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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, April 26, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. - Ambrose Bierce

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Digital Swiss 5 stage four team reports

We posted the report from second-place Michael Matthews' Team Sunweb with the results.

Stefan Kung

Stefan Küng wins the fourth stage

Here's the report from third-place Ethan Hayter's Team INEOS:

Ethan Hayter produced an impressive ride in elite company to take third place on the penultimate day of the Digital Swiss 5.

The young Brit was taking part in his first competitive race for Team INEOS after beginning 2020 with a focus on the track at the Tokyo Olympics.

Hayter showed plenty of power on a fast course, moving into a strong position early and running as high as second, before solidifying third overall.

Up ahead a late charge saw Stefan Kung (Swiss National Team) overhaul and eventually fend off Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) at the finish.

Ben Swift was also in action for Team INEOS, while Luke Rowe's race was cut short by technical issues. The action finishes with a final race on Sunday.

Ethan Hayter:
"I didn't really expect to be in contention at all to be honest. I did think it could kind of suit me with the downhills and some short climbs. I basically just went flat out on the climbs and tried to hang on on the descents. And it kind of worked!

"[The effort] was pretty tough. It didn't feel terrible I guess because we had the descents, so I could have a bit of a tactical rest each time. Over the top of the last climb I was ahead of Kung by a bit and then he put a minute into me! He came straight passed me as I was trying to catch my breath.

"I was just doing my own thing actually and not paying too much attention to the riders around me. What was useful was where it showed the profile of what was coming up. So I was just going easier on the descents and harder on the climbs.

"It was definitely nice to have a bit of healthy competition. There's no racing going on at the moment obviously. I wouldn't have pushed myself like that I don't think if I hadn't been in that situation. So it was a useful training tool as well as a bit of fun - if you can call it that!"

Team Bora-hansgrohe posted this report:

Yet again no easy day in the saddle for BORA-hansgrohe during the 4th race of the Digital Swiss 5

The penultimate race of the Digital Swiss 5 series took the riders over undulating terrain through the Emmental, with the Schallenberg ascent awaiting the peloton right at the beginning of the route. The finish line stood on a slightly sloped road after 36.8 kilometres of racing. Patrick Gamper, Martin Laas and Lukas Pöstlberger were in action today for BORA - hansgrohe. The Estonian rider quickly got away from the start, but fell behind on the first climb, while teammate Lukas was able to continue steadily working his way up the ascent.

Throughout the second half of the race, however, the riders from the Raubling team could not quite keep up the pace, and in the end, Lukas crossed the line as the highest-placed BORA - hansgrohe rider, in 33rd position. M. Matthews, who had been leading the race right from the outset, was ultimately overtaken in the final kilometre by local rider S. Küng, who won today's race by the narrowest of margins.

From the Finish Line:
"This week I learned that online racing is very different from racing in real life. How you tackle the race in the downhill and uphill sections, for instance, is so completely different. You need a lot of experience with this to do well. I've never taken part in a race like this before and although today was my second time racing the Digital Swiss 5, it didn’t get any easier. However, I can say that I did learn something from my first day of racing, namely that it’s important not to overheat. So today I used a small fan and an ice pack, and that proved to be quite helpful. The more experience you gather in online racing, the more you can learn how to improve yourself." - Lukas Pöstlberger

"In the end, the race really came down to the wire between the first two riders, which added some real tension and drama to the race. Our riders finished the day in middle of the field. Lukas put in a good performance, and was our best-placed finisher. There was quite a class field in attendance today, with van Avermaet, Küng, and Matthews, who are all good time triallists, but we can be quite satisfied with Pösti's performance. We had no crashes, no rain and good weather, so what more could you ask for. These are the advantages of online racing!" - Jan Valach, Sports Director

Team Sunweb extend contracts with Leah Kirchmann and Franziska Koch

Here's the team's press release:

Team Sunweb are pleased to announce the contract extensions of two of their Women’s program riders; Leah Kirchmann and Franziska Koch. Kirchmann will ride in the team’s colours until the end of 2022, while Koch has extended her contract until the end of 2021.

Leah Kirchmann (CAN):
Since moving to the team in 2016, where she finished an impressive eighth place on GC at the Giro Rosa and second overall in the Women's WorldTour standings, Kirchmann has proved herself to be a versatile rider that can handle a multitude of terrain. Alongside good GC showings she has taken prologue and time trial wins, been an integral member of the team time trial successes including the winning World's squad, and picked up several top tens and strong results in one-day races on both flat and hilly terrain, such as second place at 2019’s La Course by Le Tour de France. Kirchmann’s all-round abilities make her an important member of the team and she’s more than willing to go all-in to support her teammates.

Leah Kirchmann

Leah Kirchmann in 2019

Franziska Koch (GER):
The talented German youngster has made an impressive start to her career at the elite level after joining the team in August of 2019. Working strongly for the team at WorldTour races such as the Ladies Tour of Norway and GP Plouay, it wasn't long until Koch got her hands in the air for the team. On a difficult stage four of the Boels Ladies Tour, Koch seized her opportunity by making the late breakaway and playing the finale perfectly, showing a cool head and maturity beyond her years to out-sprint her breakaway companions for the win. Following that up, one week later at the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, she would go on to take her first WorldTour level GC top ten finish. Koch began the 2020 season where she left off in 2019, working strongly as a team player on the tough Belgian cobbles to set up Floortje Mackaij for a third place finish at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

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