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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, September 9, 2016

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No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. - Heraclitus

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Vuelta a España stage 18 team reports

We'll start with stage winner Magnus Cort Nielsen's Orica-BikeExchange's news:

ORICA-BikeExchange sealed their third stage victory at this year’s Vuelta a Espana today with 23-year-old Magnus Cort sprinting to a magnificent win on stage 18 in the Dane's first appearance at a GrandTour.

A windy, yet mainly uneventful, stage saw an early breakaway of five riders develop a maximum lead of seven minutes before the controlled peloton made the catch with ten kilometres left to race.

ORICA-BikeExchange moved determinedly up the field as the battle for position began and it was Cort who exploded out of the bunch to take his first win for the team after jumping to the left and accelerating brilliantly to the line.

“It’s really fantastic, a big dream come true,” said Cort at the finish. “Our main goal at the moment is the general classification and protecting Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates, but every now and again we get the opportunity to give it a try.”

“We saw the same with Jens Keuekeleire on stage 12 and today it was my turn to give it a go and it was really amazing. This is fantastic for me to win a stage in my first GrandTour ever. This is a great team to be part of at the moment, three stage wins and two guys in the top five overall, it’s pretty special.”

Chaves and Yates were protected well by their teammates and came through the stage without issue to hold onto third and fifth respectively on the general classification ahead of tomorrow’s individual time trial.

Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Vuelta stage 18

Magnus Cort wins Vuelta stage 18

How it happened: After thirty kilometres of racing on stage 18, five riders had developed a lead of five minutes with the peloton happy to let the escapees push on early in the stage.

Giant-Alpecin and Bora-Argon18 were controlling the tempo in the bunch with one eye clearly on ensuring a sprint finish by bringing the breakaway quintet back to four minutes with 140kilometres to go.

The five leaders managed to push their lead back out past five minutes over the day's only real climb, the second category Casa de Alto. A crosswind strung out both the breakaway group and the peloton as the race hit the open agricultural plains around Valencia with the leaders at four minutes 45seconds with 65kilometres to go.

The advantage of the quintet continued to fall steadily over the next 50kilometres with Etixx-Quickstep and Giant-Alpecin the main protagonists on the front of the peloton. Finally the race came back together with ten kilometres to go as the teams of overall favourites started to jostle for position with the sprinter's teams at the front.

ORICA-BikeExchange were right where they needed to be as the speed increased through the finale with Cort brilliantly navigating the openings before jumping to the left of Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) and accelerating to the win.

Tomorrow’s stage 19 is an all important 37-kilometre individual time trial, following a challenging course down the Valencian coast from Xabia to Calpe.

LottoNL-Jumbo sent me this Vuelta update:

After several stages of lighting up the front end of the Vuelta a España, the LottoNL-Jumbo men enjoyed a quiet 18th stage to Gandia. Magnus Cort Nilsen (Orica) won the stage ahead of Nikias Arndt (Giant) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) in a sprint. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remained the overall lead.

"The stage went well for us, we had no ambition to jump on a day like today,” said Sports Director Addy Engels. “You can sit in the front group, get in the break, but it’s good for nothing – this was a clear sprint stage. We decided to stay in the group together and support each other.

"Stages like today can be relatively easy, so our men can save a little for the coming days. Campenaerts is looking forward to tomorrow, Bennett and Gesink know that Saturday it can happen for them. Tankink is still recovering from yesterday and it is important for Keizer and Bouwman to rest and think of Madrid on Sunday."

On the roads towards Gandia, the wind blew properly. "It surprised me that Etixx tried to make some echelons. It was a small part of the race and it was still a long way to the finish, but it did not cause problems in the peloton. Bennett survived well in the first group."

Tomorrow: The Vuelta programmed a 37-kilometre time trial for tomorrow in Calpe. "Victor Campenaerts can not wait to start tomorrow, before we go to the hotel, we are going to see a bit of it in the car. The stage will not surprise many because they come here to train in the winter.”

“It will be the first tie for Campenaerts to race a time trial in a grand tour, so we want to see what he can do. He is motivated, at least for tomorrow."

And here's what Tinkoff had to say about the day's racing:

Daniele Bennati was once again in the mix at today’s sprint finish, this time waiting for the final kick and racing to fourth place on the stage. With tomorrow’s individual time trial and Saturday’s tough, final mountain stage lying in wait, stage 18 of the Vuelta a España was a safe day for the GC contenders, with no change in the overall classification by the end of the day.

After the race, Tinkoff Sport Director Steven de Jongh told us from outside the team bus: “The guys worked well today with the task of protecting Alberto and Benna throughout the stage. Benna did a good move before the last corner to move up onto Stybar’s wheel, but had to go again and do his own sprint. In the final he did a good effort to take 4th. He’s got another shot on Sunday.

“It was a safe day for Alberto with no problems, and he can now look ahead to tomorrow’s time trial. He’s already looked at the course and we’ll have another look in the morning to be prepared.”

Alberto contador

Alberto Contador before starting Vuelta stage 18

A fast start kicked-off the action under blazing sunshine, but it wasn’t long before a plucky escape broke clear to set out their stall for the day. Five riders went up the road, building several minutes’ advantage over the rolling parcours before the peloton, led by the sprinters’ teams, picked up the chase.

The break never looked like challenging for the stage and with 50km to go their advantage was four minutes and falling. The catch finally came at just over 10km to race and from therein the race was handed over to the sprinters. Having kept Alberto well positioned throughout the stage and into the final, through a succession of technical roundabouts, Tinkoff’s focus passed to Daniele in the final kilometres as he positioned himself for the finishing sprint.

