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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men. - John Locke

Today's racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


Rohan Dennis wins Tour of the Alps stage two

BMC sent me this report:

18 April 2017, Innervillgraten (AUT): Rohan Dennis punched the air with delight on Tour of the Alps stage 2 after taking the stage win with a final uphill sprint for the line.

After heavy snow saw the start line relocated from Innsbruck to Vipiteno, 44km into the previously planned 181.3km route, the race eventually got underway.

The peloton set a fast pace over the first 25km before a four-rider breakaway went clear and built up an advantage which settled at around two minutes. But, with 60km to go, and the day's only categorized climb still to come, the gap began to fall.

As the race headed towards the climb to St. Justina, a huge increase in pace from the main bunch saw the breakaway reeled in as the road began to rise with 28km remaining.

Attacks began early on the 4.8km climb with four riders extending a slight advantage as they went over the summit. Behind them, Damiano Caruso attacked off the front of the main bunch and rode solo to bridge the gap.

Inside the final 10km, the group of five were holding onto a 40-second advantage over the main bunch before only Caruso, Mikel Landa (Team Sky), and Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani - CSF) were left out in front.

The trio continued to push on, but the bunch was chasing hard behind and with less than a kilometer to go the race was back together and heading for an uphill sprint to the line.

With only meters to go, an explosive burst of acceleration saw Rohan Dennis put some daylight between himself and the bunch before storming across the line to victory.

Roha Dennis

Rohan Dennis wins the stage

The Winner's Interview with Rohan Dennis

Congratulations, Rohan! How are you feeling after today's win?

"I'm feeling really happy after today. I didn't expect to win, to be honest. I was just playing it by ear really. We knew that the finish was slightly uphill so I thought that if I was in a good position, I would give it a crack and see how I went. Today it worked perfectly."

"The team did a great job for me today, and I maybe used their energy at the wrong times on a couple of occasions today. But, I can definitely learn from that and I am really glad that I could repay them with the win."

Talk us through the final sprint.

"I was probably a little too far back when I launched my sprint, but I just said to myself 'go for it!'. I maybe got a bit lucky when the guys went a little too early in front of me, and it kicked up a bit more than they thought. Normally the tenth wheel would be too far back in a sprint, but today, it worked out perfectly for me."

Does today's win give you some confidence ahead of the Giro d'Italia next month?

"I have come here for the final bit of top-end racing to prepare me for next month, and this gives me a bit more confidence going into the Giro d'Italia for sure. Yesterday didn't go exactly to plan, and it knocked me a little bit, but I didn't let that get to me as I know I have done a lot of work recently. Today, that turned around but this wasn't the toughest stage of this race, and we will see more of where I am at over the next few stages."

Sports Director, Max Sciandri:

"Looking at the stage this morning, we thought it would come down to a sprint and that it would be hard to get a breakaway going. Some strong guys moved on the top of the climb with around 30km to go, and Damiano Caruso was riding well, and he was able to jump in. In the end, it didn't go all the way, but it was a good situation for us. We didn't have to chase behind, and we were able to set Rohan Dennis up well in the finish, and he looked really strong."

"This is a pathway to the Giro d'Italia for Rohan, and there are still three hard days to come, but for sure, this is a good result here for us. For me, anything else is a bonus at this race now. The team will have a good morale going into the next few stages and we will see what happens."

Lotto-Soudal previews La Flèche Wallone:

Here's the team's update:

Wednesday 20th of April the riders will compete in the penultimate spring classic. The 81st edition of the Flèche Wallonne kicks off at Grand Plance in Binche and finishes two hundred kilometres and nine climbs later in Huy. The race ends with two local laps of 29 kilometres in and around Huy. The first part of the race takes place on an undulating course, the first official climb only turns up after 127.5 kilometres: the Côte d’Amay. Not much further this climb is followed by the Côte de Villers-le-Bouillet. After the first passage on the Mur de Huy the riders attack the first of two local laps. They have to climb the Côte d’Ereffe, Côte de Cherave and the Mur the Huy. The race finishes on top of the Mur the Huy.

Sports director Herman Frison looks ahead to the Flèche Wallonne He hopes for a good result and is looking forward to see the renewed course.

Herman Frison: “We always start to win. I believe you have to start a race with a winning mentality because otherwise you are not ambitious enough. Last week, we received a lot of positive signals. The Brabantse Pijl was very good with a third and fourth place, but it was the team performance which stood out the most for me. I also saw a good team in the Amstel Gold Race with a strong Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens. We were in a good position with Tiesj Benoot and we had forced it by racing aggressively. That’s also our plan for the Flèche Wallonne. Tiesj Benoot doesn't start Wednesday, but that was already planned from the start of the season so it has nothing to do with his crash from Sunday."

