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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, August 13, 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

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity. - Albert Einstein

Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:


Binckbank Tour stage six news

We posted GC leader Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb stage 6 report here.

Here's the report from stage winner Tim Wellens' Lotto-Soudal team:

The sixth stage of this BinckBank Tour between Riemst and Houffalize was the longest of this year’s edition and probably one of the most important for the general classification. The hilly 203,7 kilometer course took the riders through the High Fens before arriving on the local circuit in the Ardennes region.  Windy and rainy conditions as well as the high tempo of the peloton made it very difficult to go clear in the first part of the race. A group of six riders finally managed to form the breakaway after fifty-three kilometers of racing. Geoghegan Hart, Gougeard, Martin, Sutherland, van Baarle and Weening rode well together and they had a maximum advantage of five minutes and ten seconds.

Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot accelerated on the Côte de Saint Roch with thirty kilometers to go, consequently catching the breakaway and creating an elite group at the front. Sagan attacked a few kilometers later with Tim Wellens but the world champion suffered a mechanical issue and had to stop his effort. Tim Wellens went solo, but he was later joined by Tom Dumoulin. The duo quickly opened a twenty-five second lead on Van Avermaet, Stuyven, Naesen, Valgren and Tiesj Benoot but the chasing group was never able to close the gap. Wellens and Dumoulin went head-to-head in the last uphill sprint and the Belgian took a well-deserved win in Houffalize. Tiesj Benoot crossed the line a few seconds later in a fine fifth place. Tim Wellens also took the second place overall, four seconds behind new race leader Tom Dumoulin.

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens has a good day of racing.

Tim Wellens: "I felt really good yesterday and this was the case today as well. Today was rainy and windy and I love racing in these conditions. As a team we had the plan to open the debates from the last thirty-kilometer lap. The team rode very strongly to position our leaders as good as possible and to thin the peloton a little. I went with Peter Sagan with twenty-five kilometers to go  and I heard that he had just punctured. When I saw Tom Dumoulin coming, I decided to work with him because I knew it would be easier to hold the chasing group back. At one point they came very close, but Tom and I worked really well together to stay away and we are now first and second overall. The GC battle will therefore be settled tomorrow in the Flemish Ardennes."

"My father did a recon of the course last week, so I was very well informed of what the final looked like. I intended to come out of the last corner in first place and then sprint as fast as possible to the line. I knew Tom did not feel too good in the last kilometers so I hoped that I could beat him in the sprint. I am very happy with this victory, especially after a difficult period and after the disappointment of the Tour. In my residence in Monaco it was also very warm and I had to train at six o’clock sometimes, but if it leads to a good result in this BinckBank Tour, then it was worth it. I have to thank my teammates today, and especially Tiesj Benoot, who rode brilliantly after two crashes this week. I'm now four seconds behind Tom Dumoulin, that's a lot and not so much at the same time. It is not easy to get a rider like him out of the wheel and there are also the golden kilometer and the bonus seconds on the line that can influence the outcome of the race. Tom and I are no cobbles specialists. If the final opens up early, other riders may also be a threat for the final classification, but I'm sure our team will ride as hard as today to get at least the second place in this BinckBank Tour, but the victory would really be a great reward for this good week."

Arctic Race of Norway Stage three news

We posted the organizer's stage three story here.

Dylan Teuns (BMC) maintained his GC lead. Here's his team's report:

The Arctic Race of Norway queen stage came down to an exciting finale with Dylan Teuns on the attack before sprinting to second in a photo finish to maintain his overall race lead with one stage remaining.

It was another fast start on day three day in Norway with attacks flying off the front of the peloton from the moment the flag dropped. A three-rider group went clear within the first 5km, of the 185.5km course, but the peloton never sat up and, with others trying to bridge across, they were eventually pulled back with 160km of racing still to come.

New attacks began almost immediately as the race reached the hilly middle section, which included two categorized climbs, but the peloton closed every move down before four riders began to distance themselves at the front of the race and, with the gap hovering at under 20 seconds, another four were able to bridge across.

Behind the eight-rider breakaway, the peloton finally sat up with Floris Gerts and Bram Welten setting the pace for BMC Racing Team and allowing the leaders’ advantage to reach over 3’40” as the road began to rise towards the Vassåsen Summit and it hovered there going over the top of the Sæterlihaugen Summit.

