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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Friday, May 1, 2015

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Today's Racing

Three races today, the sixth stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey and the fourth stage of the Tour of Romandie and the first stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Eschborn-Frankfurt Race Cancelled

One of Germany's big races, the 2015 Eschborn-Frankfurt: Rund um den Finanzplatz, scheduled to be run today has been cancelled.

Reuters made this report:

Police in southern Germany have thwarted a planned Islamist attack after detaining a married couple with suspected links to Salafist militants, the interior minister of the state of Hesse said on Thursday.

“Investigations by the police indicate that we have been able to prevent a terrorist attack,” Peter Beuth, the interior minister of Hesse, told reporters. “This incident shows that must all remain very alert.”

Beuth did not give details about specific attack targets.

Confirming a report by Die Welt newspaper, he said the couple were detained in Oberursel, near the financial center Frankfurt, and were suspected of links to Salafist Islamist militants.

German police were due to give more details of the operation in a news conference scheduled for 4.30 p.m. (1430 GMT).

Die Welt identified the couple by their first names and initial – Halil and Senay D. The newspaper’s website said Halil had links to the Salafist scene in Frankfurt and the al Qaeda network. It did not identify the source for its report.

The newspaper said police found explosives, material for making bombs, an assault rifle and ammunition at their home, though the interior minister did not confirm these details.

Police investigate tgerror threat

Police comb the suspected terrorists' home.

Police began surveillance after the couple bought large quantities of chemicals that could be used to make home-made bombs and started using false names, Die Welt said.

And here is the press release from the Hesse State Office of Criminal Investigation:

Wiesbaden (ots) – As announced at a press conference at the police headquarters West Hessen, were a male and a female person provisionally arrested this morning in Oberursel. There is a concrete suspicion that the people planned an attack and prepared. A subsequent search of Houses and apartments of those arrested in Oberursel bulk objects were seized, which confirm these suspicions. In addition to an apparently functional pipe bomb, about 100 rounds of ammunition, various materials and chemicals, suitable for construction of additional explosives found. A planned stop potential target is not known, but there were significant overlaps between route of the cycling race around the financial center Eschborn-Frankfurt and motion profile of the arrested persons. The question of whether other explosive devices were produced and are in circulation is not fully understood. The investigation for possible accomplices are still ongoing.

Due to the currently still unclear threat situation and the respect for tomorrow’s cycling this event had to be canceled for safety reasons. Many people are looking forward, as many years, to tomorrow’s tradition event. But with all sporting attraction – because of the risk evaluation and the fact that at the moment still too many questions remain open, the security is essential at this time!

It was this press release from Cult Energy that alerted me to the threat:

The German one-day race, Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn in Frankfurt has been cancelled after the police arrested two people for planning terror actions during the race. Cult Energy Pro Cycling should have participated in the race but will now be heading home.

DS, Michael Skelde says: “Naturally, this is shocking news to all of us. We have the deepest respect for the decision to cancel tomorrow’s race and we’re only thankful and grateful that the race didn’t end in a terrible disaster for both the many spectators, the organizers and the riders.”

CULT Energy Pro Cycling were to participate with Fabian Wegmann, Christian Mager, Michael Carbel, Mads Pedersen, Michael Reihs and Troels Vinther.

While that was going on, there was still racing happening elsewhere:

Tour de Romandie Reports

This from Orica-GreenEdge:

Yesterday’s stage winner Michael Albasini has made it two in a row at the Tour de Romandie, winning stage three in Porrentruy this afternoon. The three-time 2014 stage winner was ably supported by a committed Orica-GreenEDGE outfit for much of the day, including in the final stages by 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege champion Simon Gerrans.

The victory extends Albasini’s overall lead in the UCI WorldTour event to 20 seconds, Orica-GreenEDGE also with Italian Ivan Santaromita (2nd) and Briton Simon Yates (4th) in the top four.

“First of all we have to realise what my team did for me today,’ Albasini said. “They really drove strong in the first half of the race and in the final even Santaromita was around to make sure nobody was riding away. Then I had one of the best riders in the bunch lead me out, so I just had to win it.”

Asked if he believed he could pull off his fifth stage victory in two years, the 34-year-old said he was confident. “Sure,” Albasini said. “I knew the two consecutive climbs, they were really hard and most of the really fast guys wouldn’t survive them so I knew I would be one of the faster guys left. Then the team did everything for me to make a sprint.”

michael Albasini

Michael Albasini is in good form this Spring.

For sport director Neil Stephens, it was the complete team contribution that proved most satisfying. “It’s a nice situation when you have had a win and you have the jersey, all the other teams expect you to ride, you do it, and you win,” Stephens said. “They gave it everything, sure they are tired now but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone had a piece of the stage win today and Gerrans was the one who did the last kilometre.

