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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, September 25, 2016

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

60's shock TV personality Joe Pyne to Frank Zappa: "So I guess your long hair makes you a woman."

Zappa: "So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table."

Recently completed racing:

Today's racing:


2012 Tour de France winner Wiggins denies seeking unfair advantage
by using banned drug

LONDON (AP) - Former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins said he needed permission to use a banned substance to treat his asthma to ensure he was ''back on a level playing field.''

The British rider's confidential medical information was featured in one of the leaks resulting from an alleged Russian-led cyberattack on the World Anti-Doping Agency database. The eight-time Olympic medalist was given three injections of an anti-inflammatory drug between 2011 and 2013.

You can read the entire AP story here

Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins at the end of the 2012 Tour de France

Eneco Tour stage 6 team reports

Winner Luka Pibernik's Lampre-Merida team report is first:

LAMPRE-MERIDA won in the Eneco Tour and they did it in the way that characterized the whole season of the blue-fuchsia-green team, which is attacking.

Luka Pibernik won the 6th stage of the Eneco Tour event, completing a long breakaway in which he pedaled together with other four riders, succeeding in avoiding the recovery of the bunch.

The six hills characterizing the 6th stage of the Eneco Tour, which started from Riemst and finished in Lanaken at the end of a 197 km course, excited six attackers (Pibernik and Gougeard, Haga, De Vries, Van Lerberghe, McNally) who escaped from the peloton in the early kilometers in the race, reaching a top advantage of 4'50" at the 50th kilometer.

On the hill of the Bois la Dame, 900 meters at 12,2% of gradient whose summit was at 54 km to the arrival, the peloton raised the pace and reduced the gap from the front of the race, however the chase was not intense and the breakaway (reduced to 5 members, De Vries was dropped) could enter in the last kilometer with an advantage large enough for sprinting for the victory.

Pibernik began his progression at -250 meters and he succeeded to precede McNally and Van Lerberghe (photo @EnecoTour), obtaining his third succeess in his career and giving to LAMPRE-MERIDA the 18th seasonal victory.

Luka Pibernik

Luka Pibernik wins Eneco Tour stage 6

"I won my first World Tour race, I'm very satisfied - Pibernik explained - LAMPRE-MERIDA approached each stage of the Eneco Tour with a battling spirit, today it was my turn to try to join the breakaways and I succeeded in joining the right one. The cooperation between the breakaway's members was very good, we were only focused on defending our advantage on the peloton. Only when we entered in the final kilometer, I realized that we had the opportunity to won the stage: in my opinion, Gougeard was the strongest rider in the breakway, so I decided to begin the sprint following him, however at 250 meters to the arrival I preferrd to begin my progression and it was the winning choice".

The last and crucial stage will be a sort of little Belgian classic which will start from Bornem and will finish in Geerardsbergen (197,8 km). Dennis will start wearing the jersey as leader of the general classification.

Race leader Rohan Dennis' BMC had this to say about the stage:

Rohan Dennis will line up at stage 7 of the Eneco Tour in the leader’s white jersey having successfully defended his overall lead on stage 6. Dennis started the day with a 16-second lead over teammate Taylor Phinney and 24 seconds over Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and maintained his time advantages after the breakaway managed to hold the peloton off and take the surprise win.

The peloton let the six-rider breakaway go clear in the first hour of racing and then sat up to let their advantage stretch to four and a half minutes. As the breakaway’s advantage started to reduce the attacks started in the peloton and the pace picked up, but no riders were able to bridge to the break.

BMC Racing Team put on a brilliant display of teamwork by riding at the front and covering all of the attacks to defend Dennis’ lead. Despite the peloton chasing hard in the last 10km of racing, the breakaway held on by five seconds on the finish line with Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida) taking the win.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis riding in Eneco Tour stage 2

BMC Racing Team continue to lead the team classification with a 23-second advantage of Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

Rohan Dennis: “It worked out perfectly for us. Ideally Chad Haga wasn’t in the break and we could have let them fully go but he took the bonus seconds and they stayed away so my biggest competitor Peter Sagan didn’t get any time so that was I think a perfect day for us. I’m confident for tomorrow because our team is very strong. Today you saw that no one wanted to help us at all. Tinkoff did a little bit of work but everyone was against us but we stood up and I couldn’t fault my teammates, they were exceptional today.”

