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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, October 1, 2016

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Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. - Groucho Marx

Recently completed racing:

Today's racing

Bradley Wiggins interviewed by Guardian regarding TUEs

Here's is the complete transcript of Wiggin's interview by William Fottheringham

Fotheringham also wrote a summmary of both the interview and what's going on with the 2012 Tour de France winner:

Sir Bradley Wiggins has for the first time given details of the history of asthma and pollen allergies that led him to apply for three therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to have injections of the banned corticosteroid triamcinolone. The use of the drug did not break any anti-doping rules, although they occurred immediately before major target races, but the 2012 Tour de France winner and nine-times Olympic medallist said he realised why the injections might be considered unethical.

Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins at the end of the 18th stage of the 2012 Tour de France

In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, Wiggins explains what he says is the complete chronology of his symptoms and treatment for those ailments, detailing why the injections were required before certain races but not others.

Asked if he understood those who said having the injections was unethical, Wiggins said: “Without all the context of someone’s history then I could see that on paper maybe, especially the way some of it has been reported. It’s been very sensationalised in parts and very personal in other parts. Straight off, the way cycling is today, yes, yes. Because it doesn’t take much in cycling now because of what’s gone before. So I understand that.”

You can read the entire article here.

Tinkoff headed to Il Lombardia

The team sent me this update:

After a trio of races in Italy, Tinkoff rounds out the stay with the biggest race of the week, Il Lombardia, the final WorldTour race of the season. After a strong showing at Milano-Torino on Wednesday, Rafal Majka heads to ‘the race of the falling leaves’ as the team’s leader, a classic that he finished third at two seasons ago. Leading the team’s hopes of making the selection is also Jesper Hansen, who continued his return to racing this week after a period out due to injury.

The team is completed by Roman Kreuziger and Michael Gogl, both of whom raced twice during the week, as well as Pavel Brutt, Sergio Paulinho, Pawel Poljanski, Matteo Tosatto, all of whom also have mid-week race days in the legs in Italy. Originally previewed to be racing Il Lombardia, Alberto Contador unfortunately had to step down from the line-up due to illness during the week.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka at the end of the 2016 Tour de France. Those dots show the man can climb.

Sport Director for the race, Lars Michaelsen explains more about the race and the team’s approach. “Lombardy is the biggest race of the week. It’s a long one, at 240km, and is the last WorldTour race of the season, one with a phenomenal history and that everyone should be proud to race.

“Our overall plan here is to save Rafal and also Jesper for the final 60-65km which will be key here, they are our best cards on paper. We’ll look to try to cover the breaks with the other guys.

“The race starts in Como and has five official climbs on the parcours, but there are others too. Before the finish, you go over the final climb, Bergamo Alta, short and steep with cobblestones through town streets and a narrow town gate, and then it’s only a few kilometres to the finish on a fast, tricky descent that includes negotiating a sharp turn through another town gate. There will be a game of who goes in the break and how big it is, but our main goal will be to go into the final with the best cards to play.”

The 240km parcours starts in Como before rolling its way over climbs including the Madonna del Ghisallo, cresting after 65.1km, the Valcava, the longest climb of the day after 143.6km, and the Selvino, the penultimate test after 213km. The last rise, coming in the last five kilometres, averages 7.9% for its near 1500m distance, with maximum gradients of 12%. The last climb of the day comes closer to the finish compared to the previous edition, and will surely be the final spring-board for attacks.

Wout Poels signs for three years with Sky

This news was posted by the team:

Poels, 28, has enjoyed a superb second season with the team, building on his encouraging 2015, and was one of the stars of the 2016 Tour de France as he helped Chris Froome to a third Grand Tour victory.

Earlier in the campaign the Dutchman won Team Sky's first Monument Classic at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and that came on the back of overall victory at the week-long Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February. A hugely popular member of the team, Poels' eighth and most recent success in Team Sky colours came at the Tour of Britain, where he won the race's queen stage summit finish for the second year in succession.

Wouter Poels

Wouter Poels sat down with Poels to talk about his new deal, his favourite moments and what's next:

You signed a new deal with the team - are you happy - and was it an easy decision?

I'm really happy. The deal is also for three years so it shows that the team have confidence in me and I'm confident in the team. That's really nice. For me it wasn't a difficult decision to stay. I've really enjoyed the last two years.
Do you think you've developed a lot as a rider over the last two seasons?
I think I've made a few steps again from the start of last year, and also this year with my win at Liege. I think I've moved on as a rider and I'm hoping to make some more steps again. The last ones are always the hardest ones - but I think I'm at an age where my strongest years are coming. So it's really nice to also be in the strongest team in the world.

What's been the highlight during your time with Team Sky so far?

For sure winning Liege. That's definitely the highlight - not only during my time with Sky but in my whole career.

How proud do you feel playing such a key role in those Tour de France victories?

That was really amazing. I remember at the start of last season I wanted to go to the Tour and everyone was saying it was really hard just to make the selection. There are so many great riders on this team, so it was a big goal just to go and then to do a really good job over there. This year was the same again. It's really nice to work with Chris. It's really special that he's been able to win it three times, and to have been part of two of those is really nice. For me personally it was a really nice experience and I hope we can do it again in the future.

What are your aims going forward into 2017 and beyond?

You always have to be ambitious and I still want to improve as a rider. It would be really nice one day to have my chance at one of the Grand Tours - like at the Giro or the Vuelta. That's really a goal for me to do that, so I hope I get the chance and I can take it. But beyond that I just want to win races, and to win more races than this year. I'd like to get more nice GC results and to continue making more steps forward.

Many people have commented that your personality has really shone through at this team - why do you think that is?

For sure I feel comfortable in the team, otherwise you can't be yourself. It's really nice, because sometimes from the outside people think that the team is really strict, and on this team you really want to give everything to reach the highest level. I'm just always who I am. I try to be myself and it's nice if people like that.

After that stage win at the Tour of Britain what are your plans for the rest of the year - will you go deep into the season again?

It was really cool to win the queen stage again at the Tour of Britain. It's the team's home race so it's always really enjoyable. We hoped to do something on the GC, but I think my ride on stage six showed the form is coming again, and next I really hope to be good at Il Lombardia again. That would be really nice - and try for a second Monument (laughs)!

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