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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, May 21, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself. - Soren Kierkegaard

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Giro d'Italia stage fifteen news

We posted the organizer's and stage winner Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team reports with the stage fifteen results.

Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb had this to say about the stage:

Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia was once again a day for the GC contenders to battle it out, with the remnants of the breakaway swept up on the penultimate climb in time for the battle to begin.

Good positioning from the team meant that Tom was there in the group of GC favourites on the penultimate climb, but as the pink jersey attacked, no rider followed and he continued to extend his lead over the group. Lack of organisation in the chase group meant that the pink jersey went on to open up a significant second, with Tom being the rider to put in a huge effort in the chase in attempt to limit losses at the line. After his effort in the chase he momentarily lost contact with the group and it initially looked like he would not make it back. Tom continued to pace his way up the final climb and was able to rejoin the chasing group of GC favourites, eventually overtaking his rivals to cross the line in 3rd place. He remains 2nd in the GC at two minutes and 11 seconds from the race lead.

Tom said: “Today was another hard day and at the end I had absolutely nothing left. Being 3rd after a day like this, I can be very proud. It was such a deep effort into the final climb, I did everything well but Yates is really strong. When we were chasing it was a tactical game, everyone was looking to each other and I think I did pretty well. I managed to return after they jumped away from me and I could even almost win the sprint. The team did such a good job again, how Sam reduced the group was really top class. First we focus on the rest day and then we continue to fight as we did today, and we’ll see what happens in Rome. I’m going to carry on giving all I can every day. I’m happy and satisfied with where I am now. I’m proving everyday that I belong in this select GC group and I hope that I can keep it going until the end.”

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin waits to start stage 15. Sirotti photo.

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef said: “Today was a tough day through the Dolomites. There was a long fight for the break and after 70 kilometres a group of 24 eventually went clear. On the second-to-last climb Sam took over and reduced the group to only 20 riders. On the descent things split and Tom was in the first group, but from there Yates attacked. Tom was in the first chasing group with Pinot, Pozzovivo, Lopez and Carapaz – it was only Pinot who cooperated with Tom and the rest just followed. With three kilometres to go they started to attack which meant that Tom dropped but in the last kilometre he managed to come back and sprinted to third place. Sam was in a group behind and finished 10th. It was a really strong ride from everyone today.”

And here's what Richard Carapaz's Team Movistar had to say about stage 15:

Following a very demanding Zoncolan climb, where he wasn’t able to exploit the magnificent form he had been showing for the past two weeks, Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) showed himself strong again on Sunday during stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia -176km between Tolmezzo and Sappada; four rated ascents-, finishing in 5th place after going on the attack and showing his excellent level to remain within the top ten riders overall.

Dayer Quintana’s long, well-fought early breakaway (25 riders), where he resisted until 35km before the finish, was an early show of the Blues’ strength before ‘Richie’ and Carlos Betancur came to the four at the last categorized climb, Costalissoio (Cat-2), where the Ecuadorian got into the leading group while the Colombian joined a second echelon including Chris Froome (SKY).

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz leads his group as they approach the stage 15 finish.

The attack by race leader Simon Yates (MTS), 2km from the top, put the Briton into advantage over a five-man pursuit featuring López (AST), Pozzovivo (TBM), Pinot (FDJ), Dumoulin (SUN) and Carapaz, who waited until the last 4km to try and go solo, breaking Dumoulin’s pace in the process yet unable to ultimately drop the Dutchman (+41″). Betancur, hampered by an ill-timed puncture with less than 3km to go, did not finish with Froome -1’20” back-, rather than behind, 2′ down in 19th place.

Carapaz is now in 6th place overall, 4’47” after Yates -with Betancur in 14º, 8’00” down-, in the eve of the third, final rest day on Monday. After that, the ‘race of truth’ will come: a 34km ITT from Trento to Rovereto, where the two Blue climbers will try to limit losses before the final trio of brutal mountain stages on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

The last stage ahead of the well-deserved rest day wasn’t an easy one. Right from the start and until the final kilometres the race was dominated by many attacks. On the second last climb beforethe finish the owner of the Maglia Rosa S. Yates launched an attack. He managed to keep his advantage until the finish line and won stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia after an impressive solo ride. Both BORA – hansgrohe climbers Formolo and Konrad stayed in the first chasing group and rode with the pace. A crash before the final climb slowed Konrad down, but he still managed to secure his 10thplace in the overall ranking. Davide Formolo crossed the line in 8thplace only some seconds behind the stage winner.

The Stage
One day before the third rest day, the peloton had another demanding stage ahead. After yesterday’s Monte Zoncolan stage, the riders had to face a mountain stage with four categorised climbs, three category 2, one category 3. The stage took the riders from Tolmezzo over 176 km across the Dolomites to the finish in Sappada. The KOM up to the “Passo di Sant’Antonio” covered gradients exceeding 10% following a tricky descent along the Piave river. The last 10 km went entirely uphill to Sappada, a city that has last been stage finish 31 years ago.

The Team Tactics
The BORA - hansgrohe team supported their two climbers, Patrick Konrad and Davide Formolo, in order to secure Patrick’s top ten spot in the overall ranking and to go for a good stage result today. Felix Großschartner was the key rider for the final kilometres again. Before, Andreas Schillinger, Cesare Benedetti and Christoph Pfingsten helped to protect the two climbers.

