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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson

Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:


Tour of Poland: Bora-hansgrohe had a great day in the hills

Here's the team's report:

Stage 3 of the Tour de Pologne was supposed to be a day for the climbers. The hard first category climbs in the second half of the stage saw the all-rounders and sprinters dropped almost immediately, but riding comfortably in the bunch, UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, along with teammate Rafał Majka, were not only in the bunch, but challenging for the win in a hard and steep final kilometre. This incredible performance by BORA-hansgrohe saw Peter retake the race lead, with Rafał moving up to third in the GC.

The Tour de Pologne hit the mountains today, and on a stage that didn’t pull any punches, it was clear riders were going to be hurting at the end of the day. The flat opening 70km lulled riders into a false sense of security, before the road pointed skyward not just for one, but for four first category climbs. The 161km parcours really would result in a race of two halves – but the second half was where the race had the potential to really come to life. Narrow roads at the finale and a sharp kick upwards meant the stage had a sting in its tail after an already hard day.

Knowing what would await them later in the day, the break went on the attack as soon as the stage started, a group of seven went ahead, using the flatter terrain to their advantage and build up a lead of two minutes, before topping out at 3:30. As the race came past the 50km to go point, BORA-hansgrohe helped up the pace and the gap soon dropped below two minutes again. In spite of the hard climbs, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, who was tied for the GC lead, was still with the bunch while others dropped off the back, while Rafał Majka was riding well with the other GC contenders, in his element in the Polish mountains. With the peloton driving the pace, the break was caught with 37km to go, but such an early catch meant it was highly likely another break would go.

On the descent of the day’s final climb, the attacks came, but in spite of their best efforts, no-one was able to gain much more than twenty seconds on a fast peloton. With a sixty-strong peloton there was no chance of a solo win, and it was all back together with just a few kilometres remaining, and only the sharp final climb to the finish to go. The length and steepness of the climb saw the all-rounders and sprinters dropped at the very start of the 17% ascent, but as even the climbers started to drop off, Peter stayed in contention the entire length before putting in a final kick, closely followed by Rafał. Crossing the line in second position with Rafał in third, Peter re-took the race’s yellow jersey and maintained his hold on the white points jersey ahead of the Tour de Pologne’s longest day tomorrow.

Dylan Teuns

Dylan Teuns in front of Peter Sagan

Back in the race leader’s yellow jersey, Peter knew there was still a lot of racing to be done, but was happy with his performance so far. "Stage 3 of the Tour de Pologne was a tough one! I managed to stay in a good position in the first four climbs and I gave my all in the steep and hard final climb. Thanks to the squad and Rafał for their excellent work today – it feels good to be back in yellow. As I said yesterday, my form is very good, but the race is long and we will take it day by day."

Rafał was pleased to have Peter with him at the finish and what this meant for the GC standings. "We are very happy with our performance and result today. It was a tough final climb but together with Peter we were in the final group, and were well positioned. Unfortunately, I accelerated a bit late in order to take the win. It was the first time I was riding here and I didn't know the climb very well. Still, thanks to his second place, Peter has recovered the yellow jersey and I'm sitting third in the GC, just 12 seconds behind him. We now have two cards to play at the Tour de Pologne and we will take all the opportunities in the following stages."

Tomorrow, the day starts hilly before an undulating run to the finish. There’s just one fourth category climb at the 30km mark, but after this it’s more than 200km to the finish. On a long day like this, it’s the ability to last the full distance that will decide the day’s winner, and the flat, street circuit finish, will encourage the sprinters to take their chance for glory.

Luxembourg champ Bob Jungels signs for three more years with
Quick-Step Floors

Here's the team's update:

Champion of Luxembourg Bob Jungels, currently racing the Tour de Pologne, has agreed on a new contract with the squad managed by Patrick Lefevere.

Bob Jungels has extended his stint in the Quick-Step Floors jersey, which he will continue to sport for three more seasons. Since joining the team, Bob has racked up five victories, but more importantly, he has developed into a true Grand Tour contender, his results in the past two years at the Giro d'Italia speaking for themselves.

Top 10 overall in 2016 (6th) and 2017 (8th), winner of the coveted maglia bianca on both occasions and history-maker as the first Luxembourger in six decades to wear the pink jersey, all these are milestones achieved by the 24-year-old in his tenure at Quick-Step Floors so far, which Bob was more than happy to prolong until the end of the 2020 season.

