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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 27, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness. - Edgar Allan Poe

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Vuelta a España stage three team reports

We'll start with stage winner Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Yesterday’s stage was supposed to be a stage for the fast men in the peloton but it turned into a battle of the GC contenders in the race. Stage 3 of the Vuelta a España was, following the stage profile, a real flat stage. The stage started in the city of Ibi and after 188 kilometres and two third category climbs and one intermediate sprint the race had its big showdown in Alicante, where a bunch sprint was expected.

Right after the flag was dropped three attacked and went up the road. The trio immediately opened a gap of more than three minutes, while BORA – hansgrohe remained in the main bunch, focusing on their sprinter Sam Bennett.

The peloton took it easy and gave the escapees a couple of minutes advantage for most of the stage. Approaching the finale, the sprinter teams took control of the main bunch, especially Pawel Poljanski did a stellar job at the front of the race. With the gap dropping steadily before it was all back together with around 30 km remaining.

BORA – hansgrohe started their lead-out for their Irish sprinter. The race headed into the finale, and the BORA – hansgrohe train was on fire, bringing Sam into position perfectly. Especially Jempy Drucker and Shane Archbold, his last lead-out men did a stellar job to make sure their sprinter was up the front. Sam Bennett finished the great teamwork off with another stunning victory in this season, his 10th WorldTour stage win so far. Following this great result, the Irish sprinter now leads the sprint classification of the Vuelta a España.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett wins stage three. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
“I always feel the pressure of expectation and always want that win on a sprint stage. The boys were really amazing today, they made the win possible and I'm really grateful. The lead out was messy with Shane being pushed off my wheel by Trek and Jempy also having to fight hard but both those guys did a super job! Really happy to take my 4th Grand Tour stage victory and hopefully my first of many at the Vuelta. Red Jersey and a stage win: Huge day for Irish cycling and one we can all cherish.” – Sam Bennett

“What can we say other than: Chapeau to the whole team! They worked from the start until the finish perfectly together! The finale was hectic and everyone wanted to get on Sam’s wheel but the Band of Brothers showed strength and did a stellar job! I am very proud of the whole team and Sam did an amazing sprint, taking his 10th WorldTour win of the season and hopefully many more to come here at the Vuelta.” – Patxi Vila, Sports Director

Here's the report from GC leader Nicolas Roche's Team Sunweb:

The third day of action at the Vuelta a España saw the peloton faced with a 188 kilometre route from Ibi to Alicante. Compared to yesterday’s tough stage, today was an easier day in the saddle for the riders and despite the only categorised climbs coming in the final third of the stage, the day suited a bunch sprint finish.

Almost from the flag drop a group of three riders escaped and the bunch were happy to let their gap grow out quickly to over six minutes. The team came to the front of the peloton and started to ride tempo, helping to protect Nicholas Roche’s race lead and keep the gap to the breakaway manageable. It wasn’t long until the sprint teams sent a rider up to assist with the pace setting and the breakaway’s advantage slowly started to diminish before it stabilised at roughly four minutes.

The pace in the bunch was upped as the categorised climbs grew ever closer and with 42 kilometres to go the peloton had the remnants of the breakaway in its sights. A strong tempo was set at the front of the peloton, with riders dropped in small groups throughout the ascent. Once over the crest of the hill the breakaway was collected completely and a somewhat reduced peloton was at the head of the race. Max Walscheid dug deep to stay in close contact with the peloton and after some good work from Michael Storer, both were soon back in the main field.

Coming into the finale there was a big fight for position, with the team well positioned near the front of the bunch, looking to set up Walscheid for the sprint. However, as Nikias Arndt hit the front with around 500 metres to go, Walscheid lost position and was boxed in when he opened up his sprint, ultimately ending the day outside the top ten.

Nicolas Roche

Nicolas Roche gets another day in red.

With no change at the top of the GC, Roche remains in red for another stage, with Wilco Kelderman also in the top ten of the overall classification.

