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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Thursday, February 26, 2015

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

Thomas Dekker Fails in World Hour Record Attempt

Thomas Dekker, currently without a team, failed Wednesday in his attempt to break Rohan Dennis' World Hour Record. Dekker went 52.221 km in 60 minutes at Mexico's Aguascalientes velodrome, short of Dennis' 52.491 km.

Thomas Dekkers' world hour record attempt

Thomas Dekker attempts World Hour Record

Dekker fell 270 meters or about 17 seconds shy in his try. Afterwards he said, "I think I made ​​a great effort for myself, but it was not enough to break the record, even though I was not far. It's a bit disappointing, but this is the most I can do today." Highlighting the difficulty of gaining such a record, he said, "It was the worst hour of my life." No doubt.

At first, Dekker was slightly ahead of the record, but then slowly began to fall off the pace.

This has been a busy time for the World Hour Record. In September Jens Voigt set a new mark, followed by Matthias Brändle and then Dennis.

Dekker tested positive for EPO in 2009 and was given a two-year racing ban.

This was a bad day for World Hour Record attempts. American racer Molly van Houweling also made a record attempt at Aguascalientes, going 45,637 meters, a little more than 400 meters short of Leontien van Morsel's 46,065 women's World Hour Record. Van Houweling is going to try again in July.

Upcoming Races

Since most news stories will involve this weekend's races, here a reminder of what's coming:

Saturday, February 28:

Sunday, March 1:

LottoNL-Jumbo Plans for Classic Sud Arèdeche & La Drôme Classic

This just came from LottoNL-Jumbo:

"Team LottoNL-Jumbo has a busy weekend ahead. Its cyclists will not only participate in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but also two French 1.1 races: the Classic Sud Ardèche - Souvenir Francis and the La Drome Classic, Saturday and Sunday.

"Paul Martens rode both races last year, but travelled to France with a very different goal back then. Due to a knee injury, the German hadn’t been able to train properly during the winter and he didn’t finish either race. “Last year,” he said, “I was testing my knee in those races.” 

Paul Martens

Paul Martens  

"Martens hopes to achieve more this weekend. “The Volta ao Algarve was my first race of the season and things went according to plan. I felt good. My Pioneer power metre proved that,” said the 31-year-old, who finished third in Algarve’s opening stage.

Cycling's 50 Craziest Stories

“I hope to bag a result in France. Some riders have started their season much earlier than I have, though. And you can still see the difference, especially uphill. “Nonetheless, these races are good tests for the upcoming classics. Racing in France is always aggressive and it requires you to stay attentive and focused, just as in the classics. During a WorldTour race you sometimes get mentally lazy.”

"Erik Dekker was the team’s sports director during last year’s races in the Drôme and Ardèche departments. He knows that his riders need to tackle a lot of climbing metres again this weekend

“They’re beautiful, but tough races. You need good legs to win. The field isn’t comparable with the peloton in the Omloop or Paris-Nice, and that offers opportunities. Several of our men can seriously compete. Bert-Jan Lindeman and Paul are our most prominent riders, but during this race anyone can surprise.”

"Team line-up: George Bennett, Brian Bulgac, Martijn Keizer, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Nick van der Lijke, Barry Markus, Paul Martens and Timo Roosen.

Sports Director: Erik Dekker."

Lotto-Soudal Riders Ill, Team Discusses Het Nieuwsblad

I got two releases from Lotto-Soudal. The this one and the longer one below:

"Bad news for Lotto Soudal two days before the Belgian opening weekend. Because of the flu Jürgen Roelandts won’t start in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. It’s also uncertain if German champion André Greipel (throat) will race on Sunday. Team manager Marc Sergeant has stomach complaints."

Earlier release discussing weekend races:

"With the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday the Belgian road season can start. Today Lotto Soudal did a recon of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. It was a ride of one hundred kilometres over cobblestone sections like Haaghoek and Paddestraat. The last eight hills, among other Taaienberg and Eikenberg, lay also on the route.

"Why a recon? Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “The route doesn’t differ much from the past years, but a recon is useful. The riders can take a look at the crucial phases and mark points for during the race. The wind will play an important role, the riders can get an idea of what influence that will have. If on Saturday the wind heads in the same direction as today it will be backwind. A recon is also good for the youngsters in the team like Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx and Sean De Bie.”

“Everybody knows that we have changed our race programme. The riders will have covered less kilometres before the spring classics than in the past. The guys already said they feel more fresh. Of course this isn’t a guarantee yet for the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, but we hope it will have effect.”

“The team has five victories so far, that’s one less than last year. Then it was only André Greipel who had won. This season André won one race, just like Kris Boeckmans and Tony Gallopin. Pim Ligthart could triumph two times already. We didn’t only win with the usual suspects and that feels great.”

Andre Greipel

André Greipel wins stage 5 of this year's Volta ao Algarve

“The Omloop is one of the most beautiful races to win. The last victory of our team was in 2002, with Peter Van Petegem. In the Belgian opening weekend there can only be two winners. It’s important that we play a role this weekend. If we can battle in the final but don’t win, I can live with that. I repeat it every year, after this weekend the season isn’t over yet.”

"Team Selection for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere, Gert Dockx, Pim Ligthart, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg.

"Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen."

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