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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, February 17, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest. - Rodney Dangerfield

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Søren Kragh Andersen wins Oman Tour stage 3

Team Sunweb sent me this:

After an incredible performance and a great show of team work, Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN) climbed to victory at stage 3 of the Tour of Oman today, taking his first win of his professional career.

The team worked well to protect Andersen throughout the race and positioned him perfectly to finish off their hard work and take the victory. The lightweight Giant TCR Andersen was racing today turned out to be the perfect fit for the job; suiting the hilly course of today's stage. The talented 22-year-old Dane turned pro with the team and is considered part of the team's unique "Keep Challenging" approach.

Soren Andersen

Soren Andersen wins stage 3

After his victory Andersen said: "The team was amazing again today. They delivered me to the bottom of the climb as fresh as possible. After their great work it was up to me to finish the job. I started the sprint with 250m to go and from then on rode full gas. It was an incredible feeling to cross the line in first place. It was a day of great team effort and great legs and one I will remember."

Team coach Marc Reef (NED) said: "We planned today to go for Søren and to bring him into the best possible position going into the final climb of 2.5km. We knew upfront that if we were able to put him with the first five riders into the last climb, he would have a chance of taking the victory. The team performed brilliantly and the plan worked out well: Søren went with the first five riders into the last 2km without loosing any energy. At the end of the climb he had the legs to finish it off in a great way by taking his first win as a pro."

Roglic second in Algarve’s Alto de Fóia stage

This came from LottoNL-Jumbo

Primoz Roglic raced to second behind Daniel Martin in the Volta ao Algarve’s second stage up the Alto de Fóia in Portugal. Martin took the lead and Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s captain sits at four seconds.

"I race to win, but I can be happy with my level,” Roglic said. “Second place proves that I am doing well, Martin was just slightly stronger today. I gave everything on the climb and tried to attack a number of times, but I could not lose him."

Martin and Roglic

Dan Martin just beats Primoz Roglic

Last week, Roglic placed third in the Vuelta a Valenciana and showed that he is already at a high level of fitness. "I am at a good level. My good form is there and I want to do everything to show that. I do my best, and this was the result. This gives us confidence for the next few days. It was a tough day and the team helped me today. Tomorrow, we have to do our best in the time trial again."

Sports Director Frans Maassen had seen this day coming for the Slovenian and former ski jumper. "Last year, Primoz did a good job here and we had high hopes that he could do it again this year,” Maassen said. “His training went well so we expect that he would race for the victory. Of course that brings pressure with it, but Roglic shows that he is able to deal with it in a good way.

"From the car, I constantly coached him and told him he needed to race for the win. Daniel Martin still had much explosiveness, but it's never fun to lose. I think Primoz did what he had to do."

Valverde 5 seconds behind Contador before Algarve's individual time trial

Here's the way Valverde's Movistar team sees things:

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) notched up the win on Thursday's stage two of the 63rd Vuelta Ciclista a Andalucía after overcoming Alberto Contador (TFS) into the final meters of the Cat-1 Peña del Águila ascent. The Spaniard now leads as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Tram) made up ground from a less-than-optimal counterattack to finish in 3rd place.

Very well protected by his team-mares Arcas, Anacona Sutherland and Gorka Izagirre, as well as Víctor De la Parte and a good Marc Soler in the beginning of the last 5k uphill, 'Bala' and his Movistar Team remained calm as Tim Wellens (LTS) launcbed a courageous attack, 50km from tne line, to go for the stage win from tbe early break. The controlled pace by TFS, SKY and CDT caught tbe Belgian's attempt before Contador's attack, 3km before the finish, was initially followed by Valverde, the Murcian soon forced to go on his own pace.

Alejandro kept catching elements through the final slopes -Izagirre (TBM), Rosa, Landa (both SKY) and even seemed like he had a realistic shot at the day's win, neglected only by Pinot's last acceleration. The GC remains wide open, with eight riders within 26 seconds, before a demanding 12km ITT in Lucena all but decides the final outcome on Friday, the weekend's fractions seemingly destined to sprinters.

Alejandro Valverde: “Alberto's acceleration was really strong, and I had to set my own rhythm to keep up. I went stronger through the last part of the ascent and it ended up being a good recovery. I'm happy with the race so far - a win and a third place, remaining close to the GC lead, can't complain. Tomorrow's time trial will be a tough one, let's see how we react to those slopes all over the course. The riders ahead of me in the overall standings are strong specialists, so it will be hard to make up ground."

After Fernando Gaviria's success in Lagos on Wednesday, Dan Martin (QST) prolonged his team's streak at the first mountain-top finish of the 43rd Volta ao Algarve, 183km from Lagoa to Fóia -the highest point of the region in the Serra de Monchique-. Even though absent from the leading trio including Roglic (TLJ, 2nd) and Kwiatkowski (SKY, 3rd), the Movistar Team directed by José Luis Jaimerena notably featured at a second echelon, with Jonathan Castroviejo and a remarkable Antonio Pedrero.

While 2nd-year pro Pedrero stuck to that second group until the last two kilometers, finishing 14th at 1'15", 'Castro' remained committed to bridging the gap to the front group, with several attacks that ultimately granted a fine 7th spot, 35" behind Martin. A promising performance from the European TT champion, his arguably best chance for a stage win this week coming up next as a 18km ITT is covered around the Fortaleza de Sagres on Friday.

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