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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 27, 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

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. - C. S. Lewis

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


Team Quick-Step Floors headed to Dwars door Vlaanderen

Here's the team's update:

A strong and confident team is ready to take on the 73rd edition of the Belgian Classic.

Last year, Quick-Step Floors rode a brilliant and audacious race at Dwars door Vlaanderen, where Yves Lampaert took the biggest win of his career after attacking in the closing kilometers from a group which included teammate Philippe Gilbert, who dutifully covered every move before sprinting to second place and making it a perfect day for our team at the Belgian Classic's debut on the World Tour calendar.

The defending champion will be back for the 73rd edition, scheduled this Wednesday, between Roeselare and Waregem, over 181.1 kilometers. The famous hellingen are again expected to decide the winner, with Kluisberg, Taaienberg (where our team forged the unforgettable E3 Harelbeke masterpiece), Kruisberg and Nokereberg, which features just ten kilometers from the finish, being just some of the hurdles the riders will have to overcome.

Neo-pro Alvaro Hodeg, a stage winner last week at the Volta a Catalunya, will make his first outing in a World Tour one-day race at Dwars door Vlaanderen, where Elia Viviani, the most successful sprinter of this year so far, will conclude the first part of his season. Also making the team for the beautiful race which our squad has won five times will be Iljo Keisse, Maximiliano Richeze, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra, the E3 Harelbeke champion and two-time victor in Waregem (2012 and 2014).

Yves Lampaert

Yves Lampaert winning in 2017

"It's a completely different course compared to the one of the previous edition, however, it won't be any easier, as it's still a very tough profile. The final is quite the same but there are less cobbles and hills, which on paper will play in favour of a bigger group battling it out in a sprint. One of the things that can ruin it for the sprinters is bad weather conditions, which will make the race a lot more difficult to control for them", said Quick-Step Floors sports director Tom Steels, a former winner of the race.

"Some riders and teams might have De Ronde in mind or be tired from the heavy program of this period, which could make for an atypical race, where even an early breakaway has a chance to go all the way, so we must be prepared for any scenario. We have Viviani in the team, Richeze and Hodeg are there as well, so if we have a chance to go for a sprint, we will try and take it. After finishing in the top three at the last seven races on Belgian turf, we are very motivated to keep the momentum going."

2018 Giro Rosa (Women's Giro d'Italia) route presented

The organizer sent me this news:

The Royal Palace in Monza has been the location of the official 2018 presentation of the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile WWT - Giro Rosa this morning. With numerous authorities, the stage committees, the teams and the President of the Italian Cycling Federation Renato Di Rocco, the two National Elite Coaches Edoardo Salvoldi (Women) and Davide Cassani (Men).

Giuseppe Rivolta, President of 4 Erre ASD and historical race Director, welcomed the participants: "The honour to organize the Giro Rosa grows year by year. We have improved and we want to continue, to inrease the quality of our race, known as the most important and prestigious race in the UCI Women's calendar."

The route has then been shown: the race will start in Verbania, Piedmont, with a Team Time Trial and it remains in the same Region with a hilly Stage 2 in Ovada. The sprinters will fight in Corbetta with the Stage 3, long and flat. The following day is planned at Giorgia Bronzini's hometown Piacenza, around the city, between the hills and the Countryside. The Stage 5 in Omegna (on the Lake Orta) will be tougher, climbing the Vergante hills, and the first mountains arrive on the next day: from Sovico, in Brianza, to Gerola Alta, uphill finish in Valtellina at 1050 m, after being along the Eastern Coast of the Como Lake. It is just the start, because the race stays near Sondrio for a Uphill Individual Time Trial from Lanzada (1000 m) to the Campo Moro Dam (2000 m, highest point of the whole Giro), in Valmalenco. A long transfer to Veneto for the Stage 8 in Breganze, between Vicenza and Asiago, on the Rosina Circuit above Marostica, for attackers.

The final two days in Friuli will bring the Giro to the Legend: the Zoncolan will be climbed on its west side, from Ovaro. The slopes until 22% will put the athletes in the history of the sport and the Queen of the 29th edition will be crowned the following day, Sunday 15th July, in Cividale del Friuli.

Monte Zoncolan

The Giro Rosa will ascend the Zoncolan for the first time. Sirotti photo.

The big emotions at the Royal Palace have not finished: the Jerseys of the Giro Rosa are presented, and the Maglia Rosa has been weared by Claudia Cretti, acclaimed with a moving Standing Ovation by the crowd. "You have emotioned me" - so said Giuseppe Rivolta to thank the Valcar-PBM athlete.

Davide Cassani and Edoardo Salvoldi commented: "The climbs in a big Tour are very important and the climbers have been a special role thinking about the next World Championships in Innsbruck, which are extremely hard. The Giro will be on mythical and very tough climbs and its athletes will enter in the legend of cycling.

