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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Sunday, August 2, 2015

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

Today's Racing

Lots of racing today!

Thre are two stage races, The 2.1-rated Volta a Portugal is on and continues through August 9th. Also, the World-Tour ranked Tour of Poland starts today.

For 1-day races there is the RideLondon & Surrey Classic, the CDM-ranked Sparkassen Giro in Germany, and the Polynormande in France.

Clásica de San Sebastián team reports

BMC looking for redress after Van Avermaet accident:

Greg van Avermaet was off the front in the Clásica de San Sebastián's final kilomters when he was taken down by one of the follow motorcycles. Today BMC issued this statement:

Santa Rosa, California - BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz has issued a statement following Saturday's crash by a "radio tour" motorbike that took down Greg Van Avermaet while he was leading Clasica San Sebastian.

"Greg was robbed and the BMC Racing Team was robbed when this happened. I am appalled that this could occur in a WorldTour race.

"This is the second time this year we have had an incident with a local organizer of a WorldTour race where they have acted in a scandalous fashion. The UCI has been nowhere in this to resolve the problem. This comes back to safety issues in races where the local organizer of WorldTour events and the UCI are negligent in providing a safe racing environment.

"This was not a sporting incident. This was caused by pure negligence, which cost the team millions of dollars in lost publicity. Therefore, we plan to explore every legal option available to us."

Greg van avermaet crash

Greg van Avernaet crashed by race moto

Orica-GreenEdge was much happer than BMC:

22-year-old Adam Yates has claimed his first UCI WorldTour victory at Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian today. Just six days after completing his first Tour de France, the 2014 Tour of Turkey champion crossed the line in surprise as he confirmed he had in fact won the biggest race of his young career.

Attacking from the peloton on the final climb with just ten kilometres to go, the noise of the crowd prevented Yates from confirming his position on the road with Orica-GreenEDGE staff as he approached the finish line.

“Incredible,” Yates said. “I won, but I didn’t know I had won.”

“I spoke on the radio to my sport director but because of the crowds the radio was too quiet.

“On the final climb there was a breakaway still up the road. Then there was a lot of carnage on the climb, there was a crash with a motorbike, and so I just went full gas.

“At the time I didn’t know if I had reached the lead or not.”

2015 San Sebatian podium

2015 podium, from left: Philippe Gilbert, Adam Yates and Alejandro Valverde

Yates returned to the Spanish one-day race 12-months after riding himself into a winning position over the final climb only to crash and suffer concussion on the final descent to the line.

The British rider also crashed at the Tour of the Basque Country not far from the area earlier in the season so was thrilled to redeem some unfinished business.

“For sure this is the biggest win of my career,” Yates said. “And it’s my first victory this year.”

“In 2014 I went to the Tour of Basque Country got sick and crashed, last year's San Sebastian I crashed and this year's Tour of Basque Country I crashed again. Normally when I come here I don’t do anything, just crash. It’s fantastic, hopefully I can come back next year and defend my title.”

Sport director Neil Stephens praised Yates’ professionalism to ensure a quick turnaround from the Tour de France.

“Coming into the last 20km we had five riders still in the race,” Stephens said. “Pieter Weening said he was OK but that he would do the work. He was able to get Adam to a really good position and from there Adam just showed he is in phenomenal form.”

“The TV coverage went down so no one could see but (Philippe) Gilbert and (Alejandro) Valverde were talking to our staff members at the podium and they said it was unbelievable. When he went there was just no response and that was it.

“As soon as the Tour de France finished last week, Adam’s preparation for the San Sebastian started. He has been really focused in training and the way he has looked after himself and he deserves the win.”

How it unfolded: A group of eight riders formed the initial move of the day but their advantage was kept in check by Team Movistar so never looked threatening for the win. With 60km to go, the leaders hit the Alto de Jaizkibel climb for the second time with an advantage of just two minutes. Behind, the counter attacks began.

The initial counter involved four riders, before a further group of six also took off. The majority of the moves joined together in front to make a new lead group of 16 riders. Team Katusha joined Movistar for the chase in the peloton and with around 30km to go the race was back together.

