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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, June 4, 2016

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

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome. - T. S. Eliot

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Pro racer group wants road disc brake changes

This was in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:

ESTAVAYER-LE-LAC, Switzerland (BRAIN) — The pro road racers' association said it will have to see some changes to disc road brakes before it would agree to further testing of the brakes in the pro peloton. A spokeswoman for the riders’ association, Cyclistes Professionnels Associés, said it will meet with the UCI on Friday to discuss the situation.

The UCI suspended its trial usage of the brakes in pro road racing following April’s Paris-Roubaix, where one rider blamed a leg injury on contact with a brake rotor. The UCI has had little to say publicly about the situation since. One report by Cyclingtips.com suggested that the UCI would resume the disc test in June.

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry, which took credit for negotiating on behalf of the bike industry to get the brakes allowed initially, has been in discussions with the UCI and other stakeholders since the trial was suspended.

WFSGI secretary general Robbert de Kock told BRAIN recently that he could not confirm that the trial would resume this month.

“I would be extremely pleased if this information would be true. Today I cannot confirm this but let’s see if we can make it happen,” de Kock told BRAIN in an email.

You can read the entire story here.

Lotto-Soudal headed to the Dauphine

This came from the team:

Sunday 5 June Lotto Soudal will stand at the start of the 68th Critérium du Dauphiné, which lasts until Sunday 12 June. It all begins with an uphill prologue of four kilometres in Les Gets, in the east of France in the region Rhône-Alpes. One by one the riders need to climb the Montée du Mont Chéry, with an average gradient of 9.7%. Not an easy start!

A day later more than likely a sprinter will triumph. Then the fast guys will have to wait until the fourth stage for a new chance. The last twenty kilometres of the second stage will be tough, with first a climb of the second category and then one of the third category. Also the third stage is rather one for escapees. With 21 kilometres to go the riders will reach the top of a second category climb, afterwards it doesn’t immediately go downhill though.

The fifth stage is only 140 kilometres long, with seven climbs on the route. The past Giro proved that this type of stages can be spectacular, but now the peloton doesn’t head into the high mountains, there is a mix of climbs from the fourth till the first category. The stage on Saturday will be the hardest. It’s again a short stage, of 141 kilometres, with five climbs this time. After a few kilometres the riders get to the bottom of the Col de Champ-Laurent (1st category), after a short descent they will start climbing the Col du Grand Cucheron (2nd category).

Halfway the stage the riders will hit the summit of the Col de la Madeleine, the only climb hors catégorie: 19.2 kilometres long, with an average gradient of 7.9%. A long descent will launch the riders into the finale, with two more first category climbs, among them the climb of 12.3 kilometres leading to the finish line. On Sunday the organisation has chosen for the same recipe: a rather short stage with several climbs. Two of the six climbs on the route that day are of the first category. After those two climbs only a third category climb gets in between the riders and the end of the Dauphiné.

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We are going to the Dauphiné with lots of fighting spirit, also for Stig. We are planning on racing aggressively the entire week. We won’t put pressure on any of the riders what the GC is concerned. We will tackle the stages day by day. The race starts with an uphill prologue. Louis Vervaeke did well in the prologue of the Tour de Romandie. He set the eighth time and was the fastest at the intermediate time check at the top of a climb. Louis could perform well again.”

“There are two opportunities for the sprinters, Jens Debusschere is our man for those stages. The other stages are tougher and then we can rely on Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin and again Louis Vervaeke. If we do have someone high on GC after five days we can always change our mind set and do defend that position, but as I said that isn’t a must.”

Thomas de Gendt

Thomas de Gendt at this year's Tour Down Under

Part of the riders in the Lotto Soudal team for the Dauphiné went to the Sierra Nevada for an altitude training camp, Thomas De Gendt is one of them. These are the advantages according to the Belgian.

Thomas De Gendt:  “It’s important for me to do an altitude training camp so I can do long training rides in the mountains. The centre were we stayed (Centro de Alto Rendimiento, LTS) is made for professional sportsmen and –women. They only serve healthy food, even the desserts don’t contain much sugar. You can’t get temped there. It is remote, but to kill the time on rest days I had my Playstation. Also films were a welcome distraction, just like the Giro; it was even more fun to watch our teammates do so well. Most of the time I go on a training camp all by myself, but now there were three teammates with me, a mechanic and a soigneur. At home or during an individual training camp I clean my bike myself, but now the mechanic Jeanick Verstraete made sure my bike was ready in the morning. Vincent Monserez, our soigneur, bought fresh fruit and prepared our shakes for after training. It’s beneficial for the recovery that you don’t have to take care of it all after a long endurance training.”

What does Thomas expect of the Dauphiné?

