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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, July 28, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies - Nelson Mandela

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Latest completed racing:


Tour of Poland team updates

BMC sent me this about the Tour of Poland:

27 July 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will return to the Tour of Poland this week with Ben Hermans and Dylan Teuns set to lead the team's General Classification ambitions at the UCI WorldTour stage race.

Sports Director Max Sciandri thinks that BMC Racing Team is taking a depth of talent to the seven-day race. "One of our main objectives going into the race is to try and do well on the General Classification, and I think Ben Hermans can step up to the role of team leader as well as Dylan Teuns, who is going to come into the race in good condition after his overall win at the VOO Tour de Wallonie. We will also look to try and take opportunities to go for stage wins with some of our other riders like Rohan Dennis and Tejay van Garderen. We have a strong, aggressive team and I believe that we can go in looking to bring home as much as possible," Sciandri said.

Ben Hermans is looking forward to making a return to racing at the Tour of Poland. "This will be my first race after a few weeks of solid training. It will be a good test to see how my form is at the moment, but I am always motivated to do more than just that at this race. Over the last few years, I have shown that this race suits me, so I am really motivated to go for a nice result again. The parcours has changed a bit, especially as it is missing the time trial, and because of this, we have to see how we change tactics. But, it is clear that the final two stages are the most important," Hermans explained.

Ben hermans

Ben Hermans winning stage 2 at this year's Tour of Oman

Dylan Teuns is motivated to produce a good result at the Tour of Poland after securing the first stage race win of his career. "Winning two stages and taking the overall victory at the VOO Tour de Wallonie was amazing. I felt really strong all week so I think I can go into this next race with a lot of confidence. I am really motivated to build upon my success in Belgium so we will see what happens as the race progresses." 

Tour of Poland (29 July - 4 August)

Rider Roster: Rohan Dennis (AUS), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Daniel Oss (ITA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA)

Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA), Marco Pinotti (ITA)

Lotto-Soudal sent me this about the Tour of Poland:

The 74th edition of the Tour de Pologne will take place between Saturday 29 July and Friday 4 August. The WorldTour race is ideally suited for riders who want to start the second half of the season after a rest and training period. Four out of seven stages are shorter than 150 kilometres and the course is versatile. There are three chances for sprinters, one for puncheurs and also three stages where the climbers have opportunities. There are no high-mountain stages, though, in the Tour de Pologne. Only in the sixth stage, the riders have to climb to an altitude of over a thousand metres.

The opening stage, with start and finish in Krakow, is a warm-up for the riders. The 130-kilometres stage is the shortest of the Tour de Pologne. There are a few hills at the beginning of the stage, which will most likely end in a sprint finish. There are more hills in the finale of the second stage, but a sprint finish cannot be ruled-out. Stage three offers a first chance for the GC contenders, with four category one climbs in the second half of the race. The next stage is suited again for sprinters, since the 240-kilometres stage is almost completely flat, but exceptionally long. This monstrous stage is followed by a shorter one of 130 kilometres. The category two climb at ten kilometres from the finish makes this stage ideally for puncheurs. The concluding two stages will be decisive for the GC, since the finales of both stages contain multiple first category climbs.

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We start the Tour de Pologne with a versatile team. We can compete in the sprint stages with Jens Debusschere, but we also have several riders who can keep up with the best in the mountain stages. Most importantly, we have Bart De Clercq, Maxime Monfort and Rafael Valls, but also Tomasz Marczynski and Sander Armée can handle this course.”

Jens Debusschere

Jens Debusschere winning a stage at last year's Dwars door Vlaanderen

“Our goal during this Tour de Pologne is twofold. Firstly, we will try to obtain a stage victory with Jens Debusschere, something we can hopefully accomplish in the first two stages already. Next to that, we aim for a top ten spot with Rafael Valls. He has proven that he is capable to do so in the Tour Down Under and the Critérium du Dauphiné. It’s usually no problem for Rafael to set a good result after a training period. In stage three, it will become clear already which riders will be GC contenders. This stage ends on a steep hill where it’s certainly possible to make some time differences. The final two stages, however, will be the most decisive for the GC.”

“This year, each team only starts with seven riders, which means that every team has one rider less to control the race. This might lead to a more attacking race strategy, even though the weather conditions will also play their part. For the moment, very hot weather is forecast, which might result in stages that will be closed longer.”