“The course of the Flèche Wallonne is slightly different than last year. There are three climbs less before the local lap and instead there will be an extra local lap of 29 kilometres in and around Huy. I don’t think that a change in the course will break open the race much sooner if the finish remains on top of the Mur de Huy, but you never know. The riders are the ones who decide how hard the race will be. The competition is very strong, especially the Movistar Team with Valverde. Gilbert and Alaphilippe will not be in the race, but Quick-Step Floors still has Martin under their sleeve. Also Team Sky has with Kwiatkowski an enormous quality rider so the competition is still very big.”

“Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens are the leaders in our team. Wellens is in a very good shape and is looking for his first result in the Flèche Wallonne. Vanendert can count on his experience in these races. Tosh Van der Sande and Thomas De Gendt have the qualities to break open the race at one of the nine climbs. Bart De Clercq, Tomasz Marczynski, Sean De Bie and Sander Armée will assist Vanendert and Wellens as good as possible. If there’s a chance to be in a breakaway it’s for example up to Sander Armée to be there.”

“The guys really want a good result and I hope for them that they will succeed, because they deserve it. They have been giving their all for weeks so it’s only logical you hope to get rewarded. The ideal scenario would be that a small group of riders without Valverde, Martin and Kwiatkowski but with Wellens, heads towards the finish. The chance that they will let Wellens go is not big, so we have to wait and see.”

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens wins stage 5 of this year's Ruta del Sol

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Sean De Bie, Bart De Clercq,  Thomas De Gendt, Tomasz Marczynski, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.

Star Riders Announced for 2017 Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire

The Tour de Yorkshire organizers sent me this:

Race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and A.S.O have announced a host of big-name riders for the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire, with Luke Rowe, Nacer Bouhanni and Caleb Ewan among those set to compete.

Welshman Rowe, who has been part of the last two Tour de France wins, will be joined in a strong Team Sky line up by Olympic Gold Medallist Owain Doull and 2016 World Track Champion Jonathan Dibben.

Bouhanni, one of the world’s top sprinters who has five Grand Tour stage wins to his name and has already claimed the Nokere Koerse and Paris–Camembert titles this season, will head up the Cofidis Solutions Credits team while fellow star sprinter Caleb Ewan leads the Orica-Scott charge in a squad that also includes 2016 Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman.

The Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire on Saturday 29 April also boasts a top-quality field with Olympic Road Race Champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), two-time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) and 2017 Tour of Flanders winner Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) all on the start line.

In addition, reigning British Road Race Champions Adam Blythe (Dimension Data) and Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) will both be in action along with three former race winners in Lars Petter Nordhaug (Aqua Blue Sport), Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) and Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling). 2016 Points Classification and Stage One winner Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) also makes an appearance.

Thomas Voeckler

Thomas Voeckler (emphatically winning 2016 Yorkshire stage 3) will start the 2017 edition

If that wasn’t enough, Yorkshire’s very own Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data) and Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) are set to be in attendance, with the full start lists for both races being unveiled before the men’s race commences on Friday 28 April.

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “It is exciting to be able to unveil this first wave of big-name riders and the strength of this list demonstrates how highly the Tour de Yorkshire is regarded.

“The third edition will be the biggest and best one yet, and with World Champions, Olympic Gold Medallists and Grand Tour stage winners on the start list, we can guarantee three days of great racing.

“Yorkshire is already gearing up to celebrate the race with banners, bunting and giant land art projects springing up right across the county, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone.” 

E-Bikes shine in France in record-breaking 2016

Bike Europe sent sent me this industry news:

PARIS, France – The French bike market has registered growth for the third year in a row. According to the French bicycle observatory sales increased to a total € 1.795 billion (including P&A) with 3,034,000 bikes sold in 2016. E-bike sales increased by over 30% to 134,000 units with an average retail price of over one thousand euro.

According to the French bicycle observatory, sales continued to increase in 2016 with 1.3% to a total of over 3 million bicycles and e-bikes. Total turnover in bicycles and e-bikes upped by 6.4% to a total of 1.023 billion compared to 2015. This result marks the 3rd consecutive year of growth and for the first time since 2012 sales passed the 3 million mark.

Last year e-bikes sales increased by 31,4% to 134,000 units. Urban and trekking e-bikes are the most popular with total sales of 106,000 units. The e-MTB is also growing in France. 2016 statistics show that 15,300 e-MTB’s have been sold; a 72% increase from the 9,000 sold in 2015 and the 6,000 in 2014. For this year a further increase in e-MTB sales is expected as well as for the complete e-bike sector. In particular because of different French national government measures. The most important one is the subsidy (up to € 200) for purchasing an e-bike.

You can read the entire story here.

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