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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, November 7, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity. - Tacitus

Plato's Phaedo

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CCC Team's Alessandro De Marchi describes the hardest day of his career

Here's the post from De Marchi's CCC Team

On stage eight of this year’s Tour de France, Alessandro De Marchi found himself in what has become a common sight for the Italian; in the breakaway. Whilst it was fellow breakaway rider Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) who would go on to take the stage, De Marchi’s gutsy ride showed he was in prime shape after the first week of the race.

The next day, De Marchi’s Tour de France would come to an end with a nasty crash that would leave the Italian with a fractured collarbone, rib, and a lung contusion. The highs and lows of cycling from one day to the next.

Alessandro De Marchi

Alessandro De Marchi racing in the 2019 Dauphine. Sirotti photo

De Marchi’s recovery from the season-ending crash involved surgery the following week to fixate the collarbone fracture, months of rehab, and a second surgery to remove the collarbone plate which was performed on October 30. Now, De Marchi is ready to get back to his best.

A season-ending crash
“We knew immediately that the crash was serious and realized it would be a fairly long recovery process. However, in the beginning, we thought it would be a bit easier than what it has been,” De Marchi explained. “Four or five weeks after the crash, we understood that the collarbone plate would be problematic, especially because of the position on the bike and we were conscious of the risks if I crashed again. With this in mind, it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to race again this season so we shifted the focus to the 2020 season. The impact of the collarbone plate on my body was quite hard because it made it difficult to sleep and in the beginning, the ribs were really painful. So, general living was quite hard in the first month. We did quite a lot of rehabilitation work on the shoulder and now, with the plate removed, the recovery should be much faster. After one week to ten days of easier training, I should be able to start working my way back to a normal training load.”

Getting back in the saddle
"In the last five or six years, I have never been home in August or September so it was strange, but it was nice to be able to spend the time with my family. After 50 days, I was able to ride my bike and slowly started to feel better and that helped me to start thinking about the next season. It was painful because of the positioning and I was out of training but on the other side, it was really a relief and pure happiness. It was just a 50-kilometer ride but it was important for my mind."

Testing times
“I would say this has been the hardest moment of my career. What I have learned is that this is a part of our job and something that we, unfortunately, can’t avoid. Maybe I have been quite lucky in more or less ten years of being professional, but this crash is one I won’t forget. I think it has made me wiser. The older you get, the more you can find the strength to overcome something like this and I think understand the gravity of it. When you are younger, maybe you take more risks. But I hope to get back to how I was the day before the crash and maybe even better and stronger.”

Looking ahead to 2020
"I am curious to see how I react when I start to race again because I am still a bit scared about this. I think it will take a few months to really get back to a perfect racing condition and build my confidence up after half a season without racing. I am really focused on starting the season in good shape and then looking ahead of my goals, the spring classics and then probably the Tour de France and hopefully, Tokyo in the summer."

Logan Owen re-ups with EF Pro Cycling

Here's the release from Education First Pro Cycling:

EF Education First Pro Cycling is proud to announce that Logan Owen has renewed with the team.

“I love this team,” Owen said. “Everyone gets along. We have a great vibe. It’s a real friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere, but we all know how to turn it on and get down to business. The team feels like a big family, and I feel like I’m a part of the family.”

“Logan is an incredibly reliable and enthusiastic teammate,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He has the knack to always be in the right place at the right time at the right moment which has proven to be a huge asset to the team during the Spring Classics. ”

Logan Owen

Logan Owen winning stage three of the 2015 Tour of Utah.

The 24-year-old turned professional with the American-registered squad. He spent his neo-pro seasons “soaking it all in” and learning the ropes of his newfound role.

“I’m a helper in some of the bigger races,” said Owen. “I can position our leaders really well I know how to get them through the field. I’m excited to continue to focus on that.”

Owen calls the 2019 Vuelta a España his biggest accomplishment during his tenure with the team. “Just getting selected for the Vuelta was a big deal for me,” Owen noted. “My selection was finalized late, and I didn’t expect to be at the start line. It was a great experience. To be able to help our team leaders that first week, until we lost three of our guys, it was a really good feeling. I was super motivated. Being able to race the Vuelta, and then finish the race, after all we went through, that’s definitely the standout moment during my two years with the team.”

When Owen first joined the team, he was very clear about his objectives. He wanted to learn all he could, from everyone he could. He believes he has embraced every opportunity thrown his way.

“I learned that at this level, we have to be at our best every single race,” said Owen. “And I learned a few things here and there when it comes to technique – about riding in the crosswinds, how to stay at the front, when to use your energy and when to conserve. It’s stuff I knew before but I had to learn to apply it with the best riders and in the best races in the world.

“My fitness level has dramatically improved over the last two years,” Owen added. “Combine that increase in fitness with all I’ve learned, and I’m definitely a different bike rider now.”

Although he may be a different rider in many ways, Owen, a 10-time US national champion in cyclocross, has also recently returned to his roots. He raced FayetteCross in Fayetteville, Arkansas last month and has a few other upcoming ‘cross races on his radar.

“I’m more a diesel engine now,” said Owen. “I used to be the punchy guy for an hour ‘cross race. Not anymore. I had to change the way I raced. Being able to open up the engine I built racing in the WorldTour was really nice. It was a different kind of advantage than the ones I’ve had previously, and it gave me a lot of confidence.” 

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