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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, August 21, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. - John Keats

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Bemer Cyclassics team reports

We posted the report from third-place Elia Viviani's Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Danny Van Poppel's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Only a few centimeters separated Danny von Poppel in Hamburg from his first victory in a WorldTour classic. After winning in Cologne in May, the 30-year-old almost managed to take the German double. But Mads Pedersen narrowly defeat him in the sprint.

Bora-hansgrohe rider Max Schachmann heads to the start. Sirotii photo

As is often the case in Hamburg, the last crossing of the Waseberg was decisive. An increased pace on the last climb forced a selection in the peloton. Nils Politt attacked from this leading group with two other riders, and they rode with a small lead into the last kilometre. Only on the finishing straight did Pedersen close the gap as a soloist. Danny van Poppel emerged from the chasing pack at top speed and almost beat the former world champion in the long sprint.

"It was harder than in the years before but on the last climb I was still there. Then we played a super-good team tactic with Nils and Marco. I'm disappointed because it was so close. It would have been a big win for me and the team." - Danny van Poppel

"I'm really proud how the guys raced today. Normally you're disappointed with second place in the sprint, but today I'm really happy with the podium. The team showed a lot of character and fought all the way to the finish line." - Christian Pömer, Sports Director

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Here's the Bemer Cyclassics report from sixth-place Yves Lampaert's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

In his first appearance since the World Championships in Glasgow, Yves Lampaert came within 75 meters of winning the Bemer Cyclassics, only to be denied after one of the most insane final kilometers of a race this year.

The peloton being led by Team Soudal Quick-Step. Sirotti photo

The Belgian had been a protagonist in the last 15 kilometers of the race, when the peloton split the last time up the Waseberg (800m, 8.7%), leaving only a handful of riders at the front. From that small group, two men attacked and went clear, but they were soon joined by an incredibly strong Lampaert, whose huge effort helped him make up ground as they travelled through the outskirts of Hamburg.

Yves was the engine of that move, taking some really long pulls that helped them put a maximum gap of 16 seconds between them and the bunch that was slowly regrouping. When the margin began to come down, the Belgian continued to believe in their chances and didn’t miss a turn at the front, which helped the trio enter the last kilometer with five seconds in hand.

Around 500 meters from the line, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) attacked, prompting a response from Yves, who caught and passed the US rider. For a moment there, it looked like he would make it, but a late surge of Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) put an end to his hopes, and the 32-year-old from Izegem eventually finished in sixth place.

“On the last ascent of the Waseberg, a group with myself and Florian rode clear. It wa s avery good situation for us. When Politt and McNulty rode away, I wanted to go with them so that Florian could keep his energy in case it came down to a sprint. We had a nice gap and rode full gas, but they came back incredibly close to the finish. Despite this, I felt good today and now I’m even more motivated for the next events”, said Yves after his second top ten of the season in a World Tour one-day race, following the podium he scored in the spring, at the Classic Brugge-De Panne.

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Here's the report from Team Jumbo-Visma:

Olav Kooij has finished 16th in the Bemer Cyclassics. The German one-day race around Hamburg saw a very tough final, in which the 21-year-old Dutchman of Team Jumbo-Visma could not play a significant role in the sprint. Mads Pedersen won the race.

The final traditionally consisted of a local loop with the Waseberg as the highlight. There the race ignited. Tosh Van der Sande and Mick van Dijke followed a series of attacks, but three riders broke away after the final passage. Kooij rejoined the chase after the climb. However, the ZLM Tour winner could not sprint for the win after a frantic chase and subsequent merge.

The peloton rounds a corner in Hamburg. Sirotti photo

"Unfortunately, it was not a day for a top classification”, sports director Robert Wagner said. "We were unlucky towards the end. Lennard Hofstede and Timo Roosen retired with punctures, and Jos van Emden retired after a crash. Fortunately, he is okay. That left us a few riders short to position Olav properly after the Waseberg. Tim van Dijke did an excellent job for him, but in the final kilometres, Olav was on his own. It took too much effort. We started here with several young riders, which was a useful experience. Next year we will come back for a better classification.”

