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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Sunday, June 28, 2015

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Upcoming Racing

This is national championship week, though some countries hold their championships earlier in the year. I've got the 2015 national championship pagegoing and update it at least a couple of times a day.

On July 4th, the Tour de France and the Tour of Austria (Osterreich Rundfahrt) begin.

Jurgen Van den Broeck Belgian TT Champ

Lotto-Soudal sent this note:

Yesterday Jurgen Van den Broeck won the time trial at the Belgian Championships. The Lotto Soudal rider needed 58’32” to cover the course of 48.8 kilometres. Yves Lampaert was 42 seconds slower and won the silver medal, Kristof Vandewalle was third at 1’07”.

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “This feels good. I gave it all, right from the start, that was the best you could do on that course. It was almost all straight ahead and there was not much wind. Those long straight roads might have been mentally hard for some riders. You could never recover. I live close to the course. It wasn’t a big advantage that I knew it very well, but it might have been a small advantage in the few curves. Anyhow, it was very motivating. I set the best times at the intermediate time checks, there were about three riders behind me that could still threaten me, so I wasn’t sure yet but I started dreaming.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck and Andre Greipel

Before the Giro start: Jurgen Van den Broeck (Right) and André Greipel at a press conference.

“In the Tour de Romandie and Giro I rode a good time trial and that’s why this championship was a goal, you can always do more close to home as well. In the time trial you only depend on yourself. The last races I have been a bit unlucky, this victory is good for my confidence. I have been asked already several times what the reason is of my strong time trials this year, but I don’t know. I won’t think about it too much and just want to keep it this way (laughs). It will be a special feeling to put on the jersey for the time trials.”

Emma Johansson does Swedish champs double

This came from Orica-AIS:

Swede Emma Johansson has completed another national double, successfully defending her road race championship today to back up the time trial championship she won on Wednesday. The victory is Johansson’s 12th Swedish championship – five in the road race and seven in the time trial.

The 31-year-old expected one of the toughest races of the year as the solo Orica-AIS representative lining up against teams with numbers, but the 2015 Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria champion dominated the 124km race. Johansson spent 100km up the road – initially with Moa Johansson for company before she attacked and rode the final 50km alone.

“I’m more than happy, I’m relieved,” Johansson said after a tiring ride. “With all my other results, it might not make sense that this is a really important one for me, but it is. It’s one thing to win the time trial, but this is even better. There are more things that come into play here – tactics, technical difficulties, luck.

“Another year in the blue and yellow jersey means a lot to me. I’m very attached to it and I’m quite relieved that I can keep it for another year.”

The course featured three larger laps, which included a climb, before concluding with four laps of a 6.4km smaller circuit. Initially part of a strong three-ride break that was brought back by the peloton, Johansson then surprised her main rivals to bridge across to a solo move by Moa Johansson.

“The first time up the hill, three of us rode away,” Johansson said. “It was me, Sara (Mustonen-Lichan) and Hanna (Nilsson) - the three on the podium today and actually the three on the podium at the time trial too. But the peloton caught us back. There were some attacks after that, and Moa went away alone. She got quite a big gap actually.

Emma johansson

Emma Johansson

“I attacked before the hill started (on the second lap). Sara and Hanna were out of position. I think they were surprised that I attacked when I did. It was much earlier than I went on the lap before. I rode really hard the whole hill, and I caught Moa on the hill. I rode together with her from there.”

The peloton were left to battle it out for minor positions relatively early in the race as Johansson proved too strong for all.

“When I passed the finish line after the last big lap, then we had four laps of 6.4km,” Johansson explained. “From that (point), I rode on my own. (The peloton) never caught any more time on me. It was 1’40, 1’50 all the way to the finish line on the last lap. I was sort of sure about the win when I came in for the little laps, but I didn’t know it until then.”

Matti Breschel out of Danish champs

Tinkoff-Saxo had to be unhappy about this release:

Former Danish champion Matti Breschel will unfortunately not participate in Sunday's Danish national road race championship after the Tinkoff-Saxo rider was hit by a car on Friday while training. Medical examinations revealed that Breschel has sustained several bruises and hemorrhages, mainly to his legs, and possibly damaged ligaments in his knee after the frontal accident.

After being discharged from the hospital in Denmark, where examinations didn't reveal any fractures, Breschel remained somewhat hopeful that he would be able to recover sufficiently ahead of Sunday's championship, where he was expected to play a key role. However, after reevaluating the extent of his injuries on Saturday, Breschel and Lars Michaelsen, sports director at Tinkoff-Saxo, decided to pull the former champion from the race.

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel earlier this year at Paris-Nice

"I'm really sad not to take part in the national championship. It's a real pity to lose momentum and the opportunity to take part in this race, where we ride to keep the champion's jersey in the team. I'm disappointed and a bit angry that some people don't pay attention while driving but I have to look ahead, recover and focus on the fact that nobody was severely harmed", says Matti Breschel, who adds about the accident:

"I was out scooter-training on secluded roads on Sjælland in Denmark behind my father on the scooter, when an oncoming car cut a corner and drove right into us. The driver had ten seconds to notice us but that obviously didn't happen. I slammed directly into the scooter but it was a bit worse for my father, who broke his collarbone. In any case, I hope my teammates can secure a great result and fly the colors of Tinkoff-Saxo on the highest step of the Danish podium. I look forward to resuming racing again as soon as possible."

Tinkoff-Saxo starts the Danish national championship with Michael Valgren, Michael Mørkøv, Chris Juul-Jensen and Chris Anker Sørensen.

Lampre-Merida's news about its riders at National champs

After the success of Nelson Oliveira in Portugal, Lampre-Merida celebrates another victory in the TT thanks to Tsgabu Grmay. The African champion of the time trial won the Ethiopian championship. On a 30 km course in Jimma, Grmay obtained the 3rd national title in the TT, giving to Lampre-Merida its 18th seasonal success.

In the Italian road championship, 219 km from Legnano to the summit arrival on Superga hill (two passages), Diego Ulissi demonstrated he was a fighter, obtaining 3rd place behind Nibali and Reda.

Lampre-Merida's cyclist surrendered only to an attack from Nibali when they were 2 km from the finish, after he had succeded in replying to the Nibali's attacks in the first passage on Superga hill and in the descent.

Diego Ulissi

Diego Ulissi wins stage 7 of this year's Giro d'Italia

The Ulissi's fight was a good one, considering that in a week Nibali will be in the Tour de France trying to defend the yellow jersey he had won in the 2014 edition. Good performance by Conti too: he was 10th.

"My condition is good and I like this course, where I won one Milano-Torino - Ulissi explained - Unfortunately for me, Nibali is at the top of his form and he's ready to face the Tour de France, so he deserved the victory. I completed a long period of racing; obtaining the podium and being satisfied with having tried to do my best to obtain a top result in today's race."

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