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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

They say the universe is expanding. That should help us with traffic. - Steven Wright.

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UCI boss suggests six-man Tour teams

Velonews posted this report:

Is smaller better?

This year’s Tour de France was raced with eight-rider teams with mixed results. Some say the roster reduction from nine to eight did not make the Tour any safer or make it more exciting, two of the rationales for trimming team sizes in 2018.

UCI president David Lappartient now wants to take it even further and reduce Tour rosters down to six.

In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Les Temps, Lappartient suggested that rosters could be trimmed even further in the quest for a less controlled and more exciting Tour.

“We should go further with a reduction to six for the measure to be really effective,” Lappartient said. “At seven, Team Sky is still racing as a unit.”

team Sky

If Lappartient has his way this will be a smaller group next Tour. Sirotti photo.

Echoing comments Lappartient has made since elected to the UCI presidency last fall, Lappartient seems convinced that smaller teams will mean more exciting and unpredictable racing.

“With six-rider teams, there are only five guys to ride, and they would tire more,” Lappartient continued. “At the same time, it would take more teams to have the peloton at a respectable size.”

You can read the entire story here.

Mitchelton-Scott assesses its 2018 Tour de France

The team sent me this:

The Tour de France wrapped up in Paris [Sunday] with Mitchelton-SCOTT walking away proud, albeit without the desired results.

The Australian outfit selected and prepared a strong eight-rider squad to support young general classification hopeful Adam Yates. When difficult days on stages 11 and 12 forced a regroup and refocus, they were up to the task.

The team went on to animate or feature in the break in most of the remaining stages. And, with a little more luck may have walked away with a couple of stage wins.

Amongst the highlights was the stage three team time trial, where the team fell just nine-seconds short of the victory, despite a heavily fall to Luke Durbridge and Daryl Impey the day prior.

Giro d’Italia stage winner Mikel Nieve came agonisingly close on stage 11 when he led solo up the final climb only to be caught by eventual yellow jersey winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in the final few hundred metres.

Mikel Nieve

Mikel Nieve (shown in Tour stage eleven) came close.... Sirotti photo

Having regrouped from his disappointment, Yates also featured in several breakaways in search of a stage victory. His best chance was on stage 16 when he led solo down a final descent only to crash with five-kilometres to go and relinquish his lead.

Despite walking away without the results, head sport director Matt White couldn’t fault the endeavour of the team throughout the month.

“We set the bar high so of course we leave a little disappointed results-wise but we couldn’t have asked more of the boys,” White said.

“The true test of character this Tour de France was their adaptability when the focus shifted. They never stop fighting, we really animated the race from the moment we switched focus and they continued to put themselves in the right position to try for a result each day.

“We were close a number of times and things didn’t fall our way, but that’s professional cycling, that’s sport, and it certainly wasn’t through a lack of effort.”

Defending champion Dylan Teuns returns to Tour de Pologne

Team BMC sent me this news

31 July, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): After claiming his maiden UCI WorldTour stage race victory at the 2017 Tour de Pologne, Dylan Teuns will return to the seven-stage race this Saturday to defend his title.

Teuns will be joined by a strong team at the tough stage race, including Rohan Dennis, Sports Director Maximilian Sciandri said. "We are lining up with the defending champion, Dylan Teuns, and realistically it would be good to have another podium again. Of course winning is the goal, but it's always hard to at UCI WorldTour stage races especially ones like Tour de Pologne which is won and lost by seconds like last year. So, a podium result with Dylan would be great and we will also target a stage win with any of the guys. We have a great team with a lot of strong guys like Rohan Dennis, Jurgen Roelandts, and Alberto Bettiol," Sciandri explained.

Dylan Teubs

Dylan Teuns wins stage three of the 2017 Tour of Poland.

"I think it will be a pretty open race. The stages are shorter than last year, they are all around 150-160km so I'm expecting fast and aggressive racing."

Teuns is looking forward to returning to Poland and starting the second half of the season. "I think Tour de Pologne has more or less the same hard stages every year, with the tough uphill finishes that suit me well. They are hard stages but last year I survived, and the stage where I took the stage win last year is coming back so overall it's a nice course, and one I'm looking forward to," Teuns said.

"Of course, it will be hard to get the same result but after the hard work I have put in in the last month I am pretty confident about my shape. I'm ready to fight again to try to have some nice results."

Tour de Pologne (4-10 August)

Rider roster: Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Jurgen Roelandts (BEL), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Directors: Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)

Matti Breschel re-ups with EF Education First-Drapac

The team sent me this announcement:

#PinkArgyle is pleased to announce that Matti Breschel has extended his contract with the EF Pro Cycling organization. Breschel — a fan and staff favorite who isn’t afraid to belt out old rock and roll songs on the bus — has long been a steady hand in the northern classics and reliable captain.

Breschel has twice ridden for the team.. His first stint in argyle came in 2016; he left for the following season but returned at the start of 2018.

“It was totally a no brainer for me. I was hoping the whole year to re-sign, and I’m happy it worked out. I’m thrilled to be a part of the team for next year,” Breschel said. “I’m already looking forward to the classics. Helping a guy like Sep Vanmarcke gives me a lot of inspiration.”

The upcoming season will be Breschel’s 15th as a professional cyclist. The 33-year-old Dane has nine stage wins at the Tour of Denmark on his palmares, a victory at the Tour de Luxembourg and a win at the Philadelphia International Championship. He’s finished both second and third in the Worlds road race (2010, 2008, respectively).

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel having a good day at the 2015 Tour of Denmark.

“I’m super happy,” said Breschel. “I like riding for this team — there’s a democratic feel, no rigid hierarchy, and a friendship among riders. And we turn it on when we need to.”

“It’s great to be able to bring Matti back,” EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “He’s a solid rider in many different types of races. Ok, the classics we know he’s reliable as a helper and also capable of striking off on his own, should tactics allow. But also in a road captain sense he’s very good. He knows where guys are supposed to be and when, and we can trust him to keep riders in good position. He can lead out a sprint, too.”

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