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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, August 20, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

I tell you, in this world, being a little crazy helps to keep you sane. - Zsa Zsa Gabor

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Vuelta a España stage 1 team reports

We posted the organizer's report here.

Here's what winner BMC had to say:

19 August, 2017, Nîmes (FRA): BMC Racing Team got their Vuelta a España campaign off to a perfect start in Nîmes today after an impressive display of strength and skill over the course of the opening team time trial saw them secure the stage win and put Rohan Dennis into the first leader's jersey of the race.

Rolling off the ramp as one of the pre-race favorites, BMC Racing Team quickly settled into a seamless rhythm as they looked to better 16'04", the time set by Quick-Step Floors.

After powering around the technical and demanding 13.7km circuit, the finish line came into view, and with Dennis leading the final six riders across the line, the clock stopped at an impressive 15'58". It was a short but tense wait in the hot seat, but in the end, BMC Racing Team was the only team to go under the 16-minute mark which was enough to seal the victory on stage 1 with Dennis securing the red leader's jersey.

Rohan Dennis:

"Everything went to plan today, and we executed our TTT perfectly. I think we were still a little bit nervous when Team Sky came in and I thought that we had maybe lost it on the line, but in the end, we came out as the strongest team."

"It was a hard course. It wasn't just a straightforward time trial. It was technical at the start, and we had to tactically figure out if it was better to finish at the top of the hill with nine riders or if we drop a few guys. The course tested everything: strength, technique, and speed. You had to be the best in every aspect, and we showed our true power today."

"It feels great to wear the red jersey, but it is a little bit of a different feeling to when I won the first yellow jersey of the Tour in 2015. I feel like it is an achievement but today, it was a team effort and every rider won, and I am the only one who gets to wear the jersey."

"We know there is the chance of some wind tomorrow, and I spoke to Loïc Vliegen about a similar circuit they did at Route du Sud, and he said it was very windy along the beach so, it's going to be tough, but for us, we're not here to sprint. In terms of the race overall, my goal here is not really the General Classification. Instead, I want to test myself against some of the GC guys in the mountains, and hopefully, I can come away with a few stages, and this is the first one."

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis in the leader's red jersey

Nicolas Roche:

"The main goal this morning was all about getting the team across the line first, and it is amazing to be on the podium once again at the Vuelta a España. BMC Racing Team really enjoys and prepares well for team time trials and it is important to have a plan. Regardless of whether we win or lose it is important to have a plan and stick to it."

"I think Monday will be an important day for the team to see where everyone is at and who is riding for the GC or riding for stages. I think I am in decent condition, and I've done everything I can do to come back here and do well, so I am excited about this race."

Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:

"It couldn't have been a better start to the Vuelta a España. This was our first goal coming into this race, and it is always important to have a good start to boost everyone's morale. With this victory, I think everyone will be motivated to do a good race over the next three weeks. It is not easy to win a short team time trial like this, but we prepared very well, and this is a really good win for the team. Of course, we are also happy to see Rohan Dennis in the leader's jersey plus we have Nicolas Roche and Daniel Oss in the Mountains and Combination jerseys. Everyone is happy."

Team Quick-Step Floors was 6 seconds slower than BMC. Here's their report:

Our team took second place on the opening stage of the season's final Grand Tour.

Julian Alaphilippe, Eros Capecchi, David De La Cruz, Tim Declercq, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Enric Mas, Niki Terpstra and Matteo Trentin put in a fine effort on the opening stage of the 72nd Vuelta a España, a 13.7km-long team time trial staged by Nîmes, run over a technical and at some times tricky parcours, which was made even more difficult by the wind which regularly changed direction.

Nîmes – which catches the eye with its superb and spectacular 2000-year-old Roman monuments, that led many to nickname it the "French Rome" – hosted the third foreign start in the history of the Vuelta, which kicked off with a team time trial for the eighth consecutive year.

Our young squad blitzed the course in 16:04, setting the fastest provisional time and going into the hot seat, where they remained until BMC hit the line and improved that result by only six seconds. Until the stage came to a conclusion, no other outfit managed to get onto one of the first two places, despite some of them boasting strong time trial set-ups, so Quick-Step Floors finished second on the day, for what was our squad's 15th top-3 finish in a Grand Tour stage this season.

Team Quick Step Floors

Team Quick-Step Floors finishing their ride

Quick-Step Floors' display of strength left sport director Rik Van Slycke content at the end of the day: "We had a plan and the guys did their job from start to finish, so we can't say that we lost seconds here or there. Of course, we would have liked to win, but we can still be satisfied with our work. Now let's see what tomorrow's stage will have in store, because there's a chance of crosswinds, which can be a huge game changer."

