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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. - Niccolo Machiavelli

Current racing:

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Fractured collarbone and iliac bone halt Michael Schär's season

BMC sent me this bad news:

Sticky Buns Across America

06 March 2017, Bois d'Arcy (FRA): X-rays following stage one of Paris-Nice confirmed that Michael Schär suffered a non-displaced right collarbone and right iliac bone fracture in a crash 20km from the finish in Bois d'Arcy.

BMC Racing Team Doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini said the serious nature of Schär's injuries will require a minimum of four weeks off the bike. "Michael Schär fractured his right collarbone and right iliac bone when he hit the ground hard on his right side. Fortunately, the fractures are non-displaced so no surgery is required at this stage. His injuries will take more time to heal without surgery but given he has fractured two parts of his body the recovery period is longer in any case," Dr Ruffini explained.

"Michael will need between four and six weeks off the bike, after which he can train on the rollers and slowly return to a normal training load. We will continue to monitor Michael's recovery progress and with any luck he will be able to return sooner than expected."

Michael Schar

Michael Schär

Schär is disappointed to miss his favorite races of the season. "We were in the second group with Richie Porte trying to chase the front group back. After the cobbled section I was behind Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and he went into the gutter once, which was dirt, and then a second time, and then he went down right in front of me. I went down and immediately felt my collarbone and then I tried to stand up and I couldn't stand on my feet so I thought that something wasn't right with my hip," Schär said.

"It's very painful, especially the hip, and above all I'm just really disappointed to start the race like this and put my season on hold again."

BMC Racing Team will continue to provide updates on Schär's progress.

Quick Step Floors will race Tirreno-Adriatico

Here's the team's news:

A strong and experienced squad, which includes three former stage winners, will head to the start of the Italian race.

Tirreno-Adriatico will once again be bookended by stages against the clock, with a team time trial opening the proceedings and an individual one drawing the curtain over the 52nd edition. "The Race of the Two Seas", which saw Quick-Step Floors take one overall win, five auxiliary classifications and 12 stage victories since the team's inception in 2003, will cross central Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic Sea for a total of 1012.8 kilometers across seven stages.

Besides Lido di Camaiore and San Benedetto del Tronto, two regular features on the route, Tirreno-Adriatico will visit Pomarance (where Zdenek Stybar won in 2016 with a superb solo attack), Montalto di Castro (the town which witnessed Fernando Gaviria's first World Tour victory), Monte Terminillo – the race's sole mountain top finish, averaging 7.4% over 16 kilometers – Fermo and Civitanova Marche, where the puncheurs, respectively the sprinters will look to take the spoils.

Both Gaviria and Stybar will return at the start of the the Italian World Tour race, together with Tom Boonen (a stage winner at the 2010 edition), Bob Jungels – best young rider in 2016 – Iljo Keisse, Niki Terpstra, Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote, making Quick-Step Floors one of the teams to watch during the week-long race.

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria wins another race

"We have a strong squad, and Bob, who finished third at last year's edition, will once again be our GC guy. Fernando will have his chances in the sprint stages, but unfortunately he won't count on Richeze, who's out for ten days after crashing in Strade Bianche", said sport director Davide Bramati. "Tom is coming off the back of a difficult week, during which he couldn't train properly due to gastroenteritis, so for him it will be important to add kilometers under the belt and return on the right track for the Northern Classics."

Bardiani-CSF to Tirreno-Adriatico

Here's the team's update:

Starting on Wednesday, March 8, Tirreno-Adriatico is drawing cycling’s attention on 2017 edition. The “Race of The Two Seas” includes seven stages, ending on March 14, and traditionally introduces the long spring season of cycling. Seventh event of UCI World Tour calendar, Tirreno-Adriatico will be for sure the most challenging test for Bardiani-CSF since the beginning of the season.

Line up - Team directors Stefano Zanatta and Roberto Reverberi decided to select the squad combining experience and good form. Nicola Ruffoni will be sprints leader; Nicola Boem, Simone Andreetta, Mirco Maestri and Alessandro Tonelli will form the rouleurs' group; Luca Wackermann will be the man for the climbs and, last but not least, Enrico Barbin and Simone Velasco, the all-rounders for mixed routes.

Nicola Ruffoni

Niccola Ruffoni winning stage 6 in last year's Tour of Austria

Quote - “Tirreno-Adriatico will be a hard test for everyone, the most demanding race to prove riders’ condition so far” said Zanatta. “From our side, we need to raise the level of our performances and giving continuity. After one month racing all over the world, we want to make a quality step. We know how hard be the challenge, but we don’t have to give up. I want to see the riders focused on the race, giving their best - this will make me satisfied”.

