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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 6, 2020

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it. - Mae West

Current racing:

Important upcoming racing, according to the UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Fabio Jakobsen update from his Deceuninck-Quick Step team

Our rider was involved in a crash that took place inside the final meters of the Tour de Pologne’s opening stage.

Tour of Poland crash

Here'is the horrific crash that happened at the end of stage one.

Fabio Jakobsen’s situation is serious but at the moment he is stable. Diagnostic test didn’t reveal brain or spinal injury, but because of the gravity of his multiple injuries he is still kept in a comatose condition and has to remain closely monitored in the following days at the Wojewódzki Szpital in Katowice.

Further information will be made available in the course of the coming hours. Meanwhile, we would like to thank you for your heartwarming support.

Update 2

Fabio had facial surgery during the night. His situation is stable at the moment and later today the doctors will try to wake Fabio up.

More information will be published when available.

Again, we want to thank you all for the huge support!

Statement from Jumbo-Visma on the Tour of Poland Stage One crash

Groenewegen and Plugge about the heavy crash in Tour of Poland

Dylan Groenewegen and managing director Richard Plugge react on the heavy crash in the Tour of Poland.

Dylan Groenewegen: “I find it terrible what happened yesterday. I can’t find the words to describe how sorry I am for Fabio and the others who crashed or were involved. What matters most now is Fabio’s health. I think about him all the time.”

Richard Plugge: “Merijn Zeeman and I visited Dylan briefly this afternoon in the hospital, where he had surgery on a broken collarbone. We let him tell his story briefly. Dylan feels terrible about what happened. He was deeply affected by it. Also for him the recovery of Fabio and the others who were injured in this terrible crash is all that counts now. Soon we will discuss the incident in detail with him. Our thoughts are with the victims and we hope with all our heart for a good recovery.”

Milano-Torino team reports

Winner Arnaud Demare's Groupama-FDJ team posted this report:

It is done! The Groupama-FDJ cycling team got its first victory in this second part of the 2020 season. It is also the first one for Arnaud Démare this year, after having come so close on several occasions. On Wednesday, in Milan-Turin, the Frenchman could take the win after a strong final sprint that followed a perfect teamwork in the last kilometers. Two years after Thibaut Pinot, Arnaud Démare puts the team back at the top of the Italian Classic. A very good sign indeed,a few days prior to Milano-Sanremo.

Arnaud Demare

Arnaud Demare wins Milano-Torino.

Because of a redesigned course, more suited to the sprinters than the climbers, a simple scenario was anticipated on the 101st edition of Milano-Torino on Wednesday. It was then a six-man breakaway that took the lead very early, including Gijs van Hoecke (CCC), Davide Villella (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Andrea Garioso and Samuele Rivi (Vini Zabu-KTM), while the peloton decided to control through the numerous sprinters’ teams. Among them, Groupama-FDJ, with a brand new rider: Clément Davy, “lent” by the Conti. “We absolutely wanted a sprint finish so we made Clément pull behind the breakaway,” explained Frédéric Guesdon. “It was his first race back, it was not easy for him, especially since he was asked to work almost from the start. But there is nothing to complain about! He rode with good teams and good riders, and they weren’t joking around there, as there were good riders in the break. He held up until kilometer 180. It was great, a good job!”

After the young Frenchman, Arnaud Démare’s lead-out train appeared fifteen kilometers from the finish, first in the wake of Kevin Geniets and Ignatas Konovalovas. Well positioned at the front, they avoided the crash that split the peloton with seven kilometers to go. “We worked well on this final beforehand,” said Frédéric. “We avoided the crash and then everything went as we hoped”. In the last two kilometers, Miles Scotson brought up Ramon Sinkeldam, Jacopo Guarnieri and Arnaud Démare in the lead. And they never left this position. “Miles is fitting very well in this group,” noted Frédéric. “This was already the case last year, but he had another role. Being a strong time trialist, when he’s in good shape, he’s able to make that kind of effort in the final.” Ramon then took over from Miles, and then Jacopo did his part before Arnaud concluded it all in style. “It’s easier to do what you want to do when the group is in good shape,” Frédéric added. “The field was strong today, there were great riders, but like in Burgos, they showed that they are ready.”

About these last moments, a very happy race winner said: “It went exactly as we planned! We did what we said at the briefing. The final was quite hectic with a lot of roundabouts but we managed to stay together and to show up at the right time, as we wanted. In the home stretch, Jacopo is leading me out but Sagan launches quite early, about 250 meters to go. I react very quickly and I’m aggressive enough not to let myself be blocked by Caleb Ewan and to be able to sprint. I’m super happy, it’s great. The whole team is doing very well. This is also what I want to underline. Personally, I also have great feelings at the moment and the guys know that.” Trapped a couple times in the Vuelta a Burgos, Arnaud Démare did not fail to make a point on the first ‘’clean’’ sprint since the season restart. “We knew we had the legs but it was important to show that we could win, not just take second places,” he added. “It’s good to have the condition but the most important is to raise your arms.“

Now, it is done, just three days before his big August’s appointment that is the “Primavera”. “Winning today is really perfect, also to gain confidence before Milan-Sanremo,” said the Frenchman. “It is a good sign. This is reassuring and it confirms our very high ambitions for this weekend. We’re going to go there like the previous years, with a lot of motivation, but I feel that we have made a step forward this year”. And his sports director concluded: “We have been looking for this victory for a while so we can only be happy. We are always afraid that the wheel of fortune doesn’t turn at the right time. We needed it. It’s always good to come to Milano-Sanremo with a win and knowing that everyone is in good shape. We know that this race suits Arnaud and we can hope for very nice things on Saturday”.

