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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 20, 2016

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

Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument. The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic. - William E. Gladstone

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Giro d'Italia May 19 stage 12 video

Tour of California May 19 stage 5 video

Tom Skujins wins Tour of California stage 5

This came from Cannondale:

“To get into the break, you have to try at least a couple of times. I knew that the altitude was going to make people suffer, and I knew that even if it wasn’t the steepest hills that the race would be blown to bits. It was a good day for the breakaway. I was really happy I could get into the move, and of course, I was happy to take out the win.” - Toms Skujins 

Toms Skujins rode himself into the early breakaway, launched multiple attacks from the escape and proved fastest in a three-up uphill sprint to take out stage five of the Amgen Tour of California in South Lake Tahoe on Thursday. It’s the second stage win of the week for Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and the second year straight that the 24-year-old from Latvia has parlayed a breakaway ride into a stage win.

Tom Slujins

Tom Skujins wins Tour of California stage 5

“It’s brilliant to take the victory,” said Skujins. “To get into the break, you have to try at least a couple of times. I knew that the altitude was going to make people suffer, and I knew that even if it wasn’t the steepest hills that the race would be blown to bits. It was a good day for the breakaway. I was really happy I could get into the move, and of course, I was happy to take out the win.”

An 18-rider breakaway escaped 23-kilometers from the stage start in Lodi. Maxime Bouet (Etixx-QuickStep) was the best placed rider on the general classification at 4:19. With 16 of the race’s 18 teams represented in the escape, it was a move with staying power. Initially, the group worked well together to build an advantage.

“It’s never easy getting into the break on a day like today,” noted Skujins. “People know it might stick, and everyone wants in. Once we were away, we built up as big of an advantage as we could, and I tried to save as much energy as possible.”

When the breakaway’s gap ballooned beyond five minutes, a handful of teams began to half-heartedly give chase. The gap fell slowly as the breakaway headed toward Carson Pass.

“It was a really long and really hard ride in the breakaway,” said Skujins. “Not only did we cover 212 kilometers, but there was over 13,000 feet of climbing. That’s a lot.”

“There was a tailwind most of the day, which makes it a bit easier and a bit faster,” Skujins added. “The climbs weren’t steep but with the altitude, they were painful. You’re slowly going up, up, up. I definitely felt the altitude. When we climbed, I was breathing harder than I would normally, but I was in Mammoth Lakes, California before this, so I knew I had a big advantage. Training at altitude definitely paid off in the end.”

Adam de Vos (Rally Cycling) was the first to attack the breakaway, jumping to take mountain points on the Kirkwood summit. Skujins was quick to follow, and the sudden lift in pace on the steep ascent caused a split in the breakaway.

The breakaway regrouped on the descent, but de Vos jumped again over Carson Pass. Again the front group split, and eight riders went clear. About ten kilometers later, the chasers rejoined the leaders.

Skujins went on the attack 32 kilometers from the finish. Alone briefly, he was eventually joined by de Vos and Xabier Zondo (Team Sky).

“I knew I had to make a selection because I knew if we came to the last 15 kilometers together the attacks would be constant,” Skujins explained. “It would cost a lot more energy to respond to attack after attack than to make one big effort and invest in making that stick.”

“When I attacked the second time and was solo before the sprint, I started to worry I had made a mistake,” Skujins admitted. “I turned into a massive headwind and was using a lot of energy there. That’s why I waited for those two guys chasing behind.”

The trio complimented each other perfectly, trading pulls in the wind and over the lumps and bumps all the way to the finish. It was only in the final kilometer as the road kicked up toward the line that the collaboration waned.

De Vos was the first to jump, but Skujins had plenty left in the legs to respond and enough of a gap before the line to throw a victory salute as he crossed the finish.

“I was pretty sure we could hold off the peloton,” said Skujins. “Pretty sure I could hold on to the line, anyway.”

