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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, September 17, 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

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Arthur Schopenhauer

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


Team Movistar's final 2019 Vuelta report

Here's the team's post:

Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic (TJV) confirmed his maiden victory in a three-week stage race by covering with no incidents the 106km final stage of the 2019 Vuelta a España on Sunday, starting from Fuenlabrada and finishing with the traditional laps of the Madrid city centre circuit. Fabio Jakobsen (DQT) notched up the victory at the inevitable bunch sprint, after which Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) crossed the line unscathed to seal his 2nd spot in the general classification.

Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde during the Vuelta's closing awards ceremony. Sirotti photo

Valverde’s podium, a World Champion in the final picture of La Vuelta more than four decades after Freddy Maertens’ 1977 victory, marks the Spaniard’s ninth appearance in the top-3 of a Grand Tour and his seventh in Spain, a record of longevity with 16 years between his first and (so far) last podium. The marvel from Murcia, who has amassed an impressive 19 top-ten finishes in three-week stage races, made his rainbow jersey shine even brighter with a stage win (Mas de la Costa, st. 7), to add to the one obtained exactly three weeks ago today by Nairo Quintana (Calpe, st. 2), eventually 4th in the GC.

The Movistar Team, which wrapped up on Sunday its 40th consecutive appearance in their home Grand Tour, stepped onto the Cibeles podium twice as they conquered the teams’ classification -Giro, Tour and Vuelta won by Eusebio Unzué’s squad in 2019; five consecutive victories since the 2018 TDF-, the 11th win for the Abarca Sports organisation as an all-time record, tied until today with the legendary KAS outfit. A well-deserved recognition to the efforts by Marc Soler (9th, his first-ever GT top-ten), Arcas, Erviti, Oliveira, Pedrero and Rojas, who reached the last finish line in Madrid together.

OVERVIEW from Eusebio Unzué:
“It’s been long since we ran out of adjectives to value what Alejandro has done when we start such an overview. He continues to surprise us despite his age: it’s not that he remains at the same level as in previous years, rather than actually improving his form and results from last year at both Grand Tours he’s taken part in. Taking 2nd place again in a three-week stagerace, notching up a brilliant stage victory against all GC contenders, riding so consistently throughout the three weeks – It’s so comforting to see him doing so well for another year, and so great to be able to enjoy everything he does alongside him.”

“Nairo has proven again his professionalism during this Vuelta. He’s always given his best, and he’s even had a shot at the overall podium for the entire race, one he only came just short for yesterday. It’s been a Vuelta on par with his most recent Grand Tour performances. You can’t deny his commitment to do things right, and even at the Guadalajara stage he made us dreamt of being able to reach again the race lead, on a terrain completely opposite to his natural skills, on a flat course and against strong winds. His efforts and his ability to stay always where it’s required at the right moments of the race have always been really appreciated.“

“Imanol, Nelson, Rojas and Arcas have also made a priceless contribution, so important for the results obtained, authors of that satisfactory work, maybe hidden from the spotlight, yet remarkable to take care of their leaders. Same can be said about Pedrero, who was racing his second Grand Tour this year and proved again his enormous skills to drive the pace for the team in the mountains. Regarding Marc, and other than that moment in Andorra which – I hold no doubts about it – will help him mature and build a stronger foundation for his career, we’ve seen a rider well prepared for – in the close future – GC contention against the very best in one of the Grand Tours. I’m so satisfied with everything he’s brought to the table so Nairo and Alejandro could reach as far as possible.”

“I’m also enormously satisfied with that victory in the teams’ classification, which I feel like we deserved. There has been really strong squads to contest it against, most notably Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team and Astana, who were really powerful in this Vuelta. Our consistency over the most demanding stages of the race has allowed us leading a team GC which also makes us become the team with most wins ever, those 19 triumphs in Vuelta, Giro and Tour which put us on par with another squad with a great sense of team effort, KAS, which also won all three Grand Tours in the same year. Having a chance to step onto the Madrid podium together is a great reward for us and, more importantly, for the riders, after their commitment during the past three weeks.”

