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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, August 25, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. - Edgar Degas

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Max Schachmann wins Deutschland Tour stage two

Here's the report from Schachmann's Quick-Step team:

Maximilian Schachmann made it two out of two for Quick-Step Floors at the Deutschland Tour, to the delight of the German fans, who gave him a raucous cheers, as after a ten-year hiatus got to witness another home rider cross the finish line arms aloft at the race created in 1911, at a time when only a handful of other multi-day events were older. Schachmann's victory came in Trier, the country's oldest city, twenty-four hours after teammate Alvaro Hodeg sprinted to his fourth win of 2018, one that landed him the red jersey, which will now go onto the shoulders of Max.

"I had this race marked in the calendar, so to win here, in front of so many fans, it's truly unbelievable! Moving to the top of the general classification is a bonus and it makes me proud to wear the jersey, but I don't want to think of the GC yet, because we still have two tough stages left. Nevertheless, the team is strong and motivated, as you could see on these stages, and we will do everything to defend the jersey", said Max after the aggressive stage 2, which packed four classified climbs.

Max Schachmann

Max Schachmann winning a stage at this year's Tour of Catalonia.

The race-winning move came on the final hill of the day, Petrisberg, after an action-packed day controlled by Quick-Step Floors, who made sure it all came back together before the bottom of the climb, thanks to the likes of Rémi Cavagna, Iljo Keisse, Jhonatan Narvaez and James Knox. Brought by the British neo-pro into a good position, near the front of a strung out peloton, Maximilian Schachmann kept an eye on his opponents and even launched a probing attack, before responding to an acceleration put in by Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) over the top of the short but sharp ascent.

On the descent, the duo established a small margin over the chasing group, from where Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) slipped clear, joining the two with the flamme rouge in sight. Politt was the first to make a move, but Schachmann expertly countered him before lifting himself from the saddle and opening his sprint with 100 meters to go, fending off Mohoric en route to claiming his third victory of the season, after the ones picked up at the Volta a Catalunya and Giro d'Italia.

"The stage was very nervous and several groups tried their luck from afar, with 60 kilometers left. If it hadn't been for my teammates, who contributed to the chase, things could have been really dangerous. When Dumoulin went I knew it was an important move, so I jumped and managed to close the gap pretty fast, while making sure I wouldn't completely empty myself. We worked well together, but then Mohoric and Politt bridged across; knowing the latter would come fast I moved into his slipstream and recovered a bit before launching my sprint. Fortunately, I still had enough to hold off Mohoric and take this beautiful win in my home country", explained Maximilian Schachmann, who also leads the points and youth classification ahead of stage 3, Trier – Merzig (177 kilometers).

Lotto-Soudal previews Vuelta a España

Here's the team's latest release:

Last year, Lotto Soudal was one of the most successful teams in the Vuelta a España by winning four stages. Tomasz Marczyński accounted for two of them by winning the sixth as well as the twelfth stage. Unfortunately, the Polish rider will not participate this year due to illness. The other two stage winners, Sander Armée and Thomas De Gendt, do line-up on the 25th of August and hope to compete for another stage win this year.

Sander Armée climbed to victory on the eighteenth stage of La Vuelta 2017 in a very impressive way. The Belgian formed part of a large breakaway, consisting of twenty riders with big names like Alaphilippe and Trentin among them. The hilly course with uphill finish seemed tailor-made for the strong Sander Armée as he placed several attacks and eventually dropped Lutsenko - the only one left from the initial breakaway - in the final kilometre. For the 31-year-old Belgian it was the biggest victory of his career. He also concluded the Vuelta with a nice result on the general classification, finishing nineteenth overall.

One year ago Thomas De Gendt was able to join the select group of riders who have won a stage in all three of the Grand Tours and thus completed his ‘grand slam’. After taking stage wins in the Tour de France and the Grio d’Italia, he realized his dream by also adding a victory in the Vuelta a España. In the nineteenth stage, De Gendt outsprinted his eight breakaway companions and claimed the fourth victory for Lotto Soudal.

The two Belgian winners look forward to the three-week stage race and elaborate on their ambitions for La Vuelta 2018.

Sander Armee

Sander Armee. Sirotti photo

Sander Armée: “I want to approach this Vuelta in the same way as I approached it last year. I believe my chances for another stage win will be the highest towards the end of the race. Like last year, we have a strong team, consisting of riders who want to race offensively. By riding this way, Thomas De Gendt, Tomasz Marczyński and I were able to take those stage wins last year. So we have to make sure to be in the right breakaway and not wait for the final kilometres to attack.”