“Those last couple of climbs were really hard and Gerro was actually 20seconds off the back of the bunch on the last hard climb, the second last climb of the day, and he fought his way back.  Then in the final Albasini was shadowing everywhere Simon took him and it’s great to see Simon back in good form and doing the right thing for the team.”

As racing got underway, Orica-GreenEDGE took position at the head of the peloton in defence of the yellow jersey worn by Albasini courtesy of yesterday’s victory.

Kristof Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing), Cheng Ji (Team Giant Alpecin) and Brian Bulgac (Team Lotto-Jumbo) established the day’s break and were allowed over eight minutes advantage in the first 30km before the Australian outfit lifted their intensity to start to eat into their advantage.

With 67 of the 173 km stage remaining, riders made their first passage through the finish line before embarking on a large lap that contained three classified climbs. The advantage to the lead trio was less than three minutes.

Movistar joined Orica-GreenEDGE’s chase efforts and with a little under 50km remaining the race was back together. Despite countless attempts to snap the elastic, including by serious general classification contenders, the race remained all-but together for the remainder of racing.

Tomorrow’s fourth stage continues with another punchy parcours, including two classified climbs in the final 30km into the finish town of Fribourg.

In other news, after the elation of yesterday’s stage win courtesy Michael Albasini, Orica-GreenEDGE received confirmation that Canadian champion Svein Tuft suffered injuries from a crash that will rule him out of the Giro d’Italia. Tuft crashed at the back of the peloton yesterday having collected bottles for his teammates. He was able to remount and complete the stage but was later sent to hospital for assessment.

Scans have revealed a minor wrist fracture and injured sternum and at the recommendation of medical staff, the team will take a cautious approach to his recovery.

Tinkoff-Saxo is looking forward to Romandie's Saturday stage:

Tinkoff-Saxo turns towards especially Saturday’s mountain stage after another day of undulating racing in Tour de Romandie, where Michael Albasini once again edged out his rivals in the final sprint.

Best-placed Tinkoff-Saxo rider on stage 3 was Ivan Rovny, who finished the day as 13th. According to team sports director Bruno Cenghialta, Tinkoff-Saxo performed as expected but couldn’t find the opening against an Orica-GreenEdge team asserting its control over the pack during the 173km stage to Porrentruy.

"We had a very good day, the guys raced very well. Orica-GreenEdge had a strong control of the race and as a result, it played out without any surprises. There weren't any opportunities to create a situation and at the end we had a bunch finish of nearly 80 riders”, says Bruno Cenghialta and adds: “Our squad showed good form on the climbs and I'm satisfied with the way they raced. Friday and Saturday will be very important stages and I feel confident that we can have two good days. Tomorrow there are a few climbs but being fast ones the strong teams will be able to control and impose a strong pace. I think that we could very well see another bunch finish with 50-60 riders”.

Peloton

The peloton rolls through Romandie in stage three.

Bruno Cenghialta especially eyes opportunities on Saturday’s queen stage with team leader Rafal Majka showing definite signs of a mounting shape.

“Saturday will be a demanding day with 4-5 tough climbs and everything will be in Rafal's favor. It will be a stage for the riders that have legs and we have the motivation to achieve a good result. If you win the stage or if you do very well on Saturday, you can advance a lot in the GC”, finishes Bruno Cenghialta.

Lampre-Merida's Romandie report:

Rui Costa was very close once again to the podium, obtaining the 4th place in the 3rd stage of the Tour de Romandie, after that he had collected the 4th position in the Amstel Gold Race and in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the 5th place in yesterday stage.

In the the third stage of the Tour de Romandie, the bunch moved from Moutier to Porrentruy (173 km), climbing two 2nd category Kom and two 3rd category Kom, the last one at 29 km to go.

Lampre-Merida was remarkable for the group spirit and for the way all the blue-fuchsia-green riders covered the climbs pedaling in the head position of the bunch. The team was also very incisive in supporting Rui Costa in the approach to the final sprint of the selected group of 80 riders.

Romandie panorama

Another shot of the peloton riding through Romandie

Rui was slowed by a bad approach of Haas to the final bend, he tried to raise again the speed of his Merida Reacto and he could obtain the 4th place, behind Albasini, Alaphilippe and Caruso.

"Today too the stage ended in a sprint, not of a bunch but of a 80 riders group - Rui Costa explained - The team helped me to be in the head position in the approach of the last kilometer and when I was in the final 1000 meters I tried to follow the wheel of Albasini, who was the favourite rider, but it was not simple because the battle involved manby riders. Albasini demonstrated again that he's now the most competitive cyclist in this kind of arrival, but I'm also satisfied because I did the best I could do, even if the 3rd place would have been better."

