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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, October 19, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose. - Richard Dawkins

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Team Sunweb previews Tour of Guangxi

The team sent me this release:

The 2018 WorldTour season draws to a close over the coming week at the Gree-Tour of Guangxi, a new addition to the WorldTour calendar. The race is contested over six stages, the first of which is suited to the fast finishers followed by a stage for the puncheurs of the peloton on day two. A flat run into the finish on stage three will see the sprinters come to the forefront of the action once again with the climbers having the chance to shine on day four. The final two stages feature various climbs scattered along their parcours before a flat run into the finish. Velon will bring fans on-board GoPro highlights from the debut event.

Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (NED) said: "We have two goals for the race; first to look for sprint possibilities with Max and Michael and second to explore our GC chances with Wilco. The first three stages will likely see a sprint finish where we will go full gas to take a stage result for Max. The uphill finish on stage four will certainly see some time gaps so this is an important day for our GC ambitions. The final two stages will likely see a reduced group go to the line so it's important that the team stay sharp to bring Wilco into a good position ahead of the finale. We bring a strong team to help chase our goals in China and after a brilliant 2017 WorldTour season we hope to end our year on a high."

RACE: Gree-Tour of Guangxi (WT)

DATE: 19-24/10/2017

COACH: Arthur van Dongen (NED) 

Lotto Soudal is also headed to the Tour of Guangxi

Here's the update the team sent me:

There’s one stage race left on the programme of Lotto Soudal this season: the Tour of Guangxi. This WorldTour race takes place from Thursday 19 October until Tuesday 24 October, in the south of China. It’s six hours later in Guangxi than in Belgium.

The course in Guangxi is mainly flat. The bonus seconds will probably be decisive for the overall victory. At the finish there are six, three and one second to be gained each day. At the intermediate sprints three, two and one second are up for grabs. Each day three intermediate sprint are located on the course, except for the third and fifth stage when it is limited to two. As the course suits the sprinters, many of them travelled to China, including Sonny Colbrelli, Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, Dylan Groenewegen, Michael Matthews and Danny van Poppel. Lotto Soudal counts on Moreno Hofland. On Sunday there’s an uphill finish, but it’s only at the top of a three-kilometre long climb, which means the time gaps won’t be too large. That stage Lotto Soudal can play the card of Tim Wellens.

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens will be at Guangxi

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “There are five sprint stages. The fourth stage has an uphill finish after a short climb. It’s not a finish for pure climbers though, but also for punchers. The race will be won by seconds, so the bonus seconds will have a big influence on the overall result.”

“Moreno Hofland won in Famenne last week and finished second in the peloton sprint of the Tacx Classic behind Groenewegen past weekend. He’s in good shape and therefore he’ll be our man for the sprints. Tosh Van der Sande and Enzo Wouters can support Moreno. Tim Wellens will be our GC rider. Michael Matthews will be a dangerous opponent considering there are no long climbs on the course and the fact that he can set a good result in the fourth stage. Adam Hansen is looking great. He will definitely want to try something. Thomas de Gendt is Thomas De Gendt and he will want to show himself too. It’s difficult to predict how Louis Vervaeke will perform. He was unable to race for a long while due to overtiredness and wanted to get some race rhythm before the off-season. His job will be to help out the team.”

Tim Wellens: “This is a special race. It’s a stage race at the end of the season and because it’s the first edition we don’t know the course. It takes a lot of time to get in China and there’s the jetlag. Although the season is nearly over, it was no problem to prepare myself mentally for this race. I am going to China with ambition, without setting a specific goal as there are many things that can influence my performance.”

“The course in Guangxi isn’t hard. The climb at the end of the fourth stage is only three kilometres long and there is no time trial. The time gaps in GC will be small, which means the bonus seconds will be important. As a GC rider you will also need to get a good result in the flat stages, as these results will matter when you finish in the same time as another rider.”

“In 2012 I already raced in China, when I took part in the Tour of Beijing, my first WorldTour race ever. Then I finished tenth on GC. A race at the end of a season is always special, because many are thinking about the off-season. Now we are racing in a different part of China. I am looking forward to see the area. Thanks to cycling you get to see a lot of places in the world.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Thomas De Gendt, Adam Hansen, Moreno Hofland, Tosh Van der Sande, Louis Vervaeke, Tim Wellens and Enzo Wouters.

Sports director: Mario Aerts.


Nate Brown re-ups with Slipstream Sports

The team sent me this news:

Slipstream Sports is proud to announce the two-year contract extension of Nate Brown. The 26-year-old showed considerable improvements during the 2017 season, which earned him his first Tour de France call-up. In July, Brown not only supported Rigoberto Uran to second place but also spent two days atop the Tour's mountains classification.

“This has been my best season yet,” said Brown. “I have a lot I am proud of, but I think my proudest moment was wearing the polka dot jersey in the Tour de France. It was always a dream to race the Tour, and wearing the polka dot jersey was beyond anything I could have imagined.”

Nate Brown

Nate Brown enjoys his time in polka-dots at the 2017 Tour.

“Nate’s performances this season have given him confidence and furthered his ambitions,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Nate has always been talented and hard-working. This year, I think he’s come to see what he's truly capable of, which makes him capable of even more. We know what he can do and now so does he.”

Brown called the decision to stay with Slipstream Sports “an easy one” in large part due to the support he’s received from his teammates, staff and management during his three-year tenure with the American-registered squad.

“The moment JV came to me with another contract, I knew it was the right choice to stay,” said Brown. “This team is a family to me. They have always had my back and given me great opportunities. I can’t wait to keep developing with them for another two years. I feel like I have a lot more I can give the team.”

“I want to keep improving,” said Brown. “Every year I have gotten a little better.  I don’t think I’ve reached my full potential yet.”

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