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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, February 14, 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

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are? - Satchel Paige

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Lance Armstrong will face jury trial in $100 million suit

Here's the story fronm USA Today:

The federal government’s $100 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong will proceed to trial after a federal judge on Monday denied Armstrong’s request to throw the case out of court.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper marks a significant defeat for Armstrong, who had asked Cooper to dismiss the case with a summary judgment ruling. Instead, Cooper sided with the federal government, which is suing Armstrong on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service and is seeking nearly $100 million in damages.

Lance Armstrong

Disgraced racer Lance Armstrong in the 2009 Tour de France

The Postal Service paid $32.3 million to sponsor Armstrong’s cycling team from 2000 to 2004 and said it wouldn’t have paid that if it had known the team was violating its sponsorship contract by using banned drugs and blood transfusions to cheat in races. The government now wants that money back and could have that amount tripled under the under the False Claims Act, with Armstrong possibly on the hook for all of it.

You can read the entire story here.

World Championships book by Les Woodland released

Announcing a new book is always a pleasure, doubly so when it's by Les Woodland. Cycling's World Championships: the Inside Story went live as a Kindle eBook today. Just click on the Amazon widget on the right to get your copy. Coming soon will be print and audio versions.

Here's more info on the book:

Champion of the World! For a year the World Cycling Champion gets to wear a special white jersey with rainbow stripes. And then, for the rest of his career, he can wear a jersey with rainbow cuffs and collar. Unlike the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey, which can only be worn while leading the race, the rainbow is earned for life.

For more than a century organized cycling has been conferring that extraordinary and wonderful title, starting with the first championships held in Chicago in 1893. But it wasn't until 1927 that there was a professional world road championship race, won on the famous Nürburgring car circuit in Germany by the great Alfredo Binda.

The story of the world championships is a fascinating one, and besides the well-known road and track competitions, there are many events that even the most dedicated racing fans might not know about, such as Cycle Speedway, Bicycle Polo, and of course the World Unicycle Championships.

Alfredo Binda

The great Alfredo Binda, three times champion of the world, wearing his rainbow jersey.

Join Les Woodland as he tells the whole, fun and engrossing story of the bravery as well as the treachery and trickery in the World Championships, and the athletes who have been able wear the coveted colors of the rainbow.

BMC to target stage wins at back-to-back races in France

The team sent me this:

13 February 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA)

BMC Racing Team will be targeting stage wins in France when they line up at Cycliste International du Haut Var-Matin (18 - 19 February) and the 2ème Tour Cycliste International La Provence (21 - 23 February).

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said that he is confident in the abilities of every rider. 

"We are not heading into these races with a particular team leader. Instead, we will look out for any opportunities that present themselves to us to go for stage victories. We are still early in the season, and the number one goal will be to help our riders continue their preparation, so they are ready to race at the highest level at the UCI World Tour races which lie ahead. I think we will have a good dynamic with both teams and I trust that every rider will give their best to achieve results."

Brent Bookwalter is looking forward to starting 2017 with the two French races, in what will be the start of his tenth season with BMC Racing Team.

"I've raced Cycliste International du Haut Var-Matin on a few occasions. It is always demanding, and the two-day race is a solid way to measure my early season form. More and more of the peloton have already raced by the end of February, so every year these races seem to get faster. I'm excited to get stuck into the action for another year with my BMC Racing Team teammates. I hope we can continue the team's strong start to the season and the success which has already been achieved."

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis in 2016

Rohan Dennis, who will be joining the team for the 2ème Tour Cycliste International La Provence, said that the race provides an opportunity to get back into the racing mindset.

"For me, this race is all about getting back into the swing of European racing for 2017. It marks a return to the normal race routine, and the main goal for me will be to test out my legs. At this stage, I have felt really good since I landed in Europe so hopefully racing will confirm that."

Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var-Matin (18 - 19 February)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Miles Scotson (AUS), Fran Ventoso (ESP)

Sports Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA)

2ème Tour Cycliste International La Provence (21 - 23 February)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA)

Lotto-Soudal headed to Volta ao Algarve

The team sent me this news:

The day after tomorrow, Wednesday 15 February, the Volta ao Algarve begins. This Europe Tour stage race ends on Sunday 19 February. Most riders of the Lotto Soudal roster for this race rode in Murcia and Almería past weekend.

André Greipel is one of the two riders that will join the team. Wednesday is a first opportunity for him to win a stage as the stage to Lagos is perfect for a bunch sprint. The next day it’s a stage for climbers and GC riders. The first half of the stage runs over flat roads, but afterwards it goes uphill, starting with a third category climb. In the last 25 kilometres the riders find a second category climb on the route and the stage finishes on the Alto da Foia (first category). On Friday an individual time trial is scheduled. It’s a flat course along the coast. Saturday the sprinters get a second chance in the stage to Tavira. On the last day another tough stage lies ahead of the riders. In the finale they need to climb the Alto do Malhão (second category) twice. This climb has gradients above 9%.

Andre Greipel

André Greipel

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We can count on André Greipel for the two sprint stages at the Volta ao Algarve. There will be some strong opponents like John Degenkolb, Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen. Tiesj Benoot and Tony Gallopin are the riders that need to set a good result in the two tougher stages, on Thursday and Sunday. Tony Gallopin was very strong at Etoile de Bessèges where he won the time trial and finished second on GC. We know the Alto do Malhão, which has to be climbed twice on the last day, from previous years. That climb is not very long, but it is steep. The time gaps are often small at this race. That’s why the time trial will also be crucial, just like the bonus seconds. The course of the time trial should suit Tony, there are many long straight parts. There will be stronger and more opponents than in Bessèges, but I expect Tony can set a good overall result.”

Nikolas Maes takes the plane to Portugal tomorrow for his first race in the shirt of Lotto Soudal. He should have made his début at the Challenge Mallorca, but illness prevented him from doing so. In the meantime Maes has healed and he’s ready to start the season!

Nikolas Maes: “My preparation for the season didn’t run smoothly. I got ill a first time at the end of December. Afterwards I got a viral infection during the training camp in January. I had to take sufficient rest for two weeks and barely touched my bike in that period. I’ve been training since three weeks now. The condition is good enough to start racing. I hope this first race goes well and that I reach the level I want for the Classics.”

“It has been postponed because of my illness, but I am really looking forward to put on the Lotto Soudal outfit for my first race. This gives a lot of motivation. After the Volta ao Algarve I will ride the Belgian opening weekend, followed by the Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico and then I will ride the Classics starting with Dwars door Vlaanderen. About ten days ago we did a recon of the Omloop, Kuurne and E3 Harelbeke with five riders. Last Wednesday I rode up some Flemish hills together with André Greipel and Jens Debusschere. It were three tough trainings that I could definitely use.”

“There are two sprint stages at the Volta ao Algarve and with André Greipel we have a big chance of winning. I will help the team in the run-up to those sprints. In Portugal we get to ride over some hills that are quite similar to those in Flanders. I need this race to get in a better shape and the way they race in Portugal is perfect for that.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Nikolas Maes, Jürgen Roelandts and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

Stages

Team Sunweb will race Ruta del Sol/Vuelta a Andalucia

This update came from the team:

The 2017 edition of the Vuelta a Andalucia takes place from 15 February with a 155km hilly circuit to open the race. Stage 2 is considered the decisive stage of the race and will see a 6km summit finish to Peña del Aguila. Stage 3 is a day for the time trial specialists with a technical 11.9km course sure to create even more time gaps in the general classification. The final two stages feature hilly parcours, and will test the team's strength in working together before a finish near Malaga.

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "For the riders lining up at Andalucia, this is their first race of the year and it will be a good reality check to see where their legs are going into the new season. We have had some good training camps and TT specific tests through the winter, which gives us confidence going into the race. In Spain we will have a team with quite some climbing skills and we will aim to get some good stage results. Our strategy will be an offensive one, with a special focus on the TT stage, where we will implement all we have learned over the recent months.

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