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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Friday, August 14, 2015

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

Today's Racing

In France the 2.1-rated Tour de l'Ain will go through the 15th.

Continuing through the 16th is women's 2.1-ranked La Route de France as well as the Eneco Tour and the Arctic Race of Norway.

Friday's race results won't be delayed

Tour de France: the Inside Story

Earlier, I had expected to post results late, but it looks like I'll have them up in a reasonably timely manner after all.

Oh, and yesterday I had the wrong day (Tuesday) posted for a long time to the Thursday news. I do that occasionally. Please just chalk it up to an old guy with a cranky PC.

Loren Rowney wins Stage 4 of La Route de France

This came from Velocio Sports:

Louhans-Chateaurenaud, France - 13 August, 2015 - Loren Rowney has won Stage Four today at La Route de France in Louhans-Chateaurenaud, France. Rowney finished a bike length ahead of Annette Edmonston (Wiggle Honda) while Roxane Fournier (Poitou-Charantes-Futuroscope) was further away in third place.

The Velocio-SRAM rider is riding for the Australian National Development team at the six-day tour in France this week. Rowney relied on her tactical smartness to make a well-timed late attack with 650m to go to take the stage victory. "The plan was to race for Kimberly Wells. I was covering moves all day and then helping lead her out for the finale. Kim crashed about 2.5 kilometres to go and I was told that I should try to have a crack myself. I attacked with about 650m to go at the third last corner. It was similar to how I won a stage at Ardeche last year, and no one got past me," said a happy Rowney.

Loren Rowney wins stage 4

Loren Rowney wins Route de France stage 4

A victory at La Route de France is not unfamiliar for the Australian rider. In 2012, Rowney won a stage at this tour, which was then her first UCI victory in Europe. The 2015 edition is being led by Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle Honda) with two stages remaining. Tomorrow is a short 87 kilometre stage to La Panche, before the last stage of the tour on Saturday in the Alsace town of Guebwiller.

Eneco Tour team reports

This release is from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo had a great day in the Eneco Tour on Thursday. Jos van Emden won the time trial of the fourth stage and took over Jesper Asselman’s (Team Roompot Oranje Peloton) white jersey.

Wilco Kelderman delivered another strong performance. The Dutch time trial champion set the second fastest time on a 14-kilometer course through Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. He is now second overall behind Van Emden. “My fifth place in the Tour was nice but winning is something different, especially at WorldTour level,” Van Emden said with a proud smile. “At the moment, I cannot choose between the two yet. I’ll put them equally side by side.”

Van Emden finished third earlier this year in the national time trial championships, behind his team-mates Kelderman and Rick Flens. “The team, under the guidance of Mathieu Heijboer, invests a lot of time in time trialling and we invent small innovations all the time.” Van Emden remained realistic despite being in white now. “It’s business as usual tomorrow. I won’t start thinking that I can win the race now. I might be able keep the jersey tomorrow but in the Ardennes it’s going to be too difficult for me and as a team, we’ll be riding for Wilco there.”

Jos van Emden

Jos van Emden racing to his stage win

Mathieu Heijboer was impressed by Van Emden’s race against the clock. “Especially in the final three or four kilometers, when the road went up and the wind came from the front, Jos really gained time on the others. He’s in good shape at the moment, he was strong in the Tour and has only improved over those three weeks. He’s really been into time trialling again for a few months so he was very motivated for today and also because this distance really suits him.”

Kelderman gained confidence ahead of the tough final days in the Eneco Tour thanks to his second place in Hoogerheide. “Of course I would have liked to win but finishing second behind Jos is fine as well. I took some time on some other overall riders and I’m in a good position now. That’s a nice bonus. There is still a lot that could happen in this Eneco Tour, but today was certainly good for our moral.”

And here's Tinkoff-Saxo's Eneco report:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Rogers finished 10th on the fast 13.9km time trial on day four. The performance puts the co-captain for the GC into 10th overall ahead of three demanding days. Jos Van Emden took the stage win.

Tinkoff-Saxo moves into the GC top ten with Michael Rogers after 13.9km flat, demanding kilometers around Hoogerheide. Sports director Patxi Vila declares himself satisfied with the squad’s performance.

