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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
August 6, 2014

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Upcoming Racing Schedule

The next couple of months are going to be busy with important racing. It is generally my goal to cover men's professional races ranked 2.1, 1.1, HC or World Tour. Sometimes the schedule is too crowded for one guy with a spreadsheet program to do all of them.

Here's what I plan to report:

Ongoing races

Upcoming in August:

Lotto-Belisol for the Tour of Denmark

Lotto-Belisol sent out this press release regarding its participation in the Tour of Denmark, which starts today (Wednesday, August 6):

"Tomorrow a Lotto Belisol selection will stand at the start of the Tour of Denmark. This five-day stage race of the Europe Tour ends on Sunday the 10th of August. Lars Bak finished second last year at only six seconds of winner Wilco Kelderman. The Dane will try to conquer the overall victory this year. Since the 1st of August three riders have started their traineeship with Lotto Belisol. Tiesj Benoot and Oliver Naesen will make their début in the Tour of Denmark. For the sprint the team can rely on Kris Boeckmans and Greg Henderson. The New-Zealander had to abandon the Tour de France because of a crash in the fourth stage. Past weekend he made his comeback in the road race at the Commonwealth Games where he became seventh.

"The Tour of Denmark consists of six stages. On Saturday there's first a stage of 100 kilometers and in the evening a 15 kilometers long time trial. Each stage ends with a number of local laps, so the riders can explore the finish zone. Lars Bak will compete against fellow countrymen like Matti Breschel, Jakob Fuglsang and Michael Mørkøv. In the sprints people to watch are among other Gerald Ciolek and Tom Van Asbroeck.

"Marc Wauters, sports director: 'Last year Lars Bak got second in GC, we aim for the highest podium spot this year. Lars is very popular in Denmark and is very motivated. In 2013 he lost his chance to win the GC in the time trial and he'll definitely want revenge this year. Of course we'll try to win a stage as well.'

" 'Two trainees are part of the selection: Tiesj Benoot and Oliver Naesen. They certainly get the chance to attack. Apart from them we have our fast guys Kris Boeckmans and Greg Henderson. Hendy has the experience for the lead-out, but can win a stage himself as well like was the case in the Ster ZLM Toer. Boeckmans was already a few times close to the victory this season, he could finally take the win in this race.'

" 'The stages finish on local circuits. The third stage is the hardest with an uphill finish. There guys like Lars Bak will get a chance. The first selection for GC will be made there and then the time trial on Saturday will be decisive.'

"Selection Lotto Belisol: Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Kris Boeckmans, Sean De Bie, Greg Henderson, Oliver Naesen, Tosh Van der Sande and Dennis Vanendert.

"Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

"Stages
Stage 1: Wednesday 6th of August: Hobro - Mariager (157 km)
Stage 2: Thursday 7th of August: Skive – Aarhus (195 km)
Stage 3: Friday 8th of August: Skanderborg – Vejle (176 km)
Stage 4: Saturday 9th of August: Nyborg – Odense (100 km)
Stage 5: Saturday 9th of August: Middelfart – Middelfart (15 km) (ITT)
Stage 6: Sunday 10th of August: Kalundborg – Frederiksberg (175 km)"

Michael Schär's terrific Tuesday ride at the Tour of Utah

Michael Schär soloed through terrible cramps to win Tuesday's Tour of Utah stage. His team sent out the following press release that I think is worth posting in full, given the quality of the Swiss racer's ride:

"Schär Holds On For Stage Win At Utah

"BMC Racing Team's Michael Schär soloed the final 60 kilometers out of the day's breakaway, survived a bout of leg cramps and held off a furious chase to score his first victory of the season Tuesday on Stage 2 of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

"Has To Win From Breakaways
Schär saw a more than four-minute lead over the top of the last climb – 38 kilometers from the finish –  reduced to seconds inside the final kilometer of the 210.3-km race. 'The finish line really could not come soon enough,' Schär said. 'I had a lot of cramps the whole downhill. But then, in the last five kilometers, it got better. I got some power again and I was on my threshold. But with 500 meters to go, I got a big cramp on my right side. I pushed through it and I didn't look back any more. I remembered never to look back – to never give them anything.' Schär crossed the finish line two seconds ahead of Jure Kocjan (Team SmartStop Pro Cycling) who assumed the race lead. 'I gave it all I had to the line," Schär said. "They say if you never try, you never win. I am not a sprinter. I am not a super good climber. I have to win my races from breakaways.'

"Most Aggressive Rider Honors
Schär's nearly 200 kilometers on the front of the race began with five others. One-by-one, they fell away as four categorized climbs were tackled, the last of which was where Schär shook free from Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team). 'We really knew this was a day Michi could stay away if he got over the top of Boulder Mountain,' BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said. 'In the grand scheme of things, we didn't necessarily want him to take the yellow jersey. But we wanted to be represented, go for the stage win and not miss out on a group that would affect the general classification.' Schär – who earned most aggressive rider honors for his heroics – missed taking the race lead by two seconds. Four other BMC Racing team riders finished in the top 15 on the stage, including Cadel Evans, who is now fifth overall, 12 seconds off the lead.

"Team Classification Leaders
Evans said he was especially happy to see Schär earn his second career victory. The 2013 Swiss national road champion helped Evans win the Tour de France in 2011. 'It was a pretty hard day for everyone today. Of course for Michi, it was probably the hardest day of all,' Evans said. 'But even in the group, it was solid chasing behind. So it was interesting to see which teams had the strength and I think we softened a few legs up. We will see Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday how the guys rebound from their efforts.' The BMC Racing Team kept its lead in the team classification with Evans placing sixth, Brent Bookwalter 10th, Ben Hermans 11th and Dylan Teuns 15th. Wednesday's stage is 190.3 km with only one categorized climb and finishes at the Miller Motorsports Park."

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