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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, August 13, 2018

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time. - H. L. Mencken

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Matteo Trentin new European champion

Trentin's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

Italian Matteo Trentin sprinted to victory from a small group at the European championships in Glasgow today, bringing the special championship jersey to Mitchelton-SCOTT for the first time in the team's seven year existence.

It was an incredible performance by the 29-year-old, who bounced back from a spinal fracture which he sustained earlier in the year during Paris-Roubaix, to return to top form and sprint to the championship victory for Italy.

With one compatriot, David Cimolai, working with him in the breakaway, Trentin claimed the victory ahead of cyclo-cross stars Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) and Wout van Aert (Blegium).

The 235-kilometre one-day race took place on a circuit around Glasgow city centre and with heavy rain from almost start to finish, it was a challenging five hours 50minutes in the saddle, which saw numerous riders quit.

The first breakaway of the day was formed by Krists Neilands (LAT), Robert-Jon McCarthy (IRL), Josef Cerny (CZE), Roland Thalmann (SUI), Polychronis Tzortzakis (GRE) and Matthias Krizek (AUT).

After the catch was made with 100km to go and new breakaway of 10riders established with just 60km remaining and included two Mitchelton-SCOTT riders, Swiss Michael Albasini and Trentin.

The 10rider group opened up over a two minute advantage and looked ready to battle it out for the medals but with nine kilometres to go a crash on a wet corner saw Albasini go down.

The crash split the front group which left just five riders in contention including Trentin and his Italian teammate Cimolai.

The pair worked to stay in a good position coming into the final sprint as Trentin powered from the wheels, down the final straight and to the championship victory.

The much eluded European jersey will now be worn within Mitchelton-SCOTT for the the next 12 months.

Matteo Trentin

The European championships podium, from left: 2nd place Mathieu dan Der Poel (Netherlands), winner Matteo Trentin (Italy) & 3rd place Wout van Aert (Belgium)

Matteo Trentin - 2018 European Champion
"It's incredible, really incredible to have won after everything I've been through recently, I want to thank everyone who was there for me. This is a great day!"

"We wanted to be always in the front because we didn't want to take any risks. The race was made even harder by the weather, but we managed to deal with it the best we could.”

“There was a moment of worry a few kilometres from the end when there was a crash within the leading group, but fortunately it didn’t affect me, and I turned around and saw that Davide Cimolai (Groupama-FDJ/Italy) also managed to stay upright.

“That proved also to be fortuitous, because before that crash, we had decided that we were going to attack and afterwards we had to evaluate how to act and on reflection the crash probably did us a little favour. Then in the sprint, I asked Cimolai to lead me out and he did. He did a spectacular job, as did all the Italian team."

2018 European championship results
1. Matteo Trentin (Italy) 5:50:02
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) ST
3. Wout van Aert (Belgium) ST

Van der Sande, Mertz & Wouter extend with Lotto-Soudal

Lotto-Soudal sent me this release:

Lotto Soudal is thrilled to announce that three Belgian riders have extended their contract with the team. Both Tosh Van der Sande and Rémy Mertz signed a two-year deal, Enzo Wouters had his contract extended by one year.

The 27-year-old Tosh Van der Sande will stay at least till 2020 with the team. In 2012, Tosh turned pro at Lotto Soudal after being part of the U23 team which is led by Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Tosh Van der Sande: “It was not a difficult decision to sign a two-year contract extension. I was eager to stay at Lotto Soudal and it’s always nice to know if the interest turns out to be mutual. I feel really good within the team, where I have been a part of since 2012. As a Belgian rider in an almost completely Belgian team, I feel at ease. I guess that everybody needs a change now and then, but I realized pretty fast that Lotto Soudal is the right place for me.”

“I am very satisfied with my current role within the team. I enjoy helping the leaders during the finale of big races. In the somewhat smaller races, I am granted the freedom to go for a nice result myself. Of course, I would like to take another victory in the near future. It has already been two years since I was able to celebrate a win.”

“The upcoming Vuelta a España, which is a race that suits me very well, is a big goal of mine. I was already close to a stage victory as I finished a couple of times inside the top five during the Vuelta of 2015. I hope to get such opportunities again this year. The ideal scenario for that would be a reduced bunch sprint or a breakaway that goes till the finish. But the kind of race doesn’t really matter to me, winning is always welcome.”

Tosh Van der Sande

Tosh Van der Sande

The 23-year-old Rémy Mertz will also stay at least till the end of 2020. He extended his contract, just like Tosh Van der Sande, for two years. Rémy turned pro at Lotto Soudal in 2017 and hopes to continue his progress during the upcoming years.

Rémy Mertz: “When I got the chance to sign for an extra two years with a WorldTour team, I didn’t hesitate. I received a couple of other offers, but I really wanted to stay because I feel good within the team. Lotto Soudal supports me well in my development as a rider, so my contract extension is just a natural consequence of the past two years.”

