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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 10, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. - James A. Baldwin

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

CCC offers contract to Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas

The Week posted this short, but important piece of news:

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas got a hero’s welcome as he arrived back in Cardiff [Wales] today, but the main talking point in the Welsh capital is his future plans.

After becoming the first Welsh cyclist to win in France, the 32-year-old is being lined up by new Poland-based outfit CCC WorldTour to lead their team in next year’s race.

His current deal with Team Sky expires this season and CCC have made a “serious contract offer” for Thomas to ride with them in 2019, Cycling News reports.

Gerant Thomas

Geraint Thomas finishing stage twenty of the 2018 Tour de France

CCC sports director Piotr Wadecki told the website: “It’s true, we spoke with his manager and that’s true we gave the offer to Geraint. We know his contract ends. Our team is concentrated on Greg Van Avermaet for the Classics and we are looking for a leader for the stage races like the Tour. So why not give an offer for Geraint?

“We wait for an answer. If it’s working, it’s OK. Our offer is on the table, and if he says yes, it’s really nice, and we can still hire two or three guys to help him in the stage races.”

If Thomas signs for CCC, he will be the team’s sole general classification leader for the 2019 Tour de France, Wadecki added.

Carlos Verona joins Team Movistar

Here's Team Movistar's post:

The Movistar Team announces Carlos Verona (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, ESP; 1992) has signed a contract with Eusebio Unzué’s team, and will wear the Blue colours at least until the end of the 2020 season.

Despite being still very young -he will turn only 26 on 4th November-, Verona is already an expert WorldTour competitor, having spent the last six seasons in top-ranked squads -four years with Quick Step; the last two with Mitchelton-Scott- after a precocious debut with the Burgos-BH continental outfit at the age of just 18.

A tall, strong allrounder (1.86m, 68kg), able to get through the biggest mountains as well as riding strong on hilly courses and flat terrain, Verona has two Giro d’Italia appearances and three Vuelta a España caps to his name. The last few seasons have seen the Spaniard support world-class leaders, such as Esteban Chaves and the Yates brothers, without leaving individual aspirations aside either.

In 2018, Carlos has notched up a 2nd place in the GP Miguel Indurain (behind future team-mate Valverde), a 4th spot on stage five of the Vuelta al País Vasco and KOM jerseys at the ‘Itzulia’ and the Norwegian Tour des Fjords.

Conservative comeback plan for Esteban Chaves

The Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this news

Mitchelton-SCOTT will take a conservative approach to the comeback of Colombian climber Esteban Chaves after he returned to the bike this week for the first time since finishing the Giro d’Italia ten weeks ago.

After claiming a spectacular victory atop Mt Etna on stage six of the Italian Grand Tour, Chaves unexpectantly dropped out of overall contention on stage 10.

Esteban Chaves

Estaben Chaves finishes just ahead of teammate Simon Yates at the end of stage six of the 2018 Giro d'Italia.

The 28-year-old fought on in attempt to assist teammate Simon Yates in his 13 days in the Maglia Rosa before he and the Mitchelton-SCOTT medical team turned their attention to discovering the cause of symptoms impacting his ability to ride at his top level.

After extensive testing, the two-time Grand Tour podium placer was diagnosed with a number of viruses, including Mononucleosis (also known as Epstein-Barr or Glandular Fever), along with sinus and allergy reactions.

After treatment and an extensive period of rest, Chaves has now been given the all-clear to begin training but, with the support and guidance of the Mitchelton-SCOTT medical and high performance team, will remain cautious in his return to fitness.

The 2016 Il Lombardia champion will not line up as previously planned at the upcoming Vuelta a Espana and any possible return to racing in 2018 will be determined by careful consideration of his progress.

Esteban Chaves:
“It’s been a hard period. Since 2012 I haven’t been off the bike this long, especially because I can’t. It was not fast like you want. In this sport, we are used to answers and results coming fast and this process was slow and the time can make you crazy.

“But, we worked really well with the team and I want to thank you them for their support and patience, from the head with Shayne and Gerry, to the masseurs and mechanics that have been close to me in this process.

“We discovered some sickness, the doctors can always explain better, we had a surgery as well, and after that it was just waiting and having confidence to overcome what was a weird case.

“I’m happy to be back on the bike. It still hurts for sure, but I can already feel some differences; it’s a different suffering than I had before. Now it’s the normal suffering we get when starting again after such a long time off training.

“We are on the right path again and we have to keep patience and confidence like always.”

Manuel Rodriguez, Mitchelton-SCOTT doctor:
“After thorough testing, Esteban was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus as well as chronic sinusitis process.

“Epstein-Barr is not a new virus nor an uncommon one, but Esteban's tests showed that it was gaining strength and attacking when his immune system was down or in times of fatigue, most obviously in races or high intensity training periods. Its strength likely allowed the introduction of other viruses into his body.

“After a period of rest and treatment for the viruses, Esteban was cleared for minor sinus surgery before undertaking a final recovery period.

