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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday January 30, 2019

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Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings. - Jane Austen

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Iljo Keisse apologizes for miming sex act for photograph, is expelled from race

Note: Late Tuesday the Vuelta a San Juan race organizers kicked Iljo Keisse out of the race following the incident described below.

Cycling Weekly posted this:

Belgian Iljo Keisse says he is sorry and regrets miming a sex act while posing for a photograph with a woman and the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team last Friday at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.

The photograph and news that the Argentine woman reported him to the police surfaced overnight in the western province bordering Chile.

“I would like to apologise, especially to this lady,” Keisse said. “I made a mistake, I realise that. This will not happen again.

“I want to apologise to everyone here, the Argentinian people, everyone who feels offended. The race organiser has been in difficulty because of this. And to my team. It was a really stupid thing to do. I wish I could turn back time, but I can’t.”

The Argentinian race began on Sunday. Keisse and his team-mates on Friday were asked for photograph together by the women after they stopped for a coffee at the restaurant where she worked.

Iljo keisse

The photograph seen round the world. Mr. Keisse seems to have learned a lesson.

Keisse said that he did not touch her with his hands or push against her with his body as reported in the Argentinian newspaper Telesol Diario.

You can read Cycling Weekly's entire story here.

Team Bora-hansgrohe reports on Vuelta a San Juan stage two

The team sent me this update:

The stifling Argentinian heat returned for stage 2 of the Vuelta a San Juan, with temperatures so high the race organisers had to invoke the UCI’s extreme weather protocol. While the stage itself was shortened by 28km, this didn’t affect the day’s excitement in the slightest, with a committed break providing the bulk of the day’s entertainment before the attacks came on the final ascent of the Alto Punta Negra.

The BORA-hansgrohe riders pushed the pace hard to catch the break, as well as to deliver Peter Sagan, to the line, and while the Slovak National Champion didn’t take the win, his third-placed finish showed that he could contest the stage even with an 8.3% climb to the line.

On what was planned as a 160km route culminating in four laps of a 28km circuit, the blistering Argentinian heat saw the second day of racing shortened by one lap. While shorter, this still meant riders would wind their way up the third category Alto Punta Negra four times over the course of the day, its 8.3% slopes getting tougher with every pass, before the final climb to the finish. Building an advantage that topped out at 3:34, the day’s break started as a quartet before steadily shedding riders as the day went on and the temperature forced the escapees to return to the relative comfort of the peloton.

As the breakaway hit the final lap after the penultimate climb of the Alto Punta Negra, just two riders remained and the bunch was less than a minute behind, but the strain was proving too much – the duo becoming a solo with 26km to go and the signs of the day’s efforts showing on the face of the last of the break. Inside the final 10km, the heavily reduced bunch made the catch and started winding up for the final climb to the finish, and with 2.5km to go it was here that the climbers started going on the attack.

While the BORA-hansgrohe jerseys were out in force on the front trying to close down the gap, it ended up being a fight in the bunch for the podium spots, with the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, showing he had the legs to contest the finale even after a tough climb closing the day, taking third on the line.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe took the second stage.

From the Finish Line
"We had another hot stage at the Vuelta San Juan but the clouds over the finish area made it a bit easier for us. Again, the whole team did an excellent job, they set a strong pace at the front and controlled the race. In the final kilometres when Alaphilippe attacked there wasn't a lot of cooperation in the chasing group and we weren't able to close the gap. The finish was very close but Alaphilippe held on and won. My form is progressing the way it should this time of the year, so all is good and we'll keep fighting every day." – Peter Sagan 

Jelle Wallays hospitalized after Vuelta a San Juan's second stage

Wallay's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this bad news:

Jelle Wallays crashed during the finale of the second stage of the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina. Unfortunately, the rider has suffered a facial trauma. He lost one tooth and broke another one, he also has a cut in the upper lip and a fracture in the upper jaw. Due to a concussion, the rider spent the night in an Argentinean hospital for observation.

UAE-Team Emirates to ride Challange Mallorca

Here's the note the team sent me:

A solid 12 riders from UAE Team Emirates will race in the four days of the Challenge Mallorca, this January 31 to February 3.

The four seven-man teams guided by Sports Director Marco Marzano (Italy) and Technical Assistant Paolo Tiralongo (Italy):

– Trofeo Ses Salines, Campos, Porreres, Felanitx (176.9km), January 31: Fabio Aru (Italy), Alexander Kristoff (Norway), Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway), Marco Marcato (Italy), Yousif Mirza (UAE), Manuele Mori (Italy), Rui Oliveira (Portugal).

– Trofeo Andratx Loseta (172.4km), February 1: Kristian Durasek (Croatia), Alexander Kristoff (Norway), Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway), Daniel Martin (Ireland), Simone Petilli (Italy), Edward Ravasi (Italy), Aleksandr Riabushenko (Byelorussia).

– Trofeo de Tramuntana (140.1km), February 2: Fabio Aru (Italy), Kristian Durasek (Croatia), Daniel Martin (Ireland), Yousif Mirza (UAE), Simone Petilli (Italy), Edward Ravasi (Italy), Aleksandr Riabushenko (Byelorussia).

– Trofeo Palma (159.6km), February 3: Kristian Durasek (Croatia), Alexander Kristoff (Norway), Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway), Marco Marcato (Italy), Manuele Mori (Italy), Rui Oliveira (Portugal).

Aru, Rui Costa and Martin will meet on January 29 at the Velodromo Palma in Mallorca to ride on the track and test the Colnago K.One time trial bike. This bio-mechanical work will be guided by the team’s staff.

“The Challenge Mallorca takes a certain importance given that we have 12 riders heading there,” said Marzano. “We have to see how the four days go and see on the road at what point we are in our training from the winter and not focus too much on results in the race.

The 12 cyclists will rotate in the races, with five riders not competing each day but training under the guidance of our coaches. On top of that, we have the testing day on the velodrome. We are sure that this Mallorca trip will help us in our overall 2019 plan.“

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