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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Monday, June 29, 2015

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National championship week has just ended. I've got the 2015 national championship page as close to up to date as I can make it, summarizing the results.

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

Sky Will Bring Motorhomes to Tour for Staff

PARIS (Reuters) - Motorhomes may be banned for riders on the Tour de France as the International Cycling Union (UCI) looks to preserve the fairness between the teams, Team Sky have the intention on taking them to the race for their staff.

"We'll allow the staff in the motorhomes," team manager Dave Brailsford said on Monday as he named his nine-man squad for the Tour.

The move, he explained, will free up hotel rooms and allow some riders to enjoy a full room for themselves while they usually sleep in twin rooms in hotels provided by organizers.

"In all road stage races on the international calendar the organizers must cover the subsistence expenses of the teams from the night before the start to the final day," the UCI's management committee said in a statement earlier this month.

Sky riders

Sky riders got to sleep in motorhomes during the Giro d'Italia

"Riders must stay in the hotels provided by the organizer throughout the entire duration of the race. The decision was made in order to reaffirm absolute fairness between all riders."

Sky tried out the motorhome setup with Richie Porte in last month's Giro d'Italia.

Brailsford feels some hotels provided this year were "not great" and says that being able to sleep in familiar surroundings would help to improve the daily recovery process as "sport science is massive on sleep at the moment".

Velocio-SRAM has successful national championships

The team sent this triumphant note:

Matera, Italy, 28 June 2015 - Velocio-SRAM have claimed five titles after the final Road National Championships for 2015 came to an end this weekend. With a time trial title victory in Canada, and both time trial and road wins in Belarus and Germany, the team will now have five national champions.

In Canada, Karol-Ann Canuel claimed her first ever road national title on June 26, by winning the time trial in commanding fashion. Canuel's final time of 45 minutes and 5 seconds, was 1 minute 17 seconds ahead of Jasmin Glaesser (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefits), and more than 2 minutes ahead of defending champion, Leah Kirchmann (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefits).

"This has been a goal of mine since the end of last year and I'm so happy to be Canadian Champion in the time trial," Canuel said. "My progression in time trials has come along since I joined the team in 2014 and I was part of the winning World Championship TTT squad in Ponferrada last year. This year in 2015 with Velocio-SRAM, I've had amazing support from the team with training camps, aerodynamic testing and our sponsors have provided me with really the best equipment. I'm really happy to have this title, to repay some of that team belief and as a reward for my own hard work too to achieve this goal."

In Belarus, Alena Amialisuik has continued her run of success by winning the Belarusian National Time Trial Championships on June 26. Amialisuik clocked a time of 31 minutes and 52 seconds over the 24.2 kilometre course in Narovlia which proved 25 seconds quicker than the second-placed Tatsiana Sharakova, and 1 minute 3 seconds ahead of Elenka Sitsko (Astana-Acca Duo O). The result saw her claim her fifth national time trial title, where she remains undefeated in the last five years after winning her first title in 2011.

Amialisuik's run of wins continued with a victory today in the Belarusian National Road Race. In claiming her fourth road national title she said, "The race was 130 kilometres with 8 large laps and 3 small finish laps with a steep 16% climb in the small laps. I attacked in the first finish lap and rode solo to the line. I'm very happy to win both titles in Belarus. I'm proud of this and to be able to continue to wear the Belarusian colours in both time trials and road races for the next 12 months is great!" Her double national title wins continues her run of success after a win at Winston Salem Cycling Classic in USA in May, a podium third place at the most recent World Cup in Philadelphia, followed by a gold medal win in the road race at the European Games in Baku earlier this month.

Mieke Kröger has taken her first senior time trial national title by winning the German time trial in Einhausen, Hesse on June 26. The youngest rider on Velocio-SRAM, twenty-one year old Kröger powered her way to a win with a consistent pace for the 30 kilometre course. At the first time check, Kroeger and World Champion Lisa Brennauer were only seconds apart, but a strong second lap for Kröger allowed her to take the win. Kröger finished 38 seconds ahead of defending champion Brennauer, and 53 seconds ahead of team mate Trixi Worrack, making it a podium sweep for Velocio-SRAM.

Kröger said, "I was very nervous but I did not want the pressure to influence me in the first lap and to overpace like I did in Spring at the Borsele (Netherlands) time trial. I didn't know my intermediate split time but I knew that it was close between Trixi, Lisa and I. It's my first senior TT title and I'm very happy."

In the German National Road Race today, Trixi Worrack has taken the win to claim her third German National Road title. Worrack who won the title in 2003 and 2013, was in a winning break with Claudia Lichtenberg (Liv-Plantur) and the duo came to the line with over 2 minutes to the peloton. Worrack went solo to the finish line, 10 seconds ahead of second place Lichtenberg while team mate Brennauer won the bunch sprint for third place.  About the German road race Kröger said," Today our team plan worked out very well with Trixi taking the win. I liked to suffer for Trixi and Lisa, they deserve to be on the podium!"

Trixi Wporrack

Trixi Worrack at this year's Amgen Tour of California

Canuel, Amialisuik, and Kröger will show off their new national stripes when they line up for the team's next stage race the Giro Rosa in Italy on 3-12 June that includes a prologue and individual time trial stage.

Wyss Swiss road champion

BMC was also quite happy, this time with the Swiss road championships:

Danilo Wyss captured the BMC Racing Team's second national title of the week by winning the Swiss road race Sunday in Steinmaur. Wyss powered his BMC teammachine SLR01 past Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling) to win his first race since 2009. Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) finished third in the 192-kilometer race.

"I tried to attack Michael Albasini (ORICA-GreenEDGE) with two kilometers to go because I knew he was really fast and really good on this type of finish," Wyss said. "It was a tricky finish because the last kilometer was a bit downhill and then there were two 90-degree turns. I knew I had to take one of the last turns in the front. I took all the risks  and sprinted before the turn. Albasini did the same and we entered too fast and he crashed."

Wyss's title added to the Swiss national time trial title won by teammate Silvan Dillier on Wednesday. Dillier finished fourth in Sunday's race, 19 seconds back.

Danilo Wyss

Danilo Wyss racing at this year's Tirreno-Adriatico

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Fabio Baldato said hard work done by five riders from the BMC Development Team was instrumental in helping Wyss take the win. They combined to bring back a dangerous breakaway that included defending Swiss national road champion Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling).

"We had two teams here, but they really raced like one today," Baldato said. "All of the guys from the Development Team were working to give everything for the other guys. It was very impressive. Michael Schär completed the job in the last 30 kilometers and we brought back the breakaway 10 kilometers from the finish."

Wyss's victory was the third of his professional career that began in 2008 and has been spent entirely with the BMC Racing Team. His last win came in June of 2009, when he took the opening stage of the Tour de Beauce in Canada.

Two other BMC Racing Team riders medaled in national road race competition Sunday.

In Germany, Marcus Burghardt finished third behind Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18) and Nikias Arndt (Team Giant-Alpecin). It was a season-best result for Burghardt and his first medal in nationals competition since turning professional in 2005.

In Belgium, Greg Van Avermaet soloed to third place as Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) won a two-up sprint against Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal). It was also Van Avermaet's first career medal in professional nationals competition.

Chris Anker Sørensen Danish Champ

This came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Chris Anker Sørensen was crowned Danish Road Race Champion on Sunday afternoon after securing the win in a two-man group. Chris Anker, who will now race in red and white for the next year, says that he is very touched by taking the win after, what he describes, as a difficult period.

Crossing the line in Rønde, Denmark after 206 hilly kilometers, Chris Anker comments that he is surprised and delighted to win his first national championship. “It’s amazing, I’m very, very happy. I didn’t believe that this would ever happen so I’m very touched by the fact that it did. This national championship comes after one and a half year, where things have been difficult for me with a couple of costly crashes. It has been an uphill battle and I nearly lost hope that things would turn around. But I guess that today stands testimony to the fact that you should never give up and keep working hard”, says Chris Anker Sørensen, who thanks his three teammates from Tinkoff-Saxo:

“We were only four guys from Tinkoff-Saxo and we rode together to ensure that one of us could win. It was very difficult and it was a hard-fought win but I have to thank my teammates that rode fantastically well and I also have to thank our sports director Lars Michaelsen, who was just behind me in the team car, when I broke loose with Martin Mortensen on the final five kilometers. Without him I would probably have spent much of my energy pulling at the front, but he advised me to sit on Mortensen’s wheel and keep cool as Valgren was in the group behind”.

“I arrived at the final uphill sprint in Rønde with Mortensen, I’ve known him for many years and I know that he’s quick but somehow I had it in me to beat him on the very last meters. It’s a big confidence booster to take this championship and I am very excited about the prospect of racing and riding in the Danish champions jersey for the next year”, adds Chris Anker Sørensen.

Chris anker Sorensen

Chris Anker Sorensen wins the 2015 Danish road championships, beating Cult's Martin Mortensen.

