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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest. - Rodney Dangerfield

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

May 24 - 26: Tour de l'Ain

Latest completed racing:

CCC Team Extends with Nathan Van Hooydonck Through to 2021 

The team sent me this news:

20 May, 2019: Nathan Van Hooydonck will remain in CCC Team colors through to 2021 with the team adding an additional year to his existing contract, which was set to conclude at the end of the 2020 season.

Nathan van Hooydonck

Nathan van Hooydonck riding the individual time trial at the 2015 World Championships. Sirotti photo

The 23-year-old Belgian rider originally joined the team through the BMC Development Team program in 2015, before graduating to the WorldTour halfway through the 2017 season, from which point he has played an integral role in CCC Team’s Classics team.

CCC Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the decision to extend Van Hooydonck’s contract now, rather than next year, is a sign of the team’s confidence in Van Hooydonck and acknowledgment of his role in the team.

“We are pleased to announce that we have extended Nathan Van Hooydonck’s contract through to the 2021 season. Nathan’s growth and development from the BMC Development Team days to where he is now has led us to believe he is a rider with big talent and a great future ahead of him. He has consistently proved himself as a valuable domestique to Greg Van Avermaet during the Classics and is more than capable of going for his own result in these races,” Ochowicz said.

“We are looking forward to helping Nathan develop further as a rider and we are excited to see what he can do. Nathan has been with the team for a while now so it’s easy to forget how young he is. At just 23-years-old, Nathan has a long and bright career ahead of him and we believe CCC Team is a great fit for a rider of his caliber.

Van Hooydonck is looking forward to spending the next couple of years with CCC Team. “When Jim Ochowicz called me after Paris-Roubaix to tell me that the team wanted to extend my contract and asked me if I wanted to stay, I was really happy and it was an easy decision to make. I feel appreciated in the team for the work I do and with this contract extension, the team must see some potential in me which is a huge confidence boost,” Van Hooydonck explained.

“The main reason to stay with CCC Team is that it feels like home and the riders around me in the Classics group are so experienced, so I am in a great position to learn from them. This season, I already felt that I made a good step forward and in the next seasons I want to continue that and be with Greg Van Avermaet in the finals of the Classics. I would also like to go for my own result in the smaller races, that is my ambition and I hope in a few years, I can be a leader in the bigger races too."

Lucy Kennedy takes her first European victory for with a solo attack in Durango-Durango

Kennedy's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Lucy Kennedy claimed her first race victory in Europe for Mitchelton-SCOTT today, after a brave solo attack in the one-day Basque Country race, Durango-Durango.

The 30-year-old had teammate Amanda Spratt for company in a breakaway that contained many of the race favourites. The duo used the numbers to their advantage, allowing Kennedy to sneak away and hold on for the win, with Spratt patrolling the chase before taking second place behind to make it a successful and dominating day out for Mitchelton-SCOTT women.

The 113kilometre race began with five opening laps of a circuit before two challenging local finish laps that included a tough climb to contend with. The pace was on from the start with plenty of attacks yet nobody was able to breakaway in the early stages. The bunch was still together after 30kilometres of racing and past the first intermediate sprint.

On the undulating roads, tired legs began to appear in the bunch as a dangerous group started to ride away from the peloton.

Ten-riders including Spratt and Kennedy quickly got into formation and began working together well to establish a gap over the rest. With all the main teams represented, the group continued to grow their advantage. The 10 leaders extended their time gap out to over five-minutes as they entered the the hard local finishing laps, knowing the winner would come from within the group.

After a big effort by Spratt ot the start of the Alto de Goiuria climb, Kennedy counter attacked over the top, showing her form and climbing legs to open up a small advantage.

The Australian continued to push on ahead, cresting the top of the Alto de Goiuria climb for the first time with a gap over the chasers to take top points in the Queen of the Mountain classification.

Despite never gaining more than 40seconds, Kennedy continued to power on ahead as the kilometres ticked down, doing enough to hold off the chase and take the race victory, 26seconds ahead of teammate Spratt.

Lucy Kennedy:
“It's my first European win with the team so it feels very special. In this team, it's an honour just to be given the opportunity so I'm glad I could make it count.

“We didn't expect to have us climbers in a break, but once that break formed it was perfect for us. Spratty kept me really calm and the plan for her to attack first on the first hard climb and for me to go over the top of that worked perfectly.

“The plan was to make it solo, but it was a little nerve-wracking when the gap was just hovering. When I reached the top of the last climb I was pretty confident I could hold them off.“

It's a nice confidence builder ahead of Bira, we know we have a great team for this type of racing.”

Durango-Durango results:

1. Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2:56:37
2. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:26
3. Soraya Paladin (Ale-Cipollini) ST

Eduard Prades wins Vuelta Aragon

We don't cover this race, but here's the final report from winner Eduard Prades' Team Movistar:

In a fast-paced (46kph average), eventful -crashed riders included Eduardo Sepúlveda, with no consequence, and Jesús Ezquerra (BBH), who abandoned the race while in the leader’s jersey-, vibrant final day, the 44th Vuelta Aragón was won by the Movistar Team with Edu Prades, who dug deep until the end with his five team-mates into a race which wasn’t decided until the last intermediate sprint of the 127km stage three, from Huesca to Zaragoza.

The Catalan allrounder, supported by all Blues over a route where crosswinds were key for the final events, launched a furious move for the 3″ bonus available at the last rush, 16km before the end, in the town of Villanueva de Gállego. There, Prades broke the tie which, once the race leader was forced to DNF with 50km remaining, persisted between Prades and Evgeny Shalunov (GAZ).

The sprint finish next to Zaragoza’s Torre del Agua was contested by faster riders than the GC contenders -with Pelucchi (ANS) claiming the honours-, so Edu’s 6th place over the line was more than enough to secure the men’s Movistar Team’s 11th victory in 2019. A success made possible by the commitment and quality by a phenomenal Marc Soler (8th in his return to racing), Sepúlveda (15th), Valls and locals Arcas and Castrillo, vital for a win on home soil.

Eduard Prades

Eduard Prades wins a stage at this year's Tour of Provence. Sirotti photo

REACTION / Edu Prades:
“The first thing I want to say is I regret really much what happened to Ezquerra. I’d have liked to have contested this victory against him, on equal terms. I’m so sorry that he crashed. It was a very nervous stage, where everyone wanted to stay near the front. We took advantage from the crosswinds to make the approach to the final bonus sprint harder – we really tackled it as if it were the real finish, because we knew it could come down to those three bonus seconds.

“Coming closer to the line, I kept in mind it wasn’t sealed yet, and that it would be more nervous because the sprinters were seeking for the day’s success while we were looking for the GC. However, I also hoped for those crosswinds to help us have a longer peloton before the final straight, not finding that much trouble to get into position. If I had been a bit closer, I even think I could have sought for the day’s win, yet this GC victory is already a big satisfaction in itself.

“Claiming this first overall victory in Movistar Team colours helps me continue those good results I snatched last year, showing that I’m as competitive as I was before joining the WorldTour. It would have been impossible to take it without the team-mates who were here – this goes to all of them, and also my family, my girl, everyone who supports me.”

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