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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, March 23, 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

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Team Deceuninck-Quick Step reports on Bredene-Koksijde Classic

Here's the team's report:

Defending champion Alvaro Hodeg, who earlier this week resumed competition in Nokere Koerse after more than four weeks, was in the mix for Deceuninck – Quick-Step in the Bredene Koksijde Classic final, where last season, when the race was still known as Handzame Classic, he nabbed his maiden pro victory.

Our team came with two cards to play at the start of the 199.5km-long race, but Fabio Jakobsen was involved in a crash with 16 kilometers to go and despite remounting, he couldn’t rejoin the peloton anymore. In the same incident, Hodeg had a mechanical and immediately got the bike of Pieter Serry, but due to the huge turn of pace at the front of the bunch he couldn’t change to his bike again and that weighed on the final result.

Another pile-up, this time with less than three kilometers to go, added an extra pinch of nervousness and further reduced the group, which was led by Rémi Cavagna and Remco Evenepoel, who had done a wonderful job the entire day controlling the breakaway and bringing the seven escapees as well as the late attackers back to heel, before the pointy end of the race.

Pascal Ackermann

It was Pascal Ackermann who won the race.

Led under the flamme rouge by the experienced Iljo Keisse, who also helped him navigate the tricky final corners, Alvaro Hodeg opened his sprint with 150 meters to go and concluced third in Koksijde, behind Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) and Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky): “I nearly crashed in that first incident, but fortunately I didn’t go down. On the other hand. I was forced to change my bike and got Pieter’s, and it wasn’t easy to change back to mine, as the pack was going full gas. I’m not looking for an excuse, but it wasn’t easy in the sprint. I want to thank to the guys – Rémi, Remco, Pieter and Iljo – who were amazing and rode for me the whole day.”

Adam and Simon Yates to lead Mitchelton-Scott in Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Here's the team's preview:

Fri 22 Mar 2019: Mitchelton-SCOTT bring a strong team of climbers to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya next week including both Adam and Simon Yates plus Colombia Esteban Chaves.

Adama Yates

Adam Yates (shown at this year's Tirreno-Adriatico) is headed to Catalonia. Sirotti photo.

Dual South African champion Daryl Impey returns to racing in Catalunya, giving the team an option for the potential sprint stages, as the Tour Down Under winner looks to build on his early season form after a small break from racing.

The squad heads in to the seven-day race with an open plan, knowing a lot can change during this busy early season racing period and uncertain Spring weather. 2019 signings New Zealander Dion Smith, American Brent Bookwalter and Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay add valuable strength and support to the squad to tackle the diverse stages on offer.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Michael Albasini - (SWI, 38)
Esteban Chaves - (COL, 29)
Tsgabu Grmay - (ETH 27)
Daryl Impey - (RSA, 34)
Dion Smith - (NZ 25)
Adam Yates - (GB, 26)
Simon Yates - (GB, 26)

The race follows a similar route to the previous editions with two opening stages more suited to the sprinters before heading straight to the mountains for the third stage and fourth stage, finishing above 2000metres altitude, in the ski resorts of Vallter 2000 and then La Molina.

The fifth stage is a day of respite for the climbers with another flat potential sprint day, before two tough hilly stages to conclude the race and sort out the final general classification.

The team has tasted success in the race before with an overall victory and stage wins over the years. Back in 2012 Michael Albasini claimed the overall race victory, in 2017 Daryl Impey won a stage and last year Simon Yates took victory on the final stage, a hilly circuit in Barcelona before finishing in fourth place overall.

Adam Yates:
"We are sending a super strong team to Catalunya and there’s not TT which is convenient. We didn’t come away with the overall win in Tirreno recently, but we took a stage win and held the leader’s jersey for almost the whole race, so it bodes well for the team and the team’s confidence in me before Catalunya.

“It looks like a super hard race and we have some good climbers coming to the race. The stage to Vallter 2000, this climb isn’t too far from Andorra, so a lot of guys know this climb and know how hard it is, I have done it in the past in 2014 I think, the first year I did Catalunya so it is a super hard climb and a stage that can be crucial.

“Simon has shown he is going well in Paris-Nice, obviously winning the TT there, and we have a good strong team so we will have strength in numbers and hopefully we can do something.”

Daryl Impey:
“I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things after a busy start to the year. It has been nice to have a break but I feel ready to race. We have a very strong squad.

“I will definitely try go for one or two stages if the opportunity is there but I am mindful of the fact that we will of course be looking for a good overall. I have enjoyed success here in the past and racing on home roads gives me some extra motivation.”

Julian Dean- Sport director:
“We have a mix of riders preparing for the Giro but Volta Catalunya is a WorldTour race and a WorldTour win is significant for any team so we will definitely be looking for opportunities when they present themselves.  

“We will approach the race with an open plan and open mind. Given that we are in the middle of a heavy race period and changeable weather things can be drastically different from one race to the next. By stage three to Vallter 2000 we will have better idea of how the race is going to pan out.

“Darly has won stages here before and he is always capable of victory in a variety of situations.  We will support Darly when these opportunities present themselves. Then again racing Milan-San Remo on the Saturday before and adds an element of uncertainty for the first couple days at la Volta.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Race Details:

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this news:

GP Denain, MAR 24

Albert Timmer - Team Sunweb coach:
"We head to GP Denain with a strong team, including the winner of the Istrian Spring Trophy's GC, Felix. We hope to show ourselves in the breakaway, however, we also want to keep Niklas safe for a bunch sprint should that be the outcome. We will also look to have other guys there with him who can be active in the finale as well, depending on the race situation."

Line-up:
Felix Gall (AUT)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Ben Katerberg (CAN)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Jarno Mobach (NED)
Nils Sinschek (NED)

Trofeo Alfredo Binda, MAR 24

Hans Timmermans - Team Sunweb coach:
"Trofeo Binda is the exact same course that the riders have faced the past two years but thankfully the weather looks to be calmer compared to last year's edition. Of course have a big favourite, and former winner, in Coryn so we are hoping for a sprint finish. We have a strong group of riders here and I'm confident we'll be present in the finale, looking to show ourselves for a top result."

Coryn Rivera

The very capable Coryn Rivera will race the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

Line-up:
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Coryn Rivera (USA)

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, MAR 25 - 31

Aike Visbeek - Team Sunweb coach:
" Catalunya offers a challenging course with the two mountain-top finishes of Valter 2000 and Molina shaping the GC. After a tough Paris-Nice we've had to make some adjustments to our line up but we still bring a strong squad in support of Wilco; with Jan, Louis and Rob helping in the mountains. Wilco himself was a little sick heading into Paris-Nice but hopefully he can build on the form he had on the final day there. We'll also look for some opportunities in the sprints with Michael depending on his condition post injury, so we will need to be both attentive and offensive at the head of the race."

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews will be racing in Catalonia. Sirotti photo.

Line-up:
Jan Bakelants (BEL)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Wilco Kelderman (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Robert Power (AUS)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)

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