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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 14, 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

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Milton Friedman

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Anglo-French Author Léo Woodland talks about his search for sticky buns as he and his wife Steph cycled across the United States. Sticky Buns Across America is Woodland's entertaining book about his trip, his endless curiosity about Americans, and of course, his insatiable need to refuel himself with sticky buns.

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6

Here's the report from second-place Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team:

From the drop of the flag on the penultimate day of Tirreno Adriatico, all eyes were on the finale. A relatively gentle stage would be concluded with a last kilometre dotted with tight turns, sudden gradient changes, roundabouts and other street furniture. While the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, got through unscathed, he just missed the victory, coming a close second to Quick-Step Floors’ Gaviria. Resplendent in red today, Peter confirmed his hold on the points jersey with one day left to race.

After yesterday’s long, tough stage, the shorter distance and comparatively flatter profile would be a welcome sight for the riders today. At 168km, the stage was just over 40km shorter than yesterday’s, and with only one categorised climb, the parcours was nothing like the relentless climbing and descending of stage 5. Like any race, however, it’s the riders who make it difficult, and on the last road stage of this 52nd edition of Tirreno Adriatico, there would be some GC favourites looking to take time ahead of the last day’s time trial, while at the finale, the sprinters would be looking to take their final chance for glory.

Eight got in the break almost as soon as the stage started, jumping ahead and creating a gap of three minutes. The terrain was perfect for an escape to get away, but a flat run to the finish line meant that a breakaway win was unlikely – the sprinters and their teams had their eye on this stage. Coming into the final 100km, the gap was down to a little over two minutes and was coming down gradually – and even though the peloton was held up at a level crossing, the gap continued to drop when they were on their way again.

In spite of the break’s best efforts, it seemed certain the catch would be made, and as the final 10km came, the attacks from the peloton began – working to bridge the gap to the survivors of the breakaway. With 6.5km remaining, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, staked his claim on the stage – surging up the road on the last climb of the day, using it as his launchpad for a late attack and to try to put some distance between him and the sprint teams. Well aware of the danger this presented, the pace upped in the peloton even more to keep the Slovak rider in contact. The final kilometre was frenetic – with high speeds and street furniture raising the chances of a crash. As the sprinters surged, Peter was boxed in and was late to start his sprint, finishing just second to Quick-Step Floors’ Gaviria, but this second place meant he secured his red points jersey going into the race’s final day.

Fernando Gaviria

Ferando Gaviria just beats Peter Sagan

After working so hard for his win on stage 5, Peter was feeling his efforts of the previous day. “It was a very nervous stage and it’s good we managed to finish without any incidents. Quick-Step Floors attacked a lot and as for myself, I think I’m happy with the result. Gaviria proved a bit stronger and got the win. Given the huge effort I put in yesterday, I’m satisfied with my performance and the result today.”

From the finish, Team Coach, Patxi Vila, saw how difficult the finale kilometre would be, particularly after Peter’s effort yesterday. “As expected, today’s stage finished with a bunch sprint. The final part was a bit tricky with a lot of curves and a small climb. It wasn’t easy to get the team to work to perfection, but the guys helped as much as they could. Thanks to his extraordinary skills, Peter isn’t really a rider who needs a leadout. He was well positioned and Gaviria was actually on his wheel. However, Gaviria anticipated the sprint and Peter missed it by a small margin. This second place is a good result, taking into consideration how deep he had to go yesterday while the other sprinters went a bit easier. I think we have to be satisfied with today’s result – it has been a good Tirreno Adriatico for the team. We had two wins, a second and a third – so it’s good overall.”

With the Race of the Two seas almost at an end after six gruelling days, the riders finally reach the Adriatic for tomorrow’s Individual Time Trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. For some, this will be a relaxing 10.05km spin of the legs, but for others – the GC riders in particular – this could be their final chance to change the outcome of the race or gain a podium spot, while the TT specialists will be looking for a stage win. An out and back route on fast roads awaits, with the sea in view almost the whole course - riders will doubtless be looking forward to some rest and relaxation after one final push.

BMC Racing Team continues classics preparation in Belgium

The team sent me this update:

13 March, 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA) : Seven of BMC Racing Team's eight-rider Dwars door West Vlaanderen roster, including runner-up Silvan Dillier, will be back racing in Belgium on Wednesday (March 15) at the Danilith Nokere Classic.

Sporting Manager Allan Peiper said that the one-day race will be an opportunity for the riders to continue their preparation for the upcoming Classics. "The Danilith Nokere Classic is not only another step in the necessary build up for races such as Tour of Flanders and Paris - Roubaix, but it also allows some of our younger riders to gain extra race practice and have the opportunity to try and win a tough, early season race."

Silvan Dillier

Silvan Dillier winning a stage at the Arctic Race/Norway in 2015

Silvan Dillier is eager to back up his performance from Dwars door West Vlaanderen. "I was really happy with the way I was riding last weekend, but when you are that close to the top of the podium, it's always a little disappointing. I feel strong right now, and my form is where I want it to be at this point in the season so, I can take a lot of confidence from that. I think I have recovered well and I'm motivated to give 100% and go for the win again if I get the opportunity."

