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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

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

Today's Racing

This is going to be a really busy week of road racing. Lots and lots of action!

First, the 2.1-rated Volta a Portugal continues through August 9th.

Two other races continue: the World-Tour ranked Tour of Poland, and in the U.S. the Tour of Utah will have it's second stage.

Two other stage races start today and both run through Saturday, August 8. In Denmark, there is the Post Danmark Rundt and in Spain, the Vuelta a Burgos also starts.

Taylor Phinney & Peter Stetina back racing

BMC sent this note

Logan, Utah - Taylor Phinney of the BMC Racing Team finished third Monday at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah as he made his return to competition 62 weeks after being seriously injured in a crash.

Phinney bridged to a breakaway group in the final five kilometers of the 212.5-kilometer race and led through the final corner with 500 meters to go. But the two-time U.S. national time trial champion could not hold off stage winner Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) and runner-up Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin).

"I didn't play the sprint so well," Phinney said. "I had a little bit of a gap coming out of the last corner and just hit it. I was a bit nervous I guess."

Phinney had gone 434 days without racing after fracturing his left leg and injuring his left knee in a crash at the 2014 USA Cycling national road championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The two-time U.S. national time trial champion said he "felt pretty terrible" during the cold, rain-soaked race that started and finished in Logan. But after checking in with Sport Director Jackson Stewart at the BMC Racing Team Acura RDX team car, he had a revelation.

"Jackson told me the time gap and I just put it together that the sprinter's team were working really hard," Phinney said. "With the wet, and also the tiny little climb on the circuit, it could be a good opportunity to go for it. I saw some guys attacking right before we got into town and followed some of those moves. I got a little excited."

Taylor phinney

Talyor Phinney at the 2014 Paris-Roubaix

Also making a comeback Monday was teammate Peter Stetina. He broke his right tibia and patella and five ribs in a crash with a metal post nearly 17 weeks ago at Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Stetina said he was pleasantly surprised with his performance, which saw him stay in the peloton until the finishing circuits. He crossed the line 2:55 behind the stage winner, in 103rd place.

"I sat up on the rainy finishing circuits because that is not a finish for me and I wanted to be safe," Stetina said. "I think Mother Nature was really asking me if I wanted to come back and do this. She made it tough on us. Six hours of rain is no fun. But I was on such a high just to be on my bike that I was probably more OK with it than a lot of guys."

Sport Director Jackson Stewart said he admired the performance of both Phinney and Stetina.

"It was a good day - a really good day," Stewart said. "I know Taylor wanted to win, but we will take a podium result. It has got to be good for his morale.  With Pete, we really did not expect him to finish. So it was incredible to see him come over that last climb. The fighting he did was incredible."

Christopher Juul-Jensen joins Orica-GreenEdge

Orica-GreenEdge sent out this release:

Current Danish time trial champion Christopher Juul-Jensen will ride with Australian outfit Orica-GreenEdge for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Juul-Jensen will join the team from Tinkoff-Saxo where he has proved a crucial worker for the likes of Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador, including in the team’s Giro d’Italia victory earlier this year.

The 26-year-old said he is looking forward to being involved in the versatile Orica-GreenEdge roster. “I’m very happy and excited to be joining Orica-GreenEedge for the coming two years,” Juul-Jensen said.

“Orica-GreenEdge has some of the most well respected, experienced and winning riders of the peloton as well as the biggest up and coming talent. To be part of such a group of riders is going to be an incredible experience. I want to help make a difference and have an impact wherever and whenever possible.”

Likewise, sport director Matt White is equally eager to utilise the Dane’s versatility in what will be his fifth professional season. “Chris is a very very versatile rider,” White said. “This year he has worked incredibly well for the likes of Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador at the highest level of racing, particularly the Giro and the Classics.

