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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

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Today's Racing

Today's race is the Belgian one-day competition De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne.

Wiggins to Attempt World Hour Record June 7

2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will make an attempt on the World Hour Record on June 7 at the London Velodrome.

"The Hour Record is a holy grail for cyclists," said Wiggins. "It's been fought over tooth and nail by the greatest names in our sport for over a hundred years and it's time for me to have a crack at it."

Currently, the record of 52.491 kilometers is owned by Rohan Dennis, set on February 8 of this year. For comparison against earlier times, Eddy Merckx's 1972 record was 49.432 kilometers.

Since May of 2014, riders have been allowed to use modern "track endurance" equipment, basically more aerodynamic positioning and equipment (aero bars, disc wheels, etc), advantages denied or unavailable to earlier riders such as Merckx. Therefore, it is really impossible to compare current records against those attained by earlier riders.

Bradley Wiggins at the 2015 Paris-Roubaix

Bradley Wiggins riding the 2015 Paris-Roubaix, his last road race.

Wiggins is a very accomplished cyclist with seven Olympic medals. And in addition to his Tour de France victory, he has won the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011 and 2012, Paris-Nice (2012), Tour de Romandie (2012), Tour of Britain (2013), the Tour of California (2014) and the World time Trial Championship (2014).

The 34-year-old rider made this year's Paris-Roubaix his last road race so that he could concentrate on track racing with the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics his target.

UCI To Study Introduction of Disc Brakes

It looks like road racing with disc brakes is going to be approved by the UCI. They want to go through a test period first. But I think it's inevitable.

Component company FSA has a good explanation of the subject of disc brakes on racing road bikes. Click here for the explanatory web page.

Here's the UCI release on the subject:

14 April 2015: The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) announce that, following numerous consultations with different stakeholders, tests will begin this season with a view to introducing disc brakes to professional road cycling in the future.

During the 2015 UCI professional road season, all teams will have the opportunity to use bikes with disc brakes at two events of their choice during August and September. The testing will continue in 2016 at all events on the UCI professional road calendar and, if the experience is satisfactory, disc brakes will be officially introduced to the UCI WorldTour in 2017. The aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling.

UCI President Brian Cookson said: “Although disc brakes have been used for around a decade in mountain biking and for the last two years in cyclo-cross, their introduction to road cycling must be carefully studied in collaboration with all those who are directly concerned. That includes riders, teams and manufacturers. This step is part of the UCI’s desire to encourage innovation in order to ensure cycling is even more attractive for spectators, riders, bike users and broadcasters.”

Disc brake bike

It looks like road racing with disc brakes is not far away.

“The industry is delighted by this news and also thanks the UCI for the very positive collaboration. This decision will further develop innovation and create new possibilities for the bicycle industry as well as additional performance for the riders. There is still some fine tuning to do on detailed requirements for the procedure, but it is very exciting to finally have reached this decision. The remaining open topics such as neutral race support or the UCI and Teams protocol will be tackled soon,” states WFSGI Secretary General Robbert de Kock.

Further information regarding detailed procedures will be communicated at a later stage.

Team News About De Brabantse Pijl-La Flèche Brabançonne

This came from Lotto-Soudal:

On Wednesday 15th April, the 55th edition of the Flèche Brabançonne takes place. It’s the last one of the ‘Flanders Classics’ races. In the Flemish-Brabant region, the peloton gets served 26 climbs.

The start is at the Grote Markt in Leuven, the capital of the region. There after it goes straight to the first climb of the day: the Rue de Hal. This one is only the beginning of a long series of climbs. There are eleven climbs to be covered before the peloton reaches the finish line in Overijse for the first time. Among the climbs: the Alsemberg, Krabosstraat, Holstheide and the IJskelderlaan. With 70 kilometres to go, the riders will start the first of three local laps. Each lap is 23.4 kilometres long and contains five climbs. These laps are the hardest part of this race. Respectively the Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, IJskelderlaan and the Schavei will cause a natural selection in the peloton.

Lotto Soudal will start in this Europe Tour race with among others Tony Gallopin, Thomas De Gendt and Pim Ligthart. They will strive against Philippe Gilbert, last year’s winner. Also riders like Jan Bakelants, Gianni Meersman and Thomas Voeckler will probably want to show themselves.

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin will be at the Flèche Brabançonne

Sports director Bart Leysen: “With Pim Ligthart and Tony Gallopin we have got two riders in our team who have chances to set a high result in this Flèche Brabançonne, the route suits them. Tony has prepared himself for this period and Pim has rested the last ten days to recover from the first hard part of his season. Also other riders in our team could take their chance on the right moment.”

“The Flèche Brabançonne is a pretty predictable race, especially because the weather forecast is optimistic. In the first loop there shouldn’t be an escape of a big group or a group with teammates of the favourites. Probably the peloton will be still big and racing at high speed at the beginning of the 23.4 kilometres long local laps. From that moment on it will be an elimination race. Because of all the climbs on the route it will be hard to get back in the race once you had to let go.”

“I think there is only one favourite: Philippe Gilbert. BMC will have to control the race and he will be the man to beat. Besides Gilbert, Belgians like Bakelants, Meersman and foreigners Matthews and Voeckler will be present."

Team Selection for Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Thomas De Gendt, Gert Dockx, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert and Louis Vervaeke.

Sports director: Bart Leysen.

BMC's Brabantse Pijl news:

Roster: De Brabantse Pijl

Defending champion Philippe Gilbert headlines the BMC Racing Team's roster for De Brabantse Pijl Wednesday.

