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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Teach thy tongue to say 'I do not know', and thou shalt progress. - Maimonides

Current racing:

Important upcoming racing, according to the UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Ilnur Zakarin makes return to racing to lead CCC Team at Tour de Pologne 

CCC Team sent me this:

03 August 2020: Ilnur Zakarin will make his return to racing this week as he gears up to lead CCC Team at Tour de Pologne (5 - 9 August), the first UCI WorldTour stage race after the restart of the season.

Ilnur Zakarin

Ilnur Zakarin climbing in stage 13 of the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Sports Director Piotr Wadecki is confident in the strength of the team that will join Zakarin in Poland.

“We are going to this year’s Tour de Pologne with Ilnur Zakarin as our leader for the race while Simon Geschke, who put in a solid performance here last year, will also be a protected rider. For Ilnur, this is his first race back after the lockdown period but we saw him climbing well in the earlier part of the season and I know he has been training well so, by the first hard stage on day three, I am sure he will have found his rhythm again,” Wadecki explained.

"Simon made his return to the start line at Strade Bianche and those tough racing kilometers will be beneficial so, I feel confident that we can make a good General Classification result with Ilnur and Simon plus with Attila Valter, I think we can make a good team GC result. I was really happy to see Kamil Małecki, Szymon Sajnok, and Kamil Gradek working well together in Burgos on the flatter stages and alongside Patrick Bevin, I know that everyone coming to Poland from Spain can be strong again at this race."

Zakarin is excited to be returning to racing and is looking to test his form at the now five-day race.

“It's not easy to set specific goals right now because it was such a long pause from racing and, like most of the guys in the peloton, I had never experienced that before so I am not totally sure how my body will respond to it again. However, three good weeks of training at altitude in Livigno have done their job and I am happy with my shape. I worked hard and my performance at the training camp felt really good and I was able to push the limit so, we will see what I can do in Poland. Overall, I am just really looking forward to racing again because I have really missed all of the feelings that come with it,” Zakarin said.

After winning the King of the Mountains Classification in 2019, Simon Geschke is happy to be returning to the start line of Tour de Pologne.

“Tour de Pologne is a nice race and I am looking forward to racing here once again. Last year I was quite successful, or at least I had good shape at this race but it’s, of course, a totally different situation this year so we will see what happens. Strade Bianche was a very tough way to restart the season and I am still a little uncertain about my form at the moment but, a stage race is something completely different. Hopefully, as a team, we can work together to get a good result on the General Classification and personally, my goal is to try to do something on one or two of the stages,” Geschke said.

Tour de Pologne (5 - 9 August):
Rider Roster: Patrick Bevin (NZL), SImon Geschke (GER), Kamil Gradek (POL), Kamil Malecki (POL), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Attila Valter (HUN), Ilnur Zakarin (RUS)

Sports Directors: Piotr Wadecki (POL), Gabriele Missaglia (ITA)

Edoardo Affini to ride for Jumbo-Visma in 2021

Jumbo-Visma sent me this release:

Edoardo Affini is a new addition to Team Jumbo-Visma for next year. The twenty-four-year-old Italian signs for three seasons with the Dutch World Tour team.

Edoardo Affini

Edoardo Affini wins stage three of the 2019 Tour of Norway.

Affini is in his second year as a professional cyclist with Mitchelton-Scott and will transfer to Team Jumbo-Visma in 2021. The Italian won the bronze medal at the European time trial championship in Alkmaar last year. Affini is the third new rider for Team Jumbo-Visma, after Gijs Leemreize and David Dekker were previously contracted.

Sportive director Merijn Zeeman sees an important role for Affini in the selection. “We always like to add a rider like Affini to our team. Edoardo will assist Wout van Aert in the classics and he will get a place in the sprint train of Dylan Groenewegen. In addition, he is a talented time trialist. The team will certainly help him to get even better in that discipline. We think that with our guidance he can develop into a world class time trial rider.”

Affini is happy with his transfer. “When Team Jumbo-Visma called, I knew this was a great opportunity. This is a good step for me. The conversations with the team showed that they have a lot of confidence in me. I can develop well here and that is very important to me. There are a number of very experienced riders from whom I can learn a lot. I’m in my second year as a pro, but this season is of course very special. Hopefully from next season on I will experience great moments in the shirt of Team Jumbo-Visma.”