“In the years to come, I want to fully commit myself to the team and work for our leaders, like I did before. Of course, I hope to obtain my own results one day, but the most important thing now is that the team is satisfied with the work I do.”

“At the moment, I don’t quite know in which races I would like to go for a result myself, it depends a bit on the progress I will make. Some guys immediately obtain results in their first years as a pro, but unfortunately that doesn’t apply to me. In the future, I want to show myself during the tough and selective races. I will still have to improve a lot, but I think that I am well on my way. I will do everything to become stronger and then, we’ll see. By the way, the current season hasn’t finished yet, there are still a lot of nice races coming up.”

Lotto Soudal also reached an agreement with Enzo Wouters: he saw his contract extended for one year. The promising young sprinter is also a product of the U23 team of Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Enzo Wouters: “I am very happy that I can stay for an extra year. When I got the chance to sign for another year, I didn’t hesitate a second. I haven’t spoken to other teams yet because I just really preferred to stay. After two years at the U23 team and almost two years at the pros, I feel at home at Lotto Soudal.”

“Everything I did so far for the team has made me a stronger as well as a smarter rider. I have already learnt a lot from the big guys. It’s common sense to work for the team if there are better riders at the start. In the future, I hope to get my own chance during the races which suit me well like Nokere Koerse, Handzame Classic and Dwars door West-Vlaanderen. Due to illness during the Spring Classics, I didn’t get those opportunities yet. I hope to appear healthy at the start of those Classics next year and go for a nice result myself now and then.”

Bora-hansgrohe reports on the final stage of the Czech Cycling Tour

The 2.1-ranked Czech Cycling Tour is not a race we cover, so I'm glad Bora-hansgrohe sent me this final report:

A break led today’s stage for most of the day, but was caught on the final lap around Dolany, making way for the expected bunch sprint. In a fast-paced finale, F. Fortin took the win on the line. The highest-placed BORA – hansgrohe rider was Andreas Schillinger, who finished the stage in ninth position. He ends the Czech Tour in second place in the general classification, while teammate Aleksejs Saramotins finishes in third overall.

The Stage
The final stage of the Czech Cycling Tour took the riders from Olomouc to Dolany over 147.9km of undulating terrain. They had to contend with two climbs in the first third of the course, and after 67km of racing, they arrived in Dolany, where they had to complete a finishing circuit a total of nine times. Each 9km-long lap contained an ascent of 3km in length, with an average gradient of 4 per cent. The riders were to crest the climb for the last time with 6km of the race remaining. However, the nine ascents of the finishing circuit were not expected to stand in the way of the sprinters today.

The Team Tactics
With his 61-second advantage over Andreas Schillinger in the general classification, R. Zoidl’s position was seemingly untouchable in the overall standings. As a result, BORA – hansgrohe focused on securing a stage win today. The team was to support Andreas and position him well in the final kilometres. However, with only three riders taking to the start line today, this would not necessarily be an easy feat.

The Race
Six riders broke away early in the day, but they were never able to build up a lead of more than 2:30. After four laps of the circuit in Dolany the peloton took up the chase in earnest and the advantage of the break dropped below the one minute mark. With the tempo at the front of the main field being meted out by Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia, the deficit of the peloton to the escapees dropped continuously. It was essentially a question of time as to when the break would be caught. On the last two laps, several riders launched attacks from the field, but were unable to bridge to the escapees. The break was ultimately reeled back shortly afterwards, leaving the peloton to ride together towards the finish. In the sprint final, F. Fortin pushed ahead of his rivals and took out the win on the final stage of the Czech Cycling Tour. Andreas Schillinger completed the stage in 9th place. At the end of the 4-stage race, the winner of the general classification was R. Zoidl, with Andreas and Aleksejs Saramotins finishing the race in 2nd and 3rd position respectively overall. 

From the Finish Line
“I think that we were able to ride a good race, despite the relatively difficult conditions. We did our best, and ultimately a second and third place in the general classification are not bad results. Yesterday’s stage was admittedly quite difficult, but I think that the Czech Cycling Tour has helped to prepare us for the forthcoming races, like the Hamburg Cyclassics and the Deutschland Tour.” – Andreas Schillinger

“The stage went like we anticipated. We tried to support Andreas [Schillinger] in the sprint, but in the end he wasn’t fast enough to pull out a good result today. The guys worked well together and two of our riders finished the race with podium positions in the general classification. This is a good result, especially when one considers that we had to start without our captain Felix Großschartner, who became sick a day before the race, and was unable to participate in the race. Nevertheless, the riders are in good form and so we’re now looking ahead to the forthcoming races.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sport Director 

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