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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Isn't it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation? - Zig Ziglar

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Tour de Romandie Prologue team reports

We posted winner Michael Matthews' Team Sunweb report with the results.

Second-placed Tom Bohli's BMC team team sent me this:

24 April, 2018, Fribourg (SUI): BMC Racing Team got off to a strong start at the Tour de Romandie with Tom Bohli finishing second on today's prologue, the first individual time trial of his 2018 season.

On the opening downhill section of the 4.02km course, the riders were able to pick up speed before the road started to rise towards the finish with both cobbles and a gradient of up to 10% to tackle.

Bohli rolled off the ramp early and he looked motivated as he settled into his rhythm quickly, posting the provisional fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint before powering up the final climb and across the line in 5'34"07.

The young Swiss rider, who is racing on home soil this week, had a long wait in the hot seat and in the end, only Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), who stopped the clock at 5'33"01, could better Bohli's time and push him into second place.

Just one second separated the top four riders at the end of the day with Australian national time trial champion, Rohan Dennis, who is using this race to fine-tune his form ahead of the Giro d'Italia, finishing fourth in 5'34"64.

As defending champion, Richie Porte was the final rider to start in Fribourg and he eventually finished inside the top twenty, 14 seconds behind Matthews, with a time comparable to most of the General Classification contenders.

After his gutsy effort, Bohli will head into stage 1 tomorrow wearing the white jersey as leader of the Best Young Rider Classification.

Tom Bohli

Tom Bohli turning in a great ride

Tom Bohli:
"I did my personal best today. I did everything I could out there. This is my first time trial of the year so I was pretty nervous coming into it. I felt like I had a really good ride. I had to brake a little bit behind a moto which was maybe the low point of the race for me. However, I don't think I have ever been as calm as I was five minutes before the start of the race and also at the bottom of the climb. I'm not sure why but I paced my race perfectly. At the top of the climb, I was tired but not at my limit so I could go a little bit harder towards the line."

"I thought to myself that if I was still sitting here after Rohan Dennis passed, the chance of taking victory was super high but in the end, it wasn't meant to me. Finishing second is maybe the biggest feeling of disappointment. When you are third, you are just happy to be on the podium and then if you're fourth it's the same feeling as when you're second. I'm feeling a bit sad that I didn't bring it home as it was so close in the end but of course, I am really happy that I did a good prologue."

"I think I have now taken a big step forward in terms of my self-confidence because I was always fighting with that last year. It's great to be in the white jersey and I want to show it off at the front of the bunch. You will see me there riding for my teammates this week."

Rohan Dennis:
"The last kilometer was pretty brutal. I knew that the race would be won there, particularly on the last 500m but, trying to get some speed there to finish the race off was quite hard when it was so explosive."

"While you can say that a short course like this is not my specialty, the last time I lost a time trial, apart from Worlds last year, was at the Tour of Britain in 2016. I always go out there to win no matter how short or long the course is. It's a shame that this winning streak has come to an end. My shape is good. We will see how I go on the uphill time trial on Friday and then the Sion stage will be a good test for me ahead of the Giro d'Italia."

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this:

Crossing the line in 27th position, Emanuel Buchmann finished the opening stage of the 72nd Tour de Romandie as BORA-hansgrohe’s highest-placed rider. In the fight for the general classification, he conceded 17 seconds to the winner of the day. The victory was taken out by M. Matthews, who finished the 4km-long prologue in Fribourg just ahead of T. Bohli und P. Roglič by the slimmest of margins, with a time of 5:33 minutes.

The Stage
As has become somewhat traditional at the Tour de Romandie, the race opened with a prologue, which this year took the riders on a short course through Fribourg. The route was only 4 km in length, but contained a couple of tricky 90-degree turns and cobbled sectors as well as a final kilometre that featured gradients of over 12 per cent. The route therefore demanded not only solid time trialling skills, but also good climbing abilities.

The Team Tactics
With the course only being 4 km long, a good performance today would not by any means provide a significantly large lead in the general classification. However, having an off day on the bike could do some damage to one’s position in the overall standings. It was therefore important for the BORA-hansgrohe riders, particularly our GC contender Emanuel Buchmann, to put in a solid performance in Fribourg in order to remain in contention in the general classification over the following stages.

