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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Monday, October 19, 2015

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

Racing schedule:

We just had two important races yesterday. In France there was the Chrono des Nations time trial and in Japan, the Japan Cup.

Japan Cup team reports

Trek Factory Racing had a good day in Japan:

Bauke Mollema capitalized on strong teamwork by Trek Factory Racing to end his 2015 season with a victory in the Japan Cup road race Sunday, outkicking Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and Yukiya Arashiro (Japan National Team).

“I was just following attacks until the last time up the climb, and then I saved all my energy for the finish,” Mollema explained. “I knew it would most likely come to a sprint with a small group and it was better to save all my energy for this, but I still was not sure to win because the others were faster than me but in the end I was strong enough to do it.”

The 144.2-kilometer race in Utsunomiya, based on the 1990 World Championships race route, included 14 laps of a 10.3-kilometer tough circuit with the Kogashi forest climb taking its toll and whittling the peloton to nine riders by the final lap.

This is my first time in Japan, and I have to say that the fans are just unbelievable, just crazy for cycling!

The final time up the Kogashi climb whittled the group to three with Mollema, Ulissi and Sky’s Sebastian Henao cresting the climb with a few seconds lead. Arashiro bridged on the descent, and a few other stragglers caught the leaders, but the final uphill to the finish left the four strongest to fight out the sprint.

Bauke Mollema wins 2015 Japan Cup

Bauke Mollema wins the 2015 Japan Cup

“The race was hard, but the team did such a great job; the guys pulled hard all race to bring back the breakaway,” Mollema added. “I am happy that I could pay them back with a win, and also for all the fans. This is my first time in Japan, and I have to say that the fans are just unbelievable, just crazy for cycling! It was really nice to see. I have enjoyed being here a lot, and now with this win, and also yesterday with Fumy’s (Beppu) win, it has been just a really great experience.”

Here's the Japan Cup scoop from Lampre-Merida:

Bauke Mollema came between Diego Ulissi and his first victory in the Japan Cup.

The captain of Lampre-Merida was preceded by the Dutch rider in a restricted sprint of 6 riders, in which battled also the next blue-fuchsia-green athlete Arashiro (3rd), the current Lampre-Merida's young gun Polanc (5th) and his future team mate Mohoric (6th).

The race (144.2 km, 14 laps of a circuit) was led for most part of the course by 7 Asian attackers, whose breakaway was controlled by the bunch, led by the Lampre-Merida's rider Feng and by the members of the other main teams.

In the last two laps, Mori, Ravasi and Polanc gave their support to Feng, so the breakaway was neutralized and a series of attack attempts began.

Polanc and Ulissi were the most active riders in the team directed by Bruno Vicino: on the last lap, Ulissi succeeded in escaping from the restricted peloton with Mollema and Arashiro and they were joined in the approach of the finish line by Polanc, Gerts and Mohoric too.

In the sprint, Ulissi had to brake in order to avoid a contact, so he could not oppose in the best way the speed of Mollema, who obtained the victory.

"We can be satisfied for how the team tried hard to win and for the performances of each single rider - sport director Vicino explained - Mollema was in a very good day and he was fast, Ulissi had to brake twice in the sprint, so it became very difficult to win. We thank the Japanese fans and the sponsors who cheered us in a very warm way".

BMC had this to say about the Japan Cup race:

Floris Gerts of the BMC Racing Team was fourth Sunday at the Japan Cup as a small group contested the win in the uphill sprint at the end of the 144.2-kilometer road race.

Bauke Mollema delivered Trek Factory Racing its second victory in two days ahead of Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Yukiya Arashiro (Team Europcar) and Gerts. Trek's Fumiyuki Beppu won Saturday's Japan Cup criterium.

"Floris did some big efforts to make the selection," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said. "In the end, he fought back in the last two kilometers to the leaders. He said he went too early in the sprint."

Past Swiss national road champion Michael Schär and Manuel Senni arrived in what was left of the peloton about two minutes later. Gerts's result was his second-best of the season after joining the BMC Racing Team as a stagiaire from the BMC Development Team.

The BMC Racing Team finishes the season with a team-record 33 wins, 31 runner-up finishes and 30 third-place results. This is the third consecutive season the team has reached the 30-win plateau.

CicLAvia returned to Los Angeles

I know this isn't bike racing, but I'm sure all readers of BikeRaceInfo believe in bicycles as the most efficient, healthy form of transportation that man has yet devised.

The car-free festival called CicLAvia returned to Los Angeles Sunday, the 18th. It's an event where the streets are closed to motor vehicles and are open for people to walk cycle, even skate on safe, open streets. The police guard the streets and direct traffic to alternative routes.

It's only for a few hours, but the event's popularity brings tens of thousands of people out into the streets of L.A. to enjoy the health-giving benefits of cycling on safe, open roads.

2015 CicLAvia

Sunday's CicLAvia in downtown Pasadena, California

The movement started in Bogota, Colombia, where the traffic-congested city enjoyed a day of traffic-free streets where vendors and musicians could could set up and enhance a festival that really helps the city to come together.

Perhaps this will become a powerful world-wide movement and help make this world a happier, healthier place. Really, bikes are magic!

Here's CicLAvia's website

Elvin and Spratt to lead Orica-AIS in 2015

Orica-AIS is pleased to announce the re-signing of two crucial leaders for the 2016 season. Former national champions Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt have become instrumental in the heart and soul of the Australian outfit, leading by example both on and off the bike.

