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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, February 9, 2024

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

If I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize. - Richard P. Feynman

Paris–Roubaix: The Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Paris-Roubaix: The Inside Story - All the bumps of cycling's cobbled classic is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de la Provence prologue team reports

We posted the report from winner Mads Pedersen's Team Lidl-Trek with the results.

Here's the report from 9th place Ewen Costiou's Team Arkea-B&B Hotels:

The Arkea-B&B Hotels team achieved a group shot on the prologue of the Tour de la Provence, with three riders in the top 20: Ewen Costiou (9th), David Dekker (14th) and Raúl García Pierna (17th).

It was Mads Pdersen who won the prologue.

Ewen Costiou:
“I am already placed in the general classification of this Tour de la Provence at the end of this prologue. I finished 9th. The goal now will be to grab places over the days of racing in order to get the best possible result on this event. A prologue is always a violent effort. You have to manage without overdoing it. When I see the ravcers in front of me, I can be satisfied with my race. There are many of us who are keeping up a few seconds, there are in fact five of us, between one and two seconds, behind third place”.

Yvon Ledanois, Directeur sportif:
“Ewen Costiou achieves a good place and a good time on this prologue of the Tour de la Provence. The competitors who are in front are those we expected. Our riders are ranked 9th with Ewen, 14th David Dekker and 17th Raúl García Pierna. The important thing was to know where we were going to be after this prologue, a verdict rendered by this start of the race: we have riders who are close to each other. Difficult conditions are predicted in the days to come, and when the weather is difficult, there are only the tough guys ahead, and that’s a good thing, here I have real warriors.”

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Here’s the Provence Tour report from third place Sam Watson’s Team Groupama-FDJ:

In Marseille on Thursday, five riders of the Groupama-FDJ cycling team launched their 2024 season with the prologue of the Tour de la Provence. A short but intense five-kilometre effort was on the program, and Sam Watson stood out by setting the third best time, only eleven seconds behind Mads Pedersen. Five of his teammates limited their losses (from 16 to 22 seconds), which made for a very solid overall result. On Friday, the peloton will head to Martigues.

Sam Watson. Groupama-FDJ photo

After being canceled last year, the Tour de la Provence returned on Thursday with a four-day race starting from Marseille and finishing in Arles. Everything was then set to start in the port city, where a five-kilometre prologue along the coast had been designed. “It was a short and violent effort, similar to the track pursuit,” explained Thierry Bricaud. “It was a round trip, with only one turn, so there wasn’t much to do technically speaking.”

The U23 French time trial champion, Eddy Le Huitouze, was the first to set off for the Groupama-FDJ team, shortly before 1:30 p.m. The young man took provisional fourth place, but some fifteen minutes later, Sam Watson came to the line and set the best time in 5’30. The Briton remained in the lead for almost half an hour before the day’s favorite Mads Pedersen beat him for eleven seconds. For an hour, the competitors continued to complete the course, and Rémy Rochas, Lorenzo Germani, Sven Erik Bystrøm and Lars van den Berg entered the top-20, or very close. On the other hand, no one was able to challenge Pedersen for victory, and only one man could slip between the Dane and Sam Watson, who eventually took third.

“I can say I’m pleasantly surprised with third place because I don’t feel like I’m close to my best shape yet,” said Sam shortly after the finish. “It’s definitely a good thing coming third, and I can be happy with the effort I did. I prefer this type of effort to a long time trial. I feel I’ve made a big improvement in my time trial in the last year, so I can say that I’m beginning to like time trials, and I didn’t think I’d be ever saying that (smiles).”

“We approached the day with a lot of motivation and commitment, like we always do on the time trials,” said Thierry. “We could see it with the guys’ attitude on their bikes. The goal was to do the best possible result, even to win, but we knew it would be hard against Pedersen. Sam is beaten by a stronger rider, but he put in a great performance. Then, we have a nice group of riders around twentieth place. Five riders were back to racing. We knew they were in good shape from their training data, but it’s always better to confirm it on the ground with the competition. We knew that Sam would be ready, he had a little doubt, but his result proves he shouldn’t have!”

