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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, September 1, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Hatred is the vice of narrow souls; they feed it with all their littleness, and make it the pretext of base tyrannies - Balzac

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Vuelta a España stage 12 team reports

Here's the report from stage winner Tomasz Marczynski's Lotto-Soudal team:

One week after his first stage win at La Vuelta, Tomasz Marczyński claimed a second stage victory. The twelfth stage, between Motril and Antequera, was only 160 kilometres long and consisted of a relatively flat first part before hitting two difficult climbs in the second half of the race. After fighting for almost sixty kilometres, fourteen riders finally managed to establish the breakaway. Tomasz Marczyński and his companions collaborated efficiently throughout the day and their advantage quickly reached eight minutes.

The escapees stayed united on the Puerto del León to make sure they would stay up front and they crossed the summit together. From then on it was less than sixty kilometres to go. Mørkøv tried to go clear in the descent, but he was reeled in before the Puerto del Torcal. This second category climb brought the collaboration of the breakaway to an end and Marczyński, Canty and Fraile accelerated on the steepest parts, but the trio was unable to drop the rest of the group. Marczyński then left his companions behind four kilometres from the summit and he enjoyed a comfortable one-minute lead on the chasing group when he came first at the top of the climb with seventeen and a half kilometres remaining. The Pole managed to stay away until the finish line.

Tomasz Marczyński: "It was an amazing feeling to win today, especially because the race started really close to my home place. There were a lot of people I know at the side of the road and that gave me extra motivation. Today was a day during which I really wanted to try something, so I attacked several times in the beginning to make it into the breakaway. I spent a lot of energy, but in the end I was happy to have done so because I felt really good. I thought, Now that I’m here, I have an opportunity to win a second stage, so I’m going to make sure I use it as well as possible . I knew I had the legs to do it again today and I was in control the whole day.”

Tomasz Marczynski

Tomasz Marczynski winning Vuelta stage twelve

“I tried to stay focussed and I knew I had to spare my energy for the final climb. I first tried to follow other people’s attacks, and I went clear when I felt that it was the right moment. The breakaway was starting to fall apart but I still had good legs, and when I heard that I had a one-minute gap, I decided to go full gas until the line. With two kilometres to go I got a wrong information that the chasing group was only thirty seconds behind me, so I was a bit worried, but then our sports director told me that the gap was still around fifty seconds and I was relieved. I then enjoyed every metre until the finish line, it really was an incredible feeling. I will keep attacking in this Vuelta, but I first have to recover from today’s efforts. I will see afterwards how my legs feel: if the condition is still there when another opportunity arises, I will go for it. That’s what the team is here for, so my teammates will also try their best in the upcoming stages."

Omar Fraile was second. His Team Dimension Data posted this report:

Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) won his 2nd stage of this year’s Vuelta a Espana by taking the spoils on stage 12 today. Omar Fraile came close for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka once again but had to settle for 2nd place.  Jose Joquin Rojas (Movitar) finished 3rd.

The 12th stage of the Vuelta a Espana didn’t get off to a great start for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Serge Pauwels wasn’t able to take the start. Our Belgian climber finished last yesterday, totally empty and suffering from illness. Sadly, he was not able to recover overnight, leaving our African Team to start with just 4 riders.

Our African Team didn’t give in though and with today’s stage suiting the breakaway, Fraile made sure to be part of the 14 rider move that went clear after 55km of racing. As the gap ballooned to 9-minutes it was clear they would make it to the line and decide the stage. There were 2 climbs near the back end of the stage, a cat 1 followed by a cat 2 and then a 16km descent to the finish.

The break stayed pretty much intact over the cat 1 and started the final climb together. Fraile was the first to attack which saw 6 riders go clear. Marczynski was the next to move and nobody could follow the Polish rider as he reached the summit of the final climb with a 1-minute lead. The chase effort was disturbed when Brendon Canty (Cannondale-Drapc) crashed out and Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe) punctured.

