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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Saturday, October 11, 2014

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

Coppa Sabatini

Thursday the ninth saw the Coppa Sabatini, won by Sonny Colbrelli.

Here's the Lampre-Merida statement on the race:

In the first of the three Italian races that will end the European calendar of Lampre-Merida, Niccolò Bonifazio obtained 8th place. In GP Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini, the blue-fuchsia-green team got in the top ten, but could not make the winning move despite its cyclists always beingin the heat of the race.

The most important action for Lampre-Merida were the ones that were performed by Conti and Durasek.

The Italian neo-pro attacked with other 10 riders after 43 km in the race. This breakaway struggled against the chase by the bunch for more or less 40 km, before surrendering and getting caught by the group.

Later, Durasek became protagonist during the final lap, when he attacked at 10 km to go. His attack was good, but the speed of the bunch, led by the teams of those sprinters that are at ease on the lightly rising roads, was very high and so the attempt was neutralized.

The sprint was won by Colbrelli, who could precede Finetto and Pellizotti, 8th place for Bonifazio (photo Bettini).

"Our aim was to be in every important action that would have characterized the race: we quite succeeded in doing this - sport director Maini commented - Conti was in a very good breakaway, I'm sure that this attempt could have reach the arrival if MTN-Qhubeka, that had no riders in the head of the race, had not led the chase".

Sonny Colbrelli

Sonny Colbrelli wins the 2014 Coppa Sabatini. Photo ©Sirotti

Weekend Races

In addition to the Tour of Beijing, there are three important single-day races this weekend:

Tinkoff-Saxo sent this note about the Tour of Beijing:

The Tour of Beijing is the final World Tour event of the season. Tinkoff-Saxo is bringing a motivated line-up to China to fight for some late season success despite Alberto Contador’s late withdrawal due to an injury.

The race takes place in the area around Beijing, China, and contains 5 regular stages with no individual time trials. Sport Director Fabrizio Guidi comments on Tinkoff-Saxo’s race ambitions:

“We’re bringing a strong line-up and we’ll focus on conquering a stage win as our main target. We will take each stage at a time and think out a strategy for each day and our race leader will be depending on course, weather conditions and other teams’ interests, which naturally will influence the race.  At this point of the season, motivation is a crucial factor but I’m sure everyone will give their best until the final day in Beijing.”

The first stage to Zhangjiakou will challenge the riders from the very beginning by bringing them close to 2000 meters. Much of the stage takes place above 1500 meters above sea level. According to Fabrizio Guidi, this will cause many riders to struggle.

“Stage 1 is really difficult because we’re in an altitude very close to 2,000 meters. That will be an issue, together with finding the race rhythm. Actually, the stage profile doesn’t tell the whole story. We went on the parcours and saw much of the stage and it’s really hard. There are a lot of steep ramps and small climbs and for most of the day it is up and down in, for many riders, an unknown territory”, concludes Fabrizio Guidi, who will lead the race from the team car together with Philippe Mauduit.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s line-up is: Rory Sutherland, Michael Valgren, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Jesus Hernandez, Karsten Kroon, Ivan Rovny and Manuele Boaro.

Rory Sutherland

Rory Sutherland after stage 5 of the 2014 Tour Down Under. Photo ©Sirotti

And after the first stage of the Tour of Beijing Tinkoff had this to say:

After a day in high altitudes, stage 1 of Tour of Beijing ended in a bunch sprint, where Luka Mezgec from Giant-Shimano proved to be the fastest with Tinkoff-Saxo’s Manuele Boaro finishing 17th. The stage was characterized by high speed in altitudes above 1500 meters for most of the stage. Sport Director Fabrizio Guidi says:

“Since we don’t have any pure sprinters on the team, the most important aspect for us was to adapt to racing in these altitudes and getting back into the race rhythm after having traveled to China. We’re focusing on some of the hard stages, where we have a real chance to fight for the stage win”.

Tinkoff-Saxo had five out of seven riders in the first 89-rider group; Manuele Boaro, Rory Sutherland, Ivan Rovny, Chris Juul-Jensen and the Danish champion Michael Valgren. The 167 km stage was marked by high speeds chasing a breakaway consisting of three riders. With 20 kilometers to go, the break was brought back in and a thundering pace down to Zhangjiakou forced the peloton and the fight for positions into a deadlock.

