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[CT'19] Centovalli - Fiat | July Preview
Yeah, Eenkhoorn being active is great this year. Should I hope he'll be less active next season? Wink But pleased to do you a favor, especially if there are some points for us in the deal Smile
Race Review | Great Ocean Road Classic (C2HC)

Last race in January - and we're switching continents for this. From South America to Oceania, where we rode the Great Ocean Road Classic in Australia. It was a mandatory race for us, and maybe not our favorite one. Because even though the profile was flat, there were some hills here and there - not the preferred terrain of our leader Marco Guillén. His leadout Manuel Stocker doesn't really like it, either.

The race then unfolded in an unexpected way - unfortunately. Reckweg celebrated a breakaway win, and the peloton was only fighting for 3rd. Guillén did do well, coming in 3rd of the bunch - but that was "just" 5th overall instead of a podium.
The rest of the team was nowhere to be seen - maybe one reason why the escapees made it. We'll take this 5th place and the points, but now we're looking forward to the February races!


Marco Guillén (second from the left) coming in 3rd of the pack

As it was the last January race, it's time to draw a first balance. In our first MG month, we got 82 points, worth an 8th place, but already 30 points behind 7th. Having spent 14 race days already, this gives us a rather disappointing average of 5.85 points per RD - there's certainly room to improve!

February Preview

After a first more or less successful month, the show must go on. We will take part in three races again, for a total of "just" 12 race days (7 C2HC, 5 C2):

Feg 01 - 07 | Tour de Langkawi (C2HC)


We'll start the month just as we ended January - with a mandatory C2HC race. We'll ride 7 stages in Malaysia, whereof a short prologue, four flat stages and two moutain-top finishes. We will try to get the best out of this race, bringing a climber duo and a sprint train, along with some young riders who are here to gain experience. Let's have a look at what our roster looks like:
Gian Piero Signorini785674Marco Guillén588182
Andrea Manfredi786273Issiaka Cissé537877
Pascal Eenkhoorn696468Manuel Stocker607677
Alessandro Fedeli646467Patrick Gamper626370

Manfredi and Signorini should rock the mountains - or at least get a Top 10 GC result. There might be better climbers in the race, but they will hopefully be able to help each other getting some great results.
For the flat stages, we will bring our best possible train with Guillén - Cissé - Stocker, hoping this will be enough to get some decent stage results. With 4 flat stages, we even have some hopes for the points jersey - who knows?

Feb 22 | Gisborne GP (C2)


After the trip to Asia, we'll return to Oceania - more precisely to New Zealand - for another hilly one-day-classic - Gisbore GP. We don't have a very strong hills squad yet, but we'll try our best with the following riders:
Simon Pellaud7765Pascal Eenkhoorn6764
Jan-André Freuler7567Gino Mäder6667
Ioannidis Kiriakidis6963Max Walscheid6274
Aimiliano Vila6966Riccardo Minali5773

Pellaud had a solid first showing, and we hope that with Freuler's support, he can do even better this time. Not the most important race for us, so we have mainly filled up the roster with young riders. Counting on our Top2 to get us some points - especially Freuler with his fighting spirit could try something from the start line.

Feb 25 - 27 | Hong Kong Challenge (C2HC)


The back-and-forth continues, as we'll again be heading to Asia for February's last race - Hong Kong Challenge. We have two hilly stages (whereof one looks more like a mountain-top finish) and a 22km ITT. We will bring the best hills squad we currently have, including our best time trialist:
Fausto Masnada757175Gino Mäder666870
Simon Pellaud776665Patrick Gamper656962
Jan-André Freuler756872Pascal Eenkhoorn676469
Cyrille Thièry746670Alessandro Fedeli696164

Our GC hopes are mainly on Masnada, as he is a good puncheur, our best TTer and a decent climber. Pellaud is the best puncheur, so we hope he'll have a shot at a stage win as well, whereas Freuler and Thièry should support the two. However, Thièry already showed in Venezuela that he can get quite good results on his own - should stage 1 end in a sprint, then he could be able to get a great result.
Then again, the second half of the team consists of young riders - let's see if anyone of them can get a good result in the U25 standings.

