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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, March 25, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. - Carl Sagan

Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:

Bora-hansgrohe reports on Volta a Catalunya stage six:

A duo built the breakaway of the day and made it to the finish line. BORA – hansgrohe set the pace in the peloton, Jay McCarthy started the sprint for his teammate Sam Bennett. The Irish sprinter took the win out of a reduced bunch and crossed the line in third place.

The Stage
The penultimate stage was shortened due to snow and covered 114km instead of 194.2km. The race started in Pobla de Segur and had one intermediate sprint and one categorised climb before the race finished in Torrefarrera. It was a stage earmarked for the fast men in the peloton.

The Team Tactics
The tactic was to stay in the peloton to save energy for the finale. A bunch sprint was expected, therefore BORA – hansgrohe tried to go for a good result with their sprinter Sam Bennett.

The Race
The race was marked by pouring rain all-day, but the pace was high right from the start. After some kilometres a duo formed the breakaway of the day and built up a maximum gap of four minutes. The peloton started to close the gap with 33km remaining. BORA – hansgrohe and Mitchelton-Scott took the lead of the peloton, but the breakaway worked very well together and had always a gap of some seconds. As the race headed into the finale, the duo was still in front of the race and it wasn’t possible for the peloton to close the gap. In a sprint M. Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) took the win ahead of D. Rubio (Burgos-BH). The reduced bunch was some seconds behind, where BORA – hansgrohe led the race. Jay McCarthy set the pace and made the final lead-out for his teammate Sam Bennett. The Irish sprinter took the win out of a reduced bunch and crossed the line in third place.

Max Schachmann

Max Schachmann takes the win.

From the Finish Line
“Big compliment to the whole team. We were five at the start today, therefore we knew it would be difficult for us in a bunch sprint. But the guys worked really hard the whole day. Davide set the pace with the other teams in the peloton and we thought we can close the gap. But the breakaway worked really good together and made it to the finish.” - Christian Pömer, sports director 

“It's a pity we didn't catch the two leaders, but they rode strong and deserve the win. I felt good today, my legs come better and better. Coming to Catalunya I missed some race kilometres, but now I think my shape is coming good, which is important for the upcoming races." – Sam Bennett 

Lotto-Soudal looks towards Gent-Wevelgem:

Tomorrow it’s Ghent-Wevelgem! The recipe for this WorldTour race: 250.8 kilometres, eleven hills and some Plugstreets. Ghent-Wevelgem is of course associated with the Kemmelberg. That hill has to be climbed twice tomorrow, the second time that the riders reach the top they still have 34 kilometres ahead of them.

One of the seven Lotto Soudal riders at the start is Jelle Wallays. He is participating for the sixth time, the second time in the shirt of Lotto Soudal.

Jelle Wallays

Jelle Wallys leads his group in the 2017 Paris-Roubaix. Sirotti photo

Jelle Wallays: “Last year I punctured at a bad moment, just before the Catsberg. Then the pace didn’t decrease anymore. In 2015, the memorable edition with the extreme weather conditions, I made the mistake of taking back my rain jacket to the car when the race exploded. I was one of the last to finish the race inside the time limit (Wallays finished 37th, LTS).”

“It’s the first time that I will be so fresh to start this race. Last year I had ridden Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke, now I have only ridden De Panne. I had chosen not to ride E3 Harelbeke, but when I was watching the race I really wanted to be in it because I like a hard and open race. There might have been an opportunity for me.”

“There are different possible scenarios for Ghent-Wevelgem: the main favourites could battle against each other or a larger group could sprint for victory. I fear it will be that second scenario. According to the weather forecast it will be pretty good weather and hardly any wind. The second ascent of the Kemmelberg is often a crucial moment. Before the Kemmelberg it’s always an elimination and on the climb there’s another selection.”

“A perfect scenario for me would be to ride away in between the climbs and survive the second ascent of the Kemmelberg that way, even though the favourites would join my group again. That’s how I hope to get in the finale. In the past I have already proven that I’m able to do well in such a finale. I love making a race hard and I hope to do so tomorrow. Benoot isn’t racing and Greipel and Keukeleire can’t start because of injury and illness. We have riders with a free role and that creates possibilities.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Lars Bak, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, Moreno Hofland, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

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