Moving up well through the last corner, Daniele gave his everything as the sprint opened up but couldn’t get through to jump for the line, ending up in fourth place. After the sprint, he told the press: “It wasn’t easy today, but we were pretty quiet and in the final I had some energy left, but I was a little bit behind in the last two corners. When I was able to go on the left I gave it my all.

“The main goal is Alberto and the race doesn’t finish until Madrid so we’ll keep doing everything we can to race for the red jersey. It’s not easy but we know his character and he’ll fight all the way.”

Alberto added: "It was another hard day where we put in a very strong effort. We had a fast pace, stayed in the front all day and I'm happy with the result. Now the focus is on recovering as much and as quickly as possible in order to give my very best in tomorrow's time trial. Yesterday and today I felt fine, so we will see how we do tomorrow. We can't draw any conclusions from this stage but I can guarantee that I'm motivated.

“The time trial will be tough. It isn't flat, it has a lot of climbs which could result in slowing your pace and has quite a technical part. Until we reach Calpe the road surface is very smooth and could prove slippery, and at times the road has a central reservation, so, overall it will be a complicated time trial."

Stage 19 tomorrow will see each rider race the clock over a rolling 37km time trial route, a penultimate GC test before a tough climbing stage on Saturday. The race is not over until Madrid.

BMC's Tour of Britain report:

8 September 2016, Bath (GBR): After a day in the breakaway, Amaël Moinard claimed second place for BMC Racing Team on Tour of Britain Stage 5 behind Jack Bauer (Canondale - Drapac) after an exciting battle for the line.

In what has become typical fashion at the Tour of Britain, it was a very active start to the race with plenty of attacks being reeled back in by the peloton. Finally, after 40 minutes of racing Moinard made a move off the front of the peloton with four other riders and the group was soon able to carve a significant lead over the peloton which reached a maximum of just under six minutes.

The quintet was working well together and despite the peloton gradually closing the gap, the breakaway went into the final 20km of the race with a lead of 2 minutes.

With 5km Moinard attacked off the front of the group but the race eventually came down to a thrilling final showdown on the finishing straight with Moinard, Bauer and Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) able to narrowly hold off the charging peloton to claim the top three spots on the stage after a day out at the front of the race.

Jack Bauer

Jack Bauer wins Tour of Britain stage 5

Amaël Moinard: "It was a good breakaway group with five strong riders and we went at the top of the climb after a really hard and fast start. I think we were working really well as a bunch and at the end when the peloton was coming really close I knew I didn't want to have any regrets on the line. I wanted to give everything today to get the win and I thought even if I don't win I want to leave it all out there on the road"

"Of course I would have preferred to win but I am happy with second as I gave it my all and I couldn't have done anymore. I was feeling good but Bauer also looked strong and he is fast on the line so I knew my best chance would be to gamble a little bit and attack earlier. I tried and in that way I'm pretty happy."

Giant-Alpecin signs Mike Teunissen

The team sent me this release:

Team Giant-Alpecin has added talented young Dutch rider Mike Teunissen to its roster for 2017 and 2018. Teunissen is particularly strong in one-day classics, prologues and sprints.

2014 was a successful year for the Dutchman, as he won the U23 editions of both Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Tours. Last year he won the Tour de l’Ain prologue and finished second in the bunch sprint at the Prudential RideLondon. This season he took two fourth places in bunch sprints, at the Tour of Oman and Tour of California.  

Mike Teunissen

Mike Teunissen after winning the 2015 Tour de l'Ain prologue

“I’m very happy with my transfer to Team Giant-Alpecin,” said Teunissen. “The opportunity came at the right moment in my career, and I seized it. I’m attracted by the team’s focus on helping riders improve, and by the professional support and opportunities they offer as a result. The team had a strong lineup already and has added some impressive talent, so we’ll have a good squad and I’m looking forward to some great seasons.”

Coach Marc Reef said: “Mike has performed well already at a young age, often in a support role working for his team leaders. He feels most at home in the Flemish races in the spring, and he’ll also be able to go for an overall result in some of the shorter, less difficult stage races, as he is a strong prologue rider. He has the potential to achieve good results in the classics in the future, and with us he will have the opportunity to take the next step in his development. He will also have an important role in the lead-out for our German sprinters, Nikias [Arndt], Phil [Bauhaus] and Max [Walscheid].” 

Setback for industry as UCI continues to suspend disc brake trials

This was posted in Bike-Eu.com:

AIGLE, Switzerland –The trial period for disc brakes in road race will not see a quick restart as the UCI still announced last July. Unconfirmed reports state that, “the UCI would continue to suspend the trial of disc brakes in road races”.

This decision was taken at the request of the Professional Teams’ Association (AIGCP), and the UCI is not planning to resume allowing the use of disc brakes in the pro peloton until the teams agree. This was reported last week by Cyclingnews while quoting a UCI insider.

You can read the entire story here.

Note: This addendum was posted by Bike-Eu.com a day later:

Yesterday Bike Europe informed, “Unconfirmed reports state that the UCI would continue to suspend the trial of disc brakes in road races.” Last April the UCI suspended these trials.

After yesterday’s report Bike Europe received information that currently positive talks are taking place with all stakeholders. And that these talks are expected to bring a positive result with regard to resuming the trials for disc brake usage in professional road racing.

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