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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, February 16, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

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Sebastian Langeveld recovering after breaking collarbone

Here's the report from Langeveld's EF Pro Cycling team:

Winter training miles are long and dark. In the Netherlands, in particular.

For a classics specialist like Sebastian Langeveld, 40 hours a week of training isn’t uncommon. The miles tick by, and with each passing one there’s a deposit into the bank for the season’s shining goals. Omloop, Flanders, Roubaix… those races are the reason Langeveld and so many others spend those long and cold days out on the bike with only their thoughts for company.

ebastian Langeeld

Sebastian Langeveld at the 2019 Tour of Provence. Sirotti photo

And that’s why, when something goes amiss in the early season, it can sting so bad.

Langeveld sustained a broken collarbone and some road rash when he crashed during the third stage of Étoile de Bessèges last Friday, putting a dent into his early season plans. He had surgery in the Netherlands over the weekend to repair the break. Now comes the tough part for someone like Langeveld: waiting and healing, as he keeps his eyes on the biggest races for him of the entire season.

“The operation went very well. There’s nothing special to report,” Langeveld said Monday. “I just have to see when my body feels OK to go on the trainer again. After that, the next step is the road. It could be a week, it could be two weeks. We just have to see how the recovery will go. For now, I just have to relax and give my body the time it needs.”

The team’s head of medicine, Dr. Kevin Sprouse, echoed the Dutchman. “At this point, Sebastian will feel it out day by day and start to return to training as he’s ready and progress form there. Every surgery, every injury, is individual,” Sprouse noted.

Langeveld was instrumental in last year’s Tour of Flanders win by teammate Alberto Bettiol, and he’s a very strong card in the chaos lottery of Paris-Roubaix, finishing third at Roubaix in 2017.

“I’m very positive about doing the classics. It’s not ideal, but it’s one of those circumstances you don’t have an influence on in the whole preparation. I trained all winter for Flanders and Roubaix; this is just one of those things you’ve got to handle. Now it’s a collarbone, but it could have been the flu, or something else,” Langeveld said. “With the team behind me, with EF behind me, with Jonathan Vaughters as a coach, we can tackle this to make a very good plan.”

Vuelta a Murcia final team reports

We posted the report from stage two winner Luis Leon Sanchez's Team Astana with the results.

Final GC second place Josef Černý's CCC Team sent me this:

An impressive performance from Josef Černý on stage two of Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia saw the Czech rider sprint to third place on the stage and secure second on the General Classification at the two-day race.

Luis Leon Sanchez

Luis Leon Sanchez wins stage two.

Černý was joined in the finale by Matteo Trentin, who finished in ninth place, after a strong showing of teamwork from CCC Team with Patrick Bevin and Kamil Małecki riding on the front to set Černý and Trentin up for the finale.

An initial two-rider breakaway was neutralized by attacks on the Alto Collado Bermejo, the toughest of four climbs spread across the 179-kilometer stage, when five riders gained an advantage of more than one minute inside the final 40 kilometers.

A seven-rider chase group, which featured the CCC Team quartet of Černý, Trentin, Bevin, and Małecki, as well as race leader Xandro Meurisse (WGT), forged on behind while up ahead, Alejandro Valervede (MOV) and Lennard Kämna (BOH) attacked to drop the rest of the breakaway and maintained a one-minute lead with 20 kilometers to go.

With numbers on their side and excellent teamwork from Bevin and Małecki, the chase group closed in on the duo to eventually make the catch 13 kilometers from the finish line to form a nine-rider leading group, featuring Černý and Trentin.

With both the stage win and General Classification to play for, multiple riders attacked in the finale but it was an attack from Luis Léon Sánchez (AST) under the flamme rouge that proved to be the winning move while Černý battled on just behind, sprinting to third place on the stage and moving up to second overall behind Meurisse, who defended his jersey.

Despite working hard for Černý and Trentin, Małecki and Bevin led the chase group home five and half minutes later, showing their early season form to finish in 10th and 12th place respectively.

Josef Černý:
“We were really strong as a team all day. When Valverde and Kämna attacked, we had four riders in the chase group and the guys from Astana Pro Team also helped with the chase, so we were able to bring the groups back together for the finale. We wanted to race for the General Classification with me, and go for the stage win with Matteo Trentin but there were a lot of attacks in the finale and Sánchez was really strong. I tried to follow him but I had no more power left after the tough stage, so I am happy with third place again.”

