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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, October 17, 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

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Today's racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


2018 Tour de France presented

The 2018 Tour de France route was presented today.

2018 Tour de France

2018 Tour de France

Stages:
STAGE 1:  189 KM  NOIRMOUTIER EN L'ILE / FONTENAY-LE-COMTE
STAGE 2:  183 KM  MOUILLERON-SAINT-GERMAIN / LA ROCHE-SUR-YON
STAGE 3:  35 KM  CHOLET / CHOLET
STAGE 4:  192 KM  LA BAULE / SARZEAU
STAGE 5:  203 KM  LORIENT / QUIMPER
STAGE 6:  181 KM  BREST / MÛR-DE-BRETAGNE
STAGE 7:  231 KM  FOUGÈRES / CHARTRES
STAGE 8:  181 KM  DREUX / AMIENS MÉTROPOLE
STAGE 9:  154 KM  ARRAS / ROUBAIX
REST DAY 1:   ANNECY
STAGE 10:  159 KM  ANNECY / LE GRAND-BORNAND
STAGE 11:  108 KM  ALBERTVILLE / LA ROSIÈRE ESPACE SAN BERNARDO
STAGE 12:  175 KM  BOURG-SAINT-MAURICE LES ARCS / ALPE-D'HUEZ
STAGE 13: 169 KM  BOURG D'OISANS / VALENCE
STAGE 14:  187 KM  SAINT-PAUL-TROIS-CHÂTEAUX / MENDE
STAGE 15:  181 KM  MILLAU / CARCASSONNE
REST DAY 2:   CARCASSONNE
STAGE 16:  218 KM  CARCASSONNE / BAGNÈRES-DE-LUCHON
STAGE 17:  65 KM  BAGNÈRES-DE-LUCHON / SAINT-LARY-SOULAN
STAGE 18:  172 KM  TRIE-SUR-BAÏSE / PAU
STAGE 19:  200 KM  LOURDES / LARUNS
STAGE 20:  31 KM  SAINT-PÉE-SUR-NIVELLE / ESPELETTE
STAGE 21:  115 KM  HOUILLES / PARIS CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

Jan Bakelants’ operation a success

Ag2r sent me this good news:

After his crash in Il Lombardia Saturday, October 7th Jan Bakelants underwent an operation on his L3 lumbar vertebra on Friday, October 13th at the University Hospital of UZ Gasthuisberg in Louvain (Belgium). The operation, carried out by Professor Bart Depreitere, was a success. He left the intensive care unit on Monday, October 16th.

He will be able to return to his home at the end of this week in order to continue his convalescence and recovery. However, it is much too early to begin discussing the date on which he can resume his sports activities.

Jan is relieved that the operation was a success, and he is ready to begin what will likely be a long rehabilitation. He would like to thank Professor Depreitere and the entire urgent care team for their dedication and care.

Jan Bakelants crashed in Il Lombardia saturday October 7th.  Seven rib fractures, as well as the fractures of two dorsal vertebrae (D8, D10) and two lumbar vertebrae (L1 and L3) were diagnosed.

The AG2R LA MONDIALE team wishes a speedy recovery to its rider, and hopes that he will be able to return to racing very quickly.

Mike Woods will wear argyle in 2018-2019

Cannondale-Drapac sent me this release:

Slipstream Sports is thrilled to confirm it has retained the services of Mike Woods for the 2018-2019 seasons. A latecomer to the sport, Woods stepped up to the WorldTour at the age of 29 with Cannondale Pro Cycling Team in 2016.

The Canadian led the team in his first race in argyle, the 2016 Santos Tour Down Under, where he finished fifth overall in his WorldTour debut. He recently completed his second Grand Tour, the 2017 Vuelta a España, where he managed a solid seventh place on general classification.

Michael Woods

Michael Woods racing in this year's Vuelta

“There was no question that we wanted Mike to stay with us,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “We knew he was capable of the performances he put in this year if he was managed and mentored properly, and we think we’re still uncovering the depths of his potential. Mike is motivated, bright and open-minded. He’s an asset to our program.”

“The team has put their faith in from the start,” said Woods. “They were the first team that reached out to me, and they gave me a leadership role in my very first race – which is even harder to wrap my mind around now than it was back then. I’m happy to have the opportunity to pay back everyone for the trust and support they showed me during these next two years.”

