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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. - C. S. Lewis

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Esteban Chaves confirmed to support Simon Yates at Giro d’Italia following successful return to racing in 2019

Mitchelton-Scott sent me this news:

After a successful racing period following his extended layoff due to sickness in 2018, Mitchelton-SCOTT confirms the next race for Colombian Esteban Chaves (pending fitness and final team selection) will be the 2019 Giro d’Italia.

The 2016 runner-up, who will return to the Giro d’Italia to support Mitchelton-SCOTT team leader Simon Yates, won a stage up Mt Etna at last year’s 101st edition before sickness ended his hopes and his 2018 season.

Chaves and Yates

Esteban Chaves winning stage six atop Mt. Etna with Simon Yates in the 2018 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

The 29-year-old returned to racing at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February this season and has since completed the Ruta del Sol, Paris-Nice and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya under the careful watch of the Mitchelton-SCOTT medical team and without the return of the viruses that hampered him last year.

Esteban Chaves:
“It will be special like always when I go back to Italy. I have a special relationship with Italy and last year in Rome was one of the toughest days on the bike for me. Last year’s Giro, for me and for the team, had a lot of ups and downs, so to go back there for this race is special and exciting.

“We are a team who always give 100% to each other. We will do the same at the Giro and we are already doing that at the last races with this goal in mind. The expectations are the same as always - enjoy racing and being part of this team, attacking and being aggressive just like we were on the final stage of Catalunya.

“I was super excited to return to racing this year but also nervous and I can't lie, sometimes panicked. What happened last year is something is out of my control. When I was finally back training and racing, somewhere in my head I was worried that it can come back. Luckily, I have this team and people around me who support me 100% and we did everything in our control for my health.

“Now I feel much better than the start. Before, everything was with a lot of question marks, but now I can see and I have experienced what is possible. Every day of racing we took a step forward. I'm on the good path to arrive at the best level I can without health problems.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“The most important thing for Esteban for the early season was to get that race load. He has almost been on a program of one week on, one week off for the last eight weeks and he is showing no signs on those races having a negative effect on him, which is a really great sign and means we can look forward to the Giro.

“The other important aspect was confidence. When you sit out on the sidelines for so long you do lose your mojo and you lose the feeling of racing in the bunch. Riders take a lot of risks in their day-to-day racing and when you’re only training or riding your bike it’s a very different feeling and different for your confidence.

“He has experienced lots of different circumstances, weather conditions and race situations here in Europe and that is only going to put him in a good stead for the next six weeks.

“From here, Esteban will run a similar template he has in the past. He knows this window, he knows what he needs to do. He is going back to home roads, familiar people and he knows how to prepare for the toughest race of the year for him.”

“Esteban is definitely coming in as a super domestic role. He is a winner as well, but our clear leader for the Giro is Simon Yates and Esteban will be doing whatever he can to aid Simon and our goal of winning the Giro.”

Gaviria and Kristoff lead UAE-Team Emirates in Dwars door Vlaanderen

The team sent me this:

The UAE Team Emirates leads with its power-couple Fernando Gaviria and Alexander Kristoff, winner of yesterday’s Gent-Wevelgem, in the Dwars door Vlaanderen. The WorldTour race is on tap this Wednesday, April 3.

Alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff wins Gent-Wevelgem.

The race will be an important final test ahead of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, April 7. The Emirates formation will be under the direction of Allan Peiper (Aus).

– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
– Fernando Gaviria (Col)
– Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– Marco Marcato (Ita)
– Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)

The Dwars door Vlaanderen starts in Roeselare and ends in Waregem after 182.8 km, marked by 11 small climbs and 4 cobble sections.

“I think the Dwars door Vlaanderen is suited to the team’s strengths, and in particular, to Fernando Gaviria,” said Peiper “It’s an intense race, but not that complicated like many of the other races in Belgium. So, we are going to focus on taking Fernando to the line to fight for his chance“.

