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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Thursday, June 25, 2015

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Upcoming Racing

This is national championship week. Since some countries hold their championships earlier in the year, I've got the 2015 national championship pagegoing.

Fotoreporter Sirotti was at the Italian time trial championships and sent me a bunch of photos. You can see the results and the pictures here.

On July 4th, the Tour de France and the Tour of Austria (Osterreich Rundfahrt) begin.

No Galibier ascent in Tour

More on the Galibier ascent

PARIS (AP) -- Tour de France organizers have changed the route of the 20th stage of this year's race following a landslide in the French Alps.

At 110.5-kilometers (68.6-miles), the length of the Alpine stage between Modane and l'Alpe d'Huez remains unchanged, but the famed Col du Galibier is no longer part of the race program.

Organizers said in a statement that following ''the closure of the Chambon tunnel because of a landslide in April,'' traffic in the area won't be restored before the passage of the peloton on July 25.

Instead of tackling the Galibier, riders will climb the Col de la Croix-de-Fer in a ''stage that from a sporting point of view remains generally unchanged.''

The Tour starts on July 4 in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Vicini leads up the Galibier

Tour de France 1938: Mario Vicini leads Gino Bartali up the storied climb.

Revised stage 20 profile

Revised stage 20 profile

Marcel Kittle won't ride Tour

PARIS, June 25 (Reuters) - German sprinter Marcel Kittel will not take part in the Tour de France after failing to fully recover from a virus, his Giant-Alpecin team said on Thursday.

"The team decided that Kittel's basic fitness is still not sufficient to compete in the Tour de France," the Dutch team said in a statement as they unveiled their nine-man squad for the July 4-26 race.

Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel at this year's Tour Down Under

Kittel won four stages in last year's Tour, including the prestigious finale on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Giant-Alpecin will be led by one-day classic specialist German John Degenkolb, who won two of the season's most prestigious races, Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.

Kittel's absence also means the team could ride in support of French prospect Warren Barguil, who will be targeting a stage win in the mountains.

The 23-year-old Barguil, making his Tour de France debut, finished eighth in last year's Tour of Spain. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)

Silvan Dillier Swiss TT Champ

BMC sent this news:

Lausanne, Switzerland - BMC Racing Team's Silvan Dillier rode to the gold medal and his first victory of the season Wednesday at the Swiss national time trial championships.

Dillier powered his BMC timemachine TM01 to a winning time of 50:03.76 on the 39.4-kilometer course that comprised two laps of a hilly circuit. He was 1:16 faster than runner-up Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling), who was two seconds faster than third-placed Steve Morabito (FDJ).

"This is a nice victory for me," Dillier said. "The title is always nice to have and it is a good push for the season because I have had some bad luck in a few races. Now it is all coming together."

Dillier was the last rider to start, but said he was not given any time checks.

Silvan Dillier

At this year's Tour of Switzerland, Silvan Dillier leads Michel Kwiatkowski and Daryl Impey

"The guys taking the time never told me the time gap so I was thinking I was behind and that they did not want to kill my morale," he said. "But actually, I was in front. They didn't tell me because they did not want me to get too excited."

A member of the BMC Racing Team's world team time trial championship squad last fall, Dillier completed his first grand tour, the Giro d'Italia, last month in 52nd place. Earlier this season, he helped Rohan Dennis win the Santos Tour Down Under. Three times as a rider in the Under 23 ranks, he captured Swiss national time trial titles (2010-12).

Dillier said he is looking forward to Sunday's 192-km road race championship, which passes directly by his childhood home.

"We are not the team with the most riders, so that will be different from the past few years," he said. But what counts is how intelligent you ride. It will be a very exciting race for sure."

