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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, January 15, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die. - Herbert Hoover

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

People's Choice Classic team reports

Here's the report from winner Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Peter Sagan surges into 2018 season to take win for BORA-hansgrohe at Adelaide People’s Choice Classic

While a break controlled much of the Adelaide People’s Choice Classic – the short criterium opener to the Tour Down Under – watching and waiting from the peloton was BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan, wearing the rainbow stripes of the UCI World Champion for the third season in a row. His eye on the victory, the Slovak rider surged ahead in the sprint finish, taking the win after his BORA-hansgrohe teammates had controlled the pace expertly most of the day.

The Stage: With just 50.6km to race today, it would be hard to see who was in form today for the rest of the Tour Down Under, but the 22 laps would give riders a chance to stretch their legs over a straightforward course on the Adelaide street circuit. Four intermediate sprints would liven the race up – with it being down to the riders to bring the excitement. A sprint finish was all but guaranteed – and the fast men in the peloton would be ready and waiting to shine for the fast and flat finale in front of huge crowds.

The Team Tactics: As one of the first races of the season and the first time some of the BORA-hansgrohe riders had raced in a few months, today was a chance for the team to show how the results of team training camps and their own efforts over the off-season. With a sprint finish to end the day, you could be sure the familiar teal helmets of BORA-hansgrohe would be up there in the finale to try to bring the team the win.

The Race: Looking to make an impact on the short opening stage, a small breakaway went off at the start of the day. What was a three-man group grew in number to seven as the intermediate sprints came and went, with the peloton watching closely to make sure they didn’t amass too much of an advantage, with the BORA-hansgrohe riders controlling the pace. The break splintering as the final laps ticked away meant it was only a matter of time until they were swept up, and on lap 18 of 22, it was all back together, the pace rising. Jay McCarthy took the intermediate sprint on lap 20, setting the tone for the finish, and while a crash in the final metres caused some confusion in the bunch, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, was too far ahead at this point to notice, taking the victory with a textbook sprint, claiming his first win in his first race in the 2018 season

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan is starting the 2018 season in fine style.


01       P Sagan          1h04’25”
02       A.Greipel         + 0:00
03       C. Ewan          + 0:00
04       E.Viviani         + 0:00
05       S.Consonni     + 0:00

From the Finish Line: "The 2018 season for BORA-hansgrohe got under way with a very good race. Everybody came together really well for the sprint finish. The boys rode perfectly to bring Peter Sagan into a good position and make a good leadout for him. It certainly is a good start to the week." – Jay McCarthy

"The People's Choice Classic was a fast race with a fast sprint finish. The team worked very well, following the plan the sport directors had set. When the final sprint started, I found myself a bit closed but I then took Greipel's wheel and managed to beat the others on the line. I'm very happy with this result for me and the team. Thanks to BORA-hansgrohe, Specialized and all the sponsors and partners of the team for their support." – Peter Sagan

"Although the leadout plan wasn't perfectly executed, Peter showed his strength and took the win. Overall, I feel happy because the team worked very well in the last laps and everybody seems to be in good shape. I think the team's performance shows it was a good decision to come to Adelaide a week earlier and adapt to the local weather condition and get some proper training here. It is the perfect start to the season, we can all be happy. Everybody is now motivated for the proper Tour Down Under start on Tuesday. We are all ready, the riders are in good shape and I think we can expect some good results next week." – Steffen Radochla 

Here's the short report from UAE-Team Emirates:

Simone Consonni ranked fifth in the People’s Choice Classic, a short one day race that serves as a teaser for the more important Tour Down Under stage race, the first World Tour competition on the season schedule set to take place from Tuesday 16 to Sunday 21 January. Victory went to World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who prevailed in the final sprint against Germany’s Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Australian Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott).

“Today’s race was a significant test as we get closer to the Tour Down Under, which begins next Tuesday,” says Simone Consonni. “It was a good fifth place that left me satisfied, and I was happy with the support I got from my team mates; there is fantastic team spirit. Now we get a day off and then we’ll jump right into the first important stage race in this 2018 season.”

Amanda Spratt survives crash scare to take consecutive overall wins at the Santos Women’s Tour

Mitchelton-Scott sent me this report:

Yesterday’s stage winner Amanda Spratt has successfully defended her overall Santos Women’s Tour title, to become the first female rider to win two editions of the event, despite being involved in a large crash in the early stages of the final stage.

The 30-year-old Mitchelton-SCOTT rider moved into the overall race lead after a phenomenal victory on stage three yesterday, which gave her a 29-second advantage going into today’s final stage - the People’s Choice Classic.

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt winning stage three.

With a strong and committed team around her, dedicated to securing a second victory in the event, Spratt was able to overcome a fall and add today’s win to her growing list of palmares

Team sprinter Sarah Roy helped protect Spratt throughout the criterium until the final kilometres where she took her opportunity in the sprint and finished in seventh place behind eventual stage winner Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cippollini).

Heading into the second intermediate sprint, a huge crash occurred towards the front of the peloton with many general classification riders involved. Spratt was one of the riders caught out, along with some of her Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates, but thankfully all unhurt they were able to take a lap out and rejoin the race the next time around.

After the crash the peloton became nervous and Mitchelton-SCOTT made a big effort to surround the Ochre jersey and keep her protected for the remainder of the race. Starting the race as a favourite following her 2017 victory, today´s result makes Spratt the first women to win two edition of the Women´s Tour Down Under

Whilst strong rivals littered the whole peloton it was the power of team unity that delivered Spratt the victory. The cohesiveness of the six-rider them was on display on each of the four stages but highlighted by the triumphant effort to claim the lead yesterday and capped off with the commradery shown by the likes of Annemiek van Vleuten and Jessica Allen to wait and calm Spratt following her crash. With Lucy Kennedy and van Vleuten finishing in fourth and sixth overall respectively, the Mitchelton-SCOTT team capped off a great performance by claiming the team´s classification.

Amanda Spratt - Overall winner of the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour: “I’m so happy, it’s thanks to these girls they all did an amazing job and it has been a great few days for the team and to win this race for the second time is really special.”

“I can’t thank the girls enough for their help after the crash, I was really shaken up and panicking a bit, but Annemiek and Jess stopped with me and they said just try to calm down, follow my wheel and that was so important I can’t thank them enough.

“It is a really big race for us in Australia and we have so much support in this race, there was people out all around the course cheering.”

Gene Bates - Sport Director: “It’s certainly a fantastic result for the team to win the overall again with Spratty. We came out of the nationals a little disappointed so we came here really motivated to ride well as a team and I think we really achieved it.

"It’s one of the strengths of our team, to really commit to each other and put the team first over our individual goals. We saw Spratty take the win but I think it could have been Annemiek or Lucy too.”

Stage 4 - People Choice Classic results:
1. Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini) 1:07:29
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling) ST
3. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5) ST
8. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Final general classification results:
1. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 10:47:21
2. Lauren Stevens (Cyclone Pro Cycling) +0:41
3. Katrin Garfoot (UniSA) +1:21

Joris Nieuwenhuis wins U23 Dutch cross title

Nieuwenhuis' Sunweb team sent me this report:

Battling it out for the U23 title amongst the pros, U23 world champion Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED) secured the Dutch national cyclo-cross title today, taking Team Sunweb's second national title in as many days.

After the race, Nieuwenhuis said: "I was with a group of three guys until the last lap so it was a real battle until the end. Everyone wanted the title so I had to power through each and every lap, racing none stop until the finish. Each time I took a gap riders were coming back so I really had to go for it throughout. I nearly got caught out by a flat tyre on the second-to-last lap but I managed to salvage the situation and take my lead back. It was full gas from start to finish and I'm really pleased that I was able to take the national title today."

Team Sunweb coach Herman Snoeijink (NED) added: "It was a battle between three for the U23 title today, with all three riders staying together for the majority of the race. With two laps to go Joris got a puncture and one of the guys rode away from him but he managed to come back pretty quick, attack, and retake his position at the front of the race. Tactically, Joris did a fantastic job and to walk away with the title after a challenging season is a real great boost for morale ahead of the world championships."

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