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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

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

Resolve to edge in a little reading every day, if it is but a single sentence. If you gain fifteen minutes a day, it will make itself felt at the end of the year. - Horace Mann

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Vuelta a España Stage 16 news

BMC had a good day at the Vuelta. Here's their stage 16 report:

5 September, 2016, Peniscola (ESP): Jempy Drucker battled it out in a tricky sprint finish on stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana to claim his first individual Grand Tour stage win and second individual win of the season.

The 156.4km stage was expected to come down to a bunch sprint and it was in the final 10km that Drucker made his way to the front of the bunch. Excellent positioning from Danilo Wyss in the final 3km, where numerous roundabouts made for a tricky finale, put Drucker in the perfect position for the sprint.

Drucker came out from Gianni Meersman's (Etixx-QuickStep) wheel with 100m to go and won by a clear margin over Rudiger Selig (Bora-Argon18) and Nikias Arndt (Team Giant-Alpecin).

Silvan Dillier formed part of a 6-rider breakaway that escaped after just 4km of racing and stayed away until the peloton reeled them in 12km before the line. Although the group maintained a 3-minute advantage for much of the stage, the sprinters' teams were motivated to bring them back and set the scene for a bunch sprint in Peniscola.

With no changes to the General Classification going into the final rest day, Samuel Sanchez maintains sixth place overall and BMC Racing Team continue to lead the team classification.

Drucker

Drucker wins Vuelta stage 16

The Winner's Interview with Jempy Drucker:

How do you feel after winning stage 16?

"I suffered a lot in the last few days, especially the day on Col d'Aubisque, and I always kept believing in the sprint stages. I did a good Vuelta a Burgos and I was confident in my sprints, and was taking my chances. It was all about choosing the good wheels and I had Danilo Wyss who did a perfect job until almost the last kilometer. I was just hoping and hoping to get the good opening and then I started my sprint and it was perfect. It's cool to have a victory in a Grand Tour and it's always nice behind your name."

How did the sprint play out?

"The last 10km, with all of the roundabouts and entering cities, was pretty hectic but I had Danilo Wyss who did a great job in keeping me out of trouble. The final kilometer we had a tail wind so it's good to go a bit early. I was placing myself a little bit behind to be able to go from behind with speed. It was actually perfect as Gianni Meersman went and I could come in his slipstream and then went over him."

What do you expect from the last five stages?

"Now we have a rest day and directly the day after it's a hard stage and there is still the time trial, and Saturday's stage on the Aitana so I think the Vuelta a Espana is far from over. I think we're going to still see some action."

Silvan Dillier: "It was pretty windy at the start and then I saw that a few guys moved and I also jumped and we immediately had a gap. I think the peloton was quite happy that it wasn't the crazy start again and for us it was really good as we didn't have to chase the breakaway back. We never had a really big gap and we knew that it would be hard to finish in front. We tried hard and the fact that Jempy could win at the end is really nice for the team after some good teamwork. I think they did a good job to give him the best support possible and that he could finish it off is perfect."

Valerio Piva, Sports Director: "It was clear from the beginning that the sprinters' teams had let the breakaway go but controlled them. We had Silvan Dillier in front so it was quiet and we didn't have to chase. We also had a chance there, you never know as in the last few days anything has happened. The other teams worked and then we planned a move with Danilo Wyss in the final 3km which was tricky. Danilo brought Jempy in the perfect position and Jempy was strong. I saw the sprint and he was really, really strong and he was the best today, also thanks to the good job of Danilo and the rest of the team. We are very happy."

"For us it was already perfect. We are leading the team classification, we have Samuel Sanchez in a good position in GC and we had Darwin Atapuma in the red jersey for four days. But of course we wanted to win a stage because the day that you win you are the best, and today we had this. For me this is what we deserve as every day the riders have been trying."

Tinkoff sent me this report:

A do or die attack in the final kilometres from Daniele Bennati set up a nail-biting finish on a very hot 16th stage of the Vuelta today, but despite a huge effort from the Italian, he was passed by the sprinters with just 200m left to race. Making his move with 2,200m to go, Daniele came up just short of his seventh Vuelta stage win, eventually crossing the line in 26th place.

For Tinkoff’s GC leader, Alberto Contador, it was a safe day before the race heads into its second rest day. Despite the searing heat and the threat of crosswinds, Alberto was kept near the front of the peloton and came over the line safely within the bunch after a hectic, twisty run-in to the line at Peñíscola.

“It was another tough day, a very hard stage with the speed and the heat, but all the boys did a good ride, and nobody had any problems,” explained Sport Director Steven De Jongh from the team bus. “The boys in yesterday’s break suffered a bit, but we just wanted to stay out of trouble for much of the stage. With Benna we had somebody for the sprint, and he saw an opportunity to place an attack in the final kilometres. It was well-timed and he very nearly made it – it was the guys that made the decision there and it’s good to see them thinking like this in a hectic finish like today."

“Tomorrow we have a rest day. With the warm weather and the hard days in the legs we’ll have an easy ride, really trying to recover. Then after that we have some more very tough days ahead."

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador heads to the stage 16 start

The 156.4km stage was ear-marked by the sprinters, but with strong winds to negotiate, teams were still eager to try to take control of the race. After just a few kilometres the day’s break was established, with six riders pulling clear. They quickly gained a few minutes, but their advantage was well controlled by the chasing peloton who kept a high pace all day long, aided by strong tailwinds in the first half of the stage.