After this first day of racing, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Eddy Le Huitouze, Rémy Rochas, Lorenzo Germani and Lars van den Berg are also within a range of twenty-two seconds from leader Mads Pedersen. “It’s pretty good, we are in the mix in case of a lively race in the coming days, especially Saturday, which is more complicated, with also difficult weather conditions,” added Thierry. “If there is action, we should be there. Tomorrow, we might have a bunch sprint, with kind of a difficult approach. Matt [Walls] will be there to do his sprint and get his bearings.” “It should rain over the next few days, which could be a good thing for a British person,” concluded Sam. “We have Matt here for the sprints and it looks like the GC day will be stage 2. We will give our best shot, we have a lot of guys here who can do well.”

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Logan Currie Becomes Time Trial Champion of New Zealand

Currie’s Team Lotto Dstny posted this

Logan Currie had his eyes on the 37km time trial course in Timaru. Currie, who already took the national under-23 time trial title twice, powered to the victory in 48:10, 15 seconds faster than Aaron Gate. Currie, who has only 22 years old, trained a lot on the roads of the course.

Logan Currie

"It was great. I was so happy to perform down these home roads that are well known to me. It was good to put in a solid ride that I am happy with and managed to take the national jersey with it, so I am just super happy." After the National Championships on the road this Saturday, Currie will head to the start of his first race with Lotto Dstny, being the Tour du Rwanda.

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UAE Team Emirates' upcoming racing

Here’s the team’s update:

After taking victory at last week's Volta Valenciana, UAE Team Emirates are set for a packed weekend of racing which will see the team in action on several fronts.

Adam Yates will make his season debut to lead a strong team in Oman at the Muscat Classic (9 Feb) as a warm up to the main event, the Tour of Oman (10-14 Feb).

Adam Yates in yellow after stage four of the 2023 Tour de france. Sirotti photo

Yates: ”The team has started the year really well will a few wins already and that’s motivating for those of us who are about to kick-off our first race, so we’re going in with good spirits. My shape is pretty good.

"I’ve been training at altitude for the past few weeks and now I’m keen to get going and test the legs in a race situation. Obviously the big goal early on will be UAE Tour but these races in Oman will be a bit of an acclimatisation to similar conditions over there, so it should be a perfect tester before the big one in UAE.”

The team in Oman will be lead by Sports Directors Fabio Baldato (Ita) and Yousif Mirza (UAE).

In Europe the team will take on the Figueira Champions Classic in Portugal and the Vuelta Murcia in Spain ( both 10 Feb) followed by the Clasica Almeria (11 Feb) and the Clasica Jaen (12 Feb).

Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) will lead the team as Sports Director in Figueira while Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) will oversee the Spanish races.

Muscat Classic [1.1] – 09-Feb-2024 & Tour of Oman [2.Pro] – 10-Feb-2024 / 14-Feb-2024

  • Finn Fisher Black (NZ)
  • Alvaro Hodeg (Col)
  • Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
  • Diego Ulissi (Ita)
  • Adam Yates (GB)
  • Abdulla Alhammadi (UAE) (Gen Z)
  • Mohammad Almutaiwei (UAE) (Gen Z)

Figueira Champions Classic [1.Pro] – 10-Feb-2024

  • Filippo Baroncini (Ita)
  • Isaac Del Toro (Mex)
  • Marc Hirschi (Swi)
  • Antonio Morgado (Por)
  • Rui Oliveira (Por)
  • Owen Cole (USA) (Gen Z)
  • Duarte Marivoet (Bel) (Gen Z)

Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia “Costa Calida” [1.1] – 10-Feb-2024

  • Igor Arrieta (Spa)
  • Alessandro Covi (Ita)
  • Rafal Majka (Pol)
  • Domen Novak (Slo)
  • Tim Wellens (Bel)
  • Luca Giaimi (Ita) (Gen Z)
  • Jonathan Guatibonza (Col) (Gen Z)

Clasica de Almeria [1.Pro] – 11-Feb-2024

  • Sjoerd Bax (Ned)
  • Alessandro Covi (Ita)
  • Sebastian Molano (Col)
  • Ivo Oliveira (Por)
  • Luca Giaimi (Ita) (Gen Z)
  • Jonathan Guatibonza (Col) (Gen Z)

Clásica Jaén [1.1] – 12-Feb-2024

  • Igor Arrieta (Spa)
  • Juan Ayuso (Spa)
  • Sjoerd Bax (Ned)
  • Alessandro Covi (Ita)
  • Domen Novak (Slo)
  • Marc Soler (Spa)
  • Tim Wellens (Bel)

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