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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, August 26, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Patience and time do more than strength or passion. - Jean de La Fontaine

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2019: A Year of New Faces is available in both Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Renewi Tour stage three team reports

We posted the report from GC second-place Yves Lampaert's Team Soudal Quick-Step with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Tim Wellens' UAE Team Emirates:

Tim Wellens put in a brave ride to move into the lead of the Renewi Tour in Belgium.

Despite suffering a slow front wheel puncture, Wellens was able to push through to the line in the front group and even taking second in the sprint to the line won by Mike Teunissen (Intermarche-Wanty).

Mike Teunissen wins the stage ahead of Tim Wellens.

Marc Hirschi and Wellens teamed up to form a select leading group of 8 riders, with the pair joining forces to hunt for the stage win.

Wellens: “I’m really happy to take the leaders jersey today. We came into this race aiming to win the GC and knew today would be a key day in that fight. I had a really good day on the bike, I felt really good. We had myself, Trentin and Hirschi as the ‘protected’ riders and we collaborated well.

"I was unlucky to have a flat tyre towards the end but also lucky that I didn’t lose too much tyre pressure so decided not to stop and change it. In the end I came very close to take the victory. I didn’t win but I think I can be happy with my day."

Mikkel Bjerg sits 5th also in the GC ahead of stage 4 from Beringen to Peer (179.4km).

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Here’s the Renewi Tour report from Tobias Foss' Team Jumbo-Visma:

Tobias Foss has moved up from ninth to sixth in the general classification of the Renewi Tour. The Norwegian of Team Jumbo-Visma missed out on the breakaway in the Flemish hills but did well in the general classification.

With no less than thirteen climbs, the queen stage of the Renewi Tour resembled a spring classic. Climbs such as the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg, known from the Tour of Flanders, were the highlights of this third stage. On the second climb of de Muur, a group with some of the favourites got away. They fought for the stage win in the streets of the finish town of Geraardsbergen. Former Team Jumbo-Visma rider Mike Teunissen was the fastest. Foss crossed the line a few seconds behind as one of the first of a thinned peloton.

Tobias Foss racing in the 2022 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

"I was in a bit of a weaker position on the second climb of the Muur van Geraardsbergen”, Foss said about the moment the breakaway happened. "I had good legs today. I stayed calm and didn't blow myself up. As a result, I was always at the front of the peloton. It's a shame that we couldn't catch the group in front. It has been a long time since I rode a stage of the caliber of a classic. My form is good, and I still feel like I'm improving every day at this stage of the season. This week's stage races suit me well. I am in a good mood in Belgium and the Netherlands. It hasn't been an easy season, but I keep working hard to overcome challenging moments. Hopefully, there will be something good at the end of the season.”

Sports director Arthur van Dongen was happy. "One of our goals was to get a good ranking with Tobias. From nine to six in the GC in the queen stage, we can say it was a good day. It's a shame that we didn't go for the stage win. As a team, we rode a bit in the lee, but Tobias showed his good side on this important day for the GC. A lot can happen in the coming days, and we hope to be able to fight for the stage wins again with Olav Kooij.”

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

On the Tour of Flanders’ terrain, the Groupama-FDJ did not prove successful on Friday. On stage 3 of the Renewi Tour, featuring the “Muur” three times, Olivier Le Gac did enter the day’s breakaway before being joined by a chasing group including Lars van den Berg, but the French team did not perform as hoped in the final. Valentin Madouas eventually took twentieth place at the finish. A bunch sprint is expected on Saturday in Peer.

Olivier Le Gac racing at the 2019 Paris-Roubaix. Sirotti photo

Usually tackled during the spring, the Flemish hills and cobbles were on the menu at the height of summer this Thursday, on the Renewi Tour. The roads of the “Ronde” were supposed to bring their share of action and changes on GC through thirteen “bergs” but just 170 kilometres of racing. Many riders also wanted to approach the climbs, after some 70 kilometres, with a small margin on the pack. Therefore, a tough fight for the breakaway took place for more than an hour. Six men managed to take a gap after ten kilometres, but the battle kept on going, and six other men eventually broke away after more than fifty kilometres. Olivier Le Gac was one of them. Along with Arne Marit (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Lukasz Wisniowski (EF Education-Easy Post), Marc Brustenga (Lidl-Trek), Jens Reynders (Israel-Premier Tech) and Milan Fretin (Team Flanders-Baloise), he then went through the first climbs and the ”first” Muur at the head of the race.

“We wanted to join the breakaway given the weather conditions,” explained Sébastien Joly. “Rain was possible, and on such a technical circuit, we thought it was a good idea to take the lead. Olivier fought well to join the breakaway, the gap increased to more than three minutes, but then the bunch rode very hard to come back”.

After the first time up the “Muur”, the peloton even came back less than a minute from the leading group and a counterattack then went in the Bosberg. “The idea was to anticipate before the favourites came into action, which Lars did very well,” added Sébastien. The Dutchman slipped into a group of eight riders who joined the first breakaway 57 kilometres from the finish. However, the peloton never left a big lead to the fugitives. It remained about twenty seconds away before exploding at the same time as coming across in the Denderoordstraat, thirty-eight kilometres from the line. About fifteen riders joined the first group on the road, and a few minutes later, in the second climb of the Muur, the freshest and strongest riders went clear.

Olivier Le Gac and Lars van den Berg were unable to keep up the pace while a few of their teammates were in the bunch. Eight riders eventually took the lead in the last thirty kilometres and a peloton of around forty riders came together some thirty seconds behind. A proper chase took on, but the pack never managed to bring the leading riders back.

Mike Teunissen won the stage ahead of Tim Wellens, the new overall leader, while Valentin Madouas narrowly entered the top-20 on the “Muur” foothills. “We were definitely in trouble in the final”, confided Sébastien. “We didn’t have the level, physically speaking, today. Valentin is just returning to racing, and he lacks a bit of rhythm. There were stronger riders than us and we did not manage to have an impact on the race”. Two stages are still to be done on the Renewi Tour. “It should be a sprint tomorrow, so we’ll focus on that,” added Sébastien. “Finally, there will be a kind of small Amstel on Sunday, and we will see what our options are”.

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Team Lotto Dstny’s Statement on the passing of Tijl De Decker

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of our rider Tijl De Decker. Today Tijl (22) has lost his battle to recover from the severe injuries he sustained after his crash on training last Wednesday.

Tijl crashed hard into the backside of a car and was brought to the hospital in Lier where he immediately underwent surgery. Later that evening he was transported to the Antwerp University Hospital.

Despite the best efforts of the staff at the hospital, Tijl couldn’t make it through and this morning he lost his battle.

Tijl De Decker

Tijl joined our Lotto Dstny Development Team this year and he showed immediately a lot of determination and passion for his sport. He impressed with a stage win in the Tour de Taiwan and places of honour in the U23 races Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic (2nd) and Eschborn-Frankfurt U23 (4th) and he won Paris-Roubaix U21. He would step up next year to the ProTeam.

“We are devastated by the loss of our cyclist”, says CEO Stéphane Heulot. “Tijl showed big progression this year and we believed in his growth margin. Stepping up to the pro team was a logical choice. Unfortunately he will never turn pro and we will always remember him as a talented young rider and a warm and friendly person off the bike. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.”

Please, Tijl’s family has requested privacy as they mourn their loss, and we kindly ask you to respect their wishes.

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