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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Paris-Nice stage two reports

We posted the organizer's stage one report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner and new GC leader Mads Pedersen's Team Trek-Segafredo:

Mads Pedersen sprinted to victory on Stage 2 of Paris-Nice after a superb team performance all day and a perfect lead-out towards the line from Alex Kirsch.

The finish was close. So close in fact that initially even Pedersen wasn’t totally sure he had secured the win in Fontainebleau. However, once the news came through over race radio the Danish rider was able to celebrate his second victory of 2023 with his teammates before heading onto the podium.

Close. Really, really close.

Pedersen not onto stepped onto the podium as winner of the stage but also as the new race leader. He will head into tomorrow’s team time trial with the yellow jersey on his back while also leading the Points Classification.

Reaction from Mads Pedersen:
“It’s nice to start the season well and Paris-Nice is a really nice race so, of course, it’s good to get a win here. It’s also good confirmation ahead of Sanremo that I did the right training and my sprint didn’t disappear over the off season. It’s nice to have a win and it shows some good signs ahead of the Classics and especially the sprints.

“The first two days of Paris-Nice have not been typical [of the race] because normally you have crosswinds on a day like this and it would only be 20 guys at the finish. It’s a pity there wasn’t more crosswinds and then it would have been less hectic at the finish.

“We had 10km full straight and then the roundabout at the end but the team did really well to keep us out of trouble and then Alex did a perfect lead out at the end. Under the 1km to go we had 3 or 4 riders in front of us, me and Alex, and we could pass on the side. We came into the roundabout and I think Alex was behind a guy from Jumbo with me behind. The guy from Jumbo sped up because its perfect for them also, then Alex took over and did a long pull like normal and with 200m to go I started the sprint and hope for the best.

“Kooij came f**king fast in the end so it was tight at the end, really close in fact and I wasn’t sure I held on for the win and you don’t want to celebrate anything before you know it’s right. Kooij and some other guys came to congratulate me but it’s better to wait because you look like an idiot if you start to celebrate and then you are second.

“It’s nice to have the yellow jersey. I’ve never tried that before in a race like this but, to be honest, it’s more a secondary thing after the stage win. I came for a win but of course it’s nice to have the yellow jersey. But I think means more for our sponsor Santini, who provide our clothing and sponsor the jerseys here. Of course it’s nice to wear a leader’s jersey but I know it’s on borrowed time. It’s nice to have tomorrow then I can have it in the wardrobe at home afterwards.

“It will also be good for the TTT to have it. We are here with Skjelmose to try to do GC so it will be really important tomorrow to do a good team time trial for him. It’s different because if he wasn’t here we would just cruise around and have some fun for 32km but now it’s going to be a tough one and it will be full focus for us. I am 100% ready to sacrifice myself in yellow for Skjelmose tomorrow.

“For a team like us who isn not normally in the top 3 teams at TTT, it can be a good new thing to try and maybe it can work out well for us that we do ‘suicide pulls’ in the end and then Skjelmose just has to sprint himself for the finish line. In the end I don’t know, we never tried it before so we will see tomorrow how it goes, if it works well or not. I think it’s pretty nice from the organizers to try something new.”

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Here’s the report from second-place Olav Kooij’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Olav Kooij has finished second in the second stage of Paris-Nice. After a frantic final, disrupted by a crash, the sprinter of Team Jumbo-Visma came a few centimetres short of Mads Pedersen in the sprint.

Olav Kooij (far right) came in a close second.

With one kilometre to go, things went wrong at high speed on the right side of the peloton. Several riders crashed after overlooking a traffic island. Edoardo Affini and Kooij from Team Jumbo-Visma were positioned on the left side. They managed to avoid the crash, after which Kooij joined the battle for the stage victory.

“We were well positioned with the roundabout still to come in the last kilometre”, Kooij says. “Teams were constantly on the lookout for potential echelons, which made racing quite tense all day. In the final, the pace was very high with the tailwind and the descending roads.”

The 21-year-old sprinter owed his perfect position to teammate Affini. “Edo really did a great job. He put Olav in a good position for the sprint”, sports director Marc Reef said. Kooij: “Mads Pedersen eventually moved in between us, allowing me to launch my sprint from his wheel.” Unfortunately, he was narrowly beaten by the Dane.

Kooij had previously come close to winning his first race of the season. He finished fourth in the opening stage yesterday, but in the Tour of Valencia and the UAE Tour, the youngster has already achieved four top-five finishes. “It’s frustrating that I haven’t managed to win yet. The first two stages in France perfectly demonstrate how every sprint is unique.” Reef agreed. “Olav is getting closer and always participates well. Hopefully, he can go for the win in the fifth stage.”

And here's the report from GC second-place Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates.

