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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not knock those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:

Michal Kwiatkowski extends contract with Team Sky

Team Sky sent me this news about the former world road champion:

8TH AUGUST 2017:

Kwiatkowski: “I’m really happy to be a part of the Team Sky family” Michal Kwiatkowski has described his delight at extending his Team Sky contract in the midst of an ‘amazing’ season.

Kwiatkowski said it was an easy decision to make, believing he is in the best place to continue his development and win more races across the next three years. He said: “I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to re-sign for the next three years. I’ve had great support from the team for the past two seasons - both last year, when I had a really difficult season, and this year, which has been great.

“I’ve only been here for one and a half years, but it feels like far longer. That’s what I need - to feel supported, like part of a family, otherwise it can be difficult. I’m really happy to be a part of the Team Sky family.

“I’m looking forward to the future with Team Sky because I believe it’s the best team for my abilities and I truly believe I can win lots more races in the future here.”

The Pole has enjoyed a sensational 2017, winning Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and San Sebastian, as well as playing a major role in Chris Froome’s fourth Tour de France victory.

Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski just wins 2017 Milano San Remo

“So far it has been the season of my career and I’m happy that it’s not over yet,” continued Kwiatkowski. “It’s been amazing. I’ve found my spot in the team, have won some really big races, and performed well at the Tour de France, which I was aiming for.”

Kwiatkowski received rave reviews for his performance in France, with pundits suggesting he should target a Grand Tour in the future - but the 27 year old isn’t in any hurry.

“Some people would like to put me in a box and say I should go in this direction, or that direction, but I truly believe it’s all about being patient and doing things step-by-step. If I continue to work on my climbing and time trialling, if I can perform well in one-week stage races like Paris-Nice and the Dauphine, and if there are signs that I could perform well in a Grand Tour, then yes, I will take that chance. I think I am in the best place to do that.”

Fresh from his Tour de France victory, Chris Froome took a break from his Vuelta a Espana preparations to pay tribute to teammate Kwiatkowski. He said: “Kwiato has had a brilliant year. He's obviously had some great wins himself, but to me his performance in the Tour de France epitomised everything about him and what he brings to Team Sky.

"As a rider he is just so versatile and selfless. Whether that's riding at the front on the flat, his understanding of how a race is unfolding, getting his teammates into the right position in the sprints or being last man in be mountains. He's the definition of an all-round rider and we're lucky to have him."

The 2017 season is far from over for ‘Kwiato’ and the former world champion is particularly excited to race on British roads at the Tour of Britain in September.

“I will return to racing at the GP de Plouay,” he revealed. “Then I will race the Tour of Britain, I hope to do the world team time trial championship, and then the world championship road race, before finishing my season at Il Lombardia. Right now I’m an altitude camp in Livigno, preparing for the second half of the season.

“Racing in Britain always brings back memories of the massive crowds at the 2012 Olympics and the start of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire. The Tour of Britain is always the same. It’s a race that suits me and I was happy to finish second in 2014. We will see how it goes this year - I will have a big motivation to be in good shape as it’s just one week before the world championships.”

Along with the good news at Team Sky, there is some bad news:

Luke Rowe is set for a significant period off the bike after suffering a broken leg

Here's the team's explanation:

Luke Rowe has sustained fractures to his Tibia and Fibula and, now recovering back in Cardiff after surgery, he explained the circumstances behind his injury.

"My brother Matt is getting married and so I was away with family and friends for his 'stag party'. On the first morning we went whitewater rafting. I jumped down into the water but landed in a shallow section on my right leg. Being a bike rider you get in a lot of scrapes and you get used to injuries, but I knew straight away that it was a bad one.

"The team have been brilliant. Dr. Usher came out straight away to oversee my treatment and to get me back home, where I've seen the specialists and had surgery. It's been a big shock and I know I've got a long period of recovery ahead."

Luke Rowe

Luke Rowe having a good day at this year's Herald Sun Tour.

Luke's coach, Rod Ellingworth, said: "Obviously it's a serious injury and so Luke's going to be off the bike for a while. An injury like this is a test of character for anyone, but character is something Luke has plenty of.

"He's a really important part of our team and, as a team, we'll be right behind him throughout his recovery."

Looking ahead, Luke said: "The support I've had from the team and specialists has been fantastic and I know I'm in the best possible hands. It's early days, but speaking to the surgeon about the injury and my rehab gave me confidence so now it's a case of working towards getting myself back on the bike.