After winning stage 6, it was Marczynski’s 2nd stage win at this year’s Vuelta with Fraile winning the sprint from the chasers, unfortunately it was only for 2nd place. Fraile was awarded the most combative rider on the stage though. Late drama in the GC race saw Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) attack the main group and Chris Froome (Team Sky) crashed twice. In the end, Froome did well to limit his losses and kept the overall lead.

Omar Fraile – Rider: "Today, it was so difficult to make it into the breakaway with non-stop attacking for the first 50 km. In fact, I was the last rider to make it across to the front group. I felt good all day. My legs were strong on the penultimate climb but unfortunately, I suffered from a few cramps on the last climb when the Lotto-Soudal rider attacked so I decided to keep my own pace towards the top. In the final part, we rode really hard but it was not possible to catch him again. However, I’m still happy because last week I was sick and almost going home. We are only four riders left in the team now but we will continue to fight. There are still more opportunities for us."

Race leader Chris Froome crashed twice in stage 12. Here's the report his Team Sky posted:

Chris Froome recovered from two late crashes to retain the red leader’s jersey thanks to some fantastic teamwork on stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana, which was won by Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal).

In the closing 15 kilometres of the 160.1km stage from Montril to Antequera, Froome was forced to change his bike after a the first crash before falling shortly afterwards on a tight corner.

Fortunately, Wout Poels and Mikel Nieve were able to help pace Froome back into contention dropping just 20 seconds to second-placed Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and 40 seconds to Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) who had initiated an attack shortly before the incident.

With Marcynski closing in on a breakaway stage win, Contador had attacked the other GC contenders opening up a small gap which the chasing elite group were closing when Froome suffered the first of his two issues.

While Froome was able to close in on the Nibali group and reduce the impact of his setbacks, Contador clawed back more time to keep himself in contention in ninth place. However, the race leader was upbeat after the stage, believing he was fortunate to get away lightly after his crash and hailing the work of his teammates Poels and Nieve.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome bandaged up after stage twelve

He said: “I’m dong fine, I’m just grateful it’s not more serious. I lost my front wheel in the corner, it was a really dry slippery corner and I just lost my front wheel a bit. It’s never good to lose time, but it’s good that it’s 20 seconds and not one minute.

“I had two teammates, Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels with me -  they were fantastic and they helped me all the way to the finish and helped me limit my losses. I think all in all I’m just grateful I’m not more seriously injured and just lost a bit of skln.

“We’ll have to see over the next few days of course, sleeping on grazes is never too much fun but I just have to make do now and I’m glad it’s not more serious. It could have been much worse, its never a situation you’d want to be in but things happen in bike racing.”

Team Sunweb's Lennard Hofstede abandoned. Here's the team news release:

After 11 challenging stages of racing at the Vuelta a España, Team Sunweb's Grand Tour debutant Lennard Hofstede (NED) is forced to abandon the race due to sickness.

Hofstede has had a successful debut to date at the Vuelta, playing a key support role in Team Sunweb's general classification ambitions, but yesterday evening, the 22-year-old started to feel unwell.

Team Sunweb's Physician Mannes Naeff (NED) explained: "During yesterday's stage Lennard was feeling good but during the night he began to experience stomach problems - a case of gastro-enteritis. We had hoped that he may feel better during today's stage but Lennard was unable to eat or drink and in the hot conditions there was no other option for him to abandon the race. After a few days rest we expect that he will be able to restart his training again."

Hofstede said: "I felt really sick when I woke up this morning, I was unwell and couldn't eat anything. I persevered and continued to try but there was no power in my legs and I feel completely empty. I'm really disappointed to end my first Grand Tour like this, it's been a great experience so far."

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) said: "It's a pity that Lennard is forced to abandon due to sickness, he was shining in his first Grand Tour and we have been really pleased with his performance. We tried it this morning at the start, but very soon realised that it wasn’t possible to continue. He supported the team in his role really well and we will miss him here in the coming weeks."

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