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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tour de France: the Inside Story

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Pascal Ackermann and Emanuel Buchmann extend with Bora-hansgrohe, Peter Sagan to ride Classics, then Tour

The team sent me this release:

During a press conference held at the first team camp in Mallorca, BORA – hansgrohe is pleased to announce the extension of both young German talents until the end of 2021. While Peter Sagan will be once again focusing on the Spring Classics, Maximilian Schachmann is looking forward to his first season with the German WorldTeam under the direction of Ralph Denk.

“We are without doubt very pleased to have been able to reach an agreement so early with Pascal and Emanuel. With these two riders, along with Maximilian, we have three outstanding German talents in our ranks, with whom we will pursue long-term goals. Pascal will take on the Giro d’Italia, his first Grand Tour, next season, while Emanuel will focus on the Tour de France in 2019. We will work on building upon Maximilian’s strengths, just as we have successfully done over the past few years with Pascal and Emanuel. With Peter, we will be pursuing similar goals as in recent years. His racing program differs slightly from 2018, however, the focus will remain on the Classics and the Tour. We enjoyed a very successful season in 2018, but we strive to continue to improve. If we are able to take out a Monument and the Green Jersey at the Tour, we will be very satisfied. However, it is also an objective of ours to finish at least one Grand Tour in the top five overall. Unfortunately, this has eluded us in recent years.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“I have always said that it was a big dream of mine to become a professional with BORA – hansgrohe. I feel at home in the team and have made many good friends here. We are like a family, and this also likely forms the basis of much of our success. Ralph Denk and Enrico Poitschke have given me time and space to develop my strengths right from the start. This is an opportunity that is not always available to young riders, so I am extremely grateful for this. For me, it was logical to continue in the same direction with the team. The fact that we now have three young German hopefuls in a German team is also certainly a good sign for the state of German cycling.” – Pascal Ackermann

“It is of course reassuring to know so early in which direction I will be heading. I feel like I am now free to concentrate on important goals such as achieving sporting success. Unfortunately, my first experience leading the team in a Grand Tour was not quite what I had hoped for, but overall my season was very good, and I have certainly made another step forward towards reaching the top. In 2019, the Tour de France will be my big goal. Last year, I was able to finish in 15th position, and I hope to achieve a top ten next year.” – Emanuel Buchmann

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan will ride the Classics then prepare for the Tour de France. Here he is after the second stage of the 2018 Tour. Sirotti photo

“It is really nice to see how the team has grown around me. Pascal and Emanuel are big talents and have developed very well, but there are also many others, such as Lukas and Patrick, who also do an incredible job. It is really a pleasure to ride with all the guys. With the addition of Jempy and Oscar, we have been able to strengthen our squad for the Classics. I will be racing in Australia and also in Argentina at the beginning of next year, and so will begin my season in Europe a bit later. My goals, however, remain unchanged: Sanremo, Flanders and Roubaix, but I will also ride Amstel and Liège. After the Classics, I will once again prepare for the Tour de France.” – Peter Sagan

“It has always been a goal of mine to ride for a German team. The guys have been very welcoming and I have to say that I have been positively surprised with the professionalism and meticulousness within the team. Although we are only in December, we have already accomplished a lot: training plans, performance tests, fittings, and adjusting all the fine details. Now we will focus on the hard yards on the bike. I am happy with my race program, and I think I will have some good opportunities. We have not yet decided which Grand Tour I will ride in 2019, but I think that one of the first highlights for me will be the Ardennes Classics.” – Maximilian Schachmann 

Gerben Thijssen and Brent Van Moer to turn pro July 1, 2019

Lotto-Soudal sent me this release:

On 1 July 2019, Gerben Thijssen (20) and Brent Van Moer (20) will be transferring from the Lotto Soudal U23 team to the WorldTour team. Thijssen conquered the Belgian U23 road title this year, while Van Moer claimed silver at the U23 World Time Trial Championships. Both riders are currently in Mallorca on a training camp with the WorldTour team.

Kurt Van de Wouwer, head of the sports department of Lotto Soudal U23: “We have chosen to let Brent and Gerben join the December training camp, so they can already get to know the riders and staff of the WorldTour team. That will make their integration in the team much easier next year. Of course they get an adapted training schedule. Their season also starts about six weeks later than that of the pros, so that’s still far ahead. We decided to let them join the team halfway through the year to keep the pressure as low as possible. That’s something we already did in the past when for example Tim Wellens and Louis Vervaeke turned pro. In the spring there is always more pressure from outside the team, also on young riders. We want to give them the time to adapt.”

“Gerben made a strong début in the U23 category last year. He won the Top Competition race in Sint-Niklaas after beating Álvaro Hodeg in the sprint. And he and Fabio Jakobsen could both step on the podium as winner of the fourth stage of the Olympia’s Tour. Soon, we realised that Gerben was a rider for our WorldTour team. We hope he can stand his ground in bunch sprints. First, we can expect him to set good results in 1.1 or 1.HC races; in semi-Classics like the Brussels Cycling Classic.”

“Brent has loads of power, therefore he’s so good at time trialling. His silver medal at the past World Championships was a real surprise. He did much better than we had expected. He should definitely keep on working on his time trial skills, because he can still make a lot of progression. At the WorldTour team he will definitely be a big support for his teammates, although he will also get his own chance in some races to discover his own limits.”

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