Here's Mitchelton-Scott's Milano-Torino post:

Kiwi Dion Smith sprinted to ninth place in a messy finale at Milano-Torino as a crash ended Australian Alex Edmondson’s chances.

Smith was left to take on the sprint following a crash that split the peloton apart inside the final 10kilometres, salvaging the day for Mitchelton-SCOTT with a solid top-10 finish in his second race back.

Routine Start
Six riders formed a breakaway in the early stages of race, with the sprint teams happy to see a small group go clear. With a largely flat course and a day destined for a sprint finish, the escapees stood little chance of staying away until the finish.

The gap went out to a maximum of 7’10” before the peloton pegged them back to a more manageable 3’20” at the halfway point. The sprint teams then took control and gradually chipped away at the gap for most of the day.

It looked set for a routine sprint finish with just one man left to haul back, but with seven-kilometres to go a crash in the middle of the bunch split the field. Edmondson was caught in melee along with Rob Stannard, and while they were quickly back on their feet, the pair were ruled out of the final sprint.

Messy Sprint
Smith managed to avoid the crash and made it into the front split with Italian teammate Alexander Konychev as the sprint focus turned to the New Zealander in the absence of Edmondson.

Several teams battled to gain control of the reduced bunch while Smith and Konychev surfed the wheels behind. As the sprint opened up Smith timed a late run to the line, sneaking into the top-10 behind a host of top sprinters and winner Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ).

Dion Smith:
“Unfortunately, Edmo and Rob crashed and just as we all got together to get ready to put Edmo in position. Alba, Kony and myself managed to avoid it somehow and only Kony and I were able to re-join the front.

“From there we both just surfed behind the lead outs as there wasn’t much else we could do. I just hung back a bit without getting involved in the carnage and just sprinted down the left where there was plenty of space and managed to pass a few guys and snuck a top 10.

"Obviously, the teams ambitions were to get a podium with Edmo so it’s unfortunate, but I’m happy that I could salvage something for the team."

Gene Bates (Sports Director):
"It was just one of those things, it happens in sprint finishes like that, there’s a bit of nervousness. The traffic island in the middle of the road certainly didn’t help, and ultimately the guys just fell because of that.

"Hats off to Dion and Konychev, they got through the crash and changed the strategy really quickly, they were both supposed to be lead out men for Edmondson, so they really had to change their tack and think about sprinting themselves."

Stan Dewulf and Gijs Van Hoecke sign with Ag2r La Mondiale for two years

Here's the team's news:

5 August 2020: Belgians Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal), 22, and Gijs Van Hoecke (Team CCC), 28, have signed up for two years beginning on January 1, 2021, with the AG2R LA MONDIALE team which will become AG2R CITROËN TEAM on that date.

Stan Dewulf

Stan Dewulf riding as a junior in 2015 at the World Championships. Sirotti photo

STAN DEWULF : “A new stage in my career”
“After five years with Lotto Soudal, I am ready to start a new stage in my career! I still have to improve my French, but I am very enthusiastic! I quickly got hooked by the team’s project and know I still have a lot to learn about the classics. I think my temperament is similar to Oliver’s. I’m here to do the best I can but keep my feet on the ground. I won Paris-Roubaix in the U23 category and that is the race that continues to make me dream. I really want to shine there. You either worship the race, or you hate it. I fall into the first category.”

Born 20/12/1997, 22 years old
Professional since 2019
Winner Paris-Roubaix U23 (2018), 2nd at the Tour de Bretagne (2018); 6th Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 (2018)

" Stan is one of the greatest Belgian hopes for the classics and signing him will further strengthen our ambitions in this area. He won Paris-Roubaix U23 in 2018, which proves his skills."

GIJS VAN HOECKE : “A team with a great and long history”
“I know Oliver very well; we were almost neighbors at one time. We raced together as juniors but also at Topsport. I am very happy to join him and his brother Lawrence and bring my experience in the classics. AG2R LA MONDIALE is a team with a great and long history. And the arrival of a sponsor like Citroën next year is great news. I live on the Ronde Van Vlaanderen course, so that is the race that makes me dream. I don’t think I could win it, but I would do anything to help one of the leaders win.”

Born 12/11/1991, 28 years old
Professional since 2012
6th Tour de Slovaquie (2019) ; 18th BinckBank Tour (2018)

"Oliver Naesen wanted a rider to protect him in strategic moments in the classics. Gijs is a perfect example of a rider who excels at that sort of job, and he is willing to give everything to protect his leader. He will be a hugely valuable teammate."

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