Thomas: “I already notice that the training camp did me well. I didn’t specifically focus on the Dauphiné, though. In this race I want to set a step forward in my preparation for the Tour, just like I intended with the training camp. You can’t stage race circumstances while training, you need a race to get in top condition. If the team asks me to join a breakaway I will try to do that and then I always aim for the victory. If the shorter stages affect the chances of the breakaway riders? I think it gives them more chance to survive. If the stage is shorter, riders get tired less quickly. Although the course and the riders themselves are the most important. I prefer short stages anyway, then there happens more in the peloton as well.”

Also Tony Gallopin went to the Sierra Nevada for a training camp and also for him this Dauphiné leads to the Tour.

Tony Gallopin: “The Dauphiné will be the first race for me after the training camp. This race isn’t a goal itself, it’s mainly the next step in my Tour preparation. That doesn’t mean that I won’t have a go when there is an opportunity, but I’ll see day by day. The Tour de France is my main goal and all I do is with that race in mind.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Kris Boeckmans, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Debusschere, Gert Dockx, Tony Gallopin, Tomasz Marczynski and Louis Vervaeke.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Marc Wauters.

Cannondale looks back on the 2016 Giro d'Italia

The team sent me this:

As much as anyone is ever supposed to win in sport. The work had been done on Tenerife. Rigoberto had two second-place finishes under his belt and a team that was dedicated to him. Winning the Giro was the primary objective. We weren’t shy about that. But three weeks later, it didn’t go down like that. Illness rippled through the team, a crash at the wrong moment (there’s never a right moment) and lost time had us fighting to get back into the top 10. It’s a timeless lesson; no one is ever guaranteed a win — it takes the right legs and luck. Rigoberto battled back for a seventh on GC. And we were competitive until the last moments of the race. Neither the riders nor the staff left with their heads down. Here’s what they had to say about the 2016 Giro — a beautiful race to be a part of and a beautiful race to watch.

—Matthew Beaudin, Cannondale Pro Cycling Team communications director

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran in the Giro stage 9 time trial

Cannondale has the entire story with photos posted here.

Philippe Gilbert wins Tour of Luxembourg stage

Here's the report I got from BMC:

3 June 2016, Schifflange (LUX): Phillipe Gilbert won BMC Racing Team's second stage of the SkodaTour de Luxembourg as he took victory after a hectic uphill finish into Schifflange.

Philippe Gilbert

Phillipe Gilbert wins Tour of Luxembourg stage 2

The day's breakaway were kept in control by the peloton, with the gap never reaching above four minutes. They started to come under pressure from the peloton with 40 kilometers to go and after a a strong turn at the front from BMC Racing Team they were caught inside the final 20 kilometers.

With the peloton regrouped, the riders headed for their final test of the day with Gilbert coming out on top after the short, sharp 400m climb.

Jempy Drucker was involved in a unfortunately timed crash heading onto the start of the final climb which saw him slip out of contention on the General Classification, which is now being led by Maurits Lammertink (Roompot - Oranje Peloton).

Earlier in the day, Tom Bohli was forced to withdraw from the SkodaTour de Luxembourg due to illness.

Winner's Interview with Philippe Gilbert

Congratulations, Phil. How do you feel after your stage win?

"I am really happy to win especially after a long break and all the problems that I've had. It's an important win for me."

It was a hectic final climb today, were you aware of what was going on behind you?

"I heard on the radio that Jempy had crashed but at this point at the race, there is nothing that you can do to help. We really rode well today as a team so it is disappointing for him."

Going into tomorrow's stage, are you feeling confident after today?

"In the professional cycling world, there are no little races so it is always important to win. I am now sitting second on GC, nine seconds behind, so if Lammertink is smart he can definitely win the race but we will see."

Sport director, Jackson Stewart said: "It was a bittersweet day for us today. The guys did a great job at controlling the race all day and then in the final we were able to get Jempy [Drucker] and Phillippe [Gilbert] into a good position going into the bottom of the climb. Unfortunately in the shuffling for positions, Jempy was knocked down and broke his bike and that meant that he lost a lot of time and the GC. Ahead of him Phil [Gilbert] was riding really strong and he definitely saved the day for us by taking the stage victory."

Jempy Drucker said: "The guys did a super good job all day and I was really thankful for that. Heading onto the final climb, I was super motivated was holding onto Phil's wheel but then I got knocked and crashed into the barriers. It obviously disappointing to have lost the leader's jersey but it was a great experience to wear yellow, especially in Luxembourg, and I am really happy that Phil could go on and take the win today."

Tom Bohli Medical Update. BMC Racing Team, Dr Dario Spinelli said, "Tom has developed a viral upper respiratory infection and it was not in his best interest to continue racing in Luxembourg. He will need to have a few days rest but after that he should be able to get back on the bike and continue with his current race schedule."

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