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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Mankind must remember that peace is not God's gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other. - Elie Wiesel


Current racing:

Upcoming races:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:


Tour of Turkey stage two team reports.

We posted the report from stage winner Mark Cavendish's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Here's the report from 3rd-place André Greipel's Israel Start-Up Nation team:

The second stage featured the same final as the opening stage, meaning the Israel Start-Up Nation riders adjusted their tactics based on their experiences from yesterday.

Stage 2 podium

The day's podium, from left: Jasper Philipsen (2nd), Mark Cavendish (1st) & André Greipel (3rd).

Together with performance coach Greg Henderson, ISN’s sprint train watched the finale from stage 1 multiple times. The former professional cyclist, who did countless mass sprint-lead-outs himself, shared his vision with the riders.

That night they decided to wait a little longer with Matthias Brändle’s last pull in the final kilometers, in order for Rick Zabel to bring Andre Greipel through the last corner, at 300 meters from the finish.

However, ISN was obviously not the only team who adjusted their sprinting tactics, since every single rider knew the course from yesterday.

Therefore, the battle for positions was even harder than yesterday. The final corner was, again, the critical and crucial point in the race. Going through that curve outside of the top-5 positions in the bunch would inevitably mean another lost sprint.

It turned out that ISN did the lead-out nearly perfectly. That’s what Andre Greipel would say after the finish.

The sprint train carried out the tactics exactly, leading the German sprinter into the final 200 meters safely. Greipel ultimately was only passed by two riders, taking third place in stage 2.

“I did what I could”, Greipel said after the finish, before he stepped onto the podium. “The team really did great to support me. They did pretty much everything right.”

“There were just two [riders] faster than me today. However, it is an improvement after yesterday. With the way we work together as a team, I am confident that we can improve in Turkey furthermore.”

Here's the report from 4th-place Arvid de Kleijn's Rally Cycling team:

Arvid de Kleijn once again showed his sprinting prowess at the Tour of Turkey, claiming an impressive fourth-place finish on stage 2 behind Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick Step), Jasper Phillipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), and Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation). The result sees de Kleijn, who won stage 1, tied for the overall GC and Points lead with Cavendish.

Arvid de Kelijn

Arvid de Kleijn (left front) won the first stage.

“I was in a good position in the last corner but someone took my inside and I had to hit the brakes,” said de Kleijn. “That was a mistake and it created a gap to Cavendish. I knew I’d have to do a long sprint but that it would be for fourth. My legs were good and I’m happy that I could feature in the finish.”

For much of the stage, an eight rider breakaway maintained a slender advantage over the peloton thanks to the efforts of Emerson Oronte and the other sprinter’s teams. Canadian Nickolas Zukowsky, who was vital in setting up de Kleijn for his stage 1 victory, was caught up in a crash and injured his hand. Thankfully, he was able to remount his bike while Pier-André Coté picked up the leadout torch to position de Kleijn for the finale.

“Today was perfect with the team as we were together and towards the front all day,” said de Kleijn. “We’ll see what tomorrow brings but I hope it will be a mass sprint to see what I can do. We’ve shown that we’re here to get results.”

De Kleijn will wear the green Points jersey on stage 3 to Alanya, a 212km journey that all but ensures another mad dash to the line.

Team BikeExchange women headed to Brabantse Pijl

The team sent me this:

Team BikeExchange return to Brabantse Pijl as the defending champions, looking for an aggressive race as they line-up with multiple cards to play, with climbers Lucy Kennedy and Ane Santesteban leading the squad.

Grogia Williams

Georgia Williams will be on the Brabantse Pijl start line.

2020 winner Grace Brown will not return to defend her title, as the Australian takes a rest after her busy cobble Classics campaign in preparation for the coming races, but the squad still return with ambitions of defending the title.

With 22 climbs to tackle and the typical narrow, twisty Belgian roads, positioning as always will key. Looking to take every opportunity in the one-day race, the squad recruits Georgia Williams, Urška Žigart plus Dutch compatriots Moniek Tenniglo and Janneke Ensing.

Team BikeExchange women at Brabantse Pijl:
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (SPA)
Moniek Tenniglo (NED)
Georgia Williams (NZL)
Urška Žigart (SLO)

Lucy Kennedy:
“I've just come off a really productive altitude block, so am looking forward to putting that work to use in this racing block.

"Without Grace there to defend her title we'll certainly be trying to keep it within the team. We're going in with a pretty open mindset and will be supporting each other to race aggressively and take opportunities.

"It's my first time doing this race, but it looks like a challenging course with a fair bit of climbing so I'm looking forward to testing myself.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director:
"For Brabantse we go in with an open plan and to give opportunities to this group. For some riders it's the first race after a solid block of training and so we are looking forward to seeing a strong team there.

"It should be a really hard race with the different climbs and we can really try to race aggressively for a result."

Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Brabantse Pijl dames: APR 14

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach:
“After our double podium finish last year, we return to Brabantse Pijl aiming for another good team display. We want to ride well as a group and enter the finale of the race with a block of riders. We'll try and focus on the attacks over the tough hills, while Coryn provides us with a great option for a reduced sprint. We need to work well as a group to make sure we reach the finale having spent the least amount of energy possible. With some good team work throughout the day and morale high after the Women's program's win last week at Scheldeprijs, we believe we can achieve a good result at the race.”

Leah Kirchmann

Leah Kirchmann will be on the start-line.

Line-up
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Wilma Olausson (SWE)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Coryn Rivera (USA)
Julia Soek (NED)

De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne: APR 14

Michiel Elijzen - Team DSM coach:
“We go to Brabantse Pijl with a strong young group, where we want to race aggressively towards the pre-final and try and anticipate the attacks. We want to focus on gaining experience in the often hectic hilly one-day races, and it will be a good opportunity for the guys to go through the processes at a tough race like Brabantse Pijl.”

Line-up
Marco Brenner (GER)
Felix Gall (AUT)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)

Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition: APR 18

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach:
“The change of parcours for this year should make for an interesting edition of Amstel Gold Race and a tough day in the saddle. We could see an open day of attacking so we want to make sure that we’re present in any dangerous move that goes clear and use our numbers well in the pre-final. Heading towards the end of the race, we want to be aggressive with our riding, while looking to support Liane deep into the final in search of a good result.”

Line-up
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Coryn Rivera (USA)

Amstel Gold Race: APR 18

Michiel Elijzen - Team DSM coach:
“We arrive at Amstel Gold Race with a good block and motivated riders. It’s a new parcours for this year and looks a little bit like the World Championships that were held in the area, with three tough climbs. It’s going to be a hard race with the laps getting more difficult each time the peloton takes them on. We need to focus on riding together and saving energy for the key moments and the guys will work to position Tiesj and Søren going into the finale of the race, where we’ll aim for a good result.”

Tiesj Benoot

Tiesj Benoot will ride the Amstel Gold Race. Here he's winning stage one of the 2019 Tour of Denmark.

Line-up
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Nico Denz (GER)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Chad Haga (USA)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)

Tour of the Alps: APR 19 - 23

Matt Winston - Team DSM coach:
“Tour of the Alps was a late addition to our program and we are really looking forward to heading there with a strong team and parcours that really suit our group of riders. We will focus on working well as a unit and showing good cooperation in search of some nice results. We have some strong, experienced climbers on our squad, coupled with Leon and Henri from our Development program. It’s great to be able to integrate them with our Men’s program - racing with this calibre of riders will be super inspiring for them and brilliant for their development.”

Line-up
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)

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