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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, April 6, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see. - Ayn Rand

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Paris-Roubaix team updates

Ag2r La Mondiale sent me this:

Ag2r's Paris-Roubaix squad: Nico Denz, Silvan Dillier, Tony Gallopin, Oliver Naesen, Stijn Vandenbergh, Gedimans Bagdonas & Julien Duval

Directors Sportifs: Julien Jurdie & Nicolas Guille

GEDIMINAS BAGDONAS: “I have raced all the cobbled classics in Flanders on the UCI WorldTour calendar this year. For me, this is a very important part of the racing season. I really like this type of race, this atmosphere. There is a real passion for cycling here. Oliver Naesen has shown that he could compete with the best, but unfortunately luck has not been on his side. His most recent crash at the Tour of Flanders just reiterated that. But before starting a new chapter of the season, we are very motivated to finish this period of classics strongly. If ill fate would just leave us alone, we can achieve some great things. I have already participated at Paris-Roubaix five times, but it is important to remember each cobbled section well. At this race, even more than any place else, your position in the pack is paramount. I cannot wait to experience the atmosphere of Roubaix. And it starts with two days of reconnoitering."

THE NUMBER: 51,4 KM
In two days, our riders will participate in reconnaissance training rides taking in 25 of the 29 cobbled sectors, adding up to 51.4 km of pavés.

THE NEWS: DILLIER REPLACES BARBIER

Following a crash at the Tour of Flanders, Rudy Barbier required five stitches in his right knee. Unfortunately for Barbier, he has not sufficiently recovered to participate at Paris-Roubaix and will be replaced by Silvan Dillier.

Sylvain Dillier

Silvan Dillier wins the 2018 Route Adelie.

The Swiss champion broke his finger at Strade Bianche on March 3rd. But he made a successful comeback on March 30th by winning the Route Adelie.

And here's BMC's preview of Paris-Roubaix:

5 April, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Greg Van Avermaet will return to the start line of Paris-Roubaix as the defending champion after claiming the first Monument win of his career and in BMC Racing Team's history in 2017.

Sports Director Fabio Baldato said the team takes confidence out of their performance at the Tour of Flanders. "It is a good feeling to be lining up at Paris-Roubaix with the defending champion in our team. We have seen that Greg Van Avermaet is strong in the classics this year and although we haven't managed to get a win, we are confident ahead of Paris-Roubaix. At the Tour of Flanders, we saw the best performance from a team perspective and all of our riders are motivated to help Greg as much as possible on Sunday. The team remains largely unchanged with the exception of Nathan Van Hooydonck, who is coming back from illness and will replace Alberto Bettiol," Baldato explained.

"Paris-Roubaix is the most unpredictable race of the classics and as we have seen in previous years, anything can happen at any moment of the race. We need to be attentive and intelligent in the way we race and by doing this, I am confident that we can produce a good result with Greg as our leader."

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet wins 2017 Paris-Roubaix.

Van Avermaet is relishing the opportunity to race with number one on his back. "It is a really special feeling to be lining up as the defending champion at Paris-Roubaix. I've felt good and confident in my shape the whole classics season but things haven't fallen into place yet. Paris-Roubaix is completely different to the Belgian classics. As much as you need the legs, you need some luck, to stay safe and avoid punctures. Last year I had some bad luck but I managed to completely change my situation," Van Avermaet said.

"I was really happy with the team at the Tour of Flanders and we will give it everything we have on Sunday to defend my title. It was amazing last year because I wasn't expecting to win but I did it. I'm capable of winning again so we will see how far I come."

Paris-Roubaix (8 April)

Rider Roster: Jempy Drucker (LUX), Stefan Küng (SUI), Jürgen Roelandts (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).

Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)

Tour of the Basque Country stage four team reports

We posted the report from winner Primoz Roglic's LottoNL-Jumbo team on the results page

Patrick Beven was second. His BMC team sent me this:

5 April, 2018, Lodosa (ESP): Day four at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco saw the riders race against the clock with Patrick Bevin showing his time trialling prowess over the 19.4km course to finish second.