And that's it! Another three races - hopefully bringing some great results!

Breaking News +++ First Win!

We did it! Today, our sprint leader Marco Guillén won the 6th stage of the Tour de Langkawi - our first ever victory! What was otherwise a rather unsatisfying race has now become historical for Centovalli - Fiat - congratulations to Marco and his great leadouts Issiaka Cissé and Manuel Stocker!

Before the last stage - another flat one - Marco is just three points away from the green jersey - go for it, boys!


Marco Guillén winning stage 6 of the Tour de Langkawi

Congratz - Good to see you get that 1st victory, they say the first is always the hardest Pfft
Race Review | Tour de Langkawi (C2HC)

It's already some time ago since this race has been finished, but let's still have a short look back at yet another historical race for our team! After the first race, then the first podiums, we can now celebrate our first win, as we've already posted - with Marco Guillén riding to line honors in the sixth stage!

Overall, it definitely wasn't our best race, with Andrea Manfredi getting the best GC result with his 12th place, and Gian Piero Signorini just taking one tiny point on P30.

In terms of stage results, Guillén finished 4th in stage 2 and
6th on the final stage 7, hence missing out on the points standings Top 3 that seemed very possible after his win.
Issiaka Cissé added the final Top 10 result, by coming in 10th on stage 4 - and this after having perfectly led out the sprint for our leader. Him and Manuel Stocker formed a great sprint train in that race - the leader just needs to get a little more consistent, and then we'll see some other great results!

One additional point was added by Pascal Eenkhoorn's 7th place in the U25 standings. We are really happy about his performance so far, and it's actually sad he'll leave us by the end of the season.

And that's it for the moment, our next races will only be at the end of the month - when we'll hopefullly be back with more great news!

Marco Guillén (middle) and Issiaka Cissé (just about to cross the line, right back) showing our jersey in the final stage

Great to see Guillen come good with a win Smile

Manfredi and Signorini are both climbers with some weak points in their stats, so I wouldn't be surprised, if they have an up and down season in term of resutls.
Race Review | Gisborne GP (C2)

Our second race in February led us to Oceania again, with the Gisborne GP taking place in New Zealand. It was a hilly race, and so we sent over our best puncheur, Simon Pellaud. He was supported by Jan-André Freuler, who made his debut for us in this race. The rest of the roster was filled with our youngsters, as it was a great occasion for them to gain some more experience.

Once more, Pascal Eenkhoorn made it in the breakaway, showing our colors during most of the race. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep up with some other escapees with 40km to go, and finished the race way back in 115th.

Simon Pellaud reached the finish line with the second group, 15" down on the first six spots. Unfortunately, he's never been a great sprinter, and so his 14th place was a good, but not a great result. We were a bit disappointed by Jan-André Freuler's debut as well, as he wasn't able to support Pellaud until the end, and finished 48th, far off the points.

It surely wasn't our best race, but on the other hand we didn't send our best possible squad here. So Pellaud getting a few points was what we expected, and he delivered. We're waiting for greater things to come, though!


Simon Pellaud is about to cross the line, getting his 2nd Top 15 finish of the season

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Race Review | Hong Kong Challenge (C2)

Our final February race was a three day stage race, consisting of a hilly stage, a medium length ITT, and another hilly stage with a hill-top finish. Fausto Masnada was our captain here, as he brought the best package of punching, climbing and TTing. We brought some strong hilly support as well, with Simon Pellaud, Jan-André Freuler and Cyrille Thièry, along with 4 young riders seeking to get some more race experience early in the season.

And the first day was simply perfect for us, as Jan-André Freuler got our second win of the season! He was smart enough to get the best position after the final descent, and then made use of his good acceleration to stay ahead! To round off a great day, Fausto Masnada crossed the line in 6th position, clearly showing his ambitions!