“Gracie and Amanda really know what the team ethos is and how we are going to get there,” sport director Gene Bates said. “They have really stepped up in that area, especially in the back half of this year, and it’s been fantastic to sit back and watch them develop.”

Both girls posted their breakthrough first European victories during the 2015 season. Elvin’s first win came in May at the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik whilst Spratt got her reward at Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Südtirol in June.

For Elvin, it felt like a long time coming. “I had put a lot of pressure on myself over the Spring Classics and didn't quite get the results I was hoping for, so to get a win not long after was a relief as much as it was exciting,” she said. “It gave me the confidence I needed to know I am heading in the right direction with my training, and to go for more results for the rest of the season. Only a month later I won another race and I finally felt like I'd earned my place among some of the best professional riders.

Gracie Elvin

Gracie Elvin

“I want to step it up again in 2016 and be consistently competitive with the top 20 riders in the world at the big races. The Olympic Games is my biggest goal for next year and I will be working very hard with that event in mind. I will also be focusing on the Spring Classics as theses are my favourite races of the season.”

Despite the wait, Bates and Orica-AIS team management knew the 26-year-old from Canberra had what it takes. “It took Gracie a little while to get her first European win but once she got it she really didn’t look back,” Bates said. “She won in Gooik, again at Thuringen and took multiple other placings too. It really confirmed to us what we’ve been looking to get out of Gracie for the last couple of seasons - that ability to race a Classics style one-day race.

“She’s really maturing into that racer. We know she can win big races so teamed up with Annemiek (van Vleuten) I think we are going to have two very good Classics racers for 2016.”

Spratt rated her season as the best in her four-year career, and is excited to continue with Orica-AIS as their only remaining founding member.

“Overall I was really happy with my 2015 season,” Spratt said. “I would say it was my best year to date in Europe and I felt like I made the step up in my fitness and performance level that I have been looking to do for a few years."

“This will be my fifth season with Orica-AIS, in fact I am the only remaining original rider in the team. For me, it has become like a family and I love the atmosphere and the feel within the team. I like the fact that when we race everyone knows what needs to be done but what is equally important is how we can relax off the bike and have fun at the same time.

“2016 is an Olympic year and so that is something definitely motivating me for the next 12 months. The preparation for the season is already beginning now and I hope that next year I can visit the podium more or contribute further to success of my teammates.”

Not only results wise, Bates said Spratt also stepped up to shoulder much of the leadership responsibility after team captain Loes Gunnewijk retired mid-season.

“Amanda got her first European win this year at Giro de Trentino but along with that she has taken a massive leap this year in captaining the team on the road,” Bates said. “She has really stepped into Loes’ shoes, especially in those tougher times when things aren’t going our way. That captaincy role is going to be really important for us again next year but also targeting those hillier one-day races which she really seems to enjoy and that’s where she is getting her results from.”

Gracie Elvin
Date of birth: 31st October 1988 (26)
Nationality: Australian
Turned pro: 2012

Palmares:
- 1st 2015 Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik
- 1st 2015 Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen - Stage 3b
- 1st 2014 & 2013 National Championship Australia – Road Race

Amanda Spratt
Date of birth: 17th September 1987 (28)
Nationality: Australian
Turned pro: 2012

Palmares:
- 1st 2015 Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol
- 2nd 2015 Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen - Stage 2 & 6
- 1st 2012 National Championship Australia – Road Race

Young Austrian joins Tinkoff-Saxo

This update came from the team:

After nearly three months as a stagiaire and seven races with Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015, including the victorious Tour of Denmark, Michael Gogl will start his professional career next season by forming part of the Tinkoff Team roster.

The young Austrian rider will bolster the ranks of Tinkoff Team in 2016, in line with the team's long-term strategy to attract and build new talent. Tinkoff-Saxo established a year-long and thorough selection process of young riders that started in the Sicily training camp last January and included stages in Livigno and Veneto, in collaboration with its partners Livigno and JSH.

Gogl joined Tinkoff-Saxo as a stagiaire on August 1st and a week later he was part of the squad that came out victorious at the Tour of Denmark. He went on racing at the Arctic Race of Norway, Grand Prix de Wallonie, Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, Binche-Chimay-Binche, Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours.

Born on November 4th, 1993, Michael is an all-round sportsman that switched to cycling at the age of 15 after competing in ski, football, tennis and track since a very young age. He's a classics rider that likes hilly courses with tough climbs. He's equally good in stage races and recent highlights of his career, prior to joining Tinkoff-Saxo as a stagiaire, include the overall victory at the GP Laguna and first place U23 at the Austrian National Road Championships.

Michael Gogl was part of the squad that won the Tour of Denmark Gogl stated on joining Tinkoff Team next year: "I am very happy that I was able to convince the team with my qualities during my time as a stagiaire. I received a very warm welcome by everybody and as a result I am very keen to be part of the team next year".

"The fact that I will start my professional career in one of the best teams in the world is simply amazing for me. Right now, I am just looking forward to the upcoming challenges, and I am extremely motivated for the future", concluded Gogl.

Steven de Jongh, Head Sport Director of Tinkoff-Saxo, said: "Michael had already shown his potential in our Livigno training camp. He was one of the top performers there and was given the chance as a stagiaire to prove he was worth it".

"I think that during the seven races he rode with the team he clearly demonstrated his strength, determination and team work. He was very hungry to race and prove himself to the team! We hope he will keep developing in the same way, now as a full member of the team and we will do our best to realize his potential", concluded de Jongh.

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