“After coming back from Australia, I continued to train well and I have been feeling good on the bike so I was expecting to be strong here in Murcia but I never expected to be second overall so, I am really happy. The team kept me in a good position all day, on the climbs and even in the downhill when there were some gaps so this was a team effort.”

Matteo Trentin:
“It was a really hard stage because Movistar Team decided to put the hammer down early on. On the main climb of the day, I think we managed it really well because Paddy, Josef, Kamił, and I were in the second group but we came back in the downhill. Then, Paddy and Kamil really smashed the next climb and Josef and I were able to come back to Valverde and Kämna. Team-wise, it was a really good day and we worked well together. We were where we needed to be and we brought back the important move.”

“Of course, the victory would have been better but I found myself without good legs in the last kilometers, which is a pity because I was feeling good until we caught them. When I tried to respond to some of the attacks, I found that I was basically empty but I was able to make a little gap for Josef so he was able to jump across and get on the wheel. He was super strong today. I think we managed to get almost the best result possible. If I knew I didn’t have the legs a bit earlier, maybe we could have played it a bit different but I think it was a nice two days of racing for Josef with second place in GC and a good performance by the team today. So, we can be happy with that and be confident for the next races.”

And here's the Murcia report Bora-hansgrohe sent me:

Also on the last stage of the Vuelta Ciclista Murcia a break went away early from the bunch. But this time the peloton never lost control of the race and when A. Valverde launched an attack on the penultimate climb of the day (HC category), all breakaway riders were caught, and a new 5-men leading group formed. For BORA – hansgrohe it was again Lennard Kämna who was part of this group, eager to take the overall victory in Spain. Kämna showed yet another superior performance today. He dropped together with Valverde the other breakaway riders on the last climb, to virtually leading the GC of the race with 35 km to go.

But when Astana, who earlier had two riders at the front, started to help CCC pulling in a 7-rider chasing group of which also Felix Großschartner was part of, it was impossible for the leading duo to stay away. With 12 km to go Kämna and Valverde were caught and with a late move L. Sanchez finally took the stage. Kämna who finished the day in fifth place, improved to third at the Vuelta Ciclista Murcia final general classification.

"Well, what can you do. I tried everything until the end to win this race, unfortunately it didn’t work out. When Valverde attacked for the first time, Felix did a great job to ride at a high pace behind him. When we closed the gap, I made a move and the 5 riders went away. We had to do something when not everybody was riding in the group and the gap started to come down. Valverde went again and I was able to follow. It looked quite promising at some point; however, it wasn’t enough. But still I am happy with my results here and especially with my performance. My next race is Algarve and with an ITT at the very end I think I can do also quite well over there." – Lennard Kämna

"This was a great ride from Lennard today. The stage was incredible fast from the beginning and it was clear that Valverde wants to try something after Movistar always controlled the race. It was impressive how Lennard was able to dominate the race together with Alejandro. They dropped their breakaway companions with about 40 or 35 km to go and until the last 20 kilometers I really thought we would win this. But after being dropped from the leaders, Astana helped CCC in the chasing group. It was impossible to stay away at the end with these big roads. Felix tried to attack once Lennard was caught, but unfortunately without success. Still we can be very happy with the performance of our guys today." – Jens Zemke, Sports Director 

Tour de La Provence stage three team reports

We posted the report from second-place Alexey Lutsenko's Team Astana with the results.

Here's the report from fifth-place Eddie Dunbar's Team INEOS:

Eddie Dunbar impressed with a spirited performance on the queen stage of Tour de La Provence, securing a top five on the famous mountain.

The Irishman found himself part of a select group of contenders, animating the race with accelerations on the tree-lined ascent to Chalet Reynard.

With four riders up ahead, including a dominant solo victory from Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic), Dunbar sprinted to fifth place, 2:11 back on the Colombian.

Nairo Quintana

Nairo Quintana wins stage three. Sirotti photo

That result elevated him into sixth place overall, 2:21 back, with a lumpy run into Aix-en-Provence still remaining on Sunday.

Pavel Sivakov had been up front alongside his teammate but eventually slipped back on the steep slopes, finishing 30th and offering an honest assessment after the race.

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