However, the ITT on the next day had its expected outcome - meaning our riders weren't able to keep up. Fausto Masnada had our highest finish on 29th place, which was somewhat below our expectations. He and Jan-André Freuler however still were 12th and 13th before the second stage, meaning both of them had a good chance to reach the Top 10.

It wasn't to be, however, as both of them had a very, very disappointing last stage, with Fausto Masnada getting only 25th, thus dropping to 15th in the GC, behind some - let's say: not better - riders. And it was even worse for Jan-André Freuler, finishing on 24th place in GC. At least, he was tied for 6th in the points standings, adding one more point to our result.

The great kick-off greatly improves an otherwise not very good result. Especially the no-shows of Simon Pellaud and Cyrille Thièry, who clearly were not living up to their task of supporting our leader, was really disappointing. And even though we got our first two wins this month, we look back with a bitter-sweet feeling, as we had hoped for better GC results. Let's change that in March, then!


Jan-André Freuler getting the win on stage 1, with Fausto Masnada well positioned as well.

March Preview

In terms of stage results, February was a great month, with two wins and several Top 10 positions. In March, we'll try to get the one-day races and GC results right. And after two months with races on three continents (Asia, South America, Oceania), we'll now have three races on three other continents: First North America, then Europe, and finally Africa. Three races, but just 10 race days, thereof 8 mandatory ones (2 C1, 8 C2HC):

Mar 15 | Apex Mountain Classic (C1)


For the first time, we get to compete in a non-C2 (or C2HC) race, and it's going to be a tough one! Let's see what our best climbers can get against PCT and CT competitors in this mountainous one-day race! We'll go to Canada with two leaders, hopefully well supported by our best allrounder:
Gian Piero Signorini78665674Pascal Eenkhoorn69706468
Mirco Saggiorato77725872Aimiliano Vila65686667
Fausto Masnada75746372Alessandro Fedeli64666467
Miltiadis Giannoutsos71706465Patrick Gamper62706370

The race might just be too long for Signorini, in which case our hopes would be on Saggiorato. The latter is a good puncheur as well, which will surely help him on the first 80% of the race. Masnada should provide good support for any of our leaders, whereas our four younger riders should gain some experience in a higher level peloton. We've got no idea about what we should expect from this race; a Top 20 would surely be nice, though. But with a downhill finish, anything is possible - if we can keep up long enough!

Mar 18 | Geraardsbergen-Bosberg (C2HC)


No, this isn't the kind of race we would have liked for our first appearance on European soil - but unfortunately we have to compete here. As you know by now, we don't have any cobbles specialist yet, and so we expect absolutely nothing from this race. Let's still have a look at the poor souls who will have to show our colors in Belgium:
Patrick Gamper7063Issiaka Cissé6378
Pascal Eenkhoorn6564Max Walscheid6174
Gino Mäder6467Alessandro Fedeli5764
Ioannidis Kiriakidis6263Aimiliano Vila5466

Patrick Gamper is our future cobbles leader, but due to our lack of specialists on this terrain, he already has to lead the squad this year. But we don't expect any miracles.
If the race should be really slow and really easy, we're sending Issiaka Cissé for an unlikely bunch sprint. But if we get more than 0 points out of this race, we'd really be surprised!

Mar 22 - 27 | Tour of Eritrea (C2HC)


And yet another mandatory race - but at least this one fits us much better! For our final race in March, we're heading over to Africa, where we'll be riding 6 stages: three of them flat, two hilly ones (thereof one hill-top finish), and one mountain stage with a mountain-top finish. It should take a versatile rider to win the GC, but with three flat stages, we actually have to send some sprinter power, too:
Fausto Masnada7575Marco Guillèn8182
Gian-Piero Signorini7869Issiaka Cissé7877
Simon Pellaud6577Manuel Stocker7677
Pascal Eenkhoorn6967Max Walscheid7475

Fausto Masnada will probably be our best bet for the GC, as he can handle both mountains and hill pretty well. Gian-Piero Signorini might be lacking some punch on the hilly stages, and Simon Pellaud isn't the best climber. Both should provide good support for Masnada, though - or could even go for a stage win on their own.
For the flat stages, we bring the best sprint train we have - and the trio Guillèn - Cissé - Stocker actually worked pretty well in Malaysia - hopefully they can do the same here!
We're hoping for another stage win here, or at least a podium. With half of the stages being flat, a decent position in the points standings should be possible, too. GC-wise, Masnada might not be strong enough yet to keep up with the big guns, but a Top 10-15 should be possible.

