BikeRaceInfo: Current and historical race results, plus interviews, bikes, travel, and cycling history

find us on Facebook follow us on twitter See our youtube channel The Story of the Tour de France, vol.2 South Salem Cycleworks vintage parts Neugent Cycling Wheels Cycles BiKyle Schwab Cycles Cycle Italia cycling tours Advertise with us!

Search our site:
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth. - Leo Tolstoy

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


Daryl Impey eyeing history at Tour Down Under

Impey's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

Defending champion Daryl Impey will lead Mitchelton-Scott at the Tour Down Under next week, hoping to become the first male to win back-to-back titles in the race’s 20-year history.

Daryl Impey

Daryl Impey won in 2018. Can he do it again in 2019? Sirotti photo

Impey claimed the victory on countback in 2018, before going on to his most successful season to date. With the support of six strong Australian teammates, the South African has his sights set on a repeat, in what has been deemed the toughest edition of the opening WorldTour race of the season.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 27)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 25)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 22)
Mathew Hayman (AUS, 40)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 27)
Daryl Impey (RSA, 34)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 30)

The 2019 course is considered to be the toughest in the event’s history.

Following the People’s Choice Classic criterium on Sunday, the serious racing will begin with expected sprints on the opening two stages. A 14km circuit, with a short but sharp climb, will likely make the first differences in the general classification on stage three, before the Corkscrew climb returns on stage four.

The final weekend of action should see a sprint on Saturday with the famous Willunga stage setting the scene for a dramatic final showdown on Sunday.

Whilst the early-season form and adaption to the heat of the Europeans making their way to Australia for the Tour Down Under can be a little unpredictable, there are some things that are guaranteed.

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) remains the man to beat thanks to his stranglehold on Willunga Hill. His fellow Australian and former teammate Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) will also be one to watch.  Likewise, punchy riders with similar attributes to Impey, such as Peter Sagan and Jay McCarthy will also pose threats.

The Past: The Tour Down Under is a happy hunting ground for Mitchelton-SCOTT. The Australian WorldTour team has won four editions since its inception in 2012, three with Simon Gerrans and one with Impey last year. Amongst the overall successes, the team has also claimed 11 stage victories.

Daryl Impey – Defending Champion:
“Australia has and always will be important for us. We would definitely like to win the Tour Down Under again and we are arriving to try to do just that. For me personally, it would be great to win back-to-back. No one has done that.

“I will take it day by day, see where I am at and see where everyone else is at too. My preparation has been going really well, I have been following a similar plan to last season so hopefully it will pay off again.  The biggest change for me, and for the team, is that without Caleb we don’t have to worry about his lead out, so I can put more energy into my own goals.

“I like the new route. I don’t think Willunga on the last day will change much. It makes it more exciting, but for me, like last year, I just need to take time where I can and then hope it’s enough.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“Going back to any race as defending champion always puts a big target on your back. Daryl is leading our team and we have won the race four times already, so all teams are looking at what we do. We are ready for the challenge and we have brought a solid team to aid Daryl in his attempt to defend his title, something that has never been done in Tour Down Under history.

“With Caleb or a sprinter, it certainly decreases our work load throughout the week. This is a big advantage for us because we are able to focus our energy expenditure. In the past we were basically trying to win every stage, which was a massive load and stress for the team.

“With Willunga being the final day it certainly does change the dynamic. This race has traditionally been won by very small margins and certain types of riders always had the ability to go after bonus seconds on the final circuit race in Adelaide. With that gone it places even more importance on the last kilometer of Willunga. This year’s edition is the toughest edition in its history with three key climbing stages, something we have never had before.”

2019 Santos Tour Down Under - Race Details:
Sunday, 13 Jan: People’s Choice Classic, Adelaide (1hr + 1lap)
Tuesday, 15 Jan: Stage 1, North Adelaide to Port Adelaide (132.4km)
Wednesday, 16 Jan: Stage 2, Norwood to Angaston (149km)
Thursday, 17 Jan: Stage 3, Lobethal to Uraidla (146.2km)
Friday, 18 Jan: Stage 4, Unley to Campbelltown (129.2km)
Saturday, 19 Jan: Stage 5, Glenelg to Strathalbyn (149.5km)
Sunday, 20 Jan: Stage 6, McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5km)

Team Sky: Kwiatkowski, Moscon & Poels discuss coming season

Team Sky sent me this:

Michal Kwiatkowski interview:
Michal Kwiatkowski has his sights set on challenging for Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2019 - a race he would love to win. With two third places to his name - in 2014 and 2017 – Kwiatkowski has previously described Liege as ‘the race of his dreams’.

