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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. - usually attributed to Albert Einstein

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Larry Theobald of CycleItalia explains how to wash your bike

Critérium du Dauphiné stage two reports

Stage winner Jesus Herrada's Movistar team had this to say about stage two:

Jesús Herrada comes of age: 25-year-old ex-Spanish champion claims first WorldTour victory with outstanding sprint in Chalmazel's uphill finish, claims his first win in 2016 - and the Movistar Team's 22nd, with nine different riders - to jump into 5th overall in Critérium du Dauphiné GC.

He had claimed victories in nearly every possible way: attacking into mountain finishes, using his tactical nose to perfection into one-to-one finishes, or beating some quick guys into reduced field sprints. But he had never done it with so much fury, and against such talented riders, as he did on Tuesday at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Jesús Herrada exploited the abilities he's developed over the course of six years as pro -yet still being 25 years old- to dominate Chalmazel's slopes (stage two, 168km) and claim an impressive, maiden stage win in 2016 thanks to an intelligent Movistar Team on the way to the final Cat-3 climb.

Jesus Herrada

Jesus Herrada wins Dauphiné stage two

The squad directed by Arrieta and Laguía knew how to keep their plan untouched until the finish, waiting for their moment. It wasn't until the final 6km uphill, already left behind the wear and tear of the Côte de Saint-Georges (Cat-2), where the Blues started to play their cards, five strong into a 60-rider group. Dayer Quintana went on the attack, following the wheel of Sergio Henao (SKY), one of several big attackers into the ups and downs before the finish, before Dani Moreno, always keeping the remnants of the day's most dangerous move in sight -a four-rider attempt including Frenchman Tony Gallopin (LTS)-, paved the way for Herrada, who launched an unstoppable acceleration, mostly what Alejandro Valverde has offered for more than a decade, to claim his eighth success in the pro ranks and the Movistar Team's 22nd - with nine different riders - so far in 2016.

The win, the 10-second bonus and the two-second advantage over the main favourites leave Jesús in 5th place overall, 27" behind Alberto Contador (TNK), with Dani Moreno at 1'13". Both will seemingly play the leading role for the Movistar Team in the Alpine course, which will tackle another intriguing finish on Wednesday with the Côte de Sécheras (Cat-2) just 21km away from Tournon-sur-Rhône. Until then, we just can't stop enjoying today's success.

Jesús Herrada: “I'm so happy to have won in such an important race, against so many talented riders. The pace during the stage was steady, without any real drops, but despite Tinkoff leading for the whole race, there was some point when the breakaway got five or six minutes, and that forced Etixx to take the lead and push hard. That rhythm before the climbs left only one chance and one thing to do for us: follow the wheels and save energy until the ascents.

"The team managed the situation perfectly. Fran and Marc kept us well protected, Antonio helped out as much as he could and it was Rubén and Dayer's task, mostly Dayer, to follow those moves. I knew the finish, I kept in mind that it was so good for me, but at the same time, I couldn't spend a bit of energy more than I should, because I only had that one opportunity: the sprint.

"I tried to save that bit for the end and succeded to keep myself calm until the final 500 meters, when Dani attacked, the break was finally caught and I saw my place to try the move into the final turn. I'm immensely happy with how things played out."

Tinkoff sent me this:

With the race’s first uphill finish, today was to be a stage where the GC contenders might start to show their strategy for the race. While still early, the uphill finish would give riders a chance to take some time and reduce the gaps in the GC race. Other teams had their eye on the stage win however, and after the day’s breakaway was pulled in shortly before the end of the stage, Alberto Contador crossed the line with the bunch, a couple of seconds down on the stage winner. Having kept the yellow jersey safe, Alberto goes into stage 3 retaining his six second lead in the GC.

After yesterday’s comparatively flat first road stage, the Critérium du Dauphiné’s roads veered upwards today. On the 167.5km parcours, the peloton would cross three categorised climbs before the third category climb to the finish in Chalmazel-Jeansagnière. While yesterday started with some smaller climbs before a flat run in to the finish, today’s stage saw an undulating route over the entire length of the stage. Of the day’s climbs, two of these were second category – the second of which, the Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan, came a little under 15km from the finish line. On this 7.5km climb, with an average gradient of 5.6%, there was an almost perfect launchpad for an attack prior to the finish, with the potential for some shakeups in the GC.

With stage 1’s relatively flat profile, Alberto Contador had retained his race lead, maintaining his six second gap on second place, having stayed safe in the frenetic sprint finish. Going into stage 2 again wearing the yellow jersey, this was bound to be a day where the other GC contenders would try to make their mark on the race.

