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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 10, 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

Television is like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn't change people's habits. It just kept them inside the house. - Alfred Hitchcock

Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:

Binckbank Tour news

We've already posted the report from stage 3 winner Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team.

Here's the stage 3 report from GC leader Stefan Küng's BMC team:

Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

9 August, 2017, Ardooie (BEL): BMC Racing Team and Stefan Küng successfully defended the overall race lead on Binck Bank Tour stage 3 after a chaotic finale which saw Loïc Vliegen in the mix in the reduced sprint to secure a top five finish.

After one hour of racing on the 185km stage from Blankenberge to Ardooie, a five-rider breakaway had extended an advantage of over three minutes, but with another bunch sprint up for grabs, the peloton kept a close eye on the front of the race.

The gap continued to hover at around the three-minute mark over the first half of the day before, heading into the final 80km, the breakaway's lead was dramatically reduced with an increase in pace at the front of the peloton seeing the five leaders pulled to within one minute.

BMC Racing Team continued to help set the pace and keep race leader, Küng in a good position as the main bunch sat up slightly and allowed the gap to go back out to 1'45" with 60km of racing still to go.

The chase was quickly reignited and just 10km later, with the sprinters' teams setting a fierce pace, the breakaway was once again within sight, but the game of cat and mouse continued. As the bell rang to mark the start of the final 15km finishing circuit, the leaders were sitting just 25 seconds in front of the peloton but it wasn't until 6.5km to go, that the group, which had spent the majority of the day at the head of the race, was caught.

The sprinters' teams were immediately vying for position and the predicted bunch sprint looked inevitable. However the intense speed of the peloton and with rain making the surface slippery, riders were soon scattered across the road as they headed into the final 2km.

Sensing an opportunity to go for the stage win, Jempy Drucker attacked and was able to put distance between himself and a select group of riders after a crash split the field on the final corner before the flamme rouge. Drucker looked strong out in front, but a determined chase from the sprinters behind saw him caught just 100m from the line with Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe) ultimately taking the win.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan gets another victory.

Vliegen was well positioned in the group when the sprint was eventually launched and was able to show his strength and power in a competitive field to take fifth place on the stage. After being protected by his BMC Racing Team teammates all day, Küng negotiated a chaotic finale and crossed the line safely in the main bunch behind the eventual winner to maintain his position at the top of the General Classification.

Stefan Küng:

"It was a pretty stressful and nervous day. There was a little bit of wind but not that much. Everyone was nervous and you could also tell that everyone was in good shape because they started panicking early."

"I need to say a big thanks to my team. They did a really good job today. First pulling at the front and then protecting me and keeping me out of trouble when it was a little chaotic and overall today went quite well for us. Jempy Drucker tried something and Loïc Vliegen was up there in the sprint so it was a good day for the team and I am happy to still be in the leader's jersey."

"It is nice to keep the jersey, and we will try to continue to hold on to it but Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe) looked in strong form, and now he is within five seconds of the overall lead. You never know what will happen so we will keep fighting and I will enjoy another day in the jersey tomorrow." 

Loïc Vliegen: 

"I was there with Jempy Drucker going into the final kilometer, and we saw that the bunch hesitated for a moment and that's when Jempy attacked. I then stayed in the wheels and focused on the sprint in the end. I thought I could do the sprint, but I was a little bit blocked so I couldn't give it everything I had. I am happy with fifth place and also happy with my form as we look ahead to the rest of the race. It was a nervous day, and in the end, it was a chaotic final, and we needed to fight a lot for position."  

Sports Director, Valerio Piva:

"Unfortunately the rain started around 4km from the finish and from then it was really dangerous and chaotic. We controlled the race from the beginning and then heading into the second half of the race the sprinters' teams came up to help. The race was under control, but because of the shower, the race was chaos at the end and with the late crash, the time was neutralized."

"Jempy Drucker made a good move by attacking and was just caught in the closing meters. Loïc Vliegen was also good in the finish and took fifth. Our plan was to do the sprint with Jempy, and we saw him try to win the stage in the final. We also were able to defend the jersey, and although Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe) was able to take ten bonus seconds today, everyone is still motivated to work hard and fight for Stefan Küng's position at the top of the GC. Tomorrow will be a similar day to today I think, but then the next few stages are very difficult, so we will see what happens."

