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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, October 15, 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

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag. - W. H. Auden

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Eddy Merckx in hospital with head injury after crash

Here is the story Eurosport posted:

Eddy Merckx remains in hospital after suffering head injuries in a bike crash on Sunday.

The 74-year-old was out riding with friends when he fell and suffered what the local press are describing as a "serious head injury" before being rushed to hospital.

Merckx was admitted in the Flemish town of Dendermonde and was kept in overnight with doctors keen to avoid taking risks because of the pacemaker he had fitted six years ago.

"I was in contact with his wife Claudine last night," Belgian broadcaster Sporza was told.

"According to her, it is, all in all, ok. Today, new tests are planned."

Eddy MErckx

Merckx is one of the most decorated cyclists of all time, having won five Tour de France and five Giro d'Italia titles, as well as a solitary Vuelta a Espana to complete a career Triple Crown of Cycling, something only seven men in history have managed.

You can read the whole story here.

Tour of Guangxi team previews

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

For the final race of the 2019 cycling season, Lotto Soudal will be heading to China, where the six-day Tour of Guangxi starts on Thursday 17 October. Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens won the inaugural edition of this WorldTour stage race back in 2017. Sports director Mario Aerts discusses the Lotto Soudal line-up and the course which, on paper, looks harder than the two previous editions.

Mario Aerts: “There are some differences between racing in China and Europa. For example, there are few, if any, roundabouts, traffic islands or other obstacles. In general, the roads are wide and there is new asphalt, especially for the race.”

“On paper, the course looks indeed a little harder, compared to the two previous editions. But the general classification will once again most likely be decided during stage four, with the summit finish in Nongla. The final climb is three kilometres long. First, there’s 1.8 kilometres of climbing to the KOM prize, from where the road rises more gently. The final 200 metres till the finish are again steeper. The other stages are not very selective, except from the renewed stage three.”

“Because we don’t have a sprinter within our selection, the slightly harder parcours could play into our hands. In the past, Frederik Frison has already sprinted and he can maybe try to be up there. Avoiding a bunch sprint in China is really hard, but we can always try, of course.”

Tomasz Marczynski

Tomas Marczyński (shown winning stage 6 of the 2017 Vuelta) will be racing in China.

“With both Marczyński - who performed well during the Italian races - and Carl Fredrik Hagen, we have two riders who can target stage four and the general classification. A harder climb would maybe have been better for Carl, but he can definitely still show something with his Vuelta shape. It is also good for him that he raced in Lombardy, because his last race was the World Championship. So, the overall will be our main goal, a top ten result should definitely be the aim. Like always, we will start with ambition and we have to seize every opportunity that arises.”

“I also wouldn’t underestimate Victor Campenaerts - with the shape he is in - on the uphill finish. Of course, Victor is not a climber, but he can definitely aim for a nice GC result. Victor is really motivated to show himself during his last race for Lotto Soudal.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal Tour of Guangxi: Victor Campenaerts, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Adam Hansen, Rasmus Byriel Iversen, Frederik Frison, Tomasz Marczyński and Brian Van Goethem.

Sports director: Mario Aerts.

Tour of Guangxi:

CCC Team sent me this:

14 October 2019: CCC Team is heading to China for its final race of the 2019 season, Gree-Tour of Guangxi, with a fast roster which is focused on stage wins.

Sports Director, Jackson Stewart explained that the team will be looking to get a good result on the flat stages. “We are going to China to finish off our season on a high note. There are several stages which will most likely end with a field sprint and we will look to be competitive on those days with our fast team. Josef Černý, Kamil Gradek, Gijs Van Hoecke, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Francisco Ventoso will try to race aggressively and should be able to help our sprinters, Jonas Koch and Jakub Mareczko, who has had great success in the races held in China.”

Jakub Mareczko

Jakob Mareczko winning the first stage of the 2018 Tour of Hainan.

“It’s not only the last UCI WorldTour race of the season but, also the last race in general for the team in 2019 so, we hope to finish the season off strong,” Stewart said.

Jakub Mareczko is looking forward to return to China, where he has won over 30 races. “It’s the last opportunity for me to showcase myself in the sprint this year and I hope to take full advantage of it. There are a few flat stages on the menu and despite the long season I’m still very motivated to perform well there.”

“I’m very excited to come back to China where I always have a very nice experience and where in the past I was able to get nice results. I believe that I’m in a good shape and I feel that I’m ready to finish the season off in a good fashion. We’re going to China with a strong and fast roster which is ready to race aggressively and attentively in the finale, where positioning is the key.”

Gree-Tour of Guangxi (17-22 October)

Rider roster: Josef Černý (CZE), Kamil Gradek (POL), Jonas Koch (GER), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP)

Sports Director: Jackson Stewart (USA) 

And here is the Tour of Guangxi update from UAE-Team Emirates:

The 2019 season will come to a close for UAE Team Emirates in China with the 3rd edition of the Tour of Guangxi, with the World Tour stage race being held from October 17 to 22.

To guide the riders through the six stages will be Bruno Vicino (Ita) and Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) who will count on:
– Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
– Fernando Gaviria (Col)
– Sebastian Molano (Col)
– Ivo Oliveira (Por)
– Simone Petilli (Ita)
– Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)

FErando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria (show racing in the 2018 Tour de France) will be racing the Guangxi Tour. Sirotti photo

Aleksandr Riabushenko on his prospects: “China will mark the end of what has been a long season. In the second half of the year I managed to find good form and I’ll be relying on holding that form to be competitive during the harder stages in China. The team is also well equipped for the stages which finish in a sprint “.

Lucas Hamilton gets new contract with Mitchelton-Scott

The team sent me this release:

23-year-old Lucas Hamilton has reinforced his commitment to Mitchelton-SCOTT, scrapping his existing contract for a new and extended version in a show of faith from both parties.

In a breakout season, Hamilton impressed in his debut Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, with his support of leader Simon Yates and consistency across the full three weeks even surprising himself. When given the opportunity to lead, the Australian took it with both hands, winning a stage at Czech Tour and the overall title at Coppi e Bartali.

Lucas Hamilton

Lucas Hamilton enjoys his Coppi-Bartali victory

The new and improved agreement, which cements Hamilton as a key rider and leader for the team in the future, will see him stay until the end of 2021.

Lucas Hamilton:
“I love it here. I appreciate the team taking me on for the extra year, it shows that they have confidence in me and I get a kick out of that.

“This year was probably the biggest leap I have made, in terms of racing, in my career. I did all ranges of racing, I did lower ones which I was able to target myself and was able to pull off a couple of wins and then the Giro obviously, getting my first Grand Tour under the belt, trying to get that consistency for three weeks and it was a good experience.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“It’s definitely been a breakout year for Lucas and we can certainly see a big future for him and hence the reason we would like to lock him in long term with the team.

“Lucas has played an important role in a lot of races during the season, both in a support role at his first Grand Tour and in winning some smaller races. We can see he has big potential and we believe his home is here.”

Lucas Hamilton
Date of Birth: 12 February 1996 (23)
Nationality: Australian
Turned Pro: 2018
Joined Mitchelton-SCOTT: 2018

2019 Season Highlights:
- 1st Coppi e Bartali – Overall
- 1st Czech Cycling Tour – Stage 4
- 2nd Czech Cycling Tour – Overall
- 4th Giro d’Italia – Stage 7

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