Bob Jungels is racing two Grand Tours in one season for the first time in his career, and the Luxembourger, twice a winner of the white jersey at the Giro d'Italia, is off to a great start, as he leads the youth standings: "We were well prepared and gave everything out there. The course wasn't easy, but we managed to complete the stage without any incidents and in second, just a few seconds off the win. We can be happy with the result, the legs are good and we can build on today's placing. It's nice to lead a classification so early in the race, it's something that really motivates you for the next three weeks."

Team Sunweb was third. Here's what they had to say about the day's racing:

The 2017 edition of La Vuelta a España kicked off with a 13.7 kilometre team time trial in Nimes today. The course featured a gentle climb part-way through, with multiple turns through the city centre making for a tricky route.

Setting of at 18:10 CET, Team Sunweb opened their Vuelta powerfully, with their young team navigating their way around the course in tremendous style. At the first intermediate check point the five-debutant strong team had clocked the fastest time so far, at nine minutes and eight seconds. The team continued to cruise around the course, taking its multiple technical corners smoothly. Their continued strength landed them the best provisional time as they finished the course in 16 minutes and four seconds. After a brief stint in the hot seat, Team Sunweb finished the stage in an impressive third place just six seconds down on the fastest time.

Team Sunweb

Team Sunweb entering the stadium

One of Team Sunweb’s debutants, German Lennard Kämna said: “It was really great to be able to take 3rd place today. We are quite surprised and didn’t imagine that we would take such a result. We were really fast in the technical parts and could hold our speed right through to the end. Everyone was strict with the execution of our plan and we took almost all of our turns exactly how we had planned during our recons. We are all feeling proud of what we’ve achieved with such a young team.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef said: “We had a good plan from the start today and that’s what made the difference. Together with the team’s experts we looked closely at the parcours and made an intricate plan as to how we would tackle the stage. We knew that the team could take it easy in the first four kilometres and then build up towards the finish. It’s a really good start for the team and a good motivation to continue this way for the rest of the Vuelta.”

Team Sunweb signs Louis Vervaeke & Edward Theuns

Here's the team's news release:

Team Sunweb are proud to reveal the latest two signings to their WorldTour roster as Louis Vervaeke (BEL) and Edward Theuns (BEL) who will join the team from next season onwards. The duo will ride in the team's colours for both the 2018 and 2019 season.

Team Sunweb have recognised the potential of Vervaeke and Theuns over the previous years and their addition to the team will add strength to their WorldTour roster for the coming two racing seasons. Vervaeke is a promising climber with versatile qualities that will provide important support with Team Sunweb's general classification ambitions, whilst also getting the space to take steps of development in this area himself. Theuns, a talented classics rider with fast legs, has taken some strong results throughout his professional career which demonstrate his sheer power on the bike. These results include second places at Scheldeprijs and Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2015 and most recently a stage win at the BinckBank Tour.

Louis Vernaeke

Louis Vervaeke loading up

Speaking of joining the team Vervaeke said: "I am thrilled to be joining Team Sunweb for the next two seasons. Their success through this season has been brilliant and I'm excited to play a part of that for the coming years. In the mountains I want to be of added value and hope to learn a lot from the current GC riders in the team. I feel that this challenge, way of working and professional structure at Team Sunweb is precisely what I need and I am very pleased with the opportunity. My first aim will be to come back up to my previous level after a year with bad luck and then I hope to show my full potential. I am very much looking forward to pulling the jersey on at the start of 2018.”

Theuns said: "I am very happy to join Team Sunweb. I have gotten to know the team during our talks over the previous years and I feel like now is the right time to make the move across to Team Sunweb. The most important reason for my decision is how the team operates and how they strengthen their riders to bring them to a higher level. Together with the team I hope for many successes, with a focus on the Flemish races. On top of this, our goal is to add strength to the lead-out and develop my sprint further, which I feel like is entirely achievable with fast men around me and the knowledge within the team. I am confident I can make the next step in my career at Team Sunweb."

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) said: "We're pleased to welcome both Louis and Edward into the team. Louis has already been professional for a few years and is still very young at only 23 years old. He will strengthen our GC squad bringing crucial support and and we want to work together with him over the coming years and continue to develop his strengths on the climbs and GC to grow step-by-step to go for the classification in the future himself.

"Edward is someone who we have been following for quite some time and we are really happy to start our cooperation. He is a strong classics rider who we believe can take steps forward when working within the team's structure. He will be our leader in the Flemish classics and his power will be of added value to the team's sprint train."

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