"I'm determined to get back racing as soon as I can."

Binckbank Tour News

BMC's Stefan Küng won the second stage's individual time trial with Maciej Bodnar a close second. You can read the BMC report here.

Here's the Bora-hansgrohe report:

After a fast first day at the BinckBank Tour, the high speeds continued as riders hit the road for a 9km Individual Time Trial. While the course itself was short, there was plenty to keep the riders – and the crowds – entertained, with the Voorburg street circuit offering up straights, twists and turns. With the added hazard of a rain-soaked course keeping everyone on their toes, it was Maciej Bodnar who came in as the fastest BORA-hansgrohe rider, making the most of a drier course for his run to take second with a time of 11:02. Despite racing under much wetter conditions, UCI World Champion Peter Sagan, clocked the 18th best time of the stage, finishing at 11:23.

The course was short today, but in ‘the race of truth’, where riders race against themselves, the clock and the rest of the field, the going is always tough. The 9km out and back street circuit had some long straight sections, which would give the more powerful riders a chance to build up some speed, but at the midpoint there were some tight bends that could catch out those without the best bike handling skills or the fastest acceleration. The weather forecast predicted rain just as the bulk of the riders would be making their way onto the course, potentially making the going treacherous very quickly. While the stage was pan flat throughout, the high speeds meant misjudging just one corner could end a rider’s chances on such a short course with no chances to make up lost time.

Starting the day in the green jersey of race leader after taking yesterday’s opening stage, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, would be dependent on his teammates for information about the course. The second rider out of the gate was BORA-hansgrohe’s time trial specialist, Maciej Bodnar, who completed the course before the worst of the weather came down. The Polish rider came home in 11:02, setting the day’s best time before being pushed into second place by the day’s eventual winner, BMC-Racing's Stefan Küng.

Stefan Kung

Stefan Küng was the day's winner

With the rain coming down hard as the bulk of the field started their ride, the times reflected the level of caution riders were now having to take, with standing water on parts of the course that even without the rain would have required strong bike handling skills. While the limits were still being pushed, it was harder to come within even thirty seconds of the eleven-minute mark. Having made his way onto the course as the last rider of the day, Peter pushed as hard as he could in the demanding conditions, but in the circumstances it was better to ride safely and be able to ride another day, than crash and put himself out of contention. Nevertheless, thanks to his extraordinary bike-handling skills, Peter came in 18th place and is now sitting 8th overall, trailing Küng by 15 seconds.

At the finish line, Maciej Bodnar commented on his second place in a very technical course. "Despite its short length, today's time-trial course was very technical, with many twists and turns. I was lucky that I got off the ramp before the heavy rain started pouring but still, the road wasn't completely dry. The strongest TT riders and specialists started a few minutes later and were also able to take advantage of the same conditions, which meant that the weather didn't turn into an advantage for me. Taking second place, just 4 seconds off the winner, is a pity but despite that, I'm satisfied with my performance and my result. I'm much stronger in less technical time-trials, with fewer curves and stop-and-goes but my result today showed that my accelerations were very strong."

Sports Director, Enrico Poitschke, was happy all BORA-hansgrohe riders finished the time-trial safely without incidents under today's treacherous conditions. "Weather conditions were really dangerous. We focused today on Bodi, we had a look on the course with him and also watched the weather since yesterday. He did a great race today, he made no mistakes and we can be satisfied with his result. Everybody else did their job today. Because of the tough weather, we didn't want to risk anything so, everyone should just finish safely. We even wanted Peter to ride carefully because the road was really slippery and wet. He finished safely in 18th. Everything is still possible in the GC and we will give our best in the upcoming stages."

UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, was satisfied with his result and the fact we was able to stay safe under heavy rain. "I think I had a good result under such tough weather conditions. It is never easy to race when the conditions aren't the same for everybody but, of course, there is nothing we can do, it's part of a time trial. Overall, I'm satisfied with what I achieved today and, especially, that I didn't crash under the heavy rain. It's a real pity Bodi didn't take the win today, he was strong and got so close."

After the high speeds and thrills of today’s time trial, it’s back on the road for the peloton for stage 3 of the BinckBank Tour tomorrow. There are some short climbs on this 185km parcours, but while the finale is flat and will encourage a bunch sprint, the closing 6km sees the route twist and turn, possibly causing splits in a group that will be travelling at high speeds over a challenging street circuit finale.

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