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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, October 21, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. - Plato

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Tour of Guangxi stage two report from Team Sunweb:

Another day for the sprinters, stage two of the Tour of Guangxi saw riders contest a 156 kilometre stage between Qinzhou and Nanning. The attacks came in thick and fast from the gun, with various groups trying their luck including Team Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman, who picked up three bonus seconds in the general classification before being reeled back in by the bunch. It was a three rider group that eventually managed to snap the elastic with the trio staying away until four kilometres from the finish, where the race came back together for a bunch sprint. Taking on board points from yesterday’s sprint finish, Team Sunweb’s lead-out train geared up to position German sprinter Max Walscheid for the finish. Prime positioning saw Max contest against the best to take a strong 2nd place.

After the stage Max commented: “Today was a really fast final. We were together with three kilometres to go and I still had Michael and Mike in front of me as we got closer to the finish. With two to go it got pretty messy and I became boxed in and wasn’t able to follow them but I stayed calm and managed to find a gap on the left side. I followed the right wheel and came really close coming side by side, when he accelerated I had nothing left and could only hold off for 2nd. Our communication was much better today and I am really pleased with the result after giving it everything. Tomorrow we will try again for a result.”

Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen said: “The stage started really well with Wilco picking up three bonus seconds after being in an early break. His group was brought back and another break went clear taking a four minute advantage. Things came back together with four kilometres to go and the team were able to lead Max into the finale. 2nd is a strong result and we look forward to implementing more improvement points into tomorrow’s stage.”

And here's Team Sky's stage two update:

Danny Van Poppel finished 13th on the 156.7km stage from Qinzhou to Nanning as Gaviria sealed successive victories in the opening two stages of the Chinese stage race.

The bunch finish meant Team Sky’s main GC hopes Wout Poels and Mikel Landa finished in the same time, but unfortunately Benat Inxtausti was unable to finish and has abandoned.

Earlier, a three-man breakaway containing Wang Meiyin (Bahrain Merida), Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing) and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural–Seguros) led for the majority of the stage, before being briefly joined by Thomas de Gendt in the closing 10 kilometres.

However, the sprinters’ teams were able to bring them to heel with 4km remaining to set up the bunch sprint. 

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria wins the second stage.

Sport Director Brett Lancaster rued a missed opportunity, but was upbeat about Team Sky’s hopes for the coming days. He said: “Our plan was to come to the sprint a little later than yesterday, but unfortunately a tricky run into the finish meant that Danny was separated from his lead out so they were unable to help him out at the finish. We’re back out there tomorrow and we’ll go again.”

Orica-Scott looks at the 2018 Tour de France route

Here's our 2018 Tour de France page.

The team posted this analysis:

Cobbles, dirt roads, mountain top finishes and the return of the team time trial and intermediate bonus seconds all form a part of the 2018 Tour de France route announced this week in Paris and the 2017 white jersey winner Simon Yates was there for ORICA-SCOTT.

The 105th edition of the ‘Grand Boucle’ promises to be one of the most dynamic in recent years and also one of the shortest. Starting in the Vendee region for the first time in eleven years and covering 3329 kilometres with a race deciding individual time trial over rolling terrain in the French Basque country on the penultimate stage.

The first nine stages are billed as for the sprinters and the puncheurs as the race traverses the Atlantic coastline of Northern France with the team time trial making a return to the race on stage three for the first time since 2015.

A potentially iconic cobbled stage nine from Arras to Roubaix bringing to a close the flatter stages and paving the way for a stage ten start in Annecy and the beginning of the high mountain tests.

Three tough days in the Alps come to an end with a historic finish atop the legendary Alpe d’Huez before the curtain is brought down with four days of suffering in the brutal Pyrenees with the only respite coming on stage 18 into Pau and a last chance for the sprinters before Paris.

“It’s a testing route, as always,” said Yates. “I think that the first week could be decisive for the general classification and that’s before we even get into the mountains, a lot can happen on those open roads especially if the wind takes hold. Personally I would prefer the climbs to arrive earlier.”

At 25-years of age and with five Grand Tours in his legs Yates is no longer wondering what it’s all about and after a seventh-place finish in 2017 and the addition of another white jersey for the family collection the Briton is under no illusions of the challenges that lie in wait for those who line up come next July.

“It goes without saying that to do well at the Tour you need a strong team,” continued Yates. “Not only in the team time trial, but throughout the entire race so that you can protect the leader from the wind and any dangerous moments.”

“We have a really solid history when it comes to team time trials and I’m really confident regarding that pursuit, ORICA-SCOTT has one of the strongest teams on paper for that. Even if we only bring a few of our main guys for the TTT we are still going to be up there and challenging for a result.”

Head Sport director Matt White spoke of the dynamism of the route and the chances of an eventful first week of racing. “It’s a real race of two halves this time around,” said White. “With one of the most dynamic openers to a Tour de France that I’ve ever seen which will guarantee a very stressful first week.”

“With the majority of early stages on the coast and the possibility of strong winds it will be an action packed opening few days. Especially with the vast majority of opportunities for sprinters coming early on the pressure will be incredibly tense.

“When you throw in a solid team time trial on stage three and an epic cobbled stage on stage nine there will be enough drama before we even get into the mountains. I like the course, it has a bit of everything and as ever it will be really exciting, racing I am happy with the characteristics of the route. I am sure we have a group of riders who will be up for the challenge come July.”

ORICA-SCOTT will await the Giro d’Italia route reveal before making final decisions on goals and leaders at the three Grand Tours in 2018.

Team Sunweb confirms 2018 roster

The team sent me this:

Team Sunweb are pleased to confirm their rosters for the 2018 season, inclusive of the latest addition to their Development Program.

Across their three Programs - Men's, Women's and Development - Team Sunweb welcomes a total of 12 new riders. Counting on an extensive track record of developing young athletes to the top level ranks of the sport to perform amongst the world's best, Team Sunweb continues to invest in up and coming talent. This is reflected by the signing of Aussie-duo Jai Hindley and Michael Storer for the Men’s Program, Pernille Mathiesen (DEN) to the Women’s Program, and young additions to its Development Program; German-duo Leon Heinschke and Niklas Märkl, Marc Hirschi (SUI), Jens Vanoverberghe (BEL), and latest signing Sergio Tu (TAI).

The 20-year-old Tu counts as the final addition to Team Sunweb's Development Program and commented about joining the team: "It's a great opportunity to join Team Sunweb and it's great for me to take the next step in my development. Becoming a part of the team is a dream come true, Team Sunweb has a great support structure required for riders to develop to the next level.”

Speaking about Team Sunweb's 2018 roster, head of coaching Rudi Kemna (NED) said: "We're happy to finalise our 2018 roster and are already looking forward to the year ahead. With the new signings to the team we can make another step in our growth, alongside laying the foundations for the future with the addition of some huge talents. Talent development remains to be one of the core pillars of our elite sport approach. The focus this winter will be to make a smart, multi-year plan for each individual rider and offer them the scientific support structure to grow. It is a demanding approach and requires a lot of dedication and interaction between riders, movement scientists, coaches and scientific experts, in order for us to be able to optimise the ingredients for success across training, nutrition, data and equipment. After one of our most successful seasons to date, we're motivated to continue this momentum into the 2018 racing season."

Men's Program
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Phil Bauhaus (GER)
Roy Curvers (NED)
Laurens ten Dam (NED)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Chad Haga (USA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Lennard Hofstede (NED)
Wilco Kelderman (NED)
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Tom Stamsnijder (NED)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Mike Teunissen (NED)
Edward Theuns (BEL)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)
Max Walscheid (GER) 


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