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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Paris-Nice stage two team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Well, again, here's winner Dylan Groenewegen's Team Jumbo-Visma report:

An impressive Dylan Groenewegen has gloriously won the second stage in Paris-Nice. After a spectacular stage in the crosswinds, the sprinter of Team Jumbo-Visma was the fastest of a leading group of seven riders in Bellegarde. With his victory, Groenewegen extended his leading position in the overall standings. Groenewegen also won yesterday’s opening stage, today he claimed his fourth win of the season. It meant the seventh win for Team Jumbo-Visma.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen makes it two in a row at Paris-Nice.

The stage over one hundred and sixty kilometres and a bit became a memorable stage due to the wind. Echelons were formed from the start. A combative Groenewegen was riding attentively in the front, together with Amund Jansen and Maarten Wynants especially. In the last ten kilometres, just as the first two groups came back together and Team Jumbo-Visma had the entire team in the leading group, the pack split again. The Dutch sprinter wasn’t surprised. He stoically did his part of the job and then sovereignly won the sprint.

Groenewegen was proud of his team and proud of himself. “Today was a very tough stage because of the crosswinds. There was a continuous fight for positions and a continuous racing at the limit. It was far from easy. The team did a perfect job and after the last corner they put me in an ideal position. I am very proud of my success and especially proud of how we rode as a team”, the stage winner said.

“It was difficult at times, but my teammates got me through it. In the end, we remained with seven leaders. It was a matter of waiting and to not start the sprint too early. When Trentin accelerated, I started my sprint and I was able to finish it off. Two stages, two victories: I am very happy. Tomorrow there is another flat stage. It will be a tough one again due to the wind, but we are going for it again.”

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this Paris-Nice report:

The race to the sun headed today from Les Béviaires over 165km to Bellegarde and ended with another flat finish. In theory it was a day for the sprinters, but with crosswinds expected and overall cold and rainy weather conditions, everybody knew already in the morning that it would be a tough day in the saddle. Like yesterday, the race split into several groups, with constantly changing race situations and echelons. BORA – hansgrohe paid attention all the time and was represented in most of the leading groups. Especially Felix Großschartner showed a great ride by making the split of a promising group including some of the race favorites on the last 50 kilometers.

Chasing at 50 seconds, BORA – hansgrohe was also well represented in the second group with Sam Bennett, Patrick Konrad, Jempy Drucker and Pawel Poljanski. On the final lap of the day, Sam unfortunately missed another selection in the chasing group, while at the front seven riders distanced themselves from the leading group to fight for the stage win. Behind them the first two reduced fields regrouped and Jempy Drucker finished the day as best placed BORA – hansgrohe rider in 16thposition. Dylan Groenwegen defended his yellow jersey with another stage win, while Felix Großschartner is still in contention just 25 seconds down in the GC.

From the Finish Line:
“It was a difficult day, due to the heavy wind we had the whole day echelons. I saw myself always between the third and second group, and as we headed into the last laps I was able to join the second group and finished in 16thplace, of course not a result to be happy with.” – Jempy Drucker

“It was a busy day today and a fight for the best position right from the start. I have to thank Schwarzi and to the whole team for protecting me that well. I think today was quite okay but now we have to recover and focus on tomorrow’s stage, which will be again a stressful day.” – Felix Großschartner

“We went into today’s stage to deliver Sam for another bunch sprint and to protect our GC contender. Especially with Felix we wanted to limit any time losses. Unfortunately, Sam hadn’t the legs to play a role into today’s stage result, but I am sure he will come back the next days. Felix showed a good performance, he stayed the whole day with the other GC contenders at the front.” – Christian Pömer, Sports Director   

Rigoberto Uran fractures collarbone in Paris-Nice

Drat! EF Education First sent me this bad news:

Rigoberto Uran fractured his left clavicle on Monday during the second stage of Paris-Nice, from Les Bréviaires to Bellegarde, and was forced to abandon the race.

The Colombian went down on his left side in the middle of a pack of riders midway through the stage, and he was immediately taken for evaluation at a nearby medical facility. Dr. Jon Greenwall, team doctor at Paris-Nice, said that beyond the clavicle break and some road rash, there were no other concerns with Uran’s health. Specifically, he did not suffer a head injury.

“I had a tough crash,” Uran said after leaving the hospital. “Today, there was a lot of wind. I touched a rider, another rider touched my wheel. […] I feel disappointed, of course. I had good legs. That’s cycling."

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran (shown at the 2018 Giro d'Emilia) will be out of action for a while. Sirotti photo.

Uran is slated to travel to his European base of Monaco immediately and have surgery to repair the fracture Wednesday morning. Once the surgery is completed, Uran will be able to return to the trainer when he feels ready and will likely resume riding outside in a few weeks’ time.

His return to racing will be carefully evaluated.

“It’s always tough when you see anyone on the team take a hard fall like that. These guys put a ton of time in during the offseason training for the early season, so I feel for them when there’s a setback,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO, Jonathan Vaughters. “We wish Rigo a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him back to the races once he’s ready.”

