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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 12, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things. - Henry Ward Beecher

Current Racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage six team reports

Team BMC sent me this:

11 May, 2017, Terme Luigiane (ITA): Silvan Dillier claimed the first UCI WorldTour and first Grand Tour stage win of his career when he sprinted to victory from the breakaway on stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia.

Dillier battled for the victory against Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), the remaining three riders of the original five-rider group, in a tough 1.5km uphill finish to Terme Luigiane.

As soon as the flagged drop to signal the start of the 217km stage, Dillier had a flat tire and was forced to chase the peloton for 10km, just in time to make his way back through the bunch and chase down the breakaway.

The five riders forged on and quickly gained an advantage of more than eight minutes as they tackled the first categorized climb of the day. By the time the race entered the final 100km the advantage had come down to 5'40" but despite an increase in pace from the peloton, the breakaway continued to stay in front.

Approaching the final 25km, Dillier's group still had a three-minute advantage and as they hit the final categorized Fuscaldo climb, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Simone Andreetta (Bardiani CSF) both dropped.

Stuyven attacked over the summit but Dillier and Pöstlberger were able to follow his wheel and stick together down the tricky hairpin descent that would lead the trio into the finale. Aware of the peloton closing in, the trio kept a high pace and as they rode under the flamme rouge they began to look at each other, waiting for the first attack.

It was a stalemate until the final 250m when Dillier launched his sprint from the third position and managed to hold on, despite Stuyven chasing hard, to take the biggest win of his career.

Sylvan Dillier

Sylvan Dillier wins Giro stage six

The Winner's Interview with Silvan Dillier

Silvan, congratulations! Tell us how the stage was for you.

"Basically the stage started pretty bad for me. I had a flat tire at KM 0. I chased back and I could go straight away in the breakaway. At the end, it was pretty hard to stay away. To beat Jasper Stuyven in a sprint like this is crazy. I still can't believe this. I know the harder the race, the better it is for me. The final was really hard and Jasper Stuyven is a really strong rider. I had some concerns about him. To win a stage against him is crazy. It feels great."

How does this win compare with your previous results?

"For sure it is the biggest victory so far for me. I can't describe it. It's fantastic. Actually how I did it, I do not know. I know when it is a hard sprint, I have power, I can push a big gear. I just tried to believe in myself and try to find some more energy. I could finish it in the end. I was chasing for a victory for almost two years now and it's unbelievable that I get this one today. I had some nice victories and moments before, but this is for sure the biggest."

How has the opening week of the Giro d'Italia been for you?

"The first few days which were meant to be pretty easy, weren't. As the race gets harder, the better I get compared to other riders so I could use this to my advantage today. This is really important for the team to get a stage win here. It gives us some confidence and a good spirit, and we want to keep this up."

Who do you dedicate this victory to?

"I want to give this victory to my team as they give me a lot of confidence and support, but also my family and my wife back home because they always support me. They give me a really solid base and I'm really happy to be in this whole environment."

Maximilian Sciandri, Sports Director: "On my pre-race report that I did last night I went through the stage and the riders, and Silvan Dillier was the guy with a chance today. In the meeting this morning we talked about it. It started out quite rough for him as he had a flat at KM0 and chased straight through the peloton and into the breakaway, so he took the opportunity 100 percent. The gap went up to eight and a half minutes at around the 50-60km mark. Cannondale-Drapac started to pull but there were five strong guys in front, including the two Trek-Segafredo guys with one of the guys committing to the other, so they were promoting the breakaway. Cannondale-Drapac had about five guys on the front so it was really five against five, and the gap wasn't coming down as they probably expected. Towards the final other teams came up but it was hard to pull time back. The hope was high that they would stay away."

"It's fantastic. We lost Rohan Dennis a few days ago which was hard for us. Winning a stage is always good. It pays back the work from the staff and the other riders. Silvan hasn't ever found a win in a Grand Tour so this is excellent for him. We'll be looking for more stages from here to Milan, and obviously we have the General Classification in mind."

And of course, we have to post the report from Jasper Stuyven's Trek-Segafredo team:

Jasper Stuyven narrowly missed victory in stage six of the Giro d'Italia Thursday, beaten to the line by breakaway compatriot Silvan Dillier (BMC) and settling for a heartbreaking second place.

It was a hard pill to swallow for Stuyven, who with teammate Mads Pedersen instigated the five-man breakaway and threw everything they had into the effort for over 200 kilometers only to be edged in the final uphill meters.

Silvan Dillier

Jasper Stuyven pounds his bars in frustration

"They always say that if you are close, it will come, but there are not that many opportunities; you have to take them when they are there," said a dejected Stuyven. "It didn't happen today, and that is actually pretty sh**t," he added, not mincing words on his feeling.

