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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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Today's Racing

Two races today, the fourth stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey and the second stage of the Tour of Romandie.

Etixx-Quick Step Important Riders' Contracts Expire This Year

The Belgian site has an interesting short interview with Etixx-Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevre. Lefevre has several important riders whose contracts expire at the end of the year and have not confirmed yet that they will re-sign with Lefevre. Among them are Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish, Rigoberto Uran, Michal Kwiatkowski, Zdenek Stybar and Guillaume van Keirsbulck. These are big dogs and the heart of the team.

Patrick Lefevre and Mark Cavendish

Patrick Lefevre (white hair) talks with an injured Mark Cavendish at the 2014 Tour de France.

Complicating things are that Lefevre is sixty and is contemplating an end to his career as a team boss. He does not want to saddle his successor with a full team and that he has chosen.

Lefevre says Boonen has not yet decided how long he wants to keep racing. When asked if Etixx-Quick Step might be without Boonen in 2016, Lefevre answered, "No idea. We will negotiate. The question is: What will the market offer him?"

This will be interesting.

Lotto Soudal announces Giro d'Italia Team

Can you believe it? The Giro start is less than two weeks away. Here's Lotto-Soudal's Giro team selection news:

Eleven days before the start of the 98th Giro d’Italia Lotto Soudal announces its selection. Sander Armée, Lars Bak, Stig Broeckx, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Maxime Monfort, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Louis Vervaeke will represent the team. Sports director Bart Leysen gives more information about the selection.

Bart Leysen: “Jurgen Van den Broeck is the absolute leader for the GC. We aim for a top ten place with him. He’s in the right headspace and is really motivated. Jurgen went to Tenerife for a training camp. This week he takes part in the Tour de Romandie. Considering he has just come back from an altitude training camp he has to get some competition rhythm now. You can’t immediately benefit from an altitude training camp in a first race, that’s why it’s important to finish a race before the Giro.”

“Maxime Monfort will be supporting Jurgen Van den Broeck. Uphill he has to stay with Jurgen as long as possible. It might be that Maxime gets a good position in GC as well by the end of the Giro. It can be good that the pressure doesn’t rest on his shoulders alone. Sander Armée proved in the previous Giro that he can follow a long way uphill, we take him to Italy to assist Jurgen van den Broeck in the mountains.”

“Obviously André Greipel is our sprinter, we want to win a stage with him as soon as possible. I expect at least seven chances to sprint. Then there are stages in which a reduced peloton – let’s say about half of the peloton – will sprint for the victory and André Greipel can be part of that group. Greg Henderson will be the lead-out man for André in the sprints.”

Andre Greipel

André Greipel racing in this year's Three Days of De Panne.

“Adam Hansen will ride his eleventh Grand Tour in a row. He can definitely have a go of his own on some days. In the sprint he’ll have to work for André Greipel. In tougher stages it’s a priority to help out Jurgen Van den Broeck. Lars Bak is an experienced rider as well, whom we want to let play a role in flat stages where André is our man for the sprint. If necessary Lars can also help the leaders when there is a dangerous situation.”

“Both for Stig Broeckx and Louis Vervaeke this will be the first Grand Tour of their career. It’s important for them to get the experience and set a next step in their evolution. Stig Broeckx is the same type of rider as Lars Bak, not a climber. Stig can join a breakaway, but he’ll mainly have to work; at first instance for André and other times for the GC riders. Louis Vervaeke hasn’t had much race days yet this season, partly because of crashes in the Ruta del Sol and Volta a Catalunya, that’s why he can ride the Giro. He’s a climber, we want to apply the same tactic as with Tim Wellens last year: pick a day to join a breakaway. We don’t put any pressure on him.”

Lampre-Merida Tour de Romandie News

This just came in from the Italian team:

The performance of the Team Lampre-Merida in the opening team time trial of the Tour de Romandie fulfilled expectations.

The team, which is directed in Switzerland by the duo of Mauduit and Pedrazzini, covered the 19.2 km course from Vallée de Joux to Juraparc (one light climb at 700 meters to go) in 22' at an average speed of 52.364 km/hr. In the race standings, Lampre-Merida was 11th, +41" from the winning team (Sky) and at 1" to the 9th position.


Lampre-Merida rides the 2015 Tour de Romandie opening team time trial.

In addition to the quite good performance, in the team time trial a new helmet provided by Suomy made its debut: the eight blue-fuchsia-green cyclists (photo Bettini) wore the new time trial helmet GT-R.

Sport director Mauduit explained that: "We realized a performance that met the expectations, considering the qualities of our riders in this kind of speciality.
Moreover, it's important to consider that five of our cyclists rode Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday, no other teams had so many riders that raced the Doyenne. In a short and fast team time trial as today one was, it's an important detail.
There will be opportunities for reducing the gaps that the team time trial created in the overall classification".

Tour of Turkey Reports

This from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo rode out on the queen stage of Tour of Turkey aiming to deliver a result with GC-hopeful Jay McCarthy. The young Australian proved more than capable on the final 1st category climb and finished fourth behind stage winner Davide Rebellin.

