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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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

Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. - Satchel Paige

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Rohan Dennis extends with BMC

This news came from the team:

13 June 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA). Rohan Dennis has extended his contract beyond the 2016 season, BMC Racing Team announced today.

Dennis, who transferred to BMC Racing Team midway through the 2014 season, has already recorded impressive results, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

"Since Rohan joined us in 2014 he has had some incredible victories, including winning the 2015 Tour de France time trial which saw him wear the Yellow Jersey. It's a natural decision to keep a rider of this calibre in the team, particularly as he has not yet reached his full potential as a rider. I look forward to seeing him do so with BMC Racing Team."

Dennis attributes his decision to stay with BMC Racing Team to the high level of support.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis earlier this year

"It's been almost two and a half years with BMC Racing Team and that half year did show that the team had confidence in me. They gave me the six months initially to find my feet in the team and I really appreciated that, as well as all of the support for the rest of the time. With BMC Racing Team everything I have done, from the Hour Record to my time trial preparation, even through to sickness this year, they've been supportive. It's a great team and a great place for me."

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

UCI World Rankings

Here are the world rider rankings from the UCI as of June 12:

Rank Name Nation Team Age Points
1 (1) Peter SAGAN Slovakia TNK 26 2283
2 (2) Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE Spain MOV 36 1769
3 (9) Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO Spain TNK 34 1652
4 (6) Thibaut PINOT France FDJ 26 1476
5 (3) Vincenzo NIBALI Italy AST 32 1448.75
6 (4) Fabian CANCELLARA Switzerland TFS 35 1429
7 (5) Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS Colombia MOV 26 1420.25
8 (15) Richie PORTE Australia BMC 31 1373
9 (7) Greg VAN AVERMAET Belgium BMC 31 1353
10 (8) Alexander KRISTOFF Norway KAT 29 1349
11 (10) Bryan COQUARD France DEN 24 1276
12 (11) Sep VANMARCKE Belgium TLJ 28 1130
13 (12) Ilnur ZAKARIN Russia KAT 27 1125
14 (14) Sergio Luis HENAO MONTOYA Colombia SKY 29 1099
15 (17) Nacer BOUHANNI France COF 26 1082
16 (40) Romain BARDET France ALM 26 1074
17 (13) Diego ULISSI Italy LAM 27 1057
18 (16) Wout POELS Netherlands SKY 29 1051
19 (27) Julian ALAPHILIPPE France EQS 24 1010
20 (18) Enrico GASPAROTTO Italy WGG 34 998
21 (19) Jon IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI Spain MOV 27 986
22 (21) Baptiste PLANCKAERT Belgium WBC 28 981
23 (45) Daniel MARTIN Ireland EQS 30 972
24 (20) Sonny COLBRELLI Italy BAR 26 962
25 (22) Rui Alberto FARIA DA COSTA Portugal LAM 30 938
26 (23) Arnaud DEMARE France FDJ 25 915
27 (26) Edvald BOASSON HAGEN Norway DDD 29 908
28 (112) Christopher FROOME Great Britain SKY 31 904
29 (30) André GREIPEL Germany LTS 34 867
30 (24) Simon GERRANS Australia OGE 36 863
31 (25) Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO Colombia OGE 26 853
32 (44) Giacomo NIZZOLO Italy TFS 27 816
33 (28) Bob JUNGELS Luxembourg EQS 24 810
34 (29) Marcel KITTEL Germany EQS 28 790
35 (37) Dylan GROENEWEGEN Netherlands TLJ 23 776
36 (31) Steven KRUIJSWIJK Netherlands TLJ 29 771
37 (32) Michal KWIATKOWSKI Poland SKY 26 760
38 (33) Geraint THOMAS Great Britain SKY 30 743
39 (34) Tom DUMOULIN Netherlands TGA 26 737
40 (35) Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Spain BMC 38 722

And of course, Tinkoff sent out a press release on the subject:

Following a successful Critérium du Dauphiné, including a stage win, a spell in yellow and fifth place overall, Alberto Contador has assumed the lead in the UCI WorldTour individual rider rankings. The Spanish rider moves ahead of teammate Peter Sagan, with them both weighing heavily in favour of the team’s top spot in the overall team rankings and extending the lead to an impressive 146 points

Talking about his lead in the rankings, Contador said: “It was never a goal but, obviously, every rider is happy to reach that position. It also is a bonus to the sponsor, Tinkoff Bank, and Oleg Tinkov that have shown their strong support. We lead the team ranking and sit on the two top spots of the individual ranking."

