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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

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

Today's racing:

Two races today. The Vuelta a España will run a 38.7 kilometer individual time trail. Be interesting to see if Tom Dumoulin can retake the GC lead.

And, the Tour of Britain will hold its fourth stage, Edinburgh to Blyth.

Vuelta a España team reports

Going into the time trial I got this from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s team captain Rafal Majka sits 3rd in the GC going into Wednesday’s decisive 38.7km, mainly flat time trial in Burgos. On the morning of the race, before leaving the team hotel to inspect the parcours, Majka elaborates on his and the team’s chances in the ITT and on the remaining stages with the overall classification in mind.

After 16 stages of Vuelta a España 2015, Rafal Majka is within striking range of a place on the podium in Madrid already holding 3rd place overall.

“The podium is possible. I’m not thinking about the overall win, because it will be very, very difficult. With 1’35” to Rodriguez and Dumoulin just behind it’s going to be close. But I want to try and I feel that my shape has improved during this Vuelta. I don’t have to think so much about my place in the GC but more about going full gas on the time trial and do the best result. The race is also not over after the time trial, we still have a long way to Madrid and some hard stages after the time trial”, says Rafal Majka and continues:

“Dumoulin is the favorite to win the Vuelta if you ask me, he is a specialist in the time trials. I’m a climber and not a TT specialist but I have done some good time trials recently and improved over the years. I’m not bad and I remember that I was happy with my time trial at Tour de Suisse and Romandie this year. The parcours is mainly flat and that is an advantage for Dumoulin, so I have to focus on not losing too much time to him and gaining time on Aru and Rodriguez. It’s the third week of the Vuelta, we’re late in the season and this time trial is just after the rest day – so everything can happen”, comments Majka who’ll be flanked by teammate, countryman and three-time national Polish TT champion Maciej Bodnar in the effort to reach a top result on the 38.7km parcours.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka climbs in Vuelta stage 16

With three tough stages left to race before the concluding ride into Madrid on Sunday, Rafal Majka underlines that the Vuelta will not be irrevocably decided after Wednesday’s individual time trial.

“After the time trial we have to stay motivated because we still have three hard stages left, where there is the possibility to gain or lose time - also for the top GC riders, if someone has a bad day. The Vuelta is not over after the time trial. I have a strong team with me and Pawel Poljanski and Jesper Hansen have supported me a lot in the mountains. They have been able to stay with the favorites until the last kilometers and during the last three mountain stages they were so important for the team and me. In the end, I didn’t know how my shape would be after the Tour de France and we were hoping that I could fight for a top five. Now it’s the podium, so for sure I’m satisfied but it’s too early to make any conclusions. We still have five days to go”, concludes Rafal Majka.

This came from Lotto-Soudal:

The Vuelta peloton has already covered sixteen stages, so still five to go. From tomorrow on it’s back up to the GC riders in the time trial, followed by three tough stages and a last stage in Madrid. Since the first rest day the ranking has become clearer, but it will still be a hard battle for the podium and other top places.

Lotto Soudal has Bart De Clercq on the fourteenth place at the moment in the overall classification. After the first rest day he didn’t have a good day due to back problems and he lost a few minutes and places that stage. The previous stages, the Belgian has always been one of the best fifteen riders uphill.

Bart De Clercq: “I crashed in the eighth stage, but the days after I didn’t have any problems. It was only after the first rest day that I had a sore back, during the very hard stage in Andorra. I lost about five minutes that day, otherwise I might have been twelfth overall now. Luckily, the next two days were less hard. Since Saturday, I feel good again and you can notice that by looking at my performances. I can follow the best riders quite long on the climbs, but when the top riders start the battle, I have to pass.”

“Yesterday, and the day before, I took back time on some riders. Brambilla and Jeandesboz are a few minutes ahead of me on GC, but if I have a good time trial tomorrow I might get closer and who knows I can still get on the twelfth place in the tough stages afterwards. Maybe I have to take some risks to do that and try to join a breakaway that gets some space. A good result in a stage would be very nice of course too. The time trial should suit me, in Poland I already proved it’s going smoothly on the time trial bike. The three stages after that are less hard than what we already had during this Vuelta, but still tough. Each day there is a serious amount of climbing to do, but the mountains are less steep.”

Bart de Clercq

Bart de Clercq about to start Vuelta stage 13

“A rest day is of course very welcome. The physical aspect is okay, everyone is tired and in one day you don’t recover from all the efforts. But especially for the mental aspect a rest day is important. You don’t have to get up with four or five hours of concentration and pressure ahead of you, we can sleep longer and do an easy training ride. There doesn’t happen anything special: rest as much as possible, surf on the internet and watch a movie. And at night we have our dinner earlier than usual in the Vuelta.”

