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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, April 18, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature. - Adam Smith

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Team reports on De Brabantse Pijl

I posted the report from Deceuninck-Quick step with the results.

Here's the report from third-place Time Wellens' Lotto-Soudal team:

Tim Wellens finished third in the Brabantse Pijl today. The defending champion had to let Mathieu van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe ahead in the sprint after a very strong race. The three riders who would be on the podium attacked together with Michael Matthews in the final lap. The four guys joined the previously escaped Daryl Impey, who had to let go when Wellens attacked. Van der Poel turned out to be the best in the sprint. The young Bjorg Lambrecht broke clear from the peloton and topped off his race with a nice fifth place.

Brabatnse Pijl podium

The Brabantse Pijl podium, from left: Julian Alaphilippe (2nd), Mathieu Van der Poel and Tim Wellens (3rd). Sirotti photo

Tim Wellens: “It was our intention to make it a tough race, by being in the attack all the time. We wanted to make sure not to be overtaken by events, which we did very well. At a certain moment, Bjorg Lambrecht was in a nice group, which eased the pressure on us. I wanted to wait until the final lap to join an attack. I mainly focused on van der Poel and Alaphilippe. When the latter attacked, I was able to follow pretty quickly. Van der Poel and Matthews joined and those were the names that had also been suggested in advance."

“I knew I was not the fastest rider of our group, so I had to come up with something. I tried to break clear several times, but I soon realized that it would be too difficult. Finishing third in that sprint was probably the best I could do today. I am certainly happy about how the race turned out, about the result and about my shape. In the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, a lot of new riders will participate, so I think it will yet be a higher level. The strongest riders of today will probably be at the front then as well.”

Here's what Team Sunweb had to say about the race:

With the cobbled classics now over the riders faced more mid-week racing in Belgium and an opportunity to transition over to the Ardennes. Brabantse Pijl is the perfect event to make that switch as it combines some punchy, short climbs with a few cobbles thrown in for good measure too.

It turned out to be a very attritional race with the pace high in the peloton from over 40 kilometres out. Several attacks and counter-attacks went and were subsequently brought back, with Marc Hirschi and Søren Kragh Andersen riding well to police the moves. With 16 kilometres to go a strong group of four, including Matthews, attacked out of the peloton and bridged to the lone leader Impey. On the next climb, the four attackers forged on at the head of the race and they worked well to continue building on their lead.

However, inside the last five kilometres and with an advantage that would ensure they weren’t caught, the front four started to play some games. No attack was given any leeway though and Matthews took the initiative inside the final kilometre and lead the riders up the last climb. Setting a pace that deterred any attacks, the day would be decided by a sprint between the four riders. Matthews was sat in third wheel coming into the final 250 metres but as the sprint opened up he was blocked against the barriers and couldn’t properly contest the finish, ultimately having to settle for fourth on the day, behind winner van der Poel.

Mathieu Van de rPoel

The race is Mathieu Van der Poel's. Sirotti photo

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek expressed his delight with how the team rode: “We did a good race as a team and came into the final with enough riders to support Michael; he was very well supported and we never lost control of the race. Behind the winning attack, Marc and Søren did well to protect the situation up ahead. I could not ask for more from the guys. It is too bad that the sprint wasn’t perfect and Michael got blocked in against the barriers and lost his momentum. Obviously Michael is disappointed with the result, but the team spirit and teamwork shown today gives us confidence for the coming races.”
Matthews added: “The guys rode well all day and we were always in a good position at the front of the peloton. I managed to follow the attacks and we formed a strong group of four ahead. I got a bit blocked in during the sprint and I’m disappointed that I couldn’t get a better result for the team after the work they had done throughout the day.”

UAE-Team Emirates reports on Tour of Turkey stage two

We posted the report from winner Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team with the results.

The team sent me this update:

The Tour of Turkey stage two saw UAE Team Emirates take fifth with (Jan Polanc) and seventh (Valerio Conti). And unfortunately, Sebastian Molano crashed on the 183.3km stage from Tekirdag to Eceabat.

The incident at 70km remaining left the sports directors Marco Marzano and Bruno Vicino worried, but the Colombian got going again after few moments on the ground expressing considerable pain. The 24-year-old climbed on his Colnago and managed to get back into the group, without showing significant physical consequences.

The very complicated stage final saw the Polanc-Conti pair move skilfully and work into the top 10 behind the winner Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe). The Slovenian is now in fourth overall and the Italian climber is fifth, both at 20″ from leader Bennett.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett wins stage two. Bettini photo

“The arrival was complicated, we raced about a kilometre down a narrow road and then took the last few hundred metres uphill at high speed. The team’s work to keep the lead positions was fundamental,” explained Polanc (photo) “Valerio and I were not able to fight for the win, but the placings are still good and leave us confident for the next few days. I still felt the pain in my ribs from the fall I was involved in yesterday. I hope that discomfort will soon fade“.

The third stage (Canakkale-Edremito, 122.6 km) will cover a climb at 74km from the finish and afterwards, the road will descend and run flat for the last 35km.

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