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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 7, 2016

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

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. - Carl Jung

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Giro d'Italia stage one team reports

Of course we'll start with Giant-Alpecin's release:

Tom Dumoulin (NED) won the time trial which opened the Giro d’Italia in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, and became the first to wear the pink jersey of the race leader, while Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) finished fourth to become best young rider.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin turning the big gear

Tom Dumoulin (NED): “This is incredible, even better than I ever dreamed. To win by such a small gap before this incredible home crowd is a very special feeling. There was pressure before the start but the experience from Utrecht last year helped me a lot and I was able to focus on my effort.

"This is a huge success not only for me but also for everyone in the team. For the upcoming stages we will try and defend this leader's position for as long as possible. For sure, I will enjoy my day in the pink jersey tomorrow."

Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE): "We made a really good plan before the start and the coaching from the car was great. I made minor mistakes in a few corners, I couldn't hear the radio properly because of the noise from the crowd. Therefore it is a pity I end up fourth, it would have been nice to be third for once.

"The time trial was difficult but I had really good legs and I took the white jersey. It is a fantastic feeling to start a Grand Tour like this. I am so happy for Tom and for the team, it is the first victory of the season and it is a really good day for us."

Marc Reef (NED): “It is unbelievable, really nice. And good that we finally got our first victory. We made a good pacing strategy and the guys were able to execute it.

"We have four guys in the top 15, and we can see that they are really on a good level and they can push power for a long time and keep the speed high. It is impressive what we showed here today. It was also great to see Chad [Haga] performing at a high level after recovering from the training accident."

Iwan Spekenbrink (NED): “This is a true milestone, a great victory for Tom [Dumoulin], who is maturing as an athlete. Step by step he is turning pressure into motivation, which is a good development. He did a very solid race.

“But we also have Tobias [Ludvigsson] in the best young rider jersey in the fourth spot. I think we also won the team classification, so today is a really successful day.

"We all know where we come from in January, what a huge setback we had. We said, ok we cannot change it, we have to accept it ,we have to stay calm and keep on working. We said that when we get back we will be stronger and I think this is the confirmation of that.”

LottoNL-Jumbo sent this:

Primoz Roglic was 0.022 second shy of a major upset in the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia. The Slovenian Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider finished his time trial in 11-03 minutes and was provisionally the fastest for a long time. Only Tom Dumoulin (Giant - Alpecin) beat him by a hair.

“I didn’t even dream about winning this time trial,” Roglic said about his second place. “I’ve delivered some fine time trials, but they weren’t even close to what the specialists are capable of. I was very close today, though. I don’t think that I did anything wrong, but to be honest, I haven’t been thinking about it at all.

“It was totally crazy around me on the course. I wasn’t even able to hear my sports director talking to me through the ear piece.”

Sports Director Addy Engels was not expecting Roglic to put in such a ride. “We weren’t counting on a Primoz win at all,” he added. “He said that he was feeling stronger than ever, but we don’t know that much about Primoz at the moment, so nobody knew what that meant. We know now, and it makes it even more painful that he didn’t win. He delivered the time trial of his life, but doesn’t have the pink jersey.”

Jos van Emden, who was Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s main gun for the time trial, crashed. Engels added, “That was, without a doubt, the biggest setback of the day. Jos was doing well. He took a knock from this disappointment and has to recover from it.”

“I slipped away in the turn and I don’t know why,” said van Emden. “I came to this race to deliver a strong opening time trial, so you take risks to accomplish that. It went south in that corner. I felt good about the first part of my time trial, so I’m very fed up about the way it turned out. My Giro was about today. I fell apart after the finish.”

Van Emden only suffered scrapes due to the crash.

Steven Kruijswijk was the last Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider off and finished 22nd. “He did a strong job,” Engels continued. “He won time on most of his competitors for the general classification. It’s looking good for Steven.”

