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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, October 23, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said. - Peter Drucker

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Tour of Guangxi stage four team reports

This is from second-place Bauke Mollema's Trek-Segafredo team:

Bauke Mollema attacked with Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and Nicholas Roche (Team Sky) at the bottom of the steep stage four summit climb and held on to finish in second place behind Wellens, with Roche crossing moments later for third.

"The last climb was quite tough, especially the first kilometer with 9% average, and Sky pushed really hard from the bottom," said Mollema. "And it's just before the end of that steep section that me [Wellens and Roche] went away. Then you had a section that was more flat, and the last 500 meters were quite steep again. So, it was a rather weird climb, but I am happy we still could make the difference at the end."

For the first three days, the Tour of Guangxi has been ruled by bunch sprints, but that changed in the 151-kilometer stage Sunday with a sharp three-kilometer uphill to the finish.  It was touted as the most crucial stage of the six-day race, and the fight into the bottom caused a large crash with some five kilometers remaining.

Mollema added: "It was an important stage today, with the only uphill finish of this Tour of Guangxi. The climb was rather short, a bit under 3km, but I had really good legs today. The break got quite a lot of space today, so in the bunch we had to dig deep to catch them back. In the end everything came back together, but unfortunately, there was massive crash with less than 10 km to go, around 5km before the final climb. I managed to stay out of trouble, but Giacomo (Nizzolo) crashed quite hard in front of me - I believe I even rode a bit over him, sorry Giaco! - and also Pete was involved and so were 30 or more other riders. So that meant we went with a group of 50, maybe 60 riders, into the final."

Fortunately, Mollema – better suited to long mountain ascents – was in position to avoid the carnage and had the legs to stay with Wellens on the short, explosive climb.

"After one kilometer on that last climb, I went away with Nicholas Roche and Tim Wellens on the hardest part of the climb, and we got immediately quite a big gap, 5 to 10 seconds I believe," continued Mollema. "In the last 500 meters, Tim Wellens attacked really fast, and I had to leave a gap of 5 tot 10 meters which I couldn't close anymore. I didn't lose any more meters on him, but yeah, he was the strongest today.

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens wins stage four.

With two stages remaining, Wellens holds a four-second lead over Mollema, and nine seconds over Roche, but the parcours of the final two days may make the tiny margin in the general classification unsurmountable for Mollema.

"I would have preferred to win, obviously, but I am happy with my performance today. It's nice to end the season in this shape. There are still two more stages to come so who knows what can happen? The stages to come don't look very hard but you never know how the race will unfold. Tomorrow there are still some climbs in the final, at 30-40km to go and it is a long stage of 210km, so that will be probably the hardest of the two stages to come. Tuesday should be a little more easy, but who knows what this race will still bring?" ended

Nicolas Roche's Team BMC sent me this Guangxi Tour report:

22 October, 2017, Mashan Nongla Scenic Spot (CHN): Nicolas Roche crossed the line in third place after a tough uphill battle on the queen stage of the Tour of Guangxi, which now sees Roche sit in third place on the General Classification with two stages remaining.

Four riders formed the day's breakaway 10km into the 151km stage and the peloton quickly sat up to allow the quartet's advantage to stretch out to more than seven minutes in the opening 50km.

BMC Racing Team and Quickstep-Floors assumed control of the race and began to pick up the pace in the peloton to slowly bring the breakaway back over the flat terrain. After 100km, the gap had been reduced to under four minutes and from there, it quickly came down to under one minute with the final 3km climb looming.

Just 50 seconds separated the breakaway and the peloton with 15km to go and eventually 6km before the finish line, the catch was made. Roche was well-positioned at the front of the bunch and avoided a crash to then attack with 2km to go with Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) just behind.

Roche claimed the KOM but was overtaken on the false flat before the finish line by Wellens, who claimed the win ahead of Mollema and Roche, while Ben Hermans followed closely behind in fifth place.

BMC Racing Team has three riders in the top ten overall with Roche in third place, Hermans in fifth place and Silvan Dillier in eighth place, and Roche now leads the King of the Mountain classification.

Nicolas Roche: "The finish was quite hectic but the crash didn't bother me as we stayed to the left hand side of the road out of trouble. The team did a great job all day to chase the breakaway and keep us well-positioned. We wanted to take some responsibility so we put Floris Gerts up there straight away to chase and then Manuel Senni, and then Joey Rosskopf and Daniel Oss did the last effort to position us before the climb when it became a drag race with the other teams. We saw in the last few stages on these big open roads that everyone tries to get around you with the strong head wind so it can be really chaotic. So, we decided to take the race on and I think our plan to not save energy but instead use all of the guys paid off. Daniel made it a hard pace going into the climb and I knew that it flattened out a bit with 2km to go so that would be a good place to make a move. I attacked and went clear but was caught with about 800m to go by Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal). Wellens was stronger and rode myself and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) off his wheel with 500m to go.

"You never know what can happen in the final two days with the bonus seconds. It's going to be quite tough as the intermediate sprints are well placed. But, you just never know which these stages and on these big roads."