“Four of the seven stages in this Tour de Pologne are shorter than 150 kilometres. This is positive for our riders, who all return to racing after a training camp. This will be high-intensity stages, which is a good way to gain race rhythm, from which they can benefit in the races to come. Despite the fact that this is the first race in a long time for most riders and that all seven go to the Vuelta, this stage race is not just an ordinary preparation race. It’s a WorldTour race and we will try to our upmost to obtain a nice result, just as the previous years (Tim Wellens won the GC last year and Bart De Clercq finished second in 2015, LTS).”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Jens Debusschere, Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort, Rafael Valls and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

Stages

And we musn't forget the Clasica San Sebastian

Here's what Team Quick-Step Floors posted:

Dan Martin, who was coming off the back of a very solid Tour de France, will miss the race due to injury.

A city with a tumultuous and fascinating history, which goes back to the 12th century, San Sebastian left behind the years when it was renowned as a much-needed seaport and military stronghold, and after a makeover which began in the second half of the 19th century, it became one of Europe most popular holiday destinations, and at the same time, the host of one of the most spectacular one-day races of the cycling calendar, the Clasica San Sebastian, whose history traces back to 1981, when Marino Lejarreta won the inaugural edition.

At first glance, the 37th edition will be harder than the one of last year, as it's longer (231 kilometers) and will see the peloton take on more climbs, but in truth it should once again come down to the Jaizkibel – Arkale combo, set to be done twice, and the leg-sapping Murgil Tontorra, the 1900m-long climb averaging 9.2%, whose summit will be crested just eight kilometers from the finish, where the riders will arrive after a fast technical descent followed by a short flat section.

Philippe Gilbert will headline World Tour leader Quick-Step Floors' roster for the Spanish classic. The Belgian won here in 2011 and finished runner-up at his most recent participation, in 2015, and is now ready to resume racing after a viral gastroenteritis forced him to abandon the Tour de France in the last week.

Philippe Gilbert

Philppe Gilbert racing at this year's Tour of Switzerland

"It's my first race since the Tour de France, so it's hard to say where I am, especially as I had to pull out of the Tour due to illness. San Sebastian is always an important race, and of course I would like to do good, but it is difficult to say where I stand. I think my body is feeling better and I'm looking forward to racing again and to test the waters, but I'll be able to say more after the race", said Philippe, who so far this season has landed five wins in the Quick-Step Floors jersey, including Ronde van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race.

Joining Gilbert for Saturday's race will be Gianluca Brambilla, Eros Capecchi, David De La Cruz – winner of a Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage in San Sebastian earlier this year – Dries Devenyns, neo-pro Enric Mas (who'll race his ninth World Tour event of the season), Pieter Serry and Czech Champion Zdenek Stybar.

Dan Martin was also supposed to race San Sebastian, but after a medical examination revealed two small transverse process fracture to the L2 and L3 vertebrae, he will be sidelined for the next three weeks, during which the 30-year-old Irishman will need to rest and recover before returning to action.

"During the Tour I didn't have any problems when racing, but off the bike I wasn't feeling very comfortable, so this week I did a scan and got the news. It's a real pity I won't ride San Sebastian, because the legs were there and it's a race I like, but fortunately this injury isn't something to worry about. In order to tackle my future goals in good condition, it's better to take a break and give the fracture time to heal. There's nothing else I can do, just rest and then build up for the final part of the season", said Dan, who concluded the Tour de France in sixth overall, his best ever Grand Tour result.

Of course, Movistar will be at San Sebastian (Donostia):

Blues [Team Movistar] continue with Basque classics' week at Donostia (Saturday 29th), will also compete at renewed Polish stagerace (thru Friday 4th), featuring no TT and four hilly stages.

The Movistar Team continues to squeeze its month of July as they send two teams to the Basque Country this weekend for the 37th Clásica San Sebastián (Saturday 29th) and the 74th Tour de Pologne (29th-August 4th).

Over at the most prestigious race in eastern Europe, the Blues will bring a roster directed by José Luis Jaimerena and José Luis Laguía which features José Joaquín Rojas, Nelson Oliveira, Rory Sutherland, Gorka Izagirre, Winner Anacona, Dayer Quintana and Alex Dowsett. The 2017 route, with no time trials and extra difficulty for all teams with only seven riders allowed, favours climbers: the classic hilly stages at Zakopane and Bukowina remain -closing the race on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th-; with two other lumpy stages added in Szczyrk (final kilometer at 11%), on Friday 31st; and Rzeszów, a Cat-2 climb just 11km from the finish on Wednesday 2nd.

In turn, at the biggest one-day race in Spain, José Luis Arrieta will be in charge of an eight-man roster composed by Rubén Fernández, Víctor de la Parte, Imanol Erviti, Richard Carapaz, Héctor Carretero, José Herrada, Dani Moreno and Jonathan Castroviejo. The 'Klasikoa' keeps its route intact from 2016, with the steep Murgil Tontorra ascent in its final circuit around Donostia, after 231km that also include the dual ascents of Jaizkibel and Arkale.


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