“I think the weather is going to turn a little bit tomorrow, and anything can happen on wet cobbles. My legs are good, the team is good and it’s just luck that will be on our side. If we repeat what we did today, tomorrow then it will be perfect. Today we showed that we have the team to control it and look it would have been great to have someone else helping but maybe tomorrow someone will be more willing to help out and go for a sprint or they’ll want to try something on the Murr. So it might end up working out that we don’t have to do so much and we can save it for the finish.”

“It would be great if Greg Van Avermaet could win the stage tomorrow like he did in 2014 and if that’s the case then I’ll be right behind him because the team will be leading him out. For the GC it’s obviously 100% for me now but going for the stage with Greg would help me out anyway.”

But Lotto-Soudal sent me this bad news:

Lotto Soudal didn’t get through the sixth stage [of the Eneco Tour] without damage. Marcel Sieberg crashed with 55 kilometres to go. The German rider was brought to the hospital in Maastricht for a check-up. After the medical examination, the doctors diagnosed him with a non-displaced fracture of the left collarbone. Tomorrow, the rider will undergo surgery by doctor Toon Claes in Herentals. Eventually, he will be able to participate in the World Championships in Qatar.

In the race the riders of the early breakaway sprinted for the victory. Although the peloton kept a fast pace in the more or less flat final, the escapees arrived at the finish with an advantage of a few seconds. Luka Pibernik sprinted towards the victory, before Mark McNally and Bert van Lerberghe. Giacomo Nizzolo won the bunch sprint. Jürgen Roelandts was the first rider of Lotto Soudal to cross the finish line. He finished as fifteenth.

Here's Etixx-Quick Step's report:

Besides Tony Martin, two other Etixx – Quick-Step riders are in the top 10 overall.

Stage 6 of the Eneco Tour (Riemst – Lanaken, 185.2 km) belonged to a five-man breakaway, who went clear minutes after flag was dropped and survived to take the win, despite being chased by several teams who wanted the victory to be decided in a bunch sprint. In the closing kilometers, the escapees held around 20 seconds, but the technical course played into their favour and helped the quintet defy the bunch.

Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida) was the one who edged out his breakaway companions, with Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen) rounding out the podium in Lanaken, which acted for the first time as arrival town in the Eneco Tour. The general classification remained unchanged, which means Rohan Dennis (BMC) will start the last day with the leader's jersey.

Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra and Bob Jungels came together with the peloton at the finish, five seconds behind the escapees, and kept their top 10 places in the rankings, giving Etixx – Quick-Step three options for the mini-Tour of Flanders stage 7, which is set to come to a conclusion on the legendary cobbles of the Mur de Grammont.

"To be honest, I thought it would be easier today, but the pace in the pack was high and you could feel the climbs in your legs. It's been a hard week and I'm a bit tired, as is the whole peloton. The important thing is we survived and now we will focus on the final leg of the Eneco Tour, at the end of which we hope to get a nice result in the GC", said third-placed Tony Martin, who's just 24 seconds adrift going into Sunday's stage.

LottoNL-Jumbo sent me this update:

Dylan Groenewegen was unable to unleash his sprint in the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour today in Lanaken. Instead, an escape group stayed clear with Slovenian Luke Pibernik (Lampre) winning the stage. Little changed in overall classification, Rohan Dennis (BMC) remains leader.

A crash three kilometres from the finish was not conductive for the sprint finish. It was the last possible one of the tour with tomorrow a classification day. "It looked like a criterium with all the turns in the final,” said Groenewegen after his 19th place. “We were separated under one-kilometre arch and I knew we could not get the breakaway. Then we took a roundabout on the wrong side and I realised that it was over for me. Tomorrow is an important day for the GC, let’s see what I can do for our leaders."

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen winning Eneco Tour stage 1

"It was a relatively quiet day in the peloton,” explained Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. “In the first hill zone, there were some attacks, but everything came back together. On the Halembaye and Muizenberg, some tried, but even then it was all shutdown afterwards. Riders began to realise that a sprint was possible, but we still had a leading group with a big gap and I thought it was going be close. The leading group played it smart to win."

The Eneco Tour planed a classification day for the final day tomorrow. In the stage towards Geraardsbergen, peloton will face many climbs. "The GC may be about to change, but BMC Racing will do everything to keep it together like today,” added Zeeman. “We want to finish as high as possible in the GC with Jos van Emden, we're going do everything to make that happen."

Today, he rode on home roads. "It's always nice to have course knowledge, but I need to know the roads of every stage. It saves a lot of energy when you have the home advantage,” Van Emden said. “It would be a highlight for me this season if I can hold my place in the GC. I have my own chances in this race, and it's nice if I can follow through with it tomorrow."

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