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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. - E. B. White

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Richie Porte returns to lead BMC's Vuelta a España squad

The team sent me this news:

20 August, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Richie Porte will make his return to racing on Saturday (25 August) as he headlines BMC Racing Team's strong and well-rounded Vuelta a España roster.

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said that Porte will be joined on the start line for the third and final Grand Tour of the year by a team that brings a wealth of experience and talent to the race.

"I think we will start the Vuelta a España with a focused and well-rounded roster and myself and Klaas Lodewyck are both very motivated about going into the race with such a high caliber team. For Porte, this is his first race back after his crash so at first, we will need to see how he is feeling. But, I believe he will only grow stronger the further into the race we get so, initially we will try to focus on several stages in particular and from there, we will watch how the General Classification develops," Stewart explained.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte being cared for after that fateful stage nine Tour de France crash. Sirotti photo

"We know that Rohan Dennis is very motivated for both time trials and that he has the ability to achieve success on those particular stages if not more throughout the race. With Alessandro De Marchi, Nicolas Roche and Francisco Ventoso on the team, we have three riders who have all won individual stages of the Vuelta a España and not only do they bring this experience with them but they also have the strength to try something this year if the opportunity presents itself. Dylan Teuns, Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf are also all coming into the race in good form and I think we can expect to see strong efforts from them in the breakaways. Overall, we are looking forward to our last Vuelta a España as BMC Racing Team and particularly with this group of riders, all of whom have played such a big role in the team's success over the past few years."

Porte, who will be racing at the Vuelta a España for only the second time in his career, set himself the target of lining up at the three-week race after disappointingly crashing out of the Tour de France.

"Of course, I would like to do well in my last Grand Tour for BMC Racing Team but you never know where your form is when you haven't had an ideal run into a race. After crashing out of the Tour de France, I had to have some time off and it took me a while to get back to work due to my injuries. I have put in some good training since then but I won't be lining up in the shape I was in before the Tour de France," Porte said. 

"At first, I think I will definitely be taking the race day-by-day. The last week is pretty hard so you don't know what could happen there but, we have a great team lining up with lots of good options. There's definitely also a carrot dangling in front of me at the Vuelta with the UCI World Championships being a climber's course so it will be good preparation for that."

Vuelta a España (25 August - 16 September): Porte will be joined at the Vuelta a España by:

Brent Bookwalter (USA): 2012
"I have raced the Vuelta a España once before in 2012 and it's been such a long time since I was there, that is almost feels like a new race for me. I definitely feel like I have grown a lot as a person and as a rider since then so, I am excited to go back this year and hopefully have a little more impact on the race than I did in 2012. I didn't do a Grand Tour last year and I think that created a little more desire and hunger to get back to the insanity of a three-week race. This is one of the most competitive races of the season and we have a really deep team so, whether it's working for one of my teammates or trying to find an opportunity for myself, I think I am just focused on trying to do my personal best every day."

Alessandro De Marchi (ITA): 2014 (winner, stage 7), 2015 (winner, stage 14), 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
"The Vuelta a España always represents a special moment of the season for me. This year is going to be my fourth edition of the race and normally I would race here after the Tour de France but this year I come into the Vuelta after having raced the Giro d'Italia and obviously, having had a small break in the middle of the season. This small change means I will have a different approach to the race. I think at first I will try to get back into race mode and wait for the opportunities that the Vuelta always offers riders like me. It's about having patience and waiting for the right day. I will also try to focus on the two individual time trials as I am continuing to try and improve on these kind of efforts. The Vuelta is also a good way to prepare for the UCI World Championships so it's important to be good especially at the end of the three weeks."

Rohan Dennis (AUS): 2014, 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
"The prologue and the stage 16 time trial are definitely my main objectives at this year's Vuelta a España. The rest of the race for me will be about seeing what Richie wants to do when it comes to the General Classification or helping any of the other guys, if they want to try and go for a stage. After that, the race will be a key part of my preparation for the UCI World Championships. We are trying to mimic the lead up to Worlds from last year. Obviously I didn't get to the stage 16 time trial at last year's Vuelta but for me the time trial in Bergen was going really well right up until I hit a corner a bit too fast. We also saw this race program work in 2014 and again in 2016 when I raced the Tour de France before Rio so, it's the perfect preparation for me."

Nicolas Roche (IRL): 2008, 2010 - 2013 (winner, stage 2), 2015 (winner, stage 18), 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
"I'm looking forward to racing at the Vuelta a España again. This will be my eighth edition of the race and I always enjoy racing it. I also have a lot of good memories from this race and I have always gone well here."

Joey Rosskopf (USA): 2015 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
"I am excited to be back racing at the Vuelta a España. It was the first Grand Tour of my career in 2015 in my first year with the team but, I am hoping to make it through in a lot better shape than I did that year. I think we are taking a super strong team so we will see how the race plays out but I would definitely like to do as best I can in the two time trials. I always like to try and perform well in my national champion's skinsuit and I am always motivated for those. I think the second time trial is more interesting to me. The first is maybe a bit short and with all of the fresh legs in the peloton at the start of the race, it will be hard for me. However, if I can make it through the race in good shape, I would like to see what I can do on stage 16. I have surprised myself in the past on a late time trial at a Grand Tour in 2017 at the Giro d'Italia."

