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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Thursday, October 29, 2015

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

Sacha Modolo wins Tour of Hainan

This is from his Lampre-Merida team:

Paris–Roubaix: The Inside Story

Sacha Modolo is the winner of the final general classification of the Chinese race, defending in the final stage (Wuzhishan-Xinglong, 119 km) the 9 advantage he had on Zeits and obtaining the 7th place in the final sprint which was won by Jones.

The triumph of the Italian rider is the result of the sum of two stages victories, two second places, one third position and one fourth place, in addition to the impressive performance he realized in the queen stage (8th stage), when he beated off the attacks of the climbers.

Modolo received the perfect support by the group of riders who were directed by Simone Pedrazzini, that are Bono, Cattaneo, Conti, Mario Costa, Ferrari and Xu.

Modolo won the points classification as well.

In 2015, Lampre-Merida won 29 races and obtained 15 second positions and 19 third places, for a total of 63 appearances on the podium.

Sacha Modolo

Sacha Modolo wins stage 17 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia

Modolo is very satisfied: “It’s the first time I won a general classification, it never happened even when I raced in the youth categories, it’s something unusual for me which makes me very happy.

I’m also very proud for having achieved such important goal, because it was difficult for me considering my characteristics: thanks to the support of my team mates, I suceeded in giving to Lampre-Merida this impressive victory.

It’s always something good obtaining a victory at the end of the season, it helps you to spend a good winter break and to approach the new year with even more energies and a higher morale“.

The Italian sprinter describes how the defend of the yellow jersey unfolded: “We were aware it would not have been easy, my team mates were great in giving me the best possible support in order to neutralize every attack attempts.

The opponents attacked us since the early kilometers, but we stopped them and I chased in person Zeits when he attacked on the last two hills at less than 30 km to the arrival.

It would have been great to win also the final stage, but I was tired and I could not be competitive as I would like to be“.

Drapac had a good day at Hainan

Here's the Drapac report:

Brenton Jones took the win in today’s final stage of Tour of Hainan. Fabio Silvestre (Team Trek Factory Racing) came across in second with Benjamin Giraud (Team Marseille 13 KTM) in third. The 119km stage was fast from the start and was filled with attack after attack.

“The whole team were so strong and we were determined to finish strongly. A great lead-out by Graeme put me in position in the final 1.5km and helped me take a strong win! I am so happy, winning the last race of the season and putting Drapac on the top step. The team has had so much faith in me all week, and today was well worth the wait” Jones said.

Drapac spent the day working, with Adam Phelan sitting 9th in the General Classification and only a mere few seconds off the top 5.

Brenton Jones wins Tour of Hainan Stage 9

Brenton Jones wins Tour of Hainan stage 9

“It is definitely hats of to the whole team today. This was truly a team effort. We kept it together for Meyer to take KOM points and for Phelan to try take some time in the intermediate sprints. Unfortunately for Phelan he got 4th in both sprints but Meyer managed to score some points finishing top five on the mountains classification. In the final we waited a lot longer then usual and attacked it like the other days. In the last 1-1.5k I had Jones on ice, relaxing in the bunch. In the last corner I punched it, Jones smoked past them and I knew he had it at 100m to go and started to salute. Absolutely great way to finish a race and especially the 2015 season,” Team Captain Graeme Brown said.

Sports Director Keith Flory was pleased with the team performance all week. “The commitment from everyone was fantastic each and every day to the goals we set for ourselves. For Brenton to get a win when he is still struggling with some injuries sustained from stage 1 was a solid performance. Phelan rode strong all week for the team and it is a great finish to a good year of performances from across the team. Every rider has stepped up this year and it puts us in a great position to kick in for 2016,” Flory said.

Phelan closed out the tour with 8th in the general classification.

Trek Factory Racing's Hainan report:

Coming into the final day of the Tour of Hainan, the general classification was tight and from the drop of the start flag the ninth stage at the Tour of Hainan was a big fight for precious seconds.

With bonus seconds offered in two intermediate sprints along the 119 kilometers, Trek Factory Racing was at risk to drop down in GC, and after the two sprints were contested they had lost time to a few riders behind them in the classification.

We leave China with a positive feeling, and it’s a nice way to end the season.
“With the race’s situation after yesterday, everybody today was looking to update their classements,” explained Adriano Baffi. “So from the start it was full gas, after 6km it was the first mountain sprint, and after 36km the first sprint where Buts, a rider just behind us in the GC, took 1 second. In the second sprint another rider, Gavazzi, also close to our GC, took 2 seconds and Buts again 1 second. After those 2 sprints, a break of 3 went away but were caught before the final mountain sprint. So again it was a logical sprint finish, even if on the final KOM some sprinters were dropped.”