While Woods’ 2016 debut showcased his promise, his season as a whole was marred by a series of frustrating set-backs. Woods suffered multiple injuries and poorly-timed illnesses. He first missed out on an anticipated Giro d’Italia start and then a Vuelta a España start. He crashed out of Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a broken hand only four days after poor positioning at Flèche Wallonne cost him a chance to contend for the podium.

“I couldn’t get out of my own way,” Woods reminisced. “I had the legs but not the experience or the confidence. My teammates were exceedingly patient with me – especially Alex Howes and Simon Clarke.”

Woods started his second season in Adelaide, Australia where he hoped to contend for the overall win at the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under. He finished in 21st overall.

“It messed with my head a bit,” Woods admitted.

He suffered through a cold and wet Paris-Nice and came out swinging at Volta a Catalunya. His results – ninth, 11th and 12th on climbing stages – belie the improvements he made and glimmer of tactical nuance he began to show. By season end, Woods was climbing with the best, displaying race savviness well beyond his WorldTour years and brimming with newfound confidence.

“The things that I’ve accomplished this year are a result of my development by this team,” said Woods. “I am so grateful that Vaughters found a way for Slipstream Sports to continue and that EF Education First stepped up to partner with us. I had other offers, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than here.

“Beyond the support I’ve been offered, I have made great friendships with my teammates, our staff and our sponsors,” said Woods. “It wouldn’t be the same riding anywhere else.”

Bjorg Lambrecht discusses his transition to the pros

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

Bjorg Lambrecht will make his debut in Lotto Soudal’s elite team next season. The twenty-year-old has spent two successful seasons with Lotto Soudal U23 and is now ready for new challenges. In the past couple of years, Lambrecht has asserted himself as one of the most promising climbers for the future, and the winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 2017 has been able to claim some impressive results with the juniors. In 2016 he won the first stage of the Ronde de l’Isard and kept the leader’s jersey until the end. This year he finished second in several prestigious U23 stage races, such as the Tour de l’Avenir, the Giro Valle d’Aoste and the Tour de Savoie Mont-Blanc. The Belgian rider took part in the GP de Wallonie with the national team in September and crossed the line in ninth place. With this first good result in the elite category, Bjorg Lambrecht can certainly look forward to the future.

Bjorg Lambrecht: "This is a dream coming true! At the beginning of this year, I had never thought that I could make the transition to the pro peloton in January 2018. Last winter I was out for eight weeks with a broken foot and I was only able to do some stabilization exercises to get ready for the new season. I thought my level of fitness would be far too low in the first races. I was supposed to come back to racing after Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but I could somehow start a bit earlier than expected. In Liege-Bastogne-Liège, I had a great day and I won the race.  I went on and had a super great season. My performances in the Tour de l'Avenir in August led to the decision to make the transition to the professional peloton at the beginning of 2018. Many talented U23 riders have signed a pro contract for January 2018, and I would have had a lot of pressure on my shoulders. With the pros, I can start from scratch."

"It's a step into the unknown, and I expect the first few months to be really hard. It will mainly be about learning as much as I can. I am very happy to stay in a safe, trusted environment after riding for the U23 team of Lotto Soudal for the past two seasons. With the U23 team I had a very nice race programme, and I got the chance to compete in all the main races which involved a lot of climbing. That was the best journey I could take in the U23 category."

"With the WorldTour team, I would like to help our leaders in the finales of smaller stage races next year. I will ride alongside Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens, and Harm Vanhoucke will probably be joining us halfway through the season. It will be nice to work with them. Of course, I hope that I can deliver good results in the future, both in stage races and in the Ardennes classics. Time trialling is becoming one of my priorities, as I really need to get better at it if I want to claim good results in stage races.”

Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: "Bjorg has had two fantastic seasons. He impressed a lot in 2016, his first season in the U23 category, and he carried it on through 2017. Despite his broken foot in winter, he performed well immediately, with a victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Therefore, a switch to the pros seemed to be a logical choice. He seems to be very down-to-earth, he isn’t too bothered by the stress and the pressure, but now begins a new story. He has always been progressing so far, but there’s a lot of learning to be done for a young climber in his first years with the pros. I often hear about 'the new Boonen' or 'the next Belgian Grand Tour rider' when it comes to promising young talents, but I hope that he does not get that sort of expectation from the media and the outside world. The team will let him all the time he needs to grow and to mature, and even if he shows some flashes of talent, the process will always involve falling and getting up, good and difficult moments."


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