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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 6, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. - Oscar Wilde

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Sam Oomen forced to end season to undergo surgery

Ommen's Team Sunweb sent me this:

Sam Oomen is forced to end his season early after being diagnosed with Iliac Artery Flow Limitation to his left groin. After numerous conservative treatments have been tried but with no prevail, Oomen will now undergo surgery to treat the problem permanently. The surgery is scheduled to take place in six weeks, after he has sufficiently recovered from the hip fracture he sustained at the Giro d’Italia.

Sam oomen

Sam Oomen winning a stage in the 2016 Tour de l'Ain.

Team Sunweb physician Camiel Aldershof provides further explanation: “Sam has been diagnosed with Iliac Artery Flow Limitation in his left leg. He was suffering a loss of power in his leg and in pain as a result, leading us to investigate the reasons behind over the past months. In an attempt to solve the issues we tried numerous treatments such as physical and manual therapy, alongside adjusting his position on the bike. Throughout the process he was still able to get some good results which gave us confidence towards his late call up for his role at the Giro, but after all of our conservative methods of treatment were to no prevail, we decided that surgery would be the only option to permanently solve the issue. It will take him a relatively long time to recover, and we already consider this season to be over to give him sufficient time to do so.”

Sam said: “I found out just before the Giro that I was suffering from Iliac Artery Limitation, which answered some questions that I had been having over the last couple of months about my left leg. I was still able to train well, and do decent races like in Tirreno and Algarve, but during TT’s, key moments and real high intensity efforts I suffered a lot; my leg simply wasn’t working as it should. My season is done which is mentally a big setback but the fact that the cause of the suffering has been found and hopefully will be solved is a relief. Sometimes you need to take one step back to be able to make two forward and I hope thats what I’m going to do now.”

Bjorg Lambrecht signs for two more years with Lotto-Soudal

The team sent me this update:

Bjorg Lambrecht has extended his contract with two seasons. The 22-year-old Belgian signed a new deal and will stay at Lotto Soudal at least till the end of 2021. Lambrecht turned pro in 2018 after he was part of the Lotto Soudal U23 team. 

Bjorg Lambrecht

Bjorg Lambrecht at this year's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Sirotti photo.

Last year, Lambrecht immediately showed himself during his first year in the pro peloton. He celebrated a first professional victory in the final Tour des Fjords stage and later that year, he got a taste of the Grand Tours as he started in the Vuelta. This spring, the Belgian puncher impressed during the Ardennes Classics with top ten results in Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne.

Bjorg Lambrecht: “It was not a difficult decision to stay at Lotto Soudal. I feel at home with the team. The past two years, I have always been given the opportunities I hoped to get. Right from the start, I received a nice race schedule and in some races, I could even start as the co-leader. That would not be the case in other teams.”

“The coming years, I want to further develop myself in the one-day and stage races. The team has already taught me a lot and they also fully support me. With the future in mind, Lotto Soudal is thus the perfect team for me. Thanks to, amongst others, Tiesj Benoot, Tim Wellens and Jelle Vanendert I took a nice step forward in terms of physical strength and tactical insight. I hope to confirm my nice performances in the Classics and make further progress in the one-week stage races. Especially the Tour of the Basque Country is a race which suits me very well. At the moment, I lack just that little bit for a top result but that will be the main goal for the future.”

“Sunday, I will start in my first Critérium du Dauphiné. I don’t have many expectations just yet. The shape is not great yet, but it is also not bad. My main objectives are a bit later in the season, with the Tour de Pologne and the Vuelta a España.”

Marc Sergeant, sports manager at Lotto Soudal, is of course delighted with the two-year contract extension of Lambrecht.

Marc Sergeant: “When you team up with a rider, for me it is important to also continue that engagement. In the case of Bjorg, it already became clear last year that it would succeed. We gave Bjorg - always in a careful way - the chance to become a fully-fledged pro. That approach definitely paid off with amongst others wonderful results in the past Ardennes Classics. Within the team, we cherish Bjorg. Although only aged 22, we have known each other for quite a while. For Bjorg, Lotto Soudal is a familiar environment.”

“Besides for example Benoot and Wellens, we have plenty of other riders who came from the project within Lotto Soudal to develop young talents. That is mainly the merit of Kurt Van de Wouwer, head of the U23 team. We notice that young riders choose for Lotto Soudal more often because they see a clear road to the pro peloton at our team.”

