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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, August 12, 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

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. - Albert Schweitzer

Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:

Arctic Race of Norway News

We posted the organizer's stage three story here.

Here's stage winner Alexander Kristoff's Katusha-Alpecin team's telling of the day's racing:

The 184.5k stage from Sjøvegan to Bardufoss was one Alexander Kristoff had his eye on and come Friday’s stage two, the Norwegian sprinter went about the work of getting the stage win, his first while wearing his new European champion jersey.

“For sure it is always nice to win at home. Yesterday I was close but did not have the legs at the end. Today we knew would be our best shot to win. BMC had to take control because they hold the leader’s jersey, so with some other teams we managed to bring the break back. We lost Sven Bystrøm due to some technical issues so we only had Michael Mørkøv and Reto Hollenstein to do the lead outs but they did a really strong pull in the last k and then Michael led me out the last 500 meters, nice and smooth, to put me in the best position. At the end I felt there was no one close to me,” said Kristoff.

Alexander Kristoff’s time of 4:14:20 (43.526 km/h) was shared by the remainder of the podium, with Hugo Hofstetter of Cofidis and Andrea Pasqualon of Wanty-Groupe Gobert in second and third places. The general classification is still held by BMC’s Dylan Teuns. Today’s win puts Kristoff in third place overall.

alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff is the day's winner.

“It’s nice to win like this. I think the whole team contributed really well to this victory. In my career I have won many times at home; I usually do have a victory here every year, but for sure it’s always nice. This is my first win in Norway this year and hopefully will not be my last,” said Alexander Kristoff.

Stage 3 on Friday features a category 1 climb at the end. At 185.5k, the stage begins in Lyngseidet and ends in Finnvikdalen (Tromsø).

Dylan Teuns remains the GC leader. Here's his BMC team's report:

Dylan Teuns successfully defended his overall race lead on Arctic Race of Norway stage 2 after a solid day of teamwork from BMC Racing Team saw him finish safely in the previously predicted bunch sprint.

Attacks began from the moment the flag dropped on stage 2, with six riders going clear after 20km of racing and extending an advantage of over three minutes as they went over the top of the first of two categorized climbs, the Kolbranskaret Summit.

After a short and fast descent, the race road began to rise once again with the leaders sweeping up the only other KOM points on offer as they went over the top of the Lavangseidet Summit. While, behind them, the main bunch, led by BMC Racing Team, continued to sit three minutes back with 100km of racing still to come.

With a predicted bunch sprint on the horizon, the peloton soon began to pick up the pace with Floris Gerts and Bram Welten setting the tempo before eventually, the sprinters’ teams came up to the front to help with the chase and pull the leaders to within one minute with 22km to go.

The final breakaway rider was caught with just 4km to go, and the stage was then set for a fast and furious bunch sprint on the runway at Bardufoss Airport with Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha - Alpecin) eventually taking the win.

After being protected by his BMC Racing Team teammates all day, Teuns was able to negotiate the bunch sprint and crossed the line safely behind the eventual winner to maintain his position at the top of the General Classification.

Dylan Teuns:

“The guys did a good job to control the race. It was a hard day for them I think and we didn’t get help for a long time. For me, it was a good day to spin the legs and it wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t that hard so it was good for me to have a day like this before the queen stage' tomorrow. We will see how it goes tomorrow. It will be hard in the beginning for sure and hopefully there will be some easier points in the build up to the last climb which is the most important part of the stage."

Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:

“There was a six-man breakaway and I told the guys to take it easy and only control as such as we need to. We only controlled with Floris Gerts and Bram Welten and they did a really good job to keep the breakaway around three minutes ahead. Then in the three local laps, we had three bonus sprints so it was important to control this and go for the bonus seconds too as Dylan Teuns only had a nine-second advantage before the stage. Dylan took one of the three second bonuses and he was third in another so he gained four seconds. We are still leading and I’m pretty confident for tomorrow because we only used two guys today and we still have Danilo Wyss and Amaël Moinard tomorrow. Stage 3 is the big day for the General Classification so we need to do well to control tomorrow.” 

