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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 18, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. - Thomas A. Edison

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

World Championships team reports

Team Sunweb had an unbelievble day. They won both the men's and women's team time trials. Here's their report:

Following a gold medal in the Women's Team Time Trial World Championships, the men's team followed up with an equally impressive double by winning their Team Time Trial Championships this afternoon. It was another superb display of pacing over the 42.5km course that saw the team finish 8" ahead of their nearest rivals.

Tom Dumoulin (NED), Lennard Kämna (GER), Wilco Keldermann (NED), Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Michael Matthews (AUS) and Sam Oomen (NED) formed the six rider team that raced around the circuit in Bergen in a time of 47'50".

A nervous wait, much like the women's team endured this morning, was replaced with elation as the final teams came over the finish line unable to match the time set by Team Sunweb. The double wins are the result of hard work put in over the years in developing the best equipment and techniques to allow the riders to build and race to their fullest, and the gold medals are a just reward.

Dumoulin said after the finish: "It's crazy, first the women this afternoon and then us. The team was so homogenous, it was absolutely amazing. Normally you'd say that I was the best time trialist on paper but with this team it was so smooth and we had a really good pace and kept it all the way to the line.

"We tried to keep it together especially on the long climb with around 10km to go which just worked out. We were all flying - I don't have the words. It's really unexpected but very nice. We knew that we were doing a good time trial but didn't know the time splits until the finish. It was so close and so tense with BMC but we made it at the end. It's the team event of the year and we pulled it off."

Team Sunweb coach Adriaan Helmantel (NED) added: "What can I say - this is unreal and so amazing. Of course after the victory of the women it was already amazing, so we took that spirit and also some information into the men's race. Yesterday, we chose to keep the meeting short as everything was clear - the guys just had to do it together. They really did it in an amazing way.

Team Sunweb

The Sunweb women showed the world how a team time trial should be ridden.

"From the beginning it was really smooth and the level was really homogenous, and I think we made a difference to the other teams here. We stayed actually until the last kilometer with six, where most others were riding with four. That was a part of our strategy as we knew that we could win a lot of time after the climb and that was also the main reason for the selection of the team. We knew that we needed strong TT riders but also strong climbers as there you could make a difference.

"Of course today is a really big day for the team, here with the men's and women's teams working together. It's a big congratulations to the whole team, everybody who works so hard on all the details and that all fell into place today - it's amazing."

The BMC men's team was second. Here's the report the team sent me:

17 September, 2017, Bergen (NOR): BMC Racing Team claimed a second consecutive silver medal at the UCI Road World Championship Team Time Trial in Bergen, Norway, in a tough test against the clock that came down to a nail-biting fight to the line.

As the silver medallists in Doha in 2016, BMC Racing Team's six riders, Rohan Dennis, Silvan Dillier, Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss, Miles Scotson and Tejay van Garderen, were the second-to-last team to roll down the ramp in Ravnanger for the 42.5km hilly course, which was one of the toughest seen in recent years.

At the first intermediate checkpoint after 10.5km of rolling terrain, BMC Racing Team clocked the third-fastest time, 9.47 behind Team Sky, with the most difficult section still to come.

The tables had turned by the second intermediate checkpoint at the 31km mark which saw BMC Racing Team, former two-time team time trial world champions, post the fastest time of 36'22".

With the last intermediate time check coming at 38.1km, BMC Racing Team continued to set the fastest time of 42'42" and with five riders still racing together, looked to be in a position to take a third world championship title.

With a nail-biting final four kilometers set to decide the gold medallists, BMC Racing Team was chasing the best provisional finish time of 47'50", set by Team Sunweb, with just Quickstep-Floors still to finish behind.

Team BMC

BMC came close....

The final section of the course proved decisive and with four riders left, BMC Racing Team crossed the line with the second-fastest time, 8'29" behind winners Team Sunweb, to claim a second consecutive silver medal and a fifth trip to the podium in six years.

Quotes from the Finish Line

Rohan Dennis: "As we always do, we came here to win gold. It is sometimes a little disappointing to get silver but we're still the second-best in the world here in Norway. Team Sunweb's result is surprising but it also isn't. They have been competitive in everything this year and they had a great team here today."

