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by Shane Stokes
January 3, 2018
Following criticism, Aru’s Italian champion’s jersey to be redesigned; Pozzovivo and Izagirre brothers to spearhead Bahrain-Merida squad in Santos Tour Down Under; Team LottoNL-Jumbo lineup announced for Santos Tour Down Under; Bevin out of New Zealand nationals due to crash; De Clercq out for months after severe training crash; Mitchelton-BikeExchange take over backing of Mitchelton-Scott Continental team; Video: 2018 season: UAE Team Emirates is ready; Video: Peter Sagan – Training Camp With Bora-hansgrohe 2018; Video: Helen Wyman speaks about her new team; Video: Behind You – Cycling Motivation
With the start of the Santos Tour Down Under drawing ever-closer, the team has confirmed that new signing Domenico Pozzovivo and brothers Jon and Gorka Izagurre will lead the squad’s hopes in the race.
“I’m just working to be in a good shape at the start of TDU 2018,” said Pozzovivo, who has moved on after five years with the Ag2r La Mondiale team, and who was seventh in the 2016 Santos Tour Down Under. “My objective will be to reach the top 10 in GC, with a good performance in the two hilly stages,” he stated. “I think we have a very good roster at the start of this race.”
Bahrain-Merida sports director Tristan Hoffman talked about the likely strategy. “Domenico and the Izagirre brothers will share the leadership. Ion has been recovering well after Tour de France. Gorka finished eighth in GC in 2015. Domenico joined both of the training camps and showed his great personality. I look forward to seeing him again on the road. We hope all three riders finish at top 10.”
Ion Izagirre suffered a lumbar fracture in the Tour de France and said that he wants to recover the good sensations he had before that injury. “I have already raced the TDU two times and I know which kind of stages are there,” he said. “It’s a good race to start the season, it’s summer, short stages, not too many transfers. We go with Pozzovivo and my brother, which is very important to me. So in my opinion, we are going to have a very strong team there.”
The team lineup will be completed by Manuele Boaro (Italy), Ramu?nas Navardauskas (Lithuania), Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) and Valerio Agnoli (Italy).