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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, July 30, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Lotto-Soudal reports on the Clásica San Sebastián

The Clásica San Sebastián was scheduled today. Tony Gallopin got beaten by Michal Kwiatkowski at the finish.

The Clásica San Sebastián was 231 kilometres long and eight climbs lay on the course. Seven riders established a break in the beginning of the race. They got just over five minutes advantage. Lotto Soudal rider Rémy Mertz was one of the riders controlling the gap. With 56 kilometres to go, on the second ascent of Jaizkibel, all escapees had been caught. About twenty kilometres further, on the Arkale, a small group with Jelle Vanendert created a gap. Gianni Moscona attacked from that group. He was reeled in on Murgil Tontorra, with top at seven kilometres from the finish, after Tosh Van der Sande had been pulling in the reduced bunch. Next, Jelle Vanendert accelerated. He couldn’t get a sufficient lead and was caught, but then teammate Tony Gallopin attacked. Together with Mikel Landa he rode away from the small bunch. Bauke Mollema joined them just before the top. In the descent first Michal Kwiatkowski and then Tom Dumoulin closed the gap. These five riders sprinted for victory. Gallopin started the sprint, but Kwiatkowski passed him by. 38 seconds later Tiesj Benoot got ninth.

Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski celebrates his win

Tony Gallopin: “The team did an excellent job today. Tiesj, Jelle and I were in a good position when we got at the foot of the last climb. My legs felt very good. When Landa attacked I followed. I know the climb and I knew the last three hundred metres would be less steep, so I joined his attack. Unfortunately Landa’s teammate Kwiatkowski was riding behind us, so he didn’t cooperate with Mollema and me. When Dumoulin closed the gap as well, I feared that he would cooperate with Mollema.”

“After Kwiatkowski had come back in the descent, I focussed on the sprint. I started the sprint early, maybe too early. But Kwiatkowski was the fastest, so I can accept it. Although it is disappointing to finish second in this race for the second year in a row.”

“The team was very strong today. We had five riders at the front in the finale and the others had done their job beforehand, like Rémy Mertz who had pulled in the bunch. Lars Bak and Tosh Van der Sande made sure we could start the last climb in a good position. It’s very nice this way. My next race will be the BinckBank Tour (7 till 13 August). I feel strong after the Tour and hope to keep it this way for a while.”

The Tour de Pologne began today with a short stage of 130 kilometres with start and finish in Kraków. The break of the day consisted of four riders. Keizer and Paterski remained in front the longest. A compact bunch entered the local circuit of four kilometres that had to be covered three times. Nobody could avoid a sprint. Peter Sagan conquered the stage win, ahead of Caleb Ewan and Danny van Poppel. Jens Debusschere finished tenth.

Caleb Ewen was a close second at the Tour of Poland's first stage

Here's the report from his Team Orica-Scott:

Giro d’Italia stage winner Caleb Ewan sprinted to second place on today’s opening stage of the 2017 Tour of Poland.

A breakaway of four riders animated the day before finally being reeled back in as the race entered the final four kilometre finishing circuits in Krakow. ORICA-SCOTT worked well to position Ewan towards the front of the peloton in the final kilometres as he launched out of the wheels and into second place behind the eventual winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Sport director Dave McPartland was satisfied with the result in what was a close sprint and the first race back for Ewan in almost two months. “We are happy with the result, of course would be more satisfied if we had taken the win today, that’s what we have come here for, but it is Caleb’s first race back in quite a while,” said McPartland. “We didn’t really make any errors today, I think it was simply down to a split second when Sagan jumped before Caleb.”

“Sagan is obviously very experienced and he knows Caleb is fast, but he out-smarted him a little today by jumping a split second earlier from behind.”

Tour of Poland stage 1

Peter Sagan just beats Caleb Ewen.

With harder, hillier stages to come in the seven-day tour, ORICA-SCOTT were eager to kick things off with a bunch sprint and controlled the race alongside Bora-Hansgrohe to ensure the breakaway didn’t gain too much time and survive all the way to the finish line.

“The team rode throughout the stage to control the breakaway, we had Rob Power and Ruben Plaza up there and then coming into the final laps we used the rest of the guys for Caleb,” McPartland continued. “Luka Mezgec did a great job in the final, he ended up on the front earlier than expect and there were quite a few late attacks. Tomorrow is likely to be another sprint stage and I think it will be a rematch of today, so another good opportunity for Caleb.”

How it happened:

The first stage of the 2017 Tour of Poland began with four riders establishing the day’s breakaway within the first 25kilometres of the stage.

