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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, August 12, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad. - George Bernard Shaw

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Elia Viviani crowned European Road Champion

Here's the report from Viviani's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Three days and three gold medals for Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders on the international scene! After Remco Evenepoel’s dominating success in the time trial at the European Championships and Max Richeze’s landmark victory at the Pan American Games, this time Elia Viviani grabbed the headlines, in Alkmaar, where the 30-year-old Italian scored one of the biggest and most memorable wins of his career and made sure of donning the European Champion jersey for the next 12 months.

Eliva Viviani

2nd place Yves Lampaert and winner Elia Viviani. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

“It’s absolutely amazing, I can’t find the words to tell you what this means for me! I came out of the Tour de France with a good condition and was hoping to be in contention for the gold medal, and to finally get it, two years after I finished runner-up, gives me immense joy”, a smiling Elia said moments after the finish.

Sunday’s enthralling 172.6km race was ripped apart by the Italian team, who took advantage of the strong crosswinds to make a huge selection after just 20 kilometers. As a result, five different groups were spread across the road, and things didn’t stop there, as inside the last 70 kilometers the same Squadra Azzurra pushed again, this time on the local circuit, to make another split, with just 13 men surviving.

Among those at the front were four Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders – Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal and Elia Viviani – who exchanged turns and made sure the advantage wouldn’t drop below 45 seconds, despite a fiery chase of the Netherlands team. Around 25 kilometers from the finish, Lampaert, Viviani and Pascal Ackermann (Germany) extricated themselves from the group, which was soon after reabsorbed by the peloton, and managed to quickly build a 50-second gap by the time they entered the closing ten kilometers.

Knowing that his chances were slim in a three-up sprint, Yves Lampaert attacked with four kilometers to go and put some daylight between him and his companions, before Elia reacted and closed the gap ahead of the final cobbled sector, in the process dropping Ackermann. The two weren’t seen again by the chasers until the finish, where Viviani outsprinted Yves and took his ninth success of the season.

“We watched all the other races here in Alkmaar and we knew that we had to change our tactic, because the wind was to play a big part in the outcome, as it did the entire week. I had really strong legs, took many risks today and it all paid off. Being there at the front together with Yves, who is my teammate and a good friend, was really nice and special. I am extremely happy and proud of this win, one of the finest of my entire career, as it didn’t come from a bunch sprint”, Elia explained.

Just as it happened at the end of Thursday’s individual time trial, two Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders finished on the podium, making it for the first time in the history of the European Championships that a trade team had two delegates in the top 3 at both events.

“The race split quite early under the impetus of the Italians. Then, as things progressed, only 13 guys remained at the front and I was one of them. When the three of us rode clear with 25 kilometers left, we knew that despite the gap being just 30 seconds, it wasn’t going to be easy for the chasers to close it, so we pushed hard, as that was the big chance to hold firm of our advantage. Going into the last kilometers, I was aware that I didn’t stand a chance in the sprint, so I tried to go alone, but Elia was strong and managed to bridge across. I’m happy with my result, as taking second place and the silver medal is the best outcome considering everything”, Yves said at the end of the day.

Lotto-Soudal previews BinckBank Tour

The team sent me this:

Monday 12 August: The BinckBank Tour will start in Beveren. After being called ‘Eneco Tour’ for years, it’s now already the third edition under the name ‘Binckbank Tour’. The parcours is something for the all-rounders in the peloton. With a mix of sprints, hilly stages and a short time trial, the Tour of the Low Lands has it all. The seven-day WorldTour race finishes on Sunday 18 August on the Vesten in Geraardsbergen. Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens took the overall victory in 2014 and in 2015. Sports director Herman Frison looks ahead.

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens was the winner of the 2015 edition, when it was the "Eneco Tour".

Herman Frison: “With Tim Wellens we have someone in our team who has already won the Binckbank Tour twice, so obviously he will be leading our team. The hardest part of this race is that you can’t win it in every stage, but you surely can lose it in every stage. Just one moment of not being focused can be enough to lose time and to forget about your overall standing ambitions.”

“Mostly the time differences between place one and ten aren’t that big, so a small gap in the pack or even a miniscule moment of inattention can be enough to not be in the running anymore to win the BinckBank Tour.”

“It’s going to be a hard week anyway. The loss of teammate Bjorg Lambrecht is still on our minds and it takes time to give it a place. It feels like there’s a dark shadow above us which is riding along with the team. Making the switch and turning that negativity into positivity is not simple at all for the guys, but we are going to do the best we can to help Tim getting a great result.”

“A young talent as Stan Dewulf will get his chance to take on the sprints. The short stage in the Ardennes on Thursday around Houffalize will already be decisive for the general classification. The time trial only counts 8.4 kilometres, so I don’t think time differences will be too big there. Sunday we will finish in Geraardsbergen, but you never know what might happen, even in the flat stages.”

“The weather conditions won’t be in our favour. Rain is predicted, possibly with some wind. All these factors will play a role. We are going to try to ride offensively as a team and protect Tim in the best possible way.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, Nikolas Maes, Rémy Mertz, Maxime Monfort, Brian van Goethem and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Herman Frison

Stage 1 12 August: Beveren – Hulst, 167.2 km (flat)
Stage 2 13 August: Blankenberge – Ardooie, 169.1 km (flat)
Stage 3 14 August: Aalter – Aalter, 166.9 km (flat)
Stage 4 15 August: Houffalize – Houffalize, 96.2 km (hills)
Stage 5 16 August: Riemst – Venray, 191.4 km (flat)
Stage 6 17 August: Den Haag – Den Haag, 8.4 km (ITT)
Stage 7 18 August: Sint-Pieters-Leeuw – Geraardsbergen, 178.1 km (hills)

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