Protecting Kruijswijk remains the most important task for the team in the second stage between Arnhem and Nijmegen. “It would be nice if we’re able to be part of the early breakaway because the stage goes through Holland, but the main task is to come through this day with Steven. Moreno Hofland can go for the sprint afterwards.”

Movistar had a good first day at the Giro. Here's their news:

The fourth-place finisher in the 2015 Giro d'Italia has started the 2016 edition with a bang. Despite Andrey Amador being focused -as for the whole Movistar Team- on helping out Alejandro Valverde in this 'Corsa Rosa', the man from Costa Rica didn't stop looking for glory into a discipline, time trials, which already took him into a provisional podium in Italy twelve months ago. Only the day's winner Tom Dumoulin (TGA) and Slovenia's Primoz Roglic (TGA) bested Amador -by six seconds- over the 9.8km course in Apeldoorn, the latter part ruining the chances of most specialists in a pan-flat course in Gelderland, but not avoiding Andrey notching up the first good result for the telephone squad in a Grand Tour this year.

Andrey Amador

Andrey Amador turning in a terrific ride

In turn, Valverde made a notable time trial in his Giro debut. The Spanish road race champion finished 24" behind Dumoulin to keep hold of GC contenders Chaves (+6"), Zakarin (+8"), Urán (+9"), Majka (+14") or Landa (+16"). Only Vincenzo Nibali (AST), five seconds faster than the Spaniard, and Steven Kruijswijk (TLJ, 2" ahead) could improve his result. It's thus all good feelings for the Jaimerena-Chente group ahead of a duo of fast, tricky stages in Gelderland, prelude to the first big transfer of this Giro to the south of Italy on Monday.

Andrey Amador: "I'm really happy with what I did today. It's hopefully a good start to a great Giro, both for us team and for Alejandro, who clocked a great time today. The squad is feeling stronger after this race... and we're only getting started. I felt really well on the course - knowing that the work done at home makes you confident, and I think my legs will improve over the three weeks. I hope not to disappoint, be there at the front and hopefully, give the team a good race at the end of this Giro."

Etixx-Quick Step posted this:

Marcel Kittel – a former Junior ITT World Champion – put on an impressive ride in the time trial and proved that he's on the top of his game for the race.

Thousands and thousands of people packed the streets of Apeldoorn to cheer for the Giro d'Italia and the 198 riders who came at the start of the 99th edition, and they weren't left disappointed, as the race kicked off in spectacular fashion. One of the most successful teams of the past decade, Etixx – Quick-Step showed since the opening day how motivated is to do something in the race, placing two riders in the top 10, Marcel Kittel and Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels.

Returning to the race for the first time since 2014, Marcel was among the late starters in the 9.8-km long flat and non-technical individual time trial in Apeldoorn. A former Junior world champion and winner of the U23 European title in the same discipline, the German showing he still has the skills against the clock, especially on short distances, and finished 5th, only 11 seconds behind the first pink jersey of the race, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel

"It was difficult out there, as is every time trial. I got a good result and I'm satisfied with it, but this doesn't change anything. Taking the pink jersey isn't my priority, my focus in only on the flat stages and the sprints. I will be happy if today's result will help me don the maglia rosa, but I'm not going to put extra pressure on my team for this", said Marcel Kittel following his impressive fifth place on the opening day of the Corsa Rosa.

Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia will run on the flat roads between Arnhem and Nijmegen (190 kilometers), and will include only a fourth-category climb which isn't going to have any impact on the race. In Nijmegen, the riders will do twice an 8.6-km long circuit, before fighting for the win in a bunch sprint.

This Giro update came from Lampre-Merida:

Lampre-Merida could be satisfied for the performance of Diego Ulissi in the 9.8 km time trial which opened the Giro d'Italia 2016.