“We will use him in a couple of different roles. He is going to bolster our Flemish Classics department. Jens Keukeleire has obviously been a great performer for us in that area so he will be a great support to him. And what Grand Tour he does, we will wait and see the routes, but he is a guy that is ready for the Tour de France. We are evolving over time into a team that rides for general classification and he has that experience of being part of a winning team. That’s a key reason why we see him as so valuable.

“I also really believe we are far from seeing him at his best so we want to develop and give him opportunities for himself too. That’s the key to our team - we give young riders opportunities.“

Along with Juul-Jensen’s qualities on the bike, it is also his qualities off the bike that make him such a perfect fit for the Orica-GreenEdge culture.“I have always admired the team’s ability to win many races with many different riders whilst also having an incredible atmosphere surrounding the entire team,” he said. “I am sure it will be a unique squad to be a part of.

“It is obvious to see that the combination of professionalism, hard work and humour works well and it’s something I look forward to contributing to.”

White agrees. “He is certainly going to feel at home in our team,” White said. “He is a funny guy and he knows where the on and off switch is. Team culture is crucial in our recruitment decisions and there is no question he will be a valuable inclusion in that.”

Christopher Juul-Jensen

Palmares:

Giant-Alpecin's & Liv-Plantur's plans for the coming week

I received this from the teams today:

ENECO TOUR (WT)

Team Giant-Alpecin heads into the seven-day Eneco Tour without last year's third placed overall Tom Dumoulin (NED), but with a strong, opportunistic line-up capable of fighting for stage results across varied terrain.

Nikias Arndt (GER) continues here after the Tour de Pologne and will be looking towards the sprint stages, while Tour de France stage winner Simon Geschke (GER) returns to action after his successful Tour.

The team will be captained by Roy Curvers (NED), while Chad Haga (USA) and Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) will have an eye on the individual time trial on stage four. The line-up is then completed by Georg Preidler (AUT) and Albert Timmer (NED), both of whom also return to racing after Le Tour, as well as Zico Waeytens (BEL).

Tobias Ludvigsson

Tobias Ludvigsson will be at the start line of the Eneco Tour

"With Tom Dumoulin out after his crash at the Tour de France we are focusing on stage wins here both with Nikias as our sprinter and with Simon for the more difficult stages," explained coach Rudi Kemna (NED). "The last three days will be very difficult and the time trial will be decisive for the overall.

"We will see how far we can go with Tobias for the GC battle, and for this we will need to ride well together as a team, especially early on when the race starts in the north of The Netherlands where we can expect there to be a lot of wind."

RACE: Eneco Tour (WT)

DATE: 10-16/08/2015

COACH: Rudi Kemna (NED)

LINE-UP: Nikias Arndt (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL)


LA ROUTE DE FRANCE (2.1)

Team Liv-Plantur is back in stage race action this coming weekend at La Route de France, a race the team raced strongly at last season winning three stages, as well as the overall GC with Claudia Lichtenberg (GER).

Lichtenberg returns this year to defend her title with a young yet strong team expecting a hard fight over the course of the seven days of racing.

As well as aims of a strong overall result, the team can also look towards targeting the sprint stages with Lucy Garner (GBR) and Amy Pieters (NED), both of whom are able of finishing well on the fast bunch finishes.

Amy Pieters

Amy Pieters will be at the Route de France

"In Claudia we have a serious contender for the overall, being last year's winner," coach Hans Timmermans (NED) told us ahead of the race. "There's a strong field here again this season so we expect a hard race but it should be a very good one.

"In the sprint stages we have Amy and Lucy who can score well there, and then I expect the stage finish up La Planche des Belles Filles to be where the differences are made for GC. Hopefully Claudia can hold her own here, and we will be supporting her in this."

RACE: La Route de France (2.1)

DATE: 09-15/08/2015

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED)

LINE-UP: Lucy Garner (GBR), Willeke Knol (NED), Claudia Lichtenberg (GER), Amy Pieters (NED), Julia Soek (NED), Molly Weaver (GBR)

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