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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, March 11, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ernest Hemingway

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Paris-Nice stage one team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's winner Dylan Groenewegen's Team Jumbo-Visma report:

Dylan Groenewegen has won the first stage of Paris-Nice in a millimetre sprint. The 25-year-old sprinter of Team Jumbo-Visma finished off the work of his teammates in a perfect way in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He is also the first overall leader in the ‘Race to the Sun’. For Groenewegen it is his third victory of the season. For Team Jumbo-Visma it’s the sixth win so far.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen beat Caleb Ewan by a hair.

The short stage of just under hundred and forty kilometres turned out to be a real spectacle and a battlefield as well. Due to the strong wind, the peloton broke into echelons all day. Team Jumbo-Visma rode attentively, created the echelons and hardly got into trouble. In the final, the team of Nico Verhoeven and Sierk-Jan de Haan were represented in the lead peloton with six riders, after which Groenewegen finished the teamwork off in the sprint.

Groenewegen was very enthusiastic about the teamwork afterwards. "The team was really fantastic. My teammates did a really great job by protecting me well and keeping me out of trouble all day", the Dutchman said. “It was a short stage, but very difficult because of the wind. The lead out was good and I’m glad I was able to finish it off. It was extremely close, but I knew right away that I had won. It was a typical Dutch day: a lot of wind, lots of echelons and a continuous fight for your position. We knew in advance that this could happen. It's awesome. The fact that I beat all the top sprinters and clinched the yellow jersey makes it even better. I am already looking forward to the coming sprint stages.”

Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this update:

The opening stage of the 77th edition of Paris – Nice wasn’t an easy one. The peloton had to face strong winds and temperatures of around 12 degrees. Right from after the start, three riders escaped, and opened up a gap of several minutes, while BORA – hansgrohe stayed in the main field to support their sprinter Sam Bennett.

With 50km remaining, the breakaway had managed to carve out a gap of over one minute, but BORA – hansgrohe took control of the pace back in the peloton and tried to close the gap. As the race spilt into several groups with 38km remaining, BORA – hansgrohe was able to stay in the first few positions, where Jempy Drucker, Michael Schwarzmann, Sam Bennett and Felix Großschartner all put in a strong effort, while some of the GC contenders were caught up in one of the groups behind. As the race came into the finale, the first group managed to bridge the gap to the leaders.

The German squad began forming their lead-out for Irish sprinter Sam Bennett, and on the finishing straight the pace was incredibly high, with riders battling it out for position. Although BORA – hansgrohe’s Bennett was in a good position, it was D. Groenewegen, who took the win ahead of C. Ewan, while Bennett finished in fourth position.

From the Finish Line:
“Winds of 30 to 35km/h on a short opening stage of Paris – Nice made the race very nervous. The tension was high and nobody wanted to lose time on the first day and be forced to give up his ambitions. In the last hour of racing, several teams put their cards on the table and the pack split into pieces. In the finale, we had Sam competing for the victory against a number of world class sprinters but, ultimately finishing in fourth place, he was unable to fulfil his dream of winning the opening stage here.” – Jens Zemke, Sports Director

“Today I didn't ride my best race, and I was always playing catch up on this short but windy stage with all those Echelons, which did cost a lot of energy. In the finale, I didn't have the legs, but I think it was just a bad day. I expect my legs to come around for the next stages. The boys did their best to deliver me to the finish and I hope to repay their efforts soon.” – Sam Bennett

Team Sunweb Paris-Nice injured rider update:

Following a very difficult opening stage of Paris-Nice for Team Sunweb which saw both Michael Matthews and Martijn Tusveld crash out of the race separately, and Roy Curvers suffer injuries to his hand following a collision with a concrete roadside pole, the team gives the latest update on each rider’s condition.

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews at the 2018 Tour of Romandie. Sirotti photo.

Team Sunweb Physician Camiel Aldershof gave an update, saying: “Both Michael and Martijn crashed quite hard but are relatively OK given the circumstances. Both received assessments in hospital. Martijn suffered a fractured jaw and will remain in hospital to undergo surgery before returning home.

“Michael suffered a concussion and was cleared of having any fractures but will remain in hospital overnight. Roy suffered a contusion of his right hand when he hit the pole but scans were clear of any fractures. We will assess his condition in the morning ahead of tomorrow’s second stage.”