The Race
It was another frantic start to the stage as a big group of 27 riders built today’s breakaway with a two-minute advantage on the Maglia Rosa group with all BORA – hansgrohe riders. With 55 km remaining, the breakaway fell apart, only three riders were able to stay in front of the race. Three chasers were some seconds behind them, BORA – hansgrohe was in the third group together with the Maglia Rosa. However, the reduced bunch, with Formolo and Konrad was back together shortly before the final climb of the day. On the ascent, the Maglia Rosa, S. Yates increased the pace and went up the road, he was able to keep his advantage until the finish line and took a solo victory. Patrick Konrad crashed at the bottom of the final climb, but no injuries were recorded. Nevertheless, the Austrian was able to secure his spot in the overall. Davide Formolo stayed with the second chasing group some seconds behind the first one and crossed the line in 8th place in the end.

From the Finish Line
"Today was another tough day in the saddle. The race was so fast and saw many attacks, I managed to stay in one of the chasing groups and rode my own rhythm and as Patrick crashed, of course I waited for him and we stayed together. As Yates attacked the race went on fire but I kept my pace and was able to finish in the top ten. Tomorrow is rest day, finally.” – Davide Formolo

We wanted to go in a breakaway and fight for a stage victory but in the end, it was another day for our GC contenders. It was a tough day for us, we had some moments during the race which catered for excitement. Patrick crashed at the beginning of the race and later on had some technical problems. He was forced to change his bike. But our mechanic Mario Lexmüller holds a new record in changing bikes. He solved the issue very quickly, and Patrick secured his 10th place in the GC. Davide showed a solid ride and came in 8th. All in all we look forward to tomorrow’s rest day and to focusing on the ITT.” - Christian Pömer, sports director 

Lotto-Soudal's upcoming Norwegian racing

The team sent me this:

‘The world’s best riders in the world’s most beautiful surroundings’. This is how the organisers of the Tour des Fjords describe the race. They have the right to say so, because this Europe Tour race in southern Norway always produces breath-taking images. Still, the riders will have to race in the splendid sceneries! For the first time, Lotto Soudal participates in the three-day race from Tuesday 22 May till Thursday 24 May. Immediately after the Tour des Fjords, the second edition of the revolutionary Hammer Series takes place in the Norwegian city of Stavanger (Friday 25 May till Sunday 27 May). Last year, Lotto Soudal became fourth in the first edition of the Hammer Series in Sittard.

The first stage of the Tour des Fjords starts in Lindesnes, which is the most southern point of Norway. The riders will finish 191 kilometres later in Grimstad, where they will do two local laps. This opening stage offers opportunities for sprinters as well as punchers or attackers. On the second day of racing, the riders start in Risør and head to Kristiansand, where they will once again cover two local laps which include a short climb. The final stage counts over 4,000 metres of elevation, so a tough last day awaits the riders before the winner of the Tour des Fjords is known. Norwegian rider Edvald Boasson Hagen won the race last year.

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The Tour des Fjords is with its three stages relatively short, but by no means easy. The first stage could be one for the sprinters, however that’s not yet sure because the road to the finish goes slightly uphill. On stage two, the riders have to face two climbs in the final phase of the race, so a sprint is not likely at all. The final stage promises to be a tough one as it contains a lot of climbs. We will approach the race with an attacking mind-set. Almost every Lotto Soudal rider is allowed to go in the breakaway. Bjorg Lambrecht will be our rider for the general classification. It is only his first year as a professional and he still has a lot to discover, but he will be given the freedom to go for a good overall result. The explosive finales should suit Maxime Monfort as well.”

The day after the Tour des Fjords, Lotto Soudal will take part in the second edition of the Hammer Series in Stavanger. During this three-day event, fourteen teams will battle against each other in three different races. For each race, the team selects five of their seven riders, depending on the course of the day. In the first two races, the Hammer Climb and the Hammer Sprint, teams can earn points which will be decisive for their starting position in the conclusive team time trial.

During the Hammer Climb, which is scheduled on Friday 24 May, the riders will race on a local circuit of eight and a half kilometres. The riders will pass the finish line of the hilly course ten times. Each time, there are points to earn for the first ten riders to cross the line. At the end of the third, sixth and last lap, double points will be awarded. The Hammer Sprint takes place the day after and is similar to the Hammer Climb but is ridden on a relatively flat course. The Hammer Series will be decided in the Hammer Chase, a team time trial in which the starting order is based on the previously earned points. The goal is simple: the first team to cross the line with four riders, will be crowned as Hammer champions.

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We will at least try to match our performance of last year, although that won’t be easy at all.  The riders know what the race is like by now, so I expect the same race tactics as last year. This means two hours of racing at full speed. It is a strange thought that the rider who crosses the finish line in first place, does not win. Only team performance is rewarded. We have different cards to play in the Hammer Series. Bjorg Lambrecht, Maxime Monfort and James Shaw are suited to race the Hammer Climb. In the Hammer Sprint, Enzo Wouters and Moreno Hofland will be our main riders to earn points together with Lawrence Naesen. Maxime Monfort will be the engine of the team in the time trial.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Moreno Hofland, Bjorg Lambrecht, Rémy Mertz (only Hammer Series), Maxime Monfort, Lawrence Naesen, James Shaw and Enzo Wouters.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Kurt Van de Wouwer.


Tour des Fjords

Hammer Series Stavanger

Oregon collects $34,000 from bike tax through April

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this disheartening news. At this rate I'm sure the revenue doesn't even cover the costs of administering the program.

SALEM, Ore. (BRAIN) — The Oregon Department of Revenue has collected $34,065 from bike retailers for the state's $15 bike tax, which went into effect Jan. 1.

The figure equates to taxes collected on the sale of 2,271 bikes, a fraction of the number of bikes sold in a state of 4.1 million. Lawmakers predicted the tax would bring in $1.2 million in its first year. A lag in reporting and paying the new tax likely explains the difference.

The figure is for all the state's bike tax receipts from January through April, said the department's Colleen Chrisinger. The tax requires retailers to make reports and payments quarterly, so the first payments only began arriving in April.

You can read the rest of this report here

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