Tour of Turkey Reports

This from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo got within approximately ten meters of the win in Tour of Turkey after team sprinter Michael Kolar had opened the uphill sprint with 350m to go and made the gap. Instead it was Sacha Modolo, who took the win with Jay McCarthy and Kolar coming in 3rd and 4th. Despite the disappointment, Kolar notes that there’s reason to be pleased.

After Jay McCarthy got caught just before the finish line on stage 4, it was Michael Kolar’s turn to get even closer on stage 5 to Pamukkale. The Slovak showed power as he started his uphill sprint with 350m to the line, put distance to the other sprinters and nearly held out to the line. After the stage, Kolar , however, comments that he started his sprint just a little too early.

“It was an uphill sprint and we had headwind, which made it harder. I went with more than 300 meters to go and I guess I was eager to start the sprint. I felt good and I had the legs but I was a bit too impatient. I think it was an unwise move and I should have waited a little longer. There were some riders attacking and making gaps so I thought I might surprise and I also managed to create the gap. If I would have waited just a few meters I believe I would have won. So naturally I’m disappointed with how the finish went, as I felt that I had the power today”, says Michael Kolar, who notes that he is still very satisfied with the progress made in 2015.

“I showed power again today, which is a good sign. Like my DS Nicki Sørensen has said, I’ve made big improvements in my condition and the way I’m going at the moment. Being there in a stage like this is something I wouldn’t have been able to in previous years, so for that I’m really happy. I feel it’s going the right way and for me, right now, I’m waiting for the last stage in Istanbul, while making sure everyday that I learn from my mistakes. I’m really happy that the team fully believes in me, which is great, but also Jay’s shape is really good, so tomorrow will be a very exciting day”.

Stage 5 took the riders 160 kilometers, mostly in altitude above 800m, before barreling down towards Pamukkale, where the road kicked up just before the finish line. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) edged out Michael Kolar on the final meters, while Jay McCarthy came fast from behind to grab 3rd place. Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Nicki Sørensen underlines that the squad executed the team strategy well.

Sacha modolo wins Tour of Turkey stage 5

Sacha Modolo wins Tour of Turkey stage 5

“It was really close today and the team did well once again. They stuck to the script and adapted to the changes we made during the stage. Jay McCarthy and Michael Kolar are getting more and more hungry to get that stage win, which is a good situation, since their shape is there. Kolar opened the sprint just a little to soon but he shouldn’t be too hard on himself, as he has indeed added a lot to his abilities as a rider. Today, he opted for a long sprint, in uphill terrain, which makes it even harder and he showed good power. He will definitely get the chance on the final stage to Istanbul again”, explains Nicki Sørensen.

“Tomorrow, we are all in for Jay McCarthy, who sits 4th in the GC. I reckon that he has the shape and motivation to do a fine result, while a guy like Pavel Brutt can seek out opportunities in the breakaway”, finishes Sørensen.

Stage 6 to Selcuk features 184 kilometers before the riders hit a steep 1st category uphill finish.

in 2nd place in the standings but with 22" seconds behind the leaders.

In Women's Racing, the Czech Gracia Orlová Tour is being run. This came from Velocio Sports:

Stramberk, Czech Republic, 30 April 2015 - Velocio-SRAM's Alena Amialiusik has started Gracia Orlová tour in great fashion by winning stage one today from Orlová to Stramberk. Amialisuik won solo, two seconds ahead of Brzezna-Brentkowsk (Pacific Nestle) in second place and Bujak (City Ljubljana) in third.  Team mate Trixi Worrack finished in fourth position on the stage, also only two seconds behind to produce a strong result for Velocio-SRAM.

Alena Amialisuik

Alena Amialiusik wins stage of the Gracia Orlova Tour

Amialiusik, the Belarusian National Champion benefited from a strong team showing that led her into the final hill top finish in the town of Stramberk. "It was a great finish because from five kilometres left to go I had all of my team mates in front of me," said Amialiusik. "Trixi led me for the last kilometre and I started my sprint around 300m to go on the cobbled uphill finish. I'm very happy with the stage win," she added.

The 101.2 kilometre stage took in five climbs and although the peloton did split on several occasions it came back together after each climb. More than 70 riders were in the front group coming to the finish as the Velocio-SRAM team set up Amialiuisk for victory.

Team Director Sportif Beth Duryea was very pleased with the efforts of each rider today. "The girls raced well and appeared in control throughout the stage. Team captain Lisa Brennauer made the call towards the final to lead Alena into the final hill top finish and every rider was there to contribute to the stage win. We are looking forward to the upcoming stages," said Duryea.

Stage two tomorrow is 100 kilometres around Lichnov and includes three climbs before another short uphill finish.

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