Stefan Küng: "It was a really difficult time trial. In the end, we blew up a little bit. In a team time trial, you always have to go at the pace of the fourth or fifth guy, or even the sixth guy in the beginning, and I think we didn't pay enough attention to this, so we had to ease off a little bit several times to stay together. If you have to do that you lose too much time which is why we finished second in the end. We went for the victory. We didn't go for second place. If we would have gone for second place, we could have eased off but that's why we were still pushing hard. If you keep pushing hard and some riders are more on the limit, you start losing guys but in the end we had to do this because as I said, we came here for the victory."

Jackson Stewart, Sports Director: "Of course, we're disappointed. We came here to win, and the guys gave it everything they could. It was a really great ride, and we can be happy with our effort and with what we did as a team today, but I think the only result we wanted was the win. We had a conservative pacing strategy, and everything was going according to plan. We had everyone together, and no one was really on the limit, and then we had a few hiccups over the final section. It was a technical course and it was hard to stay together on it. I think in the closing kilometers we maybe over-cooked the second to the last turn and we weren't too smooth over the cobbled section. We knew coming into today that the race would be won by the team who made the fewest mistakes. We did the best we could, and it was really just the final four kilometers that didn't go our way."

Marco Pinotti, Performance Coach: "It was a challenging course, but we knew it well, and we had prepared well. I think as a team we really developed over the course of the race, and it was only after the last intermediate checkpoint that we lost time. We couldn't have gone one second faster. Of course, we came here to win so it is disappointing to miss out on the gold medal like this but the guys gave it everything, and in the end, it was Team Sunweb who was stronger and so they deserved the victory today."

Team Sky was third. Here's their report:

Setting a time of 48 minutes and 12 seconds across the rolling 42.5-kilometre course in Bergen, the team crossed the line with four riders to secure a place on the podium. Third equalled Team Sky’s previous best result in the event from Florence 2013.

Chris Froome, Vasil Kiryienka, Michal Kwiatkowski and Gianni Moscon came in as a quartet after Owain Doull and Geraint Thomas dropped off earlier around the course after putting in hard efforts.

Fastest through the opening split, the team were never outside the top three on the time checks but were forced to battle on with just four riders following the main climb of the day.

Team Sky

Team Sky was third.

Team Sunweb claimed victory on the day, coming home 22 seconds up on Team Sky. BMC Racing looked like they were preparing a late run at gold but eventually had to settle for second, eight seconds off the win.

Sport Director Brett Lancaster spoke to after the race.“Like we said from the start it was never going to be easy. Teams have always stepped up a lot in this event,” said the Australian. “The guys did their best effort and at the first split they were up by a second. We waited a bit on the climb as we knew ideally we needed five guys for the end, but the guys did a super job to bring it home.

“Third is a bit of a consolation prize. Sunweb are a really well-drilled team and hat’s off to BMC who were great. It’s the first time Quick-Step have been out of the medals since the race began so it just shows how every team has stepped up.”

Lotto-Soudal rider medical updates

The team sent me this report:

An infection forced Maxime Monfort to abandon La Vuelta with only four stages left to go. It was the first time in his career that the Belgian had to leave a Grand Tour, it was his eighteenth ever. Monfort took antibiotics and recovered well. In the meantime he has resumed his trainings.

Due to a crash in training Rafael Valls couldn’t participate in La Vuelta. Less than two weeks before the start in Nîmes he fractured his hip. He had to take sufficient rest. At the moment he still isn’t training yet, but he will soon start a rehabilitation schedule which will consist of cycling, but also swimming amongst other things. The season is over for Valls.

Rafael Valls

Rafael Valls (left) with Chris Froome at this year's Dauphiné

In the beginning of August Jürgen Roelandts underwent hip surgery. He has been riding his bike again since the beginning of this month and the intensity of the trainings is being gradually increased. Because the recovery will take about three months, Roelandts won’t be racing anymore this year.

Louis Vervaeke, who suffered from overfatigue, has been building up his training intensity the past few months. Rider and medical staff are satisfied about the progress he has made. It’s not clear yet if Vervaeke will still race this season.

Frederik Frison has had two setbacks this year. After he incurred a pelvic fracture in a crash at Quatre Jours de Dunkerque, he got glandular fever. Frison could only rest. When someone has glandular fever the liver and spleen are enlarged. That causes function disruptions and in a crash these organs could rupture. The past months Frison was monitored. The infection is decreasing and Frison has resumed his trainings. Also for Frison it’s not sure yet if he will still race in 2017.

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