Martjin Keizer (Lotto-Jumbo), Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordic), Pawel Bernas (Domin Sport) and Maciej Paterski (CCC) were quickly allowed to gain over a four minute advantage as ORICA-SCOTT and Bora-Hansgrohe patrolled the speed at the head of the bunch.

Throughout the fairly flat stage, the leading quadruplet hovered ahead for the majority of the race until they finally reduced down to just two riders as they entered the last 20kilometres of the short 130kilometre day.

As the race passed the finish line with three laps of a four kilometre circuit left to complete, the sprinter teams headed to the front and finally reeled in the remaining escapees. The scene was set for a predicted bunch sprint in Krakow, however not all team’s were willing to settle and began attacking within the final four kilometres.

A crash with 500metres to go saw the bunch split slightly but thanks to the help of his teammates, Ewan was already well placed ahead and launched out of the wheels and into second place.

Tomorrow is another fairly short stage at 142kilometres with the potential for another bunch sprint.

Team Sunweb dominates RideLondon Classique

The team sent me this report:

Team Sunweb have taken a clean sweep at the Ride London Classique today, as Coryn Rivera (USA) sprinted to an incredible victory, Leah Kirchmann (CAN) took the win in the sprint competition and the team won overall in the teams classification.

Team Sunweb stormed to another brilliant victory today as they propelled Rivera, who has recently extended with the team until the end of 2020, to victory at the Ride London Classique. Whilst the team spent the race collecting points in the sprint competition for Kirchmann to seal the win, Rivera remained tucked inside the peloton saving energy for the sprint. With three lead-outs under their belt from the intermediate sprints, Team Sunweb had perfected their strategy for the finish and Rivera was able to launch her famous powerful sprint on her Liv Envie to take another impressive WorldTour victory for Team Sunweb. Team Sunweb's brilliant corporation was also rewarded with the win in the team's classification.

After the race Rivera said: "It was a really fun, aggressive race. The girls did a brilliant job and Leah was amazing in the sprints and took that home. That also meant that the girls could practice our lead-out a little bit before the finish which was great. We knew where we had to be and we were there, it all came down to timing in the end."

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED) added: "This was a brilliant team performance today. The team had a good mind-sight, they weren't afraid to put everything in for the sprints and they wanted to make the race their own. Coryn took confidence from the team's successes during the race and was able to channel that into her power on the bike. It's been a brilliant day to take the win across the sprints and team classification and of course the race win."

BMC Racing Team targets general classification at Tour of Utah

The team sent me this update:

28 July, 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will return stateside next week for The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, where Brent Bookwalter will lead the charge for the General Classification.

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said the team has multiple objectives at the race.

"Brent Bookwalter is our rider for the General Classification, a role he deserves after some solid results in the first part of the year. Joey Rosskopf and Kilian Frankiny will also have freedom on the stage 2 summit finish and riders like Silvan Dillier will have the opportunity to jump in a good breakaway. We are ambitious but I would like to see us win the overall and the time trial, and I think we will be competitive and aggressive in all of the stages," Stewart explained.

"This year is a very different race as we have an uphill time trial and the Snow Basin summit finish is a road we haven't raced on before. The queen stage to Snowbird will be interesting as it is only 100km so we can expect a really aggressive stage. We are a bit lower in altitude this year but I think the race route suits us well."

Brent Bookwalter

Brent Bookwalter

Bookwalter is looking forward to racing on home soil. "This year's route has some of the classics sections which I've experienced in previous editions but also some exciting new sections like the long gravel sector on stage 4, the Big Cottonwood TT and a new summit finish at Snow Basin.  Traditionally, this is a race that is won by a pure climber.  My success here in the past has been more from versatility and tenacity than pure climbing strength, so I'll look to race heads up and switched on this week, capitalizing on my strength in areas other than just the climbs," Bookwalter said.

"I've had a fairly laid back build up to this next phase of races so am interested to see how my condition is.  I'm always inspired to race in the USA so I know I'll have that extra bit of motivation that is needed when the race heats up.  We have a well rounded and powerful team of climbers and opportunists in Utah so am looking forward to relying on our collective strength through the seven stages."

For Joey Rosskopf, The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is the first chance to wear his stars and stripes time trial champion jersey. "I'm not necessarily excited that the time trial is a hill climb, but nonetheless it's really exciting to debut the jersey here in the US when so much of my time is spent elsewhere. Hopefully the jersey will add an extra level of strength and motivation to drag my big bod up Big Cottonwood," Rosskopf said.

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (July 31 - August 6)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Martin Elmiger (SUI), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Patrick Müller (SUI), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Manuel Senni (ITA).

Sports Director: Jackson Stewart (USA)


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