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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, January 24, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. - Epictetus

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Adriano Malori recovering after San Luis crash

Movistar rider Adriano Malori crashed badly late in stage five of the Tour de San Luis. He was near the front of the pack when something brought him down, perhaps a rock or pothole. Several other riders crashed as a result of Malori's fall.

Unconscious, he was taken to a local hospital where he was put into a medically induced coma. He is said to be stable and showing signs of improvement.

Here's a video of the crash:

Tour de San Luis stage 5 crash

Giant-Alpecin riders crash at training camp

This news came from the team:

Six Team Giant-Alpecin riders were involved in a crash in training during the team training camp near Calpe, Spain, today. During the training ride, a car coming the other direction rode into the group of riders head on. The riders were riding side by side on their own side of the road.

The riders involved in the crash were Warren Barguil (FRA), John Degenkolb (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) and Max Walscheid (GER).

All the riders involved in the crash went to two hospitals and all of them are in stable condition.

"Everyone on the team is in shock right now, and there are some major issues that we need to take care of, but we also realize that we have had some luck on our side," said team physician Anko Boelens (NED). "Everyone is conscious, stable and approachable, but we are waiting for the latest information and consult the doctors in those hospitals about the treatments needed for the riders."

As soon as more medical information and the prognosis is known, we will provide an update.

This follow-up came a few hours later:

Six Team Giant-Alpecin riders were involved in a crash in training during the team training camp near Calpe, Spain, today. A medical update on the riders' condition is provided below.

Warren Barguil (FRA): fractured scaphoid; may require surgery but not yet determined.

John Degenkolb (GER): successful surgery on a cut in his upper leg; currently receiving treatment on his hand and a fracture to his forearm.

Chad Haga (USA): was airlifted to a hospital; successful surgery on neck and chin wounds; orbital fracture will be treated later.

Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE): scratches and bruises all over his body.

Ramon Sinkeldam (NED): scratches and bruises all over his body.

Max Walscheid (GER): fractured hand and tibia; surgery likely required.

CEO Iwan Spekenbrink said: "It has been a very tough day for the team and the riders will need time to recover. This team -- riders, both men and women, and everyone in the organization -- feels like a band of brothers and sisters. Together, and by standing by each other, the team will come out of this stronger than ever."

Burghardt forced to rest with left elbow fracture

Still more tough news, this time from BMC:

23 January, 2016, Adelaide (AUS): An elbow fracture sustained in a crash on stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under that forced Marcus Burghardt to withdraw from the race will prevent him from racing in the early part of the 2016 season.

Burghardt was left with two small fractures to the left elbow extending into the joint surface after crashing in the final 15 kilometres of the stage into Campbelltown. BMC Racing Team Team Physician Dr Scott Major said the injury will take some time to heal.

Marcus Burghardt

Marcus Burghardt (BMC) at the Down Under Classic

"Marcus will be off the bike for a week, and then restricted to riding his indoor trainer for another few weeks. He should then be ready to train again on the roads, however his racing schedule will most likely be postponed for 6-8 weeks."

It is disappointing to start the season this way said Burghardt. "First my elbow needs to heal and then I'll start training on the rollers, before I am hopefully back riding outside in three weeks' time. We'll have to see how things are going with the injury but I hope to be back racing as soon as possible.

"I was feeling good in the first stages of the Tour Down Under. It is a shame that I didn't really have the chance to test how good my form is right now. I think after a little bit of rest, I'm positive that I'll still have a good season."

BMC Racing Team's rider schedule will be modified to allow Burghardt to recover as well as possible.

"You're looking at two different sides of Marcus' injury. There's the Santos Tour Down Under and with Marcus having to withdraw, we are left one rider short. Of course we'd like to have the advantage of a full team and have Marcus' expertise here to try and win the race," BMC Racing Team General Manager, Jim Ochowicz said.

"His racing objectives for the season include the Classics starting with Milan-San Remo. So we want to evaluate his injuries as we go forward, get him back on the bike and allow his training to continue at a level that his injury allows."

Burghardt will be replaced by Rick Zabel to complete BMC Racing Team's roster for the Cadel Evans Road Race on January 31.

Tour Down Under News

This is from Orica-GreenEdge:

Former Australian champion Simon Gerrans is one step closer to a record breaking fourth Santos Tour Down Under victory, retaining his overall lead with one more stage to go. Gerrans started the penultimate day of racing with a 14second advantage to Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) and 26seconds to Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing).

Simon Gerrans

Simon Gerrans has one day to go...

The 35-year-old finished eighth on the stage, 17seconds behind Richie Porte (BMC Racing) who won his third consecutive Willunga stage to move into second overall, nine seconds behind ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Gerrans.

“One stage to go and anything can happen but I tell you what, I’d prefer to go into that stage in front rather than behind,” Gerrans said of tomorrow's race finale. This is the toughest stage of the race and where the GC is generally decided each year so if I’ve come out in front, hopefully that’s enough.”

Asked if there was a moment of panic, Gerrans said the key was staying calm. “I thought if I just kept my cool and ride my own pace, even when they attacked me in the final, it should be enough to hang on and I was just right,” he said. “You never discount Richie Porte, especially on a finish like that, that he obviously loves. That’s three from the last three for Richie here.

"But my team were again there for me all day today and they delivered me in the perfect position and as fresh as possible into the final climb."

