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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, October 3, 2016

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Etixx-Quick Step's Eurométropole report

Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

Etixx – Quick-Step made the race, which took place on Sunday in severe weather conditions.

For the first time in history, the Tour de l'Eurometropole (Poperinge – Tournai, 195.6 kilometers) was raced as a one-day event and this made for a spectacular race, to which the heavy rain and strong crosswinds brought their contribution. Etixx – Quick-Step blew the peloton to pieces early, after just 15 kilometers, and continued to push the pace, making another important selection with 80 kilometers to go, when only 47 riders were left at the front.

Inside the final 60 kilometers, 18 men managed to extricate themselves from that group and as soon as they took their advantage over the pack to three minutes, the riders who wanted to avoid a bunch sprint began attacking. Etixx – Quick-Step responded every time and covered all these moves, with the likes of Fernando Gaviria, Yves Lampaert and Nikolas Maes, who kept the group together.

Then, on the last lap of the race, Yves got clear together with Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling) and Marten Wynants (LottoNL-Jumbo), opening a 30-second gap which looked to put them in pole position for the win, but the chasers weren't keen to let them and the trio got caught just 400 meters away from the finish by the strong chasing group, from which Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) outsprinted Naesen (IAM Cycling) to take the victory.

Tom Boonen finished a fine third, a result which underlines his good condition ahead of the World Championships in Doha, where he is set to lead the Belgian team. It was Tom's seventh top 3 finish of the season, one which saw him win a stage at Tour de Wallonie, RideLondon Classic and the century-old Brussels Classic.

Eurometropole finish

2016 Eurométropole finish

"A big group went from the start, as expected, and we had a couple of riders there. Then, in the last part of the race, we managed to drop some riders of other teams, but unfortunately our main guys, Tom and Fernando, suffered because of the cold temperatures and the legs didn't respond anymore as they would have wanted", said sport director Rik van Slycke, who also explained how the team changed the tactics at that point. "We decided to send Yves at the front and he made it to the last 500 meters with two other riders, but because of tactics they came to a standstill and got swallowed by the group behind. Tom sprinted and came third at the end of the day, which is the best result we could get from that scenario."

BMC looking for opportunities at Binche-Chimay-Binche

The team sent me this update:

2 October, 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will race for the last time in Belgium for the 2016 season at Binche-Chimay-Binche on Tuesday 4 October.

Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said the one-day race presents an opportunity for all seven riders to try their luck.

"We are going to Binche-Chimay-Binche without a clear race leader and it will depend on how the race unfolds on the. We have riders like Loïc Vliegen who can jump in a breakaway and hopefully take it to the end, or if it comes down to a sprint we have Jempy Drucker and Rick Zabel. The finishing circuit isn't easy so it can go either way."

Drucker is hoping to keep his good form rolling after sprinting to a stage victory at the Vuelta a Espana.

Jempy Drucker

Jempy Drucker earlier this year at the Tour of Luxembourg

"Now that we're at the end of the season there are not many more opportunities to go for a win, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to do a good result at Binche-Chimay-Binche. If it comes down to a sprint, then I'll definitely try and be up there. I'm confident with my form in the late part of the season so I'll give it everything on Tuesday," Drucker said.

Binche-Chimay-Binche (4 October 2016)

Rider roster: Jempy Drucker (LUX), Taylor Eisenhart (USA), Floris Gerts (NED), Fabian Lienhard (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sports Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA)

Lampre-Merida's Il Lombardia report:

Rui Costa was the best rider for LAMPRE-MERIDA in the Il Lombardia 2016, a very demanding edition of the Italian classic, whose course (240 km from Como to Bergamo) was characterized by the climbs of the Ghisallo, of Valcava, of Sant'Antonio Abbandonato, of Miragolo San Salvatore, of Selvino and the hill of Bergamo Città Alta.

The Portuguese rider reached the arrival in 15th position, at 5'02" from the winner Chaves, who preceded in the final sprint the other members of the head group Rosa, Uran and Bardet.

The good performance by Rui Costa lost his winning potential on the downhill from Sant'Antonio abbandonato, when the top riders group was split and the Portuguese athlete was in the second part. Despite an intense attempt of chasing the front group, Rui Costa could not bridge the gap.

Ulissi was close to the top 20, reaching the arrival in 22nd position at 8'10".

"During the week I recovered from a cold and today my legs were good and the feelings were right - Rui Costa (photo Bettini) explained - The race was very demanding and the speed in the first part of the course was extremely high and no breakaway succeeded to go clear. Unfortunately, I paid the moment in which the group was split while covering a descent: I really push fast in order to bridge the gap and try to obtain a place in the top ten, however the battle was intense also in the group which was preceding me and I failed to join it".

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