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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. - C. S. Lewis

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Vuelta a España stage 16 reports

We posted the race organzer's stage summary with the results.

Stage winner Rohan Dennis' BMC team sent me this:

11 September, 2018, Torrelavega (ESP): Rohan Dennis claimed his second stage win at this year's Vuelta a España after powering around the stage 16 individual time trial course to set a time 50 seconds faster than his teammate Joey Rosskopf, who helped secure a BMC Racing Team one-two on the 32-kilometer course.

Just as he did on stage 1 in Malaga, the reigning Australian national time trial champion came into the race as one of the favorites, and he proved why by settling into his rhythm quickly to post the provisional best time at the first intermediate checkpoint, 12'10".

After also setting the fastest time at the second checkpoint, 27'04", Dennis was able to power towards the finish line on the flat final run in and, after leaving everything out on the road, he stopped the clock at 37'57", the only time under 38 minutes, to move into the hot seat.

It was a long, and at times nervous, wait for Dennis, who started his effort early, but ultimately his impressive show of power and speed was more than enough to see him punch the air with delight when he stepped back onto the top step of the podium in Spain.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis going faster than anyone else at the Vuelta. Sirotti photo

Another show of strength from BMC Racing Team saw Joey Rosskopf, the American national time trial champion, prove his time trialling prowess to finish second on stage 16, 50 seconds behind Dennis while, Dylan Teuns put in a solid performance to finish just outside the top ten in 11th place with a time of 39'14".

After achieving both of the goals he set himself at the start of the race, winning the stage 1 and stage 16 time trials, Dennis will now leave the Vuelta a España to focus on the UCI World Championships later this month. 

Interview with Rohan Dennis

Rohan, Congratulations on your second time trial win at the Vuelta a Espana. How was it out there?

"It was a good little hit out. I tried to control it at the start and finish and make my move in the middle section and it worked out perfectly. I knew I was on a good one just looking at my power on the Garmin. Really, I didn't know what Kwiatkowski and some of these later guys could do. All I knew was what Castroviejo was doing at that time and he's a pretty good indicator of if you are doing well or not. But, I think the big performance of the day goes to Joey Rosskopf. He's the best teammate, easiest guy to be at the back of the bus with, and he got second so I'm really happy for him."

How did you pace the effort?

"I just stuck to my plan today. My coach and I set a target for each climb and the pacing and I just stayed calm. Really, in the final it was just about controlling it after the hills. In the back of my mind I was thinking that in two weeks' time I have to go 20 kilometers longer so try to control this and hopefully you can still get the win, and don't destroy yourself. I was hoping there would be a big gap between the other riders and me, but I was surprised that Kwiatkowski wasn't up there more but he's had a bad run with a few crashes and he's been going for the GC so he's been using much more energy than me each day. I've been able to relax and save it for today and I'm happy that it was my teammate Joey who got second."

After winning both time trials, your goal coming into the race, you now leave the race to focus on your next goal. How is everything looking for the World Championships?

"Everything is looking good for the World Championships. I'll be heading home now and preparing specifically for the time trial and team time trial, so hopefully I will have one more box ticked by the end of the season. So far, I think the Vuelta has been the best preparation for the Worlds in Innsbruck. It has been tough, especially the first nine days with the heat which really knocked me around. Luckily, it started to cool down and I started to feel better and better. I'd rather feel better as I get further into a Grand Tour than worse. So, I think this race has been the perfect preparation for the World Championships.

Quotes From the Finish Line

Joey Rosskopf:
"I felt better than expected for having raced two weeks already. You never really know what to expect I guess. Some days I get on the bike and feel empty and some days I feel alright. Luckily it was one of the good days. I can't really ask for much more than to be second to Rohan. It's nice to be able to have a goal, a focus, and actually be able to come through with it, and get a positive result. Every time you commit to a goal, you're going out on a limb and it doesn't always pan out. So, it's nice to be able to see your goal all the way through and turn it into a good performance."

GC leader Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

Briton Simon Yates has extended his lead at the Vuelta a Espana with a strong time trial performance on stage 16. The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider finished 13th on the stage, won by Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team), and extended his overall lead to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) to 33seconds whilst their fellow contenders shuffled around below.

The 35km suited the specialist time triallists with winner Dennis averaging over 50km per hour.

Yates tried to pace himself on the first section of the race, before putting it all on the line to the finish.  The 26-year-old was sixth fastest at the first intermediate checkpoint after 10km and the second after 21km before sacrificing a few positions in the closing kilometres.

Yates’ performance for 13th place saw him lose time to Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Enric Mas (Quickstep Floors) but gain on his other competitors. Valverde lost nine seconds to Yates, whilst Colombian duo Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) lost 42seconds and 51seconds each.

Yates now has 33seconds to Valverde, 52seconds to Kruijswijk, one-minute 15seconds to Quintana, one-minute 30seconds to Mas and one-minute 34seconds to Lopez.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates turned in a fine ride. Sirotti photo

Simon Yates:
“I did a really good ride, I was really well in the very beginning and on the hard climbs I had the perfect pacing strategy, but in the final, I was just dying like everybody else and it wasn’t nice.”