“I want to congratulate Roglic on his victory. He’s the present, and also the future, of this sport in the big stage races of the calendar. At one-week races we already witnessed details of world-class quality from him, and here at La Vuelta he’s proven to be more than ready to handle the effort of three weeks, supported by a great team. He’s been the strongest and most consistent in this Vuelta. Then there’s Pogacar. What he’s done is impressive. We knew about his quality, but we can’t remember someone so young, barely 20 years old, offering such exhibitions and keeping such a regular level over three weeks in his first-ever Grand Tour. He thoroughly deserves to be on the podium.”

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Okolo Slovenska / Tour de Slovaquie: SEP 18 - 21

Sebastian Deckert - Team Sunweb coach:
"It's the final stage race of the year for our Development program and we arrive with a motivated team, ready to take on the strong opposition in Slovakia. There are quite a few very long stages and along with a short time trial, they will have a big influence on the outcome of the GC. The team will look to protect Leon, who is in good shape, and we have an eye on a good GC result with him. In the sprints we will set up and protect Niklas for the days that end in fast finales."

Line-up:
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Edo Maas (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Nils Sinschek (NED)
Ludvig Anton Wacker (DEN)

Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen: SEP 20

Michiel Elijzen - Team Sunweb coach:
"Taking place on a flat parcours around Koolskamp, Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen traditionally ends in a sprint unless strong winds cause splits in the bunch. We arrive with a motivated team and will look to be active throughout the day in covering any dangerous moves. Coming towards the finale, we will look to set up Max [Walscheid] for the sprint finish, who has came out of the Vuelta with some good performances there."

Line-up:
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Max Kanter (GER)
Marten Kooistra (NED)
Florian Stork (GER)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)
Max Walscheid (GER)

Max Walscheid

Max Walscheid (shown having a good day at the 2018 Münsterland Giro) will ride the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen.

Primus Classic: SEP 21

Michiel Elijzen - Team Sunweb coach:
"Primus Classic takes place on a tricky course, with several small climbs throughout the day. It's a race that has been won by both attackers and sprinters in recent years, so we will look to pay attention to any strong groups that try to get clear and make sure we are present. If the race is decided in a sprint, then we have a strong lead out here that will work to set up and protect Cees for the finish."

Line-up:
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Cees Bol (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Max Kanter (GER)
Marten Kooistra (NED)
Florian Stork (GER)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)

UAE Team Emirates bound for Tour de Slovaquie

The team sent me this:

UAE Team Emirates will aim to continue their solid end-of-season run from 18 to 21 September in the Tour de Slovaquie (2.1) with five stages over four days (the first day a split stage). [Ed: We do not cover this race, but will post team updates as they are sent to us]
Under the direction of sports director, Simone Pedrazzini (Sui), the emirati team will bring six riders:
– Matt Beers (RSA)
– Tom Bohli (Sui)
– Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)
– Rory Sutherland (Aus)

Riabushenko

Aleksandr Riabushenko winning the 2019 Coppa Agostoni.

The race will feature three less demanding, flatter stages with the general classification likely to be decided on stage 2 which has no fewer than five categorised climbs.

The second split-stage of the opening day, will be an individual time trial of 6.8 km.

Sports director Simone Pedrazzini has set the team’s ambitions for the Slovak trip: “With five World Tour teams at the start and some of the best Pro-conti teams, the competition will be of a good standard. Relying on a strong group of riders, we will try to support Kristoff in the stages that suit him, knowing also that Alexander will have to use his experience to fight for the win.

"Riabushenko is in good form at the moment, so he deserves to have the opportunity to go for the general classification. The time trial of the opening day, short and technical, represents a good opportunity for Bohli also “.

Trump delays Chinese tariff increase

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted that a planned increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, including many bike products, will be delayed 15 days.

The administration had announced earlier this month at items on the tariff lists 1, 2, and 3 would see their Section 301 tariff increased from the current 25% to 30% on Oct. 1. On Wednesday he said the increase will be put off until Oct. 15 "as a gesture of good will."

Earlier Wednesday, China announced it would exempt some U.S. goods from its retaliatory tariffs, which Trump told reporters was a "big move." The exemptions include anti-cancer drugs and lubricants, animal feed, whey, and fish meal.

You can read the entire story here.

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