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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Science is organized common sense where many a beautiful theory was killed by an ugly fact. - Thomas Huxley

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Simon Yates & Mitchelton-Scott eyeing pink at Giro d'Italia

Mitchelton-Scott sent me this:

Twelve months on from a spectacular performance that saw them win five stages and wear the Maglia Rosa for 13 stages, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Simon Yates are eyeing the biggest prize when the 2019 Giro d’Italia kicks off on Saturday.

Yates, who has since bagged his first Grand Tour victory at the Vuelta a Espana, returns with more confidence and more learnings as he aims for back-to-back three-week race success.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates in pink in the 2018 Giro. Sirotti photo.

The 26-year-old will be surrounded by a talented and experienced Mitchelton-SCOTT outfit, including the likes of powerhouses Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge and Chris Juul-Jensen to guide him through the first and flatter half of racing, before Brent Bookwalter, Lucas Hamilton, Mikel Nieve and Esteban Chaves take over as a formidable force in the mountains.

Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Giro d’Italia:
Jack Bauer (NZL, 34)
Brent Bookwalter (USA, 35)
Esteban Chaves (COL, 29)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 28)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 23) - Grand Tour debut
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 29)
Mikel Nieve (SPA, 34)
Simon Yates (GBR, 26)

The Race:
The 2019 Giro d’Italia will cover 3,518.5km across its 21 stages, with 58km of time trialling split between three stages.

Albeit quite a lot of longer stages in terms of kilometres, the first ten days of racing don’t offer any major climbing challenges so we will have to be patient for the real general classification battle to begin.

Organisers claim that with 46,500m of total elevation, the 102nd edition will be one of the hardest routes of recent years. With most of that coming packed neatly into the second half of racing, it’ll be then that the real battle begins.
In the past seven years at the Giro d’Italia Mitchelton-SCOTT has claimed 13 stage victories, worn the pink leader’s jersey for 25 days and had a top general classification position of second in 2016.

Last year alone the Australian outfit lit up the Italian Grand Tour with an aggressive style, claiming five stage wins, including three in the Maglia Rosa, and leading the race for 13 days.

Simon Yates - Mitchelton-SCOTT Leader:
“I wanted to go back to the Giro, that’s what’s driving me at the moment, and that’s what I have the passion to get out of bed for every morning.

“I’m approaching the Giro the same way I would do any other race. I am, more or less, always in a leadership role within the team and I really like to try to win every race I start, so for me it’s just business as usual.

“There are many strong rivals, it’s a very packed field. I wouldn’t really like to single out anyone, I think they are all very strong and a lot of them have already won week-long races this year.

“In a way I have unfinished business at the Giro, but I would just like to have another go. We were so close last year so I’m motivated to give it another go and I’m trying to arrive in the best shape possible to try and do that.

“We start directly with a prologue, so we will know how everyone’s form is there. If I can race aggressively, like I would do normally, that’s how I would like to race because that’s what I enjoy but we’ll have to see once we get there. I like to race aggressively but you can’t always do that unfortunately and that’s what I really learnt from last season. I will apply those lessons and hopefully come off with the win.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“You’re only as good as your last win, and our last Grand Tour was a win so naturally we’re going into the Giro as one of the favourites. We’re heading to Italy with the aim of finishing off the job this year. That may mean we don’t win as many stages, but we’re looking at the bigger prize. We’re 12months on from the last edition, we’ve learnt a lot in those 12months, and our job is to put that to good use across the three weeks of racing.

“We’ve run a very similar template with Simon’s build up again this year, he is in similar shape which means it’s a good place to be starting our journey. We have had some bad luck with some late changes due to injuries, but it does show that we have some depth in the team to fill those places with some very capable bike riders and I’m certainly very confident that we’re going to be able to support Simon at an incredibly high level with the group that we’ve put together.

“It’s a very experienced composition we have been able to assemble, with Simon being the second youngest in the team, and they share a few Grand Tours caps between them.

“The thing that stands out in the first 12 stages is that there are no major climbs to really test the GC guys, but what it does have is kilometres – there’s a lot of long stages, a lot of stages over 200km in the first half. At the end of the day this will wear people down but because the Giro will be won in the second half, it’s about conserving energy and being efficient as a team in the first half of the race.

“If there’s ever a Giro that you could ride into, this would be this one. But in saying that, some of our biggest rivals have shown they are in very good shape already so there’ll be some tests early on, but nothing definitive.”

