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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 25, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. - William James

Current racing:

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Vuelta a España stage six team reports

We posted the organizer's stage six report here.

We have to start the with the news from stage winner Tomasz Marczynski's Lotto-Soudal team:

Tomasz Marczynski has won the sixth stage of La Vuelta, between Vila-real and Sagunt! Four climbs of third category and one of second category had to be overcome. After lots of attempts, thirty-seven riders finally established the day’s breakaway, with among others Tomasz Marczynski and Maxime Monfort. The front group’s tempo was really high in the first part of the race, and the group was consequently reduced to twenty-eight riders. With less than hundred kilometres to go, Monfort and Jungels attacked but the duo was reeled in thirty kilometres later. Marczynski and Mas dropped the rest of the breakaway on the Puerto del Garbí, the last climb of the day with top at 36 kilometres from the end, and Marczynski crossed the top first.

They were later joined by Poljanski and their advantage quickly reached thirty-six seconds. The three riders collaborated perfectly to stay up front despite the intense fight between the GC riders in the chasing group. Marczynski put his experience to good use in the last kilometre and he found himself in an ideal position to launch his sprint. The Pole crossed the line in first place and took a fantastic stage win for the team.

Tomasz Marczynski: “I am incredibly happy with this victory! I have won a few national titles in the past, but a stage victory in a Grand Tour is a big achievement. It is extra special for me because I have been living in Spain for a few years now, so I consider this to be a home race.”

“After about forty kilometres of racing I accelerated uphill and I rode alone in front for about five kilometres. Once I saw that a group of about fifteen riders had been formed behind me, I decided to wait. Yesterday we had missed the opportunity and today we really had to have a rider in the break, now we had two with Maxime and me.”

“After Maxime had been reeled in, the group started falling apart. On the last climb the GC riders picked up the pace, but I was motivated to survive. I also had a back-up plan: If we would have been caught, I still would have sprinted at the end. But it’s easier to beat two riders than a larger group, so I was determined not to get caught. When we were left with three the cooperation ran smoothly. In the last kilometre I didn’t pull anymore, I got in position for the sprint. I was really focussed and I believed I could finish it off.”

Tmas Marczynski

Tomas Marczynski enjoys the moment

“I really want to thank Lotto Soudal for giving me the opportunity to let me be part of one of the best teams in the world and to keep confidence in me after last season where health issues kept me from setting good results. I really appreciate this and I am very happy I could give the team such a wonderful victory.”

“I hope this is the beginning of an even more successful Vuelta for me and the team. There are several more opportunities for breakaways and I will definitely try again. I have specifically marked the stage to the Sierra Nevada, close to where I live. When coming to the Vuelta, I felt the condition was good after a three-week altitude training camp and Tour de Pologne where I got some race rhythm. After Poland I trained again on altitude. I was confident that I could win a stage here and now I did. I hope more beautiful moments will come for our team this Vuelta.”

And here's the report from second-place Pawel Poljanski's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Being in the big break of the day with Poljanski and Benedetti, BORA – hansgrohe was in control of the race most of the day. When Pawel attacked on the last climb, just two riders could follow. In the end, the leading trio had to give it everything to defend their 30 second advantage over the group of favorites on the last 20 kilometers. They succeeded, but it was Marczynski who took the win, with Pawel Poljanski in second place.

After fighting several days against a virus, slowly BORA – hansgrohe comes back to business as usual in the Vuelta. While the undulated stage 6 between Vila-Real and Sagunt was again an opportunity for a break to go to the finish, as four 3rd cat. and one 2nd cat. climbs waited for the riders on the 204.4-kilometer-long course.

The team was keen to be again up there, like Michael Schwarzmann was already yesterday, and may fight for the stage win in Sagunt. Especially Patrick Konrad was the one to ride offensive from the beginning and fight for the break of the day, supported from Benedetti, Schillinger, Pfingsten and Poljanski.

As a lot of teams expected the break to be able to go to the finish again, right from the gun several attempts were launched. But it took more than 30k until a big group of 24 riders went clear on the first climb of the day, chased by a 11-men counter attack. BORA – hansgrohe had Pawel Poljanski in the first, and Cesare Benedetti in the second group. On the top of the mountain both groups, and another three chasers, came together and 37 riders enjoyed a two-minute lead over the peloton.

But while Team Sky didn’t let the gap grow to more than 2:30, some riders dropped from the leading group over the second, third and fourth climb of the day, making it 27 riders in front with 50k to go. Also Cesare Benedetti and Pawel Poljanski still presented the BORA – hansgrohe colors at the head of the race, as the breakaway group worked well together. The first serious selection was made on the last climb of the day then, when Pawel attacked and just two guys were able to follow his pace. As Contador launch an attack in the peloton, the new leading trio was still one minute ahead of the first reduced bunch, which overtook all of the former breakaway riders.

On the last 20k it was a close race between the Poljanski group and the group of favorites. Defending their 30 second advantage with everything left in the tank, Pawel and his companions came together to the final kilometer, still with 25 seconds in favor. But it was Marczynski who took the win, with Pawel Poljanski in second place.

“It feels so good to be up there again with the best, after suffering four days like hell with this stomach problems. CeCe (Benedetti) helped me a lot, it was easier with two of us in the big break, to control the situation. I felt strong on the last climb and decided to give it a go. In the last 20k we had to give it everything, as our gap was just 30 seconds. But maybe I pulled a little too much, I don’t know, anyway I am not really fast in sprints. I knew Marcynski was the one to watch, but I couldn’t pass him after he launched the sprint. It’s a great result, but we are here to get a win, so we will keep on trying.” – Pawel Poljanski

“The race was so fast in the beginning, I had to spend already a lot to be in that chasing group. Then, to close the gap to the front was also really painful. I knew that the last climb was really steep and Pawel said he feels strong, so I tried to control the group before we entered it. For us, this result is a big relief after the bad start we suffered here.” – Cesare Benedetti

UAE Team Emirates sent me this Vuelta press release:

UAE Team Emirates produced a good performance during stage six of the Vuelta, with Slovenian Jan Polanc placing fifth and Columbian team-mate Darwin Atapuma winning two of the five categorized climbs (the Alto de Chirivilla and Puerto del Oronet). The duo formed part of the 28-strong breakaway group, Polanc preceding the GC contenders to finish in a very respectable position. UAE Team Emirates’ Rui Costa and Louis Meintjes move up in the General Classification, both now in the top 20.

The sprint finish saw a Poland one-two finish, with Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) crossing the line in first place to take the red jersey, ahead of compatriot Pawel Poljanski (BORA – Hansgrohe).

Commenting on his fifth place finish, UAE Team Emirates’ Jan Polanc said: “I tried to play my cards right in the breakaway, but on the last climb the three riders in front of me were too strong and pulled away. I was part of the chasing group and tried some moves to get a good stage finish and I managed to get it. I’ll try again in the next stage to get a win.”

On Stage seven the peloton will ride from Llíria to a promising finale in Cuenca. The stage promises to be action packed, with steep climbs of up to 7.3% gradients, cobblestones and a finish in the new part of Cuenca

Van Avermaet to head BMC Racing Team's Bretagne Classic Ouest-France line-up

BMC sent me this update:

24 August 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): UCI WorldTour one-day racing continues for BMC Racing Team in France this weekend with Greg Van Avermaet headlining a strong roster for Bretagne Classic Ouest-France on Sunday (27 August).

Sports Director Valerio Piva thinks BMC Racing Team is lining up with a team capable of racing aggressively in Brittany. "Bretagne Classic Ouest-France is another UCI WorldTour race, and so with points on the line, and Greg Van Avermaet leading the individual rankings, we will be going in with him as our leader. Normally this race comes down to a bunch sprint and, while there is a climb with 3km to go, it is not really enough to split the group, but we will go there for Greg and try to do everything we can to help him arrive in the best position. We also have riders like Silvan Dillier and Dylan Teuns who can make a move on the circuit and make the race hard. We need to ride aggressively, and I think we have a team capable of being in every move, so we will see how we arrive at the final," Piva said.

Oliver Naesen wins Bretagne Classic Ouest-France in 2016

Van Avermaet is looking for an opportunity to secure more UCI WorldTour points at Bretagne Classic Ouest-France. "I was feeling good last weekend in Hamburg, and the whole team did a great job to put me in a good position. Once again, we have a strong team lining up, and I am feeling confident heading into the race. This is another race where it is difficult to stay away in the final but my shape is where I want it to be and it would be good if I can finish with a top ten result," Van Avermaet explained.

Bretagne Classic Ouest-France (27 August)

Rider Roster: Silvan Dillier (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)

Bert Jan Lindeman extends with Team LottoNL-Jumbo

Here's the team's press release:

Bert Jan Lindeman continues with Team LottoNL-Jumbo next year. The 28-year-old rider from Emmen will be part of the Dutch team for the fourth year. Lindeman is currently riding the Vuelta a España. Two years ago he achieved his biggest career success by winning the seventh stage of the Spanish grand tour.

“I feel at home within the team and I appreciate my role”, Lindeman explains his decision to stay. “I support the leaders of the team, but I also get my own chances. Our staff works really well with all riders to improve them. That’s what I like the most. Personally I’m still improving too.”


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