Dylan Teuns (BEL): 2016
"I am feeling good about going back to the Vuelta a España. It was a really nice experience racing there two years ago at my first Grand Tour so I am excited to go back. My shape is really good at the moment. In Poland, I had two second places and a good week of racing and I was also able to test myself in Hamburg on the Waseberg. I am definitely looking forward to the Vuelta. It would be good to be able to have the chance to fight for a stage win one day. Also, it is a good preparation for the World Championships so I am excited to start."

Francisco Ventoso (ESP): 2005, 2006 (winner, stage 6), 2015, 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
"I am super happy to be racing at the Vuelta a España with BMC Racing Team this year. It is my home Tour so it is really nice for me to ride in front of home crowds and on home soil. It is even more special for me this year as there is a time trial in my local region so that will be very nice for me. We have a really nice group of riders racing and I think everyone is motivated to try and do something and to make a good result at the end of the three weeks."

Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)

Lotto-Soudal headed to Deutschland Tour

The team sent me this update. Note: we'll post press releases about the Deutschland Tour, but we won't be giving it our normal racing coverage.

After an absence of ten years, the Deutschland Tour is back on the WorldTour calendar, taking place from the 23rd till the 26th of August. The renewed four-day stage race consists of a course that seems to appeal to climbers as well as sprinters and Classics riders. This way, the organisers want to keep things interesting until the very last stage. Lotto Soudal aims to take a stage win with André Greipel, who managed to win one in the final edition before its cancellation. The list of participants, including number one, Geraint Thomas, and number two, Tom Dumoulin, of the previous Tour de France proves this course to be more challenging than the one of the final edition. 

Andre Greipel

André Greipel is headed to his home Tour.

Sports director Lotto Soudal, Bart Leysen: “It’s quite a tough course for the pure sprinters. We hope to win a stage with André Greipel, but it will certainly not be easy to achieve that goal. We’re not even sure that the opening stage – the most flat one out of four - will definitely conclude in a bunch sprint. The other stages don’t really include significant mountains, but do feature tough hills. And several stages also have an ascent in the final kilometres, making it more difficult for sprinters to contest the stage victory.”

“Depending on the race situation, we could also try something with James Shaw or Jelle Vanendert. Hansen, Maes and Sieberg have to make sure that André is positioned well for the sprint. Shaw could be at the front of the peloton in an earlier phase of the stage to bring back the escapees, or could try to escape himself. There are several stages in which he can take his chance, so I hope he gets the opportunity to do so. For Jelle Vanendert, the Deutschland Tour will be his first race, besides the Clasica San Sebastian, after his participation in the Tour de France. If he’s feeling well, he could try to aim for a good general classification, but it’s certainly not the main goal."

“It won’t be a sprinter who’ll take the overall victory. With Grand Tour riders like Thomas and Dumoulin it will be very hard. Also, recent winner of the BinckBank Tour, Mohoric, will be at the start line and knows how to ride such stage races. The competitors of André Greipel are therefore the riders with ambitions for the GC, because they might eliminate the chances of the sprinters.
Depending on the race situation, we’ll see how we can play our cards.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Nikolas Maes, James Shaw, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Vanendert.  

Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Kurt Van de Wouwer.


Stage 1 Thursday 23 August: Koblenz – Bonn (157 km)
Stage 2 Friday 24 August: Bonn – Trier (196 km)
Stage 3 Saturday 25 August: Trier – Merzig (177 km)
Stage 4 Sunday 26 August: Lorsch – Stuttgart (207 km)

Rafal Majka, Pawel Poljanski and Jay McCarthy renew with BORA – hansgrohe

The team sent me this release:

Rafal Majka, who is still known as one of the best climbers in the peloton, is eager to end a series of bad luck and prove his talent together with the German squad the next two seasons. Also Pawel Poljanksi and Jay McCarthy renew their contracts until 2020. While Poljanksi is one of the key support riders of the team when it comes to climbing, McCarthy is a promising allrounder, who took already two WorldTour wins in 2018.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka can dig deep. Sirotti photo

“I am very happy to stay with BORA – hansgrohe another two years. The last one and a half years have been far from perfect, but I am very well prepared for the Vuelta, and hope to back on the road to success in Spain. I cannot imagine a team which backs its riders more than Ralph Denk and his staff. As a rider it is very important to work in professional environment and good atmosphere, both is perfect at BORA – hansgrohe and the sprit in the team is great. I want to thank Ralph Denk and all the sponsors for their trust in me. We are truly a bunch of enthusiastic people here and I am happy to be part of them.” – Rafal Majka

“BORA – hansgrohe is one of the best cycling teams in the world, and I am proud to stay with them at least until 2020. Besides the hard work everybody is putting in in a very professional way, there is always room for jokes and we have a lot of fun together. I really enjoy my time here at BORA – hansgrohe and I am very happy to stay with them.” – Pawel Poljanski

“I am happy to be able to stay two more years with the BORA – hansgrohe family. I have close friends in this team and feel really comfortable riding here and get a lot of opportunities and chances. That last two years I have grown as a cyclist, while the team has established to become a great WorldTeam, therefore I am fortunate enough to stay with the team in the upcoming seasons – onwards and upwards!” – Jay McCarthy

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