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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 11, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. - Aldous Huxley

Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:

Binckbank Tour news

We posted full results for stage four along with the report from stage winner Edward Theuns' Trek-Segafredo team here.

Stefan Küng remains the GC leader. Here's the stage four report from his BMC team:

10 August, 2017, Lanaken (BEL): After a rain soaked day of racing and another hectic bunch sprint on Binck Bank Tour stage 4, Stefan Küng crossed the line safely in Lanaken to secure a third day in the green leader's jersey.

It was a battle to make the breakaway on stage 4 with a flurry of early attempts, including a strong move with Küng and Greg Van Avermaet, pulled back before, after 50km of racing, three riders were able to escape the peloton's grasp and begin to build up an advantage.

The leaders' advantage grew quickly and eventually settled at around 2'20" heading into the second half of the 154.2km course, with the main bunch, led by BMC Racing Team, happy to allow the breakaway to sit out in front before starting the final chase with 40km to go. 

The gap began to fall quickly and just 10km later, with the sprinters' teams moving up to help set the pace, the leading trio had been pulled to within 20 seconds before the race hit the reset button and the peloton swept up the final rider with 25km remaining.

A fierce pace was soon being set as BMC Racing Team, keeping Küng well-positioned, continued to push hard at the front of the bunch, forcing the rest of the field to be strung out along the road behind them.

Two riders tried their luck with 13km to go however it wasn't meant to be and, with a potential bunch sprint on the horizon, the sprinters' teams forced a reaction from the peloton and pulled the duo back before the stage was set for a fast and furious 4km run into the finish line.

Almost immediately, Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) went on the attack, but Küng was quick to react and drove the initial chase before the solo leader was caught inside the last 100m. At the same moment, the final sprint was launched and, after a chaotic lead-up, it was Edward Theuns (Trek - Segafredo) who took the day's honors ahead of Marko Kump (UAE Team Emirates) and Tim Merlier (Vérandas Willems-Crelan). 

Edward Theuns

Edward Theuns wins stage four

After another strong display of teamwork from BMC Racing Team over the course of the stage, Küng stayed safe in a hectic finale and crossed the line safely in the main bunch to secure another day in the green leader's jersey.

Miles Scotson was involved in a crash in the latter part of the stage, but after a quick bike change the Australian national road race champion was able to finish the race and continues to sit ninth on the General Classification.

Stefan Küng:

"Wearing the green jersey is starting to become a habit which is a good thing, but from tomorrow the racing will be difficult. However, I think it will also suit me more than the sprinters' stages. Today we said we weren't going to work because we pulled yesterday and, in the end, we were doing the work for Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe) and if he had won today, I wouldn't be in this position. We gave the responsibility to the others, and they took it up, and in the end, it was really hectic. I tried to be up there and in a good position, and it worked out quite well."

"I haven't had a proper look at tomorrow's stage, but I know the area. I have raced a lot there, and I have even won the Volta Limburg Classic there so, I have a lot of good memories, and I will take them with me into the race." 

Sports Director, Valerio Piva:

"Today we discussed that we would let the race go slightly and not control it like we did yesterday but the race was so fast, and we raced 48km in the first hour. We didn't want to work for Peter Sagan (Bora - hansgrohe) like we did yesterday, so we gave the responsibility to his team. It was a good final for us, and Stefan Küng kept the jersey, and everyone is still in the same position. We only had a little bit of bad luck with Miles Scotson as he crashed but he was able to finish the stage."

Second-place Marko Kump's UAE Team Emirates sent me this short report:

With an excellent darting move, Marko Kump captured 2nd place in the final sprint for the 4th stage of the BinckBank Tour, the 160,7 km Lanaken-Lanaken. The Slovenian cyclist from UAE Team Emirates chose the right tyre, belonging to Teuns, for the last metres of the sprint, and he was fast enough to get next to the Belgian rider, although he didn’t manage to get ahead of him on the finish line.

Therefore victory went to Teuns and honours placement went to Kump, ahead of Merlier, Sagan and Groenewegen.

In the general classification, on the eve of a stage which should begin an initial selection (167.3 km Sittard Geleen-Sittard Geleen with 18 hills to climb), the leader is still Kung; Swift is the rider doing the best so far for UAE Team Emirates, currently occupying the 22nd place at 27″.

Kump described the challenges of the stage and the sprint: “It was a frenetic day, with a route featuring continuous curves, some of them really tight, and the added difficulty of wet roads due to rain. As a team we managed to always race in a good position. This was important on such a complicated route and it allowed me to save some strength in preparation for the sprint. At the beginning of the sprint I wound up a bit closed in, but then I caught up to Teuns’ tyre, perhaps a little late to be able to pass him.”

