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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 27, 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

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. – Ernest Hemingway

Current racing:

Important upcoming racing, according to the UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Giacomo Nizzolo wins European Road Championship

Here's the report from Nizzolo's NTT Pro Cycling team:

Giacomo Nizzolo, racing for the Italian national team, sprinted to victory at the European Road Race Championships, taking the win ahead of Arnaud Demare (France) and Pascal Ackermann (Germany).

After winning the Italian national title on Sunday, Giacomo Nizzolo backed that championship winning ride up with another today, by winning the European road race title.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo (shown winning a stage in this year's Paris-Nice) is the European road champion.

The Italian team started the 177km circuit race in Plouay, France with a clear plan to deliver Nizzolo to the line, a plan which they were able to execute to perfection.

Nizzolo jumped out from behind his final leadout man, Davide Ballerini (who finished 2nd to Nizzolo in the nationals on Sunday), in the final 150m of the race to edge out Arnaud Demare for the win.

The Italian sprinter is set to lead our NTT Pro Cycling lineup at the Tour de France, starting this Saturday in Nice, and will do so proudly in the European Continental Champions jersey.

Mitchelton-SCOTT armed with options for La Course

The team sent me this update:

Mitchelton-SCOTT will line-up in Nice armed with attacking options and fast finishers as they take on La Course by Le Tour de France.

Australians Grace Brown, Sarah Roy, Jess Allen and Gracie Elvin all continue their post-lockdown racing comeback after the GP Plouay, with neo-pro Jess Roberts set to race in team colours for the first time since March.

Gracie Elvin

Gacie Elvin will be on the start line to ride La Course.

Two-time winner Annemiek van Vleuten will also be back in action after racing the European championships on Thursday.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Jess Allen (AUS, 27)
Grace Brown (AUS,28)
Gracie Elvin (AUS, 31)
Jess Roberts (GBR, 21)
Sarah Roy (AUS, 34)
Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 37)

The Course
The 96km race will take place over two laps around Nice, with each loop featuring the Cote de Rimiez. The climb isn’t particularly punishing at 5.8km in length and an average gradient of 5.1%, with the sprinters tipped to get over the ascent for an expected bunch sprint.

The team have twice won the race with Van Vleuten, firstly as a two-day stage race in 2017 and then in a one-day format in 2018. The world champion took both stages in 2017, before racing to a famous victory one year later when she overhauled rival Anna van der Breggen in sight of the finish line.

Grace Brown:
"Plouay was a positive first race back for me. It’s always a shock to the senses coming back to racing after such a long period away, but I felt in good form for the intensity. This gives me confidence ahead of La Course.

"The circuit for La Course has been talked up as a sprinters race, but it’s dynamic enough to play out differently. I expect there will be a few teams that want to make it aggressive on the climb.

"I think the race has the potential to go either way and we will be lining up with a strong team that will be competitive in either scenario."

Sarah Roy:
"It felt good to be back in the peloton at Plouay, we had pretty grim weather conditions, but it wasn’t an issue and we felt pretty comfortable in the bunch. I would have liked for my legs to feel a bit better but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

"I think I will be good for La Course with some extra recovery. The course is two laps with one long climb per lap but only about 4% or 5% and it’s about 30km from the last top to the finish so I think there’s a very big chance of a bunch sprint.

"It's possible for it to be raced very hard, which might see a few pure sprinters struggle to stay in the race, but honestly, I think just about everyone is in great form and very hungry so it’s hard to predict. No matter what it will be exciting to watch!"

Alejandro Gonzales (Sports Director):
"The girls have confirmed that they are in good form, Roy and Grace Brown showed that they are in good form after a long time out. Annemiek has shown already that she is in good form and the course is better for her than in Plouay.

"So, I think we are ready for it, we expect a more aggressive race and a bit of a harder course. But it’s also kind of an open course in other ways, so we will go there with several options, not just one option.

"It’s likely to be a sprint, but it all depends on how the race is raced. I think we will try with some riders to avoid a sprint finish, but we have options for both."

La Course by Le Tour de France – Race Details
Saturday, 29th August: Nice – Nice, 96km

INEOS Grenadiers launch ahead of Tour de France

The team sent me this release:

Team INEOS has today officially switched to being the INEOS Grenadiers at a launch event in Nice, ahead of the start of the Tour de France this weekend.

The team’s four Grand Tour winning champions, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz, unveiled the new team kit from Castelli and newly branded Pinarello DOGMA F12 at the Allianz Riviera, alongside two prototypes of the Grenadier vehicle which gives the team its new name. The Grenadier is the rugged 4x4 utility vehicle engineered and manufactured by INEOS Automotive, designed on purpose to be a highly capable, go-anywhere, hard-working vehicle.

The riders were introduced by Gabby Logan alongside other famous faces from the wider INEOS Sport family including Sir Ben Ainslie, Patrick Vieira, Valtteri Bottas and Eliud Kipchoge. 

INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “The INEOS Grenadiers is a new name but one that sums up who we have always been. It is a new partnership but one that epitomises our existing team values - ambition, grit, determination, resourcefulness, tenacity and passion.

“This is a deepening of our relationship with INEOS and a brilliant example of how being a part of the INEOS group presents so many opportunities for us to be greater together.

“Just like the Grenadier, we are a team built on purpose. We know what we need to do and have the right team to get the job done. We are here with a clear ambition and are going all in to make it happen.”

Chris Froome, 4-time Tour de France winner, 2-time Vuelta a Espana winner and Giro d’Italia winner said: “It is fantastic to see a partnership which feels such a natural fit with a shared vision and outlook. Cycling is all about grit and resilience and I’ve learnt that more than ever over the last year. I can’t wait to lead the INEOS Grenadiers in Spain later this year.”

Geraint Thomas, 2018 Tour de France winner, said: “I still remember being at the original team launch in London in 2010, so to be here a decade later, at the start of a new era for the team, is really special. I am looking forward to racing in the new INEOS Grenadiers colours at the Giro d’Italia and trying to secure another Grand Tour title for the team.”

Egan Bernal, the reigning Tour de France champion, said: “It is special to be riding the Tour de France as the INEOS Grenadiers for the first time. As the reigning champion, it will be different for me this year but I am really excited to be putting the number one on my jersey. We have a really strong team with a good combination of young riders and riders who have a lot of experience, and that is a really important thing for the Tour de France. We all have the same motivation and are ready to give it our all and go full gas.”

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal (shown just after winning the 2019 Tour de France) would probably be happiest in this jersey. Sirotti photo.

Richard Carapaz, the 2019 Giro d’Italia winner said: “It’s emotional for me to be at the start of this Grand Tour. It’s going to be a great experience and I’m also so proud to be the first Ecuadorian to participate in the Tour de France.  Last year's win at the Giro d’Italia was very special for me personally but it was also special for my country. Cycling has never been popular in Ecuador and now this has all changed.”

As part of the Grenadier’s ‘testing in plain sight’ program, the prototype has been brought to the Tour de France to launch the partnership with the INEOS Grenadiers and will now follow the team around the world as it completes the rigorous testing and development phase that needs to accumulate 1.8 million kilometres on and off-road over the coming year.

Mark Tennant, Commercial Director of INEOS Automotive said: “We’re delighted to announce this partnership, just like the Grenadier, the team is built on purpose. They know exactly what to do and have the right team to get the job done. We’re very proud to see Egan, Chris, Geraint, Richard and all the INEOS Grenadiers in the colours of Grenadier and wish them all the best in the upcoming races.”

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