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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul. - Douglas MacArthur

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Tirreno-Adriatico stage six team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Julian Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Adam Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team:

Brit Adam Yates will head into the final day of Tirreno-Adriatico with a 25 second lead after finishing safely in the bunch on stage six.

It was a case of staying out of trouble on the 195km route from Matelica to Jesei with the day ending in the expected sprint finale as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick Step) edged out the pure sprinters on the line.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe won a close one. Sirotti photo.

The day was billed as the last opportunity for the fast-men to have a crack at glory and there was no chance of them passing it up, despite a seven-man breakaway going clear. The seven escapees were never allowed more than three and a half minutes, with their advantage being held around the two minutes mark for the majority of the day.

The pace in the peloton was increased with two laps of the finishing circuit remaining and the gap to the breakaway began to tumble as the seven riders attacked one another.

With one lap to go, just two riders were left dangling at around 40 seconds ahead of the bunch while Mitchelton-SCOTT were keeping Yates safe in the leader’s jersey at the head of the pack.

The remnants of the break were eventually reeled in with four kilometres remaining and as the race passed through the three kilometres to go marker, Mitchelton-SCOTT drifted back, allowing the sprinter’s teams to do their thing as Alaphilippe took a chaotic sprint victory.

Adam Yates:
“Another tough stage, a fast one and towards the end the wind was picking up a little bit and when it’s a circuit it’s always tricky, there’s always the different direction changes and the wind could be a factor.”

“In the end it wasn’t a factor, but teams get stressed and want to hold position and there’s a big fight for the front, but we got through it in one piece, the team rode great again.”

“Like I said yesterday and like I said from the beginning, I’ll do my best and if it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough. I came here to win stages and I didn’t manage to win a stage but I got close on a couple of occasions and we’ve held the jersey for a few days now. So in my mind it’s been a good race, a good race for the team and whether or not I can hold on tomorrow, we’ll find out won’t we?”

Matt White (Sports Director):
“It was another tough day, it was far from a flat sprint stage that’s for sure and there was a lot of wind around which made the race nervous from around 60km to 50km out."

"The boys did an incredible job of looking after Adam all day and gave him all the support they could have. We were very, very lucky with the rain today, it started to sprinkle just as we entered the finishing circuit, but luckily it stayed dry because it could have been a very interesting finale if it was wet.”

“Regardless of what happens tomorrow, we’ve had a great week, the team time trial win was a big highlight and the way the boys have worked seamlessly throughout the week to support Adam has been really gratifying.”

Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

While less undulating than the previous day, stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico was going to be no less of a challenge. The 195km parcours saw some climbing early on, but there was only the one categorised climb for the peloton to contend with. What would make today tough was the flat finish, meaning only one thing – the sprinters and their teams would be ramping up the pace for their last chance in this edition of the race to take the win on a road stage.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan at the start of the stage. Sirotti photo

Miserable weather and cloudy skies made it harder for anyone to muster up the enthusiasm to race hard, although seven riders gave it their best shot in the escape. With their eye on the day’s prize, the peloton never allowed them to go more than 2:30 up the road, and with the escape reaching the start of the finishing circuit, which would be raced twice before the finale, the peloton was spurred into action and the gap came crashing down. Rafał Majka and Marcus Burghardt took to the front, setting the pace and making sure the peloton knew who was in charge.

The breakaway was splintering in the face of their sustained efforts and there were only two left when the day hit the 10km to go point. With 3km to go and BORA-hansgrohe driving the pace, the remnants of the break were finally swept up and it was all on for the finish. The high speeds saw the peloton strung out, with many riders struggling to stay in touch, Daniel Oss and Oscar Gatto instrumental in keeping the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, well protected in the lead-up to the sprint. The sprint started late, and Peter found himself boxed in, but as only he can, he managed to find space. In spite of this, Peter was just unable to get to the finish line first, taking fifth in a messy bunch sprint.