Bob Jungels

Bob Jungels at this year's Giro d'Italia

"I am really happy with where I am, with the whole team, the staff and the management, so it was never a question for me if I wanted to stay or not. I feel I have a lot of support and trust from the entire team and I am both happy and proud to continue with this great outfit for the next three years. I'm heading towards a really interesting time in my career and it's very important to rely on a strong team for the Grand Tours, and this is what I have here at Quick-Step Floors", a happy Bob Jungels said.

The Luxembourger, who showcased his talents also in other races, confirmed that he won't be targeting only Grand Tours in the future, as he has set his sights also on other prestigious races.

"I like to see my career as a project. Two years ago I was a bit uncertain if I could compete for the GC in a Grand Tour, but I got that confirmation while riding for Quick-Step Floors and I am grateful for that. Next year, I'm not going to focus only on Grand Tours. I know I can do well also in one-day races and week-long stage races, so I'll try to be there when it will matter in Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico or the Tour de Suisse, which are all races that suit me well."

Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors' CEO, was content with having the talented Luxembourger in the team for at least three more seasons: "I am very proud and happy that we have managed to sign with Bob until 2020. He has proven to be a natural leader and one of the most promising GC riders in the peloton, a superb all-rounder, with strong climbing and time trialling abilities."

"If you look over his two-year stint so far with us you can see Bob has been instrumental for the team, from his great ride in the past two editions of the Giro d'Italia to the World TTT Championships in Doha, where he helped us capture the gold medals for the third time. We're confident he'll continue to progress and show his quality in the big races", Lefevere concluded.

Team Sunweb's upcoming races

The team sent me this:

ANTWERPSE HAVENPIJL (UCI 1.2)

Development Team Sunweb head to Belgium to line-up at Antwerpse Havenpijl this Sunday. The race consists of a 168 kilometre route featuring three 50 kilometre laps followed by two laps of a 10 kilometre local circuit in the harbour of Antwerp. The race forms part of the UCI Europe Tour and Team Sunweb start the race with a strong German roster.

Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert (GER) said: "We can expect a really challenging race at Antwerpse Havenpijl. Good cooperation will be key for us to continue with our development in one-day races. With the race near to the coast the wind could be an important factor so the team will need to be sharp throughout the day. Various race scenarios are possible and we are fully prepared for all outcomes and motivated for a good race."

RACE: Antwerpse Havenpijl (UCI 1.2)

DATE: 06/08//2017

COACH: Sebastian Deckert (GER)

LINE-UP: Felix Gall (AUT), Maxime Gressier (FRA), Max Kanter (GER), Jarno Mobach (NED), Leon Rohde (GER), Martin Salmon (GER), Ruben Zepuntke (GER) 

BINCKBANK TOUR (WT)

The newly named BinckBank Tour opens with a 200 kilometre route to Venray with the finish providing opportunity for the sprinters. Day two features an individual time trial followed by a visit to Belgium for the fast men on third stage. Next, riders go uphill for day four with three days for the climbers to close the race.

Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers (NED) said: "We line-up at the BinckBank Tour with GC ambitions with Tom [Dumoulin] and we have an experienced team around him to support this goal, both on the flat stages as well as on the hillier parcours. With a few sprint stages during the race we will also explore our chances for stage results with Phil."

RACE: BinckBank Tour (WT)

DATE: 07-13/08/2017

COACH: Tom Veelers (NED)

LINE-UP: Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Phil Bauhaus (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Lennard Hofstede (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED)

TOUR DE L'AIN (UCI 2.1)

Following a successful  2016 Tour de L'Ain campaign with Sam Oomen (NED) winning a stage and the general classification, Development Team Sunweb line-up at the race next Tuesday looking to gain experience across it's challenging parcours. The first two stages of the race should give the sprinters opportunity to shine before the climbers come to the forefront for stage three and four.

Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert (GER) said: "Tour de l'Ain is one of the most demanding and challenging races on our development race program. It's one of the most important races for young riders to break through and the biggest talents are always on the start line. We line-up to give the team experience in riding in a race of this category and at such a high level to continue their development. We're looking forward to competing against some strong riders and teams in a brilliant race."

RACE: Tour de l"Ain (UCI 2.1)

DATE: 08-12/08/2017

COACH: Sebastian Deckert (GER) 


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