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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Saturday, August 1, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Today's Racing

The 2.1-rated Volta a Portugal is on and continues through August 9th.

The big dog looming on the calender is the Clasica San Sebastian, a World Tour ranked classic that will be run today, August 1st. And Sunday is the RideLondon & Surrey Classic.

Also on Sunday is the CDM-ranked Sparkassen Giro in Germany.

Richie Porte will join BMC in 2016

This release was waiting for me this morning:

Santa Rosa, California - Reigning Australian national time trial champion Richie Porte will be part of the BMC Racing Team for the 2016 season, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Saturday.

"We officially welcome Richie to the BMC Racing Team," Ochowicz said. "Richie's addition to our roster for next year adds extra muscle and a wealth of experience. It also gives us the chance to separate and/or unite our strategies and goals as we see fit throughout the season."

Porte, 30, has won nine races this season, including the overall titles at Paris-Nice, the Giro del Trentino and Volta a Catalunya. Ranked fifth in the UCI WorldTour rider standings, he most recently helped Chris Froome (Team Sky) win the Tour de France.

Porte said he could not pass up another opportunity to be part of a team that has featured another Australian, 2011 Tour de France winner and past world road champion Cadel Evans, the past five seasons.

"I was close to coming to the BMC Racing Team four years ago," Porte said. "This time, it was a hard decision, but the right decision. Obviously, Cadel left his legacy with the team. When he was racing, it was almost like it was partially an Australian team. There were always so many Aussies at the races with BMC caps on. With them still having Rohan Dennis and Campbell Flakemore  - who is from Tasmania like me - the team still does have a fairly Australian flavor."

Richie Porte

Richie Porte after the 2015 Giro del Trentino final stage

Porte said his objectives for next year are straight-forward: to keep his winning ways going.

"I want to win races like Paris-Nice and Catalunya again and I think next year at the Tour de France, why not have Tejay van Garderen and me there? We get along well," he said. "It is exciting to be going to a team where I am going to have so many opportunities for myself to win races."

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other terms or conditions of the contract were released.

Velocio-SRAM at Sparkassen Giro

Speaking of the German race, here's the update I received from Velocio-SRAM:

London, Great Britain -  31 July, 2015 - The next round of the UCI Women's World Cup is in Bochum, Germany on Sunday 2 August with the Sparkassen Giro. Velocio-SRAM will be sending a strong team to support Alena Amialiusik who is currently fifth in the World Cup rankings with four races remaining.

Riders will complete 8 laps of a 15.5 kilometre circuit for a total of 124 kilometres. With a small hill climb each lap there is the potential for a breakaway group to make it to the finish line. Amialiusik, who finished third in the last UCI Women's World Cup in Philadelphia, USA is expecting a tough race. "Of course it will be a hard race, it's a World Cup and it means the competition level is even higher. I did this race last year and I know the circuit. The small climb is not hard but I think it will be good to see a break go and stay away, why not? We have a team that will be able to be in a break, and a team that can get a good result in a bunch sprint. So we can be calm going into this World Cup."

Alena Amialiusik

Alena Amialiusik

Team Director Sportif, Ronny Lauke says "Look I think it will be an aggressive race. It's getting towards the end of the World Cup series and the leaders are within reach of each other. The course suits all of our riders and we can be confident to continue to race well together as a team."

Amialiusik will be joined by Lisa Brennauer, Loren Rowney, Trixi Worrack, Barbara Guarischi and Tiffany Cromwell to make up a strong Velocio-SRAM team.

Shimano having good year

Shimano sales were up nearly 26-percent in the first half of this year, totalling 197 billion yen ($1.6 billion). And, even more impressive, that drove the net profit for the period through the ceiling, up 76 percent to 37 billion yen (I get 298 million USD!).

Bicycle sales account for 80 percent of Shimano sales. Shimano said that the improving U.S. economy helped the sales, as did, of course, the ongoing depreciation of the yen, which makes Japanese-made items cheaper to Americans.

Lotto-Soudal's plans for the weekend

This news came from the Belgian team:

This weekend two one-day races are scheduled for Lotto Soudal: the Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián on Saturday 1st August and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic or London Classic on Sunday 2nd August.

Tomorrow it’s the 35th edition of the Clásica San Sebastián, a one-day race that’s part of the WorldTour and is organized in the Basque Country, in Spain. The peloton has to cover 219.2 kilometres and has to get over some tough climbs. The race starts and finishes in San Sebastián or Donostia, in the north of Spain. There are six climbs on the route, among those the Alto de Jaizkibel and Alto de Arkale. Both have to be covered twice. The finale is different than last year, there is an extra climb before the riders get to the boulevard in San Sebastián. The organization hopes to make the race more attractive this way. This is definitely a hard race. The race starts at 11:45 and will finish between 17:00 and 17:30.

Jelle Vanendert, Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens are part of the Lotto Soudal team. They will compete against riders like Bauke Mollema, Greg Van Avermaet and Joaquim Rodríguez. Alejandro Valverde, last year’s winner, starts as well. Jelle Vanendert looks ahead.

Jelle Vanendert

Jelle Vanendert finishes the 2014 Fleche Wallone

Jelle Vanendert: “San Sebastián is always a race where you have to work hard until the Jaizkibel, which we have to cover twice. After that the race normally breaks loose and it’s a matter of paying attention. It’s a tough course, but it suits me. I already was tenth here in 2011 and last year I was sixth.”

“After an altitude training camp you need to recover and then you always have to wait and see how the legs feel in the first race. In the third stage of the Tour de Wallonie, with finish on the Citadelle de Namur, I was sixth and I had a good feeling. The last stage I let go with the Clásica San Sebastián in mind. The condition is good and I hope I can battle along in the finale.”

"We have to see how well the riders have recovered from the Tour. The one rider gets out of a Grand Tour with an excellent condition and the other has sore legs and is tired. But I think favourites like Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez will be ready. That are riders you have to watch in this kind of races. But I will also keep an eye on Zdenek Stybar. We have to see how the race develops but I will try to follow those men.”

Selection Clásica San Sebastián: Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Pim Ligthart, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert, Tosh Van der Sande and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Frederik Willems.

The London Classic is 200 kilometres long and there are five hills on the course. This Europe Tour race takes place for the fifth time. Start and finish are in the heart of London. The race will start at St James’ Park and will finish on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace. The riders first head to Surrey where they have to cover three local laps. It’s a tough course with five hills: Leith Hill, three times Ranmore and Box Hill. The last climb is situated 50 kilometres before the finish. At about 13:30 the race will start, the finish is expected between 18:00 and 19:00 local time, that’s one hour later in Brussels.

Jürgen Roelandts and Jens Debusschere will be at the start for Lotto Soudal. There are also two trainees in the selection: Dries Van Gestel and Kenneth Van Rooy. They will race next to among other Tom Boonen, Rohan Dennis and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Adam Blythe, last year’s winner, will start as well. Sports director Marc Wauters gives his opinion of the race.

Jens Debusschere

Jens Debusschere having a good day at this year's Tirreno Adriatico

Marc Wauters: “It’s a very special race, you don’t get to ride through the centre of London every day. The finish is in front of Buckingham Palace and that’s unique. There is a lot of prize money to be awarded and that makes we always get to watch a nice race.”

“The two trainees in our team will get a free role, they might join an early breakaway. We have to wait and see how Thomas De Gendt and Jens Debusschere have recovered from the Tour, we expect them in the second half of the race. Jürgen Roelandts, Kenny Dehaes and also Jens are fast so they can sprint for us.”

“This is a race where many young riders want to seize the opportunity. We have to see which riders are fresh after a tough Tour de France and who will control the race. If the right riders are in the break it might make it till the end. This race is hard to predict and that’s what makes it so nice.”

Selection London-Surrey Classic: Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Thomas De Gendt, Jürgen Roelandts, Dries Van Gestel and Kenneth Van Rooy.

Sports director: Marc Wauters.

LottoNL-Jumbo will be at RideLondon-Surrey

Team LottoNL-Jumbo is counting on sprinter Moreno Hofland during the Prudential Ride London, Sunday 2nd of August. Sports director Richard Plugge provides a big chance for a sprint with a reduced peloton during the race at the Olympic ground.

“There are two possible scenario’s,” sports director Richard Plugge says. “There’s a big chance that a big group of riders will survive the hill section, but it’s possible that a small group of riders is able to escape, as well. We want to make sure that Moreno Hofland gets his chance to sprint for the victory. Besides that, Sep Vanmarcke might be able to break away when a promising group of riders escapes. We have a good chance to win this race.”

Moreno Hofland

The English air must agree with Moreno Hofland. Here he wins a stage in this year's Yorkshire Tour.

“Halfway the race, there’s a quite tough section on the profile,” Moreno Hofland adds. “It will be difficult to control the race in that part. I like those kinds of situations, actually. I think that I can survive the hills, so we can start the race finale in a supernumerary situation. I’m in a good shape. I’ve done some small Belgian races and was fighting for the win often. I’m confidentially looking forward to Sunday.”

“It is a fantastic race”, Plugge continues. “It’s beautiful to race at the Olympic ground, off course and there will be a lot of crowd supporting the riders. Cycling is booming in England. Moreno already won a stage in the Tour of Yorkshire, so that means that we’re facing high expectations. We’re trying to meet them.”

Line-up: Moreno Hofland, Barry Markus, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen, Sep Vanmarcke and Twan Castelijns.

Sports director: Richard Plugge. 

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary