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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, February 17, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. - Frederick Douglass

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Team reports on the Algarve Tour third stage:

Here's Team Sky's update:

Geraint Thomas extended his overall lead at Volta ao Algarve with a superb time trial performance that saw him win stage three by 11 seconds from Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal).

Thomas rounded off a tremendous team display which saw four Team Sky riders in the top 10, with Michal Kwiatkowski moving up to second overall after finishing fourth on the 22km stage.

Vasil Kiryienka finished ninth (+50”) and Lukasz Wisniowksi rounded off the top 10, 51 seconds back.

Thomas now leads from Kwiatkowski by 22 seconds on GC, and despite another day in the leader’s jersey, Thomas is approaching each day with cautious optimism.

He said: “It was nice to get a win and like I said yesterday I didn’t expect it. With the first race of the year you’re always a bit unsure but I’ve done some decent work and it’s all seemed to come together today. I tried to start strong and hold on and luckily I was able to.”

With two stages remaining, Thomas is aware of both the quality of the field and how early in his season preparations this race has come. 

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas going really, really fast.

He added: “After just five days of racing you never know how your body will react, especially at this time of year and there’s a lot of strong riders here so I’m not taking anything for granted. Victories are few and far between so I’ll enjoy this.”

And Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

Victor Campenaerts finished second in the time trial of Volta ao Algarve today. The European time trial champion, who rode his first time trial for Lotto Soudal, was only beaten by Geraint Thomas. Campenaerts covered the course of 20.3 kilometres, with start and finish in Lagoa, in 24’20” and then waited in the hot seat for two and a half hours. Top riders like Küng, Kwiatkowski and Tony Martin failed to beat the time of Campenaerts. Only the last rider, and GC leader, Geraint Thomas was faster than the Belgian. He beat him by eleven seconds. Stefan Küng finished third at nineteen seconds.

Victor Campenaerts: “I had set my mind on winning today. My time trial went great, but Geraint Thomas was just stronger. I got beaten at my best and I can cope with that. I couldn’t have done anything differently. Dividing my energy during a time trial is my strongest point and I succeeded in doing so today. At the first intermediate point several riders were faster, but they all lost time in the second and third part, in which I was at my best. Thomas also gained time in the second part and had 22 seconds advantage with six kilometres remaining. Then I knew he would be close, because the last kilometres were mostly downhill. He lost time, but had enough lead. It’s no shame to lose from him though.”

“My performance is promising for the upcoming weeks and months. I could prepare for this time trial in the best possible conditions and the team supported me enormously. I really want to give my team a victory. I am not yet riding at my highest level, which I not have to reach until the start of the Giro, but I am satisfied with my current shape. My next goal is the individual time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, where I aim for victory. I want to win a WorldTour time trial this season. Today was a Europe Tour race, but with strong time trialists at the start. To win a time trial at WorldTour level, you need to be world class and I am getting there, but I need a super day and everything needs to fall into place to be able to win.”

Team Movistar's Ruta del Sol/Andalucia update:

An unexpected incident at the sprint of Herrera, finish of stage three in the 2018 Vuelta a Andalucía, prevented Carlos Barbero (Movistar Team), one of the Blues’ most winning riders in 2017 with five triumphs, from opening his account this season.

The Spaniard, well supported by his team-mates into a difficult run-in to the finish, with fast descents, roundabous and a sharp corner left before the last straight, progressed strong in the uphill finish but was later boxed in against the barriers by Italian Sacha Modolo (EFD), who later came back to his original trajectory to take the day’s honours.

Sacha modolo

Sacha Modolo winning the stage

The GC remains unchanged, with three Movistar Team riders -Mikel Landa (4th), Marc Soler (6th) and Andrey Amador (13th)- within the top 15 overall before the weekend’s decisive stages: Saturday’s journey through Grazalema, with Las Palomas (Cat-1), El Boyar (Cat-3) and a grueling, final 2k over the cobblestones of Alcalá de los Gazules; and Sunday’s 14km ITT showdown in and around Barbate.

REACTION / Carlos Barbero: “I told Modolo that you can’t do things like that. At the last turn he just charged against me, but I could make it back to the place where I was, and with 200 meters to go, as the final straight slightly turned right, everyone was going on the right-hand side and I jumped through the left, where the route was longer. He saw I was coming strong from behind, and as the pictures should show, I had to brake and even after that I could gain terrain on him. I think today’s sprint tactics were pretty evident. My legs felt really great, but the race jury decided it’s not for me, and you can’t do anything against that. I feel really bad, I feel like I could win today and I wasn’t let do so. I’ll try to chase the win again tomorrow, but today’s success won’t ever come back.”

Rohan Dennis to lead BMC at Abu Dhabi Tour

BMC sent me this news:

16 February, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team is heading to the Abu Dhabi Tour next week (21 - 25 February) with Rohan Dennis set to spearhead the team's General Classification ambitions.

Dennis will be joined at the start line by a strong and well-rounded team, BMC Racing Team Sports Director Maximilian Sciandri said. "Abu Dhabi Tour will be more decisive this year with the addition of the individual time trial. With this in mind and our strength across the team in this discipline, we will go to the race with Rohan Dennis as our leader for the General Classification. He is coming out of some strong performances during the Australian season, and we believe he will be able to carry that momentum into a successful ride at this race.

"We have a strong roster as we look towards the start of the race, with riders like Miles Scotson, Joey Rosskopf, and Patrick Bevin. Plus we have seen some good signs from Brent Bookwalter already this season as well as Damiano Caruso and Kilian Frankiny, who I think will play a crucial support role and can be up there to help guide Dennis on the summit finish. So, overall I think we can go to Abu Dhabi with strong expectations," Sciandri explained.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis at the Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

For Dennis, the Abu Dhabi Tour is a key building block as he looks ahead to the rest of the season. "My main goals for the Abu Dhabi Tour are to win the time trial but also to test myself on the mountain-top finish. This race will be a good opportunity to see where I am compared to other GC guys at this stage of the year and what I need to work on looking ahead to the Giro d'Italia in a couple of months," Dennis said.

Abu Dhabi Tour (21 - 25 February)

Rider Roster: Patrick Bevin (NZL), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Miles Scotson (AUS)

Sports Directors: Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Noël Dejonckheere (BEL)

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