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this preview:

Tirreno Adriatico: MAR 13-19

Luke Roberts - Team Sunweb coach:
"On Wednesday we start the seven-day Tirreno Adriatico, beginning with the traditional 21.5 kilometres opening team time trial, followed by two relatively flat stages and three demanding stages before a final 10.1 kilometres individual time trial. With Tom we chase a good result in the overall classification and we bring a very solid support team to Italy for this goal. Nicholas will be our road captain and we'll look to set ourselves up for a good GC position right from the opening team time trial."

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Chad Haga (USA)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Rob Power (AUS)
Nicholas Roche (IRE)

Nikia Arndt

Nikias Arndt will be racing in Italy this week. Here he is in the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo.

Istrian Spring Trophy: MAR 14-17

Sebastian Deckert - Team Sunweb coach:
"This is the first stage race of the season and it's a good opportunity to get into the rhythm. We want to focus on a good prologue, and then during the two stages that follow we want to protect our GC riders here. The last day also presents an opportunity for a sprint where we can look to support Niklas.

"We have a relatively experienced group and we performed well here last year in Croatia. For sure we're looking to repeat what we've done here in the past and so we're eager to get the race underway."

Felix Gall (AUT)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Jarno Mobach (NED)
Florian Stork (GER)

Ronde Van Drenthe: MAR 17

Nicolas Marche - Team Sunweb coach:
"This race is the Dutch classic of the Women's WorldTour. The weather will play a big part and will be an important parameter. We’ll go into the race in the same spirit as we did at Strade Bianche last weekend, looking to ride like a team, stay focused and try to be dominant. Floortje was present at the opening classics in Belgium so of course we count on her here. Susanne will also be a strong option if the race comes down to a bunch sprint."

Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Lucinda Brand (NED)
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Julia Soek (NED)

Lotto-Soudal previews Tirreno-Adriatico

The team sent me this update:

Wednesday 13 March, the 54th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico will kick off in Lido di Camaiore, a village situated along the Tuscan coast. The Italian WorldTour race starts with a team time trial and ends seven days later with an individual test against the clock in San Benedetto del Tronto. As the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ will not head into the high mountains, it promises to be an exciting and open battle for the trident trophy between the time trialists, puncheurs and one-day specialists. Last year, Belgian Lotto Soudal rider Tiesj Benoot finished fourth in the overall standings of Tirreno-Adriatico. Bart Leysen, sports director at Lotto Soudal, previews the course and discusses the team goals this year.

Tiesj Benoot

Tiesj Benoot will be racing Tirreno-Adriatico. Sirotti photo

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “There is no real mountain stage and not even a mountain finish in this year’s Tirreno. That way, the Classics specialists with good climbing abilities can not only compete for stage wins, they also have a shot at the overall win. The top contenders for the Grand Tours certainly won’t have the advantage this year. At Lotto Soudal, we have with Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens two cards to play.”

“I expect that five of the seven stages will be important for the general classification. Only the two relatively flat stages won’t play a key role. The team time trial and the individual mission against the clock are part of those five crucial days. Given that in stage races such as Tirreno the GC is decided with a handful of seconds, the team time trial on the very first day will already be of crucial importance. Last year – when we finished sixteenth – was a disappointment for us. The composition of our team this year should allow us to aim higher so that we can start the Tirreno with our two leaders on a good note. The closing time trial – the specialty of Victor Campenaerts – will be an important last hurdle in the overall battle.”

“It is more than likely that a heavily reduced group will go for the victory during the three hilly stages. It will mainly be about bringing Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens – who already demonstrated to be really strong finishers – in the best way possible to the line. Last year, Tiesj finished fourth in the general classification and in the past, the Belgian also proved that he can manage tough finales really well. In this year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, every second will count. We constantly need to be attentive to avoid losing precious seconds due to possible splits in the peloton.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Victor Campenaerts, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Jens Keukeleire, Tomasz Marczyński, Tosh Van der Sande and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Kevin De Weert.


Here's UAE-Team Emirates Tirreno-Adriatico preview:

Seven of UAE Team Emirates’ riders will fight over the roads of Tirreno-Adriatico, from March 13 to 19:

– Tom Bohli (Swi)
– Simone Consonni (Ita)
– Valerio Conti (Ita)
– Rui Costa (Por)
– Fernando Gaviria (Col)
– Jan Polanc (Slo)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)

Sports Directors Marco Marzano (Ita), Allan Peiper (Aus) and Bruno Vicino (Ita), with the supervision of General Manager Joxean Matxin (Spa), will guide the team.

The Race of the Two Seas or Corsa dei Due Mari includes seven stages from Lido di Camaiore (a team time trail of 21.5 km) to San Benedetto del Tronto (an individual time trial of 10.1 km). In between there’s never a dull moment with a couple of stages for strong sprinters and three stages marked with hard climbing.

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria (shown in the 2017 Giro d'Italia) will be at the Race of the Two Seas. Sirotti phjoto.

Fernando Gaviria, winner of two stages in Tirreno-Adriatico (Montalto di Castro in 2016 and Civitanova Marche in 2017), said, “It’s a beautiful race where I’ve been able to celebrate twice. The team is designed for the stage wins, I’ll try to be competitive in the sprints. It’s a great team and everyone has god legs. We will aim to fight for the stage wins and do well in the overall classification. The race design has changed someone what from past years, so it’ll be interesting to see how this change influences the race”.

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary