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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 2, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Old men delight in giving good advice as a consolation for the fact that they can no longer set bad examples. – François de la Rochefoucauld

Melanoma: It Started with a Freckle

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Lotto-Soudal previews Clásica San Sebastián

The team sent me this:

Only a week has passed since the Tour de France came to an end, but the next World Tour race is already here. On Saturday 3 August, the hilly Clásica San Sebastián is scheduled. Quite some riders who rode the Tour de France will head to the Spanish Basque Country to see their good shape confirmed. Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens are the Lotto Soudal leaders, says sports director Frederik Willems.

Tim Wellens and Tiejs Benoot

Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens on the Izoard in this year's Tour. Sirotti photo

Frederik Willems: “For the first time in a while, the course has been slightly adapted, compared to previous years. In the past, the peloton had to climb the Jaizkibel and the Arkale each lap. Now, the Arkale has been removed and the Jaizkibel is only climbed once. Instead, some new hills make their appearance, with the Murgil-Tontorra, the steep climb with gradients up to 22 percent - probably as the decisive climb. In the past, this hill was only faced once, now two times. That could possibly change the race.”

“I expect that the same big names will battle it out. It are almost always the riders who have good legs in the Tour de France, who ride well at the Clásica San Sebastián. In my opinion, those riders are sufficiently recovered and will make the race, but we always have to await whether there will be a surprise.”

“Until the first time the Murgil-Tontorra, we will try to move along and to be protected at the front with riders like Tosh Van der Sande or Jelle Vanendert. When the finale approaches, Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens will need to take control, because they are our leaders. The rest of the team will support them as best they can and will try to prevent us from having to race defensively.”

“Usually, a puncher with good descending skills wins the race. Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens also have those qualities. They both know the descent and even possible wet roads should not prevent them from being at the front. Our goal is to have at least one of the two in the decisive group that will sprint for the victory.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire, Rémy Mertz, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Frederik Willems.

CCC Team rosters announced for Clásica de San Sebastián and Prudential RideLondon - Surrey Classic

CCC Team sent me this release:

1 August 2019: Greg Van Avermaet will headline CCC Team's Clásica de San Sebastián roster on Saturday (3 August) before the Polish UCI WorldTour team lines up with a well-rounded squad at the Prudential RideLondon - Surrey Classic on Sunday (4 August).

Greg van avermaet

Greg van Avermaet riding in stage 20 of the 2019 Tour. Sirotti photo

Sports Director Fabio Baldato will be at the helm in Spain with Steve Bauer behind the wheel of the team car in the British capital.

"Clásica de San Sebastián has changed this year and it looks like the final will be harder with a steep climb added after the Jaizkibel and then we will go up the final climb two times, instead of just one. I still think, however, that this is a good race for Greg, who was performing really well in the mountains during the last week of the Tour, and we will go there to support him. As well as Greg, Joey Rosskopf is coming here after the Tour but, there will also be a lot of other really strong guys on the start line with three weeks of racing in their legs. We are happy to see Patrick Bevin make his return to racing on Saturday after his crash and overall I think all the riders on our roster are in good shape. We are confident but, we don't feel any pressure to control the race. We will look to do a recon of the new parcours to get an idea of what that might do to the race but, overall, I am sure that as a group we can do something nice," Baldato said.

"The Prudential RideLondon - Surrey Classic has adjusted the parcours from previous editions and decided to include five ascents of Box Hill, which I think will be where a selection is made. Our CCC Team rider roster will need to be attentive early to ensure we are in any important breakaways. Most of our riders competing this weekend have raced here previously and this experience will be valuable. After the final climb up Box Hill, it could be a smaller group that heads to the sprint in London so, we will need to be well-represented in the final 40 kilometers to aim for a good result," Bauer explained.

Van Avermaet will be returning to the start line of the Spanish UCI WorldTour one-day race after finishing in the top five multiple times.

"I was happy with my form at the Tour de France and I had some nice results so, I'm motivated about lining up at the Clásica de San Sebastián and will be looking to do another good race here. There have been some changes to the course this year so, we will see what effect that has on the outcome but overall, I think the style of racing here is one that I like and it suits me. You never know how your body will recover after the Tour so I'm not putting too much pressure on myself but, if my shape is good, another top ten finish would be great," Van Avermaet said.

Bevin is happy to be back racing after an unfortunate crash saw him forced to abandon the Tour de France. "Of course I was disappointed with how my Tour de France ended but, I am happy with my recovery so far after the crash and it will be good to start racing again. I had to have two weeks off the bike because of my ribs so, I don't have any personal objectives here. Instead, I will be lining up to see what I can do to help the team," Bevin added.

Jonas Koch, who finished in the top ten at last year's edition of the Prudential RideLondon - Surrey Classic, is motivated ahead of the British UCI WorldTour one-day race. "I'm feeling really good heading into this race. After the Tour of Austria, I went to an altitude camp and now, I‘m looking forward to getting back into race mode. This will be the third time that I have raced the Prudential RideLondon - Surrey Classic and it is a race I like a lot, especially the finale in the center of London. After finishing in the top ten last year, and a successful Tour of Austria, I‘m really looking forward to Sunday and I‘m very motivated," Koch said.

Clásica de San Sebastián (3 August):
Rider Roster: Will Barta (USA), Patrick Bevin (NZL), Josef Černý (CZE), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT)

Sports Director: Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Prudential RideLondon - Surrey Classic (4 August):
Rider Roster: Jonas Koch (GER), Michael Schär (SUI), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL)

Sports Director: Steve Bauer (CAN)

Deceuninck-Quick Step wil be at RideLondon Classic

Here's the team's update:

Britain’s only World Tour event has seen a number of changes for this year’s edition, from the start of the race, moved to Bushy Park, and the total distance – which has been shortened to 167 kilometers – to the difficulty of the course, very likely to play even more against the sprinters now that the peloton will tackle Box Hill (2.5km, 5%) on five occasions, last time with some 50 kilometers left to the finish.

Runner-up at the previous edition, Elia Viviani comes at the start having completed his set of Grand Tour stage wins at the Tour de France and will be once again among the top contenders if the race ends in a bunch sprint on The Mall, as was the case in the last three years.

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani (sitting up after winning stage 4 of this year's Tour) will be in London. Sirotti photo

Victorious on two stages and the points classification at the Adriatica Ionica Race, Alvaro Hodeg is set to make his debut at the RideLondon – Surrey Classic, where Deceuninck – Quick-Step will rely also on Paris-Roubaix reigning champion Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv and Zdenek Stybar, a winner of both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke in 2019.

“The race will be different this year, because we go up the Box Hill two more times, and the bunch could get shattered to pieces there. We will try to control the race as much as possible with Iljo and Davide, and in case there will be a regrouping and a mass gallop, we have both Elia and Alvaro, who’ll be supported by Michael. If not, Philippe and Zdenek, who is returning to competition, are our guys for a good result on Sunday”, said sports director Klaas Lodewyck.

Alexander Kristoff goes in search of glory in London

Kirstoff's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

Simone Pedrazzini (Sui), sports director of UAE Team Emirates, will bring a squad of seven riders who will aim to hit the big target in the British World Tour race, the Prudential Ride London-Surrey Classic (August 4th).

All eyes will be on Alexander Kristoff, a former winner in the English capital back in 2017.

Alexander kristoff

Alexander Kristoff winning in London in 2017

The Norwegian will be able to count on the speed and experience of Roberto Ferrari and also on the strength of his compatriot Sven Erik Bystrøm.
They will be supported by a strong group of riders to affront the shortened course as for 2019 the race distance will be reduced to 169 km. The start has been moved from central London to Bushy Park and will cover five laps of the circuit including the climb to Box Hill before the finish at The Mall, but in the opposite direction to previous editions.

“The Prudential Ride London is a race that I really like, I won in the British capital last time that I participated in the race in 2017 – highlighted Alexander Kristoff – for this year, the route has been made more challenging: it can be a favourable change for me, as with my good form a harder race can allow me to have a better chance in the sprint finish“.

The seven riders competing in London will be:
– Tom Bohli (Sui)
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
– Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
– Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
– Marco Marcato (Ita)
– Rui Oliveira (Por)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)

Sarah Roy sprints to victory at the Clasica Femenina Navarra

Roy's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

Australian Sarah Roy sprinted to a stunning victory in the first edition Clasica Femenina Navarra after strong work from the Mitchelton-SCOTT squad in the finale.

The 33-year-old benefited from an impressive lead out from her teammates on the run into Lodosa and Roy finished it off in style as she held off her rivals in the sprint for the line.

Today looked set to be one for the sprinters with a largely flat profile over the 120.7-kilometre course. With that in mind, it was a slow start to proceedings with little in the way of attacks coming inside the opening 50-kilometres of the race.

As the peloton passed through the halfway point, the action began to pick up with a strong group of nine riders edging clear, including Kiwi Georgia Williams. With the likes of CCC-Liv, Alé Cipollini and the Movistar Team also represented in the move, the escapees stretched their advantage out to over 40-seconds while the chase from the bunch stalled.

As the break passed through the finish line for the penultimate time the gap stood at 33-seconds with still no organised chase coming from behind and the teams represented in the move were content to sit in the wheels as track World Champion Alex Manly policed the head of the peloton.

However, the pack finally began to make headway and closed in on the nine leaders on the loop out of town as they raced onto the wide open roads. With the peloton closing in the escapees began to attack each other and Williams was working hard to mark the moves while her teammates were beginning to organise themselves for a sprint behind.

The break were finally hauled back over one of the short ramps that punctuated the finishing circuit and as the escapees were mopped up, Mitchelton-SCOTT powered to the front with Roy in tow.

Domestique Moniek Tenniglo was the last rider to swing off the Mitchelton-SCOTT lead out train inside the final-kilometre, leaving Roy to open up the sprint with the line in sight. The former national criterium champion got the jump on her rivals and held them off to take the victory in style.

Sarah Roy:
“Having Georgia in the break was great. She did an awesome job of covering moves on every hill and she’s been a fantastic worker all year so for that break to go with one from every major team was good. She had a good chance from that move and I was happy for her to have a go.”

“We were lucky a few other teams wanted the break back so the girls were super attentive and I felt relaxed. We didn’t have radios, so we talked a lot about what we wanted to do for the finish and we were all on the same page. We wanted to keep the pace high and have me positioned near the front for the last kilometre which was downhill and super-fast.”

“The girls nailed it. Jess did a killer turn leading into the hill two-kliometres from the finish and Georgia took over for the first part of the hill even after her time in the break. Alex was super strong all the way over it with Gracie on her wheel keeping us all calm. I had Moniek on my wheel taking care of all the turbulence behind me and in the last 900-metres she put the hammer down!”

“I looked around and saw Roxane (Fournier) approaching my wheel so I started my sprint early. I’m glad the line wasn’t any further away. I could have waited a little longer but I’m so happy to cross the line first and for the team and Alejandro and Nico and our soigneurs to get to celebrate a little win - they all deserve it so much!"

Alejandro Gonzalez-Tablas (Sports Director):
“It was a great team effort today, the plan was to get someone in the break so that we could just control it and Georgia did amazingly well there.”

“The rest of the team just waited for the moment to get things in place for Roy and they set it up perfectly once the breakaway was caught. We can be proud of this one.”

Clasica Femenina Navarra 2019 Results:
1. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2:56:01
2. Maria Martins (Sopela Women's Team) ST
3. Marta Lach (CCC - Liv) ST

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