“We will approach the next two years with Bjorg in a similar way. In the beginning of the season, we will let him slowly build up towards the Tour of the Basque Country, a race which suits him really well. During his first year as a pro, he immediately performed amongst the world’s best riders. This year, there was a wonderful sequel during the Ardennes Classics. Let us target a victory in the future.”

Race organizer previews 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné

Barring any surprises, everyone knows what awaits the victor of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Four times in the last six years, the winner has gone on to stand on the top step of the podium of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. Chris Froome followed this path in three of his four Tour wins so far… and intends to tread it again in his bid to become a member of the five-time winners' club by the end of July.

The Brit has been far less prolific in 2019 than in previous seasons (with no victories so far), while the heightened aspirations of other riders in the recently renamed Ineos team further complicate the matter. A new win here would go a long way towards bolstering "Froomey" as a credible contender, but on the roads between Aurillac and Champéry he will come up against many pretenders who already know what it is to stand on the podium and are also eager to make an impression in the Alps. Another former winner, Jakob Fuglsang, has got even stronger since 2017, with a series of rock-solid performances during the classics campaign culminating in victory in Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The Dane's show of strength in Belgium will make him a marked man in the mountains, especially for Richie Porte, who saw Fuglsang snatch overall victory from him with an eleventh-hour move two years ago. Although the rider from Down Under has struggled in previous seasons, he seemed in his element in the Tour of California (fourth) and could bring down the hammer in the stage 4 time trial around Roanne if he gets his mojo back.

After surviving the tricky roads of the Cantal department and limiting the damage in the race against the clock, climbers will finally get their chance to shine in the last three stages. Romain Bardet and Dan Martin, for example, have both finished on the podium twice, while Adam Yates came in second last year. However, the regular Dauphiné crowd will be facing top-notch rivals who are returning to the race this year. Thibaut Pinot laid the groundwork for his comeback with victory in the Tour de l'Ain, while Nairo Quintana went toe to toe with Egan Bernal in Paris–Nice and proved himself a credible contender for his first appearance since 2012, when he took the stage to Morzine. Time for a great comeback story.


Map of the 2019 race

22 teams, main contenders (as of 29 May):

Mitchelton–Scott: A. Yates (GBR) and Impey (RSA)

Bahrain–Merida: Colbrelli (ITA) and Teuns (BEL)

Deceuninck–Quick-Step: Alaphilippe (FRA), Gilbert (BEL), Hodeg (COL) and Štybar (CZE)
Lotto–Soudal: Marczyński (POL) and Lambrecht (BEL)
Wanty–Gobert Cycling Team: G. Martin (FRA) and Eiking (NOR)

Ag2r–La Mondiale: Bardet, Geniez (FRA) and Naesen (BEL)
Groupama–FDJ: Pinot, Gaudu, Molard (FRA) and Reichenbach (CHE)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Bouhanni (FRA) and Atapuma (COL)
Team Arkéa–Samsic: Barguil (FRA) and Greipel (DEU)
Vital Concept–B&B Hotels: Rolland and Pacher (FRA)

Team Sunweb: Fröhlinger (DEU) and C. Pedersen (DEN)
Bora–Hansgrohe: Bennett (IRL), Großschartner (AUT), Buchmann and Schachmann (DEU)

Astana Pro Team: Fuglsang, Cort Nielsen (DEN), G. Izagirre, I. Izagirre (ESP) and Lutsenko (KAZ)

Team Jumbo–Visma: Kruijswijk (NLD) and Van Aert (BEL)

CCC Team: De Marchi (ITA), Pauwels (BEL) and Ten Dam (NLD)

South Africa
Team Dimension Data: Boasson Hagen (NOR) and Cummings (GBR)

Movistar Team: Quintana (COL) and Erviti (ESP)

Team Katusha-Alpecin: Politt (DEU)

United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Martin (IRL) and Sutherland (AUS)

United Kingdom
Team Ineos: Froome (GBR), Kwiatkowski (POL), Moscon (ITA) and Poels (NLD)

United States
EF Education First: Van Garderen (USA), Woods (CAN) and Bettiol (ITA)
Trek–Segafredo: Porte (AUS), Skujiņš (LAT)

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