Binckbank Tour Stage Five report

We posted the report from stage five winner Lars Boom's LottoNL-Jumbo team.

BMC sent sent me this update:

11 August, 2017, Sittard-Geleen (NED): Binck Bank Tour Stage 5 provided an action packed day of racing for BMC Racing Team and the peloton with Greg Van Avermaet sprinting to third on the line and an explosive finale forcing a shake up of the General Classification. 

With 19 climbs to crest over the 167.3km course, it was no surprise to see riders battling to get into the breakaway with attack after attack being pulled back by the peloton over the opening hour of racing.

Finally, after 35km, seven riders were able to go clear and build up an advantage over the rest of the field which had reached more than three minutes as they went over the top of the iconic Cauberg climb and continued to grow before peaking at 4'30" with 100km of racing still to come.

With Stefan Küng, the race leader at the start of the day, in its ranks, BMC Racing Team maintained a constant presence at the front of the main bunch, before the chase began to heat up on the first of two 38.8km laps, which included five short but sharp climbs.

As the leaders heard the bell ring, there was just over one minute separating them from the main bunch which, as a result of the fierce pace, was made up of only around 60 riders, including Küng, Greg Van Avermaet, Michael Schär, Loïc Vliegen and Nathan Van Hooydonck.

As the main bunch crossed the finish line, a perfect display of teamwork saw Schär give Küng a back wheel to allow him to begin the task of pulling himself back into the main bunch. At the same time, Van Hooydonck dropped back to set the pace at the front of the second group and with help from Jempy Drucker and Manuel Quinziato, the peloton was pulled back together.

With 20km to go, and the gap at less than 20 seconds, a series of attacks off the front of the regrouped peloton saw 11 riders bridge across to the two remaining leaders as the race exploded behind them with Küng sitting in the second group on the road.

Heading towards the 5km to go mark, Van Avermaet was able to find the strength to bridge across to the front of the race and with the leading group now around 15 riders strong it became clear that the stage would come down to a battle between those sitting out in front.

The attacks continued, but the group was able to close every attempt down before Lars Boom (Team Lotto-NL Jumbo) made a decisive and ultimately winning move going under the flamme rouge and was able to hold off the chase to take the day's honors and move into the leader's jersey. Behind him, Van Avermaet dug deep in the closing meters, launching his sprint early before taking a hard fought third on the line and moving up into sixth on the General Classification, 27 seconds behind Boom.

Lars Boom

Lars Boom got a clean win in stage five.

Greg Van Avermaet:

"It was hectic the whole day. I was always pretty well positioned. When Team Sunweb went faster, we had some bad luck with Stefan Küng and we lost a lot of guys there to bring him back. From there on, it was not such a good race for us anymore. I wasn't in a good position when the group went and then I bridged with Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-SCOTT) and Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors) luckily because that was the moment when we really had to go and the GC could be decided there. So I was happy that I could make it. I had super good legs but I was too far so it was not the perfect moment. I didn't win, but in the end, I was in the first group so I took some seconds back."

Stefan Küng:

"It was a really crazy parcours, and so it was a fight to stay in position all day. The guys did a great job controlling the race, and we were up there when the bunch split. Unfortunately, I had a flat tire as we crossed the finish line for the last time and some other teams took advantage of that and started riding really hard. Thankfully, I still had some really strong guys, and they brought me back. They did an amazing job. They gave everything and gave me a lot of motivation."

"We got back around 3km before the race became really nervous, and I tried to move up but I wasn't in a good position, and I could feel the effort in my legs. We kept fighting though and luckily Greg Van Avermaet was strong and could move to the first group because otherwise it would have all been for nothing. I am disappointed to let the guys down when I couldn't follow, but once the first ten guys went, there was nowhere to go with riders dropping back."