The team, unable to snag a bonus second or two in the intermediate sprints, focused on the finish with Fabio Silvestre and the Portuguese rider came through with a brilliant second place, his second podium of the race and seventh top ten finish in nine stages.

But, as fate would have it, a large crash with four kilometers remaining negated the bonus seconds as some of the top GC-placed riders were caught in the melee. When the overall was tallied Julien Bernard maintained his 6th place, Szymon Rekita moved into 9th, and Leonardo Basso slipped into 10th.

So often this season Trek Factory Racing found themselves on the wrong side of luck, and finally in the last race of the season good fortune turned their way.

“At 4km to go there was a big crash and some riders in the GC were involved,” continued Baffi. “The sprint was with around 45 riders. We knew that today was another big fight day, and for this reason we talked a lot about this in the meeting. To keep our positions we earned yesterday we needed to fight against a breakaway, bonus sprints, attacks, and in the final sprint. During the day we lost some places due to the bonifications, but at the end with the crash we won back our places with Julien, and even better, we moved Rekita and Basso into the top 10 of the GC. Fabio suffered all day, he was tired, but at the end he took another podium, he did a great sprint.”

Sometimes in cycling the results come when least expected and chance often plays a decisive role. After nine stages of which eight finished in bunch sprints, Fabio Silvestre capped it all with his best finish. And, after losing GC places to bonus seconds on the road Wednesday, the team finished safely ahead of the late crash to grab three spots in the top ten GC and finish off nine days’ effort with some welcomed good luck.

“It was a very good Tour of Hainan. We didn’t come away with a victory but thinking of the five guys we had here we did very well.  The guys fought hard every day, and Fabio did well against some very fast sprinters. We leave China with a positive feeling, and it’s a nice way to end the season.”

Mid-season signings Rachel Neylan and Katrin Garfoot signed with
Orica-AIS for another year

This from the team:

Neylan joined the team in March following an incredible Australian summer that included a silver medal at the national championships and victory at the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

A little under twelve months earlier, Garfoot similarly signed for the Australian outfit off the back of promising early season performances in Europe racing for the national team.

Katrin Garfoot

Katrin Garfoot at the 2014 World's

The pair finished 2015 with Orica-AIS in impressive form – Garfoot narrowly missed the podium with a fourth place in the world championship time trial, less than ten seconds off the gold medal, whilst Neylan won Trophee d’Or and also played a pivotal role for Australia in the world championship road race.

Crediting the environment for their enjoyment and success racing at the top level, Garfoot and Neylan said they were pleased to be racing with the team for another season.

“We grew together as a team this year and learned and developed a lot,” Garfoot said. “It’s a great working environment and I think it’s an advantage to work with the team I know well in such an exciting and important year.”

“The feeling of coming together as a unit winning races is something special I'd never experienced at this level before, it was a real highlight of my year,” Neylan agreed. “It was a fresh page for me being in such a friendly and professional environment on and off the bike.”

After such strong performances to conclude the 2015 season, sport director Gene Bates is pleased to have the pair return. “We signed Rachel late, off the back of the national championships,” Bates explained. “She fitted in with the group straight away and was really important in some of the victories we had during that June/July period.”

“Obviously winning the Trophee d’Or over in France with the national team was a highlight of her season. Then she backed that up with a really strong ride at the GP Pluoay with us before a really active role in the world championships.

“Kat is just getting more and more dependable in that time trial area. She made a few errors in time trials throughout the year that we thought had she not, then she would have been at the pointy end of the field. She really pulled it all together at the world championships. That’s what we’ve seen as her ability throughout the season, we just haven’t seen it on the results board prior to the world championships.”

Staring down the barrel of an Olympic year, Garfoot and Neylan warned they are ready to fire.

“I'd love to start by winning the green and gold jersey if the opportunity arose after being so close this year,” Neylan said. “The other big goal for the early season is selection for Rio Olympics, it's been a dream since I was ten, I believe it’s a tough course which would suit my abilities well.”

Garfoot concurred. “I want to improve and develop my power and skills and I would love to represent Australia at the Olympics and the world championships in the coming year as well,” she said.

Katrin Garfoot
Date of Birth: 8 October 1981 (34)
Nationality: Australian (born in Germany)
Turned Pro: 2014

-    1st 2015 Oceania Championships - Time Trial
-    4th 2015 UCI Road Cycling World Championships - Time Trial
-    3rd 2014 Commonwealth Games – Time Trial

Rachel Neylan
Date of Birth: 9 March 1982 (33)
Nationality: Australian
Turned Pro: 2011

-    1st 2015 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
-    2nd 2015 National Championship Australia – Road Race
-    2nd 2012 UCI Road Cycling World Championship – Road Race

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