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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Friday, September 18, 2015

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

Racing schedule:

Yesterday we had the Coppa Bernocchi. Full results and photos are posted.

Today is the Belgian race, Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen.

Mark Cavendish won't ride World Championships

Mark Cavendish has pulled out of the British team for next week's UCI World Road Race Championships after failing to recover from a shoulder injury. The 30-year-old, who won the road race in 2011, suffered the injury in a crash on stage six of the Tour of Britain.

GB team director Shane Sutton said: "It is a blow as he had a great chance."
Adam Yates has been added to the squad after the withdrawal of Geraint Thomas. The World Championships are being held in Virginia, USA, from 19-27 September.

Welshman Thomas, who finished 15th in this year's Tour de France, withdrew on Monday, saying he did not feel "physically" up to it after completing the Vuelta a Espana. Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is also absent after breaking a foot in the Vuelta.

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish after Tour de France stage 7

Kris Boeckmans facial surgery performed

Kris Boeckmans suffered a terrible crash in the Vuelta a España's 8th stage in August. He's on the mend and underwent surgery to repair his broken facial bones. This report from his team, Lotto-Soudal, was waiting for me this morning:

Yesterday evening Kris Boeckmans underwent facial surgery at the ZOL hospital in Genk. The medical team, led by surgeon Schepers, needed more than five hours to attach fifty screws and eight plates.

Kris had a nose fracture, fractures of the eye socket, fractures of the upper jawbones and some internal fractures. The jawbones were blocked to improve the recovery during the upcoming two weeks. The first 24 hours Kris will remain at the intensive care unit. On Monday there will be an evaluation and the doctors will then discuss when he might go home.

Kris Boeckmans

Kris Boeckmans

Lampre-Merida's Coppa Bernocchi report

The whole final straight of the Coppa Bernocchi (192 km with start and arrival in Legnano) is usually the scene of the battle of the best sprinters, but today the epilogue was different.

The victory of race was not assigned at the end of a massive sprint, but was obtained by Nibali, who preceded 6 former mates of an attack which began 30 km from the finish.

VicenzoNibali wins Coppa Bernocchi

Vincenzo Nibali wins Coppa Bernocchi

The peloton (43 members) reached the arrival after 21" and the sprint was won by Bonifazio, who obtained the 8th place.

Lampre-Merida was a protagonist during the race thanks to the trainee Edward Ravasi (he has already signed an agreement with the team to turn pro in the next season, the exact moment still to be decided), who joined a 23-rider breakaway a few kilometers after the start and succeeded in remaining at the head of the race after the group of attackers had been reduced to four members. The action was neutralized with 30 km left, just before the start of the winning counter-attack.

"Today too we could appreciate very good performances by Bonifazio and Ravasi - sport director Daniele Righi explained - In our program for the race, we could also have the alternative of Modolo for the sprint, but Sacha suffered from cramps in the final part of the course, so Bonifazio became our main leader.

Niccolò has the regrets of having been too careful with his energy: he was so brilliant that he could have joined the winning action by Nibali and company, but he preferred not to overload his legs and to wait for the sprint, which seemed to be in that moment the most probable solution".

World Championships team news

This news came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo has picked the six riders that will represent the team at the World Championships Team Time Trial Sunday in Richmond, Virginia. With an ambition of fighting for the fiercely rivaled top spot on the podium, the squad includes three-time World ITT champion Michael Rogers and team star Peter Sagan.

With the group fully assembled in Richmond ahead of several days of meticulous preparation, team sports director Sean Yates unveils the six riders that will represent Tinkoff-Saxo at the prestigious World Championships TTT.

“Our line-up consists of Michael Rogers, Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Michael Valgren, Christopher Juul-Jensen and Manuele Boaro. It’s a complicated task to select the squad for the Worlds TTT, as it’s late in the season and it’s critical that the riders aren’t fatigued before an all-out effort like this. It’s obvious that these six riders, together with the likes of Bennati and Contador, are the strongest time trialists on our team and we felt that they were the best at this point”, explains Sean Yates before going into details with the team’s approach to the 38.8km course:

Manuele Boaro

Manuele Boaro will be part of Tinkoff-Saxo's team

“We have a solid squad and they are, not least, motivated. Bodnar is a three-time Polish ITT champion, Rogers has loads of experience and won the Worlds ITT three times, Juul-Jensen is the current Danish ITT champion and during the season we’ve finished 2nd in two Grand Tour TTT’s. However, setting a goal is tricky but it’s undoubtedly to do the fastest possible ride. There are no clear favorites and, if we stick to the strategy, we got a chance. BMC, Orica and Etixx are surely some of the teams that will prove hard to beat but we want to muster in there”.

With the esteemed TTT taking place in late September, reaching Richmond with six riders in the best possible shape off the back of a long season was not without difficulties.

“For us, this TTT has been a long term project and a major objective from the start of the season. But it was sort of changed after several injuries. Sagan got knocked out of the Vuelta, Bennati will not take part, as he isn’t recovered yet after the Vuelta, where he stayed and supported Majka and Bodnar crashed in California and we wanted him at the Vuelta to do at least one Grand Tour effort. But doing the Vuelta doesn’t allow for full recovery. Originally, we wanted them to do the Canadian races together, so it hasn’t been the optimum preparation that we were looking for. However, the boys are acclimatizing well and they have the qualities to do a blazing TTT”, comments Sean Yates and adds about the 38.8km predominantly flat effort ahead:

“We gathered in the beginning of this week to reset the body clock, adapt and freshen up. This effort requires careful planning – the guys have to train at the right intensity, not rest too much and we have to test and select the right equipment in order to use the power we develop to the largest and most efficient extent. It’s going to be a classic World Championships TTT with 38.8 mostly flat kilometers, a real out-and-back race where we will see an intense speed. We want the guys to ramp up the intensity during the next days and then hope that they all have a great feeling come Sunday”.

