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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
August 20, 2014

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BMC on Stage Two fo USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Like nearly everyone involved with stage two of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, BMC was unhappy with how the neutralization was handled. Here's their take on the stage with rider comments:

BMC Racing Team's Ben Hermans moved into second overall and teammate Tejay van Garderen stands third following a rain-soaked, uphill finish that was preceded by a brief stoppage of the race Tuesday at the USA Pro Challenge.

Van Garderen finished third on the 169-kilometer stage and in the same time as runner-up Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) and seven seconds behind solo winner Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear Development). Hermans was fourth, 15 seconds back of the stage winner and moved into second overall, 11 seconds behind new race leader Howes. Van Garderen is one second back and tied on time with Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing). "We had a plan to make it hard up Kebler Pass and the boys did an amazing job," van Garderen said. "I think everyone was on the limit, lots of guys were dropped. There was big confusion with us stopping on the wet, freezing-cold, rainy downhill after we had done all the dirt. But once we re-started, we still got into our mindset that we were out to make something happen on this stage and I think it was mission accomplished."

Carpenter had been part of the day's 12-man breakaway that slowly disintegrated as it made its way up the second-to-last climb. The BMC Racing Team led the chase, first with Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler and Rick Zabel, and later with Brent Bookwalter and Michael Schär. But as the gap to the escapees came down, so did heavy rain, turning the dirt to mud. Officials stopped the race to neutralize it on the descent and Carpenter was given more than a minute's lead upon the re-start. Van Garderen, who won a stage in 2012 that featured the same finish, said there was briefly talk among riders of keeping the race neutral the rest of the way. "But for me, it did not make sense because there was a guy in the breakaway and if we stop, he is going to take 10 minutes and run away with the race," the defending champion said. "Secondly, we were riding all day and that would not have been fair to the guys who had spent so much energy to just say this energy was spent for nothing."

Van Garderen attacked Howes inside the final kilometer while Hermans – third on Stage 1 – stayed patient. "We wanted to win the stage with Tejay," Hermans said. "The plan was that Tejay could go for the stage and I would watch the moves of Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) and the other dangerous guys. At the end, I dropped Danielson and Busche and the other guys were behind. So I think we did a good job with the team." BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said he was pleased with the day's overall outcome, but disappointed by the neutralization. "We knew we could do a good ride and put some damage into the race. But if you are going to neutralize it, you need to do it at the top of the climb where guys can still be warm and can put jackets on. In the end, the race was changed a lot by this. It is a weird race when we have elements like this. Luckily our guys were able to endure that stuff and do well today."

Tejay Van Garderen and Alejandro Valverde

Tejay Van Garderen leads Alejandro Valverde at stage eight of the 2014 Tour de France. Photo ©Sirotti

Lampre-Merida for the Vuelta

Since Chris Horner of Lampre-Merida is the defending Vuelta a España champion, I thought I'd post Lampre's press release detailing their team (surprisingly old with an average age of 32) and plans in full:

LAMPRE-MERIDA will be at the start line of Vuelta a Espana 2014 with one rider with number 1 on his back: Chris Horner will be in Jerez de la Frontera with the target of defending the title he won in Spain last season.

Horner is well focused on trying to compete with a bunch of top riders, who want to be on the throne of the Spanish race. Despite his undergoing therapy in order to recover from the bronchitis he's been suffering from since the start of Tour de France, the American rider aims to exploit the parts of the race that suit his characteristics.

From August the 23rd to September the 14th, nine blue-fuchsia-green cyclists will ride on Spanish roads facing 21 stages that will have these characteristics: 1 team time trial (12,6 km), 2 individual time trials (total 44,5 km), 5 flat stages and 13 hill and mountain stages.

LAMPRE-MERIDA technical staff and the technical advisor selected the following riders:

- Christopher Horner: 42 years old, American, climber, pro since 1995, winner of Vuelta a Espana 2013 and of two stages (Mirador de Lobeira, Alto de Hazallanas).

- Winner Andrew Anacona Gomez: 26 years old, Colombian, climber, pro since 2012.

- Damiano Cunego: 32 years old, Italian, climber, pro since 2002, winner of two stages in Vuelta a Espana 2009 (La Pandera, Alto de Aitana).

- Elia Favilli: 25 years old, Italian, rouleur-climber, pro since 2010.

- Roberto Ferrari: 31 years old, Italian, sprinter, pro since 2007, 12 victories in his career.

- Przemyslaw Niemiec: 34 years old, Polish, pro since 2002, 13 victories in his career.

- Filippo Pozzato: 33 years old, Italian, rouleur-sprinter, pro since 2000, 46 victories in his career.

- Maximiliano Richeze: 31 years old, Argentinian, sprinter, pro since 2006, 23 victories in his career.

- Josè Rodolfo Serpa Perez: 35 years old, Colombian, climber, pro since 2006, 35 victories in his career.

The blue-fuchsia-green selection will represent five Countries: Italy (5 cyclists), Argentina (1), Colombia (1), Poland (1) and United States (1). Three Continents: Europe, North America and South America.

One of the main characteristics of the team will be its experience, considering the average age of 32 years and the average years as pro of the selected riders (10 years).

LAMPRE-MERIDA will be directed by technics Matxin and Vicino, who’ll be supported by doctors De Grandi and Beltemacchi, by mechanics Baron, Coelho, Pengo and Tiede, by masseurs Capelli, Del Gallo, Leboso and Napolitano, by the driver Bozzolo and by press officers Appiani and Carlo Saronni.

Chris Horner

Chris Horner in the leader's jersey at the 2013 Vuelta. Photo ©Sirotti

Rider Team Negotiations and Signings

Wout Poels, currently in his first year with Omega Pharma, has notified his team that he intends to leave the Belgian team. Poels talked to Belkin, but proved to be too expensive for the Dutch team. He is currently in talks with Team Sky.

Pieter Serry, in his second year with Omega Pharma, has signed on to remain for another two years with his team.

Rein Taaramae is leaving Cofidis and has signed for one season with Astana. The Estonian will join compatriot Tanel Kangert as well as Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali.

Luca Paolini, the bearded Katusha rider, will ride for the Russian team another year.

Giovanni Visconti will remain with Movistar for two more years.

Giovanni Visconti

Giovanni Visconti winning stage 15 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Photo ©Sirotti

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