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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, February 9, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Only those who are asleep make no mistakes. – Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Ikea

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Dubai Tour stage 3 team reports

Here's what stage winner Mark Cavendish's Dimension Data team had to say:

Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour was yet again another sprint fest, with the fastest riders in the world going full tilt for the line in Fujairah. Mark Cavendish proved he was the fastest of them all, with an impressive acceleration over the last 200 meters of the 180km stage, securing the stage victory for our African Team.

It was a steady build up to the sprint finale once again, with a 4-rider early break going clear by 7-minutes. Some blustery wind conditions resulted in a bit of action from the peloton, the main group splitting in two. This increased tempo saw the escapees caught in no time. As the wind died down though, so did the overall pace of the race and the peloton regrouped for the final 60km.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka made its presence felt for the final run-in to town with Mekseb Debesay and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier doing some good pace setting at the head of the race. Coming into the last 8km, each African Team member played their part to keep Cavendish positioned at the sharp end of the race. One-by-one, Jay Thomson, Julien Vermote, Bernie Eisel and Mark Renshaw peeled off when their jobs where done, leaving Cavendish to negotiate the final 800m.

The Manxman craftily moved up onto the wheel of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida), waited for the right moment, and launched his sprint to come over the top of the Italian and his countryman, Elia Viviani (Quickstep) in the final 200 meters of the stage. Bouhanni and Kittel could only follow in Cavendish’s wake, as he took his first win of the 2018 season.

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish enjoys his stage three victory.

Mark Cavendish – Rider:
" I am really happy with the win and with how the team rode today. We had a plan to be in the front at the roundabout at 3km to go, that was our first finish-line. That was good, we had a full African leadout into it, the lads were wicked. It was Bernie, Renshaw and I in the last 3km before I had to do my own thing in the final. I was lucky that Nacer let me in, in the last couple of hundred meters. After yesterday I realised I can’t really match Elia in a drag race, so I had to leave it late and wait until he passed his peak in the sprint.

"I then used the slingshot to pass. I am happy with that and with how the Dubai Tour has gone. I’m just a bit disappointed now that I sat up in the sprint yesterday. I let my team down because technically I could’ve been in the leader’s jersey now if I finished second and got the time bonus. I can only apologize to my team for that and make up for it on the other days going forward. " 

Dylan Groenewegen suffers time penalty and loses GC lead

Here's the report from Groenewegen's LottoNL-Jumbo team:

Dylan Groenewegen has failed to successfully defend the leader’s jersey in the Dubai Tour. The Dutchman raced to a top ten classification in the mass sprint, but was given a twenty seconds time penalty by the jury. Groenewegen remains the leader in the points classification however.

The time penalty was imposed on him because he was brought back to the peloton after a bike change behind the team car. That change happened exactly at the wrong time, according to sports director Jan Boven. “Right at the moment when echelons were forming we had to give Dylan a new bike. Moreover, that didn’t go completely smoothly.”

Dylan Gorenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen wins Dubai Tour stage one.

Groenewegen had to get back to the peloton and did so by staying out of the wind behind the team car. “That’s our mistake and we are being punished for that by a time penalty”, said Jan Boven, who, as a sports director regretted the events.

Because of the penalty, Groenewegen has dropped from the top ten to the 42nd place.

Fernando Gaviria completes Colombia Oro Y Paz hat-trick

Here's the stage three report from Gaviria's Quick-step team:

Fernando Gaviria consolidated his overall lead at the inaugural edition of Colombia Oro y Paz – to the delight of the home fans – capping off a flawless first half of the race after sweeping up all three flat stages with amazing ease, backed by a strong Quick-Step Floors team, which led him out with experience and precision.

After chasing down the five-man break that animated the 163km-long stage from the outset, the well-drilled Quick-Step Floors sprint train moved away from the spotlight for a brief period of time, before storming to the front in the closing three kilometers and stamping its authority on the bunch gallop in Buga, where Gaviria roared across the line victorious in front of a rapturous crowd, together with whom he celebrated win number four since the start of the season.

"I worked hard during the winter and had a very good preparation, that's the reason why I'm here today, enjoying all these wins. In San Juan I suffered a setback, but fortunately it wasn't too serious and I could return here, in front of my family and these unbelievable fans, to whom I want to say a big thank you! Colombia proved that it can organise an international race and I'm proud to have been here for this first edition", an emotional and happy Fernando Gaviria said after the stage.

Already one of cycling's brightest stars, the young South American boasts an outstanding string of results in the last nine bunch sprints he was involved in – at the Tour of Guangxi, Vuelta a San Juan and Colombia Oro y Paz – taking eight victories (half of which came at World Tour level) and a runner-up spot, which confirm his prowess and remarkable talent.

"The team was again fantastic, hats off to the way they controlled the stage and helped me claim another beautiful win. I get to sport the pink jersey for one more day, but tomorrow it will be all about returning the service to my teammates and helping them on this first mountain stage as much as I can", said Fernando after the stage which saw him keep all three distinctive jerseys and Quick-Step Floors retain its lead in the team standings.

Lotto-Soudal to race Ruta del Sol and Volta ao Algarve

Here's the race schedule the team sent me:

After Challenge Mallorca and Vuelta a San Juan there were two weeks without races for the Lotto Soudal riders. As of February 14 they restart the competition. The team has a double program next week. From 14 until 18 February seven riders will be competing at Ruta del Sol in Spain, while seven of their teammates will ride Volta ao Algarve in Portugal those same days.

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens (shown winning stage three in Mallorca last year) is headed to the Ruta del Sol.

Here you see both line-ups.

Line-up Ruta del Sol: Lars Bak, Moreno Hofland, Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Marc Wauters.

Line-up Volta ao Algarve: Victor Campenaerts, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, Jens Keukeleire, Nikolas Maes, Lawrence Naesen and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

Electrified road and MTB racing will come To Europe

Bike Europe sent me this interesting news:

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The e-bike market is expected to get a new boost now UCI member, the European Cycling Union (UEC) decided to create a race circuit for both e-MTBs as well as e-road in the next few years.

The initiative to integrate electric assisted bikes in the MTB and road race circuit is part of the ECU’s plan to reform European road cycling in the near future. During the UEC meeting last week in Valkenburg, the Netherlands the acting UEC President, Rocco Cattaneo announced that “the race circuit for e-bikes, MTB and Road, will be named UEC Formula E-Bike.”

Initial contacts will soon be made with leading technicians and manufacturers in the electric mobility market in order to examine the regulatory aspects. “The e-bike phenomenon is now part of our lives and the use of these bikes is an innovative and revolutionary means of using technology to improve physical health among others.,” Rocco Cattaneo added.

You can read the entire story here.

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