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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 4, 2016

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

Jesters do often prove prophets. - Joseph Addison

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Gerts Suffers Fractured Collarbone at Vuelta a Burgos

BMC sent me this bad news:

3 August, 2016, Burgos (ESP): Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Burgos saw the peloton tackle a 10.7km Team Time Trial, where BMC Racing Team crossed the line with the fifth-fastest time.

As the second-to-last team to hit the course, BMC Racing Team was chasing the provisional best time set by Astana Pro Team, and eventually came home in 13'19", 9 seconds behind Astana Pro Team's 13'10" which was enough to take the win.

Earlier in the day, Floris Gerts crashed during the recon of the Team Time Trial course which forced him out of the race with a fractured collarbone, meaning BMC Racing Team were down to seven riders for the time trial.

Max Sciandri, Sports Director: "The guys did their best out there today. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy course with some really fast and technical sections. I think there were some moments where we probably could have attacked with a bit more speed, but we were also a bit cautious following Floris Gerts' crash this morning. Gerts' crash could have been a lot worse and luckily he was the only rider to go down as it could have wiped the whole team out. So I think we were more cautious on the corners and lost a bit of speed there. It wasn't ideal having one rider less but the guys got on with the race and tried their hardest. We have three more stages to go and we're definitely looking for good results, so we'll take it stage by stage and see what we can do."

Floris Gerts

Floris Gerts finishes a stage at this year's Tour Down Under

Medical Update on Floris Gerts: Following his crash during the Team Time Trial warm up Floris Gerts was taken to hospital in Burgos for observation. BMC Racing Team Doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini provided the following update.

"Floris suffered a dislocated fracture of his left collarbone which will require surgery to secure the fracture. He will travel to Belgium tomorrow where he will undergo surgery as soon as possible. Providing all goes well he should be able to train on the rollers after one week, and be back at a racing level in three weeks' time. We will have a clearer idea after his surgery, following which we can make any necessary adjustments to his recovery plan," Dr. Ruffini said.

BMC also sent me their Vuelta a España long list:

03 August, 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team today announced a long list of ten riders ahead of the Vuelta a España. Sports Director Valerio Piva confirmed the participation of Samuel Sánchez and Tejay van Garderen.

"Both Samuel Sánchez and Tejay van Garderen will be protected riders in our team at the Vuelta a España with Samuel as our main General Classification rider. Tejay will be focused on stage victories for the first part of the race and then we will evaluate how everyone is racing, but the team will be built around these two riders," Piva explained.

Sánchez and van Garderen are looking forward to racing the final Grand Tour of the season.

Samuel Sanchez

Samuel Sanchez

"My main objective will be to finish in the top ten in the General Classification. It will be difficult as we'll have top notch participation, but we definitely want to win a stage and do very well in the opening Team Time Trial. I believe we will bring a very competent and focused team for what will be a very hard Vuelta a España," Sánchez said.

"I'm looking forward to racing the Vuelta a España. Completing two Grand Tours in one year is something I haven't done, and will be a good step in my development. I'm excited for the Team Time Trial as it gives us a good chance to take the jersey. Then I will take the race as it comes and look for opportunities when they present themselves," van Garderen said.

The final team of nine riders will be selected after the next block of racing is complete.

"Some of the riders in the long list are currently competing in Rio, and some are currently racing at Vuelta a Burgos and the Tour of Utah. We will finalize our selection after these races are finished, also keeping in mind our other objectives for the final part of the season including the UCI Team Time Trial World Championships," Piva confirmed.

BMC Racing Team Vuelta a España Long List: Darwin Atapuma (COL), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Taylor Phinney (USA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Lotto-Soudal Ladies Olympic preview

The team sent this update:

Six Lotto Soudal Ladies will take part in the Olympic road race on Sunday: Chantal Hoffmann (Luxembourg), An-Li Kachelhoffer (South-Africa), Lotte Kopecky (Belgium), Claudia Lichtenberg (Germany), Emma Pooley (Great-Britain) and Anisha Vekemans (Belgium).

Emma Pooley

Emma Pooley at the 2010 World's

Anisha and Chantal tell what this selection means to them. We also asked them about their Olympic memories. Anisha is part of the Belgian team, together with Ann-Sophie Duyck and Lotte Kopecky. Chantal Hoffmann rides together with Christine Majerus for the national team of Luxembourg.

