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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, March 5, 2016

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

Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life. - George Sand (pen name of Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin)

Current Racing:

Upcoming Racing:

Illness Rules Rohan Dennis Out of Paris-Nice 

BMC sent this news:

04 March, 2016, Paris (FRA): Illness will prevent Rohan Dennis from lining up at Paris-Nice this Sunday, BMC Racing Team announced today.

BMC Racing Team Doctor, Dr. Daniele Zaccaria confirmed that Dennis has been diagnosed with sinusitis. "Rohan is suffering from sinusitis, and although it is nothing too serious he will not be fit to race at Paris-Nice. His condition worsened this morning and given we are only two days out from the opening prologue, there is not enough time for him to fully recover, especially considering we are expecting cold weather and rain in Paris," Dr. Zaccaria said.

"With antibiotics and some solid rest he should be back on the bike within the next five days and we don't expect this illness to affect his racing program beyond Paris-Nice."

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis earlier this year

Dennis, who was targeting the 6km prologue on Sunday, is understandably disappointed with the outcome. "I really wanted to win the time trial on Sunday so it is disappointing to not be lining up. I've felt the illness lingering a bit in the past few days but today it has really hit me and we don't have enough days ahead of Sunday for a proper recovery. At the end of the day my health is the priority and I'm focused on recovering well and lining up at my next race," Dennis said.

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Fabio Baldato confirmed that Peter Velits, who is coming in off the back of the Santos Tour Down Under and recent races in France, will replace Dennis for Paris-Nice.

"Although the prologue was one of our goals with Rohan, we are bringing a strong team and will still go into the race ambitious and looking for good results," Baldato confirmed.

Paris-Nice (6-13 March)

Rider Roster: Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Richie Porte (AUS), Michael Schär (SUI), Peter Velits (SVK), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

Sports Director: Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Bohli Delivers His First Pro Win  

BMC also sent me this note:

04 March, 2016, Middelkerke (BEL): Tom Bohli has made race history at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, smashing the opening 7km time trial to cross the line with 7'50, the fastest time ever recorded.

Tom Bohli

Tom Bohli starts his winning ride

Bohli set the time to beat with more than half of the riders still to race, but no one came close to his record-breaking time. Martijn Keizer (LottoNL Jumbo) took second place with 7'56, and Lucasz Wizniowski (Etixx-Quick-Step) in third with 8'00.

It is Bohli's first win with BMC Racing Team since making the transition from BMC Development Team for the 2016 season. "It's a really amazing feeling to get my first win as a pro. I really didn't know if I could make it but to get it, it's a really good feeling," Bohli said afterwards. "It gives me confidence early in the season. I didn't get the chance to test my time trial form in Qatar due to my crash, so I'm so happy to come out now and do well. We have a really strong team here and different cards to play for the next two stages."

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Jackson Stewart said the team will focus on keeping Bohli in the leader's jersey.

"It was a great ride from Tom, who was always going in with a good shot. We arrived early this morning as well to give the guys a good chance to recon the course. Our focus going into tomorrow and Sunday's stages will be to defend the jersey and limit any time bonuses," Stewart said.

Bohli now leads the General Classification and the Young Rider Classification going into stage 1 tomorrow, 176,3km from Brugge to Harelbeke.

Keizer second in Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen prologue

Here's LottoNL-Jumbo's 3-Days of West Flanders report:

Martijn Keizer was six seconds too short for the win in the prologue of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on Friday. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider was beaten by Tom Bohli (BMC Racing Team). Behind Keizer, Steven Lammertink finished sixth. Robert Wagner placed eighth and Koen Bouwman 11th.

“This was a very good prologue for our team,” sports director Merijn Zeeman said after the race. “To finish top 11 with four of our riders is very strong. It’s again a second place in a time trial on the other hand. Bohli was six seconds faster and deserves this win, but it’s still annoying. Martijn made a lot of progress, though. He was nine seconds faster than last year.”

