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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you. - Walt Whitman

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Lotto-Soudal aiming for stage wins at Tour de Romandie

The team sent me this:

The Tour de Romandie will be covered in the French part of Switzerland from Tuesday 30 April until Sunday 5 May. The 73rd edition of this WorldTour race contains a prologue, four hilly stages and a concluding individual time trial. Last year, Primož Roglič won the Tour de Romandie, while Thomas De Gendt took a stage win. Frederik Willems, sports director at Lotto Soudal, explains the line-up and the ambitions of the team.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic won the the Tour de Romandie in 2018. Sirotti photo.

Frederik Willems, sports director at Lotto Soudal: “We start with a prologue and at the end there is a time trial. That is interesting for us, because Victor Campenaert is in our line-up. The stages are not so long, although anything but flat. For example, the first stage includes 3,000 altimetres over a 165 kilometres long course. So I suppose it will be a selective Tour de Romandie. Our main ambition is to win the time trial with Victor. Furthermore, our line-up mostly consists of attackers. We have a lot of possibilities to make it an offensive race. In case it would be a sprint finish, we can count on Adam Blythe.”

"Carl Fredrik Hagen returns after a period of illness. Sander Armée has taken part in the Classics, but he also wanted to ride in Romandie. Thomas De Gendt starts again after he took a break following an excellent Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya. With Thomas you never know what is possible. He is someone who always is a strong opposition for the bunch. The course certainly suits him to achieve something, but we also need to give him some time after his rest period. It is good for him to complete this stage race ahead of the Giro. This is also an opportunity for Victor to be back in the peloton after his specific preparation for the hour record. However, this is a WorldTour race, so it is important for us to perform well."

“Unfortunately, Jelle Wallays was struck by stomach flu so he has to postpone his comeback. Rasmus Byriel Iversen replaces him. The young rider has not done a lot of races yet due to a broken collarbone. I saw he was in good shape during the Tour of Turkey, so now he gets his chance in the WorldTour again. Our neo-pro Harm Vanhoucke also performed well in the Tour of Turkey, which left a nice impression. For him, this basically is a year to learn as much as possible. We have to give Harm time to discover everything. We can refer to the evolution of Bjorg Lambrecht as an example.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Adam Blythe, Victor Campenaerts, Thomas De Gendt, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Rasmus Byriel Iversen and Harm Vanhoucke.

Sports directors: Frederik Willems and Kevin De Weert.

Rui Costa to lead UAE-Team Emirates at Tour de Romandie

The team sent me this:

On the heels of the Ardennes Classics, the WorldTour offers another important appointment: the Tour de Romandie with its six stages scheduled from April 30th to May 5th.

Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) and Bruno Vicino (Ita) will direct the team’s roster:
– Tom Bohli (Swi)
– Simone Consonni (Ita)
– Rui Costa (Por)
– Manuele Mori (Ita)
– Simone Petilli (Ita)
– Edward Ravasi (Ita)
– Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)

After a prologue of 3.9km in Neuchatel, the sprinters will have two consecutive opportunities, before leaving space for the climbers in the 3rd stage to Romont and the 4th stage to Torgon.

A 16.8km time trial in Geneva is on the programme to close the Swiss stage race.

Rui Costa

Rui Costa will lead his team at the Tour de Romandie. Sirotti photo.

 “The Tour de Romandie is a race that I always liked, also for its spot on the calendar at the end of the Ardennes Classics,” explained Rui Costa. “I climbed on the lowest step of the podium three times, taking advantage of my good form after racing in Belgium and the Netherlands. I hope to take a similar approach again this year, coming out of the Ardennes Classics and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in good shape, despite having suffered the cold weather on Sunday in the Doyenne. Looking at the overall, you have to consider this year the two time trials, suited to specialist. They will impact the results”.

Bardiani-CSF announces Giro-d'Italia line-up

The team sent me this:

With less than two weeks from the Great Start in Bologna, the #GreenTeam has chosen the riders for the most important race of its the season

Bardiani-CSF is ready to face the 102nd edition of Giro d’Italia. After the last races, Tour of the Alps and Giro dell'Appennino, the #GreenTeam management has made its choices and outlined the line-up that will take part in the Corsa Rosa, scheduled from May 11 (start from Bologna) to June 2 (grand finale in Verona)

The eight riders selected are Enrico Barbin, Giovanni Carboni, Luca Covili, Mirco Maestri, Umberto Orsini, Lorenzo Rota, Manuel Senni and Paolo Simion. The reserves, ready to take over in case of forfeiture, are (in alphabetical order) Vincenzo Albanese, Daniel Savini and Alessandro Tonelli. Team directors Roberto Reverberi and Stefano Zanatta are the technical guides, assisted by Mirko Rossato.

Enrico Barbin

Enrico Barbin, who will ride the Giro d'Italia, wins a stage in 2017 Tour de Langkawi.