Riders:  Damiano Caruso (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Campbell Flakemore (AUS), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Manuel Senni (ITA), Dylan Teuns (BEL).

Sport Director: Max Sciandri (ITA)

2014 Brabanstse Pijl finsh, Philippe Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert wins the 2014 Brabantse Pijl

Giant-Alpecin's upcoming racing, including Brabantse Pijl:

RACE PREVIEW: APRIL 13 - 21 

DE BRABANTSE PIJL (1.HC)

After an extremely successful campaign in the Spring Classics, with two wins out of three 'Monument' races, the team aims for more success in the upcoming Ardennes Classics, starting with this Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl.

With a few top ten classifications in the previous editions of the Belgian one-day classic, the team comes to the race with a line-up of riders who have competed in the Spring Classics, including Roy Curvers (GER), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), and Zico Waeytens (BEL), complemented by riders that followed preparations in the Southern European stage races.

"We start the race with riders who are well-prepared for the Ardennes Classics. We hope it will become an open race as our strategy will be attacking," explained coach Rudi Kemna (NED).

"Caleb Fairly (USA) and youngster Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE) will receive the space to grow into races like Brabantse Pijl and we will try to ride a good final with Zico Waeytens."

COACH: Rudi Kemna (NED)

LINE-UP: Roy Curvers (NED), Caleb Fairly (USA), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL) 

AMSTEL GOLD RACE (WT)

Sunday's Amstel Gold Race runs 258km through the hills of Limburg as the riders will overcome 4000 climbing meters. The only UCI World Tour one-day race on Dutch ground celebrates its 50th anniversary this Sunday. Famous climbs that have to be challenged include the Cauberg, Gulpenerberg and Eyserbosweg.

After finishing sixth on the Cauberg last year, Simon Geschke (GER) will not line up for Sunday as he continues to recover from a fractured collarbone from a crash in Tirreno Adriatico (ITA).

Team Giant-Alpecin aims for a good result with Tom Dumoulin (NED) who is in excellent shape, having won last week's final stage in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. The race will start in Dumoulin's home city Maastricht before riding through his training area. To support Dumoulin in the final, the team will look to its climbers Warren Barguil (FRA) and Georg Preidler (AUT), who  recently performed well in the Vuelta Ciclista Catalunya stage race in Spain.

"Tom Dumoulin (NED) will be our man for the final as he will be joined by a talented team with the experienced Roy Curvers (NED) as team captain,” said team Aike Visbeek (NED).

"The weather forecast is looking good so I expect a traditional Amstel Gold Race that will be decided on the Cauberg. I am satisfied when we can make it among the top ten on Sunday."

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED)

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Koen de Kort (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL) 

Warren Barguil

Warren Barguil will be at the Amstel Gold Race. He's shown here in stage 16 of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana

RONDE VAN GELDERLAND (UCI 1.2)

The team has won the Ronde van Gelderland for the past three years, and once again in 2015 Team Liv-Plantur will be looking for a good result here.

The line-up of Team Liv-Plantur includes Floortje Mackaij (NED), recent winner of Gent-Wevelgem, Amy Pieters (NED) who has been on strong form since the start of this season and is now fully recovered from a recent crash in Gent-Wevelgem, as well as Lucy Garner (GBR) who is a potential podium finisher in case the race will end in a sprint.

"The Ronde van Gelderland is a race where the weather conditions have a big impact on the course. There are a lot of open areas along the route where crosswind may emerge any time," explained coach Hans Timmermans (NED).

"In the case of a difficult and windy edition we have Amy Pieters (NED) who is in very good shape right now. She will be supported by a strong team that comes fit out of the Energiewacht Tour. When the race ends in a bunch sprint we will try our chances with a good lead-out for Lucy Garner (GBR)."

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED)

LINE-UP, Amy Pieters (NED), Lucy Garner (GBR), Willeke Knol (NED), Julia Soek (NED), Sabrina Stultiens (NED), Floortje Mackaij (NED)

Fabian Wegmann, though ill, will still race Amstel Gold

This release came From Cult Energy:

The triple German road race champion, Fabian Wegmann has been suffering from a cruel influenza virus the past few weeks and it might influence his performance in the upcoming monument, Amstel Gold Race taking place 18th of April. However, the former winner of the mountain jersey in Giro d’Italia is forcing himself to remain optimistic.

“I’m so motivated for Amstel and obviously I’m a little frustrated about this illness. I’m forcing myself not to go out on the bike ´cause I know it’ll only make the condition worse but like every other passionate rider, I really want to get out there on the road. But as the doctor says, there’s nothing I can do but rest and wait,” says 34 year-old Wegmann who points to Amstel Gold Race as one of his all-time favorite races: “I love Amstel. I love the narrow roads and the long hills, the atmosphere and the big crowd on Cauberg that makes it seem like a huge sold-out stadium.

Fabian Wegmann

Fabian Wegmann

"Most times, it’s an elimination race during the first 180 kilometers where you have to make sure you conserve as much energy as possible. Entering the finale loop around Cauberg, it gets more tactical and you have to make the right split-second decisions in order to succeed. I reckon, the previous finale suited me better with the finish line at the top of Cauberg when it was mostly about legs. Moving the finish line a few kilometers provides a more tactical finish where you actually don’t have to be the strongest to win the race.”

Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Fabian Wegmann knows who to keep an eye on in the tactical finale: “I think Valverde is the biggest favorite to win the race. He’s looking very strong at the moment but Philippe Gilbert is always there to launch a fierce attack on Cauberg and if he’s having a good day, very few riders can follow him. My ambition is to be in the top-10. I still think it’s possible if I recover from this flu,” concludes Wegmann.

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