Contador took a powerful opening prologue victory in the typical Tour de France warm up that is the Dauphiné, before spending the first half of the race in yellow. Scoring points again on the mountain stages, Contador went on to finish fifth on GC, attaining enough points to move ahead of teammate Sagan.

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador at this year's Dauphiné

The UCI World Road Race Champion was also scoring points himself this weekend to add to his tally, with a stage win on the second stage of the Tour de Suisse. With more stage opportunities ahead, Sagan will be looking to add further points before he lines up alongside Contador at July’s Tour de France.

Contador leads the rankings with 337 points, just eight points ahead of Sagan, with third place on 290 points. In the team rankings, Tinkoff sits on 876, leading by an impressive 146 points over Movistar, with Team Sky in third on 713 points.

The UCI WorldTour rankings are based on results in the races ranked as WorldTour in the UCI calendar, arguably the biggest and best races on the international calendar. To lead the rankings, results are needed in depth rather than just through one leader in a selection of races – results that are a just reward for the hard work and dedication put in by the team in the build up to this season and over the first half of the race calendar.

Tinkoff has now been leading the UCI WorldTour team rankings uninterruptedly since March 27th, a clear witness to its racing successes.

Finally, Hopplà-Petroli Firenze, Tinkoff's Italian U23 affiliate team has continued its streak of wins in the Italian racing calendar. Thanks to an impressive performance on Sunday, which saw the team taking the top five spots at Trofeo Impresa Fagni Luca,  the tally was brought to ten. Hopplà-Petroli Firenze now sets its sights on the Italian National Championships and, further ahead, the World U23 Championships in Qatar.

Tour of Switzerland team reports

This came from Tinkoff:

It was yet another wet day at the Tour de Suisse – not that the team noticed however. Starting the day on a high after Peter Sagan’s twelfth stage win put the UCI World Champion into the race’s record books, the team pushed a hard pace to pull in the day’s breakaway, before watching as the Tinkoff leader launched a late attack to bridge to the remaining breakaway riders, taking the sprint in another masterful finish in Rheinfelden. Peter took the stage win and the race leader’s jersey to the delight of team owner, Oleg Tinkov, who followed the race in the Sport Director's car.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan wins Swiss Tour stage 3

After spending two days in Baar for the opening time trial and the first road stage, the Tour de Suisse made its way north over the 192.6km third stage to Rheinfelden. After two days of rain, the peloton spent a third day in the wet, with showers making the roads wet and soaking the riders. While the temperatures weren’t low, a third day of rain would undoubtedly be taking its toll on a peloton that was hoping for better weather,

While the day’s categorised climbs were to be found in the latter half of the stage, with the third category Sonnenberg and Schöneberg ridden twice in the finishing circuit after two challenging climbs at the 105km and 122km mark, the preceding 100km was by no means flat. The opening section saw an up and down route before a slight downhill before the first categorised climb, the second category Hauenstein, with its 690m summit. The climbs weren’t the big mountains the country is famed for, but they were big enough to make racing over them tiring, their cumulative impact being felt in the legs. Getting over the climbs was one thing, being able to contest the flat finish was another.

Today’s break was made up of eight riders, who managed to brave the difficult conditions and extend their advantage over the peloton to three minutes with an ease that belied the wet weather. The pace was fast but the peloton seemed happy to let the break stay in front for the time being, but as expected, as the town of Rheinfelden appeared on the horizon, the gap became smaller and smaller.

In spite of the group of eight’s best efforts, the pace was just too high for them, and as the peloton came nearer, the break began to disintegrate having struggled to sustain the gap during the day. This didn’t stop the remaining riders from trying to salvage something for their efforts, and pushed on, trying hard to stop the chasers from catching them. With 20km remaining, an attack came from the bunch, first bridging to the remaining breakaway riders, before pushing on ahead to join the break leader, who was pushing ahead up the road.

From the finish, Peter was disappointed by the peloton’s reluctance to join Tinkoff in the chase. “It was tough when we were working so hard. Cycling has changed – it doesn’t respect the group as much. We were out on front, working with Lotto, but all the riders weren’t working. I was asking where the respect was. We were going to kill ourselves riding so hard with 50km to go. I thought it would be easier for everyone if we worked, but I’m angry that my team was working hard on the front, but no-one seemed to respect that.”

Sport Director, Patxi Vila, was expecting the break to be caught at first, before the attack came from the bunch. “There was a good-sized break, so we worked together with Lotto to get the situation under control. We were actually really close to getting back with them, but that was when Albasini went out and then we had the duo on the front to chase again.”