THE 29° GIRO ROSA STAGES:

1. Verbania - Verbania 15,500 km (Team Time Trial)
2. Ovada - Ovada 120,390 km
3. Corbetta - Corbetta 132 km
4. Piacenza - Piacenza 109 km
5. Omegna - Omegna 117,700 km
6. Sovico - Gerola Alta 114,100 km
7. Lanzada - Diga di Campo Moro 15 km (Uphill Individual Time Trial)
8. San Giorgio di Perlena (Fara Vicentino) - Breganze 121,600 km
9. Tricesimo - Monte Zoncolan 104,700 km
10. Cividale del Friuli - Cividale del Friuli 120,300 km

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this preview:

DWARS DOOR VLAANDEREN WE (UCI 1.1)

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED): "The parcours have totally changed in comparison to last year. There is now no Kwaremont and Paterberg combination half way through the race, but instead a Kluisberg and Cote de Trieu combination. With the new parcours, we race with open tactics and have Ellen and Floortje as our riders to go deep into the final. They will need to find the momentum to reduce the bunch to take a small group to the finish." 

RACE: Dwars door Vlaanderen WE (UCI 1.1)

DATE: 28/03/2018

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

LINE-UP
Liane Lippert (GER)
Ellen van Dijk (NED)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Pernille Mathiesen (DEN)
Julia Soek (NED)
Ruth Winder (USA) 

DWARS DOOR VLAANDEREN (WT)

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED): "The parcours have changed compared to previous years; now the race is shorter and three laps of the Cote de Trieu are more or less the central point. The last lap with the Taaienberg and Kruisberg will be the toughest, and probably also the most decisive one. Edward has already podiumed two times at this race and he is the guy that we will work in support of through the day. We have a strong team to support the goal, with Søren, Nikias and Mike likely to go deep into the final with Edward. 

RACE: Dwars door Vlaanderen (WT)

DATE: 28/03/2018

COACH: Marc Reef (NED) 

LINE-UP
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Phil Bauhaus (GER)
Roy Curvers (NED)
Lennard Hofstede (NED)
Mike Teunissen (NED)
Edward Theuns (BEL) 

Phil Bauhaus

Phil Bauhaus will be on the start line at Dwaars door Vlaanderen

LE TRIPTYQUE DES MONTS ET CHÂTEAUX (UCI 2.2)

Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert (GER): "Our Development Program have had a good start to the season and we want to continue our learning process in Triptyque Monts et Châteaux. It is a great race, with a classic profile and a nice hilly time trial where the guys can really test their legs on tough parcours. We go to the race with a strong line up and have a variety of cards to play throughout the race, with a strong focus on the development of our riders." 

RACE: Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux (UCI 2.2)

DATE: 31/03-02/04/2018

COACH: Sebastian Deckert (GER) 

LINE-UP
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Marc Hirschi (SWI)
Max Kanter (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Jarno Mobach (NED)
Martin Salmon (GER) 

RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN (WWT)

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED): "The parcours remain unchanged in comparison to previous years, so our challenge will be to be up there with the favourites from the Kanarieberg onwards. With Ellen and Coryn we have two previous winners of the race which means that we have different options dependent on the race scenario. We bring a really strong team to Flanders; our goal will be to have the numbers in the last 30 kilometres so that we can race offensively on the moments in between the Kanarieberg, Kruisberg, Oude Kwaremont and the final climb of the Paterberg." 

RACE: Ronde van Vlaanderen (WWT)

DATE: 01/04/2018

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

LINE-UP
Lucinda Brand (NED)
Ellen van Dijk (NED)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Coryn Rivera (USA)
Julia Soek (NED) 

RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN (WT)

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED): "Flanders is one of the most special and toughest one-day races. The race started on the Muur last year and we have to be sharp there, and now we expect that the race will explode from the second time up the Kwaremont and onwards. Søren and Edward are both in good form and we will ride in support of them at the race. We expect that Mike and Nikias will go deep into the final with them, with the full support of a strong team around them." 

RACE: Ronde van Vlaanderen (WT)

DATE: 01/04/2018

COACH: Marc Reef (NED) 

LINE-UP
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Roy Curvers (NED)
Lennard Hofstede (NED)
Tom Stamsnijder (NED)
Mike Teunissen (NED)
Edward Theuns (BEL) 

VUELTA CICLISTA AL PAIS VASCO (WT)

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED): "Our goal at Pais Vasco is to go for stage results through breakaways and sprints. We are focused on the sprints for Michael [Matthews], who is a three-time stage winner at this race. Laurens and Johannes bring a wealth of experience and we look forward to seeing our young and talented Australians Michael [Storer] and Jai test themselves. The course is challenging with a lot of steep climbing and we'll likely see the final stage decide the overall standings, however we will take our opportunities day by day, and hunt for some nice results." 

RACE: Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (WT)

DATE: 02-07/04/2018

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

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