How it happened: The all-important Willunga climb was front of mind for the peloton as they rolled out of McLaren Vale for the penultimate stage of the Santos Tour Down Under. A group of four riders escaped off the front and rode to a six-minute advantage, taking both sets of bonus seconds on offer at the intermediate sprints in the process.

Behind, Michael Hepburn took his familiar position at the head of the peloton to keep the break in check. The break survived the first ascent of Willunga but their advantage had dropped right down to just two minutes.

Team Sky and BMC Racing started to put the pressure on but Gerrans was still ably supported by multiple teammates. Having won the previous two Willunga stages, Richie Porte (BMC Racing) again got the better of the rest with an unmatched attack up the final climb.

Others tried to bridge from behind, but for Gerrans it was about keeping the gap in check to maintain the lead, which he achieved with nine seconds to spare.

Santos Tour Down Under - Stage 5 Results:

1. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) 3:34:16
2. Sergio Luis Henao (Team Sky) +0:06
3. Michael Woods (Cannondale) +0:09
8. Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:17

Santos Tour Down Under - GC after Stage 5:

1. Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 17:16:31
2. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) +0:09
3. Sergio Luis Henao (Team Sky) +0:11

BMC sent this report:

23, January 2015, Adelaide (AUS): Richie Porte has made history by taking the win on Willunga Hill on stage 5 of the Santos Tour Down Under for the third consecutive year.  Porte attacked 1.3 kilometers from the top of Willunga Hill, finishing six seconds in front of Sergio Henao (Team Sky).

"To be honest I never expected that one. Obviously it didn't go to plan yesterday with a time gap on the line but then today the BMC guys were absolutely incredible. They backed me here which is nice and I've only just started in this team. It's always nice to win in Australia and on top of Willunga it's three in a row," Porte said.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte wins stage 5

Porte now sits second overall on the General classification, nine seconds behind race leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE).

For Porte, it was a perfect start to the season with BMC Racing Team. "The crowds are just incredible. The Australian public get behind this race so much. It does feel like riding the Tour de France up this climb, it's an incredible feeling. I'm happy with how it's gone. I didn't target this race so it's just nice to get the first win in the BMC jersey.

"Full credit to Rohan. He said yesterday that he didn't have great legs and was willing to sacrifice himself. He's been a brilliant teammate this week and to be honest the whole BMC crew has been fantastic. It's not easy to change teams. BMC has really supported me and embraced me and I'm really happy."

"I think the plan went perfectly today. Richie and Rohan discussed it with me last night and laid out how they wanted to do it and how they thought it could work," BMC Racing Team Sports Director Allan Peiper explained. "Richie has adapted really well. He's getting along with everyone and he's already showing his leadership skills, working with the guys, congratulating them, giving them a moral boost when they need it. I think that's really important.

For defending champion Rohan Dennis, it was a disappointing day in the saddle finishing in 28th place, 54 seconds behind Porte. "I spoke to Allan and I spoke to Richie and I said I don't think I'm going to be able to hold on to third. Our best bet was to put the leadership with Richie for at least a stage win here and whatever comes with that.

"I probably am not in the same shape as last year. I think that slight different lead up with the hour record last year maybe gave me a bit more punch. I'm fitter in some ways but not in others."

And this release came from Tinkoff:

Hard work from Tinkoff squad to support the Australian rider who keeps the green jersey of the young riders classification. Up to finale of stage 5, McCarthy was in the top positions and surrendered just a kilometer from the finish. Everything is going to be decided tomorrow in the last stage.

Jay McCrthy wins stage 2

Jay McCarthy winning Down Under stage 2

Today the riders raced over 151 km, from McLaren Flat, the beautiful vineyard valley to the most renowned Willunga Hill, traditionally a decisive climb in the Tour Down Under, in much better weather conditions than the previous days.

A small group of four riders started a breakaway in the first kilometers and grabbed all the intermediate sprints along the way, but was chased and caught by the group at only 4 kilometers from the finish.

The team contribution to keep Jay McCarthy in front of the group and in total control over his direct opponent was decisive but, within just one kilometer to go, a sudden and impressive attack from Ritchie Porte took the contenders by surprise, neutralizing any efforts from the chasers.

"It's clear that today's result was a little bit disappointing", stated sport director Lars Michaelsen. "Jay is also a little disappointed that it kind of slipped through his fingers. But we must consider the positive side because we have McCarthy who proved to have a great potential we had not seen yet, not to mention that this is a World Tour race and he has done much better than many big riders. So we should focus on the positive aspects that emerged from this race."

"In tomorrow's stage obviously", adds Michaelsen, "we will keep an eye on Michael Woods of Cannondale just in case he tries to gain some bonuses, as he shares the same position with Jay in the GC, even if he's a climber. Tomorrow is the stage that all the sprinters are waiting for, therefore it suits Adam Blythe, so tomorrow morning, also according to his feelings we will decide the race strategy."

"Today I gave everything,", says McCarthy, "it was a tough day and I lost a few seconds on the final climb, dropping into fourth place in the overall, nevertheless I can be proud of the way my teammates raced  and I think I did a good job today, although of course I would have liked to be on the podium. In any case, it's been a nice week and I am very happy I could be the leader of the team, and finish in the top five in three stages as well as in the top 5 of the overall classification. Anyway tomorrow we still give our best in the last stage."

Tomorrow is the final day of the Tour Down Under with a stage of 91 km, in a tricky street circuit to be raced 20 times. The course, however, will include two third category KOM sprints, set between the city golf course and cricket stadium, and two intermediate sprints respectively in the 8th and 12th lap.

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary