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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday January 31, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. - James Madison

Tour de France: the Inside Story

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UAE-Team Emirates reports on Vuelta a San Juan stage three

This came too late for me to include in yesterday's news:

A massive time trial ride put Valerio Conti within touching distance of the stage win in the Vuelta a San Juan and moved him to third overall. The Italian could only be stopped by Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), 12 faster over the 12km stage around Pocito at 13:41.

Julian Alap[hilippe

Julian Alaphilippe was the fastest man in stage three.

Fernando Gaviria, the leader over the last two days also put in a good ride to finish sixth at 21 and Swiss Tom Bohli slotted in eighth at 26. He sat in the hot seat for much of the afternoon. Thanks to their rides, the UAE leads the team classification by 41 seconds over Team Bora-Hansgrohe.

“I believed in it, but I came across one of the strongest riders in the world over short and powerful stages,” Conti said. Alaphilippe is taking advantage of very good form at the moment, I can only compliment him on his win today.

“Regarding my ride, I gave it the best I had and I used my head more than my legs. I managed it well thanks to the advice of our Sports Director Simone Pedrazzini and General Manager Matxin. In the first part of the course, the wind was coming from the front and I thought to defend myself to use my energy the best as possible for the final, when it was possible to move ahead.”

The Vuelta a San Juan tomorrow will cover 185.8km in its fourth stage, San José de Jachal to Villa San Agustin. On tap: three climbs early on and a long descent towards the finish that should suit the sprinters.

Stage 3 results:
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deuceninck-Quick Step) 13’41”
2 Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) 12″
3 Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) s.t.

General classification after stage 3:
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deuceninck-Quick Step)7h15’16”
2 Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 18″
3 Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) 22″

Lotto-Soudal previews Challenge Illes Balears/Mallorca

The team sent me this:

The first European races will take place on the Spanish island of Mallorca from Thursday 31 January till Sunday 3 February. The Challenge Mallorca consists of four individual races, the so-called Trofeos. Herman Frison, sports director of Lotto Soudal, discusses the renewed course and explains the team’s ambitions.

Herman Frison: “Contrary to last year, three instead of two Trofeos are suited to climbers or punchers. With riders like Armée, Lambrecht, Monfort, Vanhoucke and Wellens, we have several good climbers in our line-up. Besides, Iversen, Frison, De Buyst, Naesen, van Goethem and Wouters will also join the Lotto Soudal forces in Mallorca. This means that we can easily switch our line-up, depending on the course of the races.”

“For most of the riders, the Challenge is the first race of their season. The racing is likely to be nervous because everybody is a bit in the dark about their shape. The Mallorcan races are the ideal way to get the first race kilometres in the legs. It may be one of the first events of the season but the goal is clear; we want to leave Mallorca with at least one victory. Tim Wellens already won some Trofeos in the past, so he will for sure be our leader. Tim is the kind of rider who’s already in good shape at the beginning of the season.”

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens wins the third stage of the 2017 Challenge.

“There’s no time to warm up the legs as the first Trofeo immediately has an uphill finish in store for the riders. The San Salvador climb (5 km à 6.2%) is certainly not to be underestimated. The run-up to the final climb is not really selective so it will be crucial to get Tim Wellens well-positioned at the foot. During the second Trofeo, the climbing really kicks off. At around 35 kilometres from the line, the riders will face the tough and relatively long climb to Puig Major. For sure, there won’t be a sprint there but maybe a little group will battle for the victory. The hills prior to the Puig Major will already ensure a big selection. The third race (Trofeo de Tramuntana) will finish in Deia, where Wellens already won on two occasions. In my opinion, that will be the most difficult challenge of the week.”

“The ultimate Trofeo will likely be one for the sprinters. But a third category climb - at around 35 kilometres from the line - won’t make things easier. The sprinters who get dropped will get a chance to make their way back to the bunch during the flat local laps in Palma. Initially, Jasper De Buyst wasn’t scheduled to participate in the Challenge but he is currently training in Mallorca so we included him in our line-up for the last Trofeo. He will be our trump card when it comes down to a bunch kick.”

Race schedule:

Line-up Lotto Soudal (subject to change):

Trofeo Ses Salines, Campos, Porreres, Felanitx:
Sander Armée, Frederik Frison, Rasmus Byriel Iversen, Maxime Monfort, Brian Van Goethem, Tim Wellens and Enzo Wouters.

Trofeo Andratx - Lloseta
Sander Armée, Frederik Frison, Bjorg Lambrecht, Maxime Monfort, Lawrence Naesen, Harm Vanhoucke and Tim Wellens.

Trofeo de Tramuntana
Sander Armée, Bjorg Lambrecht, Maxime Monfort, Lawrence Naesen, Brian van Goethem, Harm Vanhoucke and Tim Wellens.

Trofeo Palma
Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, Rasmus Byriel Iversen, Bjorg Lambrecht, Lawrence Naesen, Brian van Goethem and Enzo Wouters.

Sports director: Herman Frison.

Dan McLay wins the first stage of the Herald Sun Tour

McLay's EF Education First team sent me this report

Dan McLay delivered the first victory of the season for EF Education First Pro Cycling Team on the opening stage of Jayco Herald Sun Tour. The six-day Australian stage race began with 22 laps around the Phillip Island Moto GP circuit.

McLay held off Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) and Wouter Wippert (EvoPro) to climb to the top step of the podium. With the stage win came the yellow race leader’s jersey.

Dan MNcLay

Dan McLay wins the first stage of the Herald Sun Tour

“I was up for it today,” said McLay. “I didn’t get much personally out of Down Under, so I had the bit between my teeth coming here. I was ready for it. It’s really great to get a win under the belt so early,” McLay added. “It’s good for my confidence going forward. It’s about time I won something.”

Team founder Jonathan Vaughters echoed McLay’s sentiment: “The first win just means that we’re starting to emerge from a few years of chaos. It takes a while to build a team. Now that we have a solid foundation under us, we can start to build.”

Jimmy Whelan was the first to show the team colors on the 97-kilometer stage. The rookie forced clear in a three-rider escape during the opening hour of the race. “I called him back to the bunch,” said sport director Tom Southam. “Trek just kept it at 40-seconds while he was out there, so it was a waste of time. We knew that we’d probably have to ride later, but the break was quite simple to catch.”

When it was time to ride, Whelan was again put to work. “Jimmy worked hard on the front after riding in the early move,” said McLay. “He pulled to bring the break back.”

With one lap left to race, the race was back together and the peloton readied for a bunch sprint. “It was a crosswind around the last long curve,” said McLay. “Mitch [Docker] kept us out of the wind, pulling around the front through the last curve. Tom [Scully] gave me a big pull coming onto the final stretch. He dropped me off just inside the last 200 meters, 180 meters maybe, and I just held on.”

First to open the sprint, McLay was first across the line. “Mitch did a really nice job adapting to the lead-out to suite the conditions,” said Southam. “They nailed it.”

The Jayco Herald Sun Tour continues on Thursday (Wednesday in United States), with a 127 kilometer stage that includes a category one climb that tops out 12 kilometers from the race finish in Churchill.

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