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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Actually I don't remember being born, it must have happened during one of my black outs. - Jim Morrison

Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Tour of Poland stage three team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Alvaro Hodeg's Quick-Step team with the results

Here's the update from Bora-hansgrohe:

The third stage was the last chance for the sprinters to show their sprinting skills in this year’s Tour de Pologne. Like in the previous days, the BORA – hansgrohe train, with Cesare Benedetti at the front of the peloton, led the race and brought their leader into position. Unfortunately, having ridden the perfect race, the German Champion was boxed in during the final metres and could not start his sprint seeing Á.J. Hodeg take the win and also taking over the leader’s jersey.

The Stage
The third stage took the riders from the Stadion Slaski to Zabrze over 139km. Today’s stage favored again the fast wheels in the peloton with only some hilly sections and a flat finish. The stage included one category four climb and three intermediate sprints, before the race headed into the final laps in the city of Zabrze.

The Team Tactics
The team knew the finish from last year’s edition, where BORA – hansgrohe rider Peter Sagan took third. The whole team supported again their leader Pascal Ackermann in today’s finale, to achieve another stage win. Like in the previous days, the team focused to control the peloton and set the pace.

The Race
Directly after the start, a group of four riders formed the breakaway of the day with a maximum gap of four minutes. It was BORA – hansgrohe rider Cesare Benedetti, who set the pace in the main field to protect Tour de Pologne’s leader, Pascal Ackermann. With 77km remaining the three escapees were 2:20 ahead of the bunch, but BORA – hansgrohe tried to keep their advantage low and with the gap dropping steadily, it was all back together with 10km remaining. As approaching the finale, the sprinters teams started to form their lead-out. The final laps saw high speed and as the peloton headed into the finale, the BORA – hansgrohe sprinter was in a good position. Shortly before the line Pascal was boxed in by two other riders and couldn’t start his sprint. He took 12th  place, while A.J. Hodeg took the win and also the leader’s jersey of the Tour de Pologne.

Alvaro Hodeg

Alvaro Hodeg takes Tour of Poland stage three.

From the Finish Line
“The team did a great job but as we came into the finale, I chose the wrong side and was boxed in. Well, that’s cycling, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But in a bunch sprint you have to decide in seconds and sometimes you chose the right side and sometimes you don’t. However, I was super happy to wear the leader’s jersey and now I am looking forward to supporting my teammates in the same way they supported me the last few days.”– Pascal Ackermann

“The team did a great job today. Cesare was, like in the previous days, always at the front of the peloton and took control over the pace. As we headed into the finale, it seemed like we could go for the third stage win, but shortly before the finish line, Pascal was blocked. In a bunch sprint, there is always just a second which makes the difference between winning or losing. Of course, we wanted to take another victory, but that is cycling. Tomorrow we’re off into the mountains and with our four riders we have a lot of opportunities to achieve more great results.” - Steffen Radochla, sports director 

Team Sunweb's upcoming races

The team sent me this:

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED): "For the TTT and the road race we have a strong team, and for both it's important that we stick to the plan. In the TTT if that means that we win then that's good, but if it's something different then we will also be happy with that as long as we've worked according to our plan. For the road race we have some fresh legs coming out of the European championships, as well as Coryn and Leah, who finished 3rd here last year. The parcours suit us really well and after a good few months we're feeling good about taking the maximum out of this race." 

DATE: 11+13/08/2018

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

Lucinda Brand (NED)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Pernille Mathiesen (DEN)
Coryn Rivera (USA) 

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED): "Our goal at BinckBank Tour is to explore possibilities for a GC result with Søren and look for a result in the sprints with Max. The GC is likely to be decided by the time trial and Flemish stage, but we also have to be careful with the wind in Holland and Belgium. Chris and Martijn will be the guys to support early on, and for the sprints we have a strong lead out with Edward and Michael, alongside our road captain Roy." 

DATE: 13-19/08/2018

COACH: Marc Reef (NED) 

Victor Campenaerts to defend European time trial title Wednesday

Campenaerts' Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

On Wednesday 8 August, Victor Campenaerts will defend his European time trial title in Glasgow. The Lotto Soudal rider is eager to keep his blue and white champion’s jersey, which he earned in the Danish city of Herning last year. Victor prepared for the European Championship at an altitude training camp in Livigno.

