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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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

Today's racing:

We'll cover will the Coppa Agostoni, held in Italy, and the GP de Wallonie, run in Belgium. Both happen today, Wednesday, September 16.

Kris Boeckmans well enough to send Tweet

Kris Boeckmans began a long period of rehabilitation after his serious fall on August 29 in the 8th stage of the Tour of Spain in Murcia. Immersed until last Thursday in an induced coma, the Belgian cyclist returned to Belgium Friday in an air ambulance and was transferred to a Belgian hospital.

But now the recovering Boeckmans is well enough to send a tweet: "Hello world! Thank you for all the great messages and support. One of my hardest rides ever but I made it! #NeverGiveUp"

Following the fall in Spain, Boeckmans had a severe concussion, a pneumothorax, (a collection of air in the pleural space that causes an uncoupling of the lung from the chest wall), as well as several fractures and injuries in his face and three broken ribs.

Kris Boeckmans

Kris Boeckmans

Back in Belgium, the rib fractures should heal in a natural way. The lung injury also needs time to resolve. The face fractures will also be repaired.

Tinkoff-Saxo's GP Wallonie news

Tinkoff-Saxo is set to embark on the autumn race of GP Wallonie taking place in the Belgian Ardennes. Bruno Pires leads the squad as the protected rider, while several other members of the roster will have free hands to take their chances en route to the final, decisive climb to Côte de la Citadelle de Namur.

Accompanying Bruno Pires into action are Evgeny Petrov, Edward Beltran, Jesus Hernandez, Michael Kolar and stagiaires Michael Gogl and Felix Grossschartner.

“Pires will be our protected rider at GP Wallonie, while the parcours suits Evgeny Petrov more than the rest of the races he will do this season. So Evgeny will, if the opportunity arises, take his chances, while our two stagiaires Gogl and Grossschartner can do something as well. We don’t have a favorite to win the race, but we will adapt our strategy to maximize our chances and try to be in the breakaway”, says Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Steven de Jongh about the 198.2km race starting Wednesday.

Jesus Hernandez

Jesus Hernandez will be at the GP Wallonie

“Normally, the breakaway is caught before the final short climb to Citadelle de Namur, where the favorites fight for the win in a select group or very reduced bunch. It’s an uphill sprint, where the captains and outsiders kick up the intensity from the bottom of the climb. We want Pires to stay calm in the finale, while our other riders must cover attacks and gaps from the distance”, adds Steven de Jongh.

GP Wallonie consists of 198.2 undulating kilometers in the northern part of the Ardennes taking the riders from the Liège suburb of Chaudfontaine to Namur.

“It’s the same parcours as previous editions, sometimes there are small variations but the race is always concluded on the Côte de la Citadelle de Namur. Beltran and Hernandez will protect Pires for as long as possible. They both sustained injuries at US Pro Challenge and we are not sure about their form. Our two stagiaires could play an important role. They are very motivated and both of them are naturally fighting to make their way into the pro ranks”, finishes Steven de Jongh.

BMC's rosters for upcoming races:

The BMC Racing Team has revealed its rosters for three upcoming races: Grand Prix de Wallonie in Belgium on Wednesday, Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem in Belgium on Saturday and Sunday's Grand Prix d'Isbergues in France.

Grand Prix de Wallonie

Riders: Damiano Caruso (ITA), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sport Director: Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Rck Zabel

Rick Zabel will start both the GP Wallonie and the Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem

Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem

Riders: Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sport Director: Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Grand Prix d'Isbergues

Riders: Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).
Sport Director: Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Lotto-Soudal's plans for upcoming races:

This week Lotto Soudal has a nice race programme in Belgium, with three Europe Tour races: Grand Prix de Wallonie (16/09), Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen (Championship of Flanders) – Koolskamp (18/09) and Primus Classic Impanis–Van Petegem (19/09). Kurt Van de Wouwer is the sports director for all three races, he gives a short preview for the coming days.

