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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, April 11, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes. - Andrew Jackson

Cycling's World Championships

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Scheldeprijs team reports

We posted the report from winner Fabio Jakoben's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Max Walscheid's Team Sunweb:

Often dubbed as the “unofficial world championships for sprinters”, today’s edition of Scheldeprijs would see the riders tackle just over 200 kilometres from Borsele to Schoten. Strong winds would see the race blown to bits early on but as the direction of the route changed and the riders headed towards the final circuit around Schoten, the peloton regrouped with all Team Sunweb riders represented.

The focal point of the local circuit is the 1700m long stretch of cobbles known as Broekstraat, which ends with only seven kilometres to go in the day. A crash in the bunch during the last lap saw some hesitation within the peloton and Boasson Hagen launched a solo counter attack. However, with the sprint teams reorganised behind, everything was back together in the final three kilometres. Cees Bol brought Max Walscheid to the front coming under the flamme rouge, with the German rider well positioned at the head of the peloton. As things slowed down a little into the headwind finish, some riders jumped early from behind but Walscheid did well to move out and deliver a powerful sprint, coming home in second place.

Fabio Jakobsen

Fabio Jakobsen wins in Schoten. Sirotti photo

Team Sunweb coach Michiel Elijzen was pleased with the result: “It was a tough day to start and the race situation was always changing with the echelons. After 140 kilometres the peloton eased down as we changed direction and everything came back together again. With the two local laps things were well controlled despite the cobbled section and it came down to a bunch kick. The team did well to bring Max up and position him for the sprint and he delivered a good result for us with his second place finish. It was a good result for the team after what was a hard day of racing.”

Walscheid was quick to thank the team: “We made the tactic to split the race in two parts, with the crosswinds and then the sprint. Both parts worked well and in the crosswinds I was never really out of position thanks to the team. In the local lap, the team was very committed and I pushed the guys to give it their all in the finale. We had a few difficult situations, including the crash of Roy, but when I saw him coming back to the front in the final lap, it showed that the commitment of the team was really clear. They brought to me one kilometre to go and from there I was on my own. I think we managed really well and came super close to the victory. It was a good day for us overall.”

And here's the report from third-place Chris Lawless' Team Sky:

Chris Lawless sprinted to a strong third place at Scheldeprijs as the young Brit mirrored his result from last season. Heading into the final kilometre the sprinter was able to manoeuvre his way to the front before opening up his sprint. In the final metres he was narrowly overhauled, with 2018 victor Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) claiming the victory.

Lawless was well protected by his Team Sky teammates on the day, with Ian Stannard and Owain Doull getting through a lot of work on the front, before Gianni Moscon helped ease him into the final kilometres.

Chris Lawless:
"I spent a bit of time in the wind just making sure I was in the right position in that last kilometre. And when the opportunity arose I just hit out. I think technically I did a better sprint than last year. I expect the power numbers will be better but it’s the same result. That’s just how it plays out sometimes. It’s a bit of a bittersweet result. It’s nice to be on the podium and to get third two years in a row – but you always hope for that couple of steps better.

"Most of the day I was at the front and I was able to make every front split. I had a puncture when the race was split into two groups, shortly after (Kristoffer) Halvorsen crashed. It was a difficult moment and luckily the bunch wasn’t going too fast at that point. I got a neutral service wheel but that tyre was rubbing the frame. So it was a case of waiting for the team car to come up and I’d already been dropped from the second group at that point. Luckily I was able to get back on and it was pretty simple after that.

"(Owain) Doull did a really good job of looking after me on the last lap of the circuit before the cobbles. On the cobbled sector he rode pretty hard as there was a bit of wind, so it was useful for me to be on his wheel. Then Gianni (Moscon) took over looking after me after the cobbles. He took me to a kilometre and a half to go. Then I just tried to surf the wheels. It was about as close as you could get to last year in terms of the final and how it played out. I had to hit out a bit early. It’s one of those things – when you’ve got such strong lead-out trains there such as Bora and Quick-Step – you’ve got to do something different to try and out-wit them."