Another group of nine riders escaped prior to the final climb but shredded on the ascent whilst others were hindered by a motorbike accident. An attack from the peloton by Adam Yates saw the ORICA-GreenEDGE rider crest the peak with a narrow lead.

With the chase group playing cat and mouse behind, Yates held on for a 15-second solo victory.

Here's BMC's San Sebastian report:

San Sebastian - BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert took the sprint for runner-up honors Saturday at Clasica San Sebastian after teammate Greg Van Avermaet's bid for victory ended when a TV motorcycle crashed him out of the race.

Van Avermaet attacked on the last climb of the 219-kilometer race and had 15 seconds over his chasers with 600 meters to go when the TV moto ran into him from behind.

"It was a steep climb and the moto driver was too close to me," Van Avermaet said. "He ran right into the back of my bike. My frame was broken and my back wheel was broken. So the race was over for me. I don't know know what the moto driver was thinking. He did not say anything to me. Maybe he just gave it a little too much gas and ran into me."

While Van Avermaet was stopped, eventual race winner Adam Yates (ORICA-GreenEDGE) made his own attack. Yates held off Gilbert's chase group to win by 15 seconds. But he did not initially celebrate because he was unaware Van Avermaet had been forced to stop. Spanish national road champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) finished third.

"The bad thing is that I think I could have won the race," Van Avermaet said. "I had a big gap. Maybe Yates could have come back, but I think I still could have been there in the sprint. It is not every year you can win a classic like San Sebastian. So this is really disappointing.

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois called the incident between the moto and Van Avermaet "unacceptable."

"We are not at all happy with this," Ledanois said. "Greg had a good gap. If this does not happen, he wins the race and Philippe finishes second. No information was given on the radio about the crash, so we did not even know it had happened."

BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz also did not mince words when informed about the crash. Live TV coverage was interrupted by technical problems and did not show any of the incident.

"Where is the UCI in all of this?" Ochowicz asked, referring to the sport's governing body.

Gilbert's runner-up result was his second in four days. He was also second on the final stage of Tour de Wallonie Wednesday after winning Stage 3 on Monday. The incident with the moto was not the only strange part of the day, the past world road champion said.

"On the main climb of the day, we had Damiano Caruso in the break with 16 riders and I decided to bridge to this group," Gilbert said. "I was thinking this was a good move because everyone was pulling. But suddenly, everyone stopped pulling and the main group came back at the bottom of the last climb. The good thing is that I did not have to fight to be in a good position there because I was already in the front."

Gilbert credited another teammate, Samuel Sánchez, for helping him regain contact as small groups chased Yates on the downhill run-in to the finish.

"There was a small difference between the groups and I saw Samuel ahead," Gilbert said. "He told me before the race that if he was there in this situation, he would pull for me. So that was nice and he really helped me."

Tinkoff-Saxo sent this update:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s race captain Roman Kreuziger proved that he has maintained his shape after heavy racing in July, as he scaled the final, steep climb with the favorites and finished in the first group behind the winner of Clásica San Sebastián Adam Yates.

Roman Kreuziger went over the final climb of Bordako Tontorra together with a select group of favorites before a tactical deadlock meant that the group merged with the reminder of the main bunch going into the finishing straight. In the sprint for 2nd place, Kreuziger finished 13th, which does not bear witness to his strength on the day, asserts Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Patxi Vila.

“Roman went over the top of the final very steep climb together with the favorites such as Valverde and Rodriguez and tried to bridge over to Yates together with Uran on the final kilometers. Unfortunately the group couldn’t agree and his group of a few riders was finally caught by the bigger group coming from behind. Then we saw a crash in the final sprint and Roman’s position was affected so he finished 13th in the end”, says Patxi Vila before adding about the effort made.

“I saw how he raced in the finale and how he did the last climb. I think he deserved something more, he was among the strongest seven riders on the final climb, but the finish line is the finish line and you can’t really argue with the final result. As a team, we worked pretty well and did a good race, where we stuck to the plan. We were aiming for a top five or podium position so we can’t be totally satisfied”.

Clásica San Sebastián 2015 consisted of 219 undulating kilometers in hilly Basque terrain. Tinkoff-Saxo had Manuele Boaro in the early breakaway but the squad found itself trailing going into the finale.

