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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 2, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read. - Francis Bacon

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Binckbank Tour stage three reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results

Here is the report from stage winner Mads Pedersen's Trek-Segafredo team:

With the victory, Pedersen takes over the race lead ahead with two stages remaining.

After a close second place in Stage one, Mads Pedersen powered to a decisive win in Stage 3.  The BinckBank Tour was forced to cancel Stage two under The Netherlands’ new COVID-19 restrictions, but the unexpected rest day did not hamper the young Dane. Pedersen picked up where he left off, this time going one better to cap the strong teamwork with a victory and the leader’s jersey.

Mads Pedersen

Mads Pedersen takes the third stage. Bettini photo

The stage started with weather typical for Belgium in October; wind and rain. Some riders would have looked out the team bus windows dreading another wet stage, but not Pedersen. Just over a year ago, he won the World Championships in much worse conditions. In fact, the bad weather seems to give the Dane a boost over his rivals.

Speaking after taking a hot shower, Pedersen said, “[With bad weather] It’s not that I like it, it’s rain and you will dry off again. It’s not that bad and it’s the same for the whole peloton. It’s ok – rain is something you can’t change; you have to accept it and that’s what I’m doing.”

With a confidence-boosting second place in Stage one in the back pocket, the whole Trek-Segafredo were ready to take command in the third stage.

“After the sprint on Tuesday I was feeling really good and hoped I could do another good sprint today. The team did a really impressive job, we took the control early and started to pull. Charlie [Quarterman] was pulling for a long, long time. We made the race today for us, we did it perfectly to make a good result for ourselves. When the whole team are working for me, I really feel even more up on the game to do a good result for the team.

Pedersen is always the first to heap praise on his teammates on a well-executed performance. After all, cycling is a team sport, but sadly only one rider can stand on the podium at the finish.

“Today without the other guys, this wouldn’t be possible: Koen [de Kort] is helping to bring back the break, Ryan [Mullen], Emils [Liepins] and Matteo [Moschetti] are doing great to put us in the best position with two kilometers to go. From there Alex [Kirsch] is doing a really great job. He has an excellent overview of the finals and knows exactly where to cruise around and where to go in and make sure I’m with him. The whole team did super, super good today.”

The BinckBank Tour is characterised by its tough racing and technical finishes, and today was exactly that. Fortunately, Pedersen had the expertise of Kirsch to guide him to the sprint. “It was a bit tricky final with the narrow roads, but it was super good for us today because in the end it was just me with Alex left with 2km to go, but on the small roads like this it’s easier to move around. For us it was perfect today and we have really good equipment, so we trust the tires and it’s even better in a tricky final.

"When Alex peeled off, I had to follow the other guys. Bora came to do a lead out for Ackermann, and I think there were still three guys. I wanted to go on the wheel of Ackermann but I saw Philipsen there, so I took his wheel instead. From there on, I didn’t want to open my sprint too early because it was a little bit uphill and I had a feeling there was a little bit of headwind too. I was waiting, waiting, waiting and hoped I had a big enough punch to pass the other guys. Normally I would like a long sprint, but this was a shorter one, so I hoped I had a good punch and, in the end, luckily it was enough.”

It was feared that tomorrow would be another cancelled stage in The Netherlands, but fortunately the race organizers were able to react quickly to arrange a replacement time trial for tomorrow, on Belgian soil.

"I would have liked to do the TT in my Santini skinsuit but it’s really nice to be the race leader tomorrow, then you can take advantage of the split times to see who is in front of you or the gaps behind. It’s really nice to have the time splits for the TT tomorrow and hopefully I can keep it after tomorrow and do a good last day."

Third-place Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

Due to new Corona measures in the Netherlands, today's third stage was unable to start in Philippine as originally planned, but rather began in the Belgian town of Aalter. This change of course forced the organisers to shorten the stage distance from 166.7 km to 145 km. The day ended with seven laps on a circuit around Aalter, before the peloton arrived at the finish.

A quintet was able to pull away right from the start, and the race situation remained largely unchanged during the first half of the race. After 80 km in the saddle, the field upped the pace and the advantage of the escapees reduced to slightly over a minute. BORA - hansgrohe, Team UAE Emirates and Trek-Segafredo shared the lead in the peloton and on the final lap, the breakaway's luck ran out.

