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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. - George Bernard Shaw

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Patrick Lefevere continues hunt for Team Quick-Step Floors sponsor replacement

Cyclist UK posted this report:

Despite being the WorldTour team with the most victories in 2018 so far, Quick-Step Floors are still in the hunt for a new primary sponsor as its current naming sponsor looks to play a smaller role from 2019.

Talking to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, team manager Patrick Lefevere confirmed that he is still looking for a new primary sponsor to take over from the Belgian flooring company as they look to continue on as a secondary sponsor, therefore reducing its financial input.

Quick Step Floors

Team Quick-Step Floors is presented before the start of the2018 Giro d'Italia.

'Quick-Step Floors will stay for at least another three years, but they would prefer to become a second sponsor,' Lefevere commented at the finish of Stage 1 of the Binckbank Tour.

'I do not have that main sponsor yet. I do not really care where the sponsor comes from. That may well be China or Mongolia. As long as they bring real money and not Monopoly money.'

Quick-Step Floors were primary sponsors of the team from its creation in 2003 until 2011 before it became second fiddle to Omega Pharma from 2012 to 2014. Etixx nutrition took up the mantle in 2015 before the flooring company reassumed the role in 2017.

You can read the entire story here.

Bora-hansgrohe reports on stage three of the BinckBank Tour

It was a day where the breakaway made it to the finish line and fought for the victory on stage 3 of the Binck Bank Tour. BORA – hansgrohe sprinter Rudi Selig battled with D. Groenewegen out of the bunch and finished seventh, while T. Van der Hoorn won the stage with more than one-minute gap over the main field.

The Stage
The race crossed the border from the Netherlands into Belgium for the third stage of the Binck Bank Tour. The 175km long stage took the riders from Aalter to Antwerpen, where two final laps awaited the riders. After yesterday’s short Time Trial, the sprinters would be eager to get back on the road and challenge for the win on a flat finale.

The Team Tactics
Today was a day for the sprinters, therefore it was to be expected, that several teams would work hard to see a bunch sprint at the end of the day. BORA – hansgrohe focused again on their sprinter Matteo Pelucchi, who finished stage 1 in 7th position.

The Race
Almost right from the drop of the flag, a small group of five riders managed to escape from the peloton and built up an advantage of more than three minutes. After the chase was put on in earnest by the bunch, the gap was still two minutes with 30km to go. The main field pulled hard to close the gap, but the breakaway worked perfectly together, and as the group headed into the final laps in Antwerpen everyone knew, the winner will be one of these five riders. Meanwhile the peloton fought hard to close the gap, all sprinter teams worked together to make the impossible possible. But the group had enough advantage to make it to the finish line. It was T. Van der Hoorn who took the stage win ahead of M. Vantomme. BORA – hansgrohe sprinter Rudi Selig sprinted with D. Groenewegen for the win out of the bunch and finished in seventh position. The rest of the BORA – hansgrohe squad finished safely in the main field.

Taco Van der Hoorn

Taco Van der Hoorns wins the third stage of the BinckBank Tour.

From the Finish Line
“We tried to close the gap and gave everything, but the group worked perfectly together and had already enough advantage to fight for the victory without us. As we headed into the finale, I stayed always in position but the pace was high and it wasn’t easy to put someone into position. On the line, I gave it a try and finished seventh.” – Rudi Selig

“The breakaway was really smart today, with 40km to go they had still 3 minutes gap over the peloton. The main field tried to close the gap but it didn’t work out. Many teams in the main field worked together to catch the group but the five escapees surprised all. For sure BMC don’t wanted to lose their jersey. Rudi took second behind Groenewegen in the sprint out of the bunch.” – Jens Zemke, sports director  

EF Education First-Drapac headed to Tour of Colorado

The team sent me this:

Dani Martinez and Taylor Phinney headline a strong #PinkArgyle squad for the Colorado Classic. The pair are joined by Nate Brown, Hugh Carthy and Joe Dombrowski, part of the team classification victory at Tour of Utah, and staigiare Jose Neves.

“Obviously we consider Colorado a home race,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Slipstream was born here. This is the race, you know beyond Paris-Roubaix and the Tour and some of the key Classics, we want to win to support our fans, to support the people that support the team. We’re here to put on a good show for the crowds.”

Colombian Dani Martinez, fresh off the Tour and some time at home in Colombia, will make his first start at the Colorado race. “I’m anticipating a competitive race,” said Martinez. “The legs are feeling good, and I think the team can ride well this week.”