The blue-fuchsia-green team has not in its line-up for the Giro a specialist of the time trials, however on a course with few bends and which was raced under the sun mostly on straights, which were bordered by a huge crowd, Ulissi covered the 9,8 km in 11'32", 29" more than the winner Dumoulin, obtaining the 31st place.
The performance of the Italian rider must be evaluated considering that Ulissi is not a specialist for these kind of flat time trials and that the gap from the top riders of the peloton were not so high: 10" from Nibali, 5" from Valverde, 4" less than Hesjedal.

"I'm satisfied with my time trial, I achieved the goal of being regular on the whole course, despite the fact that the wind in the second half of the track was blowing from ahead - Ulissi explained - I pedaled on my Merida Warp TT pushing the 53x12 or 13, I chose the 50 mm Fulcrum Racing Speed front wheel and lenticular rear wheels. I was not looking for a top result, however I found good legs".

Debut in the Pink Race for Conti, Koshevoy, Mohoric and Petilli.

The 2nd stage will be suitable for sprinters, Ferrari and Modolo are ready to face the 190 km from Arnhem to Nijmegen which are completely flat and with only one 4th category Kom.

And here's what Tinkoff had to say about the Giro's first stage:

At the start of what is bound to be three weeks of spectacular racing in the season’s first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia opened with an equally spectacular individual time trial through the streets of Apeldoorn in The Netherlands. Over a fast and flat course, Manuele Boaro was the team's first rider to finish, taking 15th position, followed by leader for the race, Rafal Majka. While the Polish team leader was aiming to reduce time losses ahead of a gruelling race, Manuele finished strongly among some of the biggest names in time trialling.

The first Grand Tour of 2016 got underway in front of huge crowds in Apeldoorn, with the opening time trial starting in the town’s velodrome and racing over a pan flat, 9.8km course, with only a few technical features on what was a fast route. The open, straight roads encouraged fast riding, and with just a couple of ninety-degree bends to slow riders down, this is what the spectators got.

After leaving the velodrome, riders faced a couple of small turns before the first stretch of open road – around 2km in length – before the next turn, meaning there was ample opportunity to build speed. This was the case for much of the course, with perhaps the most challenging part of the route being some sweeping bends after the intermediate time check. With the stage winner narrowly missing out on beating the eleven-minute mark, Manuele Boaro was the first Tinkoff rider home with a time of 11'21" – eighteen seconds slower – taking 15th position and making a great first impression on his home race.

With his sights on the GC race, Tinkoff’s leader, Rafal Majka, was simply aiming to limit time losses on this first stage, letting the specialists take centre stage today. Rafal finished in 60th position with a time of 11'41". From the stage’s finish, Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, explained the team’s aims for today. “Today was about not losing too much time to the other GC contenders for Rafal, and then the other guys going about 95% to get into the rhythm but not go too deep. Manuele pushed on though and had a good ride to come 15th on this course. Rafal lost a little bit of time to the favourites but in general it was good and we can be quite pleased with the start, as we didn’t have any real expectations for this stage.”

After a lot of hard work preparing for the first Grand Tour of the season, in terms of training, team selection, equipment and finalising details at last week’s Tour de Romandie, Hoffman was pleased with how the first day unfolded. “Everything behind the scenes went smoothly which is also important in getting a Grand Tour off to a good start. The whole set up was good, and it’s exciting to be in here in Holland. If you saw the crowds today, you can see that the support out there today was fantastic.”

The Giro’s second stage is the second of three days in the Netherlands, with a 190km route that culminates in a two-lap finishing circuit in Nijmegen. While the weather is likely to be kind to the riders, there’s always the possibility of wind, as Hoffman suggested ahead of the day. “Tomorrow, at the moment the weather doesn’t look like it will be a factor, with sunshine and little wind, but you never know. Even so, you have to stay near the front to be out of trouble as it’s always nervous in the early days. I expect some teams to push for a bunch sprint as there’s just one little climb, so it will be about getting into the rhythm tomorrow and looking after Rafal and one another on the road.”

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