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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, February 2, 2020

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. - J. R. R. Tolkien

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Challenge Illes Balears/Trofeo Port D'Andratx reports

We posted the report from winner Marc Soler's Team Movistar with the results.

Second-place Gregor Mühlberger's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

Another day at the Mallorca Challenge and again an offensive race from BORA – hansgrohe. After today a relatively big group was leading most of the race, it was again Lennard Kämna who was the first one to attack from the Equipé from Raubling. Kämna bridged the gap to remaining leaders in the last third of the race and was later solo at the front.

But when Gregor Mühlberger attacked from the chasing group together with M. Soler, Lennard had to settle for the fight for the remaining podium spot. Mühlberger and Soler were controlling the race in the last 15 km. At the end it was Soler who had the better finish today and was able to drop Gregor on the last kilometer. But with his second podium in a row, Mühlberger scored yet another top result for BORA – hansgrohe, with Kämna coming in fourth and Buchmann ninth.

Marc Soler

Marc Soler takes the win.

From the Finish Line:
"Our goal was to avoid coming into the final climb together with Valverde today. Therefore, Lennard and I attacked relatively early, while Emu and Rafal stayed with him. We were in a comfortable position when Lennard attacked. But I have to say that after racing already the third day in a row, I was not really fresh enough anymore. I followed Soler in a counter, which proved to be decisive. At the end I gave it my all, but I didn’t have enough power left and Marc was stronger in the final stretch today. Still, with another podium result but also how we rode today, we can be very satisfied." – Gregor Mühlberger

"Again our plan worked out pretty well and the boys rode an impressive race. In the downhill from the Puig we pushed the pace and as a result the peloton felt apart in different groups. After that Lennard and Gregor formed a 16-men group and Lennard was leading the race a little later. With 20 km to go it looked promising, but then Soler attacked with Gregor. The two were in control of the finale and we thought that Gregor would have better cards to play. But Soler had the better legs on steep last kilometer and took a well-deserved win in the end." – Jens Zemke, Sports Director 

Greg van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin to Make 2020 Season Debut at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 

CCC Team sent me this:

01 February 2020: Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin will make their 2020 season debut at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana next week (5 - 9 February) with the pair, who both secured stage wins at last year’s edition of the race, headlining CCC Team’s rider roster in Spain.

Greg Van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet racing in the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Sports Director Valerio Piva said that CCC Team is lining up with a strong and motivated group of riders that has had success at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana previously.

"The first race of the season is always a test to see where everyone is and what their condition is like. The parcours is a bit different this year and it has a very difficult mountain stage, the final climb of which we have been able to recon at training camp. This is definitely where the General Classification will be won. I think Greg and Matteo, who both won stages here last year, will be our two biggest cards to play and I think we can use the strengths of both riders on the different stages. Overall, we can be confident with the riders we have on the start line. This will also be the first time that the core members of our Classics group race together so we also want to use this opportunity to test how they can work with one another, which will be important as we look ahead to the bigger objectives that we have this season," Piva explained.

Van Avermaet is happy to return to Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana for a fourth consecutive year and will be looking to test his early-season form.

"It is always nice to line up at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana because we are already here for our training camp and we know the region and the roads well. Last year, I was able to win a stage here so, it is always good to go back to a place where you have won before and I think it is one of the best races to start the season in Europe. We are all motivated and, as always, we will try to race to win but even though that is important, the main goal will be to test my shape and to see where we all are after the winter," Van Avermaet said.

"This year’s stages are not completely in my favor with some sprint stages and one really hard stage but we will try to do our best and hopefully I can be up there and get close to the victory on one stage. Our Classics group knows each other really well and it’s just Matteo joining us this year but obviously he is a strong rider and a good addition to our group so it will also be good to start working with him early in the season and see what we can do together." 

Trentin is motivated about lining up in CCC Team colors for the first time at the five-day stage race.

"I am really looking forward to making my debut with the team and I can’t wait to show off my new orange jersey. Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is always a good way to start the season as there is a little bit of everything. Although there won’t be a time trial this year, there is still a couple of hard stages, a couple of sprint stages and a middle mountain stage so it is a good race to get back into the swing of racing. I won a stage of this race last year so, if I can try and do that again it would be perfect but, the main goal is definitely to make myself feel like a bike racer again because training is always different from racing. I want to get back into the rhythm of things at this race and start working with my new teammates because, for me, the most important thing will be to create a nice group atmosphere that will allow us to work towards the biggest goals of the season," Trentin explained.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (5 - 9 February):

Rider roster: Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL)

Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Piotr Wadecki (POL)

Cadel Evans Women's Great Ocean Race reports

We posted the report from Liane Lippert's Team Sunweb with the results.

Here's the update from third-place Amanda Spratt's Mitchelton-Scott team:

Australian champion Amanda Spratt avoided the late carnage to finish third place on a brutal day at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Liane Lippert

Liane Lippert takes the win.

A crash took out a large portion of the peloton in the final 30km, including most of Spratt’s Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates, leaving the 32-year-old to negotiate the finale alone.

Five riders took advantage of a lull in action following the first intermediate sprint to jump off the front of the bunch.

Madeline Wright (Roxsolt Attaquer), Maaike Boogaard (Ale BTC), Silvia Valsecchi (Be Pink), Minke Bakker (Doltcini – Van Eyck) and Jade Wiel (FDJ) rode out to a maximum advantage of four minutes with 45km remaining.

As the race began to make its way to the hillier finale, the pace picked up dramatically in the bunch and the breakaway’s day was over ahead of the Challambra Climb.

With crosswinds and rain in the final 30km, the race began to split up.

A big crash effected much of the peloton and left a smaller group of around 25 riders to contest the final.

Outnumbered, Spratt used her energy wisely on the climbs, and eventually found herself in a chase group of three behind Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb), who attacked on the final climb and went on to a solo victory.

Medical Update: Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Lucy Kennedy was held up by the crash but avoided trouble and was able to finish the race. Georgia Williams and Jessica Roberts suffered wounds requiring stiches, whilst Grace Brown and Jess Allen were taken to hospital for precautionary scans.

Amanda Spratt:
“It was pretty epic. We turned at kilometre 97 into a crosswind section and the pace was going up and up there. We headed towards the two rollers before Challambra and we knew that was where it was going to be really hectic.

“On the really fast downhill there was a crash and basically only 25 people in the peloton missed. I was the only Mitchelton-SCOTT rider who missed the crash, so from that point on it was a bit surreal to start with and then it was just realising that I was the only one from my team here and I had to try to play it smart.

“We went up Challambra climb and it split, then it came back together on the bridge and towards the final climb and that’s when Liane attacked hard from behind. I just missed that, I’m a bit disappointed I missed the jump, but she was really strong.

“I waited for a moment to get out of the bunch and try to get across to her, but I couldn’t quite get there. 

“Honestly, I am happy with this third place. I was really outnumbered after the crash, I had to use my energy wisely. In the end, it was Sunweb’s race to lose when they had their whole team there, so I’m proud to be on the podium.”

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