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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. - Willy Nelson

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Tour of Switzerland (Tour de Suisse) stage 4 team reports

We'll start with winner Larry Warbasse's Acqua Blue Sport team update:

Aqua Blue Sport has taken its first victory with a heroic lone attack into the high Swiss mountains. The day began in the historic city of Bern and traveled across a mostly flat first half of the race in the direction of the high mountain Villars-sur-Ollon.

During the morning meeting it was clear that the day would be targeted by Larry Warbasse as Nicki Sorensen put in place a plan to capitalise on the American’s good form. Warbasse broke away after 15 kilometres with three other riders and they were given some rope to gather an advance that reached to more than seven minutes.

As the final climb of 11.1 steep kilometres loomed in the distance Warbasse burst away from his breakaway companions. He cut a lone, determined figure as he battled against gravity and the peloton.

Within the final kilometre they whittled down the lead to just under one minute but the gifted climber realised the day was his and gave one last surge to the line. He crossed the line, arms raised in triumph and collapsed into the arms of the Aqua Blue Sport soigneur.

Delight filled the air as Warbasse was cheered by other finishing riders and the thousands of fans on the climb.

Larry Warbasse

Larry Warbasse wins Swiss Tour stage four in style.

Warbasse wept as he said: "It’s my first victory in my career - it’s amazing I love this race, I love Switzerland. I was on IAM Cycling the last two years, and it’s one of the most beautiful countries and I have so many great memories here. Today I felt like it was my home race. I’ve never had so many people cheering for me, everyone was yelling my name. I’m really happy. As soon as I got in the breakaway, I knew - I told everyone yesterday, I worked really hard the whole last season - I always give 110 per cent, I’m just so happy it finally paid off."

Team owner Rick Delaney was in the team car and witnessed first hand Warbasse’s victory. He said: “We started in January and the goal was to get race starts and then the objective was to perform as best we could in as many prestigious races as we could. “Firstly to be invited to the Tour de Suisse was a great honour and as the week started we took the mountains jersey with Lasse. We have been in almost every break in every race we have started but to get one to stick on a day like today on a climb like today. For Larry it is an amazing moment to take his first win. His focus and determination and phenomenal work ethic – he had clear emotion today and it was magnificent to be there to share it with him.”

Sports Director Nicki Sorensen was in the team car behind Warbasse as he rode to triumph. Nicki said: “This is a great moment for the team and for Larry. It is fantastic and a great, great relief to be able to say that we have our first victory. We have had a lot of challenges and a lot of tough times and some great times. This is our greatest moment – I just want to congratulate Larry and the whole Aqua Blue Sport team, riders and staff on this victory.”

Also Lasse Norman Hansen retained the blue Mountain classification jersey.

Steven Kruijswijk was third. Here's the LottoNL-Jumbo report:

Steven Kruijswijk finished third in the fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse and moved to second overall. Larry Warbasse won the stage to Villars-sur-Ollon solo. Because of his third place in the stage, Kruijswijk climbed to second place in the GC.

Damiano Caruso

Damiano Caruso finishes second with Kruijswijk third.

Damiano Caruso leads by 15 seconds.

“Steven rode really well," Sports Director Addy Engels said. “He also felt good today. After a disappointing Giro d’Italia it is nice that he shows he is here in good form. In the group of five that took off in the end, he was one of the strongest. That resulted in a nice third place in the stage and a second place in the GC.”

Lars Boom was in the breakaway of the day.

“We wanted to have someone in the breakaway and Lars succeeded. Just before the top of the first climb, he got dropped. That is a pity, but Lars is not known to be a climber. When it looked like he would not get back with the leaders on the descent, he let himself get caught by the bunch. Then he did a really good job working for Steven in between the descent and the foot of the last climb.”

Juan Jose Lobata unfortunately abandoned the race.

“Juan Jose fought in the last days and he struggled. Today, right from the start, he was dropped from the bunch. He was able to come back, but in the feeding zone he abandonend.”

With Lobato leaving the race, Team LottoNL-Jumbo has six riders left in the Tour de Suisse.

“Tomorrow it can go two ways. It can be the last chance for the sprinters, with a reasonably flat arrival. But, halfway through tomorrow’s stage, we have quite a col to climb. Because of that, it may be a good stage for the breakaway to get the victory.”

Lotto-Soudal headed to Ster ZLM Toer

Here's the team's race preview:

This week Lotto Soudal will participate in the Ster ZLM Toer. This five-day Dutch Europe Tour stage race starts on Wednesday with a prologue in Zeeland. Saturday there’s the traditional Belgian stage. The race ends on Sunday in Oss, In Noord-Brabant.