That's all we have in March - let's bring some more great results in!

March Wrap-Up

It's been a long time since our last post, and lots of things have happened. There have been huge discussions with our sponsors, as they weren't truly satisfied with some of our results - and there have been races, of course. Many races. And so, we'll just give a brief summary for now instead of writing huge reviews of races three months ago. Sorry for our inactivity lately - we hope to improve for the upcoming months!

Apex Mountain Classic (C1)

In our first ever C1 race, Alessandro Fedeli was able to sneak into the BotD - at least some TV time for us, but the group was reeled in with 40km to go. Finally, Mirco Saggiorato got our best finish in this race, coming in on P19. Another Top25 for Fausto Masnada, finishing 23rd. One more rather anonymous 1-day-race.

Geraardsbergen - Bosberg (C2HC)

After the first C1 race, the first cobbled one. We didn't expect anything on this terrain, and so Patrick Gamper's 19th place - scoring some minor points - could already be considered a success.

Tour of Eritrea (C2HC)

We brought a lot of manpower to this race - especially the sprinter who was on top of the favorites' list on every flat stage - but the results were devastating. Marco Guillèn got not a single podium finish out of three opportunities - and so Issiaka Cissé's 5th place on the first stage was the best we got here. The undulating stages went even much worse, and Gian Piero Signorini's 36th place in GC is absolutely horrible.
It was after this race that Fiat, our secondary sponsor, told us that we have to speed up - they wanted to see racers, not snails wearing their logo...

That's it for March - our worst month so far. Hopefully we can one day look back and declare it our worst month ever - or should April be even worse?

April Wrap-Up

As there's not much fun in writing previews for past races, let's jump directly to the April race reviews. Will the latest results be enough to calm down our friends in Torino? Or will they force us to find a new secondary sponsor for next year after only a third of the season? We'll see...

Tour de Vineyards (C2HC)

Next stage race, this time in New Zealand. We sent the same sprinter squad as in Eritrea, hoping for them to take their revenge. We substituted our uphill department, though.
But whereas the sprint train, consisting of Manuel Stocker and Issiaka Cissé worked really well, Marco Guillèn, who once again was the bookies' favorite for the flat stages, messed up the finish and got a 6th place as best stage result. Disappointing.
On the other hand, the mountain goats did much better this time. Without the long time trial on the final day, we'd have had two Top 15 GC spots. Well, it wasn't to be. Still, Mirco Saggiorato more or less fulfilled the expectations with his 14th place. As a bonus, Ioannidis Kiriakidis snatched one point with his 7th place in the U25 standings. What a relief to score some important points here!

Coppa Placci (C2)

Another one-day-race - and our first goal race. Our sponsors wanted us to get a Top10 finish. And guess what? We got a great team result, with four men in the Top20 - but unfortunately, none of them among the 10 best... So it's a missed goal, but the sponsors were still happy to see that many Centovalli - Fiat jerseys near the top. Let's name them:
14. Cyrille Thièry
15. Jan-André Freuler
19. Fausto Masnada
20. Simon Pellaud

Even though it's a missed goal, we seem to be on the right way...

Betonexpressz GP (C2HC)

A flat one-day-race, and we sent all of our sprinting powerhorses. And for once, it paid out! We did a lot of work throughout the race, and Marco Guillèn got us a very, very sweet 2nd place out of this race! All of his teammates were exhausted and finished way back, but with their huge effort they made one thing clear: This team is alive!

