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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 12, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Predicting rain doesn't count. Building arks does. - Warren Buffett

Tour of Flanders, the Inside Story

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Tour of Turkey stage three team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team with the results.

Second-place Max Richeze's Quick-Step team posted this report:

Maximiliano Richeze continued his strong Tour of Turkey, final race of a season that the experienced Argentinean kicked off in January, at Vuelta a San Juan, by claiming a stage, and which he is preparing to bring to an end this Sunday, after more than 80 race days, during which he contributed to a plethora of Quick-Step Floors victories.

On a short but hard stage 3, which travelled over 137.2 undulating kilometers, Richeze was one of the four Quick-Step Floors riders to make the cut on a leg-sapping unclassified climb which featured in the last 15 kilometers and where several teams dropped the hammer to put the sprinters into the red and distance them before the fast finish to Marmaris.

Brought into position by an excellent Zdenek Stybar, who bossed the front of the bunch, Max sprinted to Quick-Step Floors' third consecutive podium at the Tour of Turkey, taking second behind Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) and cementing his place in the general classification.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett beats Max Richeze in stage three.

"We knew that Alvaro wasn't the best climber and the final kilometers would be tough for him, so the plan was for the team to work and get me in position over the final climb, which was a hard one. The guys did a fantastic job and provided a perfect lead-out going under the red kite; I waited for the last 200 meters to follow Bennett when he went round the last bend and I was close, but he was just a bit too fast", Max said straight after the finish.

Stage 4 brings the race's only summit finish, a tough one, and the Argentinean is confident Quick-Step Floors will have a word to say on the ascent to Selçuk: "On Friday it will be all about the climbers, but we want to win another stage at the Tour of Turkey and for sure we will try again. It's the end of the season, but we have the same motivation and hunger like in January."

And here's the update from fourth-place Patrick Bevin's BMC team:

Seven riders broke clear in the opening ten kilometers and quickly gained a two-minute advantage while behind, BMC Racing Team’s riders remained in the bunch. As the breakaway tackled the category two climb they stretched their advantage out to almost three minutes but with another sprint finish on the cards, the sprinters’ teams didn’t allow the gap to go out any further.

Inside the final 50 kilometers, the breakaway was 1’30” behind the breakaway before the advantage dropped below one minute with 30 kilometers remaining as the pace picked up behind on the uncategorized climbs.

Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Team Katusha Alpecin), Fernando Barcelo (Euskatel), and Aldermar Reyes Ortega (Manzana Postobom) were the final breakaway riders in front but the peloton began to close in as they approached 20 kilometers to go. The trio were eventually pulled back before the final uncategorized climb, at which point attacks, including one from Nicolas Roche, caused splits in the bunch as the road began to rise.

Roche was joined by Brent Bookwalter and Bevin towards the front of the group and despite a blistering pace set at the front of the race to prevent some of the sprinters from coming back, the stage was set for another bunch sprint in Marmaris.

With three kilometers to go, Bevin was positioned well in the first 15 places and was soon joined by Jempy Drucker as they navigated the fast run into the finish. Under the flamme rouge, Bevin was in an excellent position and was able to hold on for fourth place behind stage winner Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe).

Patrick Bevin:
“It was a surprise result for me. We were aiming to set Jempy up for the sprint but he had a mechanical with 1.5km to go on the rough road. From there, it was just finding my way to the front. I was in the wind far too long for a chance at a real sprint but with others having tired legs after the climb, it meant I held on for 4th. The coming stages are a bit of a mixed bag and the finishing climb tomorrow looks very tough so we will see.”

Klaas Lodewyck, Sports Director:
“Today was similar to yesterday in that a breakaway went away very quickly, today with seven riders. The closest guy on the GC was at 13 seconds so Bora-hasgrohe started to control. The guys were able to follow the moves on the climb with 10 kilometers to go, three kilometers at five percent, so Jempy was able to save his legs on the climb. Jempy was in a good position but he had a little mechanical problem at the end, so luckily Paddy was still there and he could sprint to fourth. It was a good result for the team and tomorrow is a GC day so hopefully we will have a good result.”

Luke Rowe extends with Team Sky

Team Sky sent me this release:

Luke Rowe will spend the next three seasons with Team Sky after extending his contract through to the end of 2021.

Rowe, who turned professional with the team in 2012, defied the odds in 2018, returning to top form following a serious leg break in late 2017. The comeback was complete when the 28 year old was selected to ride his fourth straight Tour de France in July. He was pivotal as compatriot Geraint Thomas rode to his maiden Tour title.

L:uke Rowe

Luke Rowe having a good day at the 2017 Herald Sun Tour

“I’ve been with Sky since the start of my career and I really feel a part of the furniture here,” said Rowe. It’s been seven years and this deal will take me through to 10 years with Team Sky, so it was an easy decision. This is home.

“The team backed me straight away after my injury, whereas some teams would have turned their back. They helped me tackle the injury head on and looked after me every step of the way. If I’d have been out of contract one year earlier I’d have been in a mess. I had a year to prove myself again and come back - to show that it hadn’t affected me and that I could reach the level I was at before.

“I was so fortunate to be in this team when I suffered such a bad injury. Sometimes the stars just align and everything works out.”

With top-10’s at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix on his palmares, Rowe will continue to focus on the Classics in 2019, before switching to a support role at the Grand Tours.

“I’ll continue to keep knocking on the door at the Classics and see what I can do there, and after that it will hopefully be the Tour, or any of the Grand Tours. I really don’t mind,” he said.

Life has changed for Rowe over the past month following the birth of his first son, Oliver. The Welshman is relishing fatherhood off the bike, while hoping to act as a father figure to Team Sky’s next generation on the bike over the coming years.

He continued: “It gives me that extra bit of motivation and inspiration to go out training and go racing – to be the best I can be. I want to make him proud. And hopefully with the younger guys that’s the type of thing that will be part of my role going forward – going to a race with a bunch of young lads, rallying the troops, and doing the business.

“It’s a role I enjoy. We went over to the Tour of California with a really young squad this year - Egan [Bernal], Tao [Geoghegan Hart], Pavel [Sivakov], Sebastian [Henao] and we rode like 10 men. Egan had been incredible before but that was his breakthrough ride, so to be a part of that was pretty special.

“We’ve got Froomey and G who are Grand Tour winners and will be looking to do that for the next few years, but then you look to the likes of Egan – he’s signed a long contract and within that time he could win a Grand Tour. I’m excited to work alongside him.”

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