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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, August 5, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio. - Joan Rivers

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Clásica de San Sebastián reports

We posted the report from winner Julian Alaphilippe's Quick-Step team with the results

Here's the BMC update:

Greg Van Avermaet secured his third consecutive top ten finish at Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian today after digging deep when the attacks began on the final climb before sprinting to fourth on the line.

A six-rider breakaway went clear in the opening kilometers of the 228.7km course and steadily began to build up an advantage over the first of 8 categorized climbs which edged over the seven-minute mark after 40km of racing.

The gap between the leaders and the peloton, where all seven BMC Racing Team riders sat, went on to peak at 7’45” and continued to hover around that time for the next 40km before the main bunch started to regain control.

By the time the race reached the top of the first of two ascents of the category one Jaizkibel climb, with 95km to go, the leaders had been pulled back to 2’40” and in the end, the final rider from the early breakaway was able to hold off the catch for another 57km.

With the race coming back together inside 38km to go, new attacks began to fly off the front of the reduced bunch but they were all neutralized approaching the 20km to go mark before a crash, which BMC Racing Team was able to avoid, saw the group unfortunately whittled down further.

Van Avermaet was led into the bottom of the final short but sharp climb, the 1.8km long Murgil Tontorra which had an average gradient of 11.3%, by a strong Michael Schär and it was on the steepest section of this climb that the race exploded with various attacks forcing small group to form going over the top with just over 7km to go.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) were sitting out in front on the fast run into the finish line with Van Avermaet working hard in the first chasing group around 30 seconds back.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe wins in San Sebastian.

The leading duo was able to hold onto their advantage in the closing moments of the day with Alaphilippe taking the win ahead of Mollema while Van Avermaet remained in the thick of the action during another tough finale to sprint to fourth on the line.

Quotes From the Finish Line

Greg Van Avermaet:
"I think today's race was pretty good for me. Everything went well right up to the bottom of the last climb. We were able to save as much energy as possible and then, I tried to give it a good go there. I was actually feeling really good. Today was the first time that I have come over the top of the final climb in the first five and I was even really close to Mollema and Alaphilippe. I think I surprised myself that I could be as good on this parcours as I was today. In previous years I was maybe 15th at the top of the climb and was able to make a good result because I was able to catch riders on the descent, however, today, it was the other way around."

"We made a good effort to try and catch the two leaders. I tried to do a good sprint and today would have been perfect if I had finished third but I think I was just a little bit too late. Fourth was a good result though and I was feeling really good all day. I am happy with my form coming out of this race and I am now looking forward to the UCI European Championships. It's a good parcours for me and hopefully, I can keep this condition going into it.

Sports Director, Allan Peiper:
"The conditions were really hard today. It was around 30 degrees in San Sebastian and even higher than that inland and I think the heat made the race even more testing than the long parcours. As a team, we were fully focused around Greg Van Avermaet and we used our resources wisely at the start with Patrick Bevin, Miles Scotson, and Fran Ventoso doing a lot of early work. Going over the top of the Jaizkibel for the second time, we still had Greg, Miles and Michael Schär in the main group. Miles did a good job for the guys into the last category three climb and then it was Michi who did a great job leading Greg into the base of the final climb."

"Greg started in a really good position inside the top ten and then Mollema and Alaphilippe went. We counted around a seven-second deficit at the top and a couple of guys then came back to Greg and he was chasing with them but the front two already had a good enough lead. Greg did a great job to sprint to fourth place and from a team perspective, with the depth of talent here, we can be happy with our performance. I'm sure Greg would have liked to have had the win but he is realistic in his chances. He said yesterday that it is nearly impossible to win this year for him and so, finishing fourth means that he was close to doing the impossible so I think that's a good outcome."

Tour of Poland stage one news

We posted the report from stage winner Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team with the stage results.

Here's the race update from third-place Matteo Trentin's Mitchelton-Scott team:

The 75th Tour of Poland began with a short and sweet stage around Krakow with multiple grand tour stage winner Matteo Trentin displaying a strong turn of pace and sharpness to take third in the bunch sprint for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

A strong lead-out, first from Australian champion Alex Edmondson and then Luka Mezgec brought Trentin up to the front for a drag race alongside Quick-Step Floors with less than a kilometre remaining.

Bora-Hansgrohe had been close to the front throughout the stage and the German team moved up again as the front of the race exploded out of the final corner. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the stage win after launching early with Trentin taking off in pursuit for a solid third place and a positive return to form after recovering from a serious back injury sustained in the spring.

Pascal Ackermann

Pascal Ackermann wins the Tour of Poland's first stage.

Giro d’Italia stage winner and overall contender Simon Yates stayed up near the front through the finale and finished 18th attentive of any potential gaps on GC. Four riders went up the road immediately and gained close to four minutes on the peloton over the first 20kilometres as the race headed past the outskirts of Krakow and into the neighboring countryside.

Not much changed over the next hour of racing and the peloton, looking ever comfortable started to reduce the gap inside the closing kilometres. Finally making contact ahead of the three finishing circuits in downtown Krakow with only one rider left out front at 20seconds.

Less than ten kilometres remained when the bunch eventually came together with the fight for position intensifying over every metre and a sprint finish clearly on the cards. Mitchelton-SCOTT led out Trentin into the last kilometre as the fireworks ignited and after holding on to a good position the Italian finished well with third on the day behind stage winner Ackermann.

Matteo Trentin:
“We approached the sprint really well today, all the guys were involved and kept me out of the wind brilliantly. First Roman Kreuziger, Carlos Verona and Michael Albasini did great work over the final laps before Alex and Luka led me out, and I couldn’t have asked for a better position.”

“It was the first time this group has worked together on a sprint like that and we managed it very positively, I don’t think I would have had the legs to beat Ackermann today and the best I could do was get in his slipstream and fight for second or third.

“Getting off to a good start is important, especially on a short stage with such a fast finish like today. I am feeling good, getting back into the rhythm of racing and tomorrow is another opportunity for us.”

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage:
“The guys stuck to the plan well today, we said from the outset that we aren’t loking to try and control the race from the front and we want to try and wait for opportunities. When the race hit the closing circuits we moved up at the right time and got Matteo into a good position to contest the sprint."

“It’s a good start and Matteo is looking strong. We can see that he is on his way back towards top form and today’s performance will be great for his confidence after such a long time out.”

Harley Davidson announces growth plan that may include e-bikes

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

MILWAUKEE (BRAIN) — Harley Davidson announced an ambitious growth plan Monday that includes the launch of a variety of new products, including, possibly, e-bikes.

Among other changes, the company announced it would launch a family of no-clutch electric two-wheelers next year. That line will start out with the company's first electric motorcycle, called the LiveWire.

"LiveWire will be followed by additional models through 2022 to broaden the portfolio with lighter, smaller and even more accessible product options to inspire new riders with new ways to ride," the company said.

In a news release, the company included illustrations of four electric two-wheelers, including lightweight street and offroad motorcycles, a scooter, and what appears to be a full suspension electric mountain bike. The company released no details of the two-wheelers.

The company also said it will improve and expand its global digital capabilities to integrate with its dealerships and will launch new retail formats including smaller, urban storefronts.

You can read the entire story here.

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