Lincoln GP (C2HC)

Even though some of our riders were present in the first part of this cobbled race, there never was a real chance of getting a noteworthy result out of this. Even Patrick Gamper wasn't able to score, getting our best finish on P34. Another cobbled race that went quite much as expected - nothing to worry about, though.

GP Wallonie (C1)

A one-day-race in Belgium without any traces of cobbles - how's that possible? Well, the hills were still there, and we sent our best hilly riders to this C1 race. But as expected, they weren't strong enough to keep up with the top PCT guns. Still, Fausto Masnada scored some valuable points with this Top20 finish (P19). Next race, please.

Corsica International (C1)

This month's final race for us - a short stage race with a flat, TT and mountain stage. The first stage brought us a big success, as Issiaka Cissé got our first C1 podium ever.
But this result was bitter-sweet, as all others - hence including all of our mountain goats - finished more than 90" back. Despite of his 19th place in the mountain stage, Mirco Saggiorato was therefore unable to get a scoring GC place. And so, this whole race reflects our season quite well: some highlights, but the overall team performance wasn't that great so far.

At least, we got some positive signs from Fiat, telling us they're rather satisfied with this month. But we need to keep up the pace, that's for sure!

May Wrap-Up

We've got one last month of racing to cover until we're up-to-date again. And it started with one out of three races on home soil this year, the Tour de Romandie. Could there be any better opportunity to gain some hearts back? Let's see how this worked out!

Tour de Romandie (C1)

5 Swiss, 3 Italians - our roster perfectly represented our sponsors' focus. As we don't have access to the Tour de Suisse yet, this was our home tour. A real challenge, given that several PCT teams were competing here as well.
The opening TTT made clear, what we already knew: We're lacking TTers. At least, we didn't come in last... Things went a lot better from stage 3 on, with Gian Piero Signorini's breakaway attempt, scoring some KoM points.
But what happened the day after was quite much what we'd have written as a script for this stage. Again Gian Piero Signorini, backed by Fausto Masnada, got into the BotD. The latter was able to take over the KoM jersey, which he should keep until the end of the race - what a success! And with stage ranks 2 and 4, it was a really huge day for the team.
The MTT saw again a good performance by Signorini, while Masnada - our strongest TTer - had an off day, slipping from 12th to 16th.
Nevertheless, 16th GC and KoM winner is a great result for Fausto Masnada, and Gian Piero Signorini scored some points as well with his 4th place in the KoM standings.
The only stain was that the Italians were the only good performers here in Switzerland, the Swiss riding a rather anonymous race. Nonetheless, this result was exactly what the team needed at this point - thank you, boys!

Windhoek ITT (C2HC)

What are we doing at an ITT event? Well, we had to go there, and so we sent three youngsters. As expected, none of them got a decent result, and so Ioannidis Kiriakidis in 35th was the best we could get. Next, please.

Tour du Faso (C2HC)

After a mandatory ITT, now a mandatory cobbled race - no, we didn't like this part of the month. After losing one rider on stage 1, the remaning riders didn't make the time limit on the final stage. So no GC results for us, the 15th place by Issiaka Cissé on stage 2 being the "best" we got. Another race to forget - as expected.

Giro del Trentino (C2)

Second goal race of the season - a Top5 was expected from our sponsors. Not easy to achieve, as the race kicked off with a TTT. However, this time we did much better than expected, as we finished 8th, losing just below a minute.
Still, a big handicap, which our mountain goats tried to make up on the second stage. And they did well, with all of them finishing in the Top15! But: Mirco Saggiorato, who got our best stage result, finished... 6th! Which was as well his GC place after the second stage, so he had to go all in on the final stage to gain at least one place. It was however great news that our climbing depth finally worked out, bringing us the team classification lead after stage 2!
The last stage then was disappointing. No more attacks, and we lost the team classification. Mirco Saggiorato remained in 6th, which on one hand is our best GC result so far, on the other hand means we missed our second goal as well - and again despite a huge team result:
6th Mirco Saggiorato
14th Fausto Masnada
15th Andrea Manfredi
16th Gian Piero Signorini

Of course, our sponsors were stoked by the team's performance, but a second goal missed still isn't great news. We'll have to somehow find the missing inches for the next one...