Marco Pinotti, Sports Director: "There was a crash about 2km before the climb. We are lucky because none of our riders were involved, except Floris Gerts and Manuel Senni who were stuck behind the crash as they had already finished their work for the day.

"The breakaway went away and the peloton was putting pressure on us and Quickstep-Floors to work so we put Gerts up there from the beginning. The time gap wasn't coming down enough in the finale so we also put Manuel Senni and Joey Rosskopf up there to help. But most of our riders were up the front anyway which was good as they avoided the crash. We had three cards to play in the final with Silvan Dillier, Ben Hermans and Nicolas Roche. Nicolas attacked with about 2km to go and was able to take the KOM but he was then caught on the false flat before the kick up to the finish."

"We have two stages left but because of the bonus seconds available on each stage, the race is still very open. The actual stages are not very selective for the GC riders but no spot is safe especially as there are some riders in the top ten who are also fast. We are in a good position with two riders in the top five. The goal is to move up and try and win a stage. Tomorrow's stage is more than 200km so anything can happen as it's not an easy day to control."

Japan Cup report from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Antwan Tolhoek has become fourth in the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race. The young rider finished in the first group in Utsunomiya. Italian Marco Canola took the win and Tolhoek crossed the line one and a half seconds later. Tolhoek also took the mountain jersey.

The 2017 Japan Cup was a rainy edition. The weather was so bad that the organization decided to shorten the race with a number of laps. "The plan was to make the race tough", said Tolhoek, who could get away early in the race. "I attacked with two strong riders. When we were in the front, the gap remained the same and some riders tried to jump from the peloton."

In the last lap, Canola jumped to the breakaway group with Benjamin Prades and Takeaki Amezawa. "From that point on, I didn’t ride full gas anymore", Tolhoek said. "I knew that they were stronger and I wouldn’t be able to win if I rode myself completely empty. In the end I had ridden the whole race in the front and I was beaten on the line by the three men who had just jumped to the breakaway group. That's pretty bad."

Marco Canola

Marco Canola wins a rain-shortened Japan Cup

Tolhoek took enough points to win the polka dot jersey. The young rider is going home with a good feeling. "I have been feeling very good since the Vuelta and I am happy to show this by being able to ride for the victory.”

"Antwan Tolhoek rode a strong race today", occasional Sports Director Richard Plugge said. "We wanted to make war and be present in each front group. Tolhoek finished fourth and Battaglin became eighth because he became second in the peloton sprint."

Plugge had seen a thoughtful team in bad weather conditions. "Typhoon Ian is coming closer, so it's raining hard and it’s getting more and more windy. I saw a strong team which was constantly in control. We had riders in each group. It is a pity that Canola was very strong today. Yesterday, he was just too quick in the criterion. Juanjo Lobato became second when he had to pull aside for a crash next to him in full sprint. We showed our qualities, but unfortunately it didn’t bring us the victory."

Lucy Kennedy to join ORICA-SCOTT in 2018

The team sent me this update:

ORICA-SCOTT has confirmed the signing of talented Australian rider Lucy Kennedy for the upcoming season with the 2017 Tour de l’Ardeche winner the latest addition to the team’s 2018 roster.

A strong time triallist who can also climb well, Kennedy has great stage racing potential as a future general classification contender after a stage win followed by the overall victory and points classification at the Tour de l’Ardeche in September.

Third place in the road race at the Australian National Championships in January was followed up by victory in the individual time trial at the Oceania Continental Championships and solid results at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Lotto Ladies Tour.

“To join ORICA-SCOTT in 2018 is a huge thrill,” said Kennedy. “I have so much admiration and respect for all the riders, so to be able ride with and in support of them is a dream come true. Watching from the outside throughout 2017, it’s not just their great results that make the team so appealing, but also the positive culture that so obviously exists within the whole set up.

“I have a lot to learn about racing at the very top level and there is no better place than ORICA-SCOTT for me to do just that. The opportunity to contribute to the continued success of the team is highly motivating and I’m really excited about the season ahead.”

Sport director Gene Bates spoke of the team’s excitement at the prospect of Kennedy’s future development within the ORICA-SCOTT set up. “We are extremely happy to have Lucy on the team for next year,” said Bates. “Lucy is relatively new to the sport of road cycling, but has already shown a lot of class and potential over a short period of time. We certainly sat up and took notice when she was awarded the Amy Gillet foundation scholarship for 2017.”

“In January she put together some great rides at the national championships and Cadel’s race, before moving onto European competition where she won the overall at one of the hardest editions of the Tour de l’Ardeche whilst riding with the Australian National High5 team. Climbing abilities like hers don’t come along very often and we are very proud and excited to see her develop in the ORICA-SCOTT colours next season.”

Lucy Kennedy

Date of Birth: 11th July 1988 (29)
Nationality: Australian
Place of Birth: Brisbane, Queensland
Turned Pro: 2018

Top Results:


-    1st Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche - General Classification
-    1st Oceania Continental Championships – (ITT)
-    3rd National Championships – Road Race
-    3rd Oceania Continental Championships – Road Race
-    4th Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
-    5th National Championships – (ITT)

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