Facts - Bardiani-CSF took three top ten stage placements in the four editions of Tirreno-Adriatico raced - 7th Fortin in 2014, 8th Ruffoni in 2015 and 9th Colbrelli in 2016 - while in 2012, with team Colnago-CSF-Bardiani, Pirazzi won the Mountain Classification. Mirco Maestri, Luca Wackermann and Simone Velasco will attend the race for the first time in their career. Team average age is 25 years old, with Boem the oldest (27) and Velasco the youngest (21). Since the beginning of the season the #GreenTeam has raced in eight competition (fours stages races and four road races) for 27 days total. In season palmares, one win (Barbin at Tour de Langkawi), one podium and fifteen top ten placements fo far.

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

Here's the update the team sent me:


The 52nd edition of Tirreno Adriatico takes place from March 8 to 14, beginning with a team time trial on the Tuscan coast. The final stage also consists an individual time trial, its route including over 1,300m of climbing. Stage 2 sees four climbs along its route, with stage 3 expected to be a day for the sprinters. The queen stage tasks riders with two intermediate climbs and a 16km ascent to finish the day's racing. The fifth day of racing will provide a series of short but steep climbs, followed by a final day of racing for the climbers.

"It's a huge setback that we have lost Wilco [Kelderman] due to the crash at Strade Bianche last weekend both in the TTT and uphill support, but we now have Max who's a strong replacement for the TTT," explained Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED).

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin climbing a gravel road in this year's Strade Bianche

"Throughout the winter we have put huge efforts into developing our TT ability with extensive aero testing and pacing optimisation and we hope to take advantage of that at Tirreno. After the opening TTT our focus shifts towards the general classification where we aim to perform well with Tom. For the sprint stages we will also be looking for stage results with Ramon."

RACE: Tirreno Adriatico (WT)

DATE: 08-14/03/2017

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Chad Haga (USA)
Georg Preidler (AUT)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Mike Teunissen (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Max Walscheid (GER)


Development Team Sunweb conclude their racing in Croatia with the Istrian Spring Trophy, from March 9 to 12 with four out of six of the team's riders of German nationality. The race sees a 2km prologue, followed by three longer stages. Stage 1 tasks riders with 161km of racing from Porec to Labin, followed by a more challenging 186km for day two. The final stage consists of a 156km route ending at the races start in Umag.

"The Istrian Trophy is a really nice race were all different types of riders have the opportunity to show themselves," said Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert (GER). "The race will start with a 2km prologue around Umag, followed by two hilly stages. The final days racing sees a flat stage and will be one for the team's sprinters. We are bringing a mixed team with both young and experienced riders such as Ruben and Marc. All of our guys are really looking forward to competing against what is set to be a strong field in Croatia."

RACE: Istrian Spring Trophy (UCI 2.2)

DATE: 09-12/03/2017

COACH: Sebastian Deckert (GER) 

Felix Gall (AUT)
Marc Goos (NED)
Max Kanter (GER)
Leon Rohde (GER)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Ruben Zepuntke (GER)


The Women's WorldTour continues at Ronde van Drenthe this Saturday. Riders are faced with 152km of racing from Hoogeveen to Hoogeveen with seven cobbled sections totalling 13.2km Last year, Floortje Mackaij and Leah Kirchmann finished in 7th and 10th place respectively, and the team will be looking for more good results in this year's edition.

"We hope that we can count on the typical Dutch weather - wind and rain," explained Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED). "We have specialists for these conditions but as a WorldTour race, there will be a really strong field. With the strong team that we are bringing we aim to make our mark in the finale and take a top 10."

RACE: Ronde van Drenthe (WWT)

DATE: 11/03/2017

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

Lucinda Brand (NED)
Ellen van Dijk (NED)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Coryn Rivera (USA)
Julia Soek (NED)


Team Sunweb take to the 143.1km course of Drentse 8 van Westerveld this Sunday as defending champions. Riders are tasked with a couple of climbs half way through the race, and cobbled sections near to the race finish. The course has various technical turns, which will make for some exciting racing.

"Drentse has this year changed its parcours and now it looks like it may be more of a race for echelons as opposed to a race for breakaways," said Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED). "We like to race smartly and aggressively, this is the perfect course for this style of racing. We want to be attentive to the breakaways and if the race then comes down to a sprint then we have Coryn in good shape."

RACE: Drentse 8 van Westerveld (UCI 1.2)

DATE: 12/03/2017

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

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