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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Sunday, September 20, 2015

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

Racing schedule:

Yesterday we had two races, Memorial Marco Pantani in Italy and Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem in Belgium

Today we have the GP Industria-Commercio Prato, probably the last chance for some road men to get in some racing before the World's and the big dog, the World Championships. On Sunday's roster are the men's and women's team time trials.

Being more than a little crazy, I've got complete results for every edition of the Men's Elite (used to be professional) road race, going back to the first edition, 1927.

Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem team reports

Here's Lotto-Soudal's news. I posted a lot of it on the race report:

Sean De Bie has won the GP Impanis – Van Petegem (Europe Tour, 1.HC). With more than two kilometres to go the young Belgian attacked from a considerably reduced peloton. He left his companion Floris Gerts behind and a great solo led him to his second victory of the season. Earlier this year De Bie was the best in the fifth stage of the Tour de Luxembourg.

After twelve kilometres four riders got in front: De Marchi (BMC), Morice (Europcar), De La Cruz (Etixx) and Van Goethem (Roompot). The four had a maximal advantage of six minutes. In the peloton it was mainly Lotto Soudal that controlled the pace. The situation remained stable for a long time, until the ascents of Holstheide and Smysberg. 40 kilometres before the finish several riders decided to attack. Pim Ligthart, Jasper De Buyst, Dennis Vanendert and Sean De Bie raced very attentively in a peloton that had been reduced to a group of about 40 riders due to the race conditions.

In the finale Pim Ligthart nearly rode in front for fifteen kilometres together with Brambila, Veuchelen and Gerts, but they were caught at 6.5 kilometres from the end. After an attempt of Jasper De Buyst it was Sean De Bie who made the decisive move. Floris Gerts took over for a moment, then De Bie took off on his own. In the background Gerts and Claeys tried to counter, but De Bie obviously was the strongest. Great performance!

Sean de Bie wins the 2015 Primus Classic

Sean de Bie wins the 2015 Primus Classic

Sean De Bie: “The early breakaway with a rider of BMC and Etixx was a nasty situation, especially because Trek and at first instance also Lotto NL – Jumbo didn’t want to cooperate with us in the peloton. Sander Armée did loads of work. With Kenny Dehaes we had a sprinter in the team, but we assumed it wouldn’t end with a sprint because of the tough zone around Overijse. That’s why we tried to always have a guy in a break and the situation with Pim in a group of four was perfect. I wanted to be the first to get into the dangerous corner at five kilometres from the finish, and so I did. In the last three kilometres I decided to go for all or nothing. The pain in my legs during that last kilometre was immense, but the victory makes you forget about that.”

“The entire race I had the feeling I was good, but I didn’t want to use my energy too soon. Wednesday, I felt even better at the GP Wallonie, but then I started to mingle too soon so the power in the legs had gone in the finale and then I just tried to help Jens and Jelle. I made a huge progress this year; it’s the first time that I am so good in this part of the season. I finished the Tour of Britain with a good condition and you notice that a lot of others are almost at the end of their strengths. And of course I’m happy I can give a victory to Lotto Soudal.”

Here's BMC's Primus Classic press release:

Haacht, Belgium - Floris Gerts finished third and teammate Jempy Drucker was fifth Saturday for the BMC Racing Team at Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem.

Gerts was on the attack in the final kilometers after following a move by eventual race winner Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal).

Jemy Drucker

Jempy Drucker (right) finishes the 2015 RideLondon

"I was trying to keep the pace high in the peloton for Jempy when one of the Lotto guys (De Bie) jumped from behind," Gerts said. "I tried to get him back and looked back and saw we had a gap. But I mad the mistake by taking over and riding also. I should not have done that because I had already been in the front group and was a little bit tired. When he attacked again, I could not follow."

De Bie soloed to the win one second ahead of Dimitri Claeys (Verandas Willems Cycling Team) and Gerts - who notched his best result since joining the BMC Racing Team as a stagiaire in August. Danny Van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) took the bunch sprint for third ahead of Drucker, who had finished third himself on the last stage of the Vuelta a España less than a week ago.

"The aim today was for Jempy," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Geert Van Bondt said. "But we also knew we had to race aggressively because last year there was a group of 60 guys who went out from the start. So we knew we had to be active when the groups were going."

Earlier in the 199.2-kilometer race, BMC Racing Team's Alessandro De Marchi did just that. The Vuelta a España stage winner was part of a four-man breakaway that rolled away shortly after the start. Inside of 25 km to go, De Marchi was the last survivor of the escape. Just after he was reeled in, small groups began to go off the front repeatedly as the peloton was whittled down to about three dozen riders.

With about five kilometers to go, the BMC Racing Team had five riders organized at the front. But De Bie made what would be the decisive attack shortly afterwards and Gerts followed.

Here's what Lampre-Merida had to say about the Memorial Marco Pantani

Diego Ulissi won the Memorial Pantani, in which he participated wearing the blue jersey of the Italian National Team.