It was a stage marked for a breakaway with a tough 1.5-kilometer uphill finish, and Trek-Segafredo began the day with a plan: get Stuyven up the road.  When young Mads Pedersen, 21, attacked in the early kilometers he was hoping it would help launch Stuyven. But things turned out even better.

"We wanted to get Jasper in the breakaway, and it would be good to have two, so I thought if I was the first guy attacking, Jasper could counter," explained Pedersen. "But suddenly Jasper was in my wheel, and [Lukas] Postlberger was there. So we were three guys, and we went full, full, full for 25 minutes – the worst 25 minutes of my life!

"Then we had two guys who came up when the peloton slowed down. After that it was just playing the game with the peloton – go fast when we had to go fast, give them time when we needed to give them time, stuff like this. But the last 80kms it was full gas the whole time. At kilometer 193 I was dropped on the hill but came back on the downhill. From the beginning, I knew it was all for Jasper, so I was pulling full again with the others."

Out front, the five men played a clever game. When three teams joined forces in the pursuit with still over 70 kilometers to race, it appeared the escapees were on the road to failure. But when the gap held firm at five minutes over the ensuing kilometers, and then began to tick away faster than the clock, the tables turned. The peloton had gambled and lost.

"They said it was going to be a tailwind, but it was not really a tailwind all the way," pointed out Stuyven. "When we came into the crosswind section before the feed zone, I was not so positive that we would make it. At that point, it was really hard. But I think we managed it well and Mads – he just pulled like an animal today!"

Young Pedersen continued to throw maximum effort in keeping the peloton at bay. In the closing kilometers, he lost contact to his compatriots on an uphill, but fought his way back to the group on the descent, and immediately went to the front to work again.

That is, until a safety pin did him in.

"We came around a corner, and I hit a safety pin in the front wheel," said Pedersen. "I could hear [the tire losing air]. So I knew it was my last pull and I pulled full and went out and then went easy to the finish."

The breakaway was down to three men for the final uphill to the finish, and they eyed each other intently. Dillier jumped first, and Stuyven quickly grabbed his wheel. Stuyven started to come alongside the Swiss rider but was unable to find the power to move past him before the line.

"The finish was 8%, so it was pretty hard, and I know Dillier is a strong guy, so I was paying attention to him," said a fatigued Stuyven. "Of course you are tired after such a long day and after a sprint, but most of all because I am really disappointed actually."

Bauke Mollema added to the team's strong showing in the race, finishing in ninth place. He arrived in the front positions of the group with all the GC favorites that arrived 39 seconds later and continues to hold eighth place overall.

And here's what Team Bardiani-CSF sent me:

Bardiani-CSF took today its first top placement at Giro d’Italia. In stage six, from Reggio Calabria to Terme Luigiane, 217 km, Simone Andreetta placed fourth after a gutsy break together with Dillier, the winner, Stuyven, Postlberger and Pedersen.

“I achieved the best, who arrived in front of me had that extra oomph. I’m really tired but satisfied, I gave all, I have no regrets” said Andreetta, who already raced in the break in stage two.

“This morning we knew could be a good chance for a break to arrive at the finish. Looking to the route, it was hard to think that sprinters’ teams could take too much to keep the race closed. As Bardiani-CSF, we had to be in the front and we got it”.

“It was not easy to attack. After 20 km I had the chance to go away with Dillier and five kms after we reached Stuyven, Pedersen and Postlberger, sharing the effort by common accord. At 80 km to go our lead got down, we understood the peloton was forcing and we did the same. At 3 km the riders with me forced again and I had to raise the white flag. Congrats to Dillier”.

“Personally I feel good, but the entire team is strongly motivated to stand out and winning a stage. We showed that, despite our Giro’s start has been shocking, we’re reacting. We’re a very close group, starting from the ‘oldest’ Boem and Barbin, who was great especially with the younger of us. We have to thanks our main sponsors Bardiani and CSF because they immediately showed their support. And then we have great directors, Bruno, Stefano and Roberto, who managed the situation in the best way. We’ll try again, for sure”.

Phinney, Talansky captain Cannondale-Drapac's Amgen Tour of California squad

The team sent me this news:

Americans Andrew Talansky and Taylor Phinney will captain Cannondale-Drapac’s Amgen Tour of California squad when the race ships out of Sacramento on Sunday.

Taylor Phinney

Taylor Phinney at last year's Tirreno-Adriatico

Joining them are Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Brendan Canty, Lawson Craddock, Toms Skujuns, and Wouter Wippert.

“It's a really nice team, packed full of talented guys; some of America's best, no less,” said director Tom Southam, who will run the show in California. “These guys are at home and we are a home team. They should be extremely motivated for this race, and when you are motivated then the results arrive. I like our odds.”

The team will pursue multiple objectives: stage results across the board and a high general classification aim on the wheels of Andrew Talansky. The race begins on Sunday in Sacramento and ends the following Saturday in Pasadena.

“I’m feeling good, the last few weeks since returning from Europe have been smooth. I’m feeling fit and ready to race,” Talansky said. “The Amgen Tour of California is the biggest stage race in the USA and it just happens to be in my adopted home state. I would love to be able to pull off a great result in front of family and friends.

“I spend the majority of the season racing in Europe, so it’s a nice to change to get to race on home turf like the Europeans do on a regular basis,” Talansky added. “It’s also a special race for the team, with Slipstream Sports being a well-established American squad. Cannondale and Drapac both have large interests in the US as well, so it’s a great opportunity for the team to showcase itself on home ground.”

The parcours is varied, with two true uphill finishes, the first on stage two, and the queen stage, up Mt. Baldy on stage five.

“The goal for me is to get the best GC placing possible. That said, with the team we have going, much like last year, we aren’t going to sit around and wait for the last few days,” Talansky said. "We have numerous riders who can win stages and maybe take the jersey in doing so early on. We won’t be sitting back and waiting. You will definitely see the team racing aggressively from the beginning of the week.”

The race marks Phinney’s first since he crashed at the Tour of Flanders and sustained a concussion. “It took about four weeks to fully recover to start really training again. I feel fortunate that I had the patience to do that, and the team had the patience in me to be able to do that,” Phinney said. “I’ve been training now for almost two weeks, and I feel pretty decent. I’m always stoked to go to California, because it’s just fun to race in America. I’m feeling great about it.”

Phinney will naturally target the time trial, a 24-kilometer affair at Big Bear Lake next Friday.

“A time trial at altitude. I’d like to do well there. I feel like I have a pretty good opportunity to bang out a result,” he said. “That’s my main focus for the week. It would be great if we could win some stages. Maybe win the overall.”

Skujins is a two-time stage winner at California, taking victories in 2015 and 2016. “California is good to everyone, that's why people love it here. Great weather, awesome fans and exciting racing. Not much more you can ask for,” he said. “We've got a real strong team here that's for sure. I believe we can challenge for every stage and the GC, and I'm sure we'll do our best to make the racing enjoyable for the spectators.

“For myself I'd just like to put on an exciting race as I do every year here, but always as it fits into the team plans,” Skujins added. “We can spring some surprises on any day.”

California is a WorldTour race this season for the first time in its history. Will that change the feel? Southam and Skujins both think so.

“It definitely changes things up a bit. The race will have a deeper field and riders are taking the preparation more seriously as there's more exposure up for grabs,” Skujins said.

“It'll be interesting to see how the change affects the race. In past editions the strongest teams in this race were also the same guys who are doing the same thing at WorldTour level, so if QuickStep want to ride the front for an entire week again — as they did in 2015 — even with WorldTour teams here they can do that. Where you may see a change is on the harder days, which in the past have been quite easy until the key moments. Hopefully other WorldTour teams are keen to race hard all day on those stages.”

Cannondale-Drapac for the 2017 Amgen Tour of California

Alberto Bettiol (ITA)
Nate Brown (USA)
Brendan Canty (AUS)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Toms Skujins (LVA)
Andrey Talansky (USA)
Wouter Wippert (NLD)

Campagnolo entering disc brake epoch

Bike Europe sent me this interesting news:

VICENZA, Italy – It took Campagnolo some more years than Shimano and SRAM to develop disc brakes but now they are finally ready for the market. “We have put more emphasis on maintaining integrity and ensuring the Campagnolo quality and less priority on being ‘first to market’,” states the Italian company, explaining why it took till 2017 before they launched disc brakes.

Campagnolo did not develop the disc brakes themselves, but they found a partner in Magura. They brought in existing German hydraulic braking technology. “Magura’s expertise in hydraulic functionality proved to be fundamental in terms of guaranteeing the best possible functionality while incorporating both Campagnolo’s designs and technical input,” says Campagnolo in the press statement. “To meet standards of ergonomy, performance, reliability in addition to new design and safety aspects developed by the Campy Tech Lab, our engineers spent months developing, prototyping and modifying version after version leading up to today’s finished product.”

Campagnolo disc brake solutions goes by the name of H11 and is available in both EPS and mechanical versions and comes complete with a carbon fiber brake lever on both versions. The mid-range offering comes via the Potenza 11 Ergopower which is built with an aluminum brake lever and contains internals specifically designed for the Potenza 11 mechanical transmission.

To house the hydraulic cylinder, the internals were completely redesigned to make room for a great deal of additional hardware with respect to the rim brake version. However, when compared to the current rim brake Ergopowers the new disc brake versions are a mere 8mm taller. None of the disc brake modifications interferes with the shifting functionalities.

You can read the entire story here.

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