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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, October 19, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Tour of Guangxi stage two reports

We posted the report from GC leader Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team with the results

Here's the report from third-place Matteo Trentin's Mitchelton-Scott team:

Italian Matteo Trentin backed up his third place on the opening stage of the Tour of Gunagxi with another third place on the second stage in Qinzhou.

Daniel McLay

Daniel McLay takes the second stage.

The 30-year-old was left to negotiate a messy finale after being dropped into position by his Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates and the former stage winner eventually battled his way through to another top three finish.

It was a standard start to the stage as three riders headed down the road to form the breakaway before the sprint teams capped their advantage at the 2’30” mark for most of the day.

The bunch slowly increased the tempo as the finale approached and the remains of the break were finally hauled back in with six kilometres remaining as the sprinter’s teams began to organise themselves.

Trentin was being kept safe by his Mitchelton-SCOTT squad, who again tactically left it late to move their sprinter into position. As the sprint opened up riders spread across the road and Trentin found himself up against the barriers before sneaking through a gap to take third behind winner Dan McLay (EF Education First).

Matteo Trentin:
“It was a really messy one today! There was a bit of headwind with a massive 2.5km straight into the finish. I was placed really well by the guys, but I got a bit bumped by someone in the sprint.”

“It’s something that can happen in these situations. But I think tomorrow is a better chance for me as the circuit has a little kick finishing with 5km to go, so let’s see.”

Matt Wilson (Sports Director):
"It was a straightforward day with three riders in the break and the sprinter’s teams just controlled all day and it came back for a big sprint finale."

"It was very chaotic with it being an easy sprint and big, wide, fast roads. But the guys got Matteo into a good position and he got another third place which is fantastic." 

And here's the report from fourth-place Jonas Koch's CCC Team:

Stage two played out in a similar way as the opening stage, with three riders breaking away shortly after the start and quickly opened up a 2’40” lead over the bunch with CCC Team riders, which was their maximum advantage.

The peloton made sure to keep the trio on a short leash and with 30 kilometers to go, the main group started to pull the breakaway back. Eventually, the last man standing was caught with three kilometers to go and as expected, the stage ended in a field sprint.

CCC Team moved up to the front of the bunch to fight for positions for the long, finishing straight and both Jonas Koch and Jakub Mareczko were up there in the mix to contest the sprint. In such a fast and flat finale, the right timing was the key and Koch did a great job of launching his sprint in a good moment to take fourth place on the line, with his Italian teammate finishing just behind him in sixth.

Jonas Koch:
“It was a pretty straightforward and easy stage with a flat terrain and a small breakaway to control. We had a headwind throughout most of the day so, you could save a lot of energy if you rode inside the peloton. The final four kilometers were all straight and the finale was quite messy with many riders trying to fight for positions. My goal was to stay on the right side of the road and follow the wheels of the best sprinters and that strategy paid off as I took fourth place. I feel that I’m in a good shape and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s stage which I believe should suit me.”

Jakub Mareczko:
“There are many sprinters here in China so, fighting for positions in the end is very fierce and chaotic. Today it was me and Jonas who were supposed to sprint in the end because we knew it would be very hard to take control in the finale and do a typical lead out. We decided that it would best if we both tried and that turned out quite well. I started the sprint from too far back and had to battle through the group but, I was still able to finish in sixth place which is a nice result. I feel that my legs are getting stronger as the race goes on and we will continue to fight in the next days.”

Vasilis Anastopoulos and Franck Alaphilippe join Deceuninck-Quick Step staff

Here's the team's update:

The team have added to the roster of trainers by bringing on board the two experienced coaches.

Following on from another highly successful season, where the Wolfpack have achieved an impressive 66 wins, as well as adding to the riding squad, the team’s management have been looking into how to keep evolving, and have now recruited two of the highest regarded cycling coaches around – Vasilis Anastopoulos and Franck Alaphilippe – who will join our strong group of coaches that includes also Tom Steels and Koen Pelgrim.

The names of Anastopoulos and Alaphilippe are already well regarded amongst cycling fans. Anastopoulos was Greece’s first ever professional cyclist, in a distinguished career that saw him become Greek National Champion an astonishing 17 times. He then studied sports science for four years, with a specialisation in cycling, before receiving an IOC Scholarship to study for a UCI Cycling Diploma – the highest coaching accreditation available in cycling.

Since then, he spent several years as the trainer and general manager of the Greek national team, before taking a role with the successful SEG Racing Academy, where he has overseen the transition to the Elite ranking of 23 riders, including that of our own Fabio Jakobsen. Vasilis describes joining Deceuninck – Quick-Step as “a great honour to be with the best team in the world and I am looking forward to helping the squad achieve their targets, continue winning and join in the Wolfpack spirit.”