“I’m not focusing on any particular stage yet, but I think there will be more opportunities for me in the second and third week of the race. The fight for the general classification will be more or less settled at the end, which will give the escapees more chance to stay ahead of the peloton. In all of the Grand Tours I’ve ridden so far, I didn’t lose much power towards the end - in contrast with other riders. In the flat stages I try to save as much energy as possible, so I still have power to attack in the hillier and mountainous stages. The stages to Andorra at the end of the race appeal to me. They are very tough, and I’m not sure if the breakaway will be given much space, but I’m really looking forward to those stages.”

“I prepared myself in the same way as I did last year. After the Belgian Road Championships, I took some rest before heading to Livigno for an altitude training camp. Afterwards, I spent a week in France training and I participated in the Tour de Pologne. It was never my intention to finish this tour with a solid overall result, so I raced there to assess my shape. And my legs felt good in Poland, so I’m ready for the Vuelta.”

“The general classification is not a goal right away. If I’m able to perform consistently during the three weeks, we still could see and evaluate if a strong result on the GC is possible. Last year, I secured my place in the top twenty, which was definitely something to be proud of. Yet, my stage victory topped the entire Vuelta. Either way, I’ll be at the starting line well prepared and really motivated.”

Thomas De Gendt: “After finishing the Tour de France, I took some rest and completed a couple of trainings. In 2016 I did an altitude training camp between the two Grand Tours, but that didn’t turn out well for me, so I prepared myself in a similar way as I did last year by training in Calpe for ten days: at sea level, yet in the mountains. The focus of these training days was mainly on staying in shape and improving that shape. I’m feeling ready for the Vuelta now.”

“Like Sander, I hope to take another stage victory this year. There are several stages where I can take my chance - especially in the first and second week of the race. I will mainly focus on those weeks, since the third week features only flat stages or mountain stages that are just too much climbing for me. The KOM jersey is not really a goal, but you never know… If I manage to be in the right breakaway a couple of times and could grab enough points, the mountains classification could become a goal. Furthermore, I want to help neo-pro Bjorg Lambrecht in his first Grand Tour by showing him the ins and outs of a three-week stage race. And then I also want to support teammates like Armée and Monfort, who may not hold any ambitions for the general classification at first, but might target a solid GC result along the way. They can count on me in flat stages to help setting the pace as well as in the mountain stages that are too difficult for me. But if I see any opportunity to aim for a stage win, I’ll take my chance, of course.”

“The course of the Vuelta doesn’t necessarily suit me better than the one of the Tour de France. The big difference is probably the way riders approach the two Grand Tours. There is less stress and pressure in the Vuelta. After four days of racing, there’s already a difficult stage with an uphill finish that will give the GC contenders a good indication quite early in the race, whereas in the Tour de France, there are still about 70 men that could take over the yellow jersey after nine days of racing. The course of the Vuelta also attracts less sprinters, which makes that there will only be three to four sprinters’ teams to control the race. Hence it’s the more relaxed way of racing that suits me better, not the course specifically.”

“Many riders also see the Vuelta as a preparation for the upcoming World Championships and for some it’s also the second Grand Tour of the season. While everyone is at their top level in the Tour, the fatigue and motivation to race become more important in the Vuelta, towards the end of the season. The strength and shape of the riders differ less in the Tour, which also results in less chances for the breakaway. Therefore, the Vuelta offers more opportunities to stay ahead of the chasing and stressed-out peloton. Either way, I’m still motivated to race and to be battling again for that stage victory.”

Brent Bookwalter joins Mitchelton-Scott

Mitchelton Scott sent me this news release:

Mitchelton-SCOTT will benefit from the experience of Brent Bookwalter for the 2019 season as it continues to bolster its strengths in stage races across the calendar.

Bookwalter will be the first male rider from the United States of America to join the Mitchelton-SCOTT outfit, but boasts an Australian link of his own as part of the Cadel Evans’ Tour de France winning team in 2011.

Making the transition following an 11-year career at BMC Racing Team, the 34-year-old will once again play a similar role in the Australian team’s Grand Tour ambitions - supporting young general classification contenders Esteban Chaves, Simon and Adam Yates

Brent Bookwalter

Brent Bookwalter winning stage two of the 2017 Tour of Utah.

Brent Bookwalter:
“I have been fortunate to have a long and steady career at the same organisation. I really enjoyed that and I think both sides have really benefited from that but I felt like I am getting up there in age, I will be 35 next year, and I am always looking to keep improving, keep things exciting and stay motivated and inspired so I just felt it was time for a switch in scenery and environment. I’m optimistic and confident that will enhance the motivation, be a breath of fresh air and maximise the upcoming seasons.

“I have always looked at Mitchelton-SCOTT and respected the team on a performance level but I have also seen the culture and comradery between the guys on the road, how they ride with each other and for each other, which I think has positively impacted their results and performances significantly.

“It’s an English speaking team, with what looks like a great vibe, so I saw it as a place I thought I would fit in quite well. I know some of the guys from Girona, I have talked to Whitey over the years about the possibility to be involved and it has never really worked out, but I stayed persistent and in touch and felt like 2019 was the year to finally make the jump over.

“I’ve had some talks with the management about the direction, how they see me fitting in and what role they expect me to fill and with the team’s increased general classification focus, I am coming in to support them and the team’s ambition for Grand Tour podiums. I want to be able to contribute to those results and further cement the team as a GC threat in the peloton.

“On top of that, I’m also looking for some personal improvement and success too. I’m still hungry to get results and I’m still hungry to be at the front of races and feel that finish line fire if the opportunities present themselves.

“I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to get into the group, integrating and learning some new stuff.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“We have some young talented guys coming through, but we also need experience to steady the ship at times. Brent has been part of the WorldTour circuit a while now, he was part of Cadel Evans’ victory at the Tour de France and has ridden Grand Tours with some established leaders.

“We were looking for a guy to help pass on his knowledge to our younger riders whilst still being very capable of delivering under pressure. I am very confident that Brent will be a great fit into our team and what we are looking to achieve.”

Brent Bookwalter
Date of Birth: 16th February 1984
Nationality: North American
Place of birth: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Turned Pro: 2008
Joins Mitchelton-SCOTT: 2019

Top results:
- 1st 2017 Tour of Utah - Stage 2
- 1st 2015 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 2
- 1st 2013 Tour of Qatar - Stage 1
- 2nd 2015 USA Pro Challenge – Overall
- 2nd 2013 Tour of Qatar – Overall
- 3rd 2016 Tour of California – Overall
- 4th 2017 Tour of California – Overall
- Part of Cadel Evans’ Tour de France winning team in 2011

Mike Teunissen returns to LottoNL-Jumbo

The team sent me this:

Mike Teunissen returns to Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The Dutchman made his professional debut with the squad in 2015. In 2017, he moved to Sunweb. Teunissen has signed a contract for four years with the formation of manager Richard Plugge.

Mike Teunissen

Mike Teunissen after the prologue of the 2015 Tour l'Ain

“Two years ago we separated in a good way and we have kept in touch ever since”, Teunissen says. “In the meantime, the team has made some good progression. It marks a good time for me to return. I look forward to meeting various old friends and getting to know the new people on the team.”

Sports director Nico Verhoeven is pleased with Teunissen’s upcoming return. “He is a very nice asset. In the classics we want to do better than last year and Mike will make us stronger. He is very all-round. Not only will he be of value in the classics, but he will also be strong in the preparation of the sprint and as a helper of our classification riders. He himself is a fast finisher too and he will get his chances to sprint for a good result.”

When Team LottoNL-Jumbo showed renewed interest in him, Teunissen did not hesitate. “More than any other team, this team expressed confidence in my abilities in the spring races and they have a clear plan for my further development. Besides performing in the spring, I want to make myself useful by supporting the sprinters and climbers”, he concludes.

Tomorrow, on his 26th birthday, Teunissen will start in the Vuelta. It means his comeback to racing after a heavy crash in the Tour of Poland.

Master framebuilder Dario Pegoretti dies at 62

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this sad news:

CALDONAZZO, Italy (BRAIN) — An Italian cycling site, cyclinside.it, is reporting that famed framebuilder Dario Pegoretti died Thursday following a heart attack.

Pegoretti's U.S. distributor, Gita, confirmed his passing.

“Dario was my best friend," said Giorgio Andretta, the founder and CEO of Gita. "He was family to all of us at Gita and a brother to me. I am shocked and saddened by his passing. Please keep his family in your prayers.”

Pegoretti was 62. He was known for his craftsmanship and his custom paint jobs and built frames for champion racers as well as collectors. He was one of the first upscale custom builders to use TIG welding regularly. He was named "Framebuilder of the Year" at the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

After receiving the NAHBS award, Pegoretti said, “It is an extreme honor to be recognized in this way. It is my hope that the frames I make are used on the roads and not hung as art on the wall.”

You can read the entire story here.

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