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador just after stage two

As was the case yesterday, attempts to break away came from the moment the flag was dropped. While an escape was expected, it was essential that none of the potential contenders for the GC would be allowed to get up the road, which saw the Tinkoff riders working hard to pull back any such breaks. With the peloton about to hit the third category Col de Durbize, the first of the day’s four categorised climbs, a break of six riders went clear, building up a small lead. With a lot of the day’s racing still to come, the peloton was happy to let this group extend their advantage to three minutes.

While the group of six became five, owing to a past pace in the escape group, the remaining riders maintained their gap on the peloton, building their advantage to almost four minutes. With some dark clouds on the horizon, there was every chance that some wet weather could bring some changes to teams’ tactics, and so a watchful eye was kept on the forecast. With the race entering its final 40km, and the gap at five minutes, the peloton began to up the pace to draw in the escapees – while it was still some 20km until the start of the Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan, the kilometres in between were by no means flat and catching the break would take some effort.

With other teams working to pull in the break, at 20km out the escapees’ advantage had been halved and was down to 2’30”. With the gap down to 1’30” and with 17km to go, the attacks began – first from within the peloton, and then from within the breakaway. With splits in the peloton, the breakaway members were steadily reeled in, as the front of the race changed character completely with an all new group of four riders forty-five seconds in front of the peloton.

With just over 4,5km to go, the peloton again upped the pace and the gap dropped to twenty-one seconds, the Tinkoff riders working hard to keep the attackers in line. There was only one climb left – the third category ascent to the finish. With some steep ramps on the final stretch, the race was far from over with 1km to go, and the chasers swept past the breakaway with the peloton in tow. In a finale that more closely resembled a bunch sprint than an uphill finish, crossing the line with the bunch, two seconds after the stage winner, Alberto kept hold of the yellow jersey, maintaining his six second lead in the GC.

From the finish, the Spanish rider was making sure he kept his goal of performing well at the Tour de France in sight, in spite of a lot of effort from other teams to push the GC race. "It's always nice having the yellow jersey but our main goal here is to build our form for the Tour de France. However, it would always be better to have it on the last day rather than now. Today was a very fast day, with other teams interested in working for the stage win, which allowed me to keep the leader's jersey. It was another training day.”

Sport Director, Sean Yates, echoed the Tinkoff leader’s comments. “In a short race like the Dauphiné it’s important to defend the jersey. Unlike the Grand Tours where you can see how the race unfolds over three weeks, you only have five days, without the big mountains, to take or make up time.” The team made a huge impact on the way the day unfolded, Yates continued. “Today we used the riders as best as we could, using some for the first half of the stage and others for the second. Jesper and Roman did a sterling job on the last climb, keeping Alberto out of trouble and they did their fair share of chasing.”

When the pace picked up towards the end, Yates was pleased Alberto finished safely. “It was an exciting finale, but another day ticked off for the team. With the breakaway and the way the attacks came at the end, the result could have been a lot worse. The break went early, and the team worked hard to control it, and then Etixx-Quick Step took it up with 30km to go to reduce the deficit as they had aspirations for the stage. On the final climb, it was a bit of a long drag with two sections, and that’s where the war started and everyone started going.”

Alberto found the parcours straightforward, but it was the racing that was the real challenge today. “The climbs weren't difficult but there was a lot tension because everybody is fighting for a good position. I still haven't reached the optimal race rhythm, speed or high cadence in the legs but this is precisely the reason we are here. We keep adding training days. It was a complicated stage finish where everybody wanted to stay ahead. The wind was blowing quite hard so if you tried to be in front you had it against you. At the end it was a day where we spent a lot of energy in an up and down terrain but it's another day in the bag."

Yates predicted that the hot weather was having an impact on the riders, being one of the first races in more summery conditions and with the fast pace of the race so far. “The breakaway wasn’t a danger to the GC race, but they weren’t the only ones chasing at the end. Their chances of staying out were slim, and they put up a great fight, but the break riders came second, third and fourth, which showed how close it came. It was always going to go fast up the climb and it was tough because of the humidity and that made the stage a lot harder. No one’s raced in really hot weather yet and the humidity definitely takes it out of the riders.”

Tomorrow sees a more relaxed parcours, with two fourth category climbs and the second category Côte de Sécheras, but a less challenging profile does not mean an easier ride, with the 187.5km stage the longest of this year’s race and the route steadily creeping uphill from the start. The second category climb comes 20km from the finish, and may help a breakaway stick or form a launch platform for an attack, but with a downhill section before a flat run to the finish in Tournon-sur-Rhône, the race may still come down to the final push to the finish line.

