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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 3, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. - John Burroughs

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André Greipel News

Sprinter André Greipel is leaving Lotto-Soudal to race for Fortuneo-Samsic in 2019.

First, the press release from Lotto-Soudal:

After eight incredible years, André Greipel is leaving Lotto Soudal. The magnificent victories, exceptional lead-outs and team performances to achieve the various goals were countless. Sports manager Marc Sergeant and André Greipel himself look back to this remarkable episode with great satisfaction.

Marc Sergeant: “I think we can describe our many years of collaboration in a simple way: Omega Pharma Lotto, Lotto Belisol and Lotto Soudal successively owe a great deal to André Greipel, just as André owes a lot to us. I’ve never had any similar bond with a rider like the one I had with André. A collaboration that was marked by dialogue, patience, trust, and, above all, respect. The many achievements are a logical result of this collaboration. 

“Everyone in this team - each rider and staff member - knew André as a gentleman. No emotional tweet directed to Sagan or Démare affects that perception. André was awed by each newcomer - young or famed. He gained respect for his personality, and of course for his achievements, not for empty words. He made a big evolution since 2011; at the beginning he was mainly a sprinter, but through the years he evolved into a real leader. He called us his family, and he meant it.”

“The choice to end this chapter is obviously a tough one. As a team you are constantly reflecting upon the choices you have to make to secure the best possible future. In the final stage of the negotiations, it became clear that there would be no further collaboration possible. Nonetheless, the mutual respect continues, undoubtedly.”

Andre Greipel

André Greipel winning the sixth stage of the 2018 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

André Greipel: “At the end of 2011, I transferred from HTC, since there were many strong riders in the team and I was looking for a team in which I could go for stage victories myself. Besides the fact that I already knew guys like Philippe Gilbert and Jürgen Roelandts, a couple of other riders of HTC made the transition as well. In the first year at Omega Pharma-Lotto, Gilbert had his magical year, one of many consecutive successes, and our paths crossed regularly. Nevertheless, I was very happy to, among others, ride my first Tour and to take my first stage win: a true salvation.”

“Greg Henderson joined the team in 2012 and turned out to be the missing link to establish the world’s best lead-out, together with Marcel Sieberg and Jürgen Roelandts; the red train. The establishment of this project was a true challenge, but also a big success. I could sum up many highlights during my time at the team, but the trust from the riders in each other and of the team in the riders makes it one big highlight. You can put it all on paper, but you also have to execute it on the road, during the many races."

“I definitely see the two victories on the Champs Elysées in 2015 and 2016 as the icing on the cake for all of the team’s efforts. Inevitably, during the past 8 years, I’ve had some difficult moments, but never encountered any pressure of the team nor felt the need to perform. Together, we have created an environment, which made it possible to perform - an entirely different approach. I'm looking forward to racing with everyone of the team until the end of this season.”

"To all the staff members and riders who were part of all the special moments together: thank you!"

Here's Fortuneo-Samsic's Facebook post:

Welcome to Brittany [France, where the team is headquartered] André Greipel!

Our team offers the services of one of the best sprinters of its generation: André Greipel. The German runner will wear the Samsic colors for the next two seasons.

André Greipel: "I expect a lot from my new team, I want to inspire its young and free spirit but I also expect trust, commitment and team spirit."

Emmanuel Hubert: "Coming to our team, André Greipel makes a bold choice. At 36, he gives himself a new youth. It's also a great opportunity for Bram Welten. Our 21-year-old sprinter will be able to learn his business from one of the best sprint specialists."

BMC headed to Tour of Utah

Here's the team's racing update:

2 August, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will be racing on home soil next week with an ambitious line-up heading stateside to the week-long Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said that BMC Racing Team is lining up in Utah with a strong and well-rounded team. "I think we will see a very competitive Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah this year with more UCI WorldTour teams competing than in previous years and the Park City stage returning as the final test. Most of our roster has had success in Utah and have grown to know the roads such as Brent Bookwalter, Joey Rosskopf, Tom Bohli, Kilian Frankiny, and Tejay van Garderen and that is always a nice advantage. As usual, we will also bring some new young talent to this race with our two stagiaires, Alexander Evans and Freddy Ovett," Jackson explained.

"Everyone has been preparing for this race and I think we can expect a lot from our roster. I think we can look to target several stages and also protect van Garderen for the General Classification as we see how he responds after a very demanding Tour de France."

Van Garderen is motivated about returning to the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. "I'm really looking forward to returning to the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah for the first time since 2011. I have good memories of the race and I know how hard it is so it's going to be a good challenge off the back of the Tour de France. As an American riding for an American team, it is always great to race on home soil. The crowds and atmosphere are incredible in Utah so I hope to have a good week of racing there. We have a diverse team so I think we can expect good results," van Garderen said.

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen on the Aubisque in stage 19 of this year's Tour de France. Sirotti photo.

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (6 - 12 August)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Alexander Evans (AUS), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Freddy Ovett (AUS), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Tejay van Garderen (USA)

Sports Director: Jackson Stewart (USA)

Alberto Bettiol returns to EF Education First-Drapac

Here's the note the team sent me:

EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale is proud to welcome Alberto Bettiol back into the #PinkArgyle family. The Italian has demonstrated a diverse set of race skills that has put him on the podium at GP Plouay and Tour de Pologne. He’s finished in the top ten at GP Quebec, GP Montreal, San Sebastian and E3 Harelbeke.

As a 19-year-old, Bettiol turned professional with Cannondale in 2014. He rode in argyle for three season (2015-2017) before leaving for BMC. After a single season away, Bettiol returns to his roots.

“I’m ready to pull on argyle again because it’s important to me to finish what I started last year and never quite completed,” said Bettiol. “The argyle family believed in me since the very beginning, and I feel that it’s my best choice to return to where it all began.”

“Alberto showed great promise when he was with us,” said #PinkArgyle CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He was climbing near the best at the 2017 Tour de France, and was a key part of our classics team. He got a bit derailed in 2018, we are going to get him back on track “

“Alberto and his family were really a part of our family,” Vaughters added. “I understood when he left in the precarious situation we were in last year, but now that we’re out of that, I’m really excited to have him back. “

Although the team Bettiol left has undergone some changes in his absence, Bettiol is convinced he’ll feel at home immediately. “I know nearly everyone on the team already, and I’m happy to get to know the new guys.” Bettiol said. “In many ways, I feel like I never really left, so it won’t feel strange at all to come back.”

“You understand what is important when you lose it,” Bettiol added. “And I’ve learned a good group spirit is very often stronger than a single power.”

Bettiol’s race program has yet to be formally organized. He hopes to race the Giro. He dreams of the Tour. “And I hope for a better result than the one we achieved in 2017,” Bettiol said. 

Bettiol wants his new EF Education First co-workers to know that he’s a “down-to-earth and genuine” sort of guy. “I love my job, and I’m loyal to good people,” he said. “I’m super happy when I get a result but at the same time, when a teammate achieves a goal thanks to my work, I’m equally happy.

“I love my country, Italy, and my family is an anchor for me,” he added. “I also love to travel. In the future, I dream about living somewhere in California. Being from Italy, the Giro is very important to me, so pink has always been my favorite color. I’m happy now to have a new reason to love pink.” 

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