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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Brabantse Pijl team previews

Here's the update Lotto-Soudal sent me:

Tomorrow the Brabantse Pijl is scheduled. It’s the first of four Ardennes races, followed by the Amstel Gold Race (15/04), Flèche Wallonne (18/04) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (22/04). Tiesj Benoot, who returned yesterday from a training camp in Sierra Nevada, claimed the third place in last year’s Brabantse Pijl.

Tiesj Benoot: “The training camp in Sierra Nevada did me good. It gave me the opportunity to recover mentally from the first part of the spring and to prepare the Ardennes races in the same time. I can’t wait to race again. I assume my condition is still as good as it was. Tomorrow will probably be the most difficult of the four races for me as I had to travel home yesterday. By Sunday I will be fully recovered and be fresh for the Amstel Gold Race. Of course I want to animate the race tomorrow and I will aim for a good result too.”

Tim Wellens, fourth in the Brabantse Pijl last year, restarts the competition tomorrow after one month without racing.

Tim Wellens: “The Brabantse Pijl is the first of four important races and the only non-WorldTour race. That means the level might not be as high as the other races, but still there are more than enough riders who can perform well on that course.

“I got ill after Paris-Roubaix and couldn’t ride the Volta a Catalunya. Together with the team and my trainer it was decided that I wouldn’t race in the Basque Country, but that I would prepare for the Walloon Classics with a number of qualitative trainings. I think that went well, but we’ll see the result tomorrow. I have faith in it though. We will start with a very strong team. I can race without any pressure tomorrow, I’ll see where that leads to. The past four editions Lotto Soudal claimed a podium place three times, but we didn’t win. It would be nice if we could change that tomorrow.”

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens winning a stage earlier this year at the San Juan Vuelta

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Tomasz Marczyński, Rémy Mertz, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Mario Aerts.

Here's Quick-Step's news:

Brabantse Pijl, which this year is running its 58th edition, makes the transition from the cobbled to the Ardennes classics, taking the riders over a 201.9km-long course comprising 27 short but strenuous climbs. The first part of the route doesn't include too many hurdles and will serve as an appetizer, giving the riders the opportunity to find their rhythm before entering on a tough circuit which they will cover several times.

Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, Ijskelderlaan and Schavei are the five hills on the Overijse circuit, the last two coming in quick succession. The beauty of the race resides in the fact that the leg-sapping circuit splits the bunch into several small groups, favouring the attackers, who can take advantage of the tricky corners and fast descents featuring in the last kilometers to hold off the chasers and solo to victory on the punchy Schavei, which decided the winner at the past editions, despite averaging just 4.3% over 700 meters.

"With Brabantse we are entering in a new period of the calendar and heading towards the hillier classics. The parcours is up and down the whole day spanning over 202 kilometers. After 132 kilometers, they pass the finish line for the first time and head out on three local laps of 23.4 kilometers featuring five hills, the last three placed inside the last 10 kilometers of the lap. The climbs are rather short and not extreme in gradients but the heavy amount will make a mark on the guys, separating the strongest from the weakest", said sports director Rik van Slycke.

Bob Jungels

Bob Jungels (shown racing in the 2017 Vuelta a España) will be racing the Brabantse Pijl

Quick-Step Floors' seven-man roster for Brabantse Pijl will consist of Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna, Fabio Jakobsen, Bob Jungels, Davide Martinelli, Jhonatan Narvaez and Pieter Serry, and despite being a young team, which includes three debutants, Rik van Slycke looks with optimism to Wednesday's challenge.

"There's a plethora of good riders on the start list and we won't take the race into our hands like in the cobbled classics. This doesn't mean we won't try to get something out of this beautiful race. For sure, we will do everything to bring our riders in the best possible position so they can fight for a good result."

Richie Porte to race Tour du Finistère on Saturday

BMC sent me this news:

10 April, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Richie Porte will be back on the start line this weekend headlining BMC Racing Team's six-rider roster at the Tour du Finistère on Saturday (14 April).

The Tour du Finistère offers the opportunity to race the final kilometers of stage 5 of this year's Tour de France, Sports Director Fabio Baldato said. "The final 35km of the Tour du Finistère are the same as stage 5 of the Tour and this is an important reason why we are heading there. It won't be the priority to have Richie Porte going in as the leader, instead with Tejay van Garderen also racing it will be a good chance for both riders to race the final of stage 5. From what we can see on the plan, there are small roads with a steep, narrow climb where positioning is important and it is best for this kind of race to have the opportunity to see it in advance and it's even better to recon it in a race environment. I think it will be a great advantage ahead of July."

"For the others, I think they can all try to take the opportunity to go for their own result. With Tom Bohli, Joey Rosskopf and Danilo Wyss, we have a few different cards to play and I hope they are motivated not just to race next to the leaders but also to race for a result and try to do something," Baldato explained.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte winning stage five of this year's Tour Down Under

For Porte, the one-day race is an important part of the build-up towards the Tour de France. "Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco was my first race in a while and it was a opportunity to get some good training in and put some solid racing kilometers in my legs. Tour du Finistère will be another chance to get back into the swing of things ahead of the Tour de Romandie but it also gives us the opportunity to recon the finale of stage 5 of this year's Tour de France. There are not many opportunities when you get to do that in a race environment so I think it will be helpful and a good building block as we look ahead to July," Porte said.

Tour du Finistère (14 April)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Richie Porte (AUS), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Director: Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Stefan Küng undergoes surgery on jaw broken at Paris-Roubaix

This also came from BMC:

10 April, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Stefan Küng has undergone successful surgery on a fractured jaw sustained in a crash at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

Küng crashed before the first cobbled sector and was given six stitches in the race ambulance to close a wound on his chin, however X-rays taken at the Roubaix Centre Hospitalier that evening revealed a mandibular fracture (fractured jaw).

Upon return to Switzerland, Küng was examined at the Kanton Spital Hospital in St. Gallen where surgery was decided as the best course of treatment.

Stefan Kung

Stefan Kung winning stage two of the 2017 Tour de Romandie

BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Testa provided the following update. "After consulting the specialists at Kanton Spital Hospital, the surgical option was deemed the best treatment method to optimize the recovery of his injuries. The surgery was performed last night and went well and Stefan will probably go home today. He will now have a couple of easy weeks before rebuilding his training load. Stefan will be restricted to liquids and soft food for a while to minimize the movement of the jaw but he is able to speak," Dr. Testa explained.

"Stefan should be able to train on his home trainer in a few days and from there slowly build up and return to the road. We expect him to return to racing in five to six weeks but we will continue to monitor his recovery and alter his program accordingly."

Küng is motivated to get back on the bike as soon as possible. "I'm feeling good and I'm fortunate that these injuries are treatable and I'll be back on my bike soon. I want to thank Dr. Max Testa and the BMC Racing Team medical team, as well as the specialists here in St. Gallen for taking good care of me. I hope to be back racing as soon as possible," Küng said.

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