The Danish National Road Championship consisted of 15 laps of 13.9km for a total distance of 206km in hilly terrain. Lars Michaelsen, Tinkoff-Saxo sports director, gives his assessment of how the race was won:

“It was quite a demanding circuit with more than 2,500 meters of altitude gain. Unfortunately, Jesper Hansen and Matti Breschel didn't take part due to injuries so we were down to only four riders. As a result, we had to downplay a bit our status as one of the 'big' teams. This resulted in a morning break that we had expected but with nobody taking responsibility because the big Danish Continental teams were all represented and we were not”, explains Lars Michaelsen.

“At one point we were more than 9 minutes behind the front group. After 55km, Chris Anker offered himself as a working horse and for 40km he pulled very hard and the gap went down to 2 minutes. From that point, we actually saw we had the possibility to turn the situation around and this is what took place. The hard racing also resulted in a diminished peloton. It could have been Chris Anker, as it could have been Valgren, Mørkøv or Chris Juul-Jensen”, says Michaelsen about the final result and adds:

“It was Chris Anker at the end and everybody that has even a little knowledge of his sprint abilities would think he was racing for second place going into the final kilometers with Martin Mortensen, a strong rider from Cult Energy. I gave him some directions with 5km to go and told him not to pull. I told him to stay on Mortensen’s wheel until 50 meters to go and Chris Anker pulled it off! I'm sure he's the happiest person in Denmark tonight”, says the delighted sports director before concluding:

“I'd like to stress again that this championship was won thanks to the strong team work! It could have been any of our four riders and it was evident at the start that they would fight hard for each other. Obviously, everybody would love to be the national champion but throughout the race they worked as a team and that was fundamental for the victory. They put the team effort above their personal ambitions".

And here's Cult Energy's take on Danish champs and Mortensen's second:

Today, the Danish national road race championships were held on a 209 kilometer long and undulating course in Rønde where the biggest Danish names were battling for the red and white national jersey. Cult Energy Pro Cycling were on the start line with seven riders, Michael Carbel, Rasmus Guldhammer, Michael Reihs, Mads Pedersen, Rasmus Quaade, Troels Vinther and Martin Mortensen. The latter eventually conquered silver.

And Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Michael Reihs was off to a flying start and launched the morning breakaway with six companions and quickly worked up a lead of more than nine minutes. On the hilly course, the peloton exploded rather early and eventually, a chase group consisting all favorites including Cult Energy’s Guldhammer, Carbel, Mortensen, Vinther and Quaade was established.

From then on, it was an intensively exciting race with constantly new attacks but suddenly Rasmus Guldhammer broke clear from the group with Magnus Cort (Orica-GreenEdge), Alexander Kamp (ColoQuick), Chris Juul-Jensen and Michael Mørkøv (Tinkoff-Saxo). But just as everyone thought this was the crucial break, the cards were to be shuffled once more. This time Cult Energy’s Troels Vinther took part of a move with Magnus Cort and Asbjørn Kragh who refused to pull.

However, it was a complete chase group inhaling the front group with Michael Reihs with 40 kilometers to go and soon, Michael Carbel launched a stinging attack with an attack from the distance. Behind, Tinkoff-Saxo were controlling the engine of the chase and they caught him with 25 kilometers to go and the front group was now reduced to ten riders.

Here, Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Martin Mortensen was struck by a puncture and had to dig deep to bridge the gap to the front group but when it happened, he followed Chris Anker Sørensen in the crucial attack. The experienced duo made it the uphill finish where Sørensen refused to pull. Mortensen launched an early attack and looked like a winner but on the very final meters, the Tinkoff-Saxo rider managed to go past and take the glory.

Martin Mortensen states: “I’m hugely disappointed. I’ve done the national championships quite a few many times in my career and the top step of the podium was the only target for me so of course it’s devastating being this close. I had a puncture within the final 25 kilometers and Michael Reihs unselfishly offered me his wheel so I had a chance of making it back. Naturally, it took some of the fuel in the tank this late in the race to make my way back but I believed in the win all the way in to the finish line. I guess I felt a little too sure of it and opened a long sprint and was then passed on the final meters. However, as a team I think we delivered a solid performance and we were represented in all the moves up front. Hats off for Chris Anker who rode a very strong race. Now, I need a few days off and then start the build-up for the second part of the season”, says a disappointed Martin Mortensen.

Tinkoff-Saxo was also having a good day at the Slovak road champs:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan claimed the victory in the combined Slovak and Czech Road Race Championship for a stunning fifth year in a row. The win came as a result of a solo move deep into the race that finished in Sagan’s hometown of Žilina, where the champion was joined on the podium by his brother Juraj, who claimed second place in the Slovak classification.

After having received the Slovak national jersey for the fifth time since 2011 in front of his cheering fan club, Peter Sagan tells that he is excited to reclaim the national championship.

"I am very happy that I managed to win a joint Czech - Slovak Championship. The conditions were difficult, but the competition was great. It’s a shame that together with Roman Kreuziger we failed to reach a team double for Tinkoff–Saxo. I have to thank everyone from Žilina and all the fans who came here. Despite the weather not being that nice, still the turnout was great and I'm glad that we have such a fan club. I am pleased that the race was organized in my hometown Žilina”, says Peter Sagan.

The combined Slovak and Czech National Road Race Championships consisted of 199 hard kilometers, where Tinkoff-Saxo lined up Peter Sagan, Juraj Sagan, Roman Kreuziger and Michael Kolar. Patxi Vila directed the squad from the sports director car and was after the race pleased with the outcome despite the fact that Kreuziger suffered a mechanical.

Peter Sagan wins Slovak champs

Peter Sagan wins another Slovak championship

"It was a good day for Tinkoff-Saxo with the two Sagan brothers claiming the top spots of the Slovak podium. We are happy with Peter's gold and Juraj's silver medals. Unfortunately, Roman Kreuziger suffered a mechanical and that didn't allow us to also claim the Czech champion title. We only had four riders, so the toughest part for us was to find allies in the race see who could control it with us. The day's most important moment was to ensure that the breakaway, that sooner or later was meant to ride away, would be beneficial to us. We were able to achieve this in the initial part of a very wet and tough race and worked together with various teams, controlling the race until the two last laps”, explains Patxi Vila and adds about the race finale:

“At the final stage of the race, Peter attacked, resulting in a selection. The first group consisted of 6 riders, including Roman, who was there from a previous breakaway. Then the group slimmed down to just three riders and with 3km to go, Peter went solo and claimed the race. The nice surprise was to see Juraj taking second place in the Slovak Championship. On the other hand, unfortunately, Roman, who was in very good shape, had a setback with a mechanical problem that cost him precious time. It's a pity because he was in the previous breakaway, did a great effort today and missed a well-deserved Czech championship title”, asserts Patxi Vila, who now directs his attention to Tour de France.

"With six days to go until the Tour, Peter is on the right path and looks forward to the start. Last but not least, he used his new Specialized Venge ViAS and the sensation he had was very good just as in Tour de Suisse”.

Roelandts Silver medalist at Belgian champs

I got this from Lotto-Soudal:

Jürgen Roelandts won the silver medal at the Belgian Championships in Tervuren. He rode to the finish together with Preben Van Hecke, who is the new Belgian champion.

In the first of fourteen laps twenty-five riders got away and that was the breakaway of the day. Lotto Soudal was represented by six riders: Jasper De Buyst, Thomas De Gendt, Kenny Dehaes, Jürgen Roelandts, Tosh Van der Sande and Louis Vervaeke. They had a maximal lead of seven and a half minutes. With 85 kilometres to go the front group fell apart due to attacks of Lotto Soudal. Seven riders were left in front, including Dehaes, Roelandts and Van der Sande. During an ascent of the Horenberg Roelandts and Van der Sande took off with Preben Van Hecke. In the penultimate lap Tosh was dropped after a strong race. Roelandts and Van Hecke could stay ahead of a chasing Van Avermaet. Van Hecke beat Roelandts in the sprint.

Jurgen Roelandts

Jurgen Roelandts racing in the 2013 Tour of Flanders

Jürgen Roelandts: “This is a huge disappointment, the biggest one of my career. I felt I was the fastest, although I knew Preben isn’t slow. He made a strong impression today. Greg and Preben train together, so I couldn’t let Greg join us, if he would attack I would have been the one to close the gap.”

“The team was in a good position right from the start. It wasn’t a specific plan that I would attack early. In the break of twenty-five I was riding in a comfortable position. Thomas de Gendt and Louis Vervaeke did lots of work to create a big gap. Then Jasper De Buyst, Kenny Dehaes and Tosh Van der Sande did a hell of a job. 80 kilometres before the end we caused a selection. The situation was good for us all day long. It isn’t enough for me that we rode a fantastic race as a team. I really wanted to win the title. Until the last two hundred metres it was looking good. In the sprint it went wrong. Preben rode a strong race, but it’s still a disappointment for me.”

In France Tony Gallopin won the silver medal too.

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