“Our strategy for tomorrow will be the same as today.” Said Yates of tomorrow’s stage. “There’s a steep climb at the end, which the sprinters are unlikely to be able to get over and still contest the stage win, as it’s not far to the finish. We want Alberto to remain in contention at the end of the race but don’t want to jeopardize the jersey.”

LottoNL-Jumbo announces Tour de France long list

Team LottoNL-Jumbo created its long list of riders for the upcoming 103rd edition of the Tour de France. The team will whittle this list down to its nine participants ahead of the race start on Saturday, July 2, in Mont-Saint-Michel.

“The team starts in Mont-Saint-Michel with the aim of winning a stage and delivering a strong general classification,” said Technical Director Nico Verhoeven.

“Several riders have trained at altitude in Tenerife. Their last preparations will be done in three stage races, the Tour de Suisse, the Criterium du Dauphiné and the Ster ZLM Toer. Several days before the national championships the final nine riders will be announced.”

Wilco kelderman

Wilco Kelderman is on the long list

Long list riders:
George Bennett
Jos van Emden
Robert Gesink
Dylan Groenewegen
Wilco Kelderman
Tom Leezer
Bert-Jan Lindeman
Paul Martens
Timo Roosen
Bram Tankink
Mike Teunissen
Sep Vanmarcke
Robert Wagner
Maarten Wynants

Sports Directors:
Merijn Zeeman
Nico Verhoeven
Frans Maassen

The 21 stages:
9 flat stages
1 hilly stage
9 mountain stages with 4 summit finishes
2 time trials
2 rest days

UCI suspends use of disc brakes in road racing until further notice

This was posted in Bike Europe:

AIGLE, Switzerland – The UCI Management Committee concluded last Friday that the use of disc brakes in events on the international or national road race calendars remains suspended. Last April the UCI decided to suspend the trail until June 1, but for now the committee did not set a new deadline.

According to the UCI, this decision was taken on request of the Association des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP), supported by the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), without giving any further explanation on the reasons for this postponement.

The next meeting of the UCI Management Committee will take place in Doha, Qatar, on October 12 and 13 during the 2016 UCI Road World Championships.

The trial of disc brakes in road races was suspended last April by the UCI following the injuries suffered by Movistar Team rider Francisco Ventoso at the Paris-Roubaix Classic.

You can read the entire article here.

Giant-Alpecin's upcoming racing:

The team sent me this update:


TOUR DE SUISSE (WT) : The 80th edition of the Tour of Suisse is a tough nine-day race which offers different opportunities for Team Giant-Alpecin. It features around 19,622 meters of climbing with a total distance of 1220.1km to cover, the Swiss route is made for the climbers. From the city of Baar to Davos, the course crosses all four language regions of Switzerland and will offer spectacular views of the Alps.

After a prologue in the city of Baar, the first stage will also take place in Baar and should benefit the puncheurs. The peloton will then head towards Rheinfelden on a long stage of 192.6km. The third stage will end in the French-speaking part of the country, in Champagne. Then they will be a tough day between Brig-Glis and Carì, with three categorize climbs including the steep uphill finish in Carì. The next two days should also be suitable for climbers with uphill finishes in Amden and in Sölden. The Tour de Suisse will end in Davos, after a time trial of 16.8km on Saturday, the final stage offers the last chance for the main contenders to fight out for the overall victory.

"The race profiles are varied and tough and it will be a great race for the team," explained coach Morten Bennekou (DEN). "We have two main goals for the Tour de Suisse; to aim for a good result in the general classification with Warren and to focus on stage results.

"Warren is currently at the team’s altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada to prepare himself for the upcoming races. He has already shown this season that he can compete well on the toughest of climbs and we have a strong team to support him. For stage results, there are no real flat stages and there are opportunities for the breakaways to stay until the finish so we will look to take our chances where we can with Simon and Laurens."

RACE: Tour de Suisse (WT)

DATE: 11-19/06/2016

COACH: Morten Bennekou (DEN) 

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR) 

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke will be at the Swiss Tour

RUND UM KÖLN (1.1) : Team Giant-Alpecin heads to Germany this week to participate at Rund um Köln. It is one of the oldest one-day races in Germany and the race celebrates its 100th edition this Sunday. The course is held around the city of Cologne consisting of 196.7km of hilly terrain where the riders tackle a number of categorized climbs before they descend back to the finish with the outcome of the race not necessarily decided by a bunch sprint.