“We are confident that the treatments have been successful and it is safe for Esteban to return to training but to prevent the reoccurrence of symptoms we will monitor his health without a deadline to return to racing.”

Tour of Poland Stage 6 reports

We posted the report from GC leader Michal Kwiatkowski's Team Sky with the race results.

Here's the update from Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The penultimate stage of the Tour de Pologne took the riders through the Tatra mountains. BORA – hansgrohe rider Patrick Konrad escaped with six riders and built the breakaway of the day. As the escapees were caught, BORA – hansgrohe climber Emanuel Buchmann stayed at the front of the race and was able to achieve a great second place, while Pascal Ackermann defended his sprint jersey.

The Stage
The penultimate stage at the 75th Tour de Pologne started in Zakopane and took the peloton to Bukowina Tatrzańska over 129 demanding kilometres. The peloton was faced with a circuit of four laps, each 24.2km long, which consisted of no less than 12 categorised climbs and one intermediate sprint.

The Team Tactics
The teams main focus was to achieve a good stage result, therefore, the German squad planned to be present in the break of the day, while Emanuel Buchmann should focus on the finale, to fight for the victory.

The Race
As expected, the pace was high right from the start and was dominated by many attacks. After some kilometres of racing, a group of six riders, including Patrick Konrad attacked and opened a gap of more than two minutes. Despite not feeling well, Peter Kennaugh, put in a dedicated effort to finish today's stage. Unfortunately,  the BORA - hansgrohe rider was unable to do so and had to abandon the race. As the breakaway was caught shortly before the final laps the race went on fire and plenty of riders lost contact to the first group but Emanuel Buchmann stayed at the front and showed a strong performance. But on the line, it was the Austrian G. Preidler (FDJ) who took the win ahead of Emanuel Buchmann. The German climber moved up to fourth in the overall, while Pascal Ackermann defended with a solid ride his lead in the sprint classification. 

Georg Preidler

Georg Preidler wins Tour of Poland stage six.

From the Finish Line
“I am more than happy with my result, of course the victory would have been nice. However, the team did a great job today and I think with this result, I showed that I am in shape and ready for my biggest goal in this season, the Vuelta. But we are still at the Tour de Pologne, tomorrow will be the last stage and I want to try to jump onto the podium.” – Emanuel Buchmann

“It was important to achieve a good stage result and to support our GC contenders. Patrick made it into the breakaway of the day, but the group was small and shattered into pieces early in the race. But he did a great work and helped his teammates Emanuel and Davide to stay in a good position for the finale. As we came into the finale, everything worked out and Emu showed with his great second place that he is ready to be the leader at the Vuelta a Espana. Tomorrow will be the last stage, and we want to reach a spot on the podium, maybe with another great stage result.” – Christian Pömer, sports director 

Team BMC headed to Binck Bank Tour

The team sent me this release:

9 August, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Greg Van Avermaet is set to headline BMC Racing Team's Binck Bank Tour roster when the UCI WorldTour seven-day stage race gets underway on Monday (13 August).

Sports Director Valerio Piva said that BMC Racing Team is taking a strong group of riders that can not only work for Van Avermaet but who can also try to take their own opportunities.

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet in stage 16 of the 2018 Tour de France.

"This year I think we have the same objective as we have had at previous editions of the race. We will start with Greg Van Avermaet as our leader. He has been strong at this race in the past and I expect the same from him this year. It will be a little different with the European Championships the day before the start of the race but, we will see how he recovers and the first stage is flat so we won't put the responsibility on him immediately. I know that he likes this race and that he will do his best and we have already seen that his condition is good after the Tour de France. I actually think that the form he came out of the Tour in can keep him going until the end of the season," Piva explained.

"We don't have as many hard stages as last year and it's the last two days that are the most difficult on paper while the others are more sprinters' stages. Our first focus will be the time trial on the second stage and I think Stefan, who won the time trial last year and who is our specialist on this type of day, will also be a protected rider. Plus, if Greg can do a good TT, then that will put us in a good position moving forward. Jempy Drucker will be our sprinter and he likes this race too so, we will try to help him for the sprint. Then, all the other guys including Nathan Van Hooydonck, Loïc Vliegen, Francisco Ventoso and Miles Scotson will also have the chance to try and jump in a breakaway and take opportunities as well as ride in a support role."

Van Avermaet, who narrowly missed out on a podium finish at the 2016 and 2017 editions of the race, is motivated about heading back to the start line this year. 

"Binck Bank Tour is a race that has previously suited me and it's always nice to race in Belgium. I felt good at Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian and I was able to show that I am still carrying some strong form in my legs. I've finished fourth overall in the last two editions of the race so, I am feeling really motivated once again. This year will be a little different as I will be coming into the race right after the European Road Race Championships. We will see how my body reacts to that but overall, I think we have a strong team and I'm looking forward to the race ahead," Van Avermaet said.

Binck Bank Tour (13 - 19 August)

Rider Roster: Jempy Drucker, Stefan Küng, Miles Scotson, Greg Van Avermaet, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Francisco Ventoso, Loïc Vliegen

Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Allan Peiper (AUS)

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