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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 23, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. - Amelia Earhart

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Lotto-Soudal previews the World Championships

The team sent me this:

The cycling World Championships 2019 take place in Yorkshire, Great Britain, and will kick off with the brand-new Team Time Trial Mixed Relay on Sunday 22 September. Several Lotto Soudal riders will be in action during the World Championships. Don’t miss a second of the battle for the different rainbow jerseys with this handy overview.

The time trial medals will be awarded from Sunday until Wednesday. Frederik Frison and Julie Van de Velde are part of the Belgian selection for the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay. Tuesday 24 September, the U23 riders battle for the world title against the clock. Brent Van Moer - who took home the silver medal last year - and Ilan Van Wilder are presented with a challenging 30 kilometres long course between Ripon and Harrogate. Later that day, Lotto Soudal Lady Julie Van de Velde will be at the start of the women’s time trial. On Wednesday, World Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts - winner of the bronze medal at the TT Worlds in Innsbruck last year - will have another shot at the world title. The men elite are facing 54 hilly kilometres between Northallerton and Harrogate.

Victor Campenaerts

Victor Campenaerts (shown breaking the World Hour Record) will be will take a shot at the World Championship this week.

On Friday, Stan Dewulf, Brent Van Moer and Ilan Van Wilder are part of a strong Belgian U23 team for the road race world championship. Between Doncaster and the finish in Harrogate, where three local laps are scheduled, 187 kilometres of racing will decide who’ll succeed the Swiss Hirschi as the new U23 world champion. On Saturday, the women elite battle for the rainbow jersey, where Julie Van de Velde and Kelly Van den Steen represent Lotto Soudal in the Belgian line-up. On the menu are 149 kilometres between Bradford and Harrogate with , just like the U23 riders, three local laps at the end. On Sunday 29 September, it is time for the climax of the World Championships cycling 2019. The men elite are riding no less than 285 kilometres. After the start in Leeds, the riders make their way to the Yorkshire Dales, where several challenging ascents are scheduled before heading towards Harrogate, where seven tough and technical local laps remain. Lotto Soudal riders Tim Wellens and Carl Fredrik Hagen are part of the Belgian and Norwegian national team, respectively. 

Schedule Lotto Soudal riders:

Pascal Ackermann takes wins Gooikse Pijl

Ackermann’s Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

On the 16th edition of this one-day race, riders would have to contend with 22km of Belgian terrain ridden nine times over Gooikse Pijl's 198.1km total distance. While the roads were relatively flat, the circuit brought with it some challenges – most notably street furniture, narrow roads and some difficult road surfaces.

Whoever was going to take the win today needed grit and determination. The day's pleasant conditions promoted attacking riding, and today, BORA-hansgrohe's Michael Schwarzmann jumped in the break with a strong group, eager to create some distance on the peloton. While the pace of this breakaway group began shedding its members from early on, Michael was one of the four riders who clung on and formed the day's first break, building a slim advantage over the chasing bunch, only for the peloton to drive the pace hard and make the catch.

With so much ambition in the peloton, it wasn't long until more groups made an attempt, but their time at the head of the race was short-lived as well. It wasn't until eight riders took their chance that something stuck for longer, building an advantage of almost two minutes, but with BORA-hansgrohe forcing the pace, this lead dropped steadily until once again the catch was made. The peloton seemed confident that it could keep things under control, and so was untroubled when four riders went off with a little more than 45km remaining. The bell being rung for the final lap, the chasing bunch was a little less than thirty seconds behind these escapees – now numbering three – who could clearly see the jerseys of the BORA-hansgrohe riders closing in on them, with Peter Sagan responding well to close down attempts from the peloton to bridge across.

The disappointment on the break's faces was clear – it was going to come down to a sprint finish. Not content with shutting down the late attacks, Peter took to the front again with Rüdiger Selig to protect Pascal Ackermann on his quest for the win. The final few hundred metres coming into view, the Slovak rider surged, taking Pascal with him. The young German had no doubt who was going to take the prize today, having been cruelly denied yesterday, he had the sprinters at bay the entire length of the finishing straight and had enough of a lead to raise his arms in the air in victory before crossing the line to take his eleventh win of the 2019 season.

PAscal Ackermann

Winner Pascal Ackermann at this year's Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"It was a very fast and nervous Gooikse Pijl, with so many attacks and breakaways, right from the start. But, once again, every rider of the BORA-hansgrohe squad did a brilliant job and we controlled the race from start to finish. We kept the breaks under check and responded to the attacks, especially in the final kilometres. This excellent work was topped off with a perfect lead-out by Rüdiger Selig and Peter Sagan. I'd like to thank everybody today for their performance, this victory is the result of our teamwork. We were so close yesterday and today we did it!" – Pascal Ackermann

"The entire team did an amazing job today. Everybody executed our plan flawlessly and we got this nice victory. Rüdi and Peter did a great lead-out for Pascal who then outsprinted everybody to take the win. I think we can be happy with our results this weekend in Belgium, and we saw that both Pascal and Peter are in very good form." – André Schulze, Sports Director

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