The ties with our team do not stop there, with Franck being the cousin of Milano-Sanremo champion Julian Alaphilippe. Hailing from the French city of Bourges, Franck started competitive cycling at the age of 13 and continued racing into his late 20s, before graduating as a coach. From there he went on to the Saint-Amand-Montrond training centre, where he was responsible for the sport and studies of the cadets and juniors. This as well as guiding Julian’s rise to being one of the strongest riders in the world today, and coaching several other male and female professional cyclists. On his new role with the team, Franck said: “I will be working hard to help the team remain the best in the world and win the most beautiful races. My dream is to help a rider become World Champion.”

“We have announced a number of rider signings ahead of next season, but the addition of Franck and Vasilis are also very important. We have a fantastic coaching team already, which is reflected in our results from our very successful recent seasons, but in order to stay successful and compete with the best, we have to evolve and keep improving. Both have proven track records in improving riders and getting them in the best possible shape for the most important races. We are all looking forward to working with them and the future success that we are sure they can help us achieve”, Deceuninck – Quick Step CEO Patrick Lefevere said.

Arianna Fidanza signs with Lotto-Soudal

Here's the team news release:

Next season Arianna Fidanza (24) will ride in a Lotto Soudal shirt. This Italian rider loves the spring races and therefore she has chosen to join Lotto Soudal. A few years ago she already started in a few Classics. She even got 21st in her début in the Amstel Gold Race in 2017.

Arianna Fidanza: “I have chosen Lotto Soudal because in this team I find the experience to help me further develop as a rider. I will get the space to grow. I love the Flemish races, but the past two seasons I wasn’t able to participate in them with my current team. At Lotto Soudal I will get the chance to ride these again. And I am looking forward to getting to know new races as well. I won two UCI races so far as an elite and it would be a dream come true to claim a victory in the shirt of Lotto Soudal next year. It would also be wonderful to help a teammate take the win.”

“I am a sprinter who prefers sprints after a hard race. I’m good on smaller climbs and therefore I like the spring Classics. I have the ambition to become better in these races. I feel good on that type of courses because it requires a mix of power and stamina. In the beginning of my elite career I already got the chance to ride some of these races and I noticed they suited me. I’m looking forward to be standing at the start again. I not only love the Flemish spring races, but also the Amstel Gold Race and Drenthe for example. But of course I also love the races in my home country. I already finished three times on top ten of the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli. I like this race very much. And then of course there’s the Giro Rosa. I do hope that the sprinters get more opportunities in the future editions. This year was a very hard Giro, but I got a nice tenth place on the final stage after all.”

Many nice ambitions for this young rider, whose parents were both cyclists. So it’s no surprise that she started cycling as well.

Arianna Fidanza: “I started racing when I was six years old. My dad (Giovanni Fidanza, LTS) was a good sprinter. My mum (Nadia Baldi, LTS) was a cyclist too and my parents met in the national team. They both offer me advice and support. I live in Bergamo, in the north of Italy. It’s perfect to train over here with a variety of routes: mountains, small climbs and flat roads. You can find it all here in the area. But this winter I will head southwards because the weather conditions aren’t always optimal here this time of year.”

Team Bahrain Merida to ride Japan Cup

Here's the team's press release:

Friday, October 18th – Team Bahrain Merida will close the 2019 season in Japan, by attending the ‘Japan Cup’ for the first time.  The 28th edition of the “Japan Cup Cycle Road Race” will take place on Sunday in Utsunomiya city, preceded by the “Japan Cup criterium” on Saturday.

“We would like to end the year in the best possible way” Team Bahrain Merida Sports Director Franco Pellizotti comments “We have Sonny Colbrelli as our leader for tomorrow’s criterium. A very fast race, that usually ends with a bunch gallop. It’s supposed to rain, and this can suit him, but we also have to be careful in case of heavy rain”.

Sonny Colbrelli

Sonny Colbrelli (shown winning this year's GP Beghelli) will be racing in Japan. Sirotti photo

The “Japan Cup Criterium” – on a short route of a 40km total (including two parade laps and 15 laps of about 2km each), is considered as a warm-up ahead of the most challenging next day’s race.

“We did a recon ride on the course today and it is very tough” Pellizotti adds, giving a preview of the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race’s 144.2km route: 14 laps of a circuit, that features as key moment a steep climb (1.2km with a gradient of 8.5%) and a technical descent. “We have some strong riders as Damiano Caruso, but I think that also Sonny Colbrelli can have an opportunity in case of a sprint finish. Moreover, we can count on Yukiya Arashiro, who is our local hero and the warm support of fans is always important”.

Team Bahrain Merida line-up for Japan Cup: Yukiya Arashiro, Damiano Caruso, Sonny Colbrelli, Domen Novak, Hermann Pernsteiner, Luka Pibernik.

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