The past years the prologue was held in Goes. This year Westkapelle will host the prologue. The riders need to cover 7.5 kilometres along the North Sea. The day after, the stage takes the riders from Tholen to Hoogerheide. The third stage is a classic in the Ster ZLM Toer. That day the race is organised in Dutch Limburg where the route takes the riders over some hills from the Amstel Gold Race: Cauberg, Bemelerberg and Loorberg. On Saturday the race heads to Belgium with a start in Verviers and finish in Jalhay. This is, in theory, the hardest stage of the entire week. Moreno Hofland won that stage in 2015. The last day the sprinters get a chance to show their speed in Oss.

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The first and second stage are new in the Ster ZLM Toer, but I expect a similar scenario to the previous years, that means no large time gaps and possibly a big influence of the bonus seconds.”

“The prologue is always important in the Ster ZLM Toer. If the weather conditions differ between the moment that the first and last rider are on the course that could influence the result. Jasper De Buyst, André Greipel and Moreno Hofland can all ride a good prologue tomorrow. The bonus seconds will be important the days after and then it’s an asset to be fast.”

“In the stages on Thursday and Sunday there is a chance that echelons will be created in the open fields along the water. In the stage to Hoogerheide the course runs along the Oosterschelde and Oss lies at the borders of the Maas. Both days we will need to be very attentive and maybe take initiative ourselves. In theory the stage to Jalhay is the hardest one of the week, but if the peloton falls apart on Thursday that could cause more damage.”

Andre Greiepl

Andre Greipel after stage 3 of this year's Giro d'Italia

“André Greipel had to pass for the Hammer Series due to illness and got back in competition in Rund um Köln on Sunday. For three hours the pace was very high, but André didn’t have any problems. In the Ster ZLM Toer he can continue his Tour preparation. With the Tour in mind he will probably want to ride a good prologue. André is also someone who dares to take control of the race and can make the race hard. This week he could help out a teammate who standing high on GC, by taking away bonus is seconds from the opponents or by helping him to gain the seconds. André won’t be our only sprinter this week, we also have Jasper and Moreno in the team. But we will definitely do a real lead-out for André at least once this week.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Lars Bak, Kris Boeckmans, Jasper De Buyst, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Moreno Hofland, Marcel Sieberg and Enzo Wouters.

Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Kurt Van de Wouwer.

BMC Racing Team set to debut at Route du Sud

Here's the release the team sent me:

13 June, 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will line up at Route du Sud for the first time this Thursday 15 June with a balanced roster of climbers and sprinters.

Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said the four-stage race is a chance for all of the riders to take their chance for stage wins. "We are not lining up at Route du Sud with a single leader so I expect all of the riders to make the most of the opportunities that arise in the race. We have quite a young team so we are going in with a lot of ambition and motivation. Two of the four stages are relatively flat so we will go for the sprint with Jempy Drucker, who showed he is in good form at the SkodaTour de Luxembourg," Ledanois explained.

"The two mountain stages are really tough, especially stage 3, but Manuel Senni showed he was climbing well at the Giro d'Italia and I want all of the riders to see what they can do. We will keep an eye on possible breakaways and take things day by day. We're definitely looking more at stage wins than the General Classification."

Drucker has his eyes on stages 2 and 4 which are suited to a sprint finish. "I'm looking forward to racing at Route du Sud for the first time. Normally, there should be two sprint finishes so I hope to do well there as it's important to make the most of every opportunity the team gives me to do the sprint. For the other two stages, I'll support the team in any way possible. I think it will be a good race and hopefully as a team we can do well."

Route du Sud (15-18 June)

Rider Roster: Silvan Dillier (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Floris Gerts (NED), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Miles Scotson (AUS), Manuel Senni (ITA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Sports Director: Yvon Lednaois (FRA)

Bardiani-CSF sent me this statement on its suspension:

BARDIANI-CSF OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON UCI SUSPENSION

Further to UCI statement regarding the decision of the Disciplinary Commission to suspend Bardiani-CSF from participating in any international event for a period of 30 days, (from 14th June to 14th July 2017), in accordance with article 7.12.1 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules and referred to the notification of adverse analytical findings to Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni, the Team states its acknowledge.

The Team states also its decision to not appeal to the CAS but, with the utmost respect and trust in the competent authorities, wants anyway to express its dissatisfaction for the duration of the suspension and, in general, for a rule that exceedingly penalizes those who have no responsibilities, such as the Team and other riders, in front of deplorable actions of foolish people.

In light of the damages already suffered during 100th Giro d’Italia to its image and to its sport performance, racing since the beginning with seven riders, and  with specific reference to the innovative and distinctive #GreenTeam sport project, never involved in cases of violations of UCI anti-doping rules and official investigations so far, the Team considers a lower duration more appropriated.

Bardiani-CSF, thanks first of all to the support of its sponsors, wants to reaffirm his dedication to strengthen its sport project, that positive feedbacks received since the beginning, and to protect it from the ones who have no relation with the values promoted by the Team.

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