"A difficult race awaits us, a compelling challenge that we must face with courage and a lot of determination" explained Roberto Reverberi. "Our season so far has not gone as we expected, but we are also convinced that this team still has unexpressed potential. We have built the most balanced roster for this Giro, both in terms of characteristics and age. Now we have a little over ten days to refine the condition. Then, we only have to lower the head and pull out everything we have to pursue the goal of the win ".

Bardiani-CSF's line-up for the Giro has an average age of 25 and includes three absolute rookies: Giovanni Carboni, Umberto Orsini and neo-professional rider Luca Covili. The latter, born in 1997, is the youngest rider of the team with his 22 years. Enrico Barbin, the #GreenTeam veteran, is instead the most experienced rider both in terms of age (29 years old in March) and number of participations at Giro d'Italia (2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018).

"The Giro is a tough race and our most prestigious stage," said Stefano Zanatta. "Year after year the competition with World Tour big teams becomes more and more difficult. Numbers in hand, is a challenge like David against Goliath. But as history teaches us feats are always possible. Our race conduct will be marked by the attack, evaluating every day the best way to stand out. We do not have so many calculations to do, except that of energy, to spend intelligently to achieve our goal "

21 stages race, May 11 - June 2

1. Enrico Barbin (Italian, born in Bergamo in 1990, pro-rider since 2013) - all-rounder
Fifth participation at Giro (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019) - one win in career

2. Giovanni Carboni (Italian, born in Fano in 1995, pro-rider since 2018) - all-rounder
Rookie at Giro

3. Luca Covili (Italian, born in Pavullo del Frignano in 1997, neo-pro rider) - climber
Rookie at Giro

4. Mirco Maestri (Italian, born in Guastalla in 1991, pro-rider since 2016) - rouleur
Fourth participation at Giro (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019) - two wins in career

5. Umberto Orsini (Italian, born in Empoli in 1994, pro-rider since 2018) - rouleur
Rookie at Giro

6. Lorenzo Rota (Italian, born in Bergamo in 1995, pro-rider since 2016) - all-rounder
Second participation at Giro (2017 and 2019)

7. Manuel Senni (Italian, born in Cesenatico in 1992, pro-rider since 2015) - climber
Fourth participation at Giro (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019) - two wins in career

8. Paolo Simion (Italian, born in Castelfranco in 1992, pro since 2015) - sprinter
Third participation at Giro (2016, 2018 and 2019) - one win in career

Vincenzo Albanese (Italian, 1996) - all-rounder
Daniel Savini (Italian, 1997) - climber
Alessandro Tonelli (Italian, 1992) - rouleur

DS: Roberto Reverberi and Stefano Zanatta

Team Sunweb's upcoming races

The team sent me this schedule:

Eschborn-Frankfurt: MAY 1

Michiel Elijzen - Team Sunweb coach:
"Eschborn-Frankfurt is always a demanding race, but being on home soil makes us even more motivated to build on our solid results from the Classics. Previous editions have seen a bunch sprint to the line, but not before the day's climbs have done their job in whittling down the peloton to just a selection of contenders. We start with a strong team that can set a good pace on the climbs and make it a tough race so we can go for a good result with Michael. This will be Joris' first road race of the season after his post-cyclo-cross break and his first race on the WorldTour program, so it will be a good experience for him too. It is also Jan, Chris, Louis and Rob's last race-day before the Giro so it will be good for them to get some intense racing in their legs."

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews (shown at the Tour of Catalonia earlier this year) will ride Eschborn-Frankfurt.

Jan Bakelants (BEL)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Robert Power (AUS)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)

Tour de Yorkshire: MAY 3-4

Nicolas Marche - Team Sunweb coach:
"The Tour de Yorkshire is always an exciting race and there is an incredible atmosphere on the road. This will be a nice experience for Pfeiffer, racing on turf closer to home for the first time in our colours. The race's two stages look hard and it is difficult to predict how they will both go but it's very likely that we will see a lot of attacks from the bunch with moves that could go to the line. The first stage could see some kind of sprint so we will set up Susanne for a good result there. With a few good options for the final stage, we will assess our chances depending on who feels the strongest on the day. With this in mind our communication in-race needs to be on point in order to get a solid result."

Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Pernille Mathiesen (DEN)
Julia Soek (NED)

Ronde van Overijssel: MAY 4

Jelle de Jong - Team Sunweb coach:
"Ronde van Overijssel is a long race, through mostly flat and open roads. The weather will have a big impact on the day as the bunch can be reduced greatly if there are any crosswinds and splits throughout the race. We expect there to be a lot of attacks coming into the finale and the finish circuit around Rijssen is tricky, which also allows for some riders to escape. Last year we had Max [Kanter] sprint to the podium and this year we will focus on making the race hard with our young squad, setting up Nils [Eekhoff] for a good result in the sprint."

Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Ben Katerberg (CAN)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Nils Sinscheck (NED)
Xandres Vervloesem (BEL)
Ludvig Wacker (DEN)

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