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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, November 12, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. - Meister Eckhart

Latest completed racing:

Jai Hindley wins stage four and moves into the race lead at the Tour of Fuzhou

We're not following the Tour of Fuzhou, but I thought I'd share this update from the Mitchelton-Scott team:

Paris–Roubaix: The Inside Story

Giro d’Italia U23 stage winner Jai Hindley got everything right on stage four of the Tour of Fuzhou in China, taking the Queen stage win and moving into the race leaders yellow jersey with one more day of racing to come.

The hardest day of this year’s race covered 130 kilometres with a first and second category climb forming the ascent to the finish line and also the platform for a GC battle.

Mitchelton-SCOTT were prepared for the splits and with Hindley in fifth overall at the start of the day the Chinese/Australian outfit kept their leader well positioned as the race hit the climbs.

As the selection formed with seven kilometres to go and on his preferred terrain Hindley looked strong and as the group whittled down to three it was Hindley who convincingly came out on top.

“It was super nice to win today,” said Hindley. “It feels good to be able to give something back to the team that has given me so much support over the past couple of years. On tomorrow’s final stage we will do everything we can as a team to defend the jersey and the race lead.”

Not only did Hindley move into the race lead, but Liu Jiankun also climbed the overall ranking into 16th place and maintains his position as the highest placed Chinese rider in the race.

“I am really happy for the guys to get this result today,” said sport director Dave Sanders. “We have had some bad luck with crashes and sickness throughout the Asia Tour and it has cost us some potential results, but the guys have not stopped trying and they deserved to be up there today.”

“The field kept splitting as they went up the final climb, it was pretty steep in places and over a tough road and that suited us. Jai rode really well and as it got down to first three riders, then two he looked confident and took the sprint convincingly.

“It won't be easy tomorrow, it will be a challenging race around Yong Tai over some fast circuits, but we will do our best to defend the jersey and we are motivated for the challenge.”

Tour of Fuzhou stage four results:

1. Jai Hindley (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 03:26:25
2. Fung Ka Hoo (Hong-Kong) ST
3. Stanislau Bazhkou (Minsk-Cycling-Club) +0:21

General classification after stage four:

1. Jai Hindley (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 11:34:23
2. Fung Ka Hoo (Hong-Kong) +0:04
3. Stanislau Bazhkou (Minsk-Cycling-Club) +0.15

Max Schachmann: The road to recovery and dreaming of a Grand Tour start

Team Quick-Step Floors posted this:

We caught up with our neo-pro Max Schachmann on his first season with Quick-Step Floors and the road to recovery after his Tour de Pologne crash:

Cheers, everyone!

Long time no see! How are you? How are you handling the off-season? Bet you're counting the days left until the beginning of the new one.

I am counting too, but my countdown is already for the training camp in December. I am very eager to join my teammates, whom I haven't seen in a while, and get back that feeling which I've been missing since crashing out of the Tour de Pologne. It was the low-point of a season that otherwise augured well once I donned the Quick-Step Floors jersey for my first race, in February, the Dubai Tour.

That was a really nice way to kick off the season; great weather, sunny and warm, and we won four stages plus the general classification, which had the gift of helping me ease into the pro peloton. Then, shortly after returning to Europe, I got to start my first one-day races, Handzame Classic and Le Samyn. It was a different type of weather than the one in the Emirates, but I liked it, because I got to gain invaluable experience and also notched my first top 10 of the year.

Max Xchachmann

Max Schachmann riding in the 2014 World Championships

Spring brought two of the Ardennes Classics – Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne – and the Tour de Romandie, where I came very close to a podium in the prologue. I didn't expect such a result against some of the best riders in the world, many who were there in top shape. That result gave me confidence for the Tour of California, which brought me to the US for the first time in my life. My priority was to perform lead-out duties for Marcel, but despite that, I managed my way to a top 15 overall, which was a solid result considering how hard the week was, with echelons, some tough climbs and an ITT at 2000 meters of altitude.
In June, at the National Championships, I was hoping for a good result in the time trial, but I had a really bad day and could finish only fourth. A few days later, in the road race, I tried to make up for the disappointing ITT and was in the mix right from the start. The race was very hard and the peloton was shattered on the first climb of the day. I made the cut, responded to many attacks, but it was difficult against riders who had many teammates in the race. Overall, it was an important experience, from which I really got to learn some things that I hope will come in useful in the future.

With the first part of the season wrapped up, I was very motivated to make the selection for the Vuelta a España, but unfortunately that Tour de Pologne crash changed the plans and forced me to draw the curtain on my season and instead start a long road to recovery, which now is only half-way.

After the surgery, the doctor told me I need to use the crutches for more than three months, and it was only in October that I began riding the bike on the rollers, 30 minutes every day, just to move the leg. Now I feel much better – the doctor told me that he was satisfied with my progress – but I can tell you that the first week after the surgery was really difficult and painful. Once I came home, it took me some time to get used to it, as all I could do was move from the bed to the couch to watch the races on TV. Since then, I began moving my leg more and even went swimming in the pool, which aided my recovery.

The goal is to be fit for the start of the training camp in December and build up. I am aware that I will need a bit more time to regain my condition, but the motivation is there. Of course, I'm not setting the bar too high after such a heavy injury; I have to work hard and see how my body responds before making any plans, but what I can tell you is that I want to make my Grand Tour debut next year; it would be a dream to see this long road to recovery come to an end with me pinning on the number for the start of such a great race.

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