Manuele Boaro

Manuele Boaro wins the fourth stage of this year's Tour de Sarthe

“Boaro did a really, really good job and was in the breakaway for 180 kilometers. The idea was to have a guy out front and that worked well until it was caught and another front breakaway group was formed. We didn’t have anybody in that group so we were basically in a position, where we had to send Chris Juul to the front of the bunch. He pulled hard and Roman was delivered to the bottom of the final climb in a good position. Sometimes it doesn’t play out the way you want, but I still take some very good signs home from this race”, finishes Patxi Vila.

Phinney and Stetina return to racing at Utah

BMC sent this good news:

Santa Rosa, California - Taylor Phinney and Peter Stetina have announced their return to the BMC Racing Team Monday at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

Phinney has been sidelined 62 weeks since fracturing his left leg and injuring his left knee in a crash at the 2014 USA Cycling national road championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Stetina has not raced since early April when he broke his right tibia and patella and five ribs in a crash near the finish of Stage 2 at Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Taylor Phinney

Taylor Phinny racing at the 2014 Tour of Flanders

Dr. Max Testa said: "Taylor has been working very hard to get to where he is now and believes that he is ready to race. The team has no expectations of him. He will test his condition to see where his knee is and what kind of condition he has. From this race, he can gauge what the rest of the season may look like."

Stetina has also been working extremely hard in his recovery, according to Dr. Testa. "All of the doctors who have seen Peter cannot believe his determination," he said. "He did not want to miss this opportunity to return to racing in the U.S. The team will not put any pressure on him, either. He will have to take the race one stage at a time and see how he feels."

Besides Phinney, who won two stages of the Tour of Utah in 2010, the BMC Racing Team's roster also includes past stage winners Brent Bookwalter (2009) and Michael Schär (2014) and last year's "king of the mountains" classification champion, Joey Rosskopf.

Riders: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Taylor Phinney (USA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Peter Stetina (USA)

Sport Director: Jackson Stewart (USA)

Rasmus Guldhammer targeting GC at Tour of Denmark

This note came from Cult Energy:

Rasmus Guldhammer joined Cult Energy Pro Cycling prior to the 2015 season and on several occasions in the first months of the year, he finished in the top-5 without climbing the top step of the podium. Now, he’s back in Denmark to compete in the Tour of Denmark and he’s looking forward to meeting the Danish crowd and he has big personal ambitions:

“I spent all of July in Italy training for the Tour of Denmark. I know the area down there really well, I know the roads and climbs so I haven’t spent much time looking at maps in order to find proper training terrain. However, in the first few days of my build-up, I suffered from stomach flu but I’ve become stronger each day since then and right now, I feel in peak shape for the Tour of Denmark. I haven’t raced for a month but I guess it’s only a matter of a few kilometers in the peloton before the body remembers what to do,” 26-year-old Guldhammer grins and pinpoints the crucial stages of the race.

"It’s probably the hardest Tour of Denmark ever and it’s not only the time trial and the queen stage to Vejle where the time gaps can be made. If the Danish summer shows its gruesome side, the first two stages might be crucial for the overall outcome but seconds can be gained and lost on the short fourth stage as well. All in all, you simply have to pay attention and stay alert at all times during this Tour of Denmark if you want to make a good overall result. And that’s what I’m going for.”

Rasmus Guldhammer

Rasmus Guldhammer

Road racing runs in the Guldhammer family where both big brother Thomas, his father Michael and grand father John Guldhammer have all been among the best Danish riders of their time. Tradition and belonging is important for Rasmus and competing in the biggest Danish event on the streets of your childhood is a unique experience for all riders:

“Naturally, stage three in and around Vejle is especially significant. It’s up and down throughout the day on narrow roads and steep climbs and most riders know and nourish a special amount of respect for the local lap. Vejle is my hometown and it’s always a special feeling racing in the streets where you did your first pedal strokes. It would be fantastic and quite emotional to win that stage. However, I’m aware that the peloton matches the course rather well. It’s a difficult course and a strong field. In my book, the biggest favorite to win overall is Edvard Boasson-Hagen. He’s strong on the short, steep climbs and he can time trial really well. But we have a powerful and hungry team and we’re all eager to win on home ground," Guldhammer concludes.

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