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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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

What worries you, masters you. - John Locke

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Stig Broeckx injury update

This came from Lotto-Soudal:

Rewind to Sunday 28 February. About thirty kilometres before the finish of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Lotto Soudal rider Stig Broeckx got hit by a motor. He incurred a collarbone fracture, a fractured rib and a bruised hand. The almost 26-year-old rider had to undergo surgery of his collarbone. Seven weeks after Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Stig talks about how he dealt with the accident.

Stig Broeckx: “It’s such a shame this happened, it shouldn’t be part of cycling. A few weeks ago there was the fatal accident of Antoine Demoitié which caused a lot of emotions because I knew Antoine well. If it made me realize that it could have turned out worse for me as well? Believe me, I was aware of that immediately after the accident.”

Stig Broeckx

Stig Broeckx in better times

“The motor rider who hit me contacted me a few days later to apologize and I accepted his apologies. I know he has a heart for cycling and really cares for the riders. The problem was the high speed with which he passed by the peloton and the fact that he didn’t honk to warn that he was coming.”

“We have to draw conclusions from this accident and what happened to Antoine Demoitié. Of course safety is important to all people involved in cycling, but it would be good to make everyone even more aware of the dangers. I am convinced that when all parties sit together measures can be agreed. Just like there is an extreme weather protocol there should be more rules regarding cars and motors in races. I think of speed limits or the distances to the riders. Because of a succession of events this is the moment to undertake action.”

After the surgery of his collarbone Stig Broeckx needed a long time to recover. No spring races for him. He focused on his comeback as soon as he could. Broeckx will start racing again at the Tour of Turkey (24/04 – 1/05) and is also one of the riders in the preselection of the Giro. Stig is really confident.

Stig Broeckx: “After the crash I was very disappointed that I would miss out on the rest of the spring. When I lay on the ground I immediately felt how severe the injury was. I already had broken my collarbone twice, but this was much more painful. Normally you are back in action after one week, but now I only started feeling better after three weeks. My body was seriously hurt, so I didn’t only need to recover from that collarbone fracture. After those first three weeks I went to Mallorca to build up my condition again. I did all I could to get ready to race again.”

“I actually trained like I do in winter time. During my training in Mallorca I listened to my body and I took sufficient rest. All parameters show that I am in optimal condition, but I have some reservations. I did all that is in my power to get fit, now I have to see how my body reacts to racing.”

“I can’t wait to race again, because it’s frustrating that I have hardly been able to race after all the hard work in the off-season. Objective tests showed that I had made progress. I felt that I was ready to do lots of work for the team. Now that will have to happen in the rest of the season. I am keen, let that be clear. At the Tour of Turkey I want to show my teammates that they can rely on me again.”

BMC will be at La Flèche Wallonne

The team sent me this update:

18 April 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): On the back of Amstel Gold Race, BMC Racing Team is set to continue the Ardennes Classics with La Flèche Wallonne this Wednesday.

With the exception of Stefan Küng coming in to replace Marcus Burghardt, the team remains unchanged said Sports Director Valerio Piva.

"We are still going in with Philippe Gilbert as our leader but as we saw at Amstel Gold Race we have a strong and motivated team with our younger guys who will also have the chance to take any opportunities that they see at La Flèche Wallonne."

Stefan Kung

Stefan Küng

Gilbert is eager to get back on the start line on Wednesday. "Amstel Gold Race didn't go as I would have liked but I'm taking things day by day with my fractured finger and now I have two days to recover before La Flèche Wallonne. I know the race well, I've won it before and I'm hoping to have a better race on Wednesday." Gilbert said.


La Flèche Wallonne (20 April)

Rider roster: Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Stefan Küng (SUI), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA)

LottoNL-Jumbo's Flèche Wallonne preview

Here's the news from the team:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo wants to be rewarded in Flèche Wallonne

Wilco Kelderman and Robert Gesink will lead team LottoNL-Jumbo in La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday in Belgium. The goal is deliver a strong team performance and take home a top result.

“Enrico Battaglin, Bert-Jan Lindeman and Sep Vanmarcke stood out in the Amstel Gold Race,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said. “We were convincingly as a team, but didn’t reward ourselves with a top result. That has to be different on Wednesday and we’re expecting to be able to do better. Of course, we’re competing with the best riders in the world and on the Mur de Huy, there are many contenders. We’re confident Wilco Kelderman and Robert Gesink will be two of them. They can compete for top results.”

Enrico Battaglin

Enrico Battaglin in 2014 when he rode for Bardiani

Wilco Kelderman gives himself more chances in La Flèche Wallonne than he had in the Amstel Gold Race. “First of all, you have to be strong enough for a classic race, but you need a little bit of luck as well,” the Dutch climber explained. “The Mur de Huy is a climb that suits me well. I’m aiming for a top 10 result.”

“Wilco finished 10th, last year,” Zeeman continued. “He is still a young rider, so I think that it’s too modest to aim for another 10th place. I’m expecting him to perform better than he did last year. The way we rode the Amstel Gold Race as a team was much better than we did in 2015. We’re developing ourselves and we want to take the next step now. We want to see Robert and Wilco approach the Mur de Huy convincingly.”

Line-up: Enrico Battaglin, Victor Campenaerts, Koen Bouwman, Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Paul Martens and Alexey Vermeulen.

Sports Directors: Frans Maassen and Merijn Zeeman.

Lotto-Soudal and Liv-Plantur's upcomning races

This came from the teams:

RACE PREVIEW: APRIL 18 - 26 

LA FLÈCHE WALLONNE (WT)

La Flèche Wallonne is the second of three Ardennes races in eight days for Team Giant-Alpecin. The parcours is littered with the short, sharp climbs that characterize the Ardennes, and it culminates with a mountain top finish, the Mur de Huy, 1.3km with an average gradient of 9.6%.

Looking ahead to the race, coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "We head to Flèche Wallonne with a view to getting Warren in a good position at the foot of the steep finishing climb of the Mur de Huy, which suits his characteristics as a climber very well. He is in good shape at the moment and we will look to keep him protected throughout the day.

"The last 30km are very difficult and Simon's experience and course knowledge will be very valuable. Last year it was a very nervous race with a lot of crashes, so teamwork will be very important for both positioning and saving energy, as anything can happen."

RACE: La Flèche Wallonne (WT)

DATE: 20/04/2016

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Caleb Fairly (USA), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT) 

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke

LA FLÈCHE WALLONNE FÉMININE (WT)

This Wednesday the UCI Women's WorldTour continues with La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, a tough climbing test in the Ardennes suited to puncheurs and climbers. The 19th edition finishes atop the classic ascent of the Mur de Huy and features 11 other climbs along the 137km route.

Coach Dirk Reuling (NED) said: "La Flèche Wallonne Féminine is the sixth round of the UCI Women's WorldTour and it is going to be a hard race, especially with two steep climbs in the finale. We did a recon last Saturday in dry conditions, which went very well and studied the parcours to know what to expect.

"It is essential to be at the front at the bottom of the final climb, the Mur de Huy. Riding as a team will be important to support Leah in the positioning before the key sections and to be able to contest the finish. Leah has shown this season that she can perform well at WorldTour level races and we will aim for a place among the top 15 with her."

RACE: La Flèche Wallonne Féminine (WT)

DATE: 20/04/2016

COACH: Dirk Reuling (NED) 

LINE-UP: Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Riejanne Markus (NED), Rozanne Slik (NED), Kyara Stijns (NED), Carlee Taylor (AUS), Molly Weaver (GBR) 

EPZ OMLOOP VAN BORSELE (1.1)

Racing continues in the Netherlands for Team Liv-Plantur with the EPZ Omloop van Borsele. On Saturday, the riders tackle 136.7km starting in s-Heerenhoek which includes four laps of an opening 24km circuit before a finishing circuit of four laps of 10km.

"Leah and Floortje will lead the line-up and they will be surrounded by a strong team of specialists," explained coach Dirk Reuling (NED). "Omloop van Borsele is a typical Dutch race, held very close to the coast in the region of Zeeland, with crosswinds and narrow roads. The development of the race will depend on the weather conditions and the possibilities of echelons. With Leah and Floortje we will aim for a top 5 result, which will be realistic if we continue to work as a team like we have been recently."

RACE: EPZ Omloop van Borsele (1.1)

DATE: 23/04/2016

COACH: Dirk Reuling (NED) 

LINE-UP: Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Riejanne Markus (NED), Sara Mustonen (SWE), Julia Soek (NED), Kyara Stijns (NED) 

Leah kirchmann

Leah Kirchmann at last year's Amgen Tour

LIÈGE-BASTOGNE-LIÈGE (WT)

Liège-Bastogne-Liège marks the final race of the spring classics and it is the final WorldTour one-day race before the Grand Tours get started. The parcours is 253km long and is considered as one of the most arduous with the riders tackling 10 steep climbs including the legendary Redoute with an average gradient of 8.4%. Team Giant-Alpecin heads to Liège after having raced the Flèche Wallonne this week and will be looking for a strong team performance in the 102nd edition.

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "With Warren and Simon in our team we have got two leaders who can achieve a top 10 result. They will have strong support from the rest of the team in getting them in position for the key climbs and keeping them out of trouble.

"The penultimate climb, new on the route, will make things interesting and should make sure the peloton is getting decimated towards the uphill finish. It's going to be a tough one, but I think the parcours will make it an open race. Our line-up holds both a mix of youth and experience. Johannes is our road captain and with Sindre and Sam we have two monument debutants, both looking to gain experience to encourage their overall development."

RACE: Liège-Bastogne-Liège (WT)

DATE: 24/04/2016

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Caleb Fairly (USA), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR), Sam Oomen (NED)

TOUR DE ROMANDIE (WT)

The Swiss six-stage race features two-time trials, two transition stages, and two mountain top finishes. The 70th edition kicks off with a short, 3.95km prologue in La Chaux-de-Fonds on the Tuesday, with the first chance for the sprinters already on stage 1. Followed by an uphill finish at Morgins on day three and a 15km individual time trial on a challenging course at Sion. Stage 4 will be the queen stage to decide the general classification, before concluding a road stage in Geneva to round off the week of racing.

Coach Arthur van Dongen (NED) confirmed the objectives for the Tour de Romandie, saying: "We have two main goals for this race; to go for a stage victory with Tom [Dumoulin] in either the prologue or the time trial, and to focus on the general classification with him.

"The 2016 edition parcours is very demanding and I am expecting a hard race. It will be very important to finish preparing the form of the guys before the start of the Giro d'Italia. We have a balanced team and the experienced Johannes will be our road captain and he will be helping to guide the team in the different scenarios that present themselves."

RACE: Tour de Romandie (WT)

DATE: 26/02-01/05/2016

COACH: Arthur van Dongen (NED) 

LINE-UP: Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED) 


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