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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

Drive-in banks were established so most of the cars today could see their real owners. - E. Joseph Cossman


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Women's Time Trial World Championships reports

We posted the report from winner Ellen Van Dijk's Trek-Segafredo team with the results.

Here's the report from bronze medalist Annemiek Van Vleuten's Movistar team:

Over a completely flat course and against riders with a dozen kilos more than her, Annemiek van Vleuten was still able so how her endless quality and take the bronze medal at the 2021 UCI World ITT Championships, held on Monday over 30.3km between Knokke-Heist and Bruges in Flanders (Belgium).

Annemiek Va Vleuten

Annemiek Van Vleuten riding to a bronze medal. Sirotti photo

The Movistar Team rider, wearing the Dutch national squad’s kit today, conceded a big portion of her 24" gap at the finish against the new World Champion, Ellen van Dijk (NED / TFS), over the long straights of the first half of the race, where both Van Dijk and silver medalist Reusser (SUI / ALE) took almost 20" on her. The gaps remained almost intact at the second checkpoint -Miek was riding, with 7km to go, 16" behind Reusser and 13" from Van Dijk-, and only her fellow countryman’s big push near the finish ended up opening those margins.
Van Vleuten has now four medals in the ITT Worlds, with two gols -Bergen (2017), Innsbruck (2018)- and another bronze to add to today’s, snatched at her latest appearance in the race before Monday -Yorkshire, 2019-. The Movistar Team leader still has two more events to cover in Belgium: Saturday’s Road Race and the TT Mixed Relay on Wednesday, where she will again stand a strong chance to step onto the podium.

REACTION / Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I really just rode a super good time trial and that led me to third place on this course. I think I should be really satisfied: the two riders ahead of me were better on this course, and Ellen deserved to win. I was really happy about her when I was told she had won. It wasn’t really the kind of parcours that suited me well today, and even if I was able to beat them several times at TTs this year, those routes were hillier, and that wasn’t playing to my advantage today. It hasn’t been about one goal too many – it was just that, the course. My power output figures were good, and so I’m really happy with that I did. On the other hand,tThe radio didn’t work for me, right after the first corner, and I had no info on the time gaps. In that sense, I’m ‘happy’ that the gap was 24 seconds and not one or two at the end, because then the communications could have made a real difference.”

INEOS Grenadiers to race on disc brakes at GP Denain

Here's the announcement the team sent me:

The INEOS Grenadiers will race on the Pinarello DOGMA F Disc at tomorrow’s GP de Denain in the lead up to Paris-Roubaix.

Pinarello bike

After close consultation with the riders, performance team, Pinarello and Shimano this marks the first race in the initial phase of the disc brake roll out for the team.

Carsten Jeppesen, Head of Technical Partners, said: “We are always looking at ways to improve our kit, technology and bike setup to ensure the riders have the very best options that are available.

“Our relationship with Pinarello has always been grounded in a love of racing and innovation, and their work on the DOGMA F Disc should enable our riders to race to their maximum.

“Working closely with Pinarello and Shimano, we will continue to develop the all-round disc package, optimising weight, the integration across Dura-Ace, and improvements in the quick release system.”

Director of Racing Rod Ellingworth said: “Pinarello are constantly working to keep our bike at the front of the peloton and their commitment to providing us the very best equipment has been evident across this project. Rider feedback has also been encouraging.”

Fausto Pinarello said: “I’ve been convinced about disc brakes since I started riding them myself and I’m happy the team is going to race on them in the final part of this season. The INEOS Grenadiers are constantly pushing for excellence in everything they do and we are delighted with the DOGMA F Disc we have developed with the team.”

Junior individual pursuit world record holder, Magnus Sheffield, joins INEOS Grenadiers

The team sent me this announcement:

In 2019 Magnus Sheffield raced a slippery, crash riddled race in Yorkshire, in what had been one of the soggiest World Championships in years, taking bronze in the UCI junior road race. He was 17-years-old, and showed the world that his name was one not to be forgotten. Fast-forward two years and INEOS Grenadiers are delighted to announce that Sheffield will be joining the team from January 2022.   

When the global pandemic hit, this young and upcoming American talent, like many, saw his season race plans cancelled. It was time to rethink what his season could look like with a calendar of no racing.

He decided to take to the track with the goal to break the junior 3km individual pursuit world record. In November 2020, at Eleven Velodrome at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs he did just that, with a time of 3:06.447, beating the previous record that stood at 3:09.710.

“It was a really hard time because all the races were cancelled, it was really heartbreaking, especially to miss out on a whole year of racing as a junior,” Sheffield says. “The pursuit was something that I knew that I could do by myself, along with support from the USA coaching team, of course. But what was key, is I didn’t need any other competitors, and it was something that I could be quite flexible with timing wise.

“I’m not sure what inspired me to want to do it other than I’ve always liked the individual pursuit, but it was something that was definitely a lot more difficult when I went to try and break the record than what I had anticipated. It was a really cool experience that I’ll remember for a long time,” Sheffield recalls.

In 2020 Sheffield made the leap across the Pond to one of Europe’s cycling hubs, Girona, to embark upon his first elite level season. Having previously raced in Europe as a junior, he already knew it was going to involve quite the step up, but one he felt ready for. 

“There’s a big jump going from the juniors to the professional ranks, especially missing out on a year of racing. I would say that the intensity of the races hasn’t changed much since when I was a junior, they’re very similar. It's just that you try and do it after 200km,” he notes.

When asked what kind of rider he sees himself as, he responds: “I kinda see myself as an all-rounder, I would say that the one day races are the ones I like the most, especially with the cobbles, but the first couple of years on the team I just want to see which type of terrain suits me.”

Director of Racing, Rod Ellingworth believes that Sheffield has shown he has a lot of talent, and is excited to see him develop within the team: “Magnus has shown that he’s a gutsy racer, and one that when faced with challenges has the aptitude to create solutions to overcome what life throws at him. The way he sets himself goals and works towards them is a quality that fits with the INEOS Grenadiers’ ethos. Developing up and coming talent is now a real focus for this team, and it will be interesting to see how he grows over the coming seasons.” 

From a young age Sheffield remembers watching and admiring how the team raced, “I grew up watching Team Sky on the front of races, I can even remember Brad winning the Tour, that was probably my first recollection of the team,” he says. “It’s always been a team that I’ve looked up to, and out of all the professional teams it was the one that I grew up wanting to be a part of.

"The next couple years I’m looking forward to gaining as much experience as possible and really just trying to find the style of racing I like the most. Then also being able to help my teammates succeed."

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