On the flatter terrain that led the race into the final category one climb to the line in Finnvikdalen, BMC Racing Team continued to lead the peloton and began to steadily cut into the advantage of the breakaway pulling them to within two minutes with 40km remaining.

With a battle of the General Classification contenders brewing, the race charged towards the bottom of the final 5.2km climb, with the peloton trailing by less than one minute before the leaders were swept up as the road started to rise.

The pace on the early slopes of the climb, saw riders spread out across the road almost immediately. A select group of riders, including Teuns and Amaël Moinard, was drawn out at the front of the race with just 4km to go as riders began to try their luck in a late bid for glory.

After chasing the late attacks, Teuns led the front group under the flamme rouge before launching his final sprint towards the summit finish with 400m to go.

However, the stage came down to the last throw of the bike with August Jensen (Team Coop) able to match Teuns’ impressive speed and take the day's honors. After securing second on the line, Teuns retains his overall lead of the General Classification with an advantage of three seconds over Jensen heading into what will be an exciting final stage tomorrow.

August Jensen

August Jensen just beats Dylan Teuns.

The final throw! Arctic Race of Norway stage 3 came down to the smallest of margins.

Dylan Teuns:

"It was a pretty hard day. For me, it was maybe a bit easier than it was for me teammates. They had a lot of work to do, and the wind only made it more difficult. I am really happy with the work they did for me today. It was amazing. The final climb was not that hard, and it was really good that I still had Amaël Moinard with me, but I think the perfect scenario would have been to have had the sixth rider here to take me to 600m to go as they started to attack us with 2km to go. After Amaël had done his job setting a high speed on the climb, I had to do my job and follow the attacks. It was maybe just a bit too early when I launched my sprint, and I am disappointed to miss out on the stage win by just 1cm. When you lose by half a bike length you know you were beaten but today it was so close, it's hard to take."

"Tomorrow will be raced right from the beginning, and it will be a hard day. Today I was surprised how fast we raced at the beginning, and I didn't expect it to take so long and the guys had to cover a lot of moves, so I am really happy with how strong everyone is and that gives me confidence. I don't think I can think about the overall win just yet. It is so close at the top of the GC and I have an advantage of just three seconds, so it is going to be a hard race tomorrow."

Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck: 

"We expected the finish to be harder today, but it is what it is. In the beginning, there was a battle to get into the breakaway, and it took over 50km for a group to go clear. Plus with the wind and rain, it made it hard for everyone. From there, we controlled the breakaway with Floris Gerts and Bram Welten, they did a great job pulling all day, and then some other teams started to help with the chase. In the end, we arrived at the bottom of the climb with the race back together, and from there we had Amaël Moinard with Dylan Teuns. Finally, it was up to Dylan to chase down the late attacks and even after that he did a good job in the sprint. We are still leading the GC, this morning we started with a two-second advantage, and now we have three. It will be another tough race tomorrow, and I think we might see a race for the bonus seconds at the final sprint between the GC riders. We know what we need to do tomorrow and I think that Dylan is more than capable of finishing the job."

Ag2r reports on the Tour de l'Ain and Binckbank Tour

The squad sent me this update:

Tour de l'Ain / stage 4.

Victory for Alexandre Geniez: “After having gone through a few very difficult weeks, this victory was bound to have a very special flavour.In addition to that, this is the second year in a row that I have won the final stage here.I felt that things had started going better for me at the French Championship. Then I had a great training camp with the team in Oisans. Today, after the Grand Colombier, there were riders all over the place.I managed to get back on the flat before the finish, and am very happy to have won.It was a fantastic team effort, especially with Julien (Bérard) and Hubert (Dupont) attacking. Now there is time for a little rest before the Vuelta, where I will arrive very motivated.”

Alexandre Geniez

Alexandre Geniez wins stage four.

JULIEN JURDIE: “It is very pleasant to see Alexander return to high level before the Vuelta. He has had a bit of a tough time lately, but knew how to work through it to be competitive for the end of the season goals.His victory today is a great satisfaction.After Samuel (Dumoulin) had to abandon yesterday, we still managed to have the heart to achieve something great today.We put in a great team effort with Julien Bérard and Hubert Dupont, but also  Clément Chevrier who took 9th place in the stage today.Even with only five riders, we did not give up.”

