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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes. - John Dewey


TDF volume 1

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1: 1903 - 1975 is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

Current racing:

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Le Samyn team reports

We posted the report from winner Milan Menten’s Team Lotto Dstny with the results.

Here’s the report from fourth-place Alberto Dainese’s Team DSM:

With Opening Weekend behind the bunch, the team were back in action today for more cobbled racing at the infamous Le Samyn. Faced with stiflingly cold temperatures and a consistent wind, it was set to be a tough day out in the saddle. It was a steady start though with a break of seven managing to escape early on, with all the team in the peloton; focusing on working well together and saving energy for the local laps in the closing 100 kilometres.

Entering those laps the team moved forward well and it soon became a race of attrition with the original breakaway caught at still over 50 kilometres to go. A flurry of attacks occurred with Sean Flynn and Pavel Bittner covering the moves, before a strong six-rider group went clear. Having missed the move, Flynn contributed to some early pace setting before he was joined by Casper van Uden and alongside some other teams they were eventually able to make the catch going into the last five kilometres. Fast finisher Alberto Dainese was brought up by the guys for the last cobbled section and Dainese made it into a group of six that went clear, however, the rest of the reduced group made contact under the flamme rouge.

Bittner did his best to then up the pace and lead out Dainese, who gave his all on the uphill drag to the line to take a solid fourth place after a good day out fro the team.

Milan Menton was first across the line. Sirotti photo

Dainese said: “It was a pretty cold day and really stressful going into the laps. I felt much better than Kuurne personally and I think also as a team we rode really well, especially in the last laps we were covering moves and had guys to close down the attack. In the last cobble sector a group of six went clear that I made it into. What was left of the bunch then bridged in the last few hundred metres. I think Asgreen crashed in my wheel and I had a bit of hesitation and waited a bit too long for the sprint and got swamped. In general though I think we did a great job as a team and we should take the positives out of the day.”

Team DSM coach Phil West added: “We really missed the teamwork a bit in Kuurne so the focus was to be really solid as a unit, and important that we came into the final 100 kilometres where we approached the local laps with numbers. I’m pleased to say we did that in a really good way. In the local lap we came into there with four guys. From then it was about riding the race, doing the basics well, having good communication and going into the sectors together. As it unfolded in the final we were then able to get into the race, where Sean and Casper did a great job to close down the break in the late stages, where we could follow and try for a sprint in the group. They key takeaway for us is that we know we can be in races like this again if we keep up the good teamwork and can fight for those good results.”

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Team Soudal Quick-Step to race Paris-Nice

Here’s the team’s news:

“The Race to the Sun” celebrates 90 years this spring, and it will mark this anniversary by reviving the team time trial, which returns on the route for the first time in three decades. Running around Dampierre-en-Burly over 32.2 kilometers, the stage against the clock will take at the finish the time of the first rider across the line, an innovation which could bring some significant changes to the general classification.

Tim Merlier (shown at this year's Tour of Oman) will ride Paris-Nice.

Apart from this, a mix of flat stages and hilly ones, suited to the sprinters and baroudeurs, will make up the first couple of days, before a demanding weekend, which is set to include a visit to the top of Col de la Couillole (15.7km, 7.1%) – the highest finish in the history of the race, back after six years – and the iconic Col d’Èze (6km, 7.6%), the last climb standing between the riders and the finale on the Promenade des Anglais.

Having won a total of ten races since the beginning of the year, Soudal Quick-Step will look to add to this tally between 5-12 March. Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Yves Lampaert, UAE Tour double stage winner Tim Merlier, Mauro Schmid and French Champion Florian Sénéchal will line up at the start of the 81st edition of the race where our team has won a total of 17 stages and six distinctive jerseys.

“We have a strong and versatile team, consisting of riders who can be there on many of the race’s stages. It goes without saying that Tim Merlier will be our man for the bunch sprints, we’ve seen in UAE his condition, and we are confident he can be in the mix also here. Having Kasper, Rémi, Yves and Mauro on the squad makes us confident we can battle for victory in the TTT, while for the general classification we’ll see how far Mauro can go on the two hard stages in the weekend”, explained Soudal Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.


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Team DSM’s upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Strade Bianche Women: MAR 04

Kelvin Dekker - Team DSM coach:
"Strade is fast becoming a proper classic and it’s a race where all the best riders of the world get together, with a mix of climbers and classic riders normally fighting it out for the win. That’s the same for us as we’ll aim to go for a result with Pfeiffer and Juliette as our finishers. We’ll look at the course and route to find parts of the race where we can create a good opportunity to bring the team into a better position with some good racing. We’re all looking forward to this exciting race."

Line-up:
Francesca Barale (ITA)
Eleonora Ciabocco (ITA)
Léa Curinier (FRA)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Beckie Storrie (GBR)

Strade Bianche: MAR 04

Pim Ligthart - Team DSM coach
"Like every year we are starting our Italian spring campaign on the gravel roads at Strade Bianche. With Harm, we have a guy who has shown a solid start into the season at the UAE Tour, he will be one of our two protected finishers. The other will be Oscar, who also had a good start to the new year. It will be a new adventure for him, but with a strong team around them, we are convinced they will be able to show their potential."