UAE-Team Emirates announces Giro roster

The team sent me this:

Eight cyclists will fly the UAE Team Emirates’ colours in the 2019 Giro d’Italia, running from Saturday, May 11 to Sunday, June 2.

General Manager Joxean Matxin (Spa), together with the sports directors Marco Marzano (Ita) and Bruno Vicino (Ita), assisted by Paolo Tiralongo (Ita), will lead cyclists from 4 different nations:
– Tom Bohli (Sui)
– Simone Consonni (Ita)
– Valerio Conti (Ita)
– Fernando Gaviria (Col)
– Marco Marcato (Ita)
– Juan Sebastian Molano (Col)
– Jan Polanc (Slo)
– Diego Ulissi (Ita)

Diego Ulissi

Diego Ulissi riding stage 16 of the 2018 Giro. Sirotti photo

“Not being able to count on one man for the general classification, we had to come up with a group to very competitive for the sprints and the hunt for stages wins,” explained General Manager Joxean Matxin “The goal is to be aggressive, attacking, to try to be protagonists both with our group of fast cyclists supporting Gaviria and with cyclists who have always come up with excellent performances in the Giro: Ulissi, Polanc and Conti. We know the stages well, we love the spirit that comes with the Giro, and we are ready to do our best“.

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Giro d'Italia: MAY 11 - JUN 2

Marc Reef - Team Sunweb coach:
"We once again head to the Giro d'Italia with the ambition of delivering a good result in the overall classification and continuing on from the team's strong performances at the race in recent years. The route for this year's Giro is one of the toughest there has been and there are no easy days, so we expect it to be a really tough battle in the overall. The time trials are of course important for us and we hope to be able to gain some time there. We’ll also bring Tom into a good position for the tricky stages in the mountains, and look for opportunities to gain time there. We’re confident that this is a strong configuration of riders to support the team's GC goal, and after a good preparation period, we’re all looking forward to getting things underway in Bologna.”

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin finishing stage 14 of the 2018 Giro. Sirotti photo

Jan Bakelants (BEL)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Chad Haga (USA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Robert Power (AUS)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)

Amgen Tour of California: MAY 12-18

Aike Visbeek - Team Sunweb coach:
"The Tour of California offers a mixed parcours, allowing a variety of riders to compete for stage results. In the sprints the team will work to set up Max, while Michael is aiming for a good result in the mountains for the team. Last year Max finished second on the last stage and this year we hope to go one better. We arrive with Cees, who has had a successful classics campaign and Casper, who showed his strength this spring bringing support in the sprints and providing a lot of horsepower for the stage finales. The experience of Roy and Johannes will also be important to help guide the younger riders through the week. After his good debut in Frankfurt, it will be a good experience for Joris to ride his first WorldTour stage race."

Cees Bol (NED)
Roy Curvers (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Max Walscheid (GER)

Flèche Ardennaise: MAY 12

Albert Timmer - Team Sunweb coach:
"Flèche Ardennaise takes place on a difficult but really nice route, with nine categorised climbs before the riders enter the closing circuit which is constantly up and down. We bring a strong and motivated team to the race, with a good mix of youth and experience for the challenging parcours. The team will work hard for a top result, with Felix the rider we hope to get that, keeping him protected and fresh until the final. There is a lot of confidence and high morale within the Development program after the two recent wins in Bretagne and Overijssel, so we are looking to build on that here."

Felix Gall (AUT)
Ben Katerberg (CAN)
Edo Maas (NED)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Nils Sinschek (NED)
Xandres Vervloesem (BEL)

Retailer and advocate Marty Epstein, famous for 'being Marty,' dies at 69

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this heartbreaking story. Marty was a cherished customer of mine when I owned Torelli Imports and was a joy to work with.

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (BRAIN) — Marty Epstein, founder of Marty's Reliable Cycle, a three-store New Jersey retail chain, died Thursday after a multiyear battle with cancer. He was 69.

Epstein was one of the best known figures in the New Jersey cycling scene. Besides running a successful retail business for over 40 years, he helped bring high school mountain bike racing to the state, launched a gran fondo that now attracts thousands of participants and has raised millions for charity, and was a founder of JORBA, the Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association.

"He was really the biggest advocate for cycling in the state," Eric Noonan told BRAIN on Thursday. Noonan is manager of the chain's Morristown location and worked for Epstein for 15 years.

Epstein was an outgoing personality and enjoyed talking to customers and participants at the gran fondo.

"He would be there at the finish, being Marty," Noonan said. "Interacting with people was his favorite thing."

You can read the entire story here.

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