With just one small categorised climb on the parcours, the peloton only threatened to break up when the tailwind turned to crosswinds with just over 50km to go. However, it wasn't strong enough to cause any real damage and the race came back together soon after. The pressure on the front of the bunch saw the break’s gap fall quickly, and with 12km it was gruppo compato again.

Tinkoff took control of the race on the run in, anticipating a succession of roundabouts and tight corners, looking to keep Alberto safe, and it was this technical finish that gave Daniele the belief he could stay clear. After his attack he only ever had a handful of seconds, but he held this onto the long finishing straight before being swallowed up with 200m to go.

Alberto commented on the stage, saying: "It was an impressively hot day – on the descent the temperature was something close to 90 degrees. In the final part of the stage we were doing 90km/h and we could still feel the heat! We were sweating and I wouldn't exaggerate if I said that sweat evaporated before even coming out.

“It was really fast and I was focused on what I was doing, especially after yesterday's great effort. My legs responded well today even though it was a more mentally than physically demanding stage, as we had to be very attentive.

“We now head into the second rest day and we will see what will happen in the final week. I am left with very little margin by the other teams, so it will be complicated. Again, we will take it day-by-day and see how my body keeps recovering, assessing each stage and seeing where we can get in the GC."

LottoNL-Jumbo headed to Canada

This came to me from the team:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo departs this week to Canada for the GP Quebec and GP Montreal, September 9 and 11. In both WorldTour races Wilco Kelderman is the leader.

"I feel good and can’t wait to race again in Canada. These are two beautiful races that suit me,” said Kelderman, who placed sixth in the GP Montreal last year. "In Montreal, I hope to race for top 10 place again, but I would certainly go for the same result two days earlier in Quebec. Quebec has a short-style climb and Montreal is really a climbing course with the long climb in it. Given that, Montreal suits me better."

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman racing in this year's Tour stage 13

"With Wilco Kelderman, we take a rider who definitely is in shape to compete in the final,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “Last week, he showed himself with a second place in France.”

Verhoeven said the Canadian races are unique. In Quebec and Montreal, riders must climb a hill every lap. "The successive laps make it heavy and exhausting. We have different riders for the different race situations. If, as expected, it is a tough race, we will go with Wilco Kelderman for the win. If the race remains closed, Hofland and Van Asbroeck can go for the sprint.”

Line Up: Wilco Kelderman, Tom Van Asbroeck, Twan Castelijns, Moreno Hofland, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen, Alexey Vermeulen and Dennis van Winden

Sports Director: Nico Verhoeven

Giant-Alpecin's & Liv-Palntur's upcoming racing

This update came from the teams:

GRAND PRIX CYCLISTE DE QUÉBEC (WT)

Team Giant-Alpecin start off their Canadian campaign at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec this Friday. The parcours is a total distance of 201.6km, with the peloton completing 16 laps of 12.6km each around the city of Québec, and an elevation gain of 2,976 meters. The circuit is very hilly and it will be a challenging race, as Simon Geschke (GER) will be looking to improve on his 12th place from last year. Friday also sees the return to competition of Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), who suffered a scaphoid fracture at stage four of Baloise Belgium Tour, on May 28th.

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke

Ahead of the race, coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "We head to Québec with the objective of getting Simon in a good position in the finale, which suits his characteristics as a climber. We will look to keep him protected throughout the day and we will aim for a place among the top 10 with him.

"Riding as a team will be important to support Simon in the positioning before the key sections and to be able to contest the finish. We have a strong team to support him, and with guys who can get over the climbs we'll look to make a mark on the race."

RACE: Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (WT)

DATE: 09/09/2016

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Laurens ten Dam (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED) 

GRAND PRIX CYCLISTE DE MONTRÉAL (WT)

The second in a double-header of one-day WorldTour races in Canada is the GP Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday, featuring the same line-up as in Québec. The race, very similar to Québec, consists of 17 laps of 12.1km for a total of 205.7km and an elevation gain of nearly 3,000 meters.

"Our tactics for Sunday will be similar to Friday’s and we will aim to try and play a role in the finale with Simon," explained coach Aike Visbeek (NED). "We will aim to ride an offensive race because Montréal is more of an open course where anything can happen.

"We will have to stay attentive during the whole race, where attacks are likely to take place on this demanding parcours. Sam is showing some good form at the moment and with the experience of Bert and Laurens they will be good support for Simon."

RACE: Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (WT)

DATE: 11/09/2016

COACHE: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Laurens ten Dam (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED) 

MADRID CHALLENGE BY LA VUELTA (WWT)

Given the huge success of last year’s inaugural event, La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta returns for its second edition, which will take place before the final stage of the men’s Vuelta a España on Sunday. This will be the final race of the season for Team Liv-Plantur on the Women's WorldTour calendar.

Coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: "We come to this race with a clear leader in Leah and we will focus on a sprint, as this is how the race is likely to finish. She proved herself at Boels Rental Ladies Tour and is in great form as she was one of the strongest in the race.

"We expect to be involved in the decisive moments and we will target a podium finish. We can be confident in finishing the season with a good result and conserving the second place overall of Leah in the WorldTour."

RACE: Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta (WWT)

DATE: 11/09/2016

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

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