“I have to say, I like Lodi,” Skujins added. “I’ve raced Tour of California for the last two years, and both times there have been stages that started in Lodi, and both times I’ve won.

The Amgen Tour of California continues tomorrow with a 20-kilometer time trial in Folsom. “I’ll have sore legs tomorrow after the effort today, so I’m going to take it easy, but it’s a big day for Lawson [Craddock],” said Skujins. “The day after will be really interesting. We’ll be racing around Santa Rosa. There’s lots of climbing. It’s a really hard day, and it should be loads of fun.”  

Giro d'Italia team reports:

Both André Greipel and Jurgen Roelandts abandoned the Giro after stage 12.

This from stage winner André Greipel's Lotto-Soudal team:

Tour de France: the Inside Story

Lotto Soudal could celebrate a fourth time in the Giro d’Italia today. André Greipel finished off another stunning team performance and so the Belgian team already obtained its fourth stage win. The stage itself ran like the classic sprint outcome. Two riders managed to set up a break almost immediately after the start. In the meantime, Lotto Soudal controlled the lead in the background. At 22 kilometres from the finish the escapees were caught as the peloton prepared itself for the expected bunch sprint. A crash took place in the final kilometres and therefore a split occurred in the peloton. Nevertheless, the whole team was able to do the perfect sprint preparation in a tricky finale. Greipel won the sprint, Caleb Ewan finished second and Giacomo Nizzolo third. It’s already the sixth win for the German sprinter this season. Bob Jungels maintains the pink leader’s jersey.

André Greipel: “The team did an amazing job today. Firstly, Pim Ligthart pulled at the front of the peloton and he managed to bridge the gap to the leaders. We really aimed to reel in the escapees before entering the local laps as we wanted to lead the peloton during these two laps with several difficult corners. That turned out very well. In the final kilometres, Tim Wellens and Lars Bak determined the pace. At three kilometres from the finish Adam Hansen took over and he pulled till one and a half kilometre from the end. After that Sean De Bie did his part of the job and finally Jürgen Roelandts made a great lead-out, although there was a strong headwind. We decided beforehand that Jürgen would take the final corner as first and then I would give full gas in the sprint. I think we can be very proud with this fourth stage win. For me, this Giro was very successful with three victories.”

Andre Greipel

André Greipel wins stage 12 before going home

The Gorilla obtained three impressive stage wins in this Giro d’Italia and was first in the points classification. After this stage there aren’t a lot of sprint opportunities left and therefore Greipel decided together with the team to abandon the race. The German won’t start in tomorrow’s stage to take some rest before focusing on his next goals. Also Jürgen Roelandts abandons this year’s Giro tonight with his coming goals in mind.

André Greipel: “Together with the team I decided to abandon this year’s Giro tonight. This stage race really obtained an important place in my racing schedule since last year and it’s one of my great goals during the season. But the following nine stages will mainly be something for the GC riders. The fact that I’m wearing the red points jersey makes it a hard decision but we need to be realistic and find a good balance. The season isn’t over yet and I have the aim to perform on the highest level until October. I’m very satisfied with the three victories and I’m going home with a very good feeling. The past few weeks with this team were just amazing, we had a wonderful time. I want to thank the Giro organization for their very attractive stages and the incredible crowd for their huge encouragements. But I also want to thank my teammates and the Lotto Soudal staff for their work and support. I hope that they’re able to continue this Giro in a nice way.”

A tough stage was scheduled today in the Tour of Norway as a hard climb of the first category was situated at 20 kilometres from the finish. There were a lot of attempts to set up a break right from the beginning but no one managed to get away. Eventually, a five-man break was formed and Gert Dockx was part of it. Just before the final climb of the day the escapees were caught. After that several attempts were made, among others Tomasz Marczynski tried to get away. Then, Pieter Weening attacked and no one was able to follow him. The Dutch rider won the stage and he’s the new leader on GC. Sander Armée finished fifth in today’s stage and is now tenth on GC.   