The squad from Raubling then fought for position at the front for what was expected to be a bunch sprint. Pascal Ackermann launched his sprint first, but was beaten to the line by J. Philipsen and the eventual winner M. Pedersen. 

"We had tough weather conditions, with constant rain, and so it was not easy today. The team controlled the race well and caught the breakaway in time. The final was challenging because there were a few turns, and I tried to stay in front there. But I started my sprint a bit too early and Mads and Jasper were able to catch up and pass me just before the finish line. I had hoped to win today, but unfortunately it didn't quite work out.” - Pascal Ackermann

"Today we tried for the second time to take a stage win with Pascal. It was a wet and windy day, but the team of the GC leader kept the race under control. We joined in ahead of the finale to make sure the stage ended as a bunch sprint. The guys then did a perfect job to bring Pascal into a good position, but he was overtaken by the same riders as on the first day, Pedersen and Philipsen. He did manage to take a podium place, but it’s not the win that we had been hoping for." - Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Sports Director

No more classics for Philippe Gilbert in 2020

Gilbert's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this bad news:

Philippe Gilbert will not take the start of the third stage of the BinckBank Tour this Thursday, October 1st. Pain in his left knee, still due to his fall in the first stage of the Tour de France, forced him to retire. The priority now will be to heal completely. Participation in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is ​​no longer envisaged.

“I quickly got back on the bike after my crash on August 29,” explains Philippe Gilbert. "Maybe I started again too soon, but the rehab was going well, the motivation and morale were still there, and I really wanted to race. I resumed in the Tour du Luxembourg and then competed in two more one-day races, but I still felt pain. This pain became more prominent in the first stage of the BinckBank Tour. I then realized that I couldn't be at my best at the Tour of Flanders and at Paris-Roubaix. These races are even more demanding on the body, the body must be 200% ready."

Philippe Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert winning 2019 Paris-Roubaix. Sirotti photo

Philippe Gilbert therefore returned home to Monaco, where he will follow an intensive rehabilitation program under the supervision of the medical staff of Lotto Soudal.

“My first priority is to heal completely. I still have a lot of goals in cycling, for next season certainly, but very maybe for this season as well. Hopefully a Tour of Spain participation is still playable, but that’s not yet relevant. What matters now is a full recovery. "

“Philippe has of course all our support. We took this decision together yesterday. For us it is important that he recovers completely and that he comes back to one hundred percent. The objective now will be to race in 2021 with Phil’s well-known ambition for his classics”, concludes Lotto Soudal General Manager John Lelangue.

Anthony Jullien signs with Ag2r La Mondiale for two years

The team sent me this:

Anthony Jullien, 22, a rider from the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation, will wear the colors of the AG2R CITROEN TEAM for two seasons, starting on January 1, 2021. He has been a stagiaire with our team since August 1st.

 “This signature is a nice continuation after four years spent in Chambéry Cyclisme Formation. I will continue my personal project which was to make it to the pros. I’m very happy to have a place in the professional peloton. I hope this will only be the start of a great adventure. I want to continue to progress, to win races. I am drawn to the classics. “ - Anthony Jullien

ANTHONY JULLIEN IN BRIEF
Born 5 March 1998 in Givors
Lives in Doizieux
First club: Pelussin
Vice-champion of France in the U23 road race in 2019
5th at the Paris-Tours Espoirs in 2018

“We have been following Anthony for several seasons. His hiring is further proof of the quality of our training program. We have noticed his consistency and versatility. He should continue to make good progress wearing our colors.” - VINCENT LAVENU

THE NUMBER: 9

Nine riders have joined the AG2R CITROEN TEAM for the 2021 season. They are:

Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie, France), 1 year
Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal, Belgium), 2 years
Anthony Jullien (Chambéry Cyclisme Formation, France), 2 years
Bob Jungels (Deceuninck Quick Step, Luxembourg), 2 years
Marc Sarreau (Groupama FDJ, France), 2 years
Michaël Schär (CCC, Switzerland), 3 years
Damien Touzé (Cofidis, France), 2 years
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC, Belgium), 3 years
Gijs Van Hoecke (CCC, Belgium), 2 years

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