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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 19, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. - Voltaire

TDF volume 1

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Fabio Jakobsen wins Tour of Guangxi stage three

Here's the report from Jacobsen's Quick-Step team:

Fabio Jakobsen made sure Quick-Step Floors will conclude this record-breaking season with a win at its last appearance, in the Tour of Guangxi, sprinting to a convincing victory – the sixth of his first pro year – in the city of Nanning, where the 125km-long stage 3 ended after another rainy and nervous day in the saddle.

Fabio Jakobsen

Fabio Jakobsen winning the first stage of this year's Tour des Fjords

Quick-Step Floors were one of the teams taking over the front of the bunch from the start, drilling the pace behind the three escapees, who got to enjoy a maximum lead of two minutes before being swarmed with seven kilometers to go, when the sprint trains began jostling for position. Our squad left nothing to chance, staying at all times near the front of the peloton as soon as they passed the 10km-to-go mark and keeping Fabio in a good position on the long finishing straight.

Davide Martinelli was the one to lead-out Jakobsen, putting him on the wheel of the other contenders with 300 meters to go, and the 22-year-old Dutchman made the most of this opportunity, opening his sprint on the left side of the road and comfortably beating Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) and Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb), a win that netted him the lead in three classifications: overall, points and youth.

"It was again tense today, but it's always like that in a mass sprint. The team put their faith in me and I trusted them. On the previous stages I made some mistakes, as I was a bit too nervous and eager, but today I remained calm and followed Martinelli, who did a great job. I am very happy with this victory, my second in the World Tour, and I want to thank my teammates for all they've done for me."

Thursday was the 72nd time this year that a Quick-Step Floors rider crossed the finish line arms aloft in a UCI race, a winning series that kick-started in January at the Tour Down Under and took our outfit – victorious in 22 countries across five continents – to the very top of the World Tour team classification.

"It's been a truly fantastic season, one that will be remembered years from now. Everybody worked really hard since last winter, we were always focused and committed on giving everything and making the most out of every opportunity regardless of the race. This massive haul of wins comes as confirmation of the amazing job we've done as a team, as a family", Fabio concluded after his victory in Nanning.

Second-place Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this stage three report:

This time a trio went up the road early at the Tour of Guangxi. But yet again the sprinter teams controlled the race and never let the break open a substantial gap. Also BORA – hansgrohe pulled in the bunch for yesterday’s stage winner Pascal Ackermann. When the break was caught on the last 10 kilometers, a fierce battle between the lead-out trains started on the 6-kilometer-long home straight. This time Fabio Jacobsen got the timing right to deny Pascal Ackermann’s second win in a row. Still, with his second place today, Pascal showed once again his superior shape at the end of the season.

01       F. Jacobsen                 2:43:54
02       P. Ackermann             +0:00
03       M. Walscheid              +0:00

From the Finish Line:
“Well, I had good legs again and the team did a brilliant job, but as expected it was really difficult to get the timing right on this long home straight and with tailwinds. I was a little too early in end and therefore missed the win. To be honest, I am a little disappointed because the victory was within reach again.”  – Pascal Ackermann

Pascal Ackermann

Pascal Ackermann winning this year's RideLondon

"After the win yesterday, we took responsibility and pulled with Lotto-Jumbo early in the bunch. We managed the gap well, and the break was caught on the last 10k. Our plan was to hit the front on the home straight as late as possible, but Pascal was a little too early in the end. Still the team did a great job once again. I think there will be more chances for him after tomorrow.”  – Christian Pömer, Sports Director

Jhonatan Narvaez signs with Team Sky

Here's the press release Team Sky sent me:

Jhonatan Narvaez is the latest young talent to join Team Sky ahead of the 2019 season. The 21-year-old Ecuadorian is an exciting all-round prospect, having comfortably settled into the WorldTour ranks during 2018.

National road race champion in 2017, in addition to overall victor at Circuit des Ardennes, this season has seen Narvaez finish second at the Drome Classic and fifth overall at the Tour de Wallonie.

An impressive climber and stage racer, Narvaez becomes Team Sky’s first Ecuadorian signing and forms part of the next generation of a blossoming young group of South American riders on the team. Narvaez said: “I’m very excited about this opportunity to join Team Sky and I look forward to working with the team and giving 100 percent so I can continue to develop as a rider.

“I’ve been racing against the team this season and now I can’t wait to meet up with my new teammates. I know I am going to enjoy being a part of this team. It is full of big name riders who have achieved a lot and it also has a strong group of Latin American riders.

"I characterise myself as a bit of an all-rounder and next season one of my goals is to try and develop further so I can be in a position to help the team and also win races. I am 21 years old and I know on this team I will have great support to improve myself and grow as a rider.”

Team Sky coach Xabier Artetxe said: “Jhonatan is a really versatile rider. You could compare him to Jonathan Castroviejo in that they are similar riders that can perform strongly on the flat, time trial really well and, while they are not pure climbers, they can climb very well too.

“This year he put in some really good performances in different scenarios, working on the front for his teammates and being really competitive on summit finishes. We also saw him riding well in some one-day races and the Classics in Belgium. He is still really young so as a rider and as a team we need to define in the future where the best place is to go with an exciting rider like Jhonatan.

“Next year will be all about learning how we race as a team and how we work in terms of training and recovery. I think he is the type of rider that suits stage races more and in the future he can do really well when targeting the GC. But for next year there’s no pressure for results – for him it’s about being in a good condition to race in these events to continue to learn and develop.”

Kamil Gradek Promoted to the World Tour with CCC Team

CCC (currently BMC) sent me this:

18 October, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Polish rider Kamil Gradek will join CCC Team in 2019, General Manager Jim Ochowicz today announced.

The 28-year-old made his debut with CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2018 and will follow CCC to Continuum Sports with the Polish shoe and bag manufacturer becoming title sponsor from 2019. While racing at the Continental level, Gradek won Ronde van Midden Nederland in 2017 and Tour of China I in 2014, which helped to gain the attention of CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

"We are pleased to welcome Kamil Gradek to CCC Team in 2019. Kamil has a lot to learn and will gain valuable experience when he makes the transition to the WorldTour level. He will be a valuable domestique and we hope he can take opportunities for himself as he continues his development," Ochowicz explained.

"Kamil has shown potential in the classics with tenth at Nokere Koerse this year and although he will make his debut with a WorldTour team, he has already raced some of the WorldTour one day races including Cyclassics Hamburg and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt. We look forward to seeing what Kamil can do with this opportunity next season."

Gradek is excited to have the opportunity to step up to the WorldTour level. "It has been my dream to ride for a WorldTour team and now this dream is coming true. To compete at the highest level of races and with the best riders is what I have always wanted to do, so I am very excited and I can't wait for the upcoming season. To be be in any WorldTour team is something wonderful, but to be in a Polish WorldTour team will be very special so, I'm happy to be part of this project and I have a positive outlook to the future," Gradek said.

"I know that I can learn a lot from the experienced riders in the team and I definitely want to develop more as a cyclist, and to be helpful for my teammates. I will do my best and believe I will be with the right team to achieve this. I would like to focus on some of the classic races, but I also want to take advantage of the team's experience and expertise and improve my time trials as well."

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