"The goal for Köln is to sprint with Nikias who picked up his first Grand Tour stage victory on the final stage of the Giro d'Italia," explained coach Dirk Reuling (NED). "During the previous editions the races have usually been decided by a mass sprint. However the parcours is quite tricky, with a lot of short but steep climbs that come in quick succession.

"It will be vital to have riders in the front group if there is a big breakaway that escapes during the hilly section in the early stages of the race. But our main aim is to support Nikias and prepare the sprint for him and target a top 5 result."

RACE: Rund um Köln (1.1)

DATE: 12/06/2016

COACH: Dirk Reuling (NED) 

LINE-UP: Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Max Walscheid (GER) 

SPAR FLANDERS DIAMOND TOUR  (1.1): Team Liv-Plantur returns to Belgium this weekend with the one-day Belgium race SPAR Flanders Diamond Tour. The women's peloton will line-up in Antwerp and head inland to Nijlen. As the course is mainly flat, it will be a day for the sprinters to shine. The parcours covers one large circuit of 30.3km and seven local laps of 14.4km totalling 131.1km. The laps have two small climbs but they should not be too steep for the top sprinters to overcome.

Coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: "The course is pan flat and that will make it a very fast race. The weather conditions can play a role and we will apply an offensive strategy to take the initiative during the race. Leah returns to the line-up and that makes our team even stronger. With Floortje we have options for a sprint finish and we will aim for a podium result."

RACE: SPAR Flanders Diamond Tour (1.1)

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

Dillier back in action on home soil

BMC sent this note to me:

7 June 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Silvan Dillier will make his return to racing on home soil at the GP du canton d'Argovie on Thursday 9 June, having recovered from a fractured finger sustained during the Giro d'Italia.

Dillier will be joined largely by BMC Racing Team's Tour de Suisse team, Sports Director Max Sciandri said. "Five of the riders lining up this Thursday make up our Tour de Suisse team so it's a good one-day hit out for them ahead of the UCI WorldTour race. Silvan is really motivated as it's his home race and we have all five of our Swiss riders on the roster which is a nice chance for them."

After a month off racing, Dillier is eager to re-join the peloton. "The GP du canton d'Argovie is my home race and I know every meter of the parcours. I will know half of the fans on the side of the road and they would like to see me win as much as I would like to! My recovery from my fractured finger is going well and I've had some good training at home since the Giro d'Italia."


Dillier leads at break in the 2015 Swiss Tour

Rider roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Stefan Küng (SUI), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Peter Velits (SVK), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA)

Giant-Alpecin to launch development team

This also came to me from the team:

Team Giant-Alpecin is proud to announce the introduction of a pioneering development program, which will start in the 2017 season. This program will complement the existing Team Liv-Plantur women’s and Team Giant-Alpecin men’s elite WorldTour programs.

The focus of the German-based and internationally oriented development program will be to identify, target and develop riders. Led by the same team of coaches and experts as the elite program, it will provide a new generation of young and talented riders the guidance, coaching and sports science they need to advance their careers while offering them the chance to fulfill their dream of becoming a professional athlete. The team has a proven track record and experience in helping young talents develop into world-class riders.

Team Giant-Alpecin aims to provide the top talent development program in the sport. While maintaining its international orientation, this program will specifically encourage and work with a core of talented German riders and staff, in accordance with the team’s goal of advancing German cycling.

Team Giant-Alpecin will offer Germany’s sole complete development pyramid, featuring the German Talent Days in cooperation with the German Cycling Federation (BDR), the new German development program as the next step to that, and, at the very top of that pyramid, the German-licensed WorldTour team. The main objective is to develop WorldTour riders through Team Giant-Alpecin’s philosophy. With the “Keep Challenging” elite sports approach, the team specifically focuses on optimizing cooperation and innovation, within the framework of a non-negotiable set of core principles, as the key driver for long-term future growth. This program constitutes the next phase in the creation of a significant and enduring elite sports institute.

Team Giant-Alpecin CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) explained: “We want to be an advanced development program where German and international riders will be supported by the latest technologies, expertise, coaching and knowledge. We will adopt a broad approach and focus equally on the riders’ education, since not every talent will ultimately make it into the WorldTour. It all centers around the objective of development, first as a person and ultimately as a professional athlete. But at the very minimum we want to offer something relevant to those young men and prepare them for the next chapter in their life, whether it’s on or off the bike. We will aim to be the world’s ideal gateway to a successful career in the UCI WorldTour.

“Germany is a country with huge potential for cycling. A lot of people ride their bikes, and we want to recruit the best talents from those youngsters wishing to pursue a career in professional cycling. With the German Talent Days together with BDR, this new development program, plus the men’s and women’s elite programs, we believe we will have the perfect pyramid in place.”

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