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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, January 19, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour of Flanders, the Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Tour of Flanders: The Inside Story - The rocky roads of the Ronde van Vlaanderen is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour Down Under stage 1 reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Phil Bauhaus' Team Bahrain Victorious:

Phil Bauhaus won stage 1 of the Tour Down Under in a bunch sprint, beating Caleb Ewan(UniSA-Australia) and Michael Matthews (Team Jayco AlUla) into Tanunda. Thanks to this victory, Bauhaus leads the points classification in Santos Tour Down Under and ticks off the first win of Team Bahrain Victorious in the 2023 season.

Stage winner Phil Bauhaus. Sirotti photo

In the final kilometres, Phil was well placed in the peloton just behind the train of Soudal-Quick Step and Team Jayco AlUla, while Nikias Arndt was at the front leading out for him. Around three hundred metres from the finish line, the German launched his sprint, edging the Australian duos and showing he was the fastest sprinter in the field, clinching his first victory in TDU.

“Today was super nervous, a lot of guys, unfortunately, went down. I crashed pretty bad like it was big impact, but I could recover. The team did a really good job. We were always in the front in the last lap. At Schwalbe Classic, I waited too long, so I just went with 300 meters to go. It was really close to Caleb Ewan, but yeah, I am super happy.”

Comments from Neil Stephens, our Sports Director: “Obviously the team is very happy with the win from Phil Bauhaus today. It’s a win not only from Phil but for the whole Bahrain Victorious team. We worked really hard throughout the European winter months to get ready for this race. Today’s win is really thanks to a lot of hard work from Phil, his teammates and all the staff members. We keep on working hard and hoping to win more races in the future.”

Phil even took a tumble earlier in the day when the riders in front of him lost their balance. With many riders crashing into him, his back hurt, and he had to change his bike due to the bad crash, then made some effort to come back. This is a win for teamwork and perseverance. For tomorrow he will go for another win if it finishes with a bunch sprint. If not, Nikias Arndt can be our perfect candidate for a reduced bunch sprint.

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Here's the report from second-place Caleb Ewan's Team Lotto Dstny:

Caleb Ewan was right up there in the first stage of the Tour Down Under. The 28-year-old sprinter finished second in Tanunda after a thrilling bunch sprint. On the slightly uphill finish, Ewan came in strong with a powerful sprint and made his way to the front, but the Australian fell just short of the stage win. It was Bauhaus who narrowly held off the up and coming Ewan. “To be honest, I was a bit surprised to be that close to the win, as I thought that I was way too far to be in contention. It’s of course disappointing with the legs I had but I am pretty happy about my form and sprint.”

Caleb Ewan (on left) throws his bike for second place. Sirotti photo

In and around Tanunda, the peloton was presented with a hilly local course with Menglers Hill as the main difficulty. The final time up, at ten kilometres from the finish caused a high pace and nervousness, but in the end it came to a bunch sprint in Tanunda. Caleb Ewan was kept well in front by the likes of Jarrad Drizners, who unfortunately had to deal with mechanical issues in the very finale. After a lightning-fast descent of Menglers Hill, the sprinters battled for the win in Tanunda. In the last straight, Caleb Ewan searched his way to the front and launched an impressive acceleration on the rising  finish, but was just half a wheel short of his tenth win Down Under.

“I lost a couple of teammates in a crash, but Jarrad Drizners did a good job in the final, until his chain came off in the last descent. So I was alone in the end, but managed to keep a pretty good position in a sketchy final kilometres. I was in a good position until about one kilometre to go but the lead-outs in front ran out of guys and I got swamped a bit. I was way too far back and to be honest, I thought the stage was gone. That I was able to come this close to victory in the end, really surprised me. There’s a few more chances coming up this week so we’ll definitely give it another shot”, concludes Caleb Ewan.

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Here’s the report from crash victim Robert Gesink’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma left the first stage of the Tour Down Under in a bad way. During the hectic stage, the black-and-yellow formation lost Robert Gesink in a crash in which the Dutchman hit his head on the tarmac.

Gesink goes down hard. Jumbo-Visma photo

Things went wrong for the Dutch squad about 25 kilometres from the finish line. Along with Gesink, Timo Roosen, and Tim van Dijke were also engaged in the crash in the front. The latter two were unharmed and able to continue on their way. Gesink was forced to abandon after being left on the tarmac.

Sports director Addy Engels did not have to think too hard to convey his feelings about the opening stage. "We can only conclude that this is a bad day for the team. The loss of Robert is a significant setback. The crash appeared to be pretty bad. It quickly became obvious that he could not continue on his way. He is doing well, fortunately, given the circumstances, but we must monitor him closely. Before we create a thorough strategy for tomorrow's stage, we must first recover from this tough day."

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Cees Bol joins Team Astana Qazaqstan

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Astana Qazaqstan Team completes its transfer campaign, signing a one-year deal with the Dutch sprinter Cees Bol for the season of 2023.

Cees Bol wins stage 2 of the 2021 Paris-Nice. Sirotti photo

“I feel really good coming to Astana Qazaqstan Team. Obviously, we are already at the beginning of the new year and for me it is a great surprise that finally it ends in such a good way. I am so happy that I am here in this great team, and I can focus on building up to the new goals together with Astana. My main goal for this season is to get back to winning, taking some sprint opportunities and fighting for a win in any kind of races. But of course, with Mark Cavendish now in the team, another big goal for me will be to help him to fight for the success. I’d like to do some Classics to see how far I can reach together with the team. So, I am really looking forward to 2023”, – said Cees Bol.

Cees Bol (27) is a fast sprinter, who scored several solid results during his four seasons in the UCI WorldTour. He won one-day race Danilith Nokere Koerse and a stage at Amgen Tour of California and Tour of Norway in 2019, a stage at Volta ao Algarve in 2020, a stage at Paris-Nice in 2021 and a stage at the Tour of Britain in 2022.

“Cees Bol is a powerful sprinter and first of all we would like to see him next to Mark Cavendish helping him in the bunch sprint. However, we know that Cees is a strong rider, and he can deliver some good results by himself. So, it is another strengthening of our sprinter’s group, which takes a visible shape. So, with this signing we are completing our transfer campaign and now all our thoughts are about the new season. We are at the start of our second training camp, two our rosters are in Australia and Argentina already, so everything is ready for a good start of 2023”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

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