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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 14, 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.

'Do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?'. No, I look at the senators and I pray for the country. - Edward Everett Hale


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Tour of Turkey stage three team reports.

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

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

The longest stage in the Tour of Turkey also turned out to be fast. It was not only because the course would drop down almost 1,000 meters, but the fast pace set by the peloton brought the riders quickly to the finish in Alanya.

As we headed out of the mountains, the Jinga winter jackets could finally be taken off. The temperature rose from 2 degrees Celsius at the start, to 24 at the finish. The last forty kilometers were along the Mediterranean coastline and allowed the ISN-sprint train to gather.

Greg Henderson, Israel Start-Up Nation’s performance coach, saw the train slowly but steadily gain dominance as the finish got closer. The former professional cyclist, who now shares his thoughts and experiences as a coach for the team, said after the stage he saw an ‘impeccable sprint train’.

And he was right. ISN took the lead in the peloton at the perfect moment. Greipel was perfectly following his teammates, and his lead-out was timed to perfection. “A textbook lead-out,” Henderson said.

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish takes the third stage. Getty Images

But in the end, Greipel had to settle for fifth. According to Henderson, the German sprinter just lacked a little explosiveness. “The train is on point, the strength is there, and he has the power. We just need to work a bit on his explosiveness.”

Winning a stage remains ISN’s goal in the Tour of Turkey, and there are still a number of stages that could be contested by a bunch sprint.

And here's what Team Bingoal-WB had to say about the stage:

Stanislaw Aniolkoswski was ranked 5th after the sprint of the second stage of the Tour of Turkey. The Polish champion had signed his best score of the season on Monday in Konya. On Tuesday, Aniolkowski took another step up in the hierarchy by taking the podium for stage 3, finishing 3rd in the final sprint behind Belgian Jasper Philipsen and Briton Mark Cavendish.

Stan Aniolkowski.“I was disturbed by an opponent who hit my handlebars in the sprint of the 1st stage. I had narrowly avoided the fall (16th). On Monday, my teammates did everything to put me in the best position for the sprint. However, I lost a little time in the last corner but I ended up in a satisfactory 5th place. On Tuesday, my team-mates once again gave everything to put me in the best conditions for the final sprint. The collective work was another great success. I was able to get on the podium in Alanya and score my best score of the season. I was able to hang on the best wheels in the last 3 kilometers. In the 500 meters I was behind Mark Cavendish which was a perfect position for me. I am very satisfied with this 3rd place in Alanya. I am progressing day by day in Turkey, proof of my gradual rise in power after the Flandrian classics that I have discovered. I hope to be able to take advantage of the conditions in Turkey to do even better in the coming days. "

Jean-Denis Vandenbroucke (DS) “The goal was to stay around Stanislaw throughout the race and place him for the finish. The objective was reached with a 5th place behind the big names of the World Tour level. And that also confirms the form of our Polish champion. Tuesday, the stage went as planned with a hilly first part and a few attempts to escape. The last 50 kilometers were by the sea with very little wind and the whole team did the job to protect Stanislaw as needed. Our Polish champion was able to take the wheel of the winner of the day in the last 3 kilometers and had a very good sprint. For tomorrow we expect a scenario similar to that of the first 3 stages and we hope that Stan will do even better."

Team Jumbo-Visma headed to Brabantse Pijl

Here's the team's update:

After the postponement of Paris-Roubaix, Team Jumbo-Visma will be at the departure of the Brabantse Pijl today with the classics team. The Belgian semi-classic starts in Leuven and ends in Overijse.

Part of the route will also be part of the World Road Cycling Championships later this year. The riders will have to tackle 26 climbs, including Moskesstraat four times and Hertstraat four times. The final stage of the race has three local laps of 21 kilometres each.

Wout van Aert will make his debut in this classic. Sports director Arthur van Dongen says this race is not just a way to fill the programme. “This race fits very well with the capabilities of Wout. The short climbs and beautiful new finish line are perfect for him. We want to go for the maximum again in this race.”