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And here's the Bemer Cyclassics report from Team Groupama-FDJ:

To his already very convincing results sheet as a neo-pro, including a win on Cholet-Pays de Loire, Laurence Pithie will now be able to add a fifth place in a WorldTour event. On Sunday, the New Zealander indeed used his resistance, his positioning, and his speed to claim a remarkable top-5 on the BEMER Cyclassics in Hamburg. The 21-year-old even took fourth place in the bunch, coming right behind Mads Pedersen, who took the win after a late attack. Next race for the “Kiwi”: the Renewi Tour (ex-Benelux Tour).

Team Groupama-FDJ is presented before the race start. Sirotti photo

Although the peloton narrowly missed victory last year, a sprinter was expected to take the win this Sunday on the BEMER Cyclassics, for the 26th edition contested over a little more than 200 kilometres around Hamburg. “We more or less know the race scenario here, so we adapted our strategy considering what happened in recent years,” said Jussi Veikkanen. “Lars first entered the breakaway unexpectedly, but we were sure that it would not pay off, so I went to him to ask him to sit up and get back in the bunch to help the others. We knew that Jake was in good shape and Laurence was also super motivated for this race. We were going for these two riders in the final. There was not too much racing during the whole first part of the race, then it became livelier in the second part”.

After Lars van den Berg stopped his effort, only two men remained in the lead: Julien Simon and Sergio Samitier. The peloton was therefore never threatened by the day’s fugitives, especially since the Spaniard found himself alone seventy kilometres from the finish after his break companion got a mechanical problem.

Gradually, the peloton closed down the five minutes that separated it from the leading man. Forty kilometres from the finish, Samitier was caught, and the tension rose clearly within the pack. “The race was hard with the climb of Waseberg, and positioning was super important,” explained Laurence Pithie. The Groupama-FDJ team then tried to make its way through before the final sequence of small hills. With 24 kilometres to go, they tackled the second and penultimate ascent of the Waseberg (700m at 9.5%). “A strong group broke away with Olivier Le Gac, and there was Pedersen in particular”, said Jussi. “We were in the mix at this strategic moment. The goal was to follow the moves and Olivier did it very well”. A dozen men thus opened a breach, but the latter was closed down a few moments later. Six kilometres further on, the peloton got to the Waseberg for the last time. A group of about fifteen riders approached it with a slight advantage over the peloton following a split in the previous descent. “We weren’t in the best position on the last climb, but we were together at the top with Jake and Lars”, testified Laurence. “Then, Lars did a great job to bring us back in front, it was perfect”.

In the lead, Brandon McNulty, Nils Politt and Yves Lampaert tried to make the most of the split and worked together for the remaining twelve kilometres or so, on the flat. The bunch also partly reformed in the back and was made of about sixty men. A proper fight set up for a thrilling finale, but the gap was reduced to ten seconds and then to five starting the last kilometre. “At first, we were more focused on Jake for the sprint, but they spoke to each other, and Laurence had carte blanche,” explained Jussi. “It went well”, said the New Zealander. “The finale was a bit messy and dangerous, so I knew I had to pick a good wheel to follow and really fight. That’s what I did, I managed to get on Van Poppel’s one and hold it.” The young man from Groupama-FDJ thus found himself in a perfect position in the last few hundreds of metres while Mads Pedersen caught the leading men slightly before the rest of the pack. In the final straight, the Dane managed to stay away for the win while Laurence Pithie also overtook the breakaway riders to claim fifth place on the line, surrounded by other sprinters. “He tried, he had a better position than Jake, and it paid off”, commented Jussi. “He had a little regret not having been able to go on the right, because he thought he still had something left, but he was super happy, nonetheless. It was a good thing to have two cards.”

The former “Conti” rider therefore delivered quite a performance while Jake Stewart couldn’t really make his effort and took twentieth place. “It was a good sprint, I’m happy with the result, but I still think I had more to give if I had played a little differently,” explained Laurence in the evening. “That said, I cannot be disappointed with fifth place in a WorldTour race. It’s my best result at this level.” “Of course, we’re satisfied”, added Jussi. “It’s good for the group but also for Laurence. For a neo-pro, to shine in a WorldTour Classic is no small feat. With the exception of Bram and Kono, the group will be the same on the Renewi Tour. We put ourselves on the right track here and we will try to keep this momentum going”.

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