Victor Campenaerts

Victor Campenaerts time trialing at the 2016 Vuelta a España

Victor Campenaerts: “Of course I would really like to prolong my European time trial title. I did a four-week altitude training camp in Livigno, where I spent a lot of time on my time trial bike. After the training camp, I immediately travelled to Glasgow. The preparation has been ideal and I will do everything I can to keep my jersey.”

“I already did a recon of the 45 kilometres long course and I think it suits me. It’s a bit hilly but you can keep riding in the big ring during the entire race. It’s a nice circuit that is at first glance relatively technical but in fact has very few corners where you have to pull the brakes really hard. There’s no hiding behind excuses on this course. However, the roads are in a bad state, but that applies to everyone. I can only hope that punctures won’t decide the outcome of the race. Last year’s course in Denmark, with very few corners and many flat sections, was slightly more suited to the pure time trialists.”

“I had a perfect preparation in the run-up to the time trial, in which I will simply give it my all. I haven’t watched the start list yet as I will mainly focus on my own performance. I’ll go for the best possible time trial that I can ride and hopefully that will be enough to prolong my title. Imagine if I deliver the perfect performance and for example Stefan Küng beats me by half a minute, I will just have to accept that. You can’t come up with a tactical plan for a time trial, it’s just a matter of pushing as hard as you can. The following days will be all about resting the legs to appear at the start as fresh as possible.”    

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck set to bolster Continuum Sports' classics team

Team BMC sent me this news

06 August, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Belgian rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck will join Greg Van Avermaet at Continuum Sports in 2019 to strengthen the team's classics roster, General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced today.

Van Keirsbulck is the second rider alongside Van Avermaet to be confirmed with Continuum Sports, currently operating as BMC Racing Team, for the 2019 season when Polish shoe and bag manufacturer CCC becomes title sponsor.

"We are excited to welcome Guillaume Van Keirsbulck to Continuum Sports as we believe he will be a valuable addition to our classics team. With CCC joining Continuum Sports as title sponsor in 2019 we will have a new look, a new roster, and new objectives, so this is the first of many rider announcements we will make over the coming weeks," Ochowicz explained.

Guillaume van Kiersbulck

Van Kiersbulck winning the 2017 GP Le Samyn

"Guillaume has a lot of experience at the WorldTour level and has demonstrated his abilities in different racing formats, from one-day classics to Grand Tours with two Tour de France participations to his name. With victories at Binck Bank Tour and Le Samyn over the years, Guillaume has shown that he can win races so he will have his own opportunities with us, as well as playing a crucial support role for Greg Van Avermaet during the classics season. As a Belgian, Guillaume is at home on the cobbles and this knowledge will be invaluable for the cobbled classics next year."

Van Keirsbulck, 27, turned professional in 2011 and will make his return to the WorldTour after two years with Professional Continental Team Wanty Groupe-Gobert.

The opportunity to ride alongside Van Avermaet was too good to pass up, Van Keirsbulck said. "I come from a cycling family and as a Belgian, I love the classics so I am very excited to join Continuum Sports. I am motivated to help Greg Van Avermaet in the classics and to help strengthen the team, and take any opportunities that come my way," Van Keirsbulck said.

"I have had the chance to ride for myself in the past two years but in the classics it is a constant fight for position and there is a certain level of respect that comes from riding with a WorldTour team. I'm really looking forward to returning to the WorldTour level to ride for a strong team like Continuum Sports, with Greg as leader."

Ag2r's Pierre Latour won't be racing for at least a month

Latour's Ag2r team sent me this note that I roughly translated:

Pierre Latour will be unable to race for four to six weeks.

Pierre Latour, the 2018 Tour de France's Best Young Rider, crashed Saturday at the Clasica San Sebastian. In addition to many wounds, a dorsal and thoracic CT scan revealed a non-displaced [cracked, but retains its proper alignment] vertebral fracture, according to Dr. Eric Bouvat, Ag2r's team doctor.

Pierre Latour

Pierre Latour at the end of the 2018 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

He will be partially immobilized for three weeks and then he will be scanned to see how he is recovering.

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