From the Finish Line:
"The guys did a very good job today in preparing everything for the sprint. They pulled in the front, controlled the breakaway and rode hard in the finale to lead me out. Unfortunately, I still need more time to get back to my best form. I did the best I could but it wasn't enough to win." – Peter Sagan

"Long and hard stage, up and down for the most part but still with a fast sprint finish. Our goal was to aim at stage victory with Peter. We pulled in the front of the peloton and controlled the 7-man break. Rafał Majka did a very good job in that, put a strong effort and we managed to close the gap and catch the break in the final 3km. Then, Oscar Gatto and Daniel Oss took over and did a good lead-out but, unfortunately, Peter found himself blocked a few metres before the finish and took fifth on the line. These things happen and we have to keep building upon the work done so far." – Jan Valach, Sports Director 

UAE-Team Emirates headed to Belgium

The team sent me this update:

The UAE Team Emirates will travel to Belgium for the Danilith Nokere Koerse, March 20, and the Bredene Koksijde Classic, on March 22.

Allan Peiper (Aus) will direct the two teams with the following riders:

Danilith Nokere Koerse
Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Manuele Mori (Ita)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)

Bredene Koksijde Classic
Tom Bohli (Swi)
Simone Consonni (Ita)
Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)

Tom Bohli

Tom Bohli (shown in 2018) will ride the Bredene Koksijde Classic for UAE-Team Emirates. Sirotti photo.

The Danilith Nokere Koerse covers 195.6 km, starting in Deinze and finishing in Nokere. It climbs a good seven times the Nokerenberg climb, 350m long at 5.7% average and 7% maximum.

Jasper Philipsen: “I’d like to better myself compared to last year, when I was able to escape. The race suites my style. The goal is to try to be in the front for the final and give the best on the cobbled climb heading to the finish. It’s going to be the last appointment prior to the big classics, I’ll look for some positive signals to get even more motivation“.

The Bredene Koskijde Classic covers 199.2km with its start in Bredene and finish in Koksijde. Along the way, it covers four hard and steep ‘walls’: the Ruidenberg, the Goeberg, the Kemmelberg and the Rodeberg.

Simone Consonni on his goals said, “We’ll arrive in Belgium three days after Tirreno-Adriatico, I hope to be able to benefit from the race rhythm that I had in Italy. The northern races are charming the way they develop, we will see if the race gives an opportunity to the sprinters. If that’s the case, I’d like to be up there at the front to fight for a good result“.

Tire makers react to Enve warning

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this important news:

SALEM, Mass. (BRAIN) — Two road tire makers have responded to a safety warning that Enve issued last week about the use of some clinchers on its carbon wheels.

Enve told dealers and registered purchasers of its carbon wheels to avoid certain tires from Vittoria and Challenge. It said it had studied the issue and found that tire models with natural fiber casings and an "open tubular" construction are susceptible to sidewall wear leading to sudden blowouts. In other cases, Enve said, the tires can stretch with use, causing them to come off the rim.

Enve specifically warned against use of the Vittoria Corsa Non-Tubeless tire model, and all Open Tubular Non-Vulcanized Tire models from Challenge. It also said the Specialized S Works 2Bliss 28mm is not compatible with Enve's hookless rims, including Enve's G23 and SES 4.5 AR rims.

Other than the Specialized tire's incompatibility with the hookless rims, Enve's warning applied to all its carbon rims, not specific models. It also indicated that other wheel makers are seeing similar problems with the tires.

"It is important to note that through this study, we reached out to many dealers as well as other wheel manufacturers to see if their consumers are having the same results as ours. The response was an unequivocal confirmation that these tires were fatiguing prematurely and in some cases resulting in crashes and injury to the rider when the tire sidewall failed or the tire came off the rim without warning," Enve said.

Vittoria and Challenge each issued statements about the Enve warning.

Challenge's response could be summed up as "it's not our tires, it's their rim." In particular, Challenge said that Enve's SES model rims have a sharp hook that can cut sidewalls. It said its investigation found the problem can occur with a variety of tires, not just its models.

"Enve's SES have two sharp (<0.2mm) radii in their hooks, that leave two parallel cuts about 0.5mm apart, around the entire radius of our (and other company's) tires, at around 3-4mm above the bead," Challenge said.

Challenge said that because of the hook radius, the SES rim model does not comply with current international standards and said it has notified Enve of the situation. The company is warning consumers to not use Challenge tires on any rims that do not comply with the "2019 ETRTO, past ETRTO or soon to be released ISO 5775 global standards for tire and wheel fit."

You can read the entire story here.

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