“We weren’t full gas with all the guys but in what concerns Rogers, Valgren, Juul-Jensen and Boaro, we wanted them to give their best. Rogers was super and performed solidly. TT’s are always hard and the parcours wasn’t the best for him. When it all comes down, we’re satisfied with tenth place both on the stage and in the GC, as it clears the way for further improvements during the last three stages. Valgren and Juul-Jensen had exactly the same time and finishes 22nd and 23rd, while Boaro was 36th”, says Patxi Vila and adds:

“If we look to Mick Rogers coming from the Tour and the Giro, he showed that he still has something left in the tank after a long season. For Boaro, today was his first ITT after the Italian Championships and also his first really big effort. Juul-Jensen and Valgren showed that they still have a good shape after Tour of Denmark and they will be important during the next days”.

Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers after Eneco Tour stage 1

Jos Van Emden now leads the GC after his TT win with Michael Rogers trailing by 21 seconds. Patxi Vila eyes an opportunity to reach for a top result during the difficult days to come in undulating terrain.

“It’s a fairly nice result but we want to try more during the next stages. We’re in a position, where we don’t have too much to lose and I reckon that we can be competitive tomorrow. Stage 5 is a much like a mini Amstel Gold Race with punchy climbs. We can afford to risk something and we will surely see several teams trying to shake things up”, finishes Patxi Vila.

Lotto-Soudal Tour de l'Ain News

Barry Markus completed the circle for Team LottoNL-Jumbo on Thursday. After Jos van Emden and Wilco Kelderman finishing first and second respectively in the stage 4 time trial of the Eneco Tour, the young sprinter finished third in stage two of the Tour de l’Ain. Markus finished behind Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Rudy Barbier (Roubaix Lille Métropole).

Bouhanni is still leading the overall classification. The French rider has a 15 seconds advantage over Mike Teunissen, who two days ago won the prologue.

Nacer Bouhanni wins Tour de l'Ain stage 2

Nacer Bouhanni (in yellow jersey with red shorts) heads for his second stage win at Tour de l'Ain

“The other boys helped Mike to sprint and I was allowed to go for my own chances, but in the run-up to the sprint, I ended up following Mike’s wheel”, Markus said. “He decided to give me a lead-out. I entered the final corner as fourth and was able to overtake one rider in front of me in the sprint. Bouhanni was just too fast, but I’m glad I got the opportunity here.”

“It was a good thing that Mike still managed to help Barry despite being too far back in the sprint”, stated Sports Director Erik Dekker.

Friday’s stage consists of the first real mountains. “A handful of times we head to an altitude of over 700 meters. I don’t think the riders will finish one by one, but it’s going to be a hard day. For the riders who will ride the Vuelta a España it is going to be an important stage as they need racing at higher altitudes.”

Cult Energy's Arctic Race of Norway report

Today, Cult Energy Pro Cycling took on the first of four stages in the Norwegian stage race as near the polar circle we get this season in Arctic Race of Norway. Stage one was a 213 kilometer long and quite flat course in and around the town of Harstad. On the local circuit in the finale, the peloton was challenged with narrow roads and a short climb where the stage was decided.

Seven riders initiated the long-lasting breakaway while the Cult Energy riders spent most of the day in the pack. As the leading locomotive, Katusha, IAM and Europcar controlled the pace most of the day but as the front group exploded after the final bonus sprint, several teams joined in on the fun at the front of the pack.

Entering the final lap of 8 kilometers, Cult Energy Pro Cycling worked their way up on the side of the field while a solo escapee fought for his existence in the spotlight a few seconds ahead of the galloping pack. A six rider counter-attack threatened to sail away in the distance but no one was allowed to go.

Going under the red kite, the pack was complete and on the 700 meter long slightly uphill finish, Cult Energy Pro Cycling nailed another top result, finishing 6th in the sprint where Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the win ahead of compatriot, Edvard Boasson-Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka).

Alexander Kristoff wins Arctic Race stage 1

Alexander Kristoff wins Arctic Tour of Norway stage 1

Sports director, Michael Skelde says: "It's good to see Rasmus bringing both form and motivation from Tour of Denmark to Norway. He was really focusing on the Tour on home turf and sometimes it can be difficult to maintain such a focus and turn it in a new direction but it looks as though he's up for it. The entire team worked well together and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do in the coming days. I expect another bunch gallop tomorrow but Saturday and Sunday's stages are bound to create a bit of chaos and with 6 riders in each team, it may be difficult to organize," states Skelde.

Tinkoff-Saxo annouces six contract extensions

This release came from the team:

Tinkoff-Saxo extends with six current team riders, as Jesper Hansen, Michael Kolar, Pawel Poljanski, Ivan Rovny, Nikolay Trusov and Jay McCarthy will all be a part of the team’s 2016 roster. As existing riders, this group featuring several young talents has contributed to the team showing high dedication, while further extensions will be announced during the second half of August.

