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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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

Today's racing:

No races today. The Vuelta a España has a rest day today

Tuesday: Last Day!
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Kris Boeckmans update from his team, Lotto-Soudal

By reducing the sedative medication the doctors tried to take Kris Boeckmans out of the induced coma. The lung injuries (pneumothorax, laceration of the lung, bleeding of the lung and swollen pulmonary tissue) made it too difficult for Kris to sufficiently breathe independently, so he was placed in an induced coma again, this will certainly remain the case for the next seven days.

Nonetheless, the situation is stable. These injuries are the consequence of the impact on the chest. At the moment the swollen pulmonary tissue prevents an intake of oxygen via the alveoli. This swelling has to disappear slowly in a natural way. The bleeding in the lungs is kept under control by a drain which was already introduced in the thorax earlier.

The family of Kris wants to thank everybody for the many messages of support of the previous days. They choose to remain on the background and not to answer any questions.

Kris Boeckmans

Kris Boeckmans earlier this year. Get well soon Kris.

Lotto Soudal and the family want to ask the media to distance themselves from information that isn't spread by the team, this to avoid wrong information. The attending doctors, team doctor Servaas Bingé and the family keep a close contact. Lotto Soudal will always give first-hand information when there is an evolution or when an update is necessary.

Michael Rogers Finally Awarded Olympic Gold Medal

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The IOC says Australian cyclist Michael Rogers has received his Olympic bronze medal 11 years after the Athens Games. Rogers placed fourth behind winner Tyler Hamilton of the United States, who was stripped of the gold in 2012 for doping.

Three-time world champion Rogers says the medal ''adds something tangible to my great memories.''

Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers attacking at the 2015 Eneco Tour

Hamilton admitted in 2011 to doping throughout his career. He was a key witness in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case against Lance Armstrong's teams. The redistributed Athens gold medal went to Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia, a long-time Armstrong teammate at U.S. Postal.

American Bobby Julich, who took silver, admitted to doping after USADA published its verdict. Rogers was previously a client of Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, who was banned for life by USADA, but has always denied doping.

Rigoberto Uran signs with Cannondale-Garmin

Here's the release from Cannondale-Garmin:

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced that Rigoberto Uran will join the team in 2016.

An Olympic Silver Medalist (2012 Road Race), Uran has twice stood on the podium of the Giro d’Italia with two second overall finishes as well as stage wins (2013 and 2014).  In 2012, Uran won the white jersey for best young rider at the Giro and finished seventh overall. He is the 2015 Columbian National Time Trial Champion, and finished third overall in the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico.

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran riding in stage 10 of the 2015 Tour de France

Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, said: “Rigo is a leader not just for his excellent skills on the road, but for his charisma. He brings style and passion to racing and he will be a huge asset to the team. Rigo has one more step to climb in the Giro and I will put my heart into helping make that happen. We are very excited to add him to our 2016 line up.”

Giant-Alpecin's plans for upcoming races

The Tour of Alberta gets underway with a 19.6km team time trial on Wednesday, followed by five road stages on rolling roads through the national parks of Alberta, including an uphill finish on stage 4, before concluding with a final stage on a hilly circuit around the city of Edmonton on Monday, Sept. 7.

Team Giant-Alpecin heads to Canada following a hugely successful edition last year, where the team won two stages and claimed second place in the final GC with Tom Dumoulin (NED). In the 2013 edition of the race the team achieved podium finishes on three of the six stages.

In the lineup for this year are Tour de France stage winner Simon Geschke (GER) and fast men Nikias Arndt (GER) and Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), as well as the Ludvigsson (SWE) brothers, Chad Haga (USA) and climber Georg Preidler (AUT), who had a strong debut in the Tour de France in July. For Lars van der Haar (NED), the Tour of Alberta is the final stage race of his road season, before he starts his cyclo-cross season in the US later in the month.