And the Pole has made subtle tweaks to his early race programme to give him the best chance of success. He said: “My main goal for the first part of the season is to be in the best shape possible for the Ardennes.

“Let’s hope I can be up there amongst the best riders to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I’ve slightly changed my approach to the season and I will start later, at the UAE Tour, then probably Paris-Nice and Pais Vasco so not as much racing [as 2018].

“I hope to be in the best shape possible for the Tour de France and in the last part of the season I would like to do some Classics for a change. I might go to Canada and I’d like to be in the best shape possible for Il Lombardia and the World Championships in Yorkshire.”

After a stellar 2017, when Kwiatkowski won Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and San Sebastian, the 28 year old demonstrated his world-class versatility in 2018, with a number of major stage race wins. He said: “On reflection, the 2018 season was amazing for me, winning three stages races: Algarve, Tirreno-Adriatico – which was a big thing for me – and also the Tour of Poland.

Michael Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski winning 2017 Milano-San Remo. Sirotti photo.

“Winning stage races was not my main goal, but it was great to get such great results and get the first wins for Team Sky at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Poland - I was very proud.

“It was also good to go for the GC at the Vuelta and aim for stages. It was my second Grand Tour of the season and it was not an easy challenge but I was up for it. I tried and I did my best and I had the leader’s jersey for a couple of days.

“It was really difficult to stay in top shape, having started in May with the Dauphine, Polish Championships, then the Tour de France and Tour of Poland before going to the Vuelta and then Worlds. It was a big challenge for me to stay at a high level but that experience will stay with me until the end of my career and I can use it in the future.”

Racing as Polish champion at the Tour of Poland was special enough for Kwiatkowski, but going on to take the overall title was something else. “There are some races which you chase for a very long time and want to win, like Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which I still want to win one day. It was the same with Milan-San Remo until I won it in 2017 and it was the same situation with the Tour of Poland.

“I found that a very difficult challenge, especially performing in front of home crowds as there is always a big expectation from your fans to win on home soil.

“To win a stage, then win another stage in the leader’s jersey was an amazing experience and I think the people in Poland really enjoyed it. It’s good to finally have it on my palmares.”

The 2014 world road race champion, Kwiatkowski is eyeing this year’s World Championships, to be held on British soil in Yorkshire. “It’s in my race programme to do the Worlds in Yorkshire, and looking at the World Championship course, which is nearly 300km, I would like to be in the best shape to compete with the best riders in the world.

“I know it’s going to be a difficult race and the weather at that time of year in that part of England can play a big role.

“One of the possibilities would be to race the Tour de Yorkshire to prepare, but coming so soon after the Ardennes – and with me wanting to be fresh for the Tour de France – it depends how the season goes to whether it fits in around my spring programme.”

Gianni Moscon interview:
Gianni Moscon is looking forward to riding his first Giro d’Italia in 2019.

The Italian will once again target the Spring Classics as he aims to improve on his career-best fifth place finish at Paris-Roubaix in 2017, before tackling his home Grand Tour in May. He said: “The main objective for the next season is the Classics in Belgium, the pave Classics, and then I’m really looking forward to the Giro: my first Giro d’Italia.

“Riding the Giro d’Italia is really exciting for me. As an Italian kid I grew up watching the Giro and now to be there on that screen with all my family watching in Italy will be amazing.”

Moscon enjoyed a strong finish to 2018, winning Coppa Agostoni and Giro della Toscana, before defending his Italian time trial crown and winning the Tour of Guangxi, the final WorldTour race of the season.

Gianni Moscon

Gianni Moscon winning 2018 Coppa Agostoni

“Hopefully I will continue the good form of the last part of the season,” Moscon added. “It’s always difficult to get to the top of the condition when you want but I started last year well and I’m really confident I can be in good shape in the spring.

“I love the pave. It’s unique. You ride on that terrain only for the Classics and no more during the season. That’s what makes the atmosphere. It’s something epic.

