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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, July 6, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another. - John Muir

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Three captains to lead BORA – hansgrohe at the 2019 Tour de France

The team sent me this update:

A well-balanced BORA – hansgrohe squad heads into the Tour de France with ambitions in the green jersey competition as well as the general classification. Peter Sagan is set for the sprints, with Emanuel Buchmann and Patrick Konrad being our two contenders for the general classification.

Peter SAgan

Peter Sagan at the Tour presentation ceremony. Sirotti photo

“Our goal here is of course the points competition. Peter is in good form and has proven on six occasions, that he has what it takes to ride to Paris in green. It goes without saying that we’re going to give everything we have to support his quest for the record in this respect. In addition to that, I’m also proud that we’ve brought several young riders to the race this year. Emanuel and Patrick will be taking on a captain’s role, with Max, Lukas and Gregor also having developed into true performers. This will be Max’s first Tour, and so he can head into it without significant pressure. If we win the green jersey in the end, take a stage win, and place a rider in the top ten overall, then I’ll be very satisfied with my riders.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“Everyone knows what my goals are, they’re the same every year. But, as every year, it won’t necessarily be easy to achieve these aims. Of course it would be nice to become the first rider to win the green jersey seven times. But I’m not thinking about that just yet. It’s a long road to Paris, and anything can happen along the way. We’ve brought a strong team to the race, and also want to mix things up in the general classification, and I have great confidence in the guys. We’ll see how it goes, and we’ll do our utmost to fight for wins.” – Peter Sagan

“I’ve prioritised the Tour, learned important lessons from the Vuelta and was at altitude training until this week. To be able to do that, I even missed out on competing at the German national championships. My form is very good, which was evident at the Dauphiné, and I feel that I am ready. I think that having two leaders here works to our advantage, and it’s a situation from which tactical possibilities could also arise. However, in any case, it takes the pressure off us both somewhat. It’ll be firstly about getting through the mountains without losing time, and I hope to be able to play to my strengths there. The goal is very clear: to make it into the top ten in the general classification. That’s of course possible, but one will also need some luck to achieve that.” – Emanuel Buchmann

“It’s really something special to be able to start the Tour de France with the jersey of the Austrian national champion on my shoulders. The title has long been a goal of mine, and it was an unbelievably nice moment that happened on Sunday. This year, I’ve been able to prepare myself for the Tour, and I think that it was evident at the Tour de Suisse that things are looking good at the moment. I know the Tour, and I also know that a long three weeks lie ahead of me. We can’t afford to make any mistakes, or to show weakness, but if I make it through well, then a top ten is definitely a possibility. That’s something which I think I already showed in the Giro of last year.” – Patrick Konrad

“Everything is on a bigger scale here at the Tour, and that’s something that becomes immediately noticeable even before the race has begun. The interest from the media is huge, and that’s probably even more so the case having taken the German national title. For me, it’s a dream come true. Like every young rider, I always wanted to ride the Tour. The fact that I’ll be riding my first Tour in the German national champion’s jersey is a bonus, and it’s really something special. This year, everything has run like clockwork so far. Whether that will continue during the Tour is something that I cannot predict, because I don’t fully know what exactly to expect. I’m going to take it day by day, will of course assume helper responsibilities, and will just see what it means to ride the Tour. But those who know me also know that I’m always ready if an opportunity presents itself. – Maximilian Schachmann 

“At some point in time, even the Tour becomes like a routine. However, it’s still something special to be here. I think that we’ve brought a very strong team to the race which is suited to various terrain. I’ll be keeping an eye on Max with a view to helping him as much as possible with my experience. We’ve once again set ourselves substantial goals, but at the same time, we certainly possess the potential to achieve these.” – Markus Burghardt

“The last few races went very well, and the form is there. I had good legs at the Dauphiné as well as the national championships. I’m here to play a role in supporting Patrick and Emu in the mountains, but I’m hoping to also be given my own chances. That will of course depend on how the race progresses, but in any event, I’ll be ready for it.” – Gregor Mühlberger

“The time has come yet again for this really special race. It’s a race that one eagerly awaits, prepares for fully, and requires you to then get in the right mindset. And after all that, you can hardly wait for it to get underway. I’m proud to represent BORA – hansgrohe here. As usual, I’m ready to be at Peter’s side to help him to take his seventh green jersey.” – Daniel Oss

“This year’s preparations have gone very well, which has meant that I’ve been slightly more relaxed ahead of the start of my second Tour, compared to last year. As an all-rounder, my tasks here will be multifaceted. In the first days, I’ll support Peter in the sprints, and afterwards I’ll try to take on roles to help our general classification riders Emu and Patrick. If I have enough left in the third week, maybe I’ll have the opportunity to take my own chances in the breakaway” – Lukas Pöstlberger 

Caleb Ewan to make Tour de France debut

Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

On the eve of his first ever Tour de France participation, Lotto Soudal sprinter Caleb Ewan talks about how becoming a father compares to sports, what leading a team means to him and how important mental strength will be to get through the three weeks of racing at the Tour.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan winning stage 8 of the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Caleb Ewan: “Being the leader of the team means a lot of pressure, especially as I am starting in Belgium within in a Belgian team. Moreover, the first yellow jersey is at stake. Winning a Tour stage is a goal, hope and a dream of mine. Growing up, it definitely was a dream just to be here on the start line but now I have the opportunity to lead the team at the Tour de France and I don’t think that many people can say they led a team in their first Tour. I feel very privileged to be able to do that.”

