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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, February 20, 2016

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

It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance. - Thomas Sowell

Today's racing:

Pinarello to skip Eurobike bike show

Interesting article in Bike-Europe. Pinarello is part of a surprising trend:

TREVISO, Italy – Italian road racing icon brand Pinarello will not exhibit at Eurobike 2016. That the company skips the biggest bike show in the world this year is due to “radically changed business strategies.”

Pinarello follows Trek, Specialized, Felt and Cube that earlier announced to pull out of Eurobike. Like these brands also Pinarello says that ‘direct involvement with our customers’ is the reason for the company to withdraw its participation. One thing is made clear by all this; the European bicycle dealership is faced with increased intensive travelling to keep up with all the house-shows of the individual brands.

You can read the whole article here.

Lotto-Soudal riders hit by car at training camp

After the Giant-Alpecin catastrophe, yet another team has riders hit by a car while at a Spanish training camp. The team sent me this news:

During an individual training camp in Spain, near Calpe, Thomas De Gendt and Gert Dockx were hit by a car.

Thomas de Gendt

Thomas de Gendt at this year's Tour Down Under

Gert Dockx: “We were riding next to each other, Thomas on the left and I on the right. The car came from the right and appeared to be stopping. In a fraction of a second I thought the front of the car was quite far on the main road, but before we realized we got hit by the car. Because the car came from the right especially my right leg was hit by the bumper. I can lean on the leg, but walking is difficult. I hope I don’t have any fractures, but further tests will have to determine that.”

Thomas De Gendt: “I mainly have a sore neck, back, wrist and fingers. I think that thanks to our helmet we don’t have a head injury. I hope I don’t have any severe fractures, but further tests are needed to conclude that. Our bikes are broken, but we were lucky after all, it could have been much worse. We were riding on the main road, so that the car – coming from a side street – should have stopped. The riders of Vastgoedservice are staying in the same hotel as us. Kevin Hulsmans, sports director of Vastgoedservice, took care of us and took us to hospital, we are grateful for that.”

Team doctor Servaas Bingé: “I talked to the doctor at the hospital in Calpe who did the first examinations. The injuries of Thomas and Gert are not life threatening. Because of the limited options for further tests at the hospital over there the question was if both riders are well enough to be transferred to Belgium. That is the case, so Thomas and Gert will soon be coming back to Belgium for further examinations. Afterwards we’ll be able to tell how severe the injuries are and how long the riders have to remain out of competition. They definitely have bruises and abrasions, but I can’t rule out the possibility that they have fractures as well.”

After the return of Thomas De Gendt and Gert Dockx and the new examinations Lotto Soudal will communicate again.

BMC's Ruta del Sol report

19 February, Padul (ESP): It was a solid day in the saddle for BMC Racing Team on stage 3 of Ruta del Sol with Damiano Caruso claiming the King of the Mountain jersey and Brent Bookwalter and Philippe Gilbert finishing in the top ten.

Caruso formed a nine rider breakaway early in the 157.9km stage which built and maintained a four-minute lead over the peloton. The peloton caught the breakaway with 25km to go, making way for another bunch sprint to the line. Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff) took the win, and Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Raymond Kreder (Roompot) rounded out the top three.

Damiano CAruso

Damiano Caruso at the 2015 Giro d'Italia

Caruso is happy to be wearing the KOM jersey. "It was a big battle on the climb to get the points and get this jersey. It was a good day for me. We had a good breakaway but there were too many people who wanted to win today so eventually we knew that we would be caught before the end of the stage," Caruso explained.

"Tomorrow we have the ITT so I'll try and perform well again there, and then on Sunday for the final stage I'll be focusing on defending the KOM jersey."

Gilbert now sits fourth overall on the General Classification, with the same time as new race leader Ben Swift. Tomorrow the riders are set to battle it out in a 21km individual time trial in and around Alhaurin de la Torre.

Tejay van Garderen is looking forward to testing the legs tomorrow.

"I'm feeling really good. We've had three good tests but the real tests are to come with the ITT and the summit finish so that will reveal a lot more. We have some important time trials coming up this year so tomorrow will be a good course for my first time trial of the season," van Garderen said.

Alberto Contador moves into top ten at Volta ao Algarve

Tinkoff sent me this update:

Despite the strong wind that put him at a disadvantage over heavier riders, Contador put on a strong performance with great commitment in the ITT and edged up several positions in the GC, moving to the top ten.

Strong winds and a nearly flat race course put a dent in Alberto Contador's performance in the 18km-long individual time-trial that was on schedule on stage 3 of the Volta ao Algarve. Nevertheless, Tinkoff's leader was able to advance in the GC to tenth overall, feeling his form was getting better.

“In the time-trial we had two riders that went full gas, Michael Valgren and Alberto Contador,"  commented Sport Director Steven de Jongh. "Michael finished in 29th place so he was ok considering the competition here, and Alberto in the end took 13th, and if you look at his rivals, I think he did a very decent time trial. It was very hard with the wind and with a quite flat parcours and little climbing, I think he did his best."

"It was a very, very windy time-trial and the heavier riders could use spoke front wheels”, stated Alberto Contador. "I had to use a 40mm rim depth for more stability. When I went to recon the route this morning with a deeper depth, at the end I was more concentrated on avoiding being blown away by the wind. We tried a 60mm rim depth and a tri-spoke wheel but after 10km I had to change the wheel as it was getting too difficult for me. Then, I opted to go with less depth in order to be focused on the race and not on worrying whether I would crash.”

“The first part went quite better because it was more or less uphill and being lighter gives you a slim advantage, maybe a couple of percentage points. However, the heavier riders were able to gain time in the second part, slightly downhill and at a faster pace. That's where they gained time on me," continued Contador.

"The sensations I had from today weren't bad but, obviously, they weren't excellent either," summed up Contador. "I recovered well from yesterday and I reckon I will ride quite better in the final stage than yesterday. Sunday's stage is straightforward, it will be quite explosive and we have see how we perform tomorrow and the form we have on Sunday. We don't have any chances at the GC, so we'll see whether we can aim at a stage win.”

“Tomorrow will be a stage for the sprinters", added De Jongh, "so we're going to try to save some energy, because the last stage is quite hilly".

Stage 4, from San Brás de Alportel to Taviraha, over 194 km long, features climbs in the first part, followed by undulating terrain and then a finale that could see the sprinters as protagonists once again or, depending on how the breakaway goes, some skilled finisseurs.

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