Valerio Piva:

"We had really bad luck with Stefan Küng getting a flat tire, and at this moment the race was split in two. Although Michael Schär gave him his wheel, Stefan was caught by the second chase group so Nathan Van Hooydonck dropped back, and all the guys worked hard to close the gap with Lotto - Soudal and Team Sunweb working hard in front. We were able to bring Stefan back around 15km from the finish, a crucial point of the race, and we also had Greg Van Avermaet and Loïc Vliegen in the first group. When the leaders attacked, there was a moment when Greg was not in there, but he reacted quickly and eventually made it across to finish third, and I am happy with his performance."

"For the team, it is a pity we lost the jersey but tomorrow is another day, and we still have opportunities to do something. We had a lot of work to do today, and we saw great teamwork. You can go from being in a good situation to a bad one in an instant but we have a team of lions here, and they worked hard and changed our luck around. We are still in a good position with Greg sitting sixth on the GC, and we will see what happens over the next two days."   

Hayman continues as a captain at Orica-Scott

The team sent me this release:

ORICA-SCOTT are pleased to announce the re-signing of 2016 Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman for the 2018 season. The 39-year-old has become one of the main foundations of the Australian team, often a captain on the road, providing crucial guidance and inspiration to the younger up and coming riders.

Hayman joined the Australian outfit in 2014 and is looking forward to making 2018 his fifth season with the team. “I am really happy to being staying at ORICA-SCOTT, I have really found my home here,” Hayman said. “I am grateful that the team still have faith in me as I am now getting very old.”

Each year the Australian outfit has been improving and becoming more consistent in the early season classics which Hayman will target once again as a valuable leader in the strengthened classics squad. “I love the classics and will be focusing on those races again,” continued Hayman. “We have grown as a team in these races and I am really excited to see what we can do in 2018.”

Ron Hayman

Hayman wins 2016 Paris-Roubaix

Sport director Matt White appreciates having such a highly respected and knowledgeable figure in Hayman, helping to balance out the generally young squad, and providing his wealth of experience after 17 years racing as a professional. “Although Maty didn’t start with us he will certainly eventually finish with us,” said White. “We have always had a younger developing team and to have a guy with that much experience like Mat around those younger guys, it really has been invaluable.”

“The younger riders needed time to develop and the older guys have taken the pressure over the past years to give them time to do that at their own speed.”

White acknowledges that Hayman has a lot to offer on and off the bike. With his relentless demeanour, he believes the team can still learn a lot from the senior rider. “When you have a guy on your team who is winning Paris-Roubaix after 15 attempts, it’s a never say die attitude, which is the attitude we want in our young guys,” White continued. “Success doesn’t come overnight but if you keep working hard anything is possible and Mat Hayman has proven that.”

Mathew Hayman:

Date of Birth: 20th April 1978 (39)
Place of Birth: Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
Turned Pro: 2000

Key results:

-       1st 2016 Paris-Roubaix
-       1st 2006 Commonwealth Games – Road Race

RZC Investments, controlled by Wal-Mart heirs, buys majority share in Rapha

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this piece:

LONDON (BRAIN) — Rapha has announced that U.S.-based RZC Investments is now the majority shareholder in the business.

The company did not announce the purchase price. Sky News is reporting that it was 200 million pounds ($260 million). RZC's principals, Steuart and Tom Walton, are the grandsons of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.

RZC also has an investment in Allied Cycle Works, the Little Rock, Arkansas, bike maker, and Tom Walton has spearheaded investments in a mountain bike trail system in Bentonville, Arkansas, which hosted the IMBA World Summit in 2016. Walton was a keynote speaker at the Summit.

Rapha has been owned since launch in 2004 by Simon Mottram and a group of founder shareholders, including lead investor Active Partners.

Mottram said, "This is an exciting day for Rapha. It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling. The arrival of RZC Investments as a shareholder means we can pursue our mission to elevate cycling as a global sport and recruit more participants by engaging them and enabling them to ride with us at all levels. Support from RZC Investments will allow us to further expand our active global community of cyclists, develop even better and more innovative products and services to enhance cyclists' lives and inspire many more people to take up the world's greatest sport."

Rapha sells through 20 international websites, shipping to over 100 countries and operating 17 Clubhouses in major cities, with seven new clubhouses opening by the end of this year.

You can read the entire story here.

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