Having taken the stage win in commanding fashion on stage 2, the flat finish meant Tinkoff’s leader, Peter Sagan, had another chance to push for a stage win. With his teammates upping the pace and helping the peloton to reduce the gap, the UCI World Champion’s team soon had the break in their sights. Only two riders remained ahead, the prospect of a stage win urging them on.

On the final climb of the day and with 11.5km to go, Peter attacked, powering over the climb, making his endeavour look effortless, to go it alone ahead of the chasing peloton and join the remaining two breakaway riders on the front. From there, Peter attacked again from 5km out, taking a slim advantage at the front, but with the chase group splintering, there was every chance Peter’s group of three would be able to hold them off until the end. With the fifteen second gap falling, with any other riders in the break, it would be unlikely that they would be able to stay out until the finish, but Peter had other plans, working with the other two to drag out the advantage until the flamme rouge passed overhead.

The speed increasing, Peter’s companion in the breakaway began his sprint and was looking to distance him as they rounded the last corner, but the Tinkoff leader hadn’t even begun his sprint – and when he did it was immediately clear who was going to take the stage. Crossing the line, Peter took his thirteenth Tour de Suisse win and propelled himself into the race leader’s jersey.

Vila could see that the break had the potential to stay out until the end, so urged Peter to go for it on the final climb. “I spoke to Peter and said he’d have to go or Albasini would take the win. It was his kind of stage and it was unlikely if he was in front any longer that the bunch would be able to pull him back in. It was a fantastic move to bridge to the two guys – and then he attacked again, came back and held them off before until the end and took it in the sprint.”

Looking back on the day’s efforts, while Peter made it look easy, he was clear that it was a hard-fought race. “The race was very hard. I caught the escape on the descent, on the flat, and it was pretty hard to keep up. When its raining it’s much easier to be alone out the front – to make the break stick – and the decisions I made were based on me feeling good On the front the guys did some work with me and it was ok in the lead up to the finish. It was a good sprint – at 300m out I stayed on his wheel and then passed him on the line. The riders in the breakaway wanted to work with me today – it’s not always easy to get them to work with me but we all wanted the win. It was just lucky I still had the legs to go for the sprint in the last hundred metres.”

It was lucky that after working so hard, Peter still had the legs to contest the sprint, Vila explained. “In the final sprint I think Albasini tried to surprise Peter but didn’t manage it – he took maybe 2-3 metres, and if Peter didn’t have the legs he’d have made it, but he came back and took it.”

With Peter taking his 13th stage win at the Tour de Suisse, Vila was thrilled with how the team had pulled together to help Peter take the win. “It was a great day today. We knew that today was perhaps the best chance we’d have for another stage win, so we came out, were focused on the race and planned on doing a good job. Yesterday we didn’t work as hard, but today we did and the whole team deserved the win. It’s been a fantastic couple of days - we came with a plan to take one stage – but to have taken two is even better. Now we have the responsibility of defending the jersey. Peter won't be a favorite to keep it until Sunday with the big mountains still to come, but it will be good to have the jersey.”

Peter was surprised to have taken the race lead today, after focusing on the stage win during the day. It wasn’t in my mind that I could take the yellow. It was wet and hard, and from the last climb it was all descent and I thought if I went in the break it could be ok for the sprint – maybe I could recover and then go for the sprint, but I wasn’t expecting to take the yellow jersey. I think I prefer the Rainbow Jersey, but its good to be in the yellow jersey and leading the race. I’ll do my best to hold it tomorrow, maybe for two days, but I won’t be holding it until the end.”

Tomorrow the race comes to its flattest stage – the calm before the storm of the mountain stages. While a flat profile awaits, it’s not without its challenges, particularly when considering the team has to defend Peter’s leader’s jersey. The 193km stage will take riders from today’s finish in Rheinfelden to the Champagne region. A short climb early in the day is the toughest riders will have to face before a flat 130km approach to the last hill of the day – a third category climb riders will negotiate less than 10km before the finish.

Vila was going to celebrate with the team before committing to a strategy for tomorrow. “It’s an easier stage tomorrow. It comes after some tough stages – they might not have looked it on the profile, but the guys said they were hard days. Tomorrow it’s the flattest stage, which makes things easier, but we still have to work and protect the jersey. We’ll enjoy it tonight but we’re ready to fight tomorrow.”