Colorado’s Phinney is looking forward to lining up in Vail. “I have a solid two days of training in the legs heading into this race, on top of three weeks of the Tour de France, so I’m not sure what to expect – but my face is fine. My nose has a bit of chicane in it but it’s hardly noticeable,” added Phinney, referencing his Tour injuries. “I get a little nervous thinking about racing in Colorado, which is a good thing, I think. I’m excited. I’m happy to see the race branch out of Denver with two stages in Vail.”

Taylor Phillney

Taylor Phinney last year, after the second stage of the Tour de France.

The second of those two stages is expected to be the most decisive of the four-day tour. Used in Coors Classic and USA Pro Challenge, the Vail time trial course makes its first Colorado Classic appearance. The challenging course climbs 480 meters over 15.88 kilometers.

“The Vail Pass time trial is iconic and beautiful,” said Phinney. “It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but I’ll enjoy it nonetheless.”

“We’re aiming for the best possible result in the individual time trial,” said sport director Ken Vanmarcke. “Stage two will automatically decide the general classification. Last year we had Breckenridge as our queen stages. We can say the queen stage this year is the time trial.”

Beyond the time trial, the Colorado Classic features two comparatively flat circuits to open and close out the race. Both measure around 100 kilometers, and the relatively short distance could force disruptive racing.

The third stage of Colorado Classic is the longest and hilliest of the race. Beginning in Denver’s RiNo district, the 162-kilometer day races by Coors Field, climbs Lookout Mountain and passes through Red Rocks Park. A reduced bunch will likely contest the stage at the Velorama music festival on Saturday afternoon.

“We don’t have a pure sprinter,” said Vanmarcke. “This will make it more difficult to score a result on the flat stages.”

“As a team, we want to win a stage however we can do that,” said Phinney. “I’ll go for some of the sprints and race offensively. I’ll try to make things exciting for the fans. The boys in pink are excited and ready to roll.”

A NEW RIDER IN PINK

Neves makes his #PinkArgyle debut at the Colorado Classic. The 22-year-old has largely raced at home in Portugal with a few stints in nearby France and Spain.

“Jose Neves is probably the most talented rider to come out of Portugal in the last 10 years, realistically since Rui Costa,” said Vaughters. “He’s a guy that’s proven himself again and again in the U23 and the larger races in Portugal. We’re giving him a shot in Colorado and Britain.”

“I’m very happy to be able to train with a WorldTour team” said Neves. “It’s a dream of any cyclist. I was nervous at first about if I would have a ride this year, and it all came about in a spectacular way. I have to thank the team in advance for everything. I am so grateful and happy for this opportunity.”

EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale for 2018 Colorado Classic:

Sport Directors: Ken Vanmarcke (BEL), Tim Kennaugh (GBR)

Riders:
Nate Brown (USA)
Hugh Carthy (GBR)
Joe Dombrowski (USA)
Dani Martinez (COL)
Jose Neves (PRT)
Taylor Phinney (USA)

Lotto-Soudal announces Vuelta line-up

The team sent me this preview:

On the 25th of August, the third Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta, takes off. The course of the 73rd edition promises to be the scene of another spectacular three weeks of racing. Lotto Soudal performed strongly last year as the team returned from Spain with four victories, including two stages won by the Polish Tomasz Marczyński, one by the combative Thomas De Gendt, and one by Sander Armée, who became Lotto Soudal’s best ranked rider on the general classification.  

Tomaz Marczynski

Tomasz Marczyński wins stage six of the 2017 Vuelta.

The three stage winners will also be at the start in Malaga during this year’s edition: Thomas De Gendt (sixth participation), Tomasz Marczyński (fourth participation), and Sander Armée (fourth participation) hope to repeat last year’s victories and to help the other Lotto Soudal riders in their pursuit of a stage win as well. Tiesj Benoot (first participation), Bjorg Lambrecht (first participation), Maxime Monfort (eight participation), Tosh Van der Sande (fourth participation) and Jelle Wallays (third participation) complete the line-up.

Sports director Mario Aerts comments on the team’s line-up and hopes for another strong performance in this year’s Vuelta.   