All in all, it was a really cool month, with Fausto Masnada's KoM win in Tour de Romandie being the highlight. Let's keep on rolling!

Ulrich Ulriksen
Good to see you catching up. Good luck in June.
Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
The team have been picking up points consistently over the past couple of months which see you rise in the rankings. Hoping to see the upward trend continue in the coming months.
June Preview

Only two races are awaiting us this month - but with them having 7 and 6 stages each, this still sums up to a total of 13 race days for our boys. Let's see what we can expect in each of these races:

Jun 13 - 19 | Tour of Vancouver (C2HC)


Well, up to and including stage 6, this race suits us very well. As you can see below, we bring climbers and sprinters, and each of these departments should get three chances to shine. And then, let's hope stage 7 will be cancelled for some reason... We all know that TTTs aren't for us this year, and so we hope we won't lose everything on this final day.
Let's see whom we expect to rock this race for us:
Gian Piero Signorini7865Issiaka Cissé787767
Andrea Manfredi7865Manuel Stocker767769
Mirco Saggiorato7766Max Walscheid747561
Fausto Masnada7571
Gino Mäder7068

We're really bringing all of our mountain goats, hoping at least one of the trio Signorini - Manfredi - Saggiorato could bring home a GC Top10. Given the opening mountain TT and to more mountain top finishes, there's plenty of room for gaining enough time. Masnada should be a solid helper - or maybe even do some more brilliant attacks, like in Romandie? Furthermore, he's our best time trialist, so we're counting on him for not losing too much time. Luckily, the TTT is less than 20km long...
Sprinter-wise, Cissé will be our leader this time, with Stocker and maybe Walscheid as leadouts. He's done a great job in leading out Guillén this year, but he already got some very nice individual results. What about a first stage win?

Jun 18 - 23 | Tour of South Africa (C1)


Although this race clashes with the Tour of Vancouver, it's not that much of an issue, as this time it's showtime for the puncheurs. We know we won't be doing anything GC-wise - just look at stage 4... But we're hoping for some good stage hunting action by the following riders:
Simon Pellaud776566Alessandro Fedeli696461
Jan-André Freuler756768Pascal Eenkhoorn676464
Cyrille Thièry747266Patrick Gamper656369
Aimiliano Vila696663Riccardo Minali577356

Now, we know we surely don't have a top favorit within our roster. But especially Freuler has already proven his fighting spirit by winning the opening stage in Hong Kong - why not do it again here? Pellaud is our best puncheur on paper, but some of the stages - especially number 5 - might be too hard for him. And Thièry has got some decent results out of bunch sprints, too - maybe he'll get a chance on one of the "easier" stages.
We hope for one of these three being present in the BotDs throughout the race, while most of the others are really just here to gain some experience. Or maybe Eenkhoorn could launch another attack for the white jersey?

That's all we have to offer in June. We're still hoping for a great GC result in races rated higher than C2 - let's see what we can get this month!

Race Review | Tour of Vancouver (C2HC)

Given the profile with three flat and three mountain stages, we brought our climbers and a sprinter. In the opening mountain time trial, our Italian mountain goats Andrea Manfredi (5th) and Gian Piero Signorini (8th) had a great day, bringing us the first points and raising our hopes for a good GC result.

Stages 2 and 3 then were for the sprinters, where Issiaka Cissé didn't quite get the support he expected. His legs weren't the best, either, and so he got a 7th and 8th place.

The fourth stage then saw a huge team performance, with all of our four climbers in the Top 20, two of them in the Top 10: Mirco Saggiorato (8th), Andrea Manfredi (9th), Gian Piero Signorini (16th) and Fausto Masnada (17th). Given this massive depth result, we took over the team standings in this stage!

