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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Music is the wine which inspires one to new generative processes, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them spiritually drunken. - Ludwig van Beethoven

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Author Les Woodland explains some little-known facts about the origins of the Tour de France and goes on to tell about the men who organized and ran the Tour over its more than 100-year history.


Peter Sagan still tops UCI rider rankings

Here's where things stand after Sunday's (March 26) racing:

Ranking number in parenthesis is previous rank

Rank Rider Team Points
1 (1) Peter SAGAN Bora-hansgrohe 5629
2 (2) Nairo QUINTANA Movistar 4229
3 (4) Greg VAN AVERMAET BMC 4052.25
4 (3) Chris FROOME Sky 3711
5 (5) Alejandro VALVERDE Movistar 3581
6 (7) Alberto CONTADOR Trek-Segafredo 2893
7 (6) Jhoan Esteban CHAVES Orica-Scott 2591
8 (8) Julian ALAPHILIPPE Quick-Step 2526
9 (9) Romain BARDET Ag2r La Mondiale 2380
10 (10) Diego ULISSI UAE Abu Dhabi 2300
11 (11) Alexander KRISTOFF Katusha Alpecin 2245
12 (14) Daniel MARTIN Quick-Step 2047
13 (15) Michael MATTHEWS Sunweb 2003
14 (12) Tom DUMOULIN Sunweb 1918
15 (13) Rui Alberto FARIA UAE Abu Dhabi 1889
16 (16) Richie PORTE BMC 1855
17 (22) Tom BOONEN Quick-Step 1800
18 (17) Jon IZAGUIRRE Bahrain-Merida 1744
19 (26) Sonny COLBRELLI Bahrain-Merida 1689
20 (20) Thibaut PINOT FDJ 1637
21 (18) Giacomo NIZZOLO Trek-Segafredo 1611
22 (44) Oliver NAESEN Ag2r La Mondiale 1559
23 (23) Mark CAVENDISH Dimension Data 1545
24 (21) Baptiste PLANCKAERT Katusha Alpecin 1531
25 (24) Bauke MOLLEMA Trek-Segafredo 1529
26 (19) Bryan COQUARD Direct Energie 1519
27 (27) Rohan DENIS BMC 1515.25
28 (29) Nacer BOUHANNI Cofidis 1476
29 (30) Fernando GAVIRI Quick-Step 1462
30 (25) Sep VANMARCKE Cannondale Drapac 1446
31 (48) John DEGENKOLB Trek-Segafredo 1401
32 (37) Rafal MAJKA Bora-hansgrohe 1365
33 (32) Marcel KITTEL Quick-Step 1354
34 (33) Rigoberto URAN Cannondale Drapac 1342
35 (82) Philippe GILBERT Quick-Step 1327.4
36 (34) Tim WELLENS Lotto Soudal 1326
37 (36) Arnaud DEMARE FDJ 1326
38 (35) Sergio Luis HENAO Sky 1321
39 (49) Adam YATES Orica-Scott 1316
40 (42) Tony GALLOPIN Lotto Soudal 1308

BMC Racing Team targeting third Volta Limburg win

The team sent me this:

28 March, 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Volta Limburg Classic defending champion Floris Gerts will return to the start line this Saturday, 2 April, with a team motivated for a third consecutive win following Gerts' victory in 2016, and Stefan Küng's in 2015.

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said he expects an aggressive race from the eight riders lining up. "In the past, we have always raced well at Volta Limburg Classic. It's not the Tour of Flanders but it is still a hard race to win. Last year we had five riders in the top ten, including Floris Gerts who won, so I'm expecting the riders to work hard to achieve similar results. We are taking a relatively young team, as well as experienced riders like Ben Hermans and Joey Rosskopf, so I'm confident we can do a good race."

Gerts is looking forward to wearing number one for the first time in his career. "I have never had number one in a race before so it will be special because I have good memories of last year's race. It won't put any more pressure on me than if I had any other number. I'm looking forward to racing with the guys but I realize that it will be hard to win again because now riders know me better," Gerts explained.

Flors Gerts

Flors Gerts wins 2016 Volta Limburg

"My shape is better than last year so I will ride to win again. With Ben Hermans we have a rider who will be the captain and leader so I'm looking forward to race with him again."

Volta Limburg Classic (1 April)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Miles Scotson (AUS), Manuel Senni (ITA), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Sports Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).

Luke Durbridge is second in first stage of Driedaagse de Panne

Here's the Orica-Scott race report:

Luke Durbridge had an impressive ride on the opening stage of Driedaagse de Panne to finish in second place on the stage and into second place overall. The final time up the Muur van Geraardsbergen, Phillipe Gilbert (QuickStep-Floors) and Durbridge rode away from the lead group before the Belgian champion crept away from the 25-year-old over the top of the climb.

Gilbert, unwilling to wait and work with Durbridge, maintained his small advanatge all the way to the finish line to claim the stage victory, with the former Australian champion fighting hard behind to finish just 17seconds a drift.

Luke Durbridge

Luke Durbridge finishes second at the De Panne race

“It was a fantastic ride from Luke again today,” said sport director Laurenzo Lapage “We have seen in the last few races how he is strong at the moment and today was a great way to open up this tour. He is now 22seconds behind Gilbert overall, it will be close at the end but I think it is still possible for us to win here overall.”

After Durbridge’s consistent results in the classics races recently, he confidently bridged across to a leading group of 15riders which included his Oroca-Scott teammate Alex Edmondson, who worked hard to extend the front group’s advantage.

“We see that Alex is made for these races,” Lapage continued. “He likes to be here and he likes cobble stones and he did a great ride today to help Durbridge. We saw he was good last week in Catalunya but coming into these races for the first time is not easy. We still have two road stages to come before the final time trial which could make a big difference to the overall.”

How it happened:

With pleasant spring weather welcoming the riders to the start line in De Panne the race began with a fast and furious first hour of racing.

Despite multiple attempts no riders where given any freedom in the early stages, and it was after 50kilometres when seven guys jumped ahead and quickly rode out to a one-minute advantage.

With two laps of a tough circuit in the final 80kilometres including famous cobble climbs the peloton picked up the pace and the now reduced group of leaders where finally caught at the 75kilometre to go mark.

Quickly after a new lead group of 16riders broke free including Edmondson, with Durbridge bridging across in a small group after the first ascent of the Muur.

Durbridge managed to sprint to second in the intermediate sprint to take two important bonus seconds as the gap to the chase group extended out to 45seconds.

As the riders headed over the Muur for the final time, Gilbert led with Durbridge tight on his wheel but managed to open up a small gap over the top and led the race solo inside the remaining 15kilometres.

Gilbert crossed the line 17seconds ahead of Durbridge to claim the stage and move into the overall race lead with Durbrige close behind in second place.

Production of carbon components to start in Europe

Bike Europe sent me this story about things comng full circle:

TAIPEI, Taiwan – A new chapter in the reshoring of bicycle and e-bike parts production from Asia to Europe in order to increase supply chain flexibility has been announced at last week’s Taipei Cycle Show. The production of carbon components in Europe is to start soon.

Victor Major CEO of Taiwan based Velocite Tech Co. Ltd. announced this start. Last year he founded the subsidiary Velocite BVBA; a company based in Belgium at Bike Valley Flanders.

The Velocite Tech CEO said at the Taipei Cycle Show to Bike Europe “We have a manufacturing project underway aimed at the just-in-time manufacture of continuous fiber composite parts. The projects are sponsored by the Belgian government and the EU Horizon 2020 initiative and are expected to bear results within 12-18 months.”

You can read the entire story here.

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