“Becoming a father is maybe not the most ideal preparation for the Tour de France but as an athlete you need to deal with what happens in your personal life and still be able to perform at the highest level, which is something I hope to prove the coming weeks. It is hard to beat the feeling of winning a race but I think it is still nicer to become a father.”

“Mental strength is and will be very important during the long three weeks of racing. I haven’t completed a Grand Tour yet, this is the first time I really attempt to finish. I hope it will go quite smoothly but over three weeks, there are always going to be ups and downs, crashes and maybe some sickness but that is why your mental strength has to kick in and try to push you the whole way through.”

Highlights from Mitchelton-Scott's final press conference before the Tour

The team sent me this:

Adam Yates:
“I found out (at the Dauphine) that I was in pretty good condition. I had a small break after Liege and then started training again back in Andorra.  I had about a week off and slowly built into it but (at the Dauphine) I was able to carry on where I left off in staying consistent and being up there in all of the climbing stages. Obviously there was a little hiccup with the illness in the end there, but in general I was in good condition and felt good.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates racing at this year's Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

“The first main (stage) for us as a team is the TTT. The last one I did, we won in Tirreno. But for me personally, (I’m looking forward to) the first mountain stage. It’s the first mountain top finish and a couple of years ago when I lived in France I wasn’t too far away so I actually know the climb quite well. It’s the first mountain stage and you always get a good idea of who is going well and how you’re going yourself, so stage six will be the first major challenge.

“I knew most of the climbs this Tour. The only ones I didn’t know where stages 18, 19 and 20 - the ones at the end. For some reason, I’ve never actually been in this area – I’ve never had a training camp there, never raced there, I’ve somehow managed to avoid it. But before the Dauphine, I travelled there with my girlfriend and we did all three. They are really tough stages, especially at the backend (of the race). It’s going to be pretty tricky.

“(Altitude) in the past has never really bothered me. These days I do a lot of altitude training, and I live in Andorra so I’m pretty much at altitude if I’m not at a race. It effects everyone differently but so far it hasn’t given me any major problems, it’s just another thing you have to deal with.”

Jack Haig:
“I think it’ll all sink in once we get into the Tour. At the moment it’s a bit bigger than any other race I’ve done – coming here and having all of you here is a bit different, but I think I’ll notice the impact of the Tour de France once we start racing on the road.

“I’m incredibly excited to experience my first one and the team has been really good, I don’t have a lot of pressure in the role I’m in and they are allowing me to experience the Tour de France for what it is. Hopefully then, if I do come back, I can come back with a little bit more pressure and be able to perform.”

Matt White:
“Our number one priority is to chase one jersey, and that’s the yellow one. I think it’s one of the most open Tour de France we’ve seen in the last 10 years and our goal is to give Adam the best support possible to arrive as high as we can.

“I think this group, and I’m not joking, is the strongest group we’ve ever been able to put together for the Tour de France - the most versatile group and the most depth we’ve had across the board.

“We’re not concentrating on a sprint front, as we have in the past, our primary goal is general classification and stage hunting will come along the way.

“It’s a great group, with a lot of experience. When you look at it, it’s quite a young team. Daryl (Impey) is the only rider over 30 but there’s a lot experience across the board.”

Team Sunweb partners up with BinckBank

Team Sunweb sent me this news release:

Team Sunweb and BinckBank are proud to announce a strategic partnership, commencing from July 5th. As part of this innovative partnership, BinckBank will provide financial expertise, adding to Team Sunweb riders’ development.

The new Keep Challenging Center is given more and more shape with this partnership. The Keep Challenging Center – Home of Team Sunweb – is a campus combining a living environment and high-end elite sports support to optimize athlete development, cooperation and ultimately bringing the team performance to a higher level. Part of the young riders’ development is the financial theme, where BinckBank joins the curriculum with their financial expertise. This becomes an increasingly relevant topic, with promising talents turning into future stars in only a few years’ time, and requiring the financial expertise to support that transition.

Team Sunweb

Team Sunweb before the start of the Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

Jon Thissen, Head of Marketing and Sales at BinckBank, said: “With Team Sunweb we share the passion and love for cycling, people and innovations. Cycling fits with our mission and we trust it brings people freedom and independence. This partnership with Team Sunweb is the next step of our involvement in cycling and through this partnership we bring fan engagement to the next level. We love to share our financial expertise with young talented and promising riders to support and develop them in their financial management during the various steps in their career.”

Jan Wermink, Head of Business Strategy at Team Sunweb, said: “We are delighted to share this innovative partnership with BinckBank. BinckBank is an undisputed frontrunner in the market of online broking and has won many awards over the years. With their mission to help people achieving goals and independency, we share great ambitions with BinckBank. We look forward to our cooperation in the coming years.”

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