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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Thursday, October 8, 2015

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Racing schedule:

Today there two one-day races: Paris-Bourges and Coppa Sabatini. Also there is a new stage race, the Abu Dhabi Tour, which also begins today and runs through Sunday, the 11th.

After that, on Saturday the 10th, the venerable and important Giro dell'Emilia will be run.

Michele Ferrari wants to ban "The Program" in Italy

The movie "The Program" is based on Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by journalist David Walsh. The book tells the story of Walsh's efforts to reveal the truth of Lance Armstrong's doping.

The movie is about to start its Italian distribution and Michele Ferrari, who is currently under a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling for his part in Armstrong's doping, is trying to prevent the film being shown in Italy.

Ferrari's main objection is a scene that shows him giving Armstrong an injection of EPO, which Ferrari vehemently denies ever doing.

This should be interesting.

The Program poster

The Program's poster

Riis Buying Saxo Tinkoff-Back?

The Danish Paper Ekstra Bladet says the Bjarne Riis is negotiating with Oleg Tinkoff to buy his old team back. Riis still has the backing of Saxo Bank, so presumably, he can find the dough to pull it off. Riis sold the Tinkoff-Saxo team to Oleg Tinkoff in 2013 and the next year Tinkoff fired Riis from his manager's job.

Oleg Tinkoff is denying that the team is in play, but if paid enough, he would part with the team.

This too should remain an interesting story for a while.

Oleg Tinkoff

Oleg Tinkoff at the end of the 2015 Giro d'Italia

Lampre-Merida's Italian racing plans

This release about upcoming races in Italy came from the team:

During this week, Lampre-Merida will ride also on more traditional and less exotic roads than the ones in Abu dhabi. The team of the manager Copeland will race in Italy participating in the Gp Città di Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini (8 October), in the Giro dell'Emilia (10 October) and in the Gp Beghelli (11 October).

These are the riders who were selected for each event:

- Thursday 8 October, Gp Città di Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini: Matteo Bono, Mattia Cattaneo, Valerio Conti, Roberto Ferrari, Ilia Koshevoy, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Jan Polanc, Edward Ravasi (trainee). Sport director: Daniele Righi.

- Saturday 10 October, Giro dell’Emilia: Matteo Bono, Mattia Cattaneo, Valerio Conti, Roberto Ferrari, Ilia Koshevoy, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Jan Polanc, Edward Ravasi (trainee). Sport director: Orlando Maini.

- Sunday 11 October, Gp Beghelli: Matteo Bono, Mattia Cattaneo, Valerio Conti, Roberto Ferrari, Ilia Koshevoy, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Jan Polanc. Sport director: Orlando Maini.

Przemyslaw Niemiec

Przemyslaw Niemiec, shown above, will race all three Italian races this week. I assume he'll find friendlier weather this week than what he encountered earlier this year in Italy with the freezing snow at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Sport director Righi explained the aims of the team for the Gp Città di Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini: “First of all, welcome back to races to Niemiec, who has not raced since the crash he got involved in during the second stage of the Vuelta a Espana. During the race, we’ll must be ready to join large breakaways and to support Polanc and Conti in the final part of the course”.

Orlando Maini, who’ll drive the team car in Giro dell’Emilia and Gp Beghelli, said: “the team will rely on three riders as Cattaneo, Koshevoy and Niemiec, who’ll be competitive both in a breakaway and on the final climb of San Luca in the Giro dell’Emilia. In this race, Conti and Polanc will be our captain for trying to achieve a good result and they’ll receive the support from Bono.

"For what concerns the Gp Beghelli, if the course will be covered at a high pace and the race will become demanding, Conti, who won the 2015 edition, will be our leader, otherwise Ferrari will be free to exploit his skills as sprinter”.

Lots of team-rider signing news

Lotto-Soudal reports that Stig Broeckx and Sean De Bie will extend their contracts:

In August 2013, Stig Broeckx, who was part of the Lotto Cycling Talent Project, began a traineeship with the proteam of Lotto Belisol. During this  internship, he managed to greatly impress the team. In the World Ports Classic, he became eight in the general classification and was winner of the youth classification. In the other races, he did an good job for the team. In his first Tour of Flanders (2014) with the pro’s, the 24-year-old coloured  the race with his 170 kilometres long attack. In 2015, Stig surprised by finishing sixth in a bunch sprint in the Giro d’Italia.

Stig Broeckx: “In general, I’m pretty happy  with my season. I rode my first Grand Tour and it was a nice experience. Apparently, my body is able to cope with such a Tour as my results became better and better towards the end. I needed the Giro to take a next step in my development as a rider. During The past two years, I’ve gathered a lot of experience and I had to pay a tuition fee.  I’ve learned some new things about  racing as well as about training methods, that definitely will be useful in the next races. With this contract extension, I get two more years to prove and develop myself. Especially the Spring Classics suit me well. Next year, I will try to show my capabilities in these races.”

Stig Broeckx

Stig Broeckx at last year's Tour Down Under

Sean De Bie also made his pro debut with Lotto Soudal in 2014. In 2013, Sean became European champion U23. This 23-year-old talent, part of a big cycling family, got his best results in his first season in the Tour of Denmark, where He finished sixth in the general classification. De Bie is strong in short time trials, is good on short hills and is pretty quick in the sprint with a smaller group. In the general classification of the Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde 2015, Sean became fifth. His first professional victory was in the fourth stage at the Tour of Luxembourg. Also in GP Impanis he went home with the win.

Sean De Bie: “My first year as a professional wasn’t good. I couldn’t find the good feeling on my bike which resulted in bad performances. Since the beginning of this season, I’ve rediscovered the joy of racing and things are going good again . I  take most pride in my Tour of Flanders selection. In our team, it isn’t easy to get a spot in this selection. Thanks to my fifth place in the Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde, I could enforce my selection. Also the way I was able to win GP Impanis was fantastic.”

“Next year, I hope to keep my level constant throughout the season. The Tour of Flanders remains one of my main goals in 2016. If everything goes well next year, I will participate for the first time in a Grand Tour. These perspectives give me enough motivation to give 100 percent this winter .”

For manager Marc Sergeant, the contract extensions of De Bie and Broeckx are a logical decision.

Manager Marc Sergeant: “Over the past two years both riders have gained a fix spot in our core team although their path concurring. Stig made a name for himself in his first Tour of Flanders, but that led to high expectations. During the Past season, he noticed that making constant progress is anything but easy . But Stig is strong and showed that he’s the perfect teammate. For me it was a logical decision that he stays put and continues his carrier with Lotto Soudal.”

“Sean had a difficult first year. He made the step to the professionals with a hallmark of “big talent” and that wasn’t easy. After the first half of the season, he found his place in the team and from that moment on, things started going  better. First, he was valuable for the team but this year we saw that Sean also can ride finals. We are giving Sean the opportunity to continue developing in our team.”

Giant-Alpecin sent me this note about Laurens ten Dam joining the team:

Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce the signing of Laurens ten Dam (NED) for 2016. Ten Dam’s addition to the roster for next season will provide support for the team’s up-and-coming GC riders Warren Barguil (FRA) and Tom Dumoulin (NED).

Ten Dam comes over from Team LottoNL-Jumbo, where he raced for eight years. The transfer comes at the right moment in his career, when the 34-year-old was looking for a different approach.

His best results include ninth place in the final Tour de France GC last year, eighth place in the final GC of the Vuelta in 2012, fifth at the Tour Down Under in 2011 and eighth in the Tour de Suisse GC in 2011. He also won the opening stage of the Critérium International in 2008.

Laurens ten Dam

Laurens ten Dam at this year's Tour de France

Team Giant-Alpecin coach Rudi Kemna said: “We were looking for a rider who is strong in the high mountains to support our GC riders and who also fit in with the profile and philosophy of the team, and in Laurens we have found that rider. Although the team’s execution of its Keep Challenging sports approach commonly leads to identifying and recruiting talented riders at a younger age and then guiding them to their peak performance years, the relatively ‘older’ ten Dam was recruited for a particular task in the overall team, for which Team Giant-Alpecin had identified his specific experience and skills. We know that he has class and we expect him to play a significant and specific role in the team’s race plan on the climbs. Besides his physical ability, we will make use of his tactical knowledge. We will offer Laurens optimum guidance to help him and motivate him to keep aiming for further improvement in certain areas, despite his apparent status as a rider who has ‘arrived,’ so he can continue to get the most out of his career.”

“I broke my back two weeks after the Tour de France, which made me step back and look at a few things differently,” said ten Dam. "I wanted to do a good season in Europe and live in the US. At Team Giant-Alpecin all this came together in a good way, and I will have those opportunities. I am looking forward to working in a challenging new environment and aim to play an important role for Warren Barguil and Tom Dumoulin and share my experience on the highest level.”

And LottoNL-Jumbo sent me this note about re-signing Bert-Jan Lindeman:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo renewed and extended Bert-Jan Lindeman’s contract. The Dutchman signed for one additional year, prolonging his stay with the team from 2016 until the end of 2017.

The 26-year old wore the mountain jersey in the Giro d'Italia and won a stage in the Vuelta a España this year. “I’m very pleased with my new contract,” Lindeman said. “I want to keep showing what I can achieve at the highest level of cycling, as I did this year in Spain and Italy.”

Lindeman signed for Team LottoNL-Jumbo last year and found the perfect team atmosphere. “I was immediately appreciated and instantly felt confidence from the group and the staff. Over the next few seasons, I mainly want to improve my climbing. I now have two years to methodically improve and optimise myself as a rider. That’s great.”

Bert-Jan Lindeman

Lindeman at this year's Vuelta

Nico Verhoeven is pleased LottoNL-Jumbo could lock in Lindeman for one more year. “Of course we are all already looking forward to the future, which involves Bert-Jan. He has developed well in his first year with the team. Therefore, we really wanted to keep him in our team,” the sports director said.

“Bert-Jan has proved his value to the team in every race he rode. He’s an all-rounder, but particularly strong in the mountains. He did not win a mountain stage in the Vuelta by chance. Besides that, he was always there when he needed to support the leaders. Bert-Jan is simply very valuable to our team.”

Richard Pluge: Attacking is the DNA of Lindeman. “As a team, we always want to be on the offensive. That's what the fans love. Bert-Jan is a real team player and has great tactical insides. He fits in very well with our philosophy and vision for the future.”

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