The Van Hooydonck family:
In 1995 Edwig Van Hooydonck won the Brabantse Pijl for the fourth time. This makes him the record holder. Edwig is the uncle of current Team Jumbo-Visma rider Nathan Van Hooydonck. Nathan looks with great admiration at the achievements of his family member. “The fact that my uncle has won this race four times makes me very proud. The course back then was slightly different than the current one, which makes it difficult to compare both races. I don't talk to him about it very often, but I’ll definitely be riding around with the fact that he won four times here in the back of my mind.”

Edig van Hooydonck

Edwig van Hooydonck winning the 1991 Tour of Flanders. Sirotti photo

It was partly thanks to Edwig that Nathan developed a love for cycling when he was young. “And my father was also a professional cyclist. I used to play football, but it turned out that I wasn’t very talented at it. I soon lost the joy in that sport. The day I got a red card and was suspended for four matches, I stopped. From that moment on, I completely focused on cycling. Now, this Wednesday, I will be riding the Brabantse Pijl in my home country with one of the best cycling teams in the world. I think Uncle Edwig will be watching.”

Nathan Van Hooydonck is looking forward to this Wednesday’s race with hope, a race that is sure to please him. “I have ridden this race twice before. I think it is a beautiful race. The mix of hill specialists and fans of the Flemish classics will bring a new dynamic to the race. We are at the start with Wout and I believe one hundred percent in my leader. I will push myself to the limit for him.”

Kobe Goossens returns to competition at Brabantse Pijl/Flèche Branbançonne

Gossens' Lotto-Soudal team posted this news:

The Brabantse Pijl/Flèche Brabançonne will be the first race for Lotto Soudal rider Kobe Goossens after crashing out of Paris-Nice. During the finishing climb of stage four, the 24-year-old Belgian crashed into a team car and incurred a slight concussion, a broken nose and several broken teeth. With also several wounds on his face that needed stitching, the consequences were quite big. Following about ten days of rest and an altitude training camp in Spain, Kobe Goossens is now ready to pin on a number again.

“Unfortunately, the season didn’t start as I had planned. Going into Paris-Nice, I was in good shape, until that crash at the end of stage four spoiled the party”, begins Kobe Goossens. “The impact was quite big and I really had to push the reset button. I had some ten days off the bike, mainly to recover from the slight concussion I sustained. Afterwards, I went to the Sierra Nevada for an altitude training camp, which was originally planned to prepare for the Tour de Romandie and the Giro. Now, I will race the Ardennes Classics instead of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where I was initially supposed to resume competition.”

For the 24-year-old Goossens, his return to competition will be even more special as the young Belgian will be racing on home soil at the Flèche Brabançonne.

“Following a good training period of about two weeks, I am really looking forward to racing again. It will also be a rather special first participation at the Flèche Brabançonne, because I know the area of Overijse and Leuven pretty well. To be racing on your training course is always something special. Sometimes, the home advantage allows you to know exactly when it’s time to move up to the front. It definitely is a nice bonus, but I’ll still have to pedal just as hard”, jokes Kobe Goossens.

The Flèche Brabançonne traditionally marks the end of racing on the cobbles and the beginning of the hilly Classics. With over 25 hills to conquer, the riders are once again presented with a challenging course. The final climb of the ‘Schavei’ towards the finish was replaced by a wider home stretch with more gentle gradients.

“The slightly altered final may have an impact on the race, but it will still remain a tough day in the saddle. We don’t have an absolute spearhead in our line-up, but during the past spring Classics Tosh Van der Sande has already shown to be in good shape. Personally, it will be important to regain the race rhythm and to be of added value for the team. I already felt good during training, but it’s always difficult to know how the body reacts to racing. I also read that the Moskesstraat was resurfaced. To be honest, I always avoid that hill during my training rides… Of course, the changes will make it a little less authentic, but I’m definitely not complaining”, concludes Kobe Goossens with a wink.

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