Lampre-Merida's rider reached the final straight of the race (start in Riccione and arrival in Cesenatico, 199.5 km) with Visconti and Nibali, with whom he had attacked 60 km from the fnish on the climb of Montevecchio. Ulissi preceded the two breakaway mates and he obtained the 2nd seasonal victory, the 19th in his career.

Diego Ulissi wins Memorial Marco Pantani

Diego Ulissi wins 2015 Memorial Marco Pantani

The success is a good step towards the World Championship in Richmond, where Ulissi and the Italian National Team will fly on Monday, after having taking part on Sunday in Gp Industria e Commercio di Prato.

"During the week I could not train as it would have been necessary, so today I used more the head than the legs, but I had very good feedbacks during the race - Diego Ulissi explained - It's always a great feeling when you win, it helps the morale, so I'm very satisfied for today performance."

Lotto-Soudal re-signs Van der Sande and Monfort

This release came from the team today:

The Lotto Soudal team for 2016 is slowly taking shape. Today the team can announce that Maxime Monfort (32) and Tosh Van der Sande (24) have extended their contract, for two and one year respectively.

Maxime Monfort joined the team last season after the Belgian rode eight years long for foreign teams. This season Maxime took part in two Grand Tours: Giro and Vuelta. He was eleventh overall at the Giro. During the Vuelta he changed his plans after a few stages and took his chance in breakaways. In the nineteenth stage he finished on the third place.

Maxime Monfort: “Last season it took some time to adapt to racing in a Belgian team after I had raced for foreign teams for several years. This year I really found my place within the Lotto Soudal team and I feel at home. It’s the best choice for my career to stay two more years. This season things ran smoothly and I’m now acquainted with the customs of the team. At the Giro I could live up to the expectations as GC rider, in the Vuelta I had to change tactics when I noticed a top place on GC wouldn’t be possible. Then I joined breakaways to try to win a stage.”

“Within the team we have spoken about giving me a role as road captain in the future, a role in which I will pass on my experience to a GC rider like Bart De Clercq our young riders like Louis Vervaeke. Although, I already do that now actually; I like to pass on tips. I don’t come from a cycling family myself so they couldn’t give me any tips. Apart from supporting the young riders in the team, I still want to set a good overall result in one of the Grand Tours myself. When I have a good preparation, I am convinced that top ten is definitely still possible for me. Apart from that, there are many other events where I can race more aggressively like at the recent Vuelta.”

Maxime Monfort at this year's Tour of Poland

Maxime Monfort at this year's Tour of Poland

Just like Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande rode the Vuelta. The Belgian sprinted to a top ten place five times. Tosh has a pair of fast legs which can certainly lead him towards personal success, on the other hand he is also a real team player on whom the team can count on different terrains. Tosh has been riding for the team since 2012, his first season as a pro.

Tosh Van der Sande: “I’m looking back on the Vuelta with a positive feeling. I set some nice top ten results, only the victory is missing. That would have been the icing on the cake. I was close a few times. Anyway, this boosts my confidence for the upcoming races. At the Vuelta I realized I had set a step forward. Since I became pro I have been making progress every year and hopefully the evolution continues. As I get the chance to grow in this team, I am very pleased I can stay another year.”

“I feel good in this team because it’s Belgian. The team offers me a nice race programme and I appreciate that a lot. I can take my chance and I hope to do that even more next year in the tougher stage races. When I get that first victory my confidence will be even bigger. Who knows, I could still get that first win this season. Next week I’ll race in Vichte and Lichtervelde and afterwards I’ll probably take part in the Eurométropole Tour. In the past I was always good after I rode a Grand Tour and I hope that will be the case now as well.”

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “The Vuelta taught us that Maxime and Tosh are two riders who can live up to our expectations. For Maxime that was an adaption, after he had been the leader in a Grand Tour for many years or had ridden for a team leader. At the Tour de Pologne he had sacrificed himself to defend the good position of Bart De Clercq on GC and also in Spain he did that when he could. Apart from that, he decided to try to join breakaways, which was successful a few times.”

“For the next years, I expect a further evolution of him in that role. Last season, it was difficult for him to find his place in the group, but this season we saw a different Maxime. He reads the race well, is a strong rider and has the capacities to boost the confidence of other guys and make them perform better. He speaks Dutch, French and English and can be a very good ambassador of the team, not only in Wallonia. At the age of 32 and with that positive attitude I think that both parties can benefit a lot from this cooperation.”

“Tosh keeps setting steps forward each year and deserves to stay in the team. He has a very positive attitude, gives himself for the full hundred per cent for the team and tries to seize the opportunities he gets himself. He’s still waiting for his first pro victory, but that will definitely come; he doesn’t have to obsess about it. He creates a good atmosphere in the team, but maintains his professional focus, more than he used to. I expect him to play that role again next year and believe he will keep making progress. His fighting spirit at the Vuelta charmed me. He achieved good results in bunch sprints and joined a breakaway a few times. That’s the way I like it.”

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