BMC's rosters for Canadian races:

The BMC Racing Team has announced its rosters for the Grands Prix Cyclistes, a pair of WorldTour races in Canada.

Riders: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Philippe Gilbert

Phillipe Gilbert in this year's Eneco Tour

Friday's Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec City consists of 16 laps of a 12.6-kilometer circuit (201.6 km). Sunday's Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal is 17 laps of a 12.1-km course (205.7 km).

Johan Esteban Chaves re-ups with Orica-GreenEdge

Colombian Esteban Chaves and ORICA-GreenEDGE have extended their commitment to see the two-time 2015 Vuelta a Espana stage winner ride with the Australian outfit until the end of 2018. The announcement comes as the 25-year-old continues his breakthrough Grand Tour to enter the final week of the Spanish race sitting in sixth position overall.

“I’ll stay for three more years with ORICA-GreenEDGE and actually I am really happy for that,” Chaves said. “I feel really good in this team. Like I’ve said before, it’s like one big family. The team gave me a big opportunity in a difficult moment in my life and I want to thank them for that and I want to work really hard.

“The team has confidence in me and this is important. The team is relaxed and is filled with passion. Three years is a time I can work to something bigger. I have done a lot this Vuelta, but I have said all my life I want to win the Tour de France one day.”

Having originally signed Chaves shortly after a potentially career-ending injury, sport director Neil Stephens said the new agreement was another show of commitment by the two parties. “We are really pleased with how Esteban has developed,” Stephens said. “It’s really just confirmation of everything we thought Esteban would be.”

“We gave him confidence after his injury and worked with him with patience and he has responded to that and transformed into a fantastic bike rider.”

Chaves surprised all in his first professional season claiming stage wins at the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse in 2014. With two stage wins, six days in red and sixth overall into the second rest day at this year's Vuelta, he has concreted his position as one of the world’s best climbers and Stephens said there is plenty more to come from the ever-smiling Colombian.

Johan Esteban Cahves

Chaves wins Vuelta stage 6

“We’d hoped that Esteban would achieve what he has,” Stephens said. “I saw a guy that was really committed, that gives everything to his training and his diet and the way he conducts himself. I guess it is all happening a little faster than we imagined. Every goal we set, he achieved that and a bit more. And now, even here at the Vuelta, he has done everything we asked of him and a bit more.

“I think we were all a little surprised with the level he is at, but in the next few years we, and Esteban in particular, will expect this to be his level. That’s going to be hard at times, it's an added responsibility for everyone, but Esteban is ready and the whole ORICA-GreenEDGE outfit is up for it as well.”

Esteban Chaves

- Currently sixth overall at 2015 Vuelta a Espana (after 16 stages)
- Six days in the red jersey at 2015 Vuelta a Espana
- Two-time 2015 Vuelta a Espana stage winner (stage 2 & 6)
- 2014 Tour of California stage winner (stage 6)
- 2014 Toue de Suisse stage winner (stage 8)
- 2011 Tour de l’Avenir champion (under 23)

Giant-Alpecin sent this report about its upcoming races


The Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec is the first of the two Canadian WorldTour races on the schedule for this weekend. The riders will tackle 16 laps of a hilly 12.6km circuit around the city of Québec, for a total of 210.6km and almost 3,000 meters of elevation gain.

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "Our focus will be on Simon Geschke. I expect a smaller group to sprint for victory in Québec, and this course suits Simon very well. Positioning ahead of the final climb will be crucial on Friday, and with Nikias Arndt and Ramon Sinkeldam we have at least two riders who are capable of playing a key role in the finale. Warren Barguil will enjoy a free role, which gives us more tactical options."

RACE: Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (WT)

DATE: 11/09/2015

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED)

LINE-UP: Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)

Nikiass Arndt

Nikias Arndt wins Alberta Tour stage 6


The second Canadian WorldTour race is the sixth edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday, September 13. The race is comparable to Friday’s race in Québec, as it covers 205.7km over 17 laps, with a total of 3,893 meters of elevation gain.

"Montréal is normally a course that suits Warren Barguil. With his racing instinct and climbing capabilities he will be our leader on Sunday," explained coach Aike Visbeek (NED). Simon Geschke will be our man in the event that a larger group makes it to the finish. It will be important to keep our focus throughout, as it is easy to lose control of the race. We will have more chances if we race offensively, and teamwork will be crucial in this."

RACE: Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (WT)

DATE: 13/09/2015

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED)

LINE-UP: Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)

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