BMC had this to report about the Swiss Tour:

13 June 2016, Rheinfelden: Silvan Dillier put in a brilliant ride on Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse to cross the line in third place, moving up to third on the General Classification and becoming the best-placed Swiss rider.

Dillier attacked solo after 10 kilometers and was joined by seven more riders to form the breakaway of the day, eventually gaining an advantage of five minutes.

The pace picked up in the final hilly section and the Dillier was the only remaining breakaway rider, later joined by Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEDGE) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) in the final 15 kilometers.

The trio powered to the finish line managing to hold off a reduced peloton by three seconds. Sagan took the win, with Albasini second and Dillier rounding out the podium.

Dillier was awarded most combative rider for his efforts on Stage 3, and now sits in third place on the General Classification, three seconds behind new race leader Sagan.

"My future father-in-law recommended that I go for this stage as it had a final circuit with two climbs and he knew the climbs well. So I did a recon a week ago and it was good to have seen it before today as there were some technical descents and it's also good to know what the climbs are like. The climbs were quite steep but not that long, so you need to have the power to get over them but you don't have to have the climbing rhythm for 20 minutes or so."

"I attacked after ten kilometers and was alone for four to five kilometers. I knew there were guys chasing but I wasn't sure if the peloton would slow down and let me go. Once the peloton did ease up I waited for the seven riders to join me."

"When we passed the finish line for the last lap we still had quite a good advantage of two minutes. Then it started to come down really quickly to under one minute. I said to the other guys that we should try and stay together and make it to the top of the last KOM and then at least finish in the front group."

"When Albasini jumped over and then Sagan, I knew we had a good group. It was full gas in the last kilometers. Sagan never stopped pushing the pedals so I thought I just have to follow the wheel. I knew that I was close to taking the leader's jersey but as soon as Sagan joined us I knew he was already in front of me and to beat him after such a long breakaway would be tough. I still tried to do my best sprint."

"I have had a really good feeling since GP Gippingen. I will see how it continues throughout the Tour de Suisse but I generally am really happy with the shape so it's nice to be up there."

Upcoming races for Giant Alpecin and Liv-Plantur

The teams sent me this update:

RACE PREVIEW: JUNE 13 - 21 

STER ZLM TOER GP JAN VAN HEESWIJK (1.1)

The Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk starts this Wednesday evening with a 6.8km prologue in the streets of Goes. The second stage is a flat one which will probably end in a bunch sprint. This will be followed by two hilly stages with the peloton riding in the region of Limburg and the Belgian Ardennes. On the final day, the sprinters have another opportunity in the stage to Boxtel.

Coach Mattias Reck (SWE) said: "The first goal will be to target the sprints with Nikias. He is on good form at the moment and performed well at the Giro d’Italia and Rund um Köln, racing to third place last Sunday. Secondly, we have a couple of guys in our line-up suited for a short effort like the prologue on Wednesday. So we will be aiming for stage results at Ster ZLM.

Nikias Arndt

Nikias Arndt

“I expect differences to be small so the prologue and bonus seconds gained on the finish lines can be very important for the general classification. The unpredictable nature of the race makes it a great challenge with plenty of short but steep climbs and more than likely, crosswinds to deal with. Stages two and four will be most interesting because of the chance of bunch sprints and we will go for it with Nikias."

RACE: Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk (1.1)

DATE: 15-19/06/2016

COACH: Mattias Reck (SWE) 

LINE-UP: Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Lars van der Haar (NED), Carter Jones (USA), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Max Walscheid (GER) 

AVIVA WOMENS TOUR  (WWT)

Team Liv-Plantur heads to the United Kingdom for the tenth round of the Women's WorldTour which begins this Wednesday. The road race which celebrates its third anniversary this year will take place over five stages in the heart of England and it is being considered as the toughest edition to date. The course offers a new route for 2016 with increased climbing, including a visit to the Peak District National Park.

Coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: "The Aviva Womens Tour is a well-organized race for female cyclists and during the past years the race has grown into one of the most popular events of the calendar. The route is quite challenging this year, with longer stages and a lot more climbing added to the course.

"We go there with a lot of ambition. Leah currently sits in the top 10 on the WorldTour and we want to keep it that way. We will bring a strong team to support her and aim for podium finishes. There are some stages that really suit her as she is one of the few sprinters who is able to be part of the select group in the finale of the hilly stages. There is also the possibility of achieving a good general classification with Leah because of the time bonuses at the finish line."

RACE: Aviva Womens Tour (WWT)

DATE: 15-19/06/2016

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

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