Tadej Pogačar once again pounced for the bonus seconds on stage 2 of Paris-Nice, moving up to 2nd overall just +2’’ back on stage winner and new race leader Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).

The largely flat 164km leg from Bazainville to Fontainebleau took the peloton through exposed roads but, with the exception of the briefest of splits with 75km to go it all came back together for a bunch sprint.

Tomorrow is a team time trial of 32km starting and finishing in Dampierre-en-Burly.

Pogacar remain in the Best Young Rider's white jersey.

Pogačar: “The team did a really good job today and we stayed out of trouble with the crashes. I’m happy I managed to gain a bit of time and I can be more relaxed going into tomorrow . The important thing will be to focus on ourselves as a team and do the quickest time we can.”


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Tirreno-Adriatico stage one reports

We posted the report from stage winner Filippo Ganna's Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Lennard Kamna's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The pancake flat course of the opening TT at Tirreno-Adriatico was well known as it was used also in previous editions of the race. Pouring rain in the beginning made the race a bit tricky while conditions got better towards the end. F. Ganna proved to be the favorite, taking the win with a time of 12:28 in the end. BORA – hansgrohe showed a strong performance overall with Vlasov and Hindley putting some distance between them and other GC favorites while Lennard Kämna rode an incredible race to take second place in the end.

Lennard Kamna finishing second. Sirotti photo

“I am happy with the race today. Happy with my ride but also how my body felt. I took a conservative approach on the way out and really pushed on the way back. This course is for sure not ideal for me, totally flat, so I’ll take this result for sure.” – Jai Hindley

“I didn’t expect such a strong ride today. I am more than happy with my TT. The pacing was actually quite easy as the wind was steady. I kept some energy for the last part and especially my last kilometer was fast. We have to see how my shape will be in the mountains but after today I can be confident for sure. In general, we have a strong GC team here and we want to do well.” – Lennard Kämna

And here's the Tirreno-Adriatico report from eighth-place Andreas Leknessund's Team DSM:

Tirreno-Adriatico got underway today with the traditional pancake flat time trial in Lido di Camaiore. Taking place on just over 11 kilometres and with only a handful of corners on the route, it would be a test of power and aerodynamics – and a battle against the elements. With very heavy rain and blustering winds, it made for a challenging start for those who went earlier in the day; with conditions only really clearing up and lessening for those at the very end of the order.

Florian Stork set a good early benchmark time for the time as one of those early starters, stopping the clock in 13 minutes and 37 seconds. Throughout the day the rest of the guys gave their best efforts, with the team’s two GC finishers Harm Vanhoucke and Andreas Leknessund the penultimate and final riders from the team to leave the start gate. Vanhoucke delivered one of the best time trials of his career to go five seconds faster than Stork, before Leknessund measured and paced his effort perfectly; getting the most out of himself to finish the route in 13 minutes and nine seconds. As the dust settled and all of the other competitors finished their rides, it would be enough to see Leknessund take a solid eighth place on the day and the team very much in contention heading into the coming stages.

Andreas Leknessund finishes his ride. Sirotti photo

“I think for me it was a good day,” explained Leknessund. “It was quite an easy TT with there only being one big u-turn in it, so I just focused on keeping the power up and the legs felt good. We should be happy with how the team did today, Harm also did a nice time, it’s a good start to the week for us and gives us motivation for the coming stages.”

Team DSM coach Pim Ligthart added: “It was a nice day for us with Andreas up there in the top ten, so we can be satisfied with that. Harm also did a really good TT and is amongst the GC contenders as well. I think we can start the week with some positive energy because of this.”


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Hi-Torque closes Road Bike Action and Electric Bike Action magazines

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this heartbreaking story:

Hi-Torque Publications has laid off at least three editors at its road bike and e-bike media titles. Sources familiar with the situation tell BRAIN the publisher plans to close Road Bike Action and Electric Bike Action, which have print titles and websites. The company did not immediately respond to questions on Thursday.

Let go were journalists Zapata Espinoza, Tony Donaldson and Alex Boyce. Espinoza is a long-term Hi-Torque editor and member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. He served as editorial director of Hi-Torque's three bike-related titles and is the former editor of Mountain Bike Action and Road Bike Action. "(The) head winds proved too mighty" for the titles, Espinoza told BRAIN in an email.

Donaldson, in his second stint at Hi-Torque, was the editor of Electric Bike Action after working at Hi-Torque's BMX Plus! and American Freestyler magazines earlier in his career. He also has a commercial photography business on the side and has a long history with BMX and e-bikes, dating back to working with Lee Iaccoca on his EV Global project in the late 1990s. Donaldson told BRAIN on Friday that he had "seen the writing on the wall for a while" because of dwindling ad sales at EBA.

You can read the entire story here.

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