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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, September 28, 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

I intend to live forever. So far, so good. - Steven Wright

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BMC Racing Team heads to Tour de l'Eurométropole

The squad sent me this update:

27 September 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team returns to the start line in Belgium this week with a strong line-up set to race at Tour de l'Eurométropole on Sunday, 1 October.

Sports Director Valerio Piva thinks that BMC Racing Team is taking a competitive group of riders who are all capable of racing aggressively in Belgium.

"With the riders we have lining up at Tour de l'Eurométropole, we can be confident that we will be able to go with the right moves and be up there in the final. I think this will be a good race for Jempy Drucker especially with the finishing circuit and as we have seen, he is in good shape right now. We also have riders like Silvan Dillier and Daniel Oss who we know like to take chances in the final. We will see how the race evolves, but everyone will be free to move and to take opportunities to go for a good result," Piva said.

Drucker is motivated about heading back to the start line in Belgium. "I'm going into this race after a tough UCI World Road Race Championships, so I will have to see how I recover but at the moment I am feeling good. We are getting very close to the end of the season, so I am motivated to be up there in the final and race for a good result with the team," Drucker explained.

Jempy Drucker

Jempy Drucker at this year's Tour of Luxembourg

Tour de l'Eurométropole (1 October)

Rider Roster: Silvan Dillier (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Martin Elmiger (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Daniel Oss (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Bram Welten (NED)

Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA)

New U23 World Champion Benoit Cosnefroy to race Tour de Vendée

Team Ag2r-La Mondiale sent me this:

"This past week I have had a completely crazy time. I did go to Bergen with the intention of winning, but I still have struggled to realize that I actually succeeded.

"Since then, everything has seemed more intense to me. I didn’t expect a win at the U23 Worlds would have triggered so much reaction, goodwill and attention.
When I watch a replay of the final, I feel more stress than I felt when I was actually racing. On the bike, it all came naturally. I managed myself well at the end of the race, and I did what had to be done.

"I will start the Tour de Vendée without having ridden much since Friday. I want to put in a good performance, but I am not certain I have completely recovered from the efforts at Worlds since the days pass very quickly.

"What is certain is that I want to work 100% for the guys, and put myself at the service of the team."

Benoit Cosenfroy

Benoit Cosnefroy winning the U23 World Championship

THE NUMBER: 4

Jaan Kirsipuu, formerly a member of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team, holds the record for most number of victories at the Tour de Vendée with 4 wins in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2003.

THE NEWS: SAMUEL DUMOULIN PUTS AN END HIS SEASON

Samuel Dumoulin, who won the Coupe de France PMU in 2016 and took second place at the 2016 Tour de Vendée behind Nacer Bouhanni, ended his season on September 16 after the French Derny Track Championships held at the Vélodrome de la Tête d'Or in Lyon.

Tomasz Marczynski re-ups with Lotto-Soudal

The team sent me this news:

Tomasz Marczynski will stay three more years at Lotto Soudal, until the end of 2020. The now 33-year-old former Polish champion joined the team last year. In 2016 he suffered from health issues, but his contract was still extended by one year. This season Marczynski could do an excellent job for his teammates and he won two stages at La Vuelta.

Tomasz Marczynski

Tomasz Marczynski wins stage six of this year's Vuelta

Tomasz Marczynski: “The team has always kept its confidence in me, even with my health issues last year. Now they prove their belief in me again with this contract extension. I really wanted to stay in this team, because it feels like one big family. I also like to create a good atmosphere myself. During the race I always motivate everyone and when we’re in the hotel I make sure we all have a laugh. Everyone in the team appreciates that.”

“I am lucky to ride in a team where I feel so good and where I can be myself, that’s why I’m so happy to extend my contract by three years. That security takes away the stress, the next years I only have to focus on my job.”

“I am happy that I could give two Vuelta stage wins to the team this season. That way I could thank the team for the support they offered me last year. I had to rebuild my condition again from zero and I got the necessary time for it, without any pressure.”

“I love my job as a gregario, but I also like the fact that I can have a go of my own on certain occasions. I will fully commit to my tasks the next years and I will try to grab my own chances when it’s possible.”

Logan Owen steps up to WorldTour with Slipstream Sports (currently Cannondale-Drapac)

The team sent me this news:

Slipstream Sports announced the signing of American Logan Owen on Wednesday. The 22-year-old has spent the last four seasons racing for Axel Merckx’s U23 program, Axeon-Hagens Berman, where he became the first American to win Liège-Bastogne-Liége and delivered the team’s first Tour of Utah stage win. A ten-time cyclocross national champion, Owen gave up ‘cross in 2016 in pursuit of a WorldTour contract.

“Regardless of if I got that contract or not, it was the right decision,” said Owen. “I needed to put all my eggs into one basket to see what I could do. I’m beyond stoked that it all worked out and that I can make this next step up to the WorldTour with Slipstream Sports.”

“Logan’s a really cool kid,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He shows a knack for how to win races creatively and has demonstrated incredible tactical intelligence.”

Owen considers himself a Classics specialist although he’s yet to determine if his talents are best leveraged over the cobbles or up the Ardennes’ hills. The opportunity to ride alongside and learn from Slipstream Sports’ Classics captain Sep Vanmarcke is an exciting prospect for Owen.

“I tend to be better at Classics-type races,” said Owen. “Getting to learn from Sep is one of the biggest reasons that I’m looking forward to the spring. I’m excited about all my new teammates actually. Uran is a legend. I already know Alex Howes, so it will be cool to race with him.”

His focus on teammates makes sense given his goals for his first WorldTour season. Owen wants to be “the best teammate possible” in 2018. “That’s the goal every year, of course, but especially during this year, which I consider a learning year,” said Owen. “I want to help my teammates win races. Any personal ambitions will take a back seat as I learn the ropes of being in the WorldTour and help my teammates as much as I possibly can.

“Vaughters seems to have a really good plan to develop me,” Owen added. “I’ve seen this team support the development of young riders over the last couple years, which has been really cool, and it gives me confidence in the team’s ability to help me develop as the top level of the sport.”

As Owen looks forward, he also looks back. “I can’t thank Axel enough for the last four years and all the opportunities he’s given me,” said Owen. “I feel like I made it because of his support. I also want to thank my coach Joe Holmes, who got me into the road cycling side of things. He’s really helped me grow as a person and an athlete over the last eight years. A lot of getting this contract has to do with both of them."


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