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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, January 4, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society where none intrudes, By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: I love not Man the less, but Nature more - Byron

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CCC Team completes its 2019 rider roster 

The team sent me this update:

3 January 2019, Polkowice (POL): CCC Team will start the 2019 season with 24 riders having signed German rider Jonas Koch as a late addition to the roster, General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced today.

Koch, 25, raced with CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2017 and 2018 and is set to make his WorldTour debut with CCC Team. “We are pleased to welcome Jonas Koch to CCC Team. Initially, we planned on maintaining our roster of 23 riders but we have a busy race program ahead so 24 riders will afford us some more flexibility when it comes to race rosters. Jonas was already on our radar, having spent the last two years with CCC Sprandi Polkowice, and he managed some solid results in 2018,” Ochowicz explained.

“At 25-years-old, Jonas is young and will have the opportunity to develop further with CCC Team. Jonas’ top ten results at Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, Brussels Cycling Classic, Handzame Classic, and the Tour of Norway last year are signs of his potential so we are excited to see what Jonas can do with us.”

It is a dream come true for Koch to sign his first WorldTour contract. “It has always been my dream to ride in such a great team. I am very thankful and super motivated for this opportunity with CCC Team. There are so many people involved in this almost lifelong process that deserve a huge thank you, especially Piotr Kosmala and Piotr Wadecki who have supported me the whole time as a pro cyclist,” Koch said.

“My main goal is to integrate well in the team and do a good job for my teammates. I want to support our team captains with everything I have and want to demonstrate my abilities in smaller races as well.”

In keeping with CCC Team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

CCC Team 2019 Rider Roster:
Amaro Antunes (POR), Will Barta (USA), Patrick Bevin (NZ), Paweł Bernas (POL), Josef Černý (CZE), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Simon Geschke (GER), Kamil Gradek (POL), Jonas Koch (GER), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Łukasz Owsian (POL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Michael Schär (SUI), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT).

Caleb Ewan previews Australian national championship

Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

On Sunday 6 January, two Lotto Soudal riders will be at the start of the Australian national championship in Buninyong. Newcomer Caleb Ewan will form together with Adam Hansen the Lotto Soudal duo that will battle for the national title. The riders will face sixteen hilly local laps of 11.6 kilometres. The start of the 185 kilometres long race will be given at 12h30 local time, which equals 2h30 at night in Belgian time. Caleb Ewan ambitiously previews the championship and tries to predict how the race will unfold.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan winning the 2018 Australian criterium championships.

Caleb Ewan: “It is really nice that I got the year off to a good start by winning two stages of the Bay Crits. Of course, the national championships are a totally different kind of race but it is nice to see that the form is still there after a few months without racing. It is nice to get the confidence back in by riding some smaller races. I was aiming to be in really good shape for the Nationals and somewhat later the Tour Down Under.”

“I obviously want to win the race and become the new national champion but for that to happen, everything has to fall into place. There need to be a lot of things that have to go right, so it also comes down to a bit of luck. Traditionally, some big and strong teams will appear at the start, so it will be really hard to race against teams that have so many options. With only me and Adam Hansen participating for Lotto Soudal, we have not many cards to play with. The majority of the teams won’t be keen on going to a sprint when I’m still in the bunch, so that will make the racing more offensive. Most of the teams hope for a breakaway that goes till the finish, so they will want to have multiple riders in front. I still need to discuss with Adam whether he will stay with me in the bunch or whether he will try to slip into an early break.”

“The course in Buninyong has been used for several years, so I know it really well by now. But still, it is really difficult to predict beforehand how the racing is going to be like. There’s one main climb in the local lap and I think that the wind direction is likely to be a decisive factor. If it’s a tailwind, the stronger climbers will certainly have the advantage. If it’s more of a headwind, the style of racing is less likely to be aggressive. Of course, I am hoping for a headwind so that I can play my cards in the final sprint. It is really difficult to point out the riders to keep an eye on. During this time of the year, it is hard to tell who’s in good shape. There’s not really one big favourite, but obviously the bigger teams have a slight advantage.”

Georgia Williams defends time trial title at New Zealand Championships

Williams' Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

25-year-old Georgia Williams has successfully defended her New Zealand Time Trial Championship in Napier today and will don the coveted black and white champion’s jersey in Europe for her 2019 season with Mitchelton-SCOTT.

In similar conditions to last year, the field fought a windy 20km route, including a nasty head wind on the return home.

Williams claimed the gold medal ahead of Rushlee Buchanan by 11seconds, mirroring the top two podium positions from 2018. With little time to celebrate, the double 2018 champion will be back in action tomorrow to defend her road race championship.

Georgia Williams:
“I’m happy. It’s a relief as there’s always a bit of pressure coming here trying to defend my title so it was good to get this one.

“It was super hard (with the wind on the back of the course). I think I went a little bit too hard on the way out in the tail wind and got a bit too excited, so I was struggling down the back in the headwind. It just dragged on and dragged on, but I just pushed through.

“The team loves a national champion and it’s really cool to represent New Zealand in Europe.”

1. Georgia Williams (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 28:51
2. Rushlee Buchanan +0:11
3. Holly Edmondston +1:50

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