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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, October 30, 2016

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Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul. - Douglas MacArthur

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Tour of Hainan stage 8 team comments

Here's racer leader Alexey Lutsenko's Astana team's posting:

“Today everything went according to our plans– we tried on the finish and saved the yellow jersey. Guys are working for 100%” – commented the sports director Sergey Yakovlev.

“Tomorrow we have the final battle – very important stage. First 100 km are flat and soon we have the mountains. I think, it will be a very hard stage, where we will do our best to save the jersey” – he concluded.

The shortest stage of Tour of Hainan 2016 finished as expected with bunch sprint won by Max Walscheid from Germany.

Alexey Lutsenko saved his leadership in GC.

Tomorrow riders will have another mountain stage of Tour of Hainan, which could make final changes in general classification of the race.

Here's what Wilier Triestina-Southeast had to say about the stage:

It was an amazing Wilier Triestina – Southeast today in the 8th stage of Tour of Hainan that Rafael Andriato, at his 4th podium, wasn’t able to claim for only few centimetres against Alexey Lutsenko.

In the first part of the race the spotlight was on Mirko Tedeschi that joined the breakaway winning three of the four KOM of the stage before falling in a downhill with only 30 kms to go.

In the selected bunch not only Andriato but also Fonzi and Raileanu were able to follow the rhythm of the favourites and play their cards at the sprint that saw them respectively 7th and 9th.

Tomorrow last stage where Andriato will defy Walscheid for the points classification jersey with the german rider leading for only two points.

Here's Giant-Alpecin's report:

With 165.8km the eighth stage of the Tour of Hainan wasn’t the longest of all but the four registered climbs for sure provided the race to become selective. Following a long battle for the break with several groups trying to get away, a group of nine riders got clear after 55km of racing.

There was good cooperation among the breakaway group, as the climbing started with 70km to go and Astana controlling the pace at the bunch. Towards the finale several riders tried to bridge the distance to the front and with 25km only a reduced bunch was left to close the gap. 22 riders formed the first group to sprint for day success and it was Lutsenko who turned out to be the fastest. Johannes Fröhlinger took 11th place in the sprint.

Lutsenko

Alexey Lutsenko (in yellow) on his way to winning the stage

Already wearing the yellow leader’s jersey, Lutsenko extended his leading position with this victory and only one stage left in China. Both Jochem Hoekstra and Fredrik Ludvigsson finished closely behind the first group, in 24th and 26th place, respectively. Winner of already four stages at the Tour of Hainan, Max Walscheid safely crossed the line in the bunch. Johannes is the best-ranked rider from the team, he now sits 13th overall.

Lampre-Merida sent me this:

The 8th stage of the Chinese race started from Sanye and finished in Qiongzhong after 165.8 km of demanding course, which was characterized by three 3rd category hills and one 1st category climb in the final 66 km (last one at -16 km).

The peloton rode at a very high pace in the early part of the stage, neutralizing all the breakaway attempts, until 9 riders (Kurek, Brüngger, Tedeschi, Merignat, Sulzberger, Yang Yinghan, Grechyn, Davidenok, Vasylyuk) succeeded in going clear at 50 km.

The breakaway had a maximum advantage of 3'50", however it was neutralized on the penultimate climb at 30 km to go (average gradient of 8,1%), when the top riders raised the speed selecting the group. All the seven riders from LAMPRE-MERIDA succeeded in being in the head group.

At 20 km to the arrival, while they were climbing the last ascent of the race, Lutsenko, Duque and Ortega went clear, followed by Niemiec (photo 7Cycling), while Mohoric and Mario Costa were in the first chasing group with other 23 riders, who succeeded in bridging the gap from the head of the race in the downhill to the arrival.

While LAMPRE-MERIDA was planning the final sprint in order to consent to Mohoric to assault the leadership of Lutsenko, the young Slovenian gun crashed at 3,5 km to the arrival. Even if he did not suffer physical consequences, he could not reache the arrival in the head group, which performed the sprint for the victory which was obtained by Lutsenko on Andriato and Pasqualon. Mario Costa was 6th.

In the general classification, Lutsenko is leader with 17" on Niemiec (2nd) and 44" on Mohoric (3rd). In the team classification, LAMPRE-MERIDA is the leading team.

"Today we would have liked to try to attack Lutsenko, however the leader of the general classification performed a very good stage and it was not possible for us to cause him troubles - sports director Pedrazzini explained - We could have also exploited the chance of the final sprint, unfortunately Mohoric crashed.
Mario Costa was great in trying to achieve a top result in the sprint".

Etixx-Quick Step to become Quick-Step Floors in 2017

Here's the team's sponsorship update:

Quick-Step takes over sponsorship, while Etixx is set to remain on board as official supplier.

After being co-sponsor of the team managed by Patrick Lefevere over the past five years, Quick-Step will return as title sponsor of the Belgian World Tour outfit. Part of the pro peloton since 1998 and title sponsor of the team between 2003 and 2011, Quick-Step has been a major factor in the success of the squad throughout time. The title sponsor of the team since 2015, Etixx will not be featured on the race kit going forward, but will continue as an official partner in the forthcoming season.

"We are delighted that Quick-Step decided to take advantage of this opportunity and become the title sponsor of the team in the 2017 season. We have achieved many goals together and we are eager to keep doing so in 2017. I would like to thank Etixx for their support and underline that our relationship will go ahead, as Etixx will continue to supply the team with their high-quality products. Finally, I want to stress that the budget and the structure of the squad will remain unaltered in 2017", said Patrick Lefevere, the CEO of the team.

"The Quick-Step brand and the pro cycling team share many core values: a commitment to quality results and the continuous introduction of innovations that give us the competitive edge we need to win. These values are the cornerstone of success for both of our organizations", explains Paul De Cock, President of UNILIN, division flooring. "By origin we're also a Flemish company – cycling is in our DNA."

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