BINCKBANK TOUR  / STAGE 6

OLIVER NAESEN 7th: “On paper, this was the stage that suited my strengths the least. So I am happy with my result, even if I lost 20 seconds in the battle for the line.I saw Dumoulin and Wellens escape, but I could not make the move then.I am looking forward to tomorrow, where we will be riding more of a mini Tour de Flanders, and over some of my main training roads.Currently I am sixth overall 23 seconds away from the podium. If I can win tomorrow, then I think the podium is possible!” 

THE NUMBER: 10. Alexandre Geniez’s victory was the tenth of the season for our team. This is his second win in 2017 after having won the 2nd stage of the Tour de Provence.

Other victories for 2017:
- 1st stage of the Tour du Haut Var : Samuel Dumoulin
- 4th stage of the Tour des Alpes : Mattéo Montaguti
- Grand Prix of Plumelec : Alexis Vuillermoz
- Sixth stage of the Tour of Switzerland : Domenico Pozzovivo
- French Time Trial Championship : Pierre Latour
- Belgian Road Race Championship : Oliver Naesen
- 12th stage of the Tour de France : Romain Bardet
- The Polynormande : Alexis Gougeard

THE NEWS
Since 2013, riders from the AG2R LA MONDIALE team have been on the Tour de l'Ain podium six times.Romain Bardet (1st in 2013, 2nd in 2014),John Gadret (3rd in 2013) Pierre Latour (3rd in 2015 and 2016) and Alexandre Geniez’s 3rd place this year has contributed to this impressive string of successes

Chris Juul-Jensen extends with Orica-Scott for another two years

Orica-Scott sent me this release:

Former Danish time trial champion and 2015 Tour of Denmark winner Chris Juul-Jensen has confirmed the extension of his contract with ORICA-SCOTT through to 2019. A strong all-rounder, Juul-Jensen has proved his worth and capabilities in all types of races from one-day classics to week-long stage races and the prestigious Grand Tours.

A strong start to the 2017 season saw the Dane wrack up a string of impressive performances including top ten finishes at Strade Bianche and De Brabantse Pijl before returning to a support role at the Giro d’italia.

Chris Juul-Jensen

Chris Juul-Jensen in 2015

A talented, but truly selfless team player Juul-Jensen spoke of the decision being a ‘no brainer’ to extend with the Australian outfit. “I’m really happy to have been able to re-sign with such a great team for another two years,” said Juul Jensen. “After only a year and a half as part of the set up I already feel integrated and so well accepted by my teammates and staff that there was absolutely no doubt when it came down to making a decision.”

“The development of the team totally suits my characteristics, a young and ambitious GC team with an amazing balance of young, talented riders like Adam & Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves who are genuine Grand Tour contenders and the older, more experienced guys like Svein Tuft and Mathew Hayman.

“Maybe the best defining characteristic of ORICA-SCOTT as a team is the familial, supportive nature of everyone involved that makes you feel part of something bigger than cycling team. We know how to switch off, but we never stray from the task in hand and that really becomes apparent ten day’s into a Grand Tour and you realise the importance of what you’re doing and how together the team actually is.”

Sport director Matt White spoke of Juul-Jensen’s versatility as a performer and the Dane’s ability to perform in all kinds of race. “Every team needs a rider like Chris,” said White. “He is a very versatile character, we can put him in nearly any race on the calendar over ten months and be confident he will perform.”

“He is capable of winning races on his own, but when there is a job to be done he is not shy of getting stuck in and getting the work done. People talk about winners and people talk about captains, but there are people that need to do the grunt work and Chris is one of those guys and he can do it anywhere on the calendar.”

Chris Juul-Jensen
Date of Birth: 6th July 1989
Nationality: Danish
Place of birth: County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland
Turned Pro: 2012

Major Results:
- 2015 Danish time trial champion
- 2015 Tour of Denmark – General Classification
- Winning team member of Alberto Contador’s 2015 Giro d’Italia victory.


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