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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

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A quick look at Bicycle History: A Chronological Cycling History of People, Races and Technology By Jim Witherell.


Team Quick Step will be on the start line at the Scheldeprijs

Here's the team's news:

Tom Boonen's final outing on Belgian soil will be at the 110-year-old race, which this season starts from his hometown.

Wednesday, April 5, will be a special day for Tom Boonen, as the rider of Quick-Step Floors will line out for the last time at the start of a pro race in his country – Scheldeprijs (200.5 kilometers) – four days before drawing the curtain on his career.

For things to be even more emotional, the organizers of the event which this year runs its 105th edition have decided that the peloton shall roll out from Mol, where the multiple Monument winner was born 36 years ago, and then go through Balen, the current residence of Boonen. On top of that, after the riders will cover the 9.5 kilometers of the neutral zone, it will be none other than Tom's grandfather who'll drop the flag and signal the official start of the race.

A two-time winner of Scheldeprijs (2004 and 2006), Tom Boonen will make his 12th appearance at Flanders' oldest race, where Quick-Step Floors will send a powerful squad, whose goal will be to land the win at the end of the day.

Marcel kittel

Marcel Kittel beats Mark Cavendish to win the 2016 Scheldeprijs

Last season, Marcel Kittel notched his fourth victory here, one that gave him the outright record at the event, after a dominant team display and a perfect sprint in Schoten; now, the German – who recently scored an emphatic win in Driedaagse De Panne–Koksijde – will have his sights on a second straight triumph in Belgium, and in his quest will count on a team also comprising Tim Declercq, Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli, Fabio Sabatini, Zdenek Stybar and Matteo Trentin.

And there was also this Quick-Step post about Philippe Gilbert:

Philippe Gilbert will enjoy a well-deserved rest before returning to action later this month.

Three days have passed since Philippe Gilbert held his Specialized bike triumphantly over his head before crossing the finish line at Ronde van Vlaanderen, a race in which he scored a majestic win that ranks with the best of all time. Quick-Step Floors' rider, who attacked with 56 kilometers to go, after the team previously took the race by the horns on the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen, brought the squad its 15th Monument victory and at the same time reached several milestones, from becoming the first Belgian Champion in nine years to conquer De Ronde to joining the elite club of riders who won cobbled and hilly Monuments over their career.

Philippe gilbert

Philippe Gilbert enjoyed a stunning win at the Flanders Tour

After his victory last Sunday, Philippe has opted together with the team to don't ride the 115th edition of Paris-Roubaix, the season's third Monument, so he can focus on the Ardennes Classics, scheduled in the second part of the month.

"Paris-Roubaix has a magnetic attraction on me, but I won't be there this year. I need to take a break, recover properly and then begin thinking of the Ardennes, where I'll be part of a very strong team, together with Julian and Dan", said the 34-year-old, winner of three races this season. "Besides that, I've only raced Roubaix once, back in 2007, and for a race like that you need experience. Tom needs all the support he can get in his final attempt there, as a strong team is a very important factor in Paris-Roubaix, and I wish him all the best."

"Immediately after his splendid Flanders win, the temptation of lining up Philippe at the start was big, especially as he too was thinking of this. But we sat down, thought this through and decided it's better for him to rest a bit and then return to training for the Ardennes campaign, where his experience and power will be very helpful", explained Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors' CEO.

Philippe Gilbert's next race will be Brabantse Pijl (April 12th), which he has won on two occasions (2011 and 2014).

Team Bora-hansgrohe reports on the second stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco

It was a calm stage with a long breakaway group and an excepted bunch sprint. BORA – hansgrohe defended the team classification and Michael Schwarzmann took 11th place in today's second stage.

The second stage took the riders from Pamplona to Eltziego over 173km with two categorized climbs and another tricky final after yesterday´s exciting stage end. The last kilometers of the race included some short hilly sections followed by a descent to the finish. A final that suited the sprinters in the peloton again.

From drop of the flag, the day's breakaway formed as a duo went up the road. After 60 kilometers of racing they had a gap of 4 minutes to the main bunch. BORA – hansgrohe stayed in the peloton, protecting sprinter Michael Schwarzmann for the final. In front of the peloton Team Sunweb took control over the pace to protect the leader jersey.

With 25 kilometers remaining, on the last lap, the peloton caught the escapees. BORA – hansgrohe rode all the time together and tried to form a lead-out for Michael Schwarzmann on he last kilometers. Unfortunately, they were blocked by the other sprinter teams.