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke will be at the Tour of Alberta. Here he's having a good day after stage 17 of the 2015 Tour de France

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "Our goal is to start with a good team time trial, as we have several guys with the potential to do a good GC. With a strong TTT we can keep that door open and see during the week who is in the best position.

“It is a diverse course in Canada, with some sprinting opportunities as well. For those occasions we will aim for stage results with Nikias.”

RACE: Tour of Alberta (2.1)

DATE:02-07/09/2015

COACH:Aike Visbeek (NED)

LINE-UP : Nikias Arndt (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Lars van der Haar (NED)

BRUSSELS CYCLING CLASSIC (1.HC)

Team Giant-Alpecin will ride in this Saturday’s 95th edition of the Brussels Cycling Classic, the race formerly known as Paris-Bruxelles. The course of the 200.8km one-day race with several hills is slightly different from previous years, as the finish has been brought back to the Houba de Strooperlaan, where the event last finished in 2012. The race is likely to end in a bunch sprint, as has been the case in the last six editions.

Having taken second place with John Degenkolb (GER) in 2013, the team aims for a strong result on Saturday. Marcel Kittel (GER), winner of the points jersey and the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne, will lead the team. Strong lead-out men to help Kittel are Roy Curvers (NED), who sprinted to 12th at GP Plouay yesterday, as well as Bert De Backer (BEL) and the young Max Walscheid (GER), who primarily comes to Brussels to learn. Walscheid will start his second race in the Team Giant-Alpecin jersey, following his debut at the Arctic Tour of Norway. The roster is completed by Warren Barguil (FRA), Caleb Fairly (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN) and Carter Jones (USA).

Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel at the 2015 Tour of Poland

“Our main goal will be to sprint with Marcel in Brussels, as we are bringing a strong team with a lot of lead-out experience to Saturday’s race,” said coach Rudi Kemna (NED).

“Depending on the situation and the development of the race, we have Warren to join possible attacks in the finale. For Max it will be a new experience, and his main goal is to learn. If he is able to play a role in the finale it will be purely a bonus, as there will be no pressure on him.”

RACE:Brussels Cycling Classic (1.HC)

DATE: 05/09/2015

COACH: Rudi Kemna (NED)

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Caleb Fairly (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Carter Jones (USA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Max Walscheid (GER)

Tinkoff-Saxo Statement on Julich and Healey

Tinkoff-Saxo would like to clarify some incorrect reporting that was released yesterday by certain publications, in regard to Bobby Julich and Daniel Healey.

All parties had agreed to make this announcement once the season was over in order not to distract the team while at the races, but now feel the need to make an official joint statement to clear things up.

At no time were Bobby Julich or Daniel Healey fired from Tinkoff-Saxo.  Several weeks ago, a mutual decision was made on behalf of all parties involved to end their professional relationship due to a difference in opinion regarding the future vision of the team.  This decision was reached amicably.

Tinkoff-Saxo holds both Julich and Healey in high regard and wishes them all the best in their future endeavours.

Vuelta a España team reports

Here's what Tinkoff-Saxo sent me:

With the conclusion of stage 10 of Vuelta a España, Tinkoff-Saxo heads into the rest day with the mountains of the coming week in mind. Especially stage 11 in Andorra attracts attention, as the team looks to further the position of team captain Rafal Majka. Monday’s stage to Castellòn was decided in a reduced bunch sprint with Kristian Sbaragli claiming the win, while Rafal Majka finished safely.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Daniele Bennati finished 16th on stage 10 as the best placed rider of the team. Tristan Hoffman, sports director, notes after the finish that Bennati lost positions going into the final sprint.

“At the end of the stage, with Rafal safely placed in the bunch, we decided to go for a good result with Daniele. He was very well placed with 500 meters to go, but in a sweeping movement, a big chunk of riders came on the outside and Daniele was boxed in. We missed the breakaway at the start of the stage, but our boys carried out our main objective very well, which was to protect Rafal and save as much energy as possible”, says Tristan Hoffman before adding:

“We now face a day of rest. We will go for a light training session to keep the legs going but we’ve had a very hot and hard start, while we face some very decisive days, so this rest day is much appreciated. As we have said, stage 11 is on paper one of the toughest mountain stages in years, and our attention is directed towards this big challenge that will be really important for our and Rafal’s position in the general classification”.

