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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, September 22, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Conversation would be vastly improved by the constant use of four simple words: I do not know. - Andre Maurois

Current racing:

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Geraint Thomas withdraws from World Time Trial Championships

The Telegraph posted this news:

Great Britain have been dealt a blow before a pedal has even been pressed after Geraint Thomas withdrew from the individual time trial on the eve of this week's UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire.

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas after stage 15 of the 2019 Tour. Sirotti photo.

The announcement came days after Thomas was named alongside Alex Dowsett, the six-time national time trial champion, in the two-man team to represent Britain in the 54km time trial from Northallerton to Harrogate.

Though not widely considered a contender for the world title, Thomas’s withdrawal will disappoint the thousands of fans expected to descend on Harrogate on Wednesday in the hope of getting a glimpse of the hugely popular former Tour de France champion.

However, despite the setback of missing out on riding his first time trial at a world championships, the Welshman has said he will be on the starting line for next Sunday’s road race.

"I’ve tried to get back into shape after my post tour break, but I don’t feel in good enough shape to perform to my best," Thomas said in a British Cycling statement. "So the decision was made with my coach and [elite men’s road coach] Matt Brammeier at British Cycling to skip the TT [time trial] and commit to the team for the road race."

Thomas will be replaced by John Archibald who will also feature in the team time trial mixed relay which acts as the curtain-raiser to the first world championships on British roads since 1982.

In what organisers are hoping to be the "most inclusive, innovative and inspiring edition ever", the championships get under way with Sunday's historic event in which men and women compete alongside each other on equal terms and with equal prize money.

You can read the entire story here.

Alexander Kristoff takes podium on last day of Tour of Slovakia

Kristoff’s UAE-Team Emirates sent me this report:

UAE Team Emirates finished off a fine Tour of Slovaquie performance with another podium for Alexander Kristoff, who took third place on the final stage.

Alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff (shown winning a stage at this year's Tour of Norway) finished third in the final stage.

The route from Hlohovec to Senica (142.1 km), was taken in a sprint by Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) followed by Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ).

The stage ran as expected with an early break of six riders which was kept under control by the group and neutralized in the final stage of the race.
The stage was set for a sprinting dual on the final straight downhill, which saw a very high-speed sprint where Kristoff was able to do battle with the other top fastmen.

Tom Bohli is 5th in the final general classification, which was won by Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick Step).

Simone Pedrazzini, sports director of UAE Team Emirates, commented on the performance at the Tour of Slovaquie for the emirati team: “We were up in the mix on every stage this week and that’s reflected in the results. To achieve this level of consistency is promising for the team going forward.

Kristoff has proven to be in excellent condition, which makes him optimistic in view of the world championships; Riabushenko is also finding great form at this late stage of the season.  Bohli’s overall performance was also very positive“.

Stage 4 results
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-Quick Step 3h17’36”
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ s.t.
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates s.t.

Final general classification
1 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-Quick Step 17h14’21”
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 1″
3 Stefan Kung (Sui) 3″
4 Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Team 17″
5 Tom Bohli (Sui) UAE Team Emirates 21″

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step reports on Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem

We posted the report from second-place second-place Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team with the results.

The 2019 season is nearing its conclusion, only a handful of races standing between us and the end of what has been another outstanding season for the Wolfpack, one which our team will conclude one month from now at the Tour of Guangxi, the last stop on the World Tour calendar.

But before that, and before the World Championships which will kick off this Sunday in Great Britain, Deceuninck – Quick-Step had an appointment in Belgium, where we took on the 24th edition of the Primus Classic (Brakel – Haacht, 197 kilometers), less than twenty-four hours after notching up a spectacular victory with Jannik Steimle at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen.

A move numbering five riders took shape after the first 20 kilometers of the race, pulling out around six minutes over the peloton which began chasing hard only inside the last 100 kilometers, when attacks began rolling out and threatening both the breakaway and those gunning for a bunch gallop. Once again, Deceuninck – Quick-Step assumed responsibility, shutting down many of these actions and working hard to keep things together, Tim Declercq and Mikkel Honoré being among those to put in the watts.

When a selection was made over a short but demanding hilly section, four of our riders were there and they continued to play an important role, as they again took the front of the peloton and set a tempo before two riders who had managed to build a 40-second gap. The duo carried that margin until with eight kilometers to go, when our squad’s efforts paid off and they were overhauled by a thinned-out pack.

Edward Theubs

Edward Theuns with the Primus Classic.

A lack of commitment from others two kilometers from the finish was speculated by Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), who rode clear, opened a slim gap on the chasers and held them at bay, just as they were preparing to overhaul him on the line. In the chaotic finish that ensued, Dutch Champion Fabio Jakobsen concluded just outside the top 10, as our highest-ranked rider.

Team Sky reports on Memorial Marco Pantani

We posted the report from winner Alexey Lutsenko's Team Astana with the results.

Diego Rosa put in an attacking performance to finish second at Memorial Marco Pantani after being part of a day-long breakaway as Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) sprinted to victory.

Alexey Lutsenko

Alexey Lutsenko is first across the line at the Memorial Pantani.

Rosa was part of an early attack of 10 riders which escaped the peloton and quickly gained a large lead of close to seven minutes in the opening 40 kilometres.

The Italian rider was then able to continue to press on when the pace of the group slowed as the laps of the Montevecchio took their toll, and he was joined by Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert) and Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli) before Alexis Guerin (Delko Marseille) joined them with 20 kilometres remaining.

Bais then fell away and the chasing group behind were cutting into the trio's lead, with the gap moving around the 20 - 45 second mark as the kilometres dwindled.

However, it was Lutsenko who finally managed to bridge to the breakaway with two kilometres remaining and he edged out Rosa in the final sprint to the line.

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