“These riders have all contributed to the greater good of the team during the season and several of them are promising talents”, evaluates Steven de Jongh, Head Sports Director of Tinkoff-Saxo.

“Together with the 14 strong group of riders that already had contracts for 2016, Hansen, Kolar, Poljanski, Rovny, Trusov and McCarthy have indeed earned a place on Tinkoff-Saxo. We’ve seen the progress of the younger riders that we expected and the more experienced guys have obviously worked in a committed and keen way to meet our ambitions. These six guys will all play an important part in meeting the next season’s goals, as supporting riders for Alberto, Rafal and Peter and they will likely get their own chance at some stage”, comments de Jongh before adding: “Our philosophy and approach are essential to our performance as a team. The camaraderie is very important for us to keep. It requires a stable group of guys that know each other, and with these six extensions we ensure a well-founded base for 2016”

Jesper Hansen, 24, will embark on his third year as a pro on Tinkoff-Saxo. The young climber has taken swift steps and his progress culminated with the overall victory at Tour of Norway, where the Dane captured a splendid solo win along the way.

Michael Kolar, 22, is equally set to start his third year as a pro on Tinkoff-Saxo. The fast Slovakian has on several occasions shown that he holds true speed, when it comes to lead-outs and as the tip of the spear in a sprint. Multiple top-ten finishes and a stage win at Tour of Slovakia in 2015 bode well for the coming season.

Pawel Poljanski, 25, has been a part of Tinkoff-Saxo since August 2013, where the Polish rider joined, first as a stagiaire. Since, Poljanski has made certain progress, while supporting the team captains at crucial points during the races.

Ivan Rovny, 27, has contributed with steadfast and strong support since the beginning of 2014 and has seen extended action as part of the teams Grand Tour squads. Latest, the Russian offered vital backing during Tinkoff-Saxo’s overall win at Giro d’Italia.

Nikolay Trusov, 30, will equally commence his third season on Tinkoff-Saxo. The experienced Russian defines sturdy power and has played a key role in lead-outs and during intense racing, where the team has taken to the front of the field in the fight for positioning.

Nikolay Trusov

Nikolay Trusov at last year's Tour Down Under

Jay McCarthy, 22, first joined Tinkoff-Saxo in the autumn of 2013 as stagiaire. After two seasons with constant improvement, Australian rider McCarthy will ride his third full season for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2016. His ability to climb and ride punchy finales has secured him a place on the overall podium at Tour of Turkey in 2015.

Further extensions as well as new acquisitions will be announced during the second half of August.

Lotto-Soudal announces Vuelta a España roster

The team sent this news:

At the end of next week the third Grand Tour of the year starts: the Vuelta a España (22/08 – 13/09). Lotto Soudal has selected these nine riders:  Kris Boeckmans, Jasper De Buyst, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Adam Hansen, Maxime Monfort, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande and Jelle Vanendert. Mario Aerts and Frederik Willems are the sports directors for the race.

21-year-old Jasper De Buyst makes his Grand Tour début. For sprinter Kris Boeckmans (28) this is the third Grand Tour of his career, after he participated in the Tour two times.

It’s also the third three-week stage race for Tosh Van der Sande (24), who rode the Vuelta in 2013 and the Giro in 2014. Bart De Clercq, who turns 29 on the day of the fifth Vuelta stage, impressed in the Tour de Pologne. He rides the Vuelta for the fourth time.

Bart de Clercq

Bart de Clercq wins stage 5 of this year's Tour of Poland

The same goes for Jelle Vanendert (30) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (32). Van den Broeck finished on the eighth place in 2011. This year the Belgian time trial champion already took part in the Giro, together with Maxime Monfort, who is selected for the Vuelta as well. The 32-year-old Belgian will start the Vuelta for the fifth time. His best result was the sixth place in 2011.

Thomas De Gendt (28), who showed his skills in the Tour despite of a rib injury, goes to the Vuelta for the third time. Last but not least there’s Adam Hansen (34) who’s on the start list of the Vuelta for the seventh time. It’s his 20th Grand Tour and not to forget his thirteenth consecutive Grand Tour. Since the Vuelta of 2011 he completed all Grand Tours in which he started, if he finishes this Vuelta as well, he breaks the record of Bernardo Ruiz.

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