Deceuninck – Quick Step to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen

Here's the team's update:

Yves Lampaert will write history in case of a third victory at the Belgian Classic.
The only rider to have won Dwars door Vlaanderen in back-to-back years, reigning Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert will be at the start of the 74th edition which will once again roll out from Roeselare and conclude in Waregem after 182.8 intense kilometers, containing a total of twelve hills and three cobblestone sections – all bar one of these featuring in the second half of the race.

Yves Lampaert

Yves Lampaert wins Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2018.

Philippe Gilbert, who two years ago finished runner-up behind his teammate, is also on the team for Wednesday’s classic, where Bob Jungels – who so far this spring has won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and played an instrumental role in Zdenek Stybar’s victory at E3 Harelbeke – will continue his cobbled Classics campaign, which he kick-started at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Kasper Asgreen, Alvaro Hodeg, Iljo Keisse and Florian Sénéchal are the other Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders taking on Dwars door Vlaanderen, a race where our squad has triumphed on six occasions so far with four different riders.

“For many riders, Waregem is important because they want to test themselves ahead of Flanders; we too want to see what we can do again as a team in this last appointment before De Ronde and get a good result at the end of the day”, said sports director Tom Steels, himself a winner of the race, back in 1998. “The first 80 kilometers are flat and we will try to control things there, as we have the riders capable of doing that, even if it’s not going to be an easy task. Once we’ll hit the hilly section, it will be quite hard, especially with the cold and rain which are sure to make a selection, so we can expect quite an attritional race on Wednesday.”

Victor Campenaerts' World Hour Record attempt update #6

Campenaerts' Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

Victor Campenaerts: “Shaving our heads for the team spirit”

“I have to say that the adaptation is going very smooth. It was my intention to stay awake for almost 24 hours during the trip to have a good first night of sleep in Mexico, which succeeded. I also slept well during the past nights, so I feel fresh. Aguascalientes is situated at an altitude of 1,800 metres, which is comparable to Namibia so I had no difficulties to adapt. During the night, I sleep at a simulated altitude of 3,000 metres, so I have to give my body the time to acclimatize and don’t do any hard training sessions just yet.”

“I never left the comfort zone during my first days of training. It was an ideal period to get used to the track and I now already notice that I ride much better lines compared to my test in Grenchen. The goal for the upcoming fourteen days is of course to make some more progress in that field. Yesterday, I did some tests with a standing and flying start, today I have an endurance training scheduled and tomorrow is a rest day. Afterwards, we will be getting into ‘Hour Record modus’ with some very specific training sessions. In order to boost the team spirit, we are thinking about shaving our heads, but I wonder if Kevin De Weert – who will arrive within a few days – will be eager to do so…”

Victor Campenaerts

Victor Campenaerts racing the time trial in this year's Tirreno-Adriatico. Sirotti photo.

Tailor-made track bike:
Victor Campenaerts will attack the Hour Record on a track bike that was especially developed by Ridley Bikes and fully tailored to needs of the European time trial champion. Toon Wils, engineer at Ridley Bikes, talks you through.

Toon Wils: “The design of the track bike was based on the Ridley Arena TT, a pursuit bike that was first developed for the Olympic Games in Rio. That bike differs significantly with the one Victor uses for the time trials. There are no brakes and no gears for example, which makes the bike even more aerodynamic and lighter. Victor will be using two disc wheels and also the fork was modified because there are no brakes. He will only need the handlebars the first ten to fifteen seconds to reach cruising speed and because of aerodynamic reasons, it was also made smaller.”

“The bike was developed in constant dialogue with Victor. The frame is completely tailor-made, which allows him to keep the same position like he holds on the road. Once he will be in the handlebar extensions, which were also custom-made, he shouldn’t feel any difference. The chainrings and sprockets were milled in different sizes so that Victor can choose his desired gearing. The bright red design with white accents was suggested by the European time trial champion because it matched with his team outfit. We added some more details ourselves. The little stripes on the seat tube and the numbers one till twelve on the top tube refer to the clock. The ‘done in 60 minutes’ on the front of the top tube is a reference to the ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ movie and also the hashtag #VocSnor could not be left out.” 

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