“My fifth place in Paris-Roubaix gives me motivation to go there and get a better result and really fight for the win. I think arriving so close in 2017 makes me hope for a big result.”

The Italian rode to an impressive fifth in the World Championships in Innsbruck last year and he also has his eye on competing in Yorkshire this season. “Of course the World Championships in Yorkshire is one of the objectives for this season. Some people say it’s easy; some people say it’s hard. I think it will be a hard World Championships like always. The distance is really long and I don’t think there are any easy roads in Yorkshire!

“I rode the Tour de Yorkshire in 2016. What I remember is the massive amount of people watching the race on the side of the road, even if it was raining. I remember a big crowd everywhere. The atmosphere is simply amazing. The race was hard - no flat at all! You are always on the pedals.”

Wout Poels interview:
Wout Poels is hoping to start his 2019 season with a bang at the Tour Down Under.

Poels will lead the Team Sky charge in the first race of the campaign and the Dutchman has been working hard over the winter to be ready for 2019’s curtain raiser.

Currently training in Brisbane with teammates Dylan van Baarle and Pavel Sivakov - who will join Poels on the TDU start line in Adelaide - Wout has been enjoying acclimatising to the Australian summer. “Normally we would arrive two days before a race but of course with the time difference, plus the fact it’s full summer over here, it made sense to come out here for two weeks before the race starts. It’s good, especially with the weather - it’s important to acclimatise. Today it was 30, 32 degrees, and it’s humid - so we’re sweating a lot!

“I’ve never done the Tour Down Under and I’ve always thought it’s an interesting race to do. I started to think about it last year, spoke to Tim [Kerrison], and I think it’s a nice goal to start the season with.”

Wout, Pavel and Dylan will travel to Adelaide on the 10th of January to meet up with the rest of the team’s Tour Down Under squad. “You’re never too sure what to expect from the first race of the season,” explained Poels, “but I’ve been training well. The whole winter went to plan. Hopefully we can do something nice at TDU - that’s the goal. We will see.”

After the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Poels will head back to Europe and is likely to tackle the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico, before attacking the Ardennes.

Since winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2016 - Team Sky’s first Monument victory - Poels has not been able to hit the Ardennes at 100%. After being forced to skip them due to a knee injury in 2017, 2018 was only a little better - Amstel Gold was his first race back after breaking his collarbone at Paris-Nice. “I love racing the Ardennes,” continued Poels, “although it wasn’t the easiest first block back after a broken collarbone last year!

Wouter Poels

Wout Peols winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2016. Sirotti photo

“I always have a few key goals for the season. I’d like to really do well in the Ardennes Classics - that’s important to me - but I always like to do well in all of the races I start.

“Of course I would like to get selected for the Tour again, to support the boys there, but I’ll try to be good everywhere I start.

“People like to have one clear target but I never look at it like that. New year, new season - I have to smash it everywhere!”

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this:

Down Under Classic (CRT), JAN 13

Luke Roberts - Team Sunweb coach:
"We kick off the season with Down Under Classic this coming Sunday, a fast criterium in the centre of Adelaide. Our big, fast man Max Walscheid will be looking to start his season on the same strong note as he finished the 2018 season. He will be well-supported by a strong team with Cees and Max [Kanter] in the lead out. The rest of the team will focus to support Max throughout the race before we head to their more suited terrain later in the week at the Tour Down Under."

Max Walscheid

Max Walscheid (shown winning a stage in the 2017 Tour of Denmark) will be at the Down Under Classic.

Line-up:
Cees Bol (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Max Walscheid (GER)

Santos Tour Down Under (WT), JAN 15 - JAN 20

Luke Roberts - Team Sunweb coach
"Next Tuesday we start stage one of the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under. This year's edition has been spiced up a bit with Willunga hill moving to the final day, the corkscrew final has also returned to the race as well as a new lap for stage three over some very difficult terrain. There will be a few opportunities for Max Walscheid in the sprints, with young Max Kanter and Cees Bol in support, both looking to show the themselves in their WorldTour debuts. Johannes Fröhlinger will bring plenty of experience as road captain and then we have multiple cards to play for the GC with our three Aussies Chris Hamilton, Michael Storer and Jai Hindley. All three are looking to be in very good shape at the start of the season."

Line-up:
Cees Bol (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Max Walscheid (GER)

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary