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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


UCI suspends Sky's Gianni Moscon for five weeks

First, a quick summary of the situation as related by the Reuters news service:

The International Cycling Union [UCI] has suspended Team Sky rider Gianni Moscon for five weeks and disqualified him from last month's Tour de France for hitting out at another rider.

The Italian was kicked off the Tour on July 22 after appearing to swing an arm at Elie Gesbert from the French Fortuneo-Samsic team during the 15th stage of the race.

"Mr Moscon accepted his responsibility for the incident and will serve a period of suspension of five weeks starting from Aug. 8 to Sept. 12, 2018," the UCI said in a statement on Wednesday.

Moscon, who will now miss the final grand tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana which gets underway Aug. 25, expressed regret over the incident and said he accepted the suspension.

"I reacted in the heat of the moment and it was never my intention to hit the rider," Moscon, 24, said. "As the footage shows I didn't make contact, but I regret my actions and I have already apologised to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo-Samsic for the incident."

The one-day race specialist was also accused of forcing another rider to crash last year before being cleared of wrongdoing by the UCI.

He was suspended by Sky for six weeks for a racist slur against a French rider last year. Sky won their sixth Tour de France title in seven years last month, when Geraint Thomas sealed victory ahead of Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin.

Here's the statement the UCI issued regarding Team Sky's resident thug Gianni Moscon:

UCI statement on Gianni Moscon
08 August 2018
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that its Disciplinary Commission has rendered a decision in relation to the incident involving Mr Gianni Moscon during the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France on 22 July 2018.

The UCI Commissaires’ Panel disqualified Mr Moscon from the Tour de France for his behaviour.

Mr Moscon accepted his responsibility for the incident and will serve a period of suspension of 5 weeks starting from 8 August to 12 September 2018.

Here's the press release Team Sky sent me regarding the suspension:

For immediate release: Wednesday 8th August 2018
Moscon to serve five-week suspension
Gianni Moscon has today (August 8th 2018) accepted a five-week suspension from the UCI following an incident that occurred on July 22nd 2018 during stage 15 of the Tour de France.
Gianni Moscon said: “I accept the suspension given to me by the UCI. I reacted in the heat of the moment and it was never my intention to hit the rider. As the footage shows I didn’t make contact, but I regret my actions and I have already apologised to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo Samsic for the incident."

Team Sky Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said: “We accept the UCI’s decision to suspend Gianni for a five-week period.

“This incident obviously happened during one of the most challenging races the team has ever faced. We are confident that Gianni truly regrets his actions and has learnt from this episode.

“We have a duty of care to all our riders which we take extremely seriously. Gianni is still a relatively young rider at the start of his career and we will continue to give him the help and support he needs to learn, develop and move forward from this.”

Gianni Moscon

Gianni Moscon after stage four of the 2018 Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

Tour of Poland stage 4 team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski's Team Sky with the results.

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this Tour of Poland report:

The fourth stage at the Tour de Pologne favoured the climbers in the bunch. BORA – hansgrohe riders Formolo and Buchmann tested their legs for the upcoming races and finished inside the top fifteen on gruelling summit finish, while Polish rider Kwiatkowski took the stage win.

The Stage
The Tour de Pologne hit the mountains today, and on a stage that didn’t pull any punches, it was clear riders were going to be hurting at the end of the day. The flat opening included all three intermediate sprints before the road pointed skyward not just for one, but for four first category climbs. The 179km parcours really would result in a race of two halves – but the second half was where the race had the potential to really come to life. Narrow roads at the finale and a sharp kick upwards meant the stage had a sting in its tail after an already hard day.

The Team Tactics
After two incredible stage wins, the team turned its attention to their climbers. The finish line was well known from last year where Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka took second and third on this grueling final. Coming into today’s stage, the team wanted to achieve a similar result to last year, and with four great climbers in Buchmann, Kennaugh, Formolo and Konrad on paper, this squad provides an excellent chance to go for a top result on the climb with so many powerful options.

The Race
A trio escaped relatively early into the 179km stage and built up an advantage of more than four minutes, while BORA – hansgrohe was riding in the main field. The breakaway worked together and passed all intermediate sprints ahead of the bunch. However, after the first climbs of the day, the break fell apart into two small groups. The climbers from BORA –hansgrohe stayed with the other main contenders in the peloton and saved energy for the tough finale. With 31km shortly before the second last climb of the day, BORA – hansgrohe rider Patrick Konrad went on attack with three other riders, but the reduced bunch caught the escapees with 13km remaining. The bunch faced the gruelling final climb as M. Kwiatkowski and D. Teuns made their move and distance themselves some metres ahead of the group. BORA - hansgrohe climber Davide Formolo and teammate Buchmann stayed at the front of the bunch, testing their legs for the upcoming races and were able to go with the pace. On the last metres Kwiatkowski took the win on the line ahead of D. Teuns. Formolo came in 10th and Buchmann in 13th position.

Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski wins the Tour of Poland's fourth stage.

From the Finish Line
“I felt good today, so I thought I will give it a try. When we came into the final ascent I stayed with the other GC contenders and rode my pace. For the first mountain stage here and after a time without racing I am satisfied with my result.” – Davide Formolo

“After our two stage wins in the opening days, today’s stage favoured the climbers. We wanted to make the race hard especially before the final climb to make use of our teams’ strength and numbers. Whilst the riders were unable to compete for the victory, we think having two riders in the top twenty and seeing Patrick’s superb offensive style in action, the team is poised for an excellent week with much more to come.”– Christian Pömer, sports director

And Dylan Teun's BMC team sent this report:

07 August, 2018, Szczyrk (POL): Dylan Teuns narrowly missed out on the stage win on day four at the Tour de Pologne, a stage he won in 2017, with Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) passing the Belgian in the closing meters of the steep uphill finish to take the win.

Strong teamwork saw Teuns well-positioned in the finale which allowed him to make a move with 200m to go and turn the last corner in the lead, but the finish line proved just a bit too far off and Kwiatkowski was able to come over the top and cross the line with a slight gap to Teuns.

Earlier in the stage, three riders formed the breakaway and were able to go six minutes' clear of the peloton after 50km of the 179km stage. After the flat first half of the stage, the peloton faced four category one climbs and the steep kick up to the line, which saw Team Sky take control of the race and slowly bring the breakaway back.

The steep ascents caused damage at the back of the bunch with riders dropping from the group and up ahead, Jan Tratnik (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) was the only rider left from the breakaway. Attacks came from the peloton after the second ascent of the Zamecsek, but the blistering pace in the bunch saw Tratnik and the chasers caught with 13km to go before the summit of the final categorized climb, the Lat Salmopolou.

Rohan Dennis, Alessandro De Marchi, and Danilo Wyss put Teuns in the prime position in the last 10km, well protected at the front of the bunch, and De Marchi put in a good effort to cover a move from Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) on the early slopes of the final 1km kick up to the line, which featured a maximum gradient of 15 percent.

It was a brutal flight behind Carapaz as the steep gradient took its toll but slowly the group pulled him back, and Teuns found the legs to make his move in the final 200 meters. Teuns dug deep to hold on for second place behind Kwiatowski which put the Belgian in third place overall, eight seconds behind race leader Kwiatowski, whilst De Marchi's impressive ride sees him in fourth place on the General Classification with three stages remaining,

Quotes from the Finish Line

Dylan Teuns:
"I tried to do more or less the same today as I did last year and it didn't work out. I think second is still a good place but in this moment, I am disappointed. All credit to Kwiatkowski. He beat me in a two man fight so I can't say anything else."

"I had to wait a little bit longer than last year and while my legs felt good, I had some strong contenders around me and then timing was really important. Kwiatkowski was still strong at the end and maybe my timing was just a little bit too late or just a little bit too early, I don't know. It's sad that I couldn't win for a second time."

"Before the race started we knew Kwiatkowski would be the main guy for the GC so, I think he is still the big favourite. He has a strong team but there are still three hard days to go and anything is possible. It will be a fight until Friday. We know that Team Sky are always strong in stage races and have a strong team who can control the race well. I am not the only one who wants to win so there are other guys who will try to attack or do something so it will be a fight."

Tejay van Garderen to ride for EF Education First in 2019

Here's the team's news release:

American Tejay van Garderen will join the EF Pro Cycling organization in 2019, adding an accomplished climber and time trialist to the squad.

"I’m looking forward to being a part of ‘America's’ team,’’ van Garderen said. “I’m certainly not a young rider anymore, but I’m still way too young to be put out to pasture. I’ve had some good results, some ups and downs, and I’m still interested in exploring the capacity of what I have to give, however that translates. Whether it’s helping a teammate or grabbing results for myself. Whether it’s grand tours or one-week stage races. I still think there’s a lot more I can offer."

Van Garderen, 29, has been professional since 2008, riding for the Rabobank development team, the HTC franchise, and most recently with BMC Racing, where he spent the 2012 - 2018 seasons.

“I think it was a necessary thing to do,” van Garderen said of his change in teams. “I’m definitely going to look back on my years on BMC positively. I’ve accomplished a lot with that team. But at a certain point sometimes you just need a fresh environment, fresh faces, some new ideas.”

Some of those new ideas will take shape over the offseason, when management and van Garderen begin to talk race calendar, goals, and general approach. “This is a new chapter. Maybe even a new book,” said EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Tejay exhibited incredible potential in his younger years. He’s been riding under very high pressure for years as he was pegged as America’s next great cyclist. That’s been tough billing to live up to, and it would have been for anyone.

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen time trialing at this year's Tour of Switzerland. Sirotti photo

"I worked with Tejay when he was a junior. I met him when he was 14 and had won the Cat. 3 race up [Colorado’s] Mt. Evans. I feel like he makes a lot of sense for this team. I think we can get the best out of him using an approach that gets him back to thinking about bike racing as fun as opposed to shouldering the weight of being the next great hope in American cycling.”

The American has 15 professional wins to his name and a string of very strong GC results to boot. He’s twice finished fifth overall at the Tour de France (2012, 2014), and won the Tour of California (2013) and USA Pro Cycling Challenge twice (2013, 2014). He has won stages at the Giro, Tour de Suisse, and Volta Catalunya. Despite these successes, there was a feeling that something needed to change as the American moved into the second phase of his career.

Vaughters and van Garderen both pointed toward Ryder Hesjedal and Christian Vande Velde, in addition to current team rider Rigoberto Uran, as riders who’ve flourished with the argyle organization later in their careers.

“We’ve shown a long and successful history of taking underrated riders later in their careers and pulling out the best of them in the second half of their careers,” Vaughters said. “Hopefully we’re able to do that with Tejay, too, using a fun, grounded approach toward racing.”

For van Garderen, a fresh perspective was necessary. “Especially now going into the post-30, or the second part of my career. You see that a lot — sometimes people come out hot early in their career, then have a bit of a lull, then they revive," said van Garderen. "You see that a lot with Slipstream riders. I think a fresh environment can spark a motivation that you might not have known was there.”

There has been a degree of expectation all along for van Garderen, that certainly comes with the territory of a white jersey at the Tour. But there’s a seasoning that comes with those campaigns of ups and downs as well.

“It’s all part of the journey and the process. It’s super rewarding to see improvements in yourself. To be able to win a race and get up on the podium, there’s really no feeling like that,” van Garderen said. “And besides accolades — I was riding with Alex Howes the other day on the Peak to Peak and we saw a moose. That’s a small thing, but you’ve got to take time appreciate that, too. We’re out riding our bikes in these beautiful places."

And what does he think of joining the EF Pro Cycling cast of characters?

“There’s a lot of big personalities on the team. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to spectate the team for that reason,” he said. “I think it’ll be good for me to put myself out there and have a little bit more fun with it.”

Simon Gerrans to hang up the chamois

Gerrans' BMC team sent this letter from Gerrans:

An open letter from Simon Gerrans regarding his future.

Cycling has been a huge part of my life for a long period of time and through which, I have met a lot of fantastic people, many of whom will remain life-long friends. I am very proud of what I have achieved during my career and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in my journey.

Although I feel that I am still performing at a good level physically, my passion for the sport is not what it used to be. Professional cycling is too hard unless you are able to commit wholeheartedly. I am really happy to be able to walk away on my own terms and feel that the end of this season is the right time to transition to a new phase in my life.

I would especially like to mention each of the professional teams that I have ridden for throughout my career. AG2R Prevoyance, Credit Agricole, Cervelo TestTeam, Team Sky, GreenEDGE and BMC Racing Team. Thank you for the opportunities I received and what I learnt while racing in your colours. One of my goals was to make a positive impact in each team by contributing both on and off the bike, and I feel as though I achieved this.

Simon Gerrans

Simon Gerrans enjoying his 2016 Tour Down Under win. Sirotti photo

When I look back over my racing career, my fondest memories don't come from winning classics or grand tour stages, but the happiness and joy my victories created for the team and the people close to me. I also cherish the times when I was able to contribute to the personal success of my teammates.

The process of meticulously preparing for my objectives and working hard in training is what I loved about being a professional cyclist. What made the biggest victories of my career the most rewarding was knowing that I perfected the preparation. During the best years of my racing career, those times when I got my preparation just right, I was competitive in the biggest races, against the best cyclists in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the tactics of cycling; the times I was able to outsmart an opponent in a high pressure situation and beat someone stronger was satisfying. I also loved working within a team environment; the camaraderie amongst my teammates and team personnel was something I'll never forget.

With regards to my future, I want to emphasise that I am not retiring, I'm changing careers.

In the short term, I plan on spending some time with my family. Family has always been the most important thing to me, but for the past 20 years, they have made great sacrifices and have been incredibly supportive of my career. I am now looking forward to giving my wife, Rahna, and our children, Oscar and Isla, my attention.

Over the past couple of years I have received some really interesting career opportunities from within and outside the world of cycling. I hope to maintain an involvement with the sport in some capacity, however initially I am motivated to gain some experience and develop my skills in a new area. I hope that the skills and attributes I have developed and the networks I have built throughout my cycling career will provide a solid foundation to support this goal. The idea of getting out of my comfort zone and embracing a completely new career is daunting, yet excites me, and for these reasons I know it is the right thing to do.

Finally, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all the supporters of cycling, sponsors, teams, teammates, friends and family that have made my time as a professional cyclist such an unforgettable chapter of my life.

- Simon Gerrans

Career Highlights - 33 individual wins including:

2016: Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3, Stage 4, and General Classification.
2014: Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec
2014: Gran Prix Cycliste de Montreal
2014: Liège-Bastogne-Liège
2014: Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 and General Classification.
2014: Australian road race champion
2013: Tour de France Stage 3
2012: Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec
2012: Milan-San Remo
2012: Santos Tour Down Under General Classification
2012: Australian road race champion
2011 Tour of Denmark General Classification
2009 GP Ouest France-Plouay
2009: Vuelta a Espana Stage 10
2009: Giro d'Italia Stage 14
2008: Tour de France Stage 15
2006: Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 and General Classification.

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