In the excepted bunch sprint, BORA – hansgrohe was in a top ten position but ORICA – Scott rider Michael Albasini was the fastest man today and took the stage win. Best BORA – hansgrohe rider was Michael Schwarzmann, who finished in 11th place. The whole team defended their first place in the team classification and is still best team at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Michael Albasini

Michael Albasini wins the second stage of the Basque Country Tour

“We will talk about today´s stage but I think the boys were blocked on the last kilometers, therefore they weren´t able to form a lead-out, in that case it's difficult to sprint for a podium.” – Steffen Radochla, sports director

Team Sunweb previews its upcoming races

The team sent me this update:

SCHELDEPRIJS (1.HC)

Wednesday's Scheldeprijs is traditionally a day for the sprinters. The 105th edition of Scheldeprijs covers a total distance of 202.km starting in Mol and finishing in Schoten. After 141.6km riders will reach the first passage of the Broekstraat cobbled section, which they will then repeat three more times during the local laps. 

Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers (NED) said: "The team's goal for Scheldeprijs is to support Max through to the finale. Wind could be a factor in the race, in that case we will make sure that we are in the right place at the right time. With mainly flat roads and a few cobbled sections the team will work to ensure that Max is in as fresh as possible condition for the sprint. We have a strong lead-out with fast guys like Ramon, Phil and Mike, and this is also a good chance to further fine-tune the sprint preparation process with Bert as our road captain."

RACE: Scheldeprijs (1.HC)

DATE: 05/04/2017

COACH: Tom Veelers (NED) 

LINE-UP:
Phil Bauhaus (GER)
Bert De Backer (BEL)
Lennard Hofstede (NED)
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Mike Teunissen (NED)
Zico Waeytens (BEL)
Max Walscheid (GER)

HEALTHY AGEING TOUR (UCI 2.2)

Previously named the Energiewacht Tour, this year the race sees a new name. Starting on April 5, the Healthy Ageing Tour consists of six stages taking place over five days. The first stage sees riders complete a 17km prologue, followed by a short 77km road stage. This is followed by a 19.6km team time trial on day two, with three longer stages to complete the race.

"This is the first stage race of the year for the team and we are really motivated to perform well after the great successes so far," explained Team Sunweb coach Adriaan Helmantel (NED). "For our young talents Juliette and Liane, this is the first stage race of this level so it will be interesting to see how they perform within the team. Our main focus will be to put the knowledge gained into practice within our time trial and team time trial and take it up to the next level. With Lucinda we aim for a stage success and with a strong time trial we hope to get a good position in the GC with Ellen. Overall we have a strong, balanced team and we head to the race with confidence from our good results from the early stages of the season."

RACE: Healthy Ageing Tour (UCI 2.2)

DATE: 05-09/04/2017

COACH: Adriaan Helmantel (NED) 

LINE-UP
Lucinda Brand (NED)
Ellen van Dijk (NED)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Julia Soek (NED)

PARIS-ROUBAIX (WT)

This Sunday sees the 115th edition of Paris-Roubaix get underway and the third Monument of the season. The course totals a gruelling 257km and considered to be one of the calendar's most difficult one-day races. 55km of cobbled sections are sure to shake up the strongest of the peloton before the finish in Roubaix Velodrome.

"Paris-Roubaix sees the last cobbled classic of this spring season," said Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) ahead of the race. "We have some specialists in the team with Ramon and Bert who were up there last year in the final. Mike and Ramon are also both winners of the U23 edition in the past. From the Arenberg we have to stick together and ride agressively in order to be there with as many guys in the final where we hope to deliver Ramon in as fresh as possible condition."

RACE: Paris-Roubaix (WT)

DATE: 09/04/2017

COACH: Marc Reef (NED) 

LINE-UP
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Bert De Backer (BEL)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Tom Stamsnijder (NED)
Mike Teunissen (NED
Zico Waeytens (BEL)
Max Walscheid (GER) 

PARIS-CAMEMBERT (UCI 1.1)

The 78th edition of Paris-Camembert takes place next Tuesday, 11 March covering a total distance of 200km. The parcours feature a multitude of climbs, with a final climb in the last 10 kilometres before a fast descent to the finish. After some solid results last week, Development Team Sunweb will represent the team at the start line keen to continue with their good form.

Team Sunweb coach Arthur Van Dongen (NED) said: "The most important factor for the team is to gain some more experience riding together at this level, the parcours are tough with various climbs and a challenging finish, so it will be a good opportunity for the guys to learn. Our goal throughout the race is to ride offensively and to be present in the breakaways. If the race ends with a bunch sprint, which is likely,  then the team aims to position Leon well in the final. After a great result with Leon last week we can go into the race with confidence."

RACE: Paris-Camembert (UCI 1.1)

DATE: 11/04/2017

COACH:Arthur Van Dongen (NED) 

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