LottoNL-Jumbo sent this World's press release:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo is working towards the team time trial in the World Championships in Richmond with confidence. The six-man team of Sports Directors Jan Boven and Mathieu Heijboer race on Sunday, September 20.

“The team time trial has been in the heads of the boys for a while already,” Heijboer said. “They’ve done various tests with AeroPro this season and the results have really helped them in recent individual time trials.”

Boven and Heijboer worked hard as well in the run-up to the time trial in Richmond. “We’ve analysed all the team time trials of this year and found valuable information on the length of taking turns at the front and the wattages a rider needs to push when he leads the group. We will certainly use this data to be at our best on Sunday.”

The “typical American” course covers 38.8 kilometres. Heijboer said, “The roads are wide. It is not a very technical course. The final climb of the two, the one leading up to the finish, is quite nasty.”

As Dutch time trial champion Wilco Kelderman is looking forward to the team time trial. “We have fantastic Bianchi bikes and material so our team is very motivated for Sunday. Especially because some of us are in a good shape.”

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman

Team line-up: Jos van Emden, Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman, Tom Leezer, Maarten Tjallingii & Sep Vanmarcke.

Sports Directors: Jan Boven & Mathieu Heijboer.

And here's Cult Energy's World's news:

Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s 24 year-old Karel Hnik has been selected to the Czech national line-up to participate in the upcoming road race World Championships in Richmond, USA. This is his first elite World Championships but he has represented the Czech Republic in two U23 road race World Championships.

Karel Hnik

Karel Hnik

Karel says: “I feel like I’m in good condition at the moment and I’m really looking forward to this race. Our leader will be Stybar and if everything falls into place, I think he’ll have a good chance of going on the podium. That’s the goal and we will do anything we can to set things up for him before the finale.”

The Czech line-up consists of: Zdenek Stybar, Roman Kreuziger, Karel Hnik, Petr Vakoc, Jan Barta and Jiri Polnicky. The road race World Championships take place Sunday 27th of September on a course covering 259 kilometers.

Orica-GreenEdge re-signs Hepburn

Here's the team press release:

2014 Australian time trial champion Michael Hepburn has re-signed with ORICA-GreenEDGE for the next two seasons in a partnership that will also see him return to the track next year.

Hepburn, who is an integral part of ORICA-GreenEDGE’s team time trial squad for the world championships this Sunday, will re-join the Australian team pursuit squad at the conclusion of the season in an effort to make the Rio Olympic Games track cycling team in 2016.

“With Rio on the horizon the track certainly does come back in the picture,” Hepburn said. “With the support of Cycling Australia and ORICA-GreenEDGE my goal is to make the team pursuit team ‎so we can see what is possible to achieve.”

“Then on the road I am very motivated to have a big summer in Australia followed by another crack at the Giro where I have some personal goals but also in support of our developing general classification ambitions.”

Hepburn, a multiple world champion and Olympic silver medalist on the track, has been involved in many of ORICA-GreenEDGE’s team time trial successes, including at the 2014 and 2015 Giro d’Italia. The 24-year old credited the environment for those successes and his decision to stay with the team.

“It was an easy decision,” Hepburn said. “I am very comfortable here working with my close friends and staff and I’m looking forward to spending a few more as well. Both of my Giro experiences have been real highlights so far. To achieve the results we did in such a great environment where I could perform and enjoy doing it.

“Working in with the team time trial boys in those two races was also very rewarding. ‎ Winning two years in a row was a very memorable part of my career so far.”

Sport director Matt White said ORICA-GreenEDGE is pleased to support Queenslander’s Olympic ambitions. “Michael has two goals next year,” White said. “One is on the road and there are some big goals for him there, but obviously the second part of the season is going to be about trying to become Olympic champion in Rio.”

“We are fully supportive of his track ambitions and we are confident what he has done in the last couple of years on the road has added to his repertoire for both disciplines going forward.”

Michael Hepburn

- 2014 Australian time trial champion
- Integral part of ORICA-GreenEDGE team time trial squad
- 1st 2014 and 2015 Giro d’Italia – team time trials

Cannondale-Garmin signs Lawson Craddock

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced it has added Lawson Craddock to the squad, starting in 2016. The 23-year-old American entered his first race at just 10 years old, and has been racing ever since. He is a former U.S. Junior National Champion on the road and in the time trial. In 2013, Craddock gained worldwide attention with a breakout performance at the Amgen Tour of California, finishing 8th overall and winning the Best Young Rider jersey. In 2014, Craddock finished 3rd overall at the Tour of California. His achievements and racing style caught the attention of Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, early on.

“Lawson has been on our radar since his junior days. He has always been a top talent and a very ambitious rider. His 3rd place in the 2014 Tour of California and his incredible work defending the race leader in the 2015 Vuelta show that he is a versatile rider ready to lead or help others. He is a tremendous addition to our team,” said Vaughters.

Craddock is not only a talented time trialist, he achieved early success on the track and has developed into a strong all-rounder. He is a Silver and Bronze medalist in the Junior World Championships, finished on the podium at the Junior Paris-Roubaix, and secured a top 10 finish at the 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

After suffering a crash at the 2015 Tour Down Under, where he broke several bones including his sternum, Craddock demonstrated determination and grit as he focused on his recovery. He came back from injury put in a strong performance at the Tour of Poland (including a podium finish on Stage 6) and more recently at the Vuelta, where he rode in support of his team leader, who ultimately finished 6th overall.

“Cannondale-Garmin is the perfect fit for me,” said Craddock. “It is the best place and best opportunity for me to continue my development as a rider. I am really excited to help the team achieve its goals and when called upon, deliver results myself.”

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