After crossing the line in fourth place on top of Elmali in 1800m, 1’20” behind stage winner Davide Rebellin, Jay McCarthy commented he was pleased with his performance.

“It was a good day for us. Having had a late start to the season, I’m really pleased with how things went today and how my legs responded on the final climb. Our DS Nicki Sørensen gave me the opportunity to have a go today, since my shape has been good. It was definitely a tough finish and Pavel Brutt did a lot of groundwork with a late move and took some of the pressure off me. I gave all I had on the final climb but it wasn’t possible to chase down the duo with Rebellin out front”, stated Jay McCarthy and added: “After Rebellin and Durasek went, I tried to bridge the gap together with Barbin, but in the end it was another rider, who rode up to us. Fourth place is definitely something I’m satisfied with, as it shows that I’m improving but, naturally, it would have been better not to lose 1’20” to Rebellin. We still have some mountains left to tackle and I’ll give it a go again. Besides, I believe that the whole team is performing well and we’ll also look after Kolar, who has the power to get some more results in the sprints”.

For the non-connoisseurs it might look as if McCarthy has evolved into a climber overnight. But according to the 22 year old, it’s more a matter of having added another level to his abilities.

Jay McCarthy

Jay McCarthy

“I know that I’ve always been capable on the climbs but I’ve definitely improved. After a couple of years as professional, I’m feeling a bit more powerful in these sustained uphill efforts and I’m able to last longer and keep going at a higher load. We still have a lot of Tour of Turkey left and I hope that I can protect my fourth place in the GC”, commented McCarthy.

Stage 3 took the riders 165km from Kemer to the top of Elmali in 1,800m altitude. Pavel Brutt put on the pressure well into the finale, and Jay McCarthy moved away with 7km to go in an effort to chase down a front duo with the later stage winner Davide Rebellin (CCC). When asked about an overall assessment of Tinkoff-Saxo’s performance, sports director Nicki Sørensen stated he was satisfied.

“Of course, it’s a 4th place and not a win, but I must say that I’m satisfied with the general team performance and commitment as well as McCarthy’s performance on the final climb. He’s in shape and has definitely stepped up. It’s always nice to see a young rider adding another level to his repertoire and that was what Jay showed today”, asserted Nicki Sørensen.

“While some of our fast guys took it a bit easy ahead of the sprinter’s stages, it was up to the likes of Brutt and Beltran to support Jay. Our strategy was to have Brutt in the breakaway and Jay finishing off the stage on the final climb. The guys followed the team tactics and did their best, so as the sports director I can be satisfied”, concluded Nicki Sørensen.

Jay McCarthy now sits fourth in the GC, 1’20” behind overall leader Davide Rebellin before stage 4, where the riders will have to tackle a fairly steep ascent in the final part.

Tour of Yorkshire

The first edition of the Tour of Yorkshire starts May first.

Here's BMC's Yorkshire roster:

The BMC Racing Team has announced its roster for the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire. The three-day race begins Friday.

Riders: Jempy Drucker (LUX), Ben Hermans (BEL), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER)

Sport Director: Jackson Stewart (USA)

This Tour of Yorkshire preview came from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo is looking forward to the first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire on Friday with Moreno Hofland leading the sprints. The three-day stage race in England follows a successful Tour the France start in Yorkshire last year.

“It will be a beautiful race,” Sports Director, Nico Verhoeven explained. “There was a lot of attention from the press during the British stages at the start of last year’s Tour the France. That resulted in the first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire this year.

“With the Giro d’Italia to come, this is a nice race for us to ride. Moreno Hofland and Steven Kruijswijk are able to put the final touches on their preparations. It’s perfect, and better to race three days instead of six hard days with a strong field in the Tour de Romandie.

“We are fielding many young riders. The five will have their chances to go for a good result in the general classification. Besides that, we have some experience with Robert Wagner and Maarten Wynants. We will do the best we can for Moreno in the sprints. It’s tough to assess how hard the race will be, but I’m sure that two of the stages should suit Moreno.”

Moreno Hofland

Moreno Hofland in the 2014 Tour de Romandie

“This will be one of the first races in a long time that suits me well,” Dutchman Moreno Hofland said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I think that there will be a big crowd on the roads. That area seems to have cycling fever. “I will try to fight for stage victories. My form is good at the moment, but I haven’t been in a bunch sprint for a while. I’m curious to see what will happen.”

“There won’t be any pressure on the riders,” Verhoeven said. “We will race for the win though. Steven should be able to deliver a good general classification, but the other riders will have their chance to go for that, too. It will be interesting to see how the young riders like Nick van der Lijke and Timo Roosen will react.”

Team line-up: Moreno Hofland, Steven Kruijswijk, Nick van der Lijke, Barry Markus, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen, Robert Wagner and Maarten Wynants.

Sports Director: Nico Verhoeven

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