The Grand Prix de Wallonie starts in Chaudfontaine. After 198 kilometres the riders will get to the finish on the Citadelle de Namur, the seventh hill of the day.

Kurt Van de Wouwer: “We don’t have a specific leader for the Grand Prix de Wallonie. There are several riders who can set a good result there. Jelle Vanendert for example, who was fourth last year. Also Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere or Pim Ligthart could score there. We’ll have to anticipate, if we wait till the Citadelle, we possibly can’t beat the strongest riders. Because we have a good team in general, it’s better for us that things get started early. That can be on the three hills ahead of the Citadelle, in the last forty kilometres. A selection can be made there already, certainly when the circumstances are like this moment: rain and wind. The descents in Wallonia could be dangerous then. To me, Jan Bakelants seems to be a potential winner.”

On Friday the race in Koolskamp, in West-Flanders, will take place for the 100rd time. The first edition was held in 1908. The race consists of sixteen laps of 12.3 kilometres; a total of around 196 kilometres.

Kurt Van de Wouwer: “In Koolskamp we have a former winner in the team, Jens Debusschere (Debusschere won in 2013, LTS), and Kenny Dehaes. One of them will do the sprint for us. Let’s say there is 80% chance of a bunch sprint. I didn’t often ride in Koolskamp during my career, I preferred a race like the Grand Prix de Wallonie, but there’s always a nice atmosphere in Koolskamp with an enthusiastic crowd. Trainees Frederik Frison and Dries Van Gestel, who also races on Wednesday, are perfect riders to join a breakaway. Frederik did a great job at the Tour of Britain, for Debusschere and Greipel. Dries rode the Tour de Moselle, a U23 race, and was third overall.”

The last race on Belgian soil this week is the Primus Classic Impanis–Van Petegem. This is still a pretty new race, the first edition was in 2011. The start is in Brakel, East-Flanders. The finish lies in Haacht (Flemish-Brabant), after a race of almost 200 kilometres. There are eleven hills on the route, but they aren’t very steep.

Kurt Van de Wouwer: “A big part of the route of the Primus Classic Impanis-VanPetegem lies in Wallonia, but still it has features of a Flemish race. The course isn’t flat, but the hills aren’t very hard to climb. The weather could play a more important role than the hills. The peloton will head along some open fields, where the wind could become a factor. Both scenarios are possible: a break that survives or a group sprint. Many riders will have taken part in the race in Koolskamp the day before and that might make them a bit tired. There is a definitely a chance that an escapee can take the victory. Sander Armée, Stig Broeckx and Dennis Vanendert might get in a breakaway. Kenny Dehaes and Jasper De Buyst are the fast men in the team. We hope for a nice week. At the Grand Prix de Wallonie it’s our ambition to end up in top five, and we’d like to win one of the other two races: Koolskamp or Impanis-Van Petegem.”

Selection Grand Prix de Wallonie (16/09): Vegard Breen, Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere, Pim Ligthart, Dries Van Gestel, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert and Louis Vervaeke.

Pim ligthart

Pim Lightart will be at the GP Wallonie and the Primus Classic

Selection Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen – Koolskamp (18/09): Vegard Breen, Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Deheaes, Gert Dockx, Frederik Frison, Boris Vallée and Dries Van Gestel.

Selection Primus Classic Impanis–Van Petegem (19/09): Sander Armée, Vegard Breen, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst, Kenny Dehaes, Pim Ligthart and Dennis Vanendert.

And here's Giant-Alpecin's coming race line-ups:


The 100th anniversary edition of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen takes place on Friday in Koolskamp, Belgium. The one-day race consists of 16 laps on a relatively flat circuit of 12km with a cobblestone section in it, for a race total of 192km.

Coach Marc Reef (NED) said: "The course covers a lot of open sections and will be attractive for attacking groups. We will race aggressively and try to join these groups as well to enter the finale in a good tactical position. If it comes down to a bunch sprint we will go for Marcel Kittel.”

