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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, September 6, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. - Coco Chanel

Current racing:

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Vuelta a España stage eleven news

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report stage winner Alessandro de Marchi's BMC team sent me:

5 September, 2018, Ribeira Sacra. Luintra (ESP): Alessandro De Marchi secured his third individual stage victory at the Vuelta a España after an impressive solo attack in the closing kilometers of stage 11. 

A battle to make the breakaway was brewing even before the start of stage 11 with riders and teams sensing the opportunity for the day's successful attackers to go all the way to the line on the hilly 207.8-kilometer course that included one category two and three category three climbs.

The intensity at the start of the day saw the peloton cover 49 kilometers in the first hour of racing and despite various strong moves trying to go clear, the breakaway was yet to form. BMC Racing Team continued to be active at the front of the main bunch and this tactic paid off with De Marchi, Nicolas Roche and Dylan Teuns all making it into the 19-rider breakaway that eventually went clear approaching the 100-kilometer to go mark.

25 kilometers later, the group's advantage had extended out to 4'30" but with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), who started the day 2'33" behind race leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) on the General Classification, making the selection, the main bunch reacted behind on the penultimate climb, the Alto do Trives.

Teuns looked strong as he went on the attack alongside Pinot with 65 kilometers remaining however the rest of the group, which still included Roche and De Marchi, was chasing hard and as a result they came back together around 3'30" ahead of the peloton with 50 kilometers to go.

The breakaway split once again after a solo move from Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) saw a more select eight-rider group, with De Marchi and Roche, drawn out at the front of the race while, behind, Teuns remained in the first chasing group and Movistar Team continued to lead the peloton around three minutes back.

On the day's final categorized climb, the 8.8-kilometer long Alto del Mirador de Cabezoas, which had an average gradient of 4.3%, De Marchi went solo before being joined by Jhonatan Restrepo (Team Katusha Alpecin) just before the top of the KOM. The duo's advantage over the first chasing group was still over 50 seconds inside the final five kilometers before De Marchi showed his grit and determination to launch an impressive solo attack which eventually saw him punch the air with delight as he secured the stage victory.

Alessandro de Marchi

Alessandro de Marchi wins Vuelta stage eleven.

Behind De Marchi, Teuns and Roche continued to ride their own tempo and, after a strong day of teamwork from the BMC Racing Team trio at the front of the race, they crossed the line fifth and eighth respectively.

Interview with Alessandro De Marchi:

Congratulations, Alessandro! Talk us through the moment you decided to attack inside the final five kilometers?

"If I waited for the sprint then I think I would have been second. The only option was to try everything on the last climb. Honestly, I didn't feel like I had the best legs but the win was mine."

It took around 100 kilometers of racing for the breakaway to form today. How were you able to find the right move?

"At one moment today, I said to myself that I just needed to keep trying and going because every moment was a battle. Every move was looking like the good one and then they would come back. It was really difficult and I just thought I would do the maximum that I could and we would see."

What does today's victory mean to you?

"For a rider like me who tries a lot, you need to be first at the line sometimes. You need to be there in the results. I have missed a few good results in the last season but now I can say that I understand what I have to do. Sometimes you think you are missing something of yourself and you lose the feeling [of winning] but you need to be patient and the right moment will arrive."

"I had the feeling of liberation in the last kilometer. I waited a long time for this moment and the last three years have been up and down a lot. Today, I found myself again."

Was it important to have two teammates in the breakaway with you?

"The presence of Dylan and Nico in the breakaway was the key as I could play in the front and I was sure they were helping me to control from behind. The whole day was full gas and each move looked like the right one. So, you couldn't lose concentration for one second. It was a fight for five hours. I think it was the hardest win I have ever had. Sometimes it's more about luck. First of all, you have to be lucky and then you have to have the legs. I was not sure if I would be able to drop Restrepo because he is quite fast, and that attack I did was really the only option. I was lucky in the end that it was ok."

GC leader Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this update:

An onslaught of attacks characterised stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana, the longest stage of the 2018 edition, before Simon Yates secured the red leader’s jersey for another day.

After over 100km of controlling the moves, Mitchelton-SCOTT placed Jack Haig in a large breakaway of 19 riders, and it was Movistar who then had to chase in pursuit.

As Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing Team) won the stage from the breakaway, the reduced general classification group finished two minutes in arrears for no change to the overall standings.

Despite lacking the hardest mountains of this year’s La Vuelta, stage 11 threatened to be one of the toughest days on the road and it didn’t disappoint.

Mitchelton-SCOTT worked tirelessly to control repeated attacks that battered the peloton before eventually, after over 100km of furious racing, placing Haig in a 19-rider group which quickly established a growing gap of over one-minute.

After the early patrolling and Haig in the move for Mitchelton-SCOTT, it was Movistar Team who reacted at the head of the bunch as the breakaway’s advantage grew out to over four minutes.

The threat of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), who was two and a half minutes down on the general classification, was enough to put the pressure on and by the final kilometres just 14 riders remained in the contenders group.

As De Marchi went on to win the stage, Pinot gained just 12seconds on the main group of contenders, which contained Yates.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates is still in red.

Simon Yates:
“It was a really crazy race today and the boys rode great again, they’re going to be tired now. It was ok for me, I was in the peloton just trying to save energy. We worked hard over the first 100kilometres marking and closing the moves, trying to control it but there comes a point when you can only control it for so long.”

“There was some danger in the break, like Pinot, and for us we had Jack in there doing a great job. Movistar took it up for the final 80kilometres at the head of the bunch. They have the best two GC riders in the race and closest to me overall – it was their decision to pull, but sooner or later someone was going to come up there and set the tempo.

“I think everyone was respecting a stage like today with the roads around here being very technical and it was really hard. I am looking forward to the mountain stages to come, there’s only been two real GC days so far and I am looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Tour of Britain stage four news

We posted the report from organizer with the results.

Stage winner André Greipel's Lotto-Soudal team sent this report:

André Greipel has conquered a second stage win at the Tour of Britain. The German was the fastest in the fourth stage, between Nuneaton and Royal Leamington Spa.

The break of the day consisted of six riders. The sprint teams, with Jens Keukeleire contributing for Lotto Soudal, didn’t give the escapees more than two minutes advantage. Still, it lasted until three and a half kilometres from the finish line for all breakaway riders to be caught. Jasper De Buyst brought André Greipel in a perfect position into the last hectometres and just like in the first stage the German sprinted to victory. Sacha Modolo got second, ahead of Patrick Bevin.

Andre Greipel

André Greipel gets another Tour of Britain stage.

André Greipel: “All the big teams in the peloton aimed for a stage win today, and so did we. Jens Keukeleire made a very strong impression today in the pursuit of the break. He rode at the front of the peloton until we had caught all escapees. Moreno Hofland and Jasper De Buyst did a great job positioning me for the sprint. They led me into the last corner perfectly and that was very crucial. I won the sprint thanks to that optimal position in the corner. Jasper brought me into the perfect position for the sprint. I was where I wanted to be. Our plan worked out brilliantly. It was my plan to go full from the corner, at 300 metres from the finish, which was far but I made it. I’m happy that I could give the team another stage win here.”

“We have five riders left in the team after Jelle Vanendert had to abandon, so that’s one man less to help control a breakaway as we also need enough riders in the sprint preparation. James Shaw had a mechanical in the last kilometres, so he couldn’t be of service anymore. The riders in the break were also strong and that’s why it lasted so long to catch them. But in the end it all came back together and we could do the sprint as planned.”

Team Sunweb signs Nicolas Roche & Robert Power

Here's the note the team sent out:

Team Sunweb are to strengthen their GC squad with their new signings Nicholas Roche (IRE) and Robert Power (AUS). Roche signs a one year contract with the team, whilst Power will wear the team's colours until the end of 2020.

Robert Power (AUS
At 23 years old, the young Aussie engine adds firepower to the team's uphill squad having the typical capacities needed for three-week racing. With a bundle of GC top 10's early on in his career, a strong 6th place at the 2018 Strade Bianche and his first pro win this year, his strengths as a rider are a great fit to the team's goals for the upcoming seasons.

Nicolas Roche (IRE)
34-year-old Roche brings a wealth of experience to the team with 20 grand tour starts under his belt and 10 professional wins. The Irishman has high ambitions and looks forward to sharing his experience with the team, alongside his role of providing crucial support in the mountains whilst the team chase their GC ambitions in both stage races and grand tours.

Nicolas Roche

Roche at the 2017 Dauphine

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