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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, April 28, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. - William Blake

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Two Movistar riders crash near the end of the Castilla y Leon stage three finish

Here's the team's report:

Movistar Team suffered a double setback with its two main performers –Daniele Bennati and Carlos Barbero, down just before the finish- at the 2019 Vuelta a Castilla y León, which crowned Davide Cimolai (ICA) as overall victor on Saturday at the end of the 151km stage three, from León to Villafranca del Bierzo.

After hard work from the Blues to reduce the bunch in the climbs of Foncebadón (Cat-2) and Onamio (Cat-3) -the peloton coming back together later on-, the dangerous, twisty narrow final kilometer saw Bennati and Barbero both crashing down into one of the final turns.

Bennati suffered a deep blow to his right-hand shoulder, while Barbero hit his elbow, both requiring further exams at a hospital in Ponferrada. The scans confirmed a collarbone fracture for Daniele, with Barbero not suffering any broken bones despite a significant contusion.

Enrique Sanz

Enrique Sanz wins the final Castilla y Leon stage.

Since the crash -which also split the sprint and gave Enrique Sanz (EUS) the day’s victory- happened inside the last 3km, the GC positions didn’t change, with Daniele still in 4th overall in Spain.

Eschborn-Frankfurt: Alexander Kristoff aims to defend the crown

Kristoff's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

In the Eschborn-Frankfurt (May 1, 187.5 km), the UAE Team Emirates will support the winner of the last four editions – Alexander Kristoff, who capped off an impeccable sprint in 2018.

He will be guided by Sports Director Neil Stephens (Aus) and helped by the following riders:
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
– Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
– Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– Rui Oliveira (Por)
– Rory Sutherland (Aus)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)

Alkexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff winning Eschborn-Frankfurt in 2018.

Alexander Kristoff explained, “Four successes in a row make this race a special event for me. I have many great memories that are added year after year. I think I can be so competitive in this race because we usually reach the sprint after a very intense event. I can’t ask for anything better given my characteristics“.

Mitchelton-Scott go on the hunt for glory at Tour de Romandie

Here is the team's pre-race summary:

Mitchelton-SCOTT will return to happy hunting ground when they line-up for the Tour de Romandie with a well-rounded squad on the hunt for more stage victories on Swiss soil.

Veteran Michael Albasini will be back on his home roads to take on a race where he has enjoyed plenty of success in the past, picking up a total of seven stage wins.

Michael Albasini

Michael Albasini winning a Tour de Romandie stage in 2017. Sirotti photo.

Australian Damien Howson will also be back in stage racing action after Itzulia Pais Vasco earlier in the month, while Tsgabu Grmay, Cameron Meyer and Dion Smith will head into the race fresh off their varied Ardennes classics campaigns.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Michael Albasini (SUI, 38)
Sam Bewley (NZL, 31)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH, 27)
Damien Howson (AUS, 26)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 31)
Callum Scotson AUS, 22)
Dion Smith (NZL, 36)

The Course:
The six-day stage race will kick-off proceedings with a short 3.87km prologue around the scenic city of Neuchâtel, before the peloton head into the hills on the following day for the opening road stage.

The bunch will tackle five category two climbs on the 168.4.km long stage and will face two further category two climbs on the second stage ahead of a downhill run to the finish in Morges. It’s another lumpy day on stage three, with an up and down profile featuring four categorised climbs.

The Queen stage on stage four is where the race could be won or lost with five categorised climbs to contend with, including three category one ascents, the last of which rounds out the day with a summit finish. The race will conclude with a race against the clock and a 16.85km time trial around the streets of Genève.

The Past:
Mitchelton-SCOTT have tasted success at the Swiss race on multiple occasions, winning nine stages since the team’s inception in 2012. Seven of those wins belong to local man Albasini, with his best haul coming in 2014 when he clinched three stages in impressive fashion.

Brit Simon Yates’ second place overall back in 2017 is the team’s best result on the general classification, with twin brother Adam Yates also claiming a top 10 placing with sixth position in 2015.

Michael Albasini:
“I’m always motivated when I go to a race, but in a home race of course you want show yourself and give a good performance. It's a mix between extra motivation and extra pressure.”

“Even though I’ve had a good run in the past in Romandie, I can’t just expect to win, so I don’t feel that I missed out by not winning last season. It's a World Tour Event on highest level, so winning is hard. I just start every year with a blank sheet of paper. The aim is to win a stage, but like I said, it’s not easy and there are lots of riders hoping to do the same.”

Laurenzo Lapage (Sports Director):
“The plan is for Damo to have a crack at the overall, he’s been climbing well and did a strong performance at Coppi e Bartali. Alba will be hunting for stages but we also have options with the other guys in the squad.”

“It’s a tough one and let’s hope the good weather stays on our side, because bad weather there can make the race really hard. It is for sure a race that fit this team, we’ve gone well there in the past and especially with Alba around the team we get a lot of support during the week.”

Tour de Romandie Race Details:
Tuesday, 30th April: Prologue, Neuchâtel - Neuchâtel, 3.87km
Wednesday, 1st May: Stage 1, Neuchâtel - La Chaux-de-Fonds. 168.4km
Thursday, 2nd May: Stage 2, Le Locle - Morges, 174.4km
Friday, 3rd May: Stage 3, Romont - Romont, 160km
Saturday, 4th May: Stage 4, Lucens - Torgon, 176km
Sunday, 5th May: Stage 5, Genève – Genève (ITT), 16.85km

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