RACE: Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen (1.1)
DATE: 18/09/2015
COACH: Marc Reef (NED)

LINE-UP: Roy Curvers (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Caleb Fairly (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Carter Jones (USA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Max Walscheid (GER)

Cheng Ji

Cheng Ji will start the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen


The second Belgian one-day race for this week is the Primus Classic Impanis – Van Petegem on Saturday. The race starts in Brakel and finishes in Haacht after 199.2km on a hilly parcours.

"The course allows the race to become quite interesting,” explained coach Marc Reef (NED). "Our tactics for Saturday will be comparable to Friday’s. The total elevation gain is 2,200m, and in the past we’ve seen that the classics specialists feel at home at this this race and escape groups do have a chance here. With Warren Barguil we will try to play a role in the finale, and we are bringing Marcel Kittel to the race for a possible sprint scenario."

RACE: Primus Classic Impanis - Van Petegem (1.HC)
DATE: 19/09/2015
COACH: Marc Reef (NED)

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Caleb Fairly (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Carter Jones (USA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Max Walscheid (GER)


The UCI world championships start this Sunday in Richmond, Virginia, with the team time trial for elite men, which will be the only event in which the riders ride for their trade teams rather than national teams. The course for the team time trial can be described as flat and fast and covers 38.8km with just 240m of elevation gain.

"The course is favorable for us and the riders are really motivated to get a good result in Richmond,” explained coach Aike Visbeek (NED). "Our aim is to keep improving our team time trial skills, and the race at the world championships will be an important step in this process. We have a few days to train on the parcours, and Tom Dumoulin will join us on Wednesday. We have made only one change in the lineup from last year, as having a team in which the riders are familiar with each other is important to develop this discipline."

RACE: UCI World Championships team time trial
COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED)

LINE-UP: Nikias Arndt (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)

Sacha Modolo re-signs with Lampre-Merida

The team sent this press release:

The relationship between Lampre-Merida and one of the most precious pieces of the blue-fuchsia-green treasure will continue for the next two years.

Sacha Modolo extended for 2016 and 2017 his contract with the team of the manager Brent Copeland.
In the two years he has spent in the team, the Italian sprinter obtained 11 victories, the most important two in the Giro d'Italia 2015 in Jesolo and in Lugano. In his career, he won 37 races.

Sacha modolo

Sacha Modolo on the Dauphiné podium with immortals Bernard Hinault (left) and Bernard Thevenet.

"Lampre-Merida is very happy to continue to work with and to invest in Sacha Modolo, who gave us satisfaction. We're sure he'll be able to achieve even more important goals and more frequently - team manager Copeland explained - In the two years he has raced in our team, he improved his cycling qualities, so the prospect for the next two seasons are very good and we all must be ambitious. We are proud that Modolo appreciated the effort made by the team to build up a group of riders who helped him to achieve top results. For the team, the extension of the contract of Modolo is very important".

Modolo said that:"I had no doubts when I chose to continue my professional path with Lampre-Merida: I'm sure my decision is perfect and the relationship will be full of satisfaction. I thank the whole team, the management and the sponsors for their decision to extend the contract, I'll work hard to give them many victories in top level races. I'm really happy".

Kirsch replaces Gastauer in Luxembourg World Champs lineup

Cult Energy sent this note:

Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Alex Kirsch has been called in to replace Ben Gastauer in the Luxembourgean line-up for the 2015 World Championships in Richmond, USA. Gastauer withdrew from the Luxembourg line-up because of a virus.

Alex Kirsch says: “First of all, I feel sorry for Ben. Representing your country is very special. But obviously I’m feeling honored being able to represent Luxembourg at the Worlds and I hope to be a solid replacement for Ben. My form has improved significantly during the past few months so I feel ready and up for the challenge. I’m aware that’s a very difficult race and I’ll do what I can to protect and support Jempy Drucker for as long as possible,” says Kirsch.

Alex Kirsch is the third rider in the Luxembourg line-up consisting of Jumpy Drucker and Laurent Didier besides Kirsch.

Alex kirsch

Alex Kirsch

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