Keizer explained his progression, “It tells something about my shape and about the bike as well. I didn’t have this bike last year yet. Everything was better. I was really looking forward to this race and the team allowed me to abandon Le Samyn early to be ready for today’s time trial. I’m confirming that I’m in good condition with this second place and we have to fight to convert it to wins for me or one of my team-mates. We have a strong team and we will have enough chances to make the difference in the upcoming days.”

The results of the prologue confirmed that Team LottoNL-Jumbo has many options this weekend. “Steven and Koen are both neo-professionals,” Zeeman said. “The youngsters are doing great. I’m satisfied with the level of the whole team. This was a nice start to the weekend. Tomorrow and Sunday, the weather will play a role and the profile will be tough. Tomorrow, we have to climb the Oude Kwaremont and the Kemmelberg is part of the race on Sunday. We have to be focussed as a team.”

Lotto-Fix All plans for Paris-Nice

The team sent me this update:

From Sunday 6 March 2016 till Sunday 13 March 2016 Paris-Nice will take place, also called the ‘Race to the Sun’. It’s the 74th edition of this WorldTour stage race. Don’t look for the red Lotto Soudal shirts during this race. Just like in the Tour of Belgium last year, Lotto Soudal will have another name for one week. In France, the team will be called Lotto Fix ALL. The red outfit will be changed by blue-grey shades.

Traditionally, this stage race starts with a prologue close to Paris. The day after, the riders will get a flat course, although the finale contains gravelled roads. Stage two is the longest stage, it’s 214 kilometres long and finishes on a hill. Something for the punchers in the peloton. Day four takes the riders from Cusset to Mont Brouilly. This stage contains six climbs and an uphill finish so it will be the first test for the GC riders. The final climb is only three kilometres long but has parts up to 25 per cent.

After this, the sprinters have a second chance to take the victory. But at about thirty kilometres from the finish of the fourth stage there’s a tough climb where attempts can be expected. The final three stages are much harder. Day one of this triptych is the easiest one, five climbs need to be surmounted. During the following stage, seven mountains need to be climbed and there’s an uphill finish. In the closing stage, the peloton has to ride in and around Nice. In total, the riders will cover 134 kilometres and six hills. It will be short but heavy! Most likely, it will be three animated stages with lots of attacks. The favourites will give their all to obtain the overall victory.

Lotto Fix ALL will participate with riders such as André Greipel, Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens. Alberto Contador and Richie Porte will be the main competitors for the GC. The competition for the sprints will come from Marcel Kittel, Alexander Kristoff and Nacer Bouhanni. Tony Gallopin and sports director Herman Frison are looking forward to this race.

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin: “I felt good in the Etoile de Bessèges and in the Volta ao Algarve. I obtained a good overall result twice. It was a great start of the season, especially with regard to Paris-Nice. After Algarve I trained hard to be fully prepared for the ‘Race to the Sun’. I didn’t recon the stages because I already know the routes well. I train a lot in this region. The course of the first stage is very familiar to me, it’s close to my hometown. During the winter I often go to Nice to train, where the last stages will be held.”

“This race is very important to me, it’s one of the few stage races where I aim for a good GC. The course of Paris-Nice suits me well. I want to perform as well as I can during the final weekend. Last year I ended up sixth, I want to do better this time. I think a top five place is possible, even the podium is something I desire. But it won’t be easy, the competition is strong. I didn’t think a lot about last year’s final stage anymore, where I lost the leader’s jersey. I was disappointed of course, but I carried on quickly.”

“There’s no climbing time trial scheduled at the Col d’Eze this year, that’s an advantage for me. Saturday will be very tough with the uphill finish at La Madone d’Utelle. It’s in my favour that the climb isn’t very steep, but it’s situated at the end of a hard stage. It will be difficult to do something against riders as Contador but I think I can limit the time difference on such a climb. The final day will not determine the GC, the Col d’Eze is situated too far from the finish. The stages before the closing weekend are dangerous as well. You need to be attentive for splits in the peloton and echelons. It will be a nervous race.”