Line-up:
Marco Brenner (GER)
Sean Flynn (GBR)
Lorenzo Milesi (ITA)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Harm Vanhoucke (BEL)

Martijn Tusveld (shown at the 2022 Giro d'Italia) will be at the Strade Bianche. Sirotti photo

Craft Ster van Zwolle: MAR 04

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach:
"The Ster van Zwolle is a typical Dutch classic, with beautiful open roads along the course, where the wind can provide a nice echelon race. In this scenario, the race will be tough and usually a small group will come to the finish line to fight for victory. Without wind, it is usually a bunch sprint. In both scenarios, we want to race as a strong block so that we enter the final with good numbers. This will be a great challenge for this young selection to immediately show good teamwork. We are looking forward to continuing our season with our Development program."

Line-up:
Mauro Brenner (GER)
Dylan Hicks (GBR)
Axel Källberg (FIN)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Frank Ragilo (EST)
Adam Seeman (CZE)
Lorenzo Ursella (ITA)

Grand Prix Criquielion: MAR 04

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach:
"The GP Criquelion is a typical Belgian race, with lots of small roads, some short hills, a lot of corners, and open fields, which gives the weather a lot of chances to influence the race. We have to be prepared for different scenarios. With Sam, we have a guy who recently has shown to be one of the fastest guys in the bunch when it comes to a clear bunch sprint. With the team around him, we should be able to set up a good sprint in that scenario. When the race is more influenced by the weather we want to be there with numbers in the final so we have multiple cards to play. We have a lot of guys with fast legs that can bring home a good result when an elite group makes it to the finish."

Line-up:
Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Max van der Meulen (NED)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Sam Welsford (AUS)

Grot Prijs Jean-Pierre Monseré: MAR 05

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach

"GP Monseré is on paper a little easier than Criquelion the previous day, so there is a bigger chance of a clear and full bunch sprint. However, the past years have showed that a decimated bunch is quickly created in the open parts of the parcours. As a result, we have to make sure to race on the front foot here, never run behind the facts, and be present in the finale again with our fast guys."

Line-up:
Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Patrick Eddy (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Sam Welsford (AUS)

Paris-Nice: MAR 05 - 12

Phil West - Team DSM coach:
"For the "Race to the Sun", our goal will be to target the general classification with Romain as our finisher. We think that the parcours should suit him quite well and we have a good line-up there to also support him in a good way, but also contest the group sprint stages. The queen stage will finish very close to Romain's home, so he will bring some extra motivation to the race. Next to looking for the GC, we will also hunt for stage results. Alongside the two uphill finishes, where Chris and Kevin will look after Romain, we will also look for our chances with Nils, John and Pavel."

Line-up:
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Matt Dinham (AUS)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)

Tirreno-Adriatico: MAR 06 - 12

Pim Ligthart - Team DSM coach:
"Our Italian campaign continues with the race between the seas, which always provides some hard and exciting racing. After having a solid start to the season at UAE Tour, we will look for our chances in the GC with Harm and Andreas as our finishers. We want to build on that and keep making steps towards our big goals later this season, while also of course looking for our opportunities here too. In the sprint stages, we will aim for some nice stage results with Marius as our finisher."

Line-up:
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Jonas Hvideberg (NOR)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Florian Stork (GER)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Harm Vanhoucke (BEL)


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Professional cyclist Antonio Tiberi fined and suspended from his team for shooting cat in San Marino

Here’s the report from the BBC:

Professional cyclist Antonio Tiberi has been fined and suspended from his team for shooting dead a minister's cat in San Marino. The 21-year-old rider reportedly said he was trying out an air rifle and pointed it at the cat's head and fired.

The ill-fated feline belonged to his neighbour, San Marino's tourism and posts minister Federico Pedini Amati.

A court fined Mr Tiberi €4,000 ($4,250; £3,500) and his team Trek-Segafredo suspended him for 20 days.

"The cat didn't bother anyone," Mr Pedini Amati told the Corriere della Sera newspaper. "It had been with us for a long time. My three-year-old daughter Lucia loved it. You cannot kill a pet and get away with a 4,000-euro fine," he added.

Trek-Segafredo said it strongly condemned the "reprehensible act" and would donate Mr Tiberi's suspended pay to an animal protection organisation.

Antonio Tiberi was Junior World Tme Trial Champion in 2019. Sirotti photo

Here's the statement from Tiberi's Team Trek-Segafredo:

"Regarding Antonio Tiberi’s recent sentencing in San Marino, Trek-Segafredo fully agrees with the fine and strongly condemns the reprehensible act, which is a clear violation of the team’s code of conduct. The team was previously unaware of the transgression and has immediately suspended Antonio for a minimum of 20 days without pay. He will not race at Trofeo Laigueglia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Torino. If necessary, the team will take further action in the future.

"In addition to the fine already issued by the courts, the Team will donate Antonio’s suspended pay to an appropriate animal care, protection and rescue organization.

"Trek-Segafredo would like to reiterate its great disappointment in Antonio’s conduct. The team strives to help riders improve not just as athletes, but as men and women. The team will work closely with Antonio to ensure he educates himself and expects him to take necessary steps to express his remorse and become a better person."

 

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