Team Sunweb wishes both Martijn and Michael a speedy recovery.

Team Ag2r La Mondiale to ride Tirreno-Adriatico

Here's the team's news:

“Unlike other years, Tirreno-Adriatico does not have a big mountain stage. We will be faced with a sequence of hills where the classics specialists will be able to show off their skills. The race opens with a team time trial that is 21.5km long, and I think that it will play a 60% role in determining the final overall classification. So it will be important to be in the game right from the start. Alexis Vuillermoz is in good shape, as he proved recently. And he will be our leader for the overall standings. We can also count on a rider like Silvan Dillier who has already performed very well in the first two classics of the season. Julien Duval and Nans Peters, who was at the front of the early season French races, will also be important to the team.” - Sport Director Didier Jannel

Alexis Vuillermoz

Alexis Vuillermoz winning the Drome Classic earlier this year.

Fourth in the 2014 edition, Jean-Christophe Péraud earned the highest place for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team at Tirreno Adriatico.

Oliver Naesen took the 12th place at the end of the first stage of Paris-Nice. “It was a very tense day. We were not far from the “orange” warning for violent winds, and we were 160 riders ready to fight and to trap each other. I was lucky to have a strong team, and Tony knows the roads well.The day went off without a hitch despite the stress,” Romain Bardet explained, having taken 45th on the stage finishing safely in the pack.

Martijn Budding wins Tour of Rhodes

Budding's Beat Cycling Club sent me this news:

Martijn Budding has won the Tour of Rhodes (UCI 2.2). The 23 years old Budding won yesterday's stage and with that win took the lead in the general classification. He kept the lead in the final stage and ensured the victory of the race.

The rough start to the race rightly predicted a very hard day in the saddle. BEAT controlled the race all day, which led to little threat for the general classification. A breakaway of 4 riders took all the bonification seconds at the intermediate sprints, to make sure the team wouldn’t have to worry about that. The toughest climb of the day caused a fierce battle for the king of the mountain points. In this battle, a new breakaway of 6 riders formed, who gained over two minutes on the peloton. This breakaway did include a rider who couldthreaten BEAT’s general classification win, so the team took the lead over the peloton and was able to catch the breakaway, neutralizing yet another threat.

Budding reacts: "It was a very tough day. Numerous teams obviously rode against us today and tried to attack us for the classification. To defend this we basically took control of the race right away with the team. All the guys really outdid themselves today. Everyone did an amazing job, everyone was super fast and nobody had a bad day. They were all very focussed and because of that we could keep control of the race. With the help of other teams, we could ensure a sprint finish. We knew that if I would finish ahead of the number 2 in the classification, it couldn't go wrong. This succeeded so when we crossed the line we knew the win was in the pocket. I'm very proud of the team and of this victory."

The final possible threat for the win would be the bonification seconds up for grabs at the final sprint. In this sprint, which was won by Herman Dahl, no riders high up in the GC took any bonification seconds, so Budding could cross the finish line with his hands raised and head to the podium to take the leaders jersey home.

This win is the first win of a stage race for the BEAT road team. A beautiful result and a great start of the season.

Kelly Catlin passes away at 23

VeloNews posted this heartbreaking news:

Kelly Catlin, a member of the U.S. women’s pursuit team that earned silver a the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, has passed away at age 23.

Catlin’s father, Mark Catlin, broke the news in a letter sent to VeloNews Sunday morning. Mark Catlin said that Kelly had passed away Friday night at her residence in California. Mark Catlin said that Kelly died by suicide.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” Mark Catlin wrote. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Kelly Catlin split her time between the track and her pro road career—she raced with the Rally UHC Pro Cycling Team. She was also pursuing a graduate degree in Computational Mathematics at Stanford University. Catlin recently wrote a journal on describing the ways in which she split her time between the three pursuits.

“Being a graduate student, track cyclist, and professional road cyclist can instead feel like I need to time-travel to get everything done. And things still slip through the cracks. This is probably the point when you’ll expect me to say something cliché like, “Time management is everything.” Or perhaps you’re expecting a nice, encouraging slogan like, “Being a student only makes me a better athlete!” After all, I somehow make everything work, right? Sure. Yeah, that’s somewhat accurate. But the truth is that most of the time, I don’t make everything work.”

You can read the entire post here.

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