The second-to-last road stage then again was a sprinter stage, and this time Issiaka Cissé finished 5th from the bunch - unfortunately, there were 6 esacpees ahead... Due to the successful breakaway, we lost the lead in the team standings again.

We then did a huge amount of work in the last mountain stage. The peloton allowed the BotD a huge gap, and so we had to jump in to secure our great GC results. The boys did a great job, and especially Mirco Saggiorato was on fire, even beating race leader Eastman on this stage and finishing 5th! This result made him move up to P7 in the GC.
Unfortunately, the other climbers suffered from tired legs in the final climb, given the work they had done throughout the day. Nonetheless, Andrea Manfredi finished 18th and secure 10th place in the GC. The two other climbers were able to stay in the Top 25 as well.

On the final day, we did pretty well in the TTT, finishing 35" off the best time, meaning Mirco Saggiorato and Andrea Manfredi kept their 7th and 10th places - what a great GC result for us!
Although Fausto Masnada lost two spots on that stage, he still finished in the Top 20 (19th), and Gian Piero Signorini (23rd) added some points to our scoreboard as well. The 3rd place in the team standings rounds off a cool race for us. And let's mention Gino Mäder's 10th place in the U25 standings as well. Even though there are no points for this, he confirmed once again that he's going to do some beautiful things in the future!

That's it for the moment. Tour of South Africa is already underways - our start wasn't great, but that could still change!


Centovalli - Fiat reaching the intermediate time in the final TTT. Note Issiaka Cissé's Côte d'Ivoire TT NC jersey Smile

Race Review | Tour of South Africa (C1)

After the climbers, it was now up to the puncheurs to play. We knew beforehand that we're slightly weaker on the hills than in the mountains, and furthermore this tour was a C1 category race. Nevertheless, having not a single rider in the main group (92 riders!!!) on the first stage was hugely disappointing, and even the smallest GC hopes were already gone after this stage.

We at least joined the breakaway with Simon Pellaud (stages 2 and 3) and Cyrille Thièry (stage 2) on the following stages, but the BotD didn't make it on both days. At least, Simon Pellaud was able to stay with the favorites on stage 3 after being reeled in, getting us an 18th place as our best stage result so far...

Stage 4 then saw us riding our second TTT of the month, where we finished 19th (out of 23 teams), so nothing new here.

Stage 5 then was Jan-André Freuler's big day. He was nowhere to be seen until then, but was lucky enough to join the breakaway the day they made it through - and he got his second win of the year! In a three-man-sprint, he edged out Petar Panayotov and Sergio Godoy, to make this race a highlight despite all the mediocre results before! 6th place in the KoM standings was a nice bonus - even though it could have been more.

Again Simon Pellaud and young talent Alessandro Fedeli joined the breakaway on the final day. Even though they were reeled in, they finished along with the favorites, with Fedeli getting us another Top 10 stage result (9th), unfortunately just outside the stage points.

All in all, we can't be satisfied with our performance. We sent three decent to good puncheurs, but they were by far not able to hang on to the big guns. However, the sole highlight of the race greatly improves our sponsors' feelings about this tour, and we hope to keep on rolling in what will be a very important month for us. Stay tuned for our July preview, coming soon!


Jan-André Freuler winning the 5th stage.

July Preview

This is going to be a massively important month for us, featuring three C2 stage races with a total of 17 stages, plus two one-day races. Furthermore, the Tour of Bulgaria is our third goal race of the season, and we should finally start reaching our goals!