Danilith Nokere Classic (15 March)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Martin Elmiger (SUI), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Miles Scotson (AUS), Loïc Vliegen (BEL)

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

This news from the team was in my inbox this morning:


Team Sunweb line up at Danilith Nokere Koerse this Wednesday for another day of classics racing. The one-day race takes riders from Deinze to Nokere covering 192.3km. It's uphill sprint on the Nokereberg makes it a perfect finish for the strong sprinters and the classics contenders.

"Last year the race finished in a bunch sprint and looking ahead to the weather forecast we anticipate the same scenario this year," explained Team Sunweb coach Dirk Reuling (NED). "Our goal is to sprint with Phil and to develop the lead out train around him with the experience of guys like Bert, Johannes and Zico.

"We have a good strategy prepared to bring Phil into position whilst feeling as fresh as possible at the bottom of the Nokereberg, so hopefully the last 200m uphill will play out in the most ideal way."

Phil Bauhaus

Phil Bauhaus winning a stage in the 2016 Azerbaidjan Tour

RACE: Danilith Nokere Koerse (1.HC)

DATE: 15/03/2017

COACH: Dirk Reuling (NED) 

LINE-UP: Phil Bauhaus (GER), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Lennard Hofstede (NED), Lennard Kämna (NED), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR), Zico Waeytens (BEL)


The seventh edition of the Handzame Classic gets underway on Friday and Development Team Sunweb will be at the start line representing the team's colours. The route takes riders from Bredene to Handzame and is likely to come down to a battle between the sprinters.

Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert (GER) said: "We are looking forward to racing in Belgium on Friday. Races in Belgium are important for the development of our young riders, they face a strong field and ride through some of the toughest terrain, which is really good experience for them. We want to be as active as possible during the race and it will be good to compete against world class riders."

RACE: Handzame Classic (UCI 1.1)

DATE: 17/03/2017

COACH: Sebastian Deckert (GER) 

LINE-UP: Nils Eekhoff (NED), Marc Goos (NED), Maxime Gressier (FRA), Max Kanter (GER), Jarno Mobach (NED), Leon Rohde (GER), Florian Stork (GER), Ruben Zepuntke (GER)  


Team Sunweb lines up at the 108th edition of Milano Sanremo on March 18, the first Monument of the season. The 295km route is traditionally one for the sprinters with climbing capacities, but its parcours also means it could be one for an attack as the race reaches its business end. The key points of the course are once again the Cipressa and the Poggio, before descending down into Sanremo after 291km of racing.

"Milano Sanremo is an important race for us and we have achieved good results here in the past," explained Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek. "We bring a good and experienced team to the race and recent years suggest that the likelihood of a decimated bunch sprint is likely to be the outcome. We have checked out the course and gone through all of the details with the whole team, so we are fully prepared for the day.

"We aim to get a result with Michael and we have Tom, Simon and Warren who will be there in the final to support him. As we've learned two years ago with John [Degenkolb] cooperation will be the deciding factor in the race, and it will be crucial to bring Michael as fresh as possible to Sanremo. After a good week and lots of progress made at Paris-Nice we go there with confidence."

RACE: Milano Sanremo (WT)

DATE: 18/03/2017

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Michael Matthews (AUS), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED


The third round of the Women's WorldTour continues this weekend at Trofeo Alfredo Binda. The race sees riders undertake a 131.1km route from Taino to Cittiglio with plenty of altitude metres along the way. Last year, Coryn RIvera finished in 11th position whilst in 2015 Ellen van Dijk took 8th and the team will be looking for more great results this year.

Ellen van Dijk

Ellen van Dijk at the 2014 World's

Team Sunweb coach Dirk Reuling said: "This is a pretty hard course throughout, and a sprint uphill to finish the day makes things even tougher. Leah is in good shape at the moment so we will be looking for an opportunity with her. We also have Coryn and Ellen who can play an important role in the final, and they have achieved some good results here in the past.

"Our main goal is to work as a team and use as least energy as possible until the final laps. Last year the favourites forced a break with 20km to go and it's likely to be the same scenario this year. This is where we will really focus and make sure that we have our riders ready. "

RACE: Trofeo Alfredo Binda (WWT)

DATE: 19/03/2017

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

LINE-UP: Ellen van Dijk (NED), Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Juliette Labous (FRA), Coryn Rivera (USA), Rozanne Slik (NED), Sabrina Stultiens (NED)


The Men's WorldTour continues at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, taking place from March 20 to 26. 1113km of racing are covered over seven stages, which provides opportunities for sprinters, climbers and attacking opportunists. The route sees a combination of summit and sprinting finales, hilly stages, as well as a team time trial.

"We will be lining up with quite a young team at this year's Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and our focus will be on targeting stage results day by day," said Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts (AUS).

"Guided by the experience of Johannes and Laurens, this race will be a development opportunity for our younger riders and will give them a chance to shine. We will be looking for a chance to sprint with Max, with the support of Phil. On the more difficult stages I expect that Chris, Sindre and both Lennards will be out to animate the race and create opportunities."

RACE: Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (WT)

DATE: 20-26/03/2017

COACH: Luke Roberts (AUS) 

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