Arctic Race of Norway stage one report

We've already posted the BMC report about Dylan Teuns' stage win.

Here's the organizer's telling of the day's racing in Norway:

A favorite for the overall classification of the fifth Arctic Race of Norway, Belgium's Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) created a surprise by taking the lead as soon as in stage 1 after he anticipated a bunch sprint finish in a short yet steep climb on the finishing circuit of Narvik. The day's favorite Alexander Kristoff crossed the line in seventh place with a deficit of only two seconds. The newly crowned European champion is expected to take his revenge on the tarmac of the Bardufoss airport in stage 2.

Following many unsuccessful skirmishes, Austrian veteran Bernhard Eisel (Dimension Data) rode away solo with 120km to go as a way to restore some calm after the storm. Jon Soeveras Breivold (Team, Daniel Diaz (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM) and Øivind Lukkedahl (Team Coop) eventually joined him but the former sprinter took the climbers' prices to become the first King of the Mountains of the 2017 Arctic Race of Norway. Katusha-Alpecin did most of the pace at the head of the peloton with a maximum deficit of 4.35.

A counter attack put an end to the breakaway with 25km to go. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) found himself alone in the lead after that move. It was all together again 13km before the end. Christophe Masson (WB-Veranclassic) and Andreï Grivko (Astana) were next to attack. They passed the finishing with a very small advantage over the peloton before the final loop of 10.5km. Grivko forged on but Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie) took over from as a lone attacker in the Skistua hill. He was reined in with 4km to go as Rein Taaramäe (Katusha-Alpecin) had a flat tyre which prevented him from getting back on time to try and win the Arctic Race of Norway for the second time after 2015. Trond Trondsen (Sparebanken Sør) and Anders Skaarseth (Joker-Icopal) were among the very motivated continental riders from in the run in to the finish.

Race favorite Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) took the opportunity of the short climb within 2km to go to ride away from the sprinters as the size of the main peloton was seriously reduced by toughness of the finale and the wet conditions of racing. He maintained a little lead to claim stage 1 over August Jensen (Team Coop) who is the only pro cyclist from northern Norway. The Bodø-born rider took his best result up to date at the Arctic Race of Norway after having been crowned the King of the Mountains twice previously (in 2014 and 2015). Having bagged five victories in the past three weeks with stages and GC at the Tour de Wallonie and the Tour de Pologne before he made his way to Norway, Teuns will start stage 2 with an advantage of six seconds over Jensen and twelve seconds over Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) who finished seventh in his first race with the blue and white jersey of the European cycling union.

Dylan Teuns

Dylan Teuns wins stage one.

Team Sunweb releases Vuelta a España team line-up

Here's the team's press release:

The 2017 edition of the Vuelta a España is fast approaching and German Team Sunweb are pleased to announce their final selection for the race.

A strong nine-rider line-up has been selected with an eye on the future, as well as to support Team Sunweb's exploration of GC possibilities. The Vuelta a España will have five Grand Tour debutants in Team Sunweb's line-up; including Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Lennard Hofstede (NED), Lennard Kämna (GER) and Sam Oomen (NED). Next to their contributions to the team's goal, the focus will be on the long-term development of these talented riders. The extremely young team will be complemented by experienced road captain Johannes Fröhlinger (GER) as well as climber Warren Barguil (FRA), who won two stages in the 2013 Vuelta and more recently the KOM jersey at this year’s Tour de France. A key member of the team's successful Giro d'Italia squad, Chad Haga (USA) completes the team alongside Wilco Kelderman (NED).

Warren Barguil

Warren Barguil riding the final stage of the 2017 Tour de France. He'll be on the Vuelta's start line.

Speaking about Team Sunweb’s line-up for the Vuelta, coach Marc Reef (NED) explained: "We have a good combination of experienced riders and young talents with huge strength and potential on our line-up. We want our younger riders to see what it takes to complete a three week race and give them the opportunity to learn from our more experienced Grand Tour riders, without any form of pressure.

"The team have just come out of a solid period of preparation including a combination of racing and training at altitude and are all really motivated for a great race. We have completed some recons and analysis to become familiar with the important sections of the course and to help us formulate the best plan suited to our strengths in order to achieve our goal of looking for GC possibilities in Spain."

RACE: Vuelta a España (WT)

DATE: 19/08-10/09/2017

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