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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, September 22, 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.

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. – Will Durant


Current racing:

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GP de Denain reports

We posted the report from second-place Jordi Meeus' Bora-hansgrohe team with the results.

Here's the report from third-place Ben Swift's INEOS Grenadiers:

The Grenadiers enlivened an exciting edition of GP de Denain with Ben Swift sprinting to third after Michal Kwiatkowski was caught in sight of the finish.

Jasper Philipsen

The sprint in Denain.

The team split the race apart with 80 kilometres remaining on the second cobbled sector of the day. A selection of just 12 riders formed, with Kwiatkowski, Owain Doull and Luke Rowe ensuring the team had numbers to the fore.

Behind the chase fluctuated, with the gap initially pegged at around 40 seconds before gradually being reduced. Kwiatkowski pushed on again on the penultimate sector, bringing three riders with him. Back in the peloton the team monitored counter-attacks, with Kwiato launching a final bid for victory heading into the final kilometre.

Narrowly overhauled before the line, the sprint took hold, with Swift taking a strong podium finish behind victor Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix).

Here's the GP de Denain report from Quinten Hermans' Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team:

This Tuesday, the tension was built up until the finish of this 62nd edition of the GP de Denain (1.Pro, 21/09), in which more than 20 kilometer of cobbles had to be covered in the second race half. After the first loop of 100 kilometer around Denain without any difficulties, during which five leaders preceded the peloton by five minutes, Ineos Grenadiers opened the spectacle.

The black team accelerated with 80 kilometer to go on one of the first of twelve cobble sections. The early breakaway was replaced by twelve new leaders, including Quinten Hermans. Taco van der Hoorn missed the breakaway because of a crash on the second cobble section and wanted a second chance with 30 kilometer to go. Unfortunately the Dutch rider didn’t manage to bridge to the leaders on the cobbles between Maing and Quérénaing, which are also part of the Paris-Roubaix route.

Quinten Hermans

Quinten Hermans racing the 2019 Essen Cross.

In his last road race of the season, Hermans showed his qualities by being one of the four last survivors of the breakaway with Kwiatkowski, Dewulf and Davy. The cyclocross specialist was finally caught by the peloton on the last cobble section, 10 kilometer before the finish. van der Hoorn, Kreder and De Gendt united around Baptiste Planckaert, who sprinted to 8th place. In this way, the Belgian rider took his fourth top 10 in this small taste of the Hell of the North.

“The cobble sections succeeded each other quickly and the peloton finally split on the third one. In this strong breakaway, I managed to react on the decisive attack. But I had to dig deep to join Dewulf and Kwiatkowski, and never really recovered from the effort. It is a pity that I couldn’t follow them on the final cobble section, but I really enjoyed my last road race. It was pleasant to conclude the road season in a free role, because I worked hard to accomplish my great ambition this year. I learned a lot in my first season in the World Tour, for example that I can be in the mix in the final of the biggest races, or on a tactical level to wisely use my efforts. It is with great satisfaction about my road season that I’ll do my first laps in the mud this weekend!” - Quinten Hermans

Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Omloop van het Houtland Middelkerke-Lichtervelde: SEP 23

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach:
"We head towards west Flanders for an interesting day of racing at Omloop van het Houtland, where we have to be prepared for multiple scenarios including echelons, strong attacking groups or a possible bunch sprint at the finish. For all of the different scenarios we have fire power within the team, but we need to be alert and switched on for the decisive moments as the race can change in an instant. Alberto brings his good Vuelta shape, so he will be our protected finisher if it ends in a bunch sprint at the line. We have a strong team who can ride in support of that but we also then have riders who can get a good result from a smaller group, if that is the way the race plays out."

Nils Eekhoff

Nils Eekhoff (shown winning the 2019 U23 World Championships) will be racing in West Flanders on the 23rd.

Line-up:
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)

Classique Paris-Chauny: SEP 26

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach:
"Paris-Chauny will complete a nice block of one-day races in France and Belgium for us. Like a lot of the recent races, we find a parcours that allows for the race to unfold in different ways with exposed areas and short climbs before a flatter finale. We’ll need to be attentive throughout the race for the key points so that we can position ourselves in a good way and create situations that are an advantage to us. We can rely on the strength of the riders to be in there and make any potentially winning groups that go clear in the pre-final and late final, while we then also have fast finishers in the team who can then take a result for us if the day ends in a group sprint."

Line-up:
Cees Bol (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)

Giro di Sicilia - Tour of Sicily: SEP 28 - OCT 1

Luke Roberts - Team DSM coach:
"The Giro di Sicilia will be held over four stages this year. The first two days are challenging but they can still be possible opportunities for a bunch sprint; stage three is a difficult day that will end on a climb of just over three kilometres; and to finish off we have a mountain stage that will see us climb around the foot of Mt. Etna before descending down to the finish. Without a pure sprinter in our line-up, we will work to open up the race and look for opportunities in the early stages with some aggressive riding. In good form after the Vuelta, we hope to position Romain for a good result in overall classification, which will require a prominent showing on the final two stages in particular. We have some very solid support for the harder terrain with Kevin, Thymen, Andreas and Florian. Henri and Gianmarco will join us from our Development program, both bringing very good climbing qualities, and it will be a great opportunity for them to race alongside our Men’s program and against some strong opposition."

Line-up:
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Gianmarco Garofoli (ITA)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Florian Stork (GER)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)

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