Jul 1 - 8 | Tour de San Luis (C2)



When we selected this race, we were convinced to bring some strong puncheurs to the start line. Well, the results show that we're not quite where we were hoping to be, but we still nominated a few riders capable of getting decent results. While we don't have any hopes for the two ITTs, we bring both puncheurs and sprinters for the remaining 6 stages:
Simon Pellaud7765Marco Guillén8182
Jan-André Freuler7572Manuel Stocker7677
Cyrille Thièry7470Max Walscheid7475
Alessandro Fedeli6964Patrick Gamper6370

Once again, our hilly hopes are on our Swiss puncheur trio, whereof Jan-André Freuler just won a stage in South Africa. Simon Pellaud should be the one to keep up with the top guys, but he's unfortunately showed several times that he's struggling on the longer climbs. Therefore, Jan-André Freuler and Cyrille Thièry should be better suited - and especially Thièry with his good sprint could get us some nice results. Youngster Alessandro Fedeli got his first Top 10 stage result recently, and may strive for more here.
For the flat stages, Marco Guillén has got our best flat rider, Manuel Stocker, and German talent Max Walscheid by his side. Especially Stocker has already proved his worth in our sprint train - can he do it again?
Finally, Patrick Gamper will try to get some more ITT experience, as he'll be our specialist in the future.

Expectations: 4 Top 10 stage results, Top 15 GC

Jul 16 - 20 | Tour of Bulgaria (C2)


Given our clear focus on climbers, it is no surprise that we travel to Eastern Europe with our bags full of expectations. Furthermore, this tour is our third goal race of the season, with a Top 10 GC as minimum target. Given our good results in similar races (Giro del Trentino, Tour of Vancouver), we do really hope to achieve this one.
Obviously, we bring all our climbers once more, hoping for a lot more fireworks on the steep slopes:
Gian Piero Signorini7865Jan-André Freuler7268
Andrea Manfredi7865Miltiadis Giannoutsos7166
Mirco Saggiorato7766Gino Mäder7068
Fausto Masnada7571Patrick Gamper6269

The first column is exactly the same as in Vancouver, but instead of bringin a sprinter, we even more strengthened our climbing depth by bringing allrounder Freuler and youngsters Giannoutsos and Mäder. Patrick Gamper is mainly here to provide some support for the TTT, where we will surely lose some time again. But three mountain top finishes definitely give us enough chances to gain that time back! If this mountain depth isn't sufficient to get a Top 10 - what else would it take?

Expectations: 3 Top 10 stage results, GC Top 10

Jul 23 | Vilnius GP (C2HC)


A perfectly flat race, predestined for our sprinters - wait, no, there's that awful icon in the right upper corner... Mandatory TTT, no comment. These are the poor souls wearing our jersey in Lithuania:
Ioannidis Kiriakidis70Pascal Eenkhoorn64
Patrick Gamper69Aimiliano Vila63
Gino Mäder68Alessandro Fedeli61
Miltiadis Giannoutsos66Maximilian Walscheid61

Any questions?

Expectations: Not finishing last

Jul 26 | Nantahala Classic (C1)



Another puncheur race - another one where our hopes were higher before the season than they are right now, given our leaders' struggles in such races. Nonetheless, we still expect the following riders to at least show our colours:
Simon Pellaud776565Alessandro Fedeli696464
Jan-André Freuler757267Pascal Eenkhoorn676964
Cyrille Thièry747072Gino Mäder667067
Ioannidis Kiriakidis696863Patrick Gamper656263

The team is again led by our Swiss punching trio, hoping any of them will join the breakaway and then make it to the finish. We know we can't keep up with the PCT competition, so we'll need another strategy. Let's see how we can surprise the others.

Expectations: Top 25

Jul 27 - 30 | USA Pro Cycling Challenge (C2)



After puncheurs and climbers, the sprinters finally get THEIR race! Three flat stages and a short epilogue - setting up our roster was easy for this one:
Marco Guillén818256Riccardo Minali737364
Issiaka Cissé787765Alessandro Fedeli646763
Manuel Stocker767771Pascal Eenkhoorn646870
Max Walscheid747571Patrick Gamper637069

We'll try to set up our train Stocker - Cissé - Guillén once more - unfortunately, the weakest link in this chain was often the final one, hence sometimes missing out on a possible great stage result. But Marco already has a win this year - why not add some more on top of it?

Expectations: 3 Top 10 stage results, Top 10 GC

A very interesting month is awaiting us - let's keep the good run up and going!

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