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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

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Today's Racing

We'll not be posting any new racing results until Wednesday, when the Tour de Luxembourg starts. I'll try to get the start list up late in the day.

Giant-Alpecin & Team Liv-Plantur's upcoming races:

The team sent out this release:

RACE PREVIEW: JUNE 1 - 9

SKODA-TOUR DE LUXEMBOURG (2.HC)

The Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg starts on Wednesday with a short prologue of 2.7km that will be ideal for the punchers. Four hilly stages follow to finish in Luxembourg city on Sunday.

Following a 5th place in the GC with Tom Dumoulin (NED) and two years of absence, Team Giant-Alpecin is participating again in the Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg this year and aims for stage success with its sprinters Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) and Zico Waeytens (BEL), who showed their fast legs in yesterday's Garmin Velothon Berlin with a win for Sinkeldam and a third place for Waeytens. Both riders will be supported by a strong team which is good on hilly courses, led by experienced team captain Roy Curvers (NED).

For climbers Georg Preidler (AUT), who had a strong classics campaign, and Carter Jones (USA), who performed strongly in the queen stage at the Amgen Tour of California, it will be an opportunity to check their form on the hilly stages. Johannes Fröhlinger (GER) and Lars van der Haar (NED) will play important support roles, although the latter suffered a shoulder injury from a crash at last week's World Ports Classic, and the team hopes he will be ready for the race on time.

“With Sinkeldam and Waeytens we have two fast riders who will use their abilities in the stages that end in a bunch sprint, and we need to exploit those opportunities as we aim for stage success in Luxembourg. Curvers will have an important role in coordinating the sprint preparation.

"For the guys who are returning to competition after a period of training, we will wait and see how their shape is. Preidler and Carter are normally the guys that are good up hill so I am really curious how they will endure in the difficult stages,” said coach Addy Engels (NED).

RACE: Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg (2.HC)

DATE: 03-07/06/2015

COACH: Addy Engels (NED)

LINE-UP: Roy Curvers (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Carter Jones (USA), Georg Preidler (AUT), Lars van der Haar (NED), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL)

AUENSTEINER-RADSPORTTAGE (2.2)

On the program for this weekend is the Auensteiner-Radsporttage, starting this Friday evening with a 6.3km prologue, followed by two hilly stages on Saturday and Sunday of 96km and 127km respectively.

It will be the first participation for Team Liv-Plantur at the German stage race that has the 2.2 UCI status for the second year, and the team is heading towards Germany with high expectations. Two of the ladies who will try to realize those expectations are Amy Pieters (NED) and Sabrina Stultiens (NED). Both of them claimed a fourth place at the hilly races Boels Rental Hills Classic and Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik last weekend.

Lining up alongside Pieters and Stultiens are Floortje Mackaij (NED), who won the regional time trial championships, and Sara Mustonen-Lichan (SWE), who took third place in the Trofee Maarten Wynants, as well as Julia Soek (NED), who played an important supportive role in recent races. Claudia Lichtenberg (GER) will make her racing comeback in Auensteiner after a long period of absence due to a tough crash in Gent-Wevelgem.

“We will be heading for Auensteiner with quite high expectations. In last weekend's Hills Classic and Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, Stultiens, Pieters and Mackaij have shown very good results,” said coach Hans Timmermans (NED).

"This week they have get the opportunity to further recover from their training camp with the Dutch team in Tuscany and they will show strong form in Auensteiner. With the support of Mustonen-Lichan and Soek we will surely go to the race with ambition.

Any Pieters

Amy Pieters will be at the Auensteiner-Radsporttage

"We are pleased with the comeback of Lichtenberg, but we will have to await how her level is at the moment and we do not want to pressure her. Auensteiner is a very nice race to return to competition in her own country.

"The prologue will be decisive for the race progress in the stages thereafter. We hope to start with a strong prologue to create a good position for the difficult stages on hilly courses that follow. We rely on our own strengths and I am very confident in achieving some good results there.”

