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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 21, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

One thing a person cannot do, no matter how rigorous his analysis or heroic his imagination, it to draw up a list of things that would never occur to him. - Thomas Schelling

Current racing:

Important upcoming racing, according to the UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Mitchelton-SCOTT names team of stage hunters for Tour de France

The team sent me this release:

Mitchelton-SCOTT has selected its strongest team of opportunists for the 2020 Tour de France, which starts next Saturday, 29 August in Nice.

The selection comes after the team identified stage wins as its primary objective for the first Grand Tour of the season following its successful four-stage haul in 2019.

Daryl Impey

Daryl Impey will be making his 8th appearance in the Tour de Frace this year. Here is shown winning stage 9 of the 2019 TDF. Sirotti photo

Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Tour de France (29 Aug – 20 Sep):
Jack Bauer (NZL, 35, 5th appearance)
Sam Bewley (NZL, 33, 1st appearance)
Esteban Chaves (COL, 30, 2nd appearance)
Daryl Impey (RSA, 35, 8th appearance)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 31, 3rd appearance)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 32, 1st appearance)
Mikel Nieve (SPA, 36, 6th appearance)
Adam Yates (GBR, 28, 5th appearance)

2019 Tour de France stage winner Daryl Impey returns for his eighth appearance and is joined by Slovenian debutant Luka Mezgec as options for the opportunistic days.

Grand Tour stage winners Esteban Chaves (3 x Giro d’Italia, 2 x Vuelta a España) and Mikel Nieve (3 x Giro d’Italia, 1 x Vuelta a España) look for their first victories at the French three-week race, whilst Briton Adam Yates, winner of the best young rider jersey in 2016, provides a third winning option in the mountains as he approaches his first Grand Tour in several years without general classification ambitions.

Rounding out the eight-man squad in crucial support roles is Denmark’s Chris Juul-Jensen and New Zealand’s Jack Bauer and Sam Bewley, who will also make his Tour de France debut.

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“This year has not been a normal one by any stretch of the imagination but the team is focused and ready for the challenge.

“We are very happy with the mix of experience and talent we have available for this year's race. This is a very complete group across all terrains.

“Last year was an incredible race for the team and we will continue in the same vein of targeting stage wins throughout.

“One thing for sure is we won't be leaving France without giving our all and making our fans and sponsors proud of the way we take on the world."

Daryl Impey:
“A stage win for the team would definitely make it successful and I would love to be the one who does it, personally that would be great. Last year was hugely successful and will be difficult to repeat, but we will certainly be going all out to achieve that.

“Being a stage winner does bring a certain calmness for me. I was always hunting this and was sometimes over excited which ruined my chances. I can certainly think more clearly now without having to think ‘what if this is my only chance’. Having won at that level and from a break of many specialists on that day gives me confidence in the sense that I know I can do it.”

Esteban Chaves:
“Going back to the Tour de France is really special. I am going back to respect it because my last and unique experience wasn’t that great, but I feel that this year is the right time to go back and try my best again.

“I want to be part of the race and to play an important role for the team. This will not be like last time when I just survived to the finish, I want to be at the front and be an important part of the race.

“I’m happy with my performances so far this year, the first two races gave me confidence and showed me that the work we did during lockdown worked well. After Poland, I have been at altitude in Andorra and we also took some days to look at stages eight and nine. The aim has been to maintain the form we had and to add some small things I was missing, but nothing crazy.”

Team Sunweb reports on the third stage of the Tour du Limousin

We posted the report from winner Jasper Philipsen's UAE-Team Emirates with the results.

Here's what Team Sunweb had to say about the stage:

Stage 3 of the Tour du Limousin – Nouvelle Aquitaine saw the riders head north on a 178 kilometre route from Usaac to Chamberet.

Shortly after the flag dropped, a group of five formed including Team Sunweb’s Martin Salmon, and swiftly built a substantial gap back to the peloton. Five would soon become four as best placed rider Delaplace dropped back to the peloton after taking six bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints moving him further up the general classification.

In spite of the heat, the four-man group worked well together throughout the day and contested the points over the first three climbs. A combative display from Salmon saw him take maximum points and move into the lead of the king of the mountain’s classification.

However, his productive adventure in the breakaway came to an abrupt end as he crashed on the descent leading into the final climb of the day, the Côte de la Trassoudaine. Thankfully, he got back on his bike okay and returned to the peloton.

The blistering pace being set on the front of the bunch meant his breakaway companions would suffer the same fate and were all brought back with less than 20 kilometres to go. The tempo set up a flurry of stinging attacks which reduced the front group to 25 riders going into the final few kilometres. Michael Storer was active at the front, following almost every single attack but unfortunately none of the moves got a big enough advantage to fight for stage honours. The day was eventually contested in a bunch sprint finish with Philipsen taking the win and Asbjørn Kragh Andersen securing a solid ninth place for the team.

Jasper Philipsen

Jasper Philipsen wins the third stage of the Tour du Limousin. Zoé Soullard photo

“It was an interesting stage today, with a quite a few chances for mountain points,” explained Salmon after the finish. “We didn’t initially intend to go for it, but being in the break, the opportunity was too good. I put all my focus in the sprints, which worked out nicely but later paid the price, with fatigue in the final. I made a mistake through one of the corners in the descent and thought to have lost all the hard work of today. However, I fortunately was rewarded at the finish line and was positively elated to stand on a podium again”

Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert added: “Again it was another tough stage. Martin did a really good job in the breakaway and he collected a lot of points on the climbs to take the KOM jersey. It’s a nice reward after a hard and hot day in the saddle. In the final at a certain moment the race really opened up and it was full gas up the last climb and towards the finish. Like yesterday, Michael was really attacking and strong in the finale and Asbjørn who could sprint to a nice top ten place. We had hoped for more but we’ll see what tomorrow will bring.”

Wout van Aert prolongs national time trial title

Van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team sent me this:

Wout van Aert has prolonged his Belgian national time trial title in Koksijde. In the 41.6 kilometre long time trial, the winner of Milan-Sanremo clocked a time of just over fifty minutes. He was 30 seconds faster than Victor Campenaerts and over a minute faster than Frederik Frison.

For Van Aert, it is his fourth victory of the season after his successes in Strade Bianche, the Primavera and the first stage in the Criterium du Dauphiné. Van Aert’s national title is Team Jumbo-Visma’s fourteenth victory in 2020.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert wins the 2020 Strade Bianche earlier this year. Sirotti photo

Van Aert started fast in Koksijde and systematically expanded his lead every lap. “A national title is always something very special”, he said. “This is a very nice title. I am really proud of this. It was far from easy. It was a power course and much more technical than I expected. It had some tricky corners. You constantly had to be careful and stay focused. And certainly also ride the ideal line. The plan was to have some power left in the last lap, but to be honest, I mainly did it on determination. Luckily, I had already taken a good lead after my fast start. I knew exactly what I was doing. If you then hear from the team car and also from people on the side of the road that you are in the lead, it certainly gives you extra morale.”

Van Aert will now focus on the Tour de France. “Above all, I hope to be able to show my Belgian tricolore in more than one race”, he referred to his crash one year ago. “The goal for me in the Tour remains the same: to help the team leaders. But if the opportunity arises in one of the stages, I will definitely try to win again.”

Gradek and Černý crowned Polish and Czech National Time Trial Champions

CCC team sent me this:

20 August 2020: Kamil Gradek and Josef Černý secured CCC Team’s first victories of the season today after winning the titles at their respective national time trial championships.

Gradek, who took the silver medal at the Polish Time Trial Championships in 2019, went one better this year, powering around the 44-kilometer course to step onto the top of the podium ahead of the defending champion Maciej Bodnar (BORA - hansgrohe).

Łukasz Wiśniowski rounded out the podium positions in Poland, securing third place around one minute behind his CCC Team teammate.

Meanwhile, Černý reclaimed the jersey he won in 2018 after showing his time trialing prowess out on the 40-kilometer course at the Czech Championships to secure the 2020 title, ten seconds ahead of last year’s winner Jan Bárta (Elkov - Kasper).

Quotes From the Top of the Podium:

Kamil Gradek: “Winning this race and taking the jersey was a big personal goal of mine for this year and I am so happy to have been able to reach it. I knew it would be a nice opportunity for me to try to go for the title and I felt good so I am really pleased with the result and also to finish ahead of Bodnar, who is always a favorite, for the first time. It was a new course and it was definitely a fast one which allowed me to show my power and my average speed was 52km/hr.”

“I felt good coming into the race and I felt like I could win today. It’s always easy to say that, but over the last month, I have really been preparing for this race. I had some good training kilometers and some good racing from Burgos and Tour de Pologne in my legs so I was positive and I am thankful that I was able to finish it off. I want to thank the team for helping me to prepare for this race and to get the win for the team is a nice feeling too.”

Josef Černy: “I am really happy to be the Czech time trial champion again. After Tour de Wallonie, it was a long trip to get here and I was only about to arrive just not too long before the start. It was a different course so I just did a quick recon lap and then warmed up on the rollers and then it was time to race. Without the team and having someone in your radio, it can be difficult to know how you are really going and at first, I felt quite stiff after racing really hard in Wallonie. But then on the second lap, I started to get into more of a rhythm and increased my speed. We didn’t have any time checks and it was only a difference of ten seconds in the end between first and second but it was a really fast race and my average pace was 51km/hr. It will be nice to wear the skinsuit again so I’m looking forward to doing my next time trial in the Czech colors. Now, I’ll have the road race on Saturday. I think it’s going to be a tough race so we’ll see what I can do there.”

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