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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. - Isaac Asimov

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Ag2r's Oliver Naesen looking forward to Volta a Valenciana

Here's the team's update:

Oliver Naesen: "I’m going to start my year with this Spanish race for the fourth consecutive season, so I’m getting to know the roads well. The stage profiles are quite different, it gives you the chance to get in some good workouts. We’ll be sending to this race a lineup mostly of our classics group for the spring. It will give us a chance to get into a flow of working seamlessly together. And considering all the training camps we did over the winter, I have spent even more time with my brother Lawrence this off season. I am happy to be starting my first race of the year with him. It’s going to be really cool. Then with the Clasica de Almeria (February 16) and the Ruta Del Del Sol (February 19-23), I will have the chance to rack up some racing kilometers in good weather conditions before we head to the races in Belgium.”

Oliver Naesen

Oliver Naesen winning the 2019 Binck Bank Tour

Having joined the AG2R LA MONDIALE team officially on January 1st, Lawrence Naesen will race for the first time in his career as a member of the same team as his brother Oliver during Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

THE NEWS: Three riders on the cobblestones
Oliver and Lawrence Naesen, accompanied by Julien Duval, recently carried out material tests over certain cobbled sectors of Paris-Roubaix.

Team Astana reports on stage one of the Saudi Tour

We don't cover this race, but as we get reports, we'll post them.

The first day of the Saudi Tour was earmarked by crosswinds but Manuele Boaro and his teammates battled through the desert of Saudi Arabia and closed the gap to a late breakaway on the line, with Boaro taking 18th place.

The first edition of the Saudi Tour started today with a 173-kilometer long flat stage and took the riders from the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee to Jaww. The day’s breakaway enjoyed a maximum gap of seven minutes before the peloton pulled it back down to within touching distance with 60km to go as echelons were formed by the wind of the Saudi desert. Manuele Boaro managed to stay in the first group of the race and later teammate Zhandos Bizhigitov was able to bridge across. Shortly before the finale, Hernando Bohorquez and Artyom Zakharov joined their teammates at the front.

In the final kilometers the race had its showdown and for a moment, it looked like four late escapees could make it to the finish line. In an exciting sprint, the breakaway was caught and Rui Costa took the win. Manuele Boaro was the first Astana Pro Team rider across the finish line, finishing in 18th place.

- The second part of the race was really stressful and fast due to the crosswinds and technical parts. The peloton spilt about four times, but we had Manuele always at the front. Unfortunately, Yevgeniy went down but he could get back up on the bike and finished the race. We finished inside the top 20 and of course the overall is still open. For many of our guys it was the start of the season, which is always a little bit difficult but we have four days to go and therefore there are many chances to come.- said Dmitri Sedoun, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

Tomorrow the second stage of the Saudi Tour will take the peloton from the famous Sadus Castle to Riyadh over 182 kilometers.

Depleted but determined line-up for Mitchelton-SCOTT at Women’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Here's the team's post:

Tue 4 Feb 2020: Defending champion Lucy Kennedy will lead a small but determined Mitchelton-SCOTT team at the two-day women’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour which starts tomorrow.

Kennedy will be supported by Gracie Elvin, Jessica Roberts and late addition Sarah Roy, with the main general classification stage on Thursday, finishing up Falls Creek.

Gracie Elvin

Gracie Elvin will be supporting Lucy Kennedy at the Herald Sun Tour.

Caught up in the mass crash at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on the weekend, Georgia Williams, Grace Brown and Jessica Allen have all been left out of the race as they continue their recovery. Mitchelton-SCOTT will start just four riders, the minimum required to take to the start line.

Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour (5-6 February):
Gracie Elvin (AUS, 31)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS, 31)
Jessica Roberts (AUS, 20)
Sarah Roy (AUS, 33)

The two stages are complete contrasts, with the opening stage in Shepparton set for a sprint if the wind doesn’t play havoc, because a hors-category mountain-top finish on day two.

The 2020 race will be the third edition of the women’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Mitchelton-SCOTT has won a stage at each of the two previous editions, with Kennedy taking the outfit’s first title in 2019.

Lucy Kennedy:
“It’s a pretty cool feeling. It will be the first UCI race that I am returning as the defending champion, so that is going to be a new experience.

“The format of the JHST has been similar the last few years - there’s been the two stages but they are always two completely different stages where the GC has always been decided one of the two days.  

“We’re starting with the sprint stage so for me it’s about staying safe and conserving energy. Then the second stage is really interesting. We start with a 30km descent, basically go down the hill, do a loop and then back up the climb. It’s a pretty unusual stage. I‘ve ridden the climb, it’s not a super hard climb but it’s obviously really long and there’s going to be huge time gaps.”

Alejandro Gonzalez-Tablas – Sport Director:
“It’s been a hectic few days checking out and following up on our injured riders and finally, together with the team doctor, we have decided to be cautious of their health so we have three withdrawals after Cadel Road Race.

“We needed four riders to be able to start the race and we are aiming to win the general classification with Lucy, so we need as many numbers as possible because you never know what can happen in the race.

“We have the first sprint stage, and we just need to protect Lucy and then the Falls Creek stage in the stage of the GC and it’s a good stage for Lucy so we’re looking forward to that.

“Falls is a long climb, but not super steep. Even if it’s not that hard, it’s still a  draining climb. It will depend on what other teams are doing, but I think the differences will be made towards the top.”

2020 Women’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour – Stage Details:
Wednesday, 5 February: Stage 1 – Shepparton to Shepparton, 94km
Thursday, 6 February: Stage 2 – Falls Creek to Falls Creek, 75.2km

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