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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, October 5, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. - Epicurus

Story of the Giro d'Italia, volume 1

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 1: 1909 - 1970 is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Team Soudal Quick-Step to race Gran Piemonte

Here’s the team’s update:

The 107th edition of Gran Piemonte puts on the table a 152km course from Borgofranco d’Ivrea to Favria, a route that can be divided into two separate parts: one completely flat and one featuring four challenging climbs stacked in the last 60 kilometers; the most difficult of these is the Alpette, averaging 9% over just 5 kilometers, and the place where the big moves of the race should come.

Having won Tre Valli Varesine after a spectacular display of offensive riding from Ilan Van Wilder, Soudal Quick-Step will take on Thursday’s Italian event with a lot of confidence and motivation to be again a protagonist. It will be a special day for the entire Wolfpack nation, as it will mark Dries Devenyns’ final outing in the jersey of the team he rode for a total of twelve seasons.

Dries Devenyns after winning the 2016 GP d'Ouverture-La Marseillaise. Sirotti photo

The 40-year-old Belgian will be joined at the start by Andrea Bagioli – third at the beginning of the week in Coppa Bernocchi – Mattia Cattaneo, U23 Il Lombardia winner William Junior Lecerf, Mauro Schmid, Pieter Serry and Louis Vervaeke.

“We have a team that can play multiple cards in Gran Piemonte. Of course, the route isn’t an easy one and the peloton has many strong riders who can have a say in the finale, but we are keen on doing our best again and leaving everything out there in our pursuit of a good result at the end of the day”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.

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Team Bora-hansgrohe extends contracts with four riders

Here’s the team’s announcement:

No less than four riders have extended their contracts with BORA - hansgrohe. In addition to veteran Cesare Benedetti, who has been on the squad since its inception and is entering his 15th season, Jonas Koch, Ryan Mullen, and Frederik Wandahl will also continue to ride for the German UCI WorldTeam.

Cesare Benedetti in the lead at the 2022 Ruta del Sol. Sirotti photo

Cesare Benedetti is an integral part of BORA - hansgrohe. As the most experienced rider, he fills a special role, particularly in his interaction with the younger team members. However, it's not just neo-pros half his age who benefit from Benedetti's experience and professional attitude. This season, he completed his 12th Grand Tour and was a valuable road captain for the team there, as he has been in all other race appearances.

Jonas Koch and Ryan Mullen have established themselves as reliable all-rounders in the team over the past two seasons. Both have put themselves in the service of the team and have become permanent fixtures, especially in the classics group. While Koch also brings his finishing speed to go for results of his own, Mullen has focused on the ITT discipline with his speed, claiming the Irish national title for the sixth time this season.

Frederik Wandahl, who started with BORA - hansgrohe in 2021 as a neo-pro, celebrated his comeback in the second half of the season after a serious injury following a crash in the spring. The youngster, who is only 22 years old, recently showed his great potential in demanding races at the Bretagne Classic.

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Team Bahrain Victorious to race Gran Piemonte & Il Lombardia

Here’s the team’s update:

Two Italian Autumn Classics are on the race calendar for Team Bahrain Victorious this week: the Gran Piemonte, scheduled on Thursday, October 5th, from Borgofranco d’Ivrea to Favria (152km), and the much-anticipated last monument of the season, Il Lombardia, running from Como to Bergamo (238km), on Saturday, 7th.

The same squad will face both races, with adjustments in rider roles across the two races, although the 107th edition of the Gran Piemonte features a hilly course that can turn out to be selective for sprinters, giving a chance for the climbers to shine.

The peloton will ride through the Canavese region and take on four consecutive climbs and technical roads packed in a 74km circuit, starting after passing under the finish line, an unprecedented cycling location.

“Up to that moment, the course is flat, and we can expect the race will explode on the tough climb at 30km to go”, TBV Sports Directors Alberto Volpi and Roman Kreuziger explain. “If the race will become hard, we believe that Antonio Tiberi can have a good opportunity. We will try to take a top 5 result with him. Otherwise, we have Nicolò Buratti as a joker. If he survives the climbs and the gap won’t be too much for him to catch the front of the race in the finale, he is our fast man, and he recently showed good qualities at CROrace.

Antonio Tiberi finsihing stage 16 of this year's Vuelta. Sirotti photo

"Our stars Mikel Landa and Santiago Buitrago are back to racing after La Vuelta. Therefore, this race will be like a warmup ahead of Il Lombardia. They will give their precious support to our leader and joker for this race, and they ride saving energy for the last Monument of the season.

"We expect it will be an intensive race. In the final, there will be around 50 riders for the sprint unless the challenging second part favours the attackers, with a quartet or quintet managing to stay out until the finish.”

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The lineup is completed by Andrea Pasqualon, road captain for GranPiemonte, Hermann Pernsteiner and Edoardo Zambanini, both back to racing after several weeks, who will support throughout the day and be attentive for the breakaways.

After Gran Piemonte, TBV will move to the Lombardy region, the location of the last Monument Classic of the year, Il Lombardia, which, in the alternation of the host cities, will see the start in Como and the finish in Bergamo, following a demanding route, with over 4400 meters of altitude gain. The toughest of the Classics features traditional climbs such as the legendary Madonna del Ghisallo, Roncola, Berbenno, Passo della Crocetta, Zambla Alta, Passo di Ganda, and the iconic route climbing up to the upper city (Città Alta), and then the descent towards the finish in the heart of Bergamo. A course similar to the 2021 edition, when Santiago Buitrago debuted in the race.

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