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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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

Today's Racing

Continuing through the 16th is women's 2.1-ranked La Route de France. Also the big-deal Eneco Tour is on and also runs through the 16th.

Starting today is the 2.1-rated Tour de l'Ain in France I've got the start list and race map posted. It will go through the 15th.

Chris Froome going for Tour-Vuelta double

(BBC) Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will take part in the Vuelta a Espana, the third and final Grand Tour of 2015 which starts later this month.
At the end of July the Team Sky rider, 30, became the first Briton to win the Tour twice. In Spain he will attempt to become only the 10th cyclist to win two Grand Tours in one season.

He joins Nairo Quintana of Colombia and Italian Vincenzo Nibali in a strong Vuelta field. Quintana finished second behind Froome in Paris this year and Nibali was the Tour champion in 2014. American racer Tejay van Garderen will also compete.

Chris froome

Chris Froome at this year's Dauphiné

The race starts in Puerto Banus on Saturday, 22 August and finishes three weeks later in Madrid on 13 September.

A Grand Tour refers to one of the three major European professional cycling stage races - the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana. The last man to win two in a season was Spaniard Alberto Contador, who won the Giro and Vuelta in 2008.

Only French pair Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault have ever won both the Tour and the Vuelta. The latter consists of 21 day-long stages, over a 23-day period that includes two rest days and covers more than 3,000 kilometers.

Astana extends three contracts

Astana announced that it had extended the contracts of three of its riders, Belgian Laurens de Vreese, and Ukrainians Andrei Grivko and Dmitriy Gruzdev. All three had their contracts extended through 2016. De Vreese was hired mainly to work in the service of Lars Boom.

Laurens de Vreese

Laurens de Vreese racing at the 2015 Amstel Gold Race

Liv-Plantur doing well at La Route de France

This report came from the team:

Lucy Garner (GBR) has sprinted to her first win of the season on stage 1 of La Route de France, a day after teammate Amy Pieters (NED) won the opening prologue.

Despite riding to protect the orange leader's jersey on the stage, Team Liv-Plantur was able to set Garner up in position to sprint for the stage win, and after a photo-finish the stage was awarded to the young Brit. With Pieters finishing safely in the bunch she conserved her overall race lead.

Stage 1 route de France podium

The Route de France stage 1 podium, from left: Annette Edmondson (2nd), Lucy Garner (1st) and Roxane Fournier (3rd)

Lucy Garner (GBR): "I'm really happy to have won today - it has been a hard few months with a lot of crashes for me but the team have always believed in me. The girls had trust that I could finish it off today and get the win. They worked hard for me in the final and then Amy finished it off perfectly by bringing me to the finish after fighting for position in the in the last kilometers.

"After Amy's win yesterday it is nice to keep the win within the team today as well. It was close on the line, I thought I had it but then as we came over the line I wasn't so sure. So I'm really happy to get the win." 

Team manager Hans Timmermans (NED): "After a difficult spring season, this win is a nice reward for all of Lucy's hard work in fighting back and training hard to get back into good shape. The stage itself was not that difficult and it was quite clear that it was going to be a bunch sprint. We helped control the race and then towards the end started to focus on the sprint preparation. The lead-out wasn't perfect but Amy did a good job of putting Lucy into the right position at the end.

"From here Lucy finished it off perfectly. We couldn't have asked for a better start to the race." 

Eneco Tour team reports

This came from BMC:

Bolsward (NED) - BMC Racing Team's Jempy Drucker sprinted to third place on Monday's opening stage of the Eneco Tour to notch his second straight podium finish.

Winner of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic earlier this month, Drucker followed the wheel of runner-up Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) in the last 500 meters as Elia Viviani (Team Sky) took the win.

Stage 1 sprint

Eneco Tour stage 1 sprint: it was close...

"Van Poppel's wheel was a good one and I tried to move up in the last 50 meters, but it was too short," Drucker said. "I had good speed and was feeling strong enough to come across. It was a pity that the finish line came too fast."

Sport Director Valerio Piva said it was important for the BMC Racing Team to contribute to the chase of a six-man breakaway that was eventually caught in the last 16 kilometers of the 183.5 km race.

"We put Rick Zabel on the front for some kilometers because we have two important guys for the general classification here and we did not want to give up three minutes on the first day," Piva said. "Jempy was amazing in the sprint and he had good help from Manuel Quinziato in the last kilometers."

BMC Racing Team's Daniel Oss did not take the start due to lingering injuries from a collision with a motorcycle during training last week.

Here's what Tinkoff-Saxo had to say about Eneco Tour stage 1:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s squad in Eneco Tour focused on saving energy with half of the team coming off the back of racing in Denmark and Poland, while the second part of riders aimed at getting back into race rhythm. The team supported Matti Breschel in the final sprint but a puncture in the race finale cost energy.

While Elia Viviani took the win in the bunch sprint decision, Matti Breschel lost positions on the finishing straight after having held a good position going into the last kilometer. Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Patxi Vila assesses:

“We tried to put Matti in a good place for the final sprint. That was our main objective and Trusov did a great job in the final kilometers. Matti has shown impressive signs at the Tour of Denmark with two stage wins but with 20km to go, he had a flat tire, which cost a lot of energy. The sprint was very unorganized as a whole and Matti was in a good position before the final kilometer but he had spent a bit too much energy to have that extra punch in the final 300 meters”, says Patxi Vila.

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel winning stage 5 of this year's Tour of Denmark

Stage 1 of Eneco Tour consisted of 183.5km of racing in absolutely flat terrain. Patxi Vila tells that the team was satisfied with the absence of wind on the stage.

“Half of the team was racing in Denmark and Poland just two-three days ago and a rider like Rogers hasn’t raced since the Tour. So we didn’t want to push them too much and we focused on saving energy and avoiding crashes. We had several tumbles in the later part of the stage but our guys were well positioned and none of them crashed. It can be very windy here at the Dutch coastal line, but today we had no wind and that actually suited us well, as the stage became less hard. Tomorrow, we will gradually increase the intensity, as we need to be there in the second, hard part of the Eneco Tour”, finishes Patxi Vila.

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