Anisha Vekemans: “I think it’s the dream of every athlete to go to the Olympics. I dreamt of it as well. I had never thought I would get this chance this year already. I am really happy with this selection. I had made important progress in the second part of last season and this year I continued on the same path. Being selected for the Olympics now feels really great.”

“It will definitely be a hard race. Claudia Lichtenberg already did a recon of the course last year and told us it was one of the toughest courses she had ever seen. If a climber like her says that, you know it’s going to be tough. I really hope to ride a good race, I don’t want to stay anonymously in the peloton. I really want to show myself during the race and prove I’m worthy of my selection.”

“I expect that riders will constantly get dropped and the bunch will soon be reduced. The teams are smaller than in normal races and that makes there are only about seventy riders in the peloton. That’s an advantage for me, because it’s easier to position myself. Small teams also means it will be difficult to control the race, that’s why I expect there will be attacks pretty early.”

“After the road race I’m staying in Rio for a few more days and then I can go and watch some other sports. Of the past Olympics I definitely remember the performances of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, who conquered several medals. I also like the show of Bolt. Who knows, I might bump into them in the Olympic village one of these days.”

Chantal Hoffmann: “I didn’t expect to go to the Olympics. It was never intended that there would go two riders to Rio for Luxembourg. It was only in the last three months that it became an option. Cycling is a team sport after all and in the end the decision was made to come here with two riders. At the beginning of the race there is a high risk of punctures. Now I’m here, I can give Christine a wheel. The course is way too hard for me, I’m here to help Christine as much as I can. I really hope she can set a good result. She had some bad luck the past weeks, but she’s been having a really strong season. If she’s in the same shape as in the beginning of the year a top fifteen or even top ten should be possible. Top ten would be amazing.”

“Taking part in the Olympics is really a highlight in my career, no doubt about it. As a child I watched the Olympics a lot. I never thought I would ever be an Olympic athlete. It is an amazing present I got, it’s so nice to be here. The Olympic village is really big and impressive. It’s only since I’ve arrived here that I’ve started realizing that I am selected for the Olympics.”

“One of my memories of the Olympics is the fifth place of Andy Schleck in Beijing in 2008. That was an amazing performance for our country. The Olympics of London 2012 were special because by then I knew several people who were riding there and if you have a bond with someone it’s even more special to follow the race. You really feel with them. I’ve decided to enjoy my time here.  First I’m going to do my best in the road race and next week I’d like to go to the time trials and track races to cheer on the riders, like Jasper De Buyst for example.”

Caleb Ewen re-ups with Orica-BikeExchange

The team sent me this:

The uniquely low sprint style of young Australian speedster Caleb Ewan will continue to showcase the ORICA-BikeExchange jersey following an announcement of his contract extension today.

At just 22 years of age, Ewan has 14 professional victories in his first two seasons, including a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana in 2015 and two stage wins at the Tour Down Under earlier this year.

The new agreement will see Ewan race for ORICA-BikeExchange for the 2017 and 2018 seasons as he continues to develop into one of the household names of the sprinting world.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan at the 2016 Giro d'Italia

"I'm really excited to be able to stay with the team, I feel like I have progressed really well here,” Ewan said. “I'm definitely getting stronger and I'm thankful for all the help and support the team has given me to get even better. We are really starting to get everything in place for the sprints and I want to pay back the trust the team shows me by delivering as well.

“In terms of goals, I'm happy to continue my development, to get even more Grand Tour experience and go up against the big names there."

As one of Australia’s most promising young stars, sport director Matt White said the team look forward to helping take Ewan to the next level. “Caleb is still young, but we are well aware that he is ready to take the next steps in his career and we are happy to be part of that,” White said. “It is really exciting to work with such a great talent who has already won significant races for us at a very young age.”

“We take great pride in creating the best possible environment for our riders and with Caleb we have seen that he is progressing really well within our framework. Time will tell how far he can take his great abilities, but there is certainly no indication that he won’t be able to be amongst the great sprinters in the coming years.”

Caleb Ewan
Age: 22
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Turned Professional:  2014

Major results:

-       1st National Championship Australia - Criterium
-       1st People's Choice Classic - Santos Tour Down Under
-       1st Tour Down Under - Stage 1
-       1st Tour Down Under - Stage 6
-       1st Herald Sun Tour - Stage 2

-       1st Vuelta a La Rioja
-       1st Tour de Korea - General Classification
-       1st Tour de Langkawi - Sprint Classification
-       1st Vuelta a Espana - Stage 5

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