Majka

Rafal Majka climbing in 2015 Tour de France stage 11

Stage 10 from Valencia to Castellòn took the riders 146.6km with a category 2 climb in the last part of the stage presenting the biggest obstacle of the day. With Rafal Majka positioned at the front of the field, a series of fast accelerations decimated the peloton, before Sbaragli claimed the win some 16km later. For Rafal Majka, the rest day will be about maintaining his rhythm before the much anticipated mountain stage in Andorra.

“For sure, this will be a very important stage for me. We want to improve my position in the general classification but there is no easy way of doing this. With five very hard and steep climbs you can lose a lot of time if you have a bad day. The stage is just after the rest day, so I have to keep the rhythm and my legs spinning tomorrow and try to rest as much as possible at the same time. It has been a hot and hard Vuelta so far, today I felt okay and we will try our best on Wednesday”, tells Rafal Majka, while teammate and climber Jesper Hansen adds:

“For me it has been a tough start to the Vuelta a España, I think that I’ve been there to help my team in some of the important moments, which is very important to me. But it’s not a secret that I look forward to the rest day and probably some colder temperatures after many days of heat here in Southern Spain. It’s very motivating to ride for Rafal, today was not my terrain, as the stage was mainly flat so I wasn’t there in the finale and it’s also important that I try to conserve my energy for when it matters the most”, finishes Jesper Hansen.

This came from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Timo Roosen finished 12th in the difficult tenth stage of the Vuelta a
España on Monday. The first-year pro tried to attack the reduced
peloton under the flame rouge, but the pace was too high, and the
22-year-old Dutchman wasn’t able to create a gap.

MTN-Qhubeka’s Kristian Sbaragli won the stage, and Italian was the
fastest man of the day in the streets of Castellón. Tom Dumoulin of
Giant-Alpecin held the lead in the general classification.

“It was quite tough today,” Roosen said. “At first, my legs
didn’t feel really strong, but I recovered well along the way and I
was able to follow the peloton over the two climbs. In the final
kilometres, I spoke with George (Bennet, ed.) and we decided that I
was going to sprint. He did a good lead-out, but when the pace
dropped, I attacked. It was a rash decision and looking back, I
don’t think it was the best choice, because I didn’t get away. I
still finished 12th, but I could have done better.”

Sports Director Merijn Zeeman and Erik Dekker praised Roosen’s
result. “It is quite amazing that Timo was able to do this, on the
tenth day of this Vuelta,” Zeeman said. “He’s a talent that we
want to guide to the top and we already see that he’s developing.
After the stage, he was somewhat critical of himself because of that
attack, but we don’t blame him. He’s allowed to ride freely, and
he will learn from that.”

The rest of the team also earned compliments, according to Zeeman.
“In the opening kilometres, the racing was on again, but with George
Bennett and Martijn Keizer, we had two man in the initial big break.
Tom Van Asbroeck and Dennis van Winden were strong as well. They could
not follow the pace on the climb, but almost made it back. You do not
see that on television. The Vuelta is good learning experience for our
young men. It’s great to see the involvement of experienced men like
Maarten Tjallingii and Maarten Wynants as well.”

Zeeman is satisfied when it comes to the first week. “We have shown
real fighting spirit. We only missed out on the break on two days, and
we have won a stage. Erik and I are proud of the guys.”

The peloton enjoys a rest day Tuesday after ten hard days of racing.
The riders will use their day off to prepare for the very tough
mountain stage Wednesday in Andorra, when they’ll tackle six major
climbs.

“It’s going to be an epic stage,” Zeeman said. “That’s good
for the development of our young men, because in every grand tour
there are days like these. When we get though the day well, we can
look forward again and focus on stages in which we can go into the
offensive again.”

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