Orica-Scott re-signs Canadian Svein Tuft for the 2018 season

The team sent me this release:

ORICA-SCOTT are pleased to announce the re-signing of Canadian Svein Tuft for 2018 season. The ten-time national time trial champion has been with the Australian team since its inception in 2012 and is looking forward to returning next year for his seventh season with the squad.

Having celebrated his 40th birthday this season whilst racing at the Giro d’Italia, Tuft is the oldest member of the team and has enjoyed watching ORICA-SCOTT grow over the years.

He believes he still has a lot to learn and is excited to remain with the team for another year. “ORICA-SCOTT has been my home for the last six years,” Tuft explained. “I’ve seen the team grow and adapt into the grand tour general classification contending team that it is now.”

“As the team has been changing, I've also been adapting and growing and I still have things to learn. I enjoy this process and it keeps you young as a rider.”

Svein Tuft

Svein Tuft at last year's Vuelta

The Canadian powerhouse has a wealth of knowledge and experience under his belt having raced 11 grand tours and is looking forward to helping the up and coming younger riders in 2018.

“The choice was easy after riding the Giro d'Italia this season, being part of that great group of people leaves me wanting more,” Tuft continued. “Helping the young guys excel and learn gives me a great satisfaction. Helping these guys at the big tours will be my motivation next year and as always, trying to win the world championship team time trial. ORICA-SCOTT is my second family and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.”

Sport director Matt White acknowledges Tuft as a valuable asset to the team - a committed, versatile rider and a great role model for his younger developing teammates. “Svein is loving what he is doing and as long as he is loving what he is doing and performing the way he is, he certainly has a home here,” said White. “Age is no barrier with Svein. We’ve seen that this year at 40years of age, he is certainly performing at the highest of levels.”

“He is rock solid. He is hard as nails. He is a great example for the young guys. He just gets on with the job in all terrains and all races so he is the guy you can take anywhere and you know what you get. He is someone for our young guys to look up to with his work ethic and commitment to the team.”

Svein Tuft:

Date of Birth: 9th May 1977 (40)
Place of Birth: Langley, Canada
Turned Pro: 2009

Key results:

- Ten-time national time trial champion
- Two-time national road race champion
- Two-time Duo Normand winner (2016 and 2013)
- 1st 2014 Giro d’Italia – Stage 1 (TTT)
- 1st 2013 Tour de France – Stage 4 (TTT)

Florian Sénéchal signs two-year contract with Quick-Step Floors

This news is from the Quick-Step Floors team:

A rider born to take on the treacherous but at the same time fascinating cobbles which every spring lure the riders just as the enchanting sirens used to do with Ulysses and his sailors as they returned home from the decade-long Trojan War, Florian Sénéchal has agreed on a two-year contract with Quick-Step Floors, which will see him make the step to the World Tour in 2018.

The last French winner of the Junior Paris-Roubaix (2011), Florian rode as a stagiaire for the outfit managed by Patrick Lefevere one year later, before going to the development team for the 2013 season, during which he showed his quality in a various range of races, from the Tour du Finistère and the U23 Paris-Tours to Paris-Arras Tour and Okolo Jiznich Cech, which he won.

Now, after four years spent in his home country, the last of which saw him finish his beloved Paris-Roubaix in 12th place, he will ride for the World Tour leader, a decision which he says was very easy to take: "It's difficult for me to express how excited I am to join Quick-Step Floors. This is one of the best teams in the world, with such a tremendous winning history. I've been a big fan of this squad since I can remember, and the way they race has always been a big inspiration and motivation for me as a rider. I want to thank Cofidis for my time there, for all the beautiful experiences and the many good friends I've made there, as I now look forward to racing with Quick-Step Floors and starting a new chapter in my career."

"My goal is to be there in all the races and give my very best, but I have a special love for the Classics and it would be a big dream to win one of these iconic races with this fantastic team. Quick-Step Floors have fostered so many champions in the past 15 years and I'm sure they can also help me boost my abilities as a rider", concluded the 24-year-old Florian, who hails from a small village just a few kilometers away from Troisvilles, the first cobblestone sector of Paris-Roubaix.

Patrick Lefevere – Quick-Step Floors' CEO – is confident that Florian Sénéchal can add another element to the team's ambitions for the northern classics, races which have been the outfit's bread and butter ever since its inception: "Florian is a strong and talented rider, whose addition to our squad I am sure will bear fruit, as he brings considerable experience, despite his young age. He is willing to learn and improve, and at the same time, is motivated and driven by passion for this sport, all important attributes to succeed as a rider at the highest level."

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