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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 17, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger. - Harriet Tubman

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GP de Denain team reports

We posted the report from winner Juan Sebastian Molano's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Tim van Dijke's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Tim van Dijke narrowly missed out on victory at the GP Denain. The 23-year-old Dutchman finished second after a spectacular race of almost 200 kilometres. He went off his click pedal upon entering the sprint. Juan Sebastian Molan won the race.

Juan Sebastian Molano was first across the line.

With 12 cobbled sections in the final 80 kilometres, the organisers of the French one-day race were hoping for a spectacle, and they got it. After several crashes had split the peloton, Van Dijke and seven others saw their chance to break away.

The eight took a 30-second lead over the peloton, led by Team Jumbo-Visma. Olav Kooij had his sights set on victory. However, the young sprinter suffered a puncture on the final cobbled section, and Team Jumbo-Visma gave up the chase.

Van Dijke seized the opportunity, and he started the sprint early. He went off the pedals but still managed to sprint to second place. "On the one hand, it is a very nice result, but on the other hand, I am disappointed not to have won", Van Dijke said.

"I knew I couldn't beat Molano in a sprint, so I had to come up with something. By attacking early, I tried to surprise my fellow escapees. I hoped that Molano would hesitate so that I could win the race. The fact that I finished second is great. I've been training hard the last few weeks and riding at a very high level, but the results weren't there. I am happy to have finished second in one of the tougher races."

Van Dijke was able to "take full advantage" of the situation in the breakaway, with the leader in the group behind him. "I wasn't allowed to ride because we were playing Olav's card. I hoped the gap would not close because I felt I could win. Unfortunately, things went wrong in the final."

Sports director Maarten Wynants said he did everything right. "We'll never know what the result would have been if he hadn't gone off the pedal, but at the end of the day, we shouldn't spend too long in defeat", said Wynants.

Above all, the Belgian saw a strong team in Denain. "The guys rode a great race. Apart from Tim, Loe van Belle rode fantastically. He was in the lead from the twentieth kilometre and finished in the chase group. He showed a lot of potential today."

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Team Israel-Premier Tech previews Milano-Sanremo

Here’s the team’s post:

Israel-Premier Tech will take on Milano-Sanremo with seven strong riders eager to get in the mix in the first Monument race of the season.

“We have a strong group of riders ready for Saturday”, sports director Steve Bauer explains. “Even though this is Corbin’s [Strong] first edition, this is really a race that suits him. We did a good recon today [Thursday] and I’m optimistic about his chances.”

Unfortunately, the designated IPT leader, Giacomo Nizzolo, had to forfeit the race due to sickness. Instead, Sep Vanmarcke will take the spot. “Sep has proven to be in really good shape at the moment and I expect him to be competitive on Saturday as well”, Bauer tells.

Sep Vanmarcke racing at last year's Tour of Provence. Sirotti photo

In addition to Strong and Vanmarcke, IPT will line up with Hugo Houle, Daryl Impey, Derek Gee, Krists Neilands and Mads Würtz Schmidt.

“Everybody is ready to do a good race. We don’t have Giacomo here but it doesn’t change much about the way we will approach the race. We know what we have to do and I believe we can be competitive”, Bauer says.

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Soudal Quick-Step’s Davide Ballerini headed to Milano-Sanremo

Here’s the team’s post:

“My form is good. Last week’s Tirreno-Adriatico was hard, but it was a solid week to build further on the form with the classics coming up. I’m happy we won that stage with Fabio. Now we head to Milano-Sanremo, which is always a difficult race. Our Opening Weekend didn’t go as planned, I think in the next races we need to stay together and find each other easily. We also didn’t have Kasper due to sickness, so it completely changed our game, of course.

Davide Ballerini on the Arenberg cobble sector in the 2022 Paris-Roubaix. Sirotti photo

“From now until Paris-Roubaix it will be a very important period. Sometimes when you are already at your top at the Opening Weekend, you can’t hold it until the other classics, so maybe that’s a good thing seeing how it went for us there. I arrived at the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad having done only two races in Mallorca. I always need to adapt to the rhythm of the race, as in training you don’t push yourself as you do in races.”

Climbers vs sprinters on the Italian Riviera
“Milano-Sanremo this Saturday is one of the best races of the year. I’m Italian, so it’s special and I love it. But the trend has become obvious in recent years: it only gets harder. The climbers are now coming to the forefront and it’s not easy to follow them, they weigh less and after 280 kilometers in the legs you feel that difference. Even if it’s only one kilometer of climbing you will feel it. My role will depend on how I feel over the top of Cipressa. This will be the crucial point, as always, and there you have to be in the front.

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“Sanremo is a long race, but it passes so fast on the bike. You have to get to Genoa, but then when you are there the time passes so fast. The first time I did it I thought it would be so long with those 300 kilometers, but actually you just have to stay focused and save as much energy as possible.”

“I head to Belgium afterwards for the cobbled Classics. I never feel stressed before the race, only before the first outing of the season. I just try to stay relaxed, as stress takes away your energy. Mentally, it helps me.

"My family will maybe come to Paris-Roubaix or some of the other classics, and I’m happy when they are by my side. I always have my eyes on Roubaix, I have always loved this race. But it’s such a strange race, you need so much luck on top of everything. You have to find the best day of your life on the right timing. I hope for Paris-Roubaix, but we will see what we do with the team. I just hope to be up there.”

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