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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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

It was not pre-arranged. It just happened that the driver made a demand and I just didn't feel like obeying his demand. I was quite tired after spending a full day working. - Rosa Parks

Racing just completed:

Current racing

Antoine Demoitié death aftermath

Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitié died after he was struck by a motorbike following a fall during the Gent-Wevelgem race in Belgium on Sunday. His team, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, was too overcome with grief to ride the Driedaagse De Panne stage race that starts today. They will also miss two French races scheduled for this week, Route Adélie de Vitré and Paris-Camembert.

Antoine Demoitie

Antoine Demoitié

They are hoping to ride the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, April 3.

The team is being very thoughtful in its response to the tragic death, refusing to blame the motorcycle rider who hit Demoitié after he crashed. Team spokesman José Been said, “This is a tragic accident with a driver who’s been in Belgian cycling races for at least 20 years. He is very affected by what happened, just as we all are. This is not a case of collision at high speed such as the ones with Peter Sagan or Stig Broeckx. This is a fatal accident, the man tried to brake and fell on Antoine.”

Daan Myngheer dies of heart attack

Daan Myngheer, who rode for the Roubaix Metropole Lille team, suffered a heart attack during the first stage of the Criterium International on the island of Corsica. On Monday evening he died in the hospital in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica.

Myngheer had been put in an induced coma after being taken to the hospital following his heart attack. Myngheer would have been 23 years old on Friday.

He was Belgian junior champion in 2011 and turned pro in 2015 for Verandas Willems.

Lotto-Soudal news update

The team sent this:

In the build-up to the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde is scheduled. From 29 March till 31 March the peloton will ride across West- and East-Flanders during three stages and a time trial. Several well-known hills and cobbled sections from the spring Classics are on the course so this stage race has a rather Classics profile.

Sports director Frederik Willems: “This race is of a higher and more international level than the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen for instance. The participants of this race all have a busy schedule in this period of the season. Some riders consider this race as their final preparation for the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, others will start with the ambition to win this race. As usual, it will be a tough and nervous race.”

The first stage takes the riders from De Panne to Zottegem. Eleven hills are on the course, after 100 kilometres the riders need to cover two local laps of about 50 kilometres. Four hills are situated in each lap, among them the Muur van Geraardsbergen. Day two will most likely end with a bunch sprint. From Zottegem to Koksijde, the peloton needs to surmount five obstacles including the Kemmelberg. At the end, the riders need to cover three laps of eleven kilometres. This stage race traditionally ends with a double stage. In the morning, a sprint stage in and around De Panne is scheduled. Finally, this race ends with an individual time trial of fourteen kilometres.

Frederik Willems: “The finale of the first stage is a bit different compared to last year. The Muur van Geraardsbergen needs to be climbed two times and that will definitely determine the race. The Classics riders will certainly show themselves during this stage. Normally, stage two will end with a bunch sprint. But sometimes the wind can play an important role so there’s a chance echelons will be formed. The morning stage on the final day is always a nervous affair. If you’re not attentive, you can lose this race here. It’s also an important stage with the time trial in mind. Fourteen kilometres is a good distance to gain some positions on GC.”

“Sean De Bie will get a free role in the first stage. If a bunch sprint takes place, we have André Greipel. Also in the next two stages we can go for a sprint with André. Lars Bak and Sean De Bie are two guys who can ride a decent time trial. Whether we’re aiming for a good position on GC will depend on the first stage. After that it will depend on how the race evolves.”

Lrs Bak

Lars Bak

Lotto Soudal will start with riders such as André Greipel and Sean De Bie. The main competitors in the sprint will be Marcel Kittel, Elia Viviani and Sacha Modolo. Also the time trialists will be present with among others Tony Martin, Taylor Phinney and Johan Le Bon. Last year, Sean De Bie was fourth in the first stage and he finished fifth on GC. This time he’ll try again to obtain a nice result.

Sean De Bie: “The previous races were very tough. During the E3 Harelbeke I didn’t have a great feeling but still I was able to do some useful work for the team. My general condition is better than last year, but I’m not in top shape yet. One race, I feel very well, the other I am less good. Sometimes that frustrates me a bit. I hope that I have the same feeling during this race as in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, where I took home the overall victory.”

“Although this race is tougher compared to the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. It’s a very nervous affair, splits can occur after every bend. You have to be attentive at the front all the time because echelons can be formed. It’s a real fight to maintain your good position at the front of the peloton and that’s not only tiring physically, also mentally it’s tough. The Muur van Geraardsbergen needs to be climbed this year, that’s a hill which suits me. There will certainly be attempts and then you need to react. I see the first two stages as Classics because the scenario is very similar to such races.”

“Also the closing time trial is something I like, although I prefer to ride a prologue. But it’s a tortuous course and there are a lot of pace changes, that suits me. This winter we optimized my position on the time trial bike. The past few days I rested well, that’s very important during such period. I aim for a good result in this race with regard to the Ronde Van Vlaanderen. I really look forward to it.”

Selection Lotto Soudal: Lars Bak, Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, André Greipel and Pim Ligthart.

Sports director: Frederik Willems and Bart Leysen.


Yesterday Jens Debusschere crashed at 80 kilometres from the finish of Ghent-Wevelgem. He was taken to the hospital of Ieper. Further examinations have shown that he has a bruise on the lower back muscles, a bruised junction between the collarbone and shoulder blade, a mild concussion and some abrasions. Whether he’ll start in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen will depend on his recovery during the coming days.

And here's BMC's racing news release:

27 March 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will continue the Spring Classics campaign at Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde and Volta Limburg Classic next week.

Sports Director Max Sciandri said Driedagse de Panne-Koksijde is a good transition race in between some of the bigger Classics. "It's a chance for the guys to get some more race days in the legs, particularly Stefan Küng who is only just starting his season now. We have Taylor Phinney and Tom Bohli for the time trial and Rick Zabel for the sprints, so it's a well-rounded team."

Tom Bohli

Tom Bohli ealier this year

"I really like racing in Belgium and we're bringing a good group of young guys to Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde. I'm looking forward to the time trial and also using the race to build up some more days in the legs at this time of the year," Phinney said.

On the eve of Ronde Van Vlaanderen, BMC Racing Team will race at Volta Limburg Classic, a race won by Stefan Küng last year. "We have Dylan Teuns who was on the podium last year in third place, as well as some really strong riders who are coming in with some solid race days in their legs. I expect we'll be up there in the mix," Sports Director Jackson Stewart said.

"It's always nice to go back to a race where you have had results in the past, so I'm looking forward to Volta Limburg Classic and obviously would like to do well again this year," Teuns confirmed.

Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde (29-31 March)

Rider roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Stefan Küng (SUI), Taylor Phinney (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA), Marco Pinotti (ITA)


Volta Limburg Classic (2 April)

Rider roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Senni (ITA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Sports Director: Jackson Stewart (USA)

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