Here's what LottoNL-Jumbo had to say about the stage:

Moreno Hofland finished sixth in the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia today. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter struggled to come close to victory over the tortuous roads in Bibione. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) won his third stage.

The stage ran completely flat, but it still caused stress for the riders. It was raining during the majority of the race. “It became quite cold and the riders had to change clothes often,” Sports Director Addy Engels said. “Primoz Roglic crashed two times, as well, but he didn’t seem to suffer any damage. 

“Fortunately, the rain stopped during the final 20 kilometres, but it was the right decision of the organisation to stop the clock with one lap to go. That took some stress out of the peloton.”

The group arrived in a sprint regardless. “Jos van Emden and I started a bit too far from behind with our preparation for the sprint,” Hofland said. “It was narrower and more technical than the route book told us, so that made it hard to move up. Together with Enrico Battaglin, I was able to do so eventually. I came out of the final turn in sixth position and finished sixth, as well. I wasn’t able to go faster than this, so this was the best result possible today.”

On Friday in the 13th stage, the riders have to climb often. “It’s going to be day for the overall riders,” Engels explained. “The ascents are steep, tough and technical. Steven Kruijswijk came through the first days after the rest day quite well, so he’s still in his rhythm. It’s going to be an important day for him.”

And Lampre-Merida sent me this:

Super team, good legs and fierce determination for Sacha Modolo in the sprint of the 12th stage, Noale-Bibione of 182 totally flat kilometers.

Lampre-Merida's sprinter was 4th on the finish line, preceded by the winner Greipel, by Ewan (2nd) and by Nizzolo (3rd): the stage ended with a bunch sprint which was prepared in a perfect way by the blue-fuchsia-green team, thanks to Mohoric and Ferrari who led Modolo in the front position, head to head with the Lotto-Soudal's train which was working for Greipel.

The German cyclist entered in the final straight at 300 mt to the arrival pedaling at a very high speed, obtaining a decisive advantage on all the other opponents, except for Ewan, who could follow him, obtaining the second position.

After the last bend, Modolo had a little gap from Greipel and Ewan and he could not bridge it, obtaining the 4th place: in the summary of the results obtaining by Lampre-Merida's sprinter in the Giro, this result joins the two third places which were obtained in the 2nd and in the 7th place.

Sports director Maini commented the performance of the blue-fuchsia-green team: "Two factors could have jeopardize the sprint: the bad weather conditions and a breakaway of a large number of members. The main breakaway of the strage counted only on two riders, so it was easy for the sprinters team to control the situation, despite the rain which felt on the race until the approach to the final circuit in Bibione.

"We paid the highest attention on defending the front positions in the circuit, because the series of turns required to avoid to be in the middle of the bunch.
Modolo approached in a good way the last bend at 300 meters to the arrival, however Greipel and Ewan were even more skilful.

"The victory would have obviously something special, however the fourth place is an additional good result which confirms that Modolo is always present in the sprints and that the team is always ready to support him".

Talks started on ISO world standard for E-Bikes

This was in Bike Europe:

SHANGHAI, China – On May 10, the day after this year’s China Cycle Show closed its doors, a 4-day conference on getting to a ISO world standard for electric power assisted cycles (EPACs) started. It’s expected that it will take years to get to a world standard for electric bicycles.

Getting to a world standard for e-bikes follows after the publication the ISO 4210 standard on September 1, 2015. This is the safety standard for City-/Trekking-/MTB/Road- and Young Adult bikes. It’s the world standard that replaces the former EN standards. There’s now ISO 4210 part 1 to 9 for all bicycle categories.

On May 10 in Shanghai talks started on the new ISO standard for e-bikes which is to replace the current EN 15194 standard. Some 60 delegates of industry stakeholders, test houses and experts took part in the 4-day conference. What has been discussed in Shanghai is to come to a ISO standard that is to include everything that’s not covered by the European type approval regulation. It means that the focus is on 25 km/h and 250 Watt e-bikes only.

You can read the entire story here.

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