Tour of the Basque Country stage three team reports

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

Here's the posting from third-place Enrico Battaglin's Katusha-Alpecin team:

A late race crash disrupted the flow of stage 3 in the 59th Itzulia Basque Country on Wednesday, but Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Enrico Battaglin kept his focus and sprinted in for third place in an uphill sprint ending in Estibaliz. The Italian rider sees promise for the upcoming stages still to come.

Max Schachmann

Max Schachmann won the the third stage.

Battaglin: “The final was really nervous! I was lucky to avoid the big crash with 5km to go. After that the team helped me a lot so I would be in a good position for the sprint. Schachmann was the stronger today, but for me and the team this good result gives us confidence for the next stages.”

Maximilian Schachmann of BORA – hansgrohe took the win on the 191.4k road course from Sarriguren to Estibaliz with a time of 4:47:57 (39.88km/h). The time was the same for second place Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) and Battaglin in third. Schachmann holds the race lead by 33-seconds to Ion Izagirre of Astana.

Mitchelton-Scott previews Paris-Roubaix

Our 2019 Paris-Roubaix page is here.

Here's the team's update:

Mitchelton-SCOTT and leader Matteo Trentin will head into Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, the last major cobbled classic on the season, looking to finish this period of racing off on a high.

Before Flanders, Trentin had finished seventh at E3 BinckBank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem in his past two races, and has found himself amongst the top riders in each of the Flemish Classics this season. Without the legs on Sunday, he settled for 21stposition, a result the European champion is looking to improve at the Hell of the North.

The Italian will be joined by an in-form Jack Bauer and a relatively young squad, including neo-pros Callum Scotson, Robert Stannard and Edoardo Affini, the latter two who will line up in their third Monument of the season.

Mitchelton-SCOTT at Paris–Roubaix (Sunday, 14 April):
Edoardo Affini (ITA, 22)
Jack Bauer (NZL, 34)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 27)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 30)
Callum Scotson (AUS, 22)
Robert Stannard (AUS, 20)
Matteo Trentin (ITA, 29)

The Race:
The Paris-Roubaix race profile is pan flat but with 29 sectors totalling 54.5km of cobbled to navigate, it’s one for the specialists.

The race travels over 95km before the first cobble sector, but from there on it’s not for the faint-hearted. Of the 29 sectors, three have been given a five-star rating as the hardest to navigate - the Arenberg Forest, Mons-en-Pevele and Carrefour de l’Arbre.

Race History:
The 2016 Paris-Roubaix will remain one of Mitchelton-SCOTT’s most memorable victories forever.

Just weeks after breaking his arm and a preparation built around turbo trainer workouts, Mathew Hayman surprised the world with a gutsy ride to win the Hell of the North on his 15th attempt.

Mathew Hayman

Mathew Hayman wins Paris-Roubaix in 2016. Sirotti photo

Team leader Trentin’s top place was 36th in 2016, the same year as Hayman’s success. The pair will team up in 2019 with Hayman taking on a sport director role at this year’s edition.

Matteo Trentin:
“Roubaix is the last of the cobbled classics ahead of a transition to the Ardennes Classics. A success race would be one that was better than Flanders. At Flanders I didn’t have a good day, I hope it was only that day and let’s see if this Sunday will be a little bit better for me.

“The transition from the Classics so far to Roubaix is like going to rock concerts and then the next day going to a heavy metal concert. It’s more of the same but more rough, more hard and even though there’s no climbs, it’s fully flat, it just makes you exhausted. Punctures and crashes are obviously the thing to avoid. If you manage that and have good legs, then it should be all good.”

Laurenzo Lapage – Sport Director:
“Roubaix is flatter but with all of the cobblestone sectors, it’s a completely different race than Flanders. Flanders is more for the explosive types with all the climbs, so I think Roubaix fits better to our guys.

“After Flanders, Matteo was disappointed for himself so I think it’s a good motivation coming into Roubaix. We have Matteo but also Bauer, who has showed in the past races he is in really good form so we also have to give him a chance.

“Again the race can take off everywhere, but once you are there in the select group at the end, you have Carrefour de l’Arbre. If you’re still there at the front after that sector, you have a chance to go for the win on the velodrome.

“Once again it’s another great opportunity for our young riders. Rob and Edoardo have already the experience of the previous races, but this will only to continue to help them later in their career.  We know they are first year professionals so we try to give them a job to do that is suitable and the work we have asked from them so far, they could do.”

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