Notes: In other national championship competition Wednesday involving BMC Racing Team riders, Manuel Senni notched a season-best, fifth-place result at the Italian national time trial championships. Senni was 1:45 behind winner Adriano Malori (Movistar Team) ... In the Swiss Under 23 time trials Wednesday, BMC Development Team riders Thèry Schir and Tom Bohli finished 1-2. Bohli is one of two riders from the team who will join the BMC Racing Team as a stagiaire on Aug. 1.

Emma Johansson claims 11th national Championship

Orica-AIS was surely happy to send this news:

2015 Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria champion Emma Johansson has successfully defended her national time trial championship today to claim her 11th Swedish title.

For the seventh time, Johansson will don the Swedish blue and yellow colours on her jersey for all races in the discipline over the next twelve months. Johansson, who was 55 seconds faster than her nearest competitor Sara Mustonen-Lichan (Liv-Plantur) across the 30km course, said she was pleased to perform after a heavy racing load and under a degree of expectation.

“Technically my race was good and I was able to settle into a good rhythm,” Johansson said. “I still feel the racing from the last two weeks in my legs, so maybe I’m not at my freshest. I lacked a little bit of the explosiveness I have normally out of the corners.”

Emma Johansson

Emma Johansson

“It’s expected that I’m going to win here. Everyone expects me to win, so I can only come here and lose. It’s a lot of pressure, and second today was closer than second last year, but I’m happy about my race – and it’s a little bit of pressure off my back before the road race.”

Johansson will attempt to win her fifth national road title on Saturday. Whilst today’s victory relied only on individual performance in a test against the clock, the 31-year-old will have more to contend with on the weekend.

“The road race is going to be the hardest race I do all year,” Johansson said. “Sara Mustonen has a ten-rider team. They will all ride together against me. I always have to take a lot of responsibility, and I’m ready for the challenge.”

Wilco Kelderman Dutch TT Champion

This from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Wilco Kelderman became the new Dutch champion in the individual time trial on Wednesday. The talented rider from Amersfoort finished the 54.8 kilometres ahead of LottoNL-Jumbo team-mates Rick Flens and Jos van Emden, a full LottoNL-Jumbo podium.

“I never expected this result,” Kelderman said after his victory. “Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant – Alpecin) was the man to beat and it was going to be very difficult to be faster than him. But everything came together today. We’re riding on a very good Bianchi Aquila and Mathieu Heijboer especially put a lot of time in developing our time trial. That’s why we believed in our chances to finish in the top three. This result is superb.”

Rick Flens was confident about his chances as well. “We have a new bike and I’m feeling great on it,” he added. “It’s been running quite smoothly for a while now and today, I finally got some reward for it. After everything I did for the team, it was time to ride for myself. That’s why I wanted to make it in the top three so badly. I heard that it was going to be close so I gave everything I had. Fortunately, I was able to hold that pace. I made the difference in the last ten kilometres.”

Wilco Kelderman

New Dutch Champ Wilco Kelderman with team-mates Rick Flens and Jos van Emden

“This is good for the team,” Jos van Emden, number three, said. “We are back on the top because our new bike is magnificent. Last year, I finished third too, but it was a very different race, especially mentally. Today, I knew that I was going to fight for the highest places and I was even the fastest after 40 kilometres. I collapsed in the last 15 kilometres unfortunately. I went very fast today, but I wasn’t able to hold my pace as good as Wilco and Rick did.”

Mathieu Heijboer’s help in developing the team for the time trial is important. “It’s not my job, every one put a lot of time in it,” he said after the championship. “I boosted the project. I love the race against the clock and it hurt me that the development of it was stuck. The introduction of the Bianchi Aquila was an important step, but we had to fine-tune everything. We did that in cooperation with Bianchi and AeroPro. That delivered us a beautiful result.”

Because of his victory, Kelderman is able to start the opening time trial of the Tour de France in Utrecht in the red, white and blue jersey of the Dutch champion. “That is going to be fantastic, of course,” he said happily. “It’s always special to put on a champion’s jersey. This is my first national title with the professionals and that feels even better.”

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