Mario Aerts: “Last year, Sander Armée not only took a stage win, but also finished nineteenth overall. We hope that Sander is able to achieve another place in the top twenty this year, but we will mainly focus on a stage win. Especially, in the second part of the race there are a couple of stages where he’ll get the opportunity to do so. Tiesj Benoot will be riding his first Vuelta ever. After he was forced to withdraw in the Tour de France, he prepared himself for the following upcoming races. He will be at the starting line without any goals for the GC and we’ll have to wait and see how his shape is at the moment. There are several stages in which he can play a role and animate the race. It would be nice to see him winning a stage, but much depends on how the race will unfold itself. Last year’s scenario was ideal as Team Sky controlled the tour from the beginning, and the escapees got many opportunities.” 

“Everyone knows Thomas De Gendt by now. He’s a good climber and hopes to repeat his stage win of last year. Also this 73rd edition consists of several opportunities for Thomas to show his climbing skills once again. He and Maxime Monfort are the riders from our line-up that participated the most in the Vuelta. Maxime will help his teammates, but will also get the chance to go for a stage win himself. Last year he played an important role in Tomasz Marczyński's stage win. Maxime accelerated with Jungels in the front group, giving Tomasz a break so he was able to save some energy before entering the last kilometres. Over the years, Maxime gained a lot of experience and knows how to complete a Grand Tour. In the last week of the race, when the more difficult stages take place, I definitely see him making a move. Marczyński himself is also very keen on repeating last year’s Vuelta. There’s a stage in Granada, where he’s currently living, with quite a difficult uphill finish. He will be really motivated to win that particular stage.” 

“It’s the first Grand Tour for Bjorg Lambrecht. He’s still young and already performed strongly this season. There aren’t many races for riders like Bjorg this time of the year, so the Vuelta is an ideal preparation towards the World Championships. He probably won’t finish the tour and will be at the start for the first ten to fourteen stages, before heading back home and continuing his preparation for the World Championships.” 

“There are five to six stages that will most likely finish in a bunch sprint. With Tosh Van der Sande we have a rider who can compete for victory in these stages. Jelle Wallays will be helping him, but could also try to join the breakaway himself in about three stages. Of course, we’ll have to wait until the official start list has been confirmed: if there will be many fast men at the start line, the breakaway won’t get many chances to stay clear and it will probably be better not to attack. We’ll take it one day at a time. Either way, all eight of our riders will get the chance to animate the stages and hopefully we can take one or a couple of stage wins back home.” 

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Tiesj Benoot, Thomas De Gendt, Bjorg Lambrecht, Tomasz Marczyński, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande and Jelle Wallays. 

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

Simon Geschke joins Continuum Sports for 2019

The team sent me this news

15 August, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA)

Tour de France stage winner Simon Geschke is the latest rider to sign on with Continuum Sports in 2019 in a move that will see the German rider change teams for the first time in his ten-year career.

General Manager Jim Ochowicz praised the 32-year-old's ability as a teammate as well as a rider who maximizes personal opportunities. "Simon Geschke has forged an impressive career to date, including his 2015 Tour de France stage win, and will bring a wealth of experience to the team. Simon is a specialist when it comes to the Ardennes classics and Il Lombardia so he will add strength to our team for those one-day races, whether it be in a support role or making the most of opportunities that come his way. From a Grand Tour perspective, Simon has 11 participations to his name and in addition to a Tour de France stage win, he has played a fantastic role in supporting his respective team leader over the years which makes him an asset to our team," Ochowicz explained.

"It has been two years since we had a German rider on the team so it is great to have Simon with us. We have more and more German races on the calendar and German fans are very passionate about cycling. The German market is also important for CCC, our new title sponsor for 2019, so we are very excited to welcome Simon to the team."

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke riding in the 2018 Amstel Gold Race

Geschke has recorded top ten finishes at multiple one-day races throughout his career, including Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, and Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec.

After ten years with Team Sunweb, Geschke felt it was the right time to move on when an opportunity presented itself with Continuum Sports, currently operating as BMC Racing Team, in 2019.

"I was looking for a new challenge after ten years with the same team as that is a long time. I wanted to change teams at least once in my career and I thought this year would be a good time, and then this opportunity came up so I took it. The team has always appeared to be very professional, and the structure is very good with the sports directors and performance team so that really impressed me. From the outside, it looks like a team with a great atmosphere. I think I will feel good in the team and will settle in well," Geschke said.

"I will take next year as it comes. I'm looking forward to doing the Ardennes classics as they have always been some of my favorite races in the spring. Mostly, I'm just excited to get involved with a new group of people and see how it goes."

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