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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, February 8, 2016

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

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. - Lao Tzu

Racing today:

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Etixx-Quick Step not invited to Tour of Qatar

This was a surprise to me. The team that has dominated the Tour of Qatar in recent years has not been invited to participate in the 2016 edition. Though Etixx-Quick Step has won eight out the last ten editions, they are going to have to watch the race on TV if they want to see it.

In a press conference, the prez of the Qatar Cycling Federation said that despite the teams desire to participate, they were not invited.

Niki Terpstra

Niki Terpstra won the 2015 Tour of Qatar.

Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

He explained, “We make a good effort to make a lot of teams come to the race and Quickstep is one of the important teams. But we have noticed that, not only last year but even before that, we have a problem with discipline with Quickstep.

“They’d take too much time changing their shoes, laying around, and then meeting the press while keeping us waiting. They can’t do that. That’s been going on for a couple of years, that’s not the first time. We send people to hurry them up and they talked to them in not a very nice way. Then there were some problems with the hotels.”

The Qatar race boss had more to say about his dissatisfaction with the team, but you get the idea.

Race organizers have schedules and television coverage doesn't wait for a rider to show up for the presentation when he feels like it. Perhaps the team just got a little bit too cocky and uncaring. And in doing so they forgot the Golden Rule: The man with the gold makes the rules.

LottoNL-Jumbo on Volta Comunitat Valenciana

This update was in my inbox:

In the final stage of the Volta a la Valenciana, Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to second place behind solo escapee Stijn Vandenbergh. The Belgian of Etixx-Quick-Step crossed the finish line just before the pack with final overall winner Wout Poels (Sky).

The stage was relatively flat and had only one obstacle halfway through. Team LottoNL-Jumbo stayed with Groenewegen on the third category climb to bring him back to the peloton in the event of problems. On the descent, almost the entire team slid out in a corner and crashed. Only Groenewegen could continue quickly.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen (yellow/Black kit) winning Valenciana stage 3

"We had bad luck on the descent of the Alto Oronet. Five riders from our team slid, including Paul Martens and Tom Leezer. Dylan was okay and could quickly continue, but the rest stood still,“ said sports director Merijn Zeeman. "Dylan was able to still join the first group, but was isolated because the other boys could never return. It’s extra sour when you finish second that way."

In the streets of Valencia, the riders had six short laps to cover. Sprinter Nacer Bouhanni’s team, Cofidis, did not take the initiative and asked Groenewegen if his team wanted to work to catch escapee Vandenbergh.

"Cofidis asked for help, but my guys all crashed," said Groenewegen. "We were well grouped when we suddenly slipped with the whole group in a corner. I was able to jump quickly on my bike. I then made my own race. It is unfortunate that I had nobody with me in the final, perhaps the outcome would have been different otherwise. But it was strong of Stijn to keep the lead. Bouhanni tried to slow me down in the last corner. I came over him and won the bunch sprint easily."

Team LottoNL-Jumbo can look back on a successful Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana with a win and a second place, and the time trail of Victor Campenaerts provides perspective.

"As a team we rode well," Groenewegen continued. "Valencia will serve us well for the next race.”

BMC Racing Team Rider Medical Update

The team sent me this release:

7, February 2015, Santa Rosa, California (USA): In the interest of increasing communication around the health and fitness of BMC Racing Team's riders, the team will release a regular update from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa on all rider injuries and illnesses. The update below concerns four of BMC Racing Team's riders.

Marcus Burghardt

Dr. Testa: "Marcus is recovering from an elbow injury sustained in a crash during the Santos Tour Down Under. He has improved a lot faster than we originally anticipated and is already training on the road again. Marcus is an important rider for our Classics campaign and he should be ready to race in the coming weeks."

Burghardt: "It feels good to be back training already. I'm feeling healthy and don't have any pain in my left elbow. I'm taking things a bit easier but am almost back to my normal program, so it will be good to race again soon."

Marcus Burghardt

Marcus Burghardt at the Down Under Classic

Stefan Küng

Dr. Testa: "Stefan was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr Virus (mononucleosis) in late December which required him to halt his pre-season training. He has since been training with the team at our most recent camp in Denia and I think in the next three weeks he will be able to race again."

Küng: "I'm feeling much better after having some weeks off the bike. I've been back training for about two weeks now and I'm taking things one day at a time and slowly building up my training intensity. I'm already seeing progress and am looking forward to getting back into racing soon."

Dylan Teuns

Dr. Testa: "Dylan has been suffering from pneumonia which has slowed down his training in the past three weeks. He can now start training more consistently but it will probably be another 4-6 weeks before he can race. His priority will be to work on his fitness once he is fully recovered."

Teuns: "I had four weeks completely off the bike but am back riding now. I'm feeling better everyday and am slowly seeing progression, but I still need to work on my fitness and condition."

Loïc Vliegen

Dr. Testa: "The Dubai Tour was Loïc's first race since undergoing surgery to correct a congenital heart defect in October. All of the tests that have been done show that he has completely recovered, so we are confident he is ready to resume racing."

Vliegen: "My heart operation really is behind me now. It all went well and despite the fact that I had to stop training for two months, my form is coming back. It was nice to be racing again in Dubai."

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