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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 11, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness. - Tennessee Williams

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Caleb Ewan looking for Giro stage wins

Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

On Saturday 11 May, Caleb Ewan will start his first Grand Tour in Lotto Soudal colours. In 2017, the fast Australian took his maiden Giro stage win in Alberobello and he’s now returning to Italy, hungry to add another one to his palmares.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan winning stage seven of the 2017 Giro. Sirotti photo

Caleb Ewan: “It has been two years since I started a Grand Tour and I really wanted to do another one before going to the Tour in July. There are five to six sprint opportunities and I obviously start the Giro to get stage wins. In the Giro, the so-called sprint stages can always go different ways as they’re never flat. It’s always up and down with sometimes at least 2.000 metres of climbing so they’re always difficult. They are the exciting ones because you never know what’s going to happen but if I’m feeling good, we will always give ourselves the opportunity to go for the win. The level at Grand Tours is high. Everybody wants to win a Grand Tour stage, more so than any other race. That’s what makes it so difficult to win.”

“I can’t wait to work with the entire team. Obviously, I already worked with Roger Kluge a lot this year but not so much with Jasper De Buyst. We were supposed to work together in Paris-Nice but unfortunately, he crashed in the first stage. I am looking forward to getting that train going and building the relationship as well.”

Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez talks to the press before the Giro start

Here's a selection of his quotes:

- I think that together with the team we had a very good preparation for the Giro d'Italia. In the off-season we held two very high-quality training camps. In addition, before the start of the season, the team organized a perfect training camp in Colombia at the altitude, where we had a great workout before the first race Tour Colombia 2.1. Then we returned to Europe, where I took part in Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya. Yes, this year I didn't have a lot of races, but, I could have done a lot of work, besides, I managed to achieve some good results. Astana has a very strong team at the Giro, we are ready for the race and we hope to show the best possible result here.

Miguel Lopez

Miguel Lopez at the teams presentation ceremony. Sirotti photo

- For sure, there are a lot of favorites at this Giro d’Italia. I could name Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglič as top favorites for the race, but also Simon Yates, last year we already saw his possibilities. Besides them, I think Mikel Landa and Vincenzo Nibali are in the game, no doubts. Anyway, I think, there some other riders, who can do really well here at the Giro d’Italia.

- I did a recon of several stages of the final week of the Giro d’Italia, checked the main climbs, and also did a recon of the ITT in San Marino. I think that the third week will be decisive in this race, everything will be decided there. But, and individual time trial in San Marino will be extremely important too. Together with the team we worked a lot on TT, I hope that I will be able to perform as well as possible. Of course, there are favorites, as are Dumoulin and Roglič, they will try to gain time on those stages, but I hope to be able to minimize my losses. Time trial in San Marino is more suitable for them, but the second half of the distance is always goes up, so maybe it will suit me too. In any case, I will need to try lose, totally, not more than 2 minutes to them.

- The birth of my son gives me great motivation and additional strength before the start of the Giro d'Italia. Of course, it is very difficult to be away from home and family for so long. But, cycling is my job and, first of all, my passion, my life. Becoming a father is an incredible new experience, and despite the distance, I always feel the great support of my family in Colombia.

- In each race I get a new experience, which I try to use in order to become better, stronger. Last year twice I was on the podium of the Grand tours, it was an unforgettable experience, and I hope that it will help me to take another step forward. I have a very strong team around me, which is ready to support me 100%. Therefore, I hope that at this Giro we will be able to show something really good.

Team INEOS recalibrates Giro strategy after losing Egan Bernal

Here's the team's post:

Having lost Egan Bernal to a broken collarbone last weekend, the team have had to recalibrate in the absence of one clear leader.

Yet Brailsford is full of optimism for his young team - the youngest he has ever selected for a Grand Tour - in what will be the team’s first Grand Tour as Team INEOS.

“The expectation is to have fun,” said Brailsford, speaking at the pre-race press conference. “It’s the youngest-ever team we’ve brought to a Grand Tour and the first Grand Tour for INEOS. I am really pleased and I’m really, really happy that we’ve got a good, young group of guys here.

“We’re not tied to a rigid approach, we can be more flexible, we can be more animated, we can learn, we can make mistakes, we can try crazy things. These guys have been sensational already this year and it’s a liberating way to approach a race.”

Sivakov was philosophical when asked about Bernal’s misfortune. The entire team has been hit by the young Colombian’s crash but is determined to race hard. Arriving on the back of winning the Tour of the Alps last month, Sivakov said: “We knew we were going to the Giro with Egan as the leader and it’s sad as we could have been battling for the win with him.

“On the other hand, it opens up an opportunity for us and in our sport when we have opportunities we have to take them. It will change our approach - more mentally because physically it doesn’t change anything. I was coming here focused on being at my best to help Egan, and now I hope to be at my best to try and do something myself.”

Pavel Sivakov

Pavel Sivakov winning stage two of this year's Tour of the Alps.

Geoghegan Hart spoke about the momentum he feels that he, Sivakov, and the team can take into the Giro d’Italia. Set to start his second Grand Tour, the Brit said: “I think we can take the Tour of the Alps as confirmation that we are both moving forwards and with this new team we have a generation of guys coming through. You saw that at the Tour de Yorkshire with Eddie Dunbar and Chris Lawless on the podium in our first race in the new colours.

“It’s something special that we won our last race as Team Sky with two young riders on the podium, then we won our first stage race as Team INEOS with two more young riders on the podium.

“Pavel and I have taken a couple of weeks at home after Tour of the Alps - I also had Liege-Bastogne-Liege in that time – but I think we’ve got momentum and I think there’s a lot to be said for momentum in sport, especially the past couple of days watching the Champions League. That showed how incredible sport can be.”

Brailsford is hopeful this young group can come together and create some memorable sporting moments of their own. He added: “We’ve worked carefully to try and select a young group with a future in mind. We’ve been doing pretty well with our older group, but you have to have one eye on the future and this is the first big step for them collectively to take on a Grand Tour.”

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