“Max has been investing a lot into the team; in the TTT, yesterday and even today on a day that suited him he helped us out, so fair play to him for giving it a good go in the sprint,” explained Roche at the finish. “It was an exceptional feeling to wear the jersey out on the road today. This morning even though I knew it was an easier stage, I was still quite worried that I might not keep the jersey; you never know with crosswinds or a crash, there are lots of reasons you can lose it. Now I’m just relieved and really happy to wear it one day longer than last time. We’ll take it day-by-day, I think it will all be about how much power I have on Wednesday. Hopefully we can get through tomorrow without too much stress first and then we’ll see what happens on Wednesday.”

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts added: “Today was one of the few opportunities for the sprinters. A small group of three riders went away and we put the race under control, with Michel Storer doing some good work to keep the peloton rolling along before the sprinters teams came to help. In the final we saw some action with pressure put on over one of the climbs and the technical passage through a village. The guys rode quite well and held quite a good position in there; aiming to keep Wilco and Nico safe, and hopefully to set up Max for the sprint. All went well in the lead out but in the last moment Max got a bit hung up on a wheel, was boxed in and didn’t quite get the clear run in the sprint he wanted. The day result wasn’t what we had hoped for but we’re happy to still have Nico in the jersey.”

Magnus Cort Nielsen joins EF Education First

The team sent me this release:

EF Education First Pro Cycling is proud to announce Magnus Cort Nielsen as its latest signing. The Dane will join the team in 2020.

“I’ve heard great things about the team, especially from Matti Breschel,” said Cort Nielsen. “The most important thing for me in selecting a team is its people, and it’s clear that this is a group where I’ll fit in well. As a bonus, the team is located in Girona, where I spend a a lot of time training, and speaks English as its main language, which is important to me.”

The 26-year-old ticked several boxes for EF Education First Pro Cycling as well. A proven winner in the WorldTour, Cort Nielsen comes to the team with a Tour de France stage win (2018) and two Vuelta a España stage wins (2016). His most recent victory was at Paris-Nice last March. He’s handy on the flat roads in Netherlands, comfortable in the mountains, and able to play an important role in the team time trial.


Magnus Cort Nielsen wins stage four of this year's Paris-Nice.

“Magnus brings a versatility and winning mindset to the team,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He’s a talented rider in various terrains. He was climbing in the front during the last week of the Tour de France, can win from small groups or breaks with his speed, and is a very clever rider in tactically complex situations.”

“I’m happy in many different roles,” said Cort Nielsen. “I’m able to work for a general classification leader, help in the lead-out train or carry a leadership role myself. I hope to have my chances to win some races next year.”

Cort Nielsen hails from Bornholm, a small Danish island in the Baltic Sea. He moved away from home, relocating to mainland Denmark, to join a sports school when he was 16. “I followed my dream to be a cyclist at an early age,” said Cort Nielsen. “I learned to stand on my own legs early on.”

He lives 2000-kilometers away from Bornholm now, spending the cycling season in Girona and Andorra, but returns home frequently to visit family and friends. He loves science and technology, uses time away from the bike to backpack, and explores the world at every opportunity.

“For me explore the world doesn’t mean traveling halfway around the world,” Cort Nielsen explained. “Adventure lies around every corner. I explore the world by getting out into the it and opening my eyes to experience all that I see rather than go through each day in autopilot.”

Emerald cancels November Outdoor Retailer show

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Emerald Expositions has canceled its Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show, which had been planned for early November in Denver, and which was to have included a bicycle trade area.

Emerald said it will return Outdoor Retailer to a two-show annual format, combining the Winter Market with January's Outdoor + Snow Show, also in Denver. Then it will hold its OR Summer Market show in June 2020 in Denver. It's more or less the same schedule that OR had two years ago, before it split the winter show into two events.

"We’re taking it back to 2018 …" wrote Marisa Nicholson, OR's senior vice president, said in an email to the industry Wednesday afternoon.

"We made this decision in partnership with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and after consultation with key brands and retailers through personal conversations, our advisory boards and surveys.

You can read the entire story here.

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