“Thirty-three seconds over Valverde is not that much, I had much more of an advantage in the Giro, over a minute and we all know how that finished in the end, but there’s still a long way to here and we’ll see how tomorrow goes.

“Kruijswijk has been strong everyday so far and slowly getting better with each stage. He’s also normally good in the third week of a Grand Tour and a real diesel engine. He’s a good guy and now he’s up to third we’ll have to be very wary of him.”

Lotto-Soudal previews upcoming racing

The team sent me this:

This month, Lotto Soudal will line up at several 1.1 and 1.HC races on Belgian soil. The team will participate in eight races, starting with Desselgem Koerse on September 11 and finishing on September 27 with La DH Famenne Ardenne Classic. This week, there are also the Grand Prix de Wallonie (Wednesday), Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen in Koolskamp (Friday), Primus Classic Impanis - Van Petegem (Saturday) and Grote Prijs Jef Scherens in Leuven (Sunday). One week later, Lotto Soudal makes an appearance at the Omloop van het Houtland in Lichtervelde and de Tour de l’Eurométropole before concluding the series of one-day events with la DH Famenne Ardenne Classic. Each year, Lotto Soudal competes for victory in these one-day races and already took many first places in the previous years. Sports director Kurt Van De Wouwer comments on the Europe Tour races and line-ups.

Kurt Van De Wouwer, sports director Lotto Soudal: “As a Belgian team, we automatically attach great importance to these races. Each year, we are really motivated to participate and eager to win as some races, like the Grand Prix de Wallonie, are well-known semi-classics. Last year, Tim Wellens was able to win this GP and Lotto Soudal finished with several riders inside the top ten. We were also able to win the race in previous editions with, amongst other, Jens Debusschere and Tony Gallopin. Therefore, you can see Lotto Soudal several times on the list with previous winners.”

“Wellens will be our outspoken leader in Wallonia this Wednesday. He proved to be in good shape last weekend in Canada, but unfortunately, had to deal with some misfortune. It won’t be easy to win as Tim is the favourite and will be targeted by the other contenders. We have to see where we could launch the first attack as we don’t necessarily have to wait till the final climb. The finish is at the top of the Citadelle de Namur, but there are already some tough ascents earlier in the stage, like the Tienne aux Pierres at ten kilometres from the finish line. If we don’t want to wait until the climb of the Citadel, we could opt to start our battle earlier, for example on the Tienne aux Pierres.” 

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens winning the Brabantse Pijl earlier this year. Sirotti photo

“André Greipel will be our outspoken leader at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen on Friday and Primus Classic on Saturday. Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen is a race with several local laps, a flat course, and therefore a race for pure sprinters. The Primus Classic, or GP Impanis - Van Petegem, is somewhat harder to predict. A few years ago, we managed to win the race with Sean de Bie, who was able to escape the peloton at the end. So, it’s not certain that the race will definitely finish in a bunch sprint. Yet, Lotto Soudal will play the card of André Greipel as he proved to be in very good shape, winning two stages in the Tour of Britain. If his legs are good and he’s feeling well, the team will be riding for André, without a doubt.”

“The GP Jef Scherens - Rondom Leuven is quite an unpredictable race as well. The riders have to cover thirteen local laps, including two ascents per lap, making it a tough race. Sometimes, the GP concludes with a bunch sprint, but most of the time we see splits in the peloton towards the end. Therefore, we take part in the race with a versatile team, with riders like Bjorg Lambrecht and Jelle Vanendert, but also with riders like Jasper De Buyst. We’ll have to wait and see how well Jelle has recovered from his crash in the Tour of Britain before deciding whether or not he’ll also be riding the GP this Sunday. Our trainee Stan Dewulf will probably take part in two races this week as well. He recently finished third overall in the Tour of South Bohemia with the U23 team, so he’s back in shape after his injury of this summer. If we’re not heading to a race with an outspoken leader, Stan and other riders of the team will be given the opportunity to take their chance as well.”

Line-ups Lotto Soudal:

Tuesday 11 September 2018: Desselgem Koerse – Memorial Briek Schotte: Jasper De Buyst, Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, Lawrence Naesen, Marcel Sieberg and Enzo Wouters.

Wednesday 12 September 2018: Grand Prix de Wallonie : Jens Debusschere, Moreno Hofland, Jens Keukeleire, Lawrence Naesen, Marcel Sieberg, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Friday 14 September 2018: Koolskamp - Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen (subject to any changes): Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Moreno Hofland, Nikolas Maes, Lawrence Naesen, Marcel Sieberg and Enzo Wouters.

Saturday 15 September 2018: Primus Classic, Grote Prijs Impanis – Van Petegem (subject to any changes): Jens Debusschere, Jasper De Buyst, Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Moreno Hofland and  Marcel Sieberg.

Sunday 16 September 2018: Grote Prijs Jef Scherens – Rondom Leuven (subject to any changes): Jens Debusschere, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Keukeleire, Bjorg Lambrecht, Lawrence Naesen, Jelle Vanendert and Harm Vanhoucke


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