“The sprinter’s teams took control throughout the day. In the final part of the stage with the descent down to the finish line, it was simply impossible to get a better position in the peloton because of the really high pace”, explains Fabrizio Guidi and adds:

“Tomorrow is another day for the sprinters. But the guys are feeling good, we didn’t waste too much energy today and we’ll be looking forward to stage 3 on Sunday”.

And Lampre-Merida sent this release about the Tour of Beijing's first stage:

A massive sprint at the end of the 1st stage of Tour of Beijing, 167 km from Chong Li to Zhangjiakou.

The fastest cyclist on Chinese road was the Slovenian athlete Luka Mezgec, who won the stage, but Sacha Modolo too realized a good sprint, obtaining the 4th place.

The first part of the course was not completely easy, considering that the bunch covered three Kom (one of 2nd category and 2 of 3rd category); on the contrary the final sector had no difficulties and the most of the sprinters could reach Zhangjiakou in order to take part in the sprint.

Thanks to the support by the team and the precious help by Pozzato in the final kilometers, Modolo was on the wheel of the fastest rider, Mezgec, but he could not overtook the Slovenian athlete, who obtained the victory. Modolo was 4th, despite his speed was not so bad.

Unlucky stage for Nelson Oliveira, who was forced to quit the race because of an infection in the respiratory system.

"Our aim was to give to Modolo the opportunity to battle against the fastest sprinters - sport director Matxin explained - We succeeded in giving him the best possible support and Sacha was skilful in following Mezgec.

Today, he was not powerfull as Mezgez was, but I'm sure in the next stages he can only do better, because his fit will go better and better".

Sacha Modolo

Sacha Modolo winning stage five of this year's Tour of Switzerland. Photo ©Sirotti

Here's Belkin's press release with its plans for Paris-Tours:

Belkin Pro Cycling Team closes its European cycling season at Paris-Tours on Sunday, where Jos van Emden plans to end his year with a high.

“I’m still full of morale,” said Belkin’s van Emden. “I couldn’t race for a month because of an elbow fracture, but in Binche on Tuesday, things went quite well. My level was fine.”

The Dutchman finished in 13th in Wallonia. “I’ve liked Paris-Tours since I was a child. It is a kind of like Milano-Sanremo, where you think, ‘Will the break make it or not?’ That’s always the question.

“The race is heavily dependent on the weather, but if the race gets hard, I certainly would like to get in the mix. I love to race and fight, that’s how I won the Münsterland Giro last year. As I said, I’m still full of morale after my forced break, while a large part of the pack may already be thinking about vacation. That is in my favour.”

Erik Dekker is confident after Binche-Chimay-Binche and hopes his men can show themselves again on Sunday. “We start Paris-Tours with the same eight men as in Binche, where they did well,” said the sports director of Sep Vanmarcke’s fifth place on Tuesday.

“Sunday can go either way, that’s what Paris-Tours is famous for. Last year, we made our presence felt in the final with Jetse Bol, who came close to victory with a solo attack. We want to stir things up again this year. If we want to achieve something, we cannot wait.”

Team line-up: Jetse Bol, Lars Boom, Jos van Emden, Rick Flens, Jonathan Hivert, Maarten Tjallingii, Sep Vanmarcke and Robert Wagner.

Sports Director: Erik Dekker.

Jos van Emden

Jos van Emden at the 2012 Tour Down Under. Photo ©Sirotti

BMC for Paris-Tours

This came from BMC:

BMC Racing Team Roster: Paris-Tours

Past Paris-Tours winner Greg Van Avermaet headlines the BMC Racing Team's six-rider roster for Sunday's 237.5-kilometer race in France.

Riders: Luke Davison (AUS), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Steve Morabito (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Sport Director: Rik Verbrugghe (BEL)

Staff: Bus Driver: Matt Rompion (FRA). Mechanics: Peter De Bleecker (BEL), Aaron Fairley (USA). Nutritionist: Judith Haudum (AUT). Soigneurs: Chris De Vos (BEL), Gunther Landrie (BEL), Anthony Lafourte (BEL).

Greg van Avermaet

Greg Van Avermaet wins stage five of this year's Eneco Tour. Photo ©Sirotti

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