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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. If we don't, our lives get made up for us by other people.  – Ursula K. Le Guin

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Elia Viviani will race Dubai Tour

Here's the post from Viviani's Team Quick-Step Floors:

Elia Viviani will make his fourth appearance at the Dubai Tour, a race in which he has tasted success on two occasions, 2015 and 2016. The Isola della Scala native, fresh off a solid campaign in Australia, where he clocked up three top 3 finishes, including his maiden victory since moving to Quick-Step Floors, comes into the Middle East race with a boost of confidence that he hopes will carry him to a stage victory.

“When you change teams you get a new motivation. Quick-Step Floors is the best team for me, a real family; I enjoy a proper lead-out here, and this is a big chance for me and my career. I had a good winter preparation, which you could see in Australia, where it’s never easy for European riders. I am satisfied with my condition, am in good shape and hope to have a good week in Dubai”, said the soon to be 29-year-old at the pre-race press conference.

Both stages nabbed by Elia at his previous participations came in Palm Jumeirah, the venue of the inaugural stage’s finale this year, where the riders will fight for the first leader’s jersey after 167 kilometers. It will be the first out of four days expected to come down to a bunch sprint, with another stage, suited to the riders who can kick out on the punishing 17% ramps of Hatta Dam, spicing up the narrative at the Dubai Tour.

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani wins a stage in the 2016 Dubai Tour

“For sure, it’s going to be a tactical sprint on stage 1, no doubt about that. When you get out of the tunnel in the closing kilometers, you need to be in a good position, and then, on the last straight, you have to pay extra attention to the wind, which can make the difference. Would be nice to get another victory here, but it won’t be easy, because all the best sprinters in the world are at the start; despite this fact, I’m confident that I can take a win and also fight for a good general classification.”

Viviani, whose pro palmares boasts over 50 victories, will rely for the Dubai Tour on a strong Quick-Step Floors sprint train, comprising Tim Declercq, Fabio Jakobsen, Yves Lampaert, Fabio Sabatini, Maximilian Schachmann and Niki Terpstra.

Team Sunweb headed to Tour of Oman

The team sent me this preview:

Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers (NED) said: "The WorldTour continues next week at the Tour of Oman where we will aim for stage results with Max and Søren, as well as explore GC possibilities with Søren. The first and final stages are most suited to Max with fast finishes, whereas stage two and three have really tough finals which could be opportunities for Søren. As a winner of the third stage in 2017 we will support him to go for another good result here.

Soren Andersen

Soren Andersen driving for the line in the 2017 Tour of Oman

Stage four is constantly up and down with stage five ending atop the Green Mountain which will see riders put in a huge effort for around 25 minutes right until the finish; this will be an important stage for the GC riders. We have a strong team lining up in Oman eager to perform in their first race of the season. Edward makes his debut with the team here and will be crucial in both the lead-out and helping Søren in the tougher finals. Martijn also makes his debut and will play a key supportive role, alongside Johannes, Roy and Tom." 

RACE: Tour of Oman (WT)

DATE: 13-18/02/2018

COACH: Tom Veelers (NED) 

Chris Froome to race Ruta del Sol

Froome's Team Sky sent me this update:

Chris Froome will begin his 2018 season at the Ruta del Sol. Froome will be part of Team Sky’s lineup for the five-day stage race in Andalucia, which runs from February 14th -18th.

He last raced the Ruta del Sol in 2015, when he took overall victory and picked up a stage win along the way.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome in the 2015 Ruta del Sol

Froome will line up in Spain after spending the early part of the year training in South Africa.

Froome said: “I have put in a hard training block in January. It’s been good to be out on my bike and to get the miles under my belt. It’s been a couple of years now since I was last at Ruta del Sol. It’s a race I’ve enjoyed in the past and so I’m looking forward to going back there”.

Team Sky confirmed in December that Chris and the team were providing information to the UCI regarding Chris’s use of his asthma medication at last year’s Vuelta a Espana. The UCI process is ongoing.

Froome said: “I’m confident that we will be able to get to the bottom of what has happened and I’m working hard with the team to do that. Obviously I understand that this situation has created a lot of uncertainty. I completely get why there has been so much interest and speculation.

“I hope that people will appreciate there are limits to what I can say whilst the process is still ongoing but no one is keener than me to move things forward as quickly as possible”.

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: “We all recognise that these are difficult circumstances but it’s important for all sides that this process is conducted fairly before a final conclusion is reached. It is a complex situation but we’re working as hard as we can with Chris to resolve things as soon as possible”.

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