The Race
132 riders took to the start line for today’s race against the clock, at the end of which M. Matthews emerged victorious by the slimmest of margins, after having clocked a time of 5:33. Andreas Schillinger opened the race for BORA-hansgrohe, with his teammate Emanuel Buchmann leaving the start house 19 minutes later and finishing the 4 km-long course in 5:51. The next riders who took on the course for the team were Peter Kennaugh, Pascal Ackermann and Pawel Poljanski, the latter of whom finished the course in a time of 5:55. Erik Baška and Rüdiger Selig, who set the third best intermediate time, were the last to start on the route. The best BORA-hansgrohe rider of the day was Emanuel Buchmann, who finished 17 seconds down on the winner of the prologue.

From the Finish Line
“It was a demanding day today, with a few difficult turns and cobbled sectors to contend with. Particularly in light of the quality field present at the race, Emanuel and Pawel produced some solid results and their times were not bad today. We’re heading for the mountains tomorrow, and the team will do its best there.” – Steffen Radochla, Sports Director 

Bardiani-CSF announces its Giro d'Italia squad

The team sent me this announcement:

Nine days to the Big Start of the Giro d’Italia and Bardiani-CSF is ready to announce the selection for the most important event of its season.

The eight riders at disposal of team directors Roberto Reverberi and Stefano Zanatta will be Simone Andreetta, Enrico Barbin, Giulio Ciccone, Andrea Guardini, Mirco Maestri, Manuel Senni, Paolo Simion and Alessandro Tonelli.

Giulio Ciccone

Giulio Ciccone winning the Tour of the Appennines on Sunday, April 22. He'll be on the start line of the Giro.

“The path to the Giro has been really brilliant, especially in the last races at Tour of the Alps, Giro dell’Appennino and Tour of Croatia. We’re really satisfied for the results achieved by the guys so far and a lot of them deserved a call for the Giro” said Reverberi.

“We’ve always had clear ideas about the type of team we need for this Giro. For us, every stage is a good chance to stand out, to attack and to catch the win. The target of the #GreenTeam are the stages and to hit it we’ll need the work of the entire team, beside the exploit of the single rider. Commitment and team spirit will be our watchwords” added Reverberi.

“The characteristics of the route and the riders form have been the key factors at the base of our decision” explained Zanatta. “Every stage is tough and tricky. To be competitive, we selected a young line-up, with average age of 25.5, but at the same time experienced. Guardini and Simion will look to the fast stages; Ciccone and Senni will be the key riders on the climbs; Andreetta, Barbin, Maestri and Tonelli will form the unit of attackers for the breakaways. We’re confident this team lives up to the prestige of the race. From Jerusalem to Rome, everyone has the task to honor the race and their jersey”.

Bardiani-CSF will fly to Israel on May 1. On Friday the 4th is scheduled the first stage (9.7 km time trial in Jerusalem) followed by two road races stages, again in Israel.

On Monday the 7th, first rest day, the race will move to Sicily and the day after will restart with stage 4, from Catania to Caltagirone.

Giro d’Italia will finish in Rome on Sunday the 27th with stage 21: 115 km in the Capital, starting and finishing at Fori Imperiali.

Pat Hus out at Interbike, PR director Justin Gottlieb promoted to lead show

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this surprising announcement:

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Interbike show director Pat Hus has left Emerald Expositions, the show's parent company; PR director Justin Gottlieb has been promoted to interim show director, the company announced Tuesday. Hus had been at the helm of Interbike since 2011.

Hus is an industry veteran. Before joining Interbike as managing director in June 2011, he worked for Easton Bell Sports, Titus Cycles and Cannondale.

Gottlieb joined Emerald in 2012 and has been serving as communications and PR director for Interbike and corporate communications director for Emerald Expositions. In addition to his involvement in strategy development on Interbike, Gottlieb also managed Interbike features and activations, retail education development, and projects such as the Interbike Mechanics Challenge.

"Justin has an intimate knowledge of the cycling industry having worked in the space for over 20 years, and has been a senior part of the Interbike team for six years," said Darrell Denny, executive vice president at Emerald Expositions, Interbike's owner.

"He has a broad range of successful experience in bicycle retail, wholesale and at the brand level and has been an integral leader at Interbike. Justin is known, respected and excited to be leading our team going forward."

"I and my colleagues thank Pat for his great work on Interbike and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Denny said in a news release.

Gottlieb worked in cycling retail, wholesale and events before Interbike. He earned a bachelor's degree in public relations from the University of Florida, where he was a member of the cycling team. He later earned an MBA from Averett University.

You can read the entire article here.

On a personal note, I have known and admired Mr. Hus for decades and was looking forward to seeing him at Interbike. All the best, Pat.

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