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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

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

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. - Woody Allen

Today's racing:

Eddy Merckx leaves Oman for Belgium after father-in-law dies

Eddy Merckx, who is one of the Tour of Oman's organizers, had to take a flight back home to Belgium after getting news that his father-in-law Lucien Acou, had died.

Early in his career Acou, then Belgian national coach, had guided Merckx. Merckx began dating Acou's daughter, Claudine, and after four years of courtship, married her.

Acou became ill Monday after a fall. The 94-year old former coach passed away that same day.

Merckx left Oman with his son, Axel. It is though he might return for the Oman race's late stages. Merckx and his co-organizer Dirk de Pauw are trying to sign a three-year contract with Oman in the face of some doubts from the Omanis.

Bob Jungels went 101 km/hr to win Tour of Oman stage 1

If you watch the video of Bob Jungels last-minute stage-winning escape in the first stage of the Tour of Oman, you might think he was going rather fast.

You'd be right. the guys at Cycling Weekly said that based on his Strava data, he was going 101 km/hr. He had planned the attack well in advance and had fitted a 55-tooth ring on his bike.

Lampre-Merida's Tour of Oman report

The team sent me this update:

Rui Costa says "present!" in the first stage of the Tour de Oman 2016, 145,5 km from Oman Exhibition Center to Al Bustan.

The final part of the course was interesting thanks to the climb of Al Jissah at 5,5 km to the arrival. Five attackers (Pfingstein, De Vries, Dehaes, Van Speybrouck and Konig) led the race for most part of the course, with a top advantage of 6'.
The breakaway was neutralized on the early climbs, at 30 km to go, just before a series of attacks which made a first selection in the bunch: LAMPRE-MERIDA succeeded in being in the head group with all its riders, who were close to the captain Rui Costa and support him to the approach of the climb of Al Jissah (in fact, Mario Costa was 2nd in the intermediate sprint just before the climb).

On the climb, the rhythm raised up and the head group was reduced to 20 members and Rui Costa was still in this group.

After the downhill, the head group was still united, but at 2 km to go Jungels made the winning move which allowed him to cross the finish line with 6" on Pauwels and 8" on a 14 members group in which there was Rui Costa (7th), who was together all the main competitors for the general classification.

"Today we received good feedbacks concerning the group spirit, in fact all the team's riders pedaled close to the captain and they gave him an important support which allowed Rui to approach in the best possible way the last climb of Al Jissah - sport director Mauduit commented - Rui had good legs, he reached the arrival in the same group of the big names for the overall classification".

Michal Kwiatkowski will miss Volta ao Algarve

Former world road champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) has fallen ill and will be forced to miss riding the Volta ao Algarve, which starts Wednesday.

Last year Kwiatkowski, then riding for Etixx-Quick Step, finished second by 27 seconds to Geraint Thomas, who is now his teammate. Kwiatkowski is schedule to ride Paris-Nice which starts March 6.

Kwiatkowski isn't Sky's only rider laid low with illness. Neither Mikel Landa nor Benat Intxausti can make their scheduled starts at the Ruta del sol, also scheduled to begin Wednesday.

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