BORA-hansgrohe signs Nils Politt

The team sent me this:

The 26-year-old rider from Cologne has signed a contract for the next three years and will reinforce BORA – hansgrohe’s Classics squad, as well as shine as an all-rounder.

Nils Politt

Nils Politt racing in this year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Sirotti photo

“It’s great that this has finally worked out. We have been interested in Nils previously, that's certainly no secret. I think that the consistent path that BORA - hansgrohe has been following was ultimately part of what convinced him. As a German top team, we’d of course like to have all the top German riders under contract, but we are still looking for international talent. Our goal is not to become a German national team, but rather to win the WorldTour. Nils will of course be vital in strengthening our Classics squad, but we still also see a lot of potential in him generally as a rider. We want to fully develop this potential over the coming years, as we have already done with riders such as Pascal, Emu and Max.” - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

"I'm really very happy. In a way, it’s like being reunited with my friends from the early days, and that made the decision quite easy for me. I've known several of the riders in the team for a number of years and I'm looking forward to racing with them. For the Classics, we’ll have an enormously strong team next year, and that's also a new situation for me. Over the past few years, I have been more of a lone warrior, so to speak, in those races. Tactically, this will definitely provide us with a vast array of opportunities. What Ralph Denk has achieved over the past few years is incredibly impressive. BORA - hansgrohe is one of the very top squads and I hope that I can develop further as a rider within the team.” - Nils Politt

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The team sent me this update:

Tour de Savoie: AUG 5-8

Bennie Lambregts - Team Sunweb coach
"We are all super motivated to go for some strong results at our season restart debut at the Tour de Savoie. For us to be able to do that we need to be proactive as a team and always make sure we are in the dangerous moves. We also want to support Leon as well as Nils, who was ninth here last year, to a good GC result at the end of the race. This will be our first race since our team camp, where we did some specific training at altitude in Kühtai, so we're hoping to see the benefits of that out on the road and in the mountains of the Tour de Savoie."

Leo Hayter (GBR)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Nils Sinschek (NED)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)

Tour de Pologne: AUG 5-9

Luke Roberts - Team Sunweb coach:
"This year's Tour de Pologne will be slightly shortened, down to five days of racing instead of seven. Three of the stages look like opportunities for the sprinters whereas the other two stages are more difficult and will shape the overall GC. We've just finished a successful team camp at the Vaya Hotel in Kühtai, and the guys are in great shape and really keen to start racing again. Alberto will take aim at the sprints, and he will have a very strong group to help set him up with Casper, Florian and Nils. For the overall classification Wilco will lead the team, backed up by Jai and Chris who finished second and eighth respectively in last year's edition of the race."

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman will be riding the Tour of Poland. Sirotti photo

Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Wilco Kelderman (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Florian Stork (GER)

Czech Tour: AUG 6-9

Michiel Elijzen - Team Sunweb coach
"For the Czech Tour we want to focus on day results; with a TTT, a sprint stage and two harder stages we have a balanced team to go for results on every day of racing. The second stage should end in a sprint and we'll work to set up Max for the finish on that day, while the last two stages are suited to a breakaway or a finale with a select group of riders coming to the line together. We have had some good weeks training at altitude together in Kühtai so everyone is excited to get back racing and should be at a good level."

Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nico Denz (GER)
Felix Gall (AUT)
Chad Haga (USA)
Max Kanter (GER)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Michael Storer (AUS)

Tour de l'Ain: AUG 6-9

Matt Winston - Team Sunweb coach
"We're really looking forward to getting back racing; it's the first race back for all the guys on the squad since the break and Thymen also makes his debut for us. We have a nice balanced team with young guys, going to the race focusing on the hilly stages, where we will look towards day results. We have options to play and there are a couple of interesting stages where we can make a nice plan and look to bring riders into the finish. We also want to support Sam, as well as giving our young GC talents the opportunity to go for those stage victories."

Thymen Arensman (NED)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Robert Power (AUS)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)

Milano-Sanremo: AUG 8

Marc Reef - Team Sunweb coach
"Milano-Sanremo will have a different character now the Turchino, coastline and Capi are no longer on the parcours. We will have to see what kind of influence it will have on the day, but normally the race will be decided on the Cipressa and Poggio. Teams arriving with only six riders could make the race more open and we need to be ready to cover dangerous moves at any moment. We have a strong line-up with Michael as our leader who will do his first race since the season pause, and together with Tiesj and Søren we are ready for all possible scenarios."

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Cees Bol (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)

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