Bevin, a former New Zealand national time trial champion, rolled off the ramp early in Lodosa and looked motivated as he settled into his rhythm over the opening half of the course.

After setting the provisional fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint (11'22"), Bevin continued to pace his effort to near perfection and powered across the line in a time of 22'35".

After a long wait in the hot seat only Primoc Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), the penultimate rider to finish, could better Bevin's time and push him into second place by just nine seconds.

Damiano Caruso and Dylan Teuns also put in strong performances and finished tenth and 11th respectively.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic on his way to winning the stage and the GC leadership.

Patrick Bevin:
"I felt good out on the course today. I've had a rough couple of days in the Basque Country but I was looking forward to this time trial. I had a pretty good rhythm and it is often hard to know how you are going to go on a time trial especially when you start early and there aren't too many splits.

"I am pretty happy with my ride. It was fairly evenly paced. The course was a little bit technical to start with and then it had two long open stretches so that gave me the chance to hold some good average speed.

"Of course, it's tough when you have to sit in the hot seat all day and then get beaten by the second to last guy. He [Primoc Roglic] was obviously quicker today but in the end, it was a nice result and I showed that I am going in the right direction. This is my third time trial of the year and I think I have been better at each one so it would be nice to get that win at some stage." 

Team Sky took third through fifth places. Here's their report:

Vasil Kiryienka finished third in the stage four time trial at Pais Vasco as Primoz Roglic came out on top.

Kiryienka finished 11 seconds behind Roglic and just two behind Patrick Bevan (BMC Racing) who led for most of the time trial, with penultimate rider Roglic pipping him to the post.

Kiryienka was just two seconds off the best time set by Bevan, with Jonathan Castroviejo (fourth) and Michal Kwiatkowski (fifth) rounding off a Team Sky-heavy top five.

David De La Cruz was the fourth Team Sky rider in the top 10, finishing 37 seconds down on Roglic to move up to 12th overall.

And Bora-hansgrohe sent this news:

Today's individual time trial saw a change in the general classification, as P. Roglic took the stage win and the lead in the overall. Patrick Konrad finished as BORA – hansgrohe best placed rider in 12th position and moved up in the GC to fourth position.

The Stage
Today’s individual time trial presented the riders with a flat 19,4 km parkour that started and finished in Lodosa. One intermediate time check was taken at 13km.

The Team Tactics
BORA – hansgrohe wanted to improve their results in the GC, which were a 7th and 10th place. Therefore, the GC contenders of the German team, Emanuel Buchmann and Patrick Konrad, tried to take advantage out of today´s ITT.

The Race
The first rider on the start ramp was BORA – hansgrohe rider and Giro d´Italia stage winner Lukas Pöstlberger. At 15:47 Felix Großschartner went up the road and showed a solid performance on the roads of Lodosa. The young Austrian rider finished the ITT in 20th place, 59 seconds behind the later winner P. Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo). The two BORA – hansgrohe GC contenders started around 5 o´clock and rode a strong time trail.

Both of them finished today´s stage in the top-twenty, Patrick Konrad finished as BORA – hansgrohe best placed rider in 12th place with a time of 23:12 minutes. Due to this result he moved up fourth in the overall. Teammate Emanuel Buchmann crossed the line in 18th position, 59 seconds behind the stage winner and moved up in the GC to sixth position.

From the Finish Line
“After yesterday´s impressive victory, today our GC contenders did a great ride. Patrick showed his Rouleur skills and moved up fourth after a great performance. But also Emanuel, who is a real climber, rode on this flat course a strong ITT, which shows that he improves more and more as a GC contender. For the last two stages, I think, we are in a really good position with our two top-ten riders, which offers us some options.” – Christian Pömer, sports director

“I am really satisfied with my result today. The last stages were pretty tough, therefore I am happy that my shape and legs are still good. With Emu and myself we are in a good position for the overall. I think, it is now important to focus and be concentrated on the last two stages and afterwards we will see what the outcome will be.” – Patrick Konrad  

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