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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 2, 2016

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

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains. - Tennessee Williams

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Jempy Drücker wins Luxembourg prologue

This came from BMC:

1 June 2016, Luxembourg (LUX): It was a fitting end to the SkodaTour de Luxembourg prologue with Luxembourg rider, Jempy Drucker taking victory and claiming the first leader's jersey of the race.

Wet and slippery conditions made the short, technical course even more challenging for riders but Drucker was able to battle the weather to set and early benchmark of 4'20 which was unmatched by any other rider along the 2.9km course.

Tom Bohli was also in the mix at the top of the leaderboard as he finished third, 4 seconds back.

Winner's Interview with Jempy Drucker

How does it feel to win the opening stage in Luxembourg?

"It's nice! I have't won many races yet so I feel really happy to win today. It's even better to win in Luxembourg as don't get a lot of chances to race here so to do a good prologue and go into the leader's jersey is great."

What does it mean to go into tomorrow's stage wearing the leader's jersey?

"It definitely gives me an extra boost going into tomorrow's stage as well as looking forward to the rest of the week knowing that I will be wearing the leader's jersey. It's a late night tonight but it's the same for everyone so there is no disadvantage. We just have to rest up and prepare as best we can for tomorrow."

The conditions were challenging out on the road, did that affect you at all?

"For me, it wasn't too bad that it was raining and wet as I am come from a cyclo-cross background. I know how to turn fast, keep up good speed and handle the bike well which was really important for me today. I left it all out there on the road and thankfully it paid of with the win."

Jempy Drucker

Jempy Drucker racing in the rain in Luxembourg

Sport director, Jackson Stewart said: "We were a bit worried about the weather but as it turned out every rider had to ride in the rain so it made everyone a little bit nervous. Jempy took some good lines and he really knew his maximum effort on the cobbled climb. I think he timed everything really well and it was same with [Tom] Bohli, and the rest of the guys really."

"When it's wet you have to have another level of good bike handling skills and that's one of Jempy's strengths he is just an amazing bike handler. This prologue met exactly what he could do physically and combined with his knowledge of the roads and turns, he had everything he needed to do well. There is definitely a good morale amongst the team and now we have a jersey to try and defend so we will see how it goes from here."

Lotto-Soudal's and Liv-Plantur's upcoming racing

The teams sent me this update:

TOUR DE SUISSE (WT)

The 80th edition of the Tour of Suisse is a tough nine-day race which offers different opportunities for Team Giant-Alpecin. It features around 19,622 meters of climbing with a total distance of 1220.1km to cover, the Swiss route is made for the climbers. From the city of Baar to Davos, the course crosses all four language regions of Switzerland and will offer spectacular views of the Alps.

After a prologue in the city of Baar, the first stage will also take place in Baar and should benefit the puncheurs. The peloton will then head towards Rheinfelden on a long stage of 192.6km. The third stage will end in the French-speaking part of the country, in Champagne. Then they will be a tough day between Brig-Glis and Carì, with three categorize climbs including the steep uphill finish in Carì. The next two days should also be suitable for climbers with uphill finishes in Amden and in Sölden. The Tour de Suisse will end in Davos, after a time trial of 16.8km on Saturday, the final stage offers the last chance for the main contenders to fight out for the overall victory.

"The race profiles are varied and tough and it will be a great race for the team," explained coach Morten Bennekou (DEN). "We have two main goals for the Tour de Suisse; to aim for a good result in the general classification with Warren and to focus on stage results.

"Warren is currently at the team’s altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada to prepare himself for the upcoming races. He has already shown this season that he can compete well on the toughest of climbs and we have a strong team to support him. For stage results, there are no real flat stages and there are opportunities for the breakaways to stay until the finish so we will look to take our chances where we can with Simon and Laurens."

RACE: Tour de Suisse (WT)

DATE: 11-19/06/2016

COACH: Morten Bennekou (DEN) 

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR) 

CRITÉRIUM DU DAUPHINÉ (WT)

The WorldTour stage race action continues this Sunday with the Critérium du Dauphiné in France. The 68th edition kicks off with an explosive 3.95km prologue which will decide who wears the yellow jersey first. The focus will then shift to sprinters, punchers and climbers. The first chances for the sprinters follows on stage one before the team confronts a variety of opportunities including four uphill finishes over the following week.

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "Our initial focus will be to work on our lead-out train and stages one and four should suit the sprinters. John starts here in France and showed in California that he is now regaining confidence and fitness. He is making progress in the right direction as he continues to rediscover his past level. Besides that, with our more opportunistic riders, we will try and take our chances in the breakaways on the hillier stages with Chad and Carter and aim to fight for a stage result.”

RACE: Critérium du Dauphiné (WT)

DATE: 05-12/06/2016

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Roy Curvers (NED), John Degenkolb (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Carter Jones (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL)

ZUIDKEMPENSE LADIES CLASSIC (1.2)

This Sunday will see Team Liv-Plantur in action with the Zuidkempense Ladies Classic. The Belgian one-day race in Herselt consists of two large circuits of 29km and six local laps of 9.7km each - a total of 116.2km. The grand finale of the race will take place on a short but steep hill, the Molenberg, which will decide the winner.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s race, coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: "For the team it is the first time we will compete in this race but the course doesn't have a lot of surprises. I am expecting an aggressive race, so it is hard to predict how it will develop and to know which riders will be in the leader's group in the finale.

"With the team we want to be ready when the race explodes. We will try and be in front with some riders at the moment of truth, that way we can respond to different attacks. Our focus will be on Sara and we aim for a podium finish either in the break or in a bunch sprint."

RACE: Zuidkempense Ladies Classic (1.2)

DATE: 05/06/2016

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED)

LottoNL-Jumbo's Dauphiné plans

This came from the team:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo will race the Criterium du Dauphiné next week in France with a young team. Their goal is to gain experience, get stronger and ride aggressively. Moreno Hofland will lead the sprints.

“I think that Moreno Hofland might have a chance to sprint in two of the stages,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said. “Besides that, we are taking two aggressive riders Mike Teunissen and Martijn Keizer. We will analyse their chances each day. The organiser programmed hard final days, when the big guns should show off.”

Moreno Hofland

Moreon Hofland will be at the Dauphiné

In those Dauphiné stages, Team LottoNL-Jumbo will experience something new. “The race passes very tough climbs, which are new to some of the riders,” Zeeman continued. “They have to make sure that they survive them. The TV-spectators won’t see that fight, but in those moments, young professionals take important steps in their careers. Our riders will have their chances.

“They must ride aggressively to become stronger. They can do that by being part of the breakaway or by working well in the final part of a stage.”

Line-up: George Bennett, Victor Campenaerts, Moreno Hofland, Martijn Keizer, Alexey Vermeulen, Steven Lammertink, Mike Teunissen and Dennis van Winden.

Sports Directors: Addy Engels and Merijn Zeeman.

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