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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines. - Frank Lloyd Wright

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Victor Campenaerts talks about Hour Record attempt

Campenaerts' Lotto-Soudal team sent me this update:

Last week, it was officially announced that Belgian Lotto Soudal rider Victor Campenaerts  will attempt to set a new UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot at the Velodromo Bicentenario (Aguascalientes, Mexico) on 16 or 17 April this year. For this project, Lotto Soudal is partnering with Golazo – specialist in sports marketing – who will bring their expertise and funding to help in setting the event up.

Victor Campenaert

Victor Campenaerts time trials in the 2018 Vuelta. Sirotti photo

Victor Campenaerts looks back on the altitude training camp in Namibia and also looks ahead to his Hour Record attempt. Also general manager John Lelangue and sports manager Marc Sergeant discuss the planned attempt.

Victor Campenaerts: “I arrived in Belgium today (4 March) and at the moment, there isn’t much of a shock. I had a perfect training camp in Namibia. For two months, I only had to concentrate on doing my training schedule and I didn’t have to worry about anything else. If you are able to train in such a way, the return you get from the training camp is really big. Besides specific time trial sessions, I also did a lot of endurance rides. Those still are the basis. I feel that I’ve improved a lot between the start and the end of the training camp. Now I understand the choice of GC contenders to have such long altitude training camps.”

“Without the rhythm of competition, it is always difficult to know what condition I have. In order to still improve that one percentage, I will be at the start of Tirreno – Adriatico next week. If I could set a good performance in the closing individual time trial, that would of course be nice. I also look forward to joining the team again and – for example during the team time trial – to contribute to a nice GC result for one of the Lotto Soudal riders.”

“Thanks to Jens Voigt, who attracted fresh interest with his attempt in 2014, I first started to think about the Hour Record. But at the time, I wasn’t the rider I am today. Last year – during the start of the Vuelta – Dion Beukeboom attacked the record and the Dutchman came pretty close. The only difference is that he – contrary to myself – is not riding at WorldTour level. During that Vuelta, Thomas De Gendt tried to raise my interest for the Hour Record. After the world championships in Innsbruck, I travelled to Grenchen to do a test on the track and that’s where things really started to become concrete. At the moment – as the attempt is coming closer - not a single day passes without thinking about the Hour Record.”

“I will travel to Mexico on the 27th of March. I will have another three weeks’ time to do some really specific training sessions in order to start the attempt in the best possible way. I’ve already got the complete planning until the attempt in my head. With a two-day timeslot, we still have the possibility to await the most optimal conditions. Personally, I would prefer to attack the Hour Record on the 16th of April, but if the air pressure would not be ideal, it will be an easy decision to wait another day. I assume – with normal air pressure conditions – that I can break the record.”

John Lelangue, general manager Lotto Soudal: “It is a unique, overarching project. It is about one rider who is supported by the complete team. We are lucky that our main partners – like the Nationale Loterij and Soudal – are fully behind this project. Also our technical partners such as Ridley, Vermarc, HJC and Gaerne are doing everything they can to make it something special. Besides, the sports department also played an important role in shaping Victor’s training and racing schedule. We are grateful to Golazo for providing us with the financial and organisational support.”

“To bring Victor in the best possible condition at the start takes a meticulous planning. In the first place, it needed to be decided how the training camp in Namibia would fit into his race schedule. That way, it was decided that Victor will participate in Tirreno – Adriatico, an important WorldTour event that starts with a team time trial and ends with an individual time trial. Besides, staff is also needed in Mexico to prepare the attempt in a very specific way.”

Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “It all started in 2017 when we contacted Victor. We had a really good conversation in which we promised to grant him the freedom – through altitude training camps and positioning tests – to further develop himself as a time trialist. Then, the Hour Record attempt was still out of the question but we informed him that we were open for that challenge. Since Victor has been part of Lotto Soudal, he already showed what he is capable of. He won the European time trial championship twice and also took the bronze medal during the world championships last year. That moment, the idea became more realistic. The Hour Record is something unique and would be something big for our team. Of course, we hope that he breaks the record, but beating the time of Bradley Wiggins will for sure not be easy.”

Austrian Olympic cyclist Georg Preidler quits Groupama-FDJ team over blood doping

Here's the Associated Press story:

Austria's Georg Preidler admitted Monday to blood doping linked to a case in which five skiers were arrested last week and immediately resigned from professional cycling team Groupama-FDJ.

Georg Preidler

Georg Preidler wins the sixth stage of the 2018 Tour of Poland.

Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler has admitted to blood doping linked to a case in which five skiers were arrested, his professional team Groupama-FDJ said Monday from Vienna.

Preidler offered "his immediate and spontaneous resignation, justified by his inexcusable involvement" in the doping case, Groupama-FDJ said. He had allegedly undergone "blood collection" procedures twice last year.
The team said it had informed the International Cycling Union, French law enforcement and the French anti-doping agency.

"The UCI does not have any first-hand information concerning confessions made by cyclists," the Switzerland-based governing body said in a statement.

However, the cycling body said it asked its independent investigators to exchange information with Austrian authorities and the World Anti-Doping Agency to advance each other's cases.

You can read the entire story here.

Ag2r-La Mondiale to ride GP Samyn

The team sent me this short note:

“I started my season at the Tour de la Provence, after having not raced for 200 days. I had a skin graft on my left ankle and was not able to ride a bike for three months. But I still had a good winter after recovering from my injury. And I was reassured about my fitness level during my initial races back. Regarding the Belgian races, I did the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for the first time on Saturday. It was a stressful day, and I certainly lacked experience. I do not know the courses yet, but I tried to help the team to the maximum. I crashed on Sunday in Kuurne but that will not stop me from taking the start of Samyn. The final circuit there is very hard, so that will give us the opportunity to do something great! After that, I will head to Italy for Tirreno-Adriatico.” - DORIAN GODON

Including Alexis Vuillermoz’s victory at the Royal Bernard Drôme Classic on Sunday, the AG2R LA MONDIALE team has earned a place on the podium nine times since the start of the season.

Two riders of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team finished in the top ten at last year’s GP Samyn, which was raced in appalling, dantesque conditions. Gediminas Bagdonas took 5th place while Nico Denz finished 8th.

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