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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, April 18, 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.

Der mentsh trakht un got lakht (Man plans & God Laughs) – Yiddish proverb


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Tour of Turkey stage 7 team reports

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

Here's the report from Team Astana-Premier Tech:

The seventh stage of the Tour of Turkey from Marmaris to Turgutreis was characterized by strong crosswinds during almost the whole day. It was a very fast but at the same time very hard day in the saddle with numerous attacks and breakaway attempts.

“We tried to do this day as hard as possible and right from the start of the stage we were motivated to take control over the race and to try to do a selection in the peloton on the first climb of the day. The team worked pretty well and on the top of the climb we created a group of some 25 riders just behind the four-men daily breakaway. It was a good moment for us, and we decided to continue racing hard organizing a good work together with B&B Hotels team. But their leader crashed down on the descent and thus our cooperation came to an end, so the groups behind caught us back”, – said Sergey Yakovlev, Sports Director.

After the daily break has been neutralized by the peloton there were some more attacks from the main group as well as a few attempts of echelons on a very strong crosswind. Rodrigo Contreras was one of the last riders who tried to attack with 6 km to go, but, finally, a big group came all together to the final three kilometres, when the race jury decided to neutralize the stage by time due to the windy conditions.

Jasper Philipsen

Jasper Philipsen takes the seventh stage.

The final very fast bunch sprint decided the stage winner: Jasper Philipsen outsprinted Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish, while Astana – Premier Tech rider Gleb Brussenskiy took a nice eight place.

“In the final Merhawi Kudus and Rodrigo Contreras did a good job, moving Gleb Brussenskiy in front and placing him on a good position for the sprint. It was quite a fast and dangerous sprint, but Gleb was able to do it well, taking a good eight place”, – added Sergey Yakovlev.

There isn’t any major change in the General Classification of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey: Jose Manuel Diaz still leads the race, while Merhawi Kudus is placing fifth, 28 seconds behind the leader. Javier Romo is 11th, Rodrigo Contreras is 13th.

Here's the Tour of Turkey update from Team Israel Start-Up Nation:

Team Israel Start-Up Nation rode attentively in stage 7 and tried to set up echelons multiple times in today’s stage. With success, as the peloton was significantly smaller once the finish line came into sight.

Greipel complimented his teammates for their help provided the whole day. “The guys did excellent. The closed down gaps, kept me out of the wind, and the lead-out was again on point.”

Team ISN had the sprint train chasing down a lone escapee in the last few kilometers, and then tried to surprise its competitors with a late attack. That resulted in a sixth place for Rick Zabel.

Greipel himself waited patiently a bit further back in the pack for his chance, moved up in the last 500 meters, and launched with 200 meters to go. It resulted in exactly the same podium as yesterday in Turkey. “This was the best result possible,”he said.

Team Bahrain Victorious headed to Ardennes Classes

Here's the team's update:

Team Bahrain Victorious is set to take on the three one day races that make up the Ardennes Classics, running through the Dutch Limburg region and Belgian Ardennes. These classics differ from the cobbled classics due to their hilly profile making them suited to climbers.

Marking the start of the Ardennes Classics is the Amstel Gold Race on April 18th. After being cancelled last year, the race will run its 56th edition, with an altered route due to the pandemic. Traditionally this race runs over 260 km but has been shortened this year to 216km consisting of 12 local 16.9km laps of Valkenburg and a slightly different 15.9km final lap.

Jan Tratnik

Jan Tratnik (shown winning stage 16 of the 2020 Giro d'Italia) is headed to the Ardennes. Sirotti photo

Sports Director Neil Stephens gives his outlook on the race. “Since De Brabantse Pijl, we’ve been recovering and looking at the course for Amstel. We’re very excited and looking forward to this race. Wout Poel, Tratnik, Dylan, Mohoric and also Sonny give us plenty of options depending on how the race plays out. It would be great to get a podium at the first of the Ardennes Classics, and we’re super motivated for this weekend.”

The second of the Ardennes Classics on 21st April is La Flèche Wallonne. The 194km route starts in Charleroi and ends up the iconic finish, Mur de Hoy, the 1.3km climb averaging at 9.7%.

The final and most prestigious of the Ardennes Classics is Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 25th. The only monument of the Ardennes known as ‘La Doyenne’ (The Old Lady), is in its 107th edition of the race that starts and ends in Liege. The 260km route is made up of plenty of short climbs that see riders ascending over 4,200m.

Sports Director Gorazd Štangelj is looking forward to the races:
“Flèche is a shorter race and we might try with Tratnik in a breakaway. Matej, Stephen and Eros will play the role to protect our leaders Dylan, Wout and Jack. Usually, the winner comes into the last climb into a reduced bunch of 50 to 80 riders, and Mur de Huy decides the outcome!

"Liège is a completely different race. Usually, the peloton is chasing the breakaway for the first 160km. From then on, it becomes more complicated due to hard climbs, narrow roads and a high pace.

The biggest selection is made on La Redoute and the final one on la Cote de la Roche aux Faucons. From there, the winner is decided. Our best cards would be Matej, who finished 5th last year and Dylan. We also have Wout and Jack to make a move in advance. Our objective is top 5 and two in top 10!”

Simon Yates and Team BikeExchange to ride Tour of the Alps

The team sent me this:

Simon Yates and Team BikeExchange will step up their Giro d’Italia preparations as they make their debut at the Tour of the Alps on Monday.

The 2018 Vuelta a España winner will be joined by a packed squad of climbers and domestiques for the five-day stage race, with plenty of climbing on the menu for the 44th edition of the race.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates at the 2020 Tirreno- Adriatico. Sirotti photo

Nick Schultz lines-up after an impressive outing at Coppi e Bartali, with Australian champion Cameron Meyer and Italian youngster Kevin Colleoni also joining after a week of racing in Italy. The experienced Mikel Nieve and Tanel Kangert will provide valuable climbing support in the mountains, while Callum Scotson will add power on the flat roads.

Team BikeExchange at Tour of Alps:
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Tanel Kangert (EST)
Cameron Meyer (AUS)
Mikel Nieve (ESP)
Nick Schultz (AUS)
Callum Scotson (AUS)
Simon Yates (GBR)

Simon Yates:
"It will be my first time at the Tour of Alps and I think it’s an exciting race to go to. I have seen it on TV many times and it’s always a race that I would like to go to. After Volta a Catalunya and now the training camp in Andorra, Tour of Alps is a stepping stone to the Giro d’Italia which is my main goal of the season.

"I saw the route and, as usual, it’s a very hard race with many good climbing stages. This year, we will have shorter stages and this will make the race more intense and a hard fight and certainly spectacular.”

Matthew White, Head Sport Director:
“It's the first time our organisation has competed in this race and we are looking forward to racing in what is a very beautiful part of the world.

"The team is using it as a dress rehearsal for the Giro d'Italia with the vast majority of our Giro team present. We are looking forward to racing against one of the best climbing fields you will see during the season and seeing where we are at against our rivals.”

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