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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. - Stephen Hawking

Latest completed racing:

Alejandro Valverde tries to move beyond Operación Puerto past

Velonews posted this:

Alejandro Valverde, the newly crowned road world champion, says he has no regrets about his Operación Puerto ban and thinks he’s riding better than ever at the moment.

Speaking to the Spanish newspaper AS after winning a criterium in Japan, Valverde spoke about his Puerto sanction that dates back to 2010.

“The question isn’t if I should regret something or not,” he said. “I was never positive but it was decided that I should be sanctioned and that’s what happened. I fulfilled the ban and since then the only thing that I’ve worried about is enjoying the bike.”

Valverde’s comments came after he won his first race in the rainbow jersey, which he picked up with dramatic flare in Innsbruck at the end of September. The interview was only the second time Valverde spoke about Puerto. Inquired about it at the Giro di Lombardía, he said anyone asking him about Puerto “has no idea.”

Alejandro Valverde

Valverde after winning the World Road Championship. Sirotti photo

Unlike other riders who have served bans and later openly discussed details, Valverde has remain tight-lipped about his links to the Puerto scandal from a decade ago. Some seem uncomfortable seeing the unrepentant Valverde in the world champion jersey, while others believe he deserves this victory without question.

You can read the entire story here.

Kurt Van de Wouwer looks back on the Lotto-Soudal U23 team's 2018 season

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

Today Kurt Van de Wouwer, head of the sports department of Lotto Soudal U23, looks back on the past season. The U23 team gathered 26 victories and a lot of other top results this season, but also had to deal with several injuries.

Last year Bjorg Lambrecht triumphed in the U23 version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, this season the team won a Classic race again thanks to the victory of Stan Dewulf at Paris-Roubaix. Dewulf had already won a time trial and a stage in the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux and later this year he also triumphed in a stage of the Tour of East-Flanders. Alfdan De Decker won three stages and the GC of the Tour of East-Flanders after he had obtained two stage victories in the Tour de Solidarité earlier in the season. At the end of February De Decker had won Brussels-Opwijk, the first race of the season. Gerben Thijssen collected three victories including the Belgian Road Championship. Aaron Van Poucke, good for four victories, obtained the last victory of the year at the Zandberg Classic in Harelbeke end of September.

Bjorg Lambrecht

Bjorg Lambrecht winning the third stage of the 2018 Tour des Fjords.

Kurt Van de Wouwer: “The victory of Stan Dewulf in Paris-Roubaix end of May sticks out in terms of quality. Besides, it marked the end of a very good spring. Of course, the Belgian title of Gerben Thijssen in August is also one of our most beautiful moments this season. Alfdan De Decker, a pure sprinter, put a significant step forward last winter. He started the season with a victory in Brussels-Opwijk, our first race of the new season, and he was able to maintain his shape throughout the whole year. In July he won two stages in the Tour de Solidarité and as a trainee at Wanty - Groupe Gobert, he also did well in the last months of the season.”

“Besides the 26 victories, we also took a series of other top results. This year Stan Dewulf got second in the Tour de Bretagne, one of the most respected stage races of our programme. Not only U23 riders participate in that race, but also a small number of French professional teams with older guys in their ranks, so it was a great result. The silver medal of Brent Van Moer at the U23 World Time Trial Championship was unexpected. Beforehand the ambition was a top ten place but with his place on the podium he exceeded all expectations.”

“The past few years it is typical for our team that we perform strong in general. Sometimes the victories overshadow the other top results, but we certainly value them. Next year these guys can continue to develop further inside our team.”

“In the Lotto Top Competition, which consisted of five races, we got second this year after we won the team classification six years in a row. The many injuries have certainly played a role, ten of the twenty-five riders have been out for a longer period this season. Because we rode a triple programme at that moment, we participated in the first race with two riders less than was allowed. We couldn’t catch up the difference anymore in the following races. Arne Marit won the individual classification, which was a nice compensation.”

Mitchelton-Scott profiles team member Jess Allen

Winning races comes down to a lot of sacrifice, dedication and teamwork and in 2018 Mitchelton-SCOTT women’s team won no less than 26 UCI races from five different riders. Despite just one name being written at the top of the results sheet, a lot of hard work from teammates can go under the radar and Jess Allen is one of those riders.

With a loud, bubbly, outgoing character, Allen is one of the riders burying herself at the front of the peloton to bring back dangerous moves, starting lead-out trains and heading back to the car for bottles.

In stark contrast to her off the bike personality, Allen’s name often goes unheard of during races yet her work is invaluable. After selflessly riding her way through 2018, contributing to many of the team’s biggest results, Allen is ready for more in 2019 with another season of experience under her belt.

Jess Allen

Jess Allen. Photo: Getty images

“My role in the team the last two seasons has been a 'worker' and I've loved it. We have some of the best riders in the world in Mitchelton-SCOTT and I want to be the best domestique in the world for them until I'm strong enough to win races myself.

“I know I may fly under the radar to people who just look at the race results but I know how hard I work for the team and I am proud of that. All of my teammates are humble winners and always acknowledge me for my hard work after every race so that's what most important to me.

“Being a worker the last two and a half seasons has made me a stronger rider and I will continue to get stronger because of it. I've learnt a lot about myself this season, how hard I can push myself and learning to use my energy more wisely. I have been a part of 10 WorldTour race wins this season and our first Grand Tour win and although I didn't win a single race, I know I contributed to the wins and they will be some of my biggest career highlights.”

Not only is Allen a hard worker for her teammates in the races with efforts that often go unseen, she also brings another important aspect, her positivity and energetic personality, which helps keep the team moral high.

“It is hard to explain my job in races to people who don't have a full understanding of cycling and the tactics. I think what's great is that we get a lot of pictures and sometimes race highlights that show footage from the race that most people miss. I love to post photos on my social media of me getting drink bottles for the team or riding the front to show people what my role is in the team.

“I’ve always had a bubbly personality and I'm a firm believer that your attitude and personality off the bike is just as important as your performance on the bike. I like to be a positive and energetic person to help lift the team when needed and I think that's really important in a teammate.”

Riding with and often in support of some of the best riders in the world, the 25-year-old is in good company when it comes to learning from others. With this, the young West Australian rider is looking forward to taking on another full season and continue to develop with the Australian outfit through 2019.

“I am really happy to be continuing with Mitchelton-SCOTT again in 2019 as I believe this team is the best place for me to continue to develop into the world class rider I want to be. I will be targeting the spring classics and I want to continue my role as a domestique but I also want to have more of an impact later in the races.

“The culture in the team is really special to me. All the riders and staff have a huge amount of respect for each other. We are serious when we're racing but we can all switch off, relax and have a good time too. I love my job on this team and I know that when I'm happy off the bike, I ride really well on the bike.”

Jess Allen
Date of Birth: 17th April 1993 (25)
Nationality: Australian
Place of birth: Perth, WA
Turned Pro: 2016
Mitchelton-SCOTT: 2016 - 2019

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