RACE: Auensteiner-Radsporttage (2.2)

DATE: 05-07/06/2015

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED)

LINE-UP: Claudia Lichtenberg (GER), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Sara Mustonen-Lichan (SWE), Amy Pieters (NED), Julia Soek (NED), Sabrina Stultiens (NED)

CRITÉRIUM DU DAUPHINÉ (WT)

Starting on Sunday, the French stage race Critérium du Dauphiné is programmed for Team Giant-Alpecin. Covering eight stages including a 24.5km team time trial, the race traditionally counts for a lot of climbing kilometers.

The team can look back at some strong results in recent editions of the Dauphiné, having won the mountain jersey in 2013 and stage 3 last year with Nikias Arndt (GER).

This year Team Giant-Alpecin heads to France with its sprinter Luka Mezgec (SLO), who took six top-10s in the Giro d'Italia. Alongside Mezgec, Lawson Craddock (USA) will be exploring his opportunities for a good GC classification or stage success in one of the mountain stages. Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Chad Haga (USA) and Simon Geschke (GER) will be the engines of the team during the team time trial, following good results in the Giro's long time trial. Caleb Fairly (USA), Thierry Hupond (FRA) and Albert Timmer (NED) complete the roster.

Luka Mezgec win stage 2 of the 2015 Tour du Haut Var

Luka Mezgec, shown winning the 2nd stage of the Haut Var, will ride the Critérium du Dauphiné

“The Dauphiné is a difficult race with many climbing kilometers as we will aim for stage result there. We are heading to France with five guys who have completed the Giro d'Italia so we have to see how their form will be. Often we see that riders who complete a Grand Tour really have a peak in their form in the week after, however sometimes the fatigue takes over so we have to see how they handle that. For some it will be a new experience, which is beneficial for their development.

"Craddock will have a protected status as we will try to have a good GC result with him. With Mezgec we have a strong sprinter for stages 1, 2 and 4, and with Geschke we will look for attacks to bring in stage success,” said coach Christian Guiberteau (FRA).

RACE: Critérium du Dauphiné (WT)

DATE: 07-14/06/2015

COACH:Christian Guiberteau (FRA)

LINE-UP: Lawson Craddock (USA), Caleb Fairly (USA), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Albert Timmer (NED)

The Orica-AIS women's team sent me this news:

Australian Gracie Elvin has claimed her first ever European victory in Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik today. The ORICA-AIS rider left fellow escapees Ellen van Dijk and Mayuko Hagiwara behind her.

The race was characterised by its short, but sharp climbs and cobbles. The rainy and windy conditions gave an even more Spring Classic like feel to the race, conditions which suit Gracie well: "I really wanted to test myself, especially since I knew the parcours suited me well: the Belgian roads and small climbs and few cobbles, I ride well with hard conditions.

"My legs didn't feel too great today, but I just kept making myself go for it and stay with the group and try and make good decisions. I just kept telling myself all day that I just had to keep going. When I attacked, it was during a good moment. When I managed to stay away with Ellen and Hagiware, I knew we were racing for the win. I was really happy with myself today, that I got it right!

"It's my first European win, so it's kind of a big deal for me and I was hoping to get one this year. It was just a long time coming so yeah I'm very happy!"

Gracie Elvin

Gracie Elvin

Though many attacks were placed during the day, all were fairly easily controlled and countered. Emma Johansson managed to place the first successful escape of the day and took the lead with a fellow rider until she was joined by teammate Gracie Elvin, and four others.

"Many teams were trying to get a breakaway up and running," says sports director Martin Barras. "We were very keen to put a lot of pressure on the race. Everything we did was to make sure we could get small groups up on the Muur. Emma put a lot of pressure on the race while driving up the Muur and that really broke the group up. From that point on we were in one strong position and we were able to take that all the way to the finish.

"We stayed on the offensive. There was a second small break, but that never really caught on. When that was brought back, that's when Gracie made her move with Ellen van Dijk and that move was decisive."

Gracie claimed ORICA-AIS' second win of the day, following Lizzie Williams who won earlier today. "Fantastic, the team did well in the spring, but didn't get any podiums and no wins. To get two in one day is pretty awesome for the whole team. The win from the other group today really helped us win as well, it was definitely motivating!" Gracie said after the finish.

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