“I really look forward to Paris-Nice. It will be special for me and the teammates to ride in the Lotto Fix ALL outfit for a week. In my opinion, it’s a beautiful and original shirt. The glue is good, I've tested it myself.”

Herman Frison: “We have a positive feeling after the Belgian opening weekend, we saw a strong team. Of course, we want to be good in Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico too. These races are still part of the preparation on the Classics. Nonetheless it’s a WorldTour race, everyone will do his very best to obtain a good result.”

“Our first goal is to win a stage with André Greipel. We'll have to wait how well he’s recovered from his rib fracture. André needed to rest for about two weeks so misses race rhythm. Also for Marcel Sieberg that’s the case, his lead-out. He had to rest a few weeks as well. They were both able to do some good trainings, but we’ll have to see how they’ll perform during the race. Adam Hansen and Thomas De Gendt are always motivated riders. They can be in a break  and they can attack at the right moment.”

“We have two leaders for the GC. Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens already proved that they’re in good shape this season. Tony rides in his own country and in his own region so he’s very motivated. Last year he won a stage and he rode the closing time trial in the leader’s jersey. This is a race that suits him. Also Tim is really looking forward to this race after his good performance in the Ruta del Sol. We participate with a very decent and experienced team with riders that always give their all in every race.”

Line-up Lotto Fix ALL: Lars Bak, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Marcel Sieberg, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Marc Wauters.


Giant-Alpecin riders comment about Paris-Nice

The team sent me this release:

Paris-Nice, the 'Race to the Sun', begins this weekend and Team Giant-Alpecin heads to the eight-day WorldTour race with a strong team. This year's edition offers a challenging course for the riders as the race gets underway with a 6.1km prologue on Sunday. Among the highlights will undoubtedly be the ascent of the Mont Ventoux on the fifth stage. 

Tom Dumoulin (NED): "My goal in Paris-Nice will be to go for a good general classification. We head to France with a strong team, both for the difficult flat stages and the mountains.

"I want to start with a strong result from the prologue and have a good starting position. From that we will take it day by day for the general classification. In the first stages, the wind could play a role, with other challenges as well, so I hope to tackle the first days in the best way possible.

"From past experiences, I've learned that March is always a challenging month for me to reach my top level, but we go for it." 

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin at last year's Vuelta

Laurens ten Dam (NED): "I’ve had a good training period in the US and I am in good shape. Paris-Nice will be my first race of the season and also the first for the team, which is special. I am very excited to race with my new teammates and I am looking forward to it.

"My aim will be to help Tom [Dumoulin] in the mountains. Especially stages 3, 7 and 8 are the important ones and I expect to be there for the team on the decisive moments. I am comfortable with this role and I am going to France in a relaxed mindset." 

Aike Visbeek (NED):  "The main objective is to do a good general classification with Tom [Dumoulin]. This year, it is a very tricky course and we will have to ride an attentive race. Every day offers different challenges and it is important to stay focused on the flat stages as well as the mountain stages.

"With the experience of Koen [de Kort] and Roy [Curvers] we will be able to deal with the different conditions of the race. In addition, Laurens [ten Dam] will bring that necessary experience for the mountains."

Anti-counterfeiting program stops $10-million in counterfeit on-line listings

Counterfeit bike parts are a big problem, with millions of dollars worth being sold on-line every year.

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News noted that: The WFSGI's [World Federation of Sporting Goods] anti-counterfeiting program for the bike industry has eliminated more than 160,000 online listings for counterfeit bike products in the past three years, the group announced Thursday at the Taipei Cycle Show.

The program, conducted by Convey, an Italian company, monitors about 50 online platforms, including Alibaba, eBay and similar sites. Convey's Michele Provera said the program has stopped sales of counterfeit products worth more than 9 million euros ($9.8 million). About 85 brands, all WFSGI members, are participating in the program.

Velo News noted why you don't want to buy counterfeit parts with this interesting test.

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