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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, April 29, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. - Anatole France


Melanoma: It Started with a Freckle

David L. Stanley's masterful telling of his bout with skin cancer Melanoma: It Started with a Freckle is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de Romandie Stage two team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Ethan Hayter's Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Rohan Dennis' Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has ended the second stage of the Tour de Romandie well. In the 168 km stage around Échallens, Rohan Dennis' leader's jersey was never in danger.

Four riders broke away immediately. Team Jumbo-Visma led the chase all day and caught the leading group about 25 kilometres from the finish. Even when the pace increased in the hilly final, the yellow and black brigade kept classification leader Rohan Dennis well in front. Ethan Hayter eventually won the bunch sprint.

Rohan Dennis will start stage three in the leader's jersey. Sirotti photo

Sports director Merijn Zeeman looked back with satisfaction. "It was good for us that a group of four got away. We didn't get any help controlling the race today, so Michel Hessmann rode in front all day. In the final, INEOS took over. There was a big acceleration on the last two climbs. We stayed with the team around Rohan until the last kilometre. For us, the day went well. I have seen a strong team."

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Fourth-place Aleksandr Vlasov’s Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

Today's 168km long stage around Echallens took the riders through the hilly fields of this Swiss region, with the stage offering the fast men what was likely their only chance at the race. After the breakaway was brought back about 20km from the finish, Ineos Grenadiers kept the pace high in the field before Hayter went on to secure the stage win in a long drawn-out sprint. Aleks Vlasov took fourth in the fast finish, while Felix Grossschartner crossed the line in ninth, maintaining his second place overall. With this, the Austrian rider also takes his career 100th individual top ten result.

Aleksandr Vlasov is on the left of the front riders finishng stage two. Sirotti photo

"The first part of the race remained pretty much under control, but afterwards it became a little more complex, with some crosswinds and narrow roads. So everyone was trying to stay up front there. I think we did well to stay safe and be in a good position in the finale. I even took fourth place, and Felix finished ninth, so we're in good form ahead of the mountainous stages." - Aleksandr Vlasov

"On paper, this stage lends itself to the fast men. So for us, the task today was to stay out of early dangers and to come together as a team without expending much energy and then just make sure that we don't lose time in the finale. With Aleks and Felix we executed this plan very well. Aleks was very well positioned and a fourth place in the bunch sprint is not exactly what you would expect from him. So chapeau to everyone, also Max, who found his legs yet again today." - Rolf Aldag, Sports Director



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Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl posted this Tour de Romandie report:

On paper, stage 2 was the easiest of this edition, but a series of short but stinging climbs, many of which were packed in the second part of the 168.2km stage around Échallens, were always going to play against the sprinters’ chances of getting involved in the fight for victory.

That’s why it didn’t come as a surprise when many teams joined hands at the head of the peloton with 20 kilometers to go, as soon as the breakaway was reeled in, to increase the tempo and drop many of the fast men. A stage winner last month at the Volta a Catalunya, Ethan Vernon was among those getting dropped, despite giving his best to hang onto the back of the bunch with the help of two Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammates.

In the sprint won by Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), Mikkel Honoré finished as the team’s best-placed rider. His teammate Mauro Schmid came just a few places behind, but in the same time, and kept the lead in the youth classification going into Friday’s stage, which could bring the puncheurs in the spotlight, that is if a breakaway won’t manage to hold off the peloton, helped by the rough terrain, which will barely feature a meter of flat.


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Update on Team Alpecin-Fenix riders recovering from injuries

The team posted this:

With our first Grand Tour of the year just around the corner, we're bringing you another update on our riders who are currently out of competition or returning from injury.

Tim Merlier (crashed in Paris-Roubaix): Tim will unfortunately not be able to line up for this year's Giro d’Italia. His blood results (increased CRP and sedimentation, no leukocytosis), his training, and the evolution of his wound healing – also according to the surgeon – are not what it should be to be able to start the Giro on May 6. An altitude training camp as from May 20 is a possibility if everything continues to evolve as it is now. Starting next weekend, training volume and intensity will be increased. His trainer will continue to monitor Tim’s conditional recovery. Another blood test and general check-up is scheduled for within two weeks.

Tim Merlier winning this year's Nokere Koerse.

Jonas Rickaert: After experiencing a numb feeling and a loss of power in his left leg, Jonas underwent CT scanning and had a consultation with vascular surgeon Dr. Danneels at AZ Groeninge. Kinking detected (a kink in the iliac arteries when flexing the hip). Referred to a Dutch vascular surgeon for tertiary advice.

Sam Gaze: Sam underwent surgery on both knees last month. Recovery has been going well, initially off the bike. His first training rides on the bike have been going well too. His situation is evolving positively.

Jakub Mareczko: Jakub has had a good recovery after a non-discplaced crack in the scaphoid bone. Training is going well and without pain relief.

Sjoerd Bax: Sjoerd was initially recovering well from his hamstring tendinopathy, but has had a pain flare-up. A consultation with Dr. Claes has been scheduled when he returns from training camp.

Edward Planckaert: Good news for Edward, as he will soon be able to start training on the road again after sustaining a clavicle fracture at the Tour of Turkey.

Oscar Riesebeek: Oscar has had an excellent pre-Giro training camp. An extra, preventive heart check has been scheduled for early next week.

Ceylin Alvarado: Ceylin underwent surgery in mid-March for a torn ligament in the right wrist, after which she had to wear a cast for three weeks. Currently, she still has to wear a wrist splint. Ceylin can train on the bike again, but she has had to postpone the start of her MTB season until further notice because mountain biking would be too straining for her wrist. She was given the green light to race on the road, but not yet on the MTB. A new check-up in the hospital will follow on May 2.

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