbridge has recovered from the broken collarbone he sustained in January at the national championships and will have a free role for the two races. Former Paris-Roubaix winner Mat Hayman and Australian national champion Alex Edmondson provide further depth for the team aims. "I am really looking forward to the weekend, the start of the classics is always exciting, and it will be good to get back into that style of racing. To be honest I don't know how to compare my form to the rest of the classics guys, with my recovery I raced twice in Spain and the terrain is different and also there were not many other classics specialists at those races," said Trentin, who's season debut was delayed due to a broken rib.ADVERTISEMENT "We come in on the back of a really good team camp in Almeria and since the rib injury back in January I've been feeling better...

  • The 74th edition of Paris-Nice will feature a strong start list of general classification riders, stage hunters and sprinters. Race organisers ASO have confirmed team leaders for the 18 WorldTour and four Pro Continental squads that will contest the March 4-11 race. Defending champion Sergio Henao will lead the charge for Team Sky, who have dominated the general classification since 2012. Sky's squad will include Wout Poels, who will also start as a favourite for the overall title. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) makes his European season debut at Paris-Nice, and in his debut at the 'race to the sun' will aim to add to his Herald Sun Tour victory in early February. The Australian team can also look to Simon Yates for the general classification, while Matteo Trentin will be an option for the tougher sprint finishes.ADVERTISEMENT American Tejay van Garderen was third last week at the Volta ao Algarve and leads the GC challenge for BMC Racing. He can count on support from Nico Roche in his bid for the yellow jersey. UAE Team Emirates are one of several teams with dual ambitions at the race and will start with the aim of delivering Dan Martin to...

  • Italian U23 road champion Matteo Moschetti scored Polartec-Kometa's first win of the season Thursday at the Tour of Antalya, outsprinitng Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) and Konrad Gessner (Leopard Pro Cycling) on the rain-soaked finishing straight. The 21-year-old now leads the overall in the four-stage 2.2. race in Turkey by four seconds over Mareczko and five seconds over Georg Zimmermann (Tirol Cycling Team), who benefited from time bonuses at intermediate sprints during the stage. Gessner is fourth, at six seconds. Moschetti had to overcome several challenges during the 155.6km stage, including a crash with 40km to go that forced him to stop for a bike change and also to change his shoes after breaking a cleat. He regained the field in time to set up for the sprint and play off the Wilier Triestina train of Mareczko, who was fresh off of two stages wins at the Sharjah Tour in Dubai.ADVERTISEMENT "This victory shows me that I have to trust a little more in myself," Moschetti said. "In the end we were Michele Gazzoli and me, but at 1,500 meters there was a crash and Michele broke his gear. I was left alone. I came through the last corner in the...

  • Chantal Blaak will begin her season as the new world champion at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. The Dutchwoman will lead a always-strong Boels Dolmans team in an attempt to win the classics opener. "I love the spring races and I think the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is especially nice," said Blaak, who has never won the event. "I have performed well here before and I am looking forward to it. "I am motivated, I have trained well and I am excited."ADVERTISEMENT Blaak was second in last year's edition, on an all-Dutch podium between winner Lucinda Brand and third-placed Annemiek Van Vleuten. The race came down to a select group, which split over the final climbs. Brand bridged up to the small lead group and then attacked inside the last 10km to solo to victory. Blaak said she doesn't feel pressure to specifically perform to winning standards on Saturday, but she would like to race well to respect the fact that she will be wearing the rainbow jersey. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

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