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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, September 26, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

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World Road Championships news:

We posted the UCI's report with the results.

Time trial Gold Medalist Filippo Ganna's INEOS Grenadiers team posted this:

Filippo Ganna put in a dominant performance to storm to gold in the men's time trial at the World Championships.

Filippo Ganna

Filippo Ganna enjoys the moment. Sirotti photo

Ganna won the 31.7km TT for Italy by 26 seconds in windy conditions from Wout van Aert (Belgium) and 29 seconds from third-placed Stefan Küng (Switzerland) in a superb display on home soil.

There were also strong rides from Geraint Thomas who finished fourth (+37") and Rohan Dennis (+39") as the INEOS Grenadiers had three riders in the top five.

Thomas was the early pacesetter and sat in the hotseat with his time of 36:31.12 which was nearly a minute faster than the previous best.

However, Ganna looked the most likely to dethrone the Welsh rider as he powered though the intermediate time check fastest on course, with Dennis second.

Thomas looked to have secured a podium place, but Küng and then Van Aert narrowly bested his time to see him finish fourth, before Ganna stormed to the line and secured the world TT title.

Filippo Ganna:
"It's a dream for me, I'm really happy. At the finish I had really good support in the car and I’d like to thank the whole team of Italy and INEOS Grenadiers.

Geraint Thomas:
"It was tough, headwind out and tailwind back so you had to commit on the way out. I'm pretty happy with how it went, I think it looks good for the month ahead at the Giro.

"It's the first one I've ever done, it's the first time I've felt good for the Worlds as normally I'm empty for the end of the season. It was good to be in the mix, I'd have loved to have won a medal but that's the way it goes."

"The legs seem pretty good which is good as the TTs are important in the Giro."

Here's the report from time trial silver medalist Wout Van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert finished second in the world time trial championship in Imola, Italy. The Belgian of Team Jumbo-Visma fell short more than twenty-six seconds to the new world champion Filippo Ganna.

The 26-year-old Van Aert rode a strong second part of the time trial and was steadily catching up with the later world champion, but the rainbow jersey remained out of reach. Tom Dumoulin finished in tenth place, while Jos van Emden was 21st.

Van Aert hoped for the gold medal, but he had to settle for the silver one. “I started well and had a good rhythm, but just before the end of the first part it started to become a bit more difficult. We had head wind, so I couldn’t keep my rhythm. In the second part my legs turned better again. In the end I just did a really good time trial here, but Ganna was too strong.”

Dumoulin did not have a good feeling in his legs during the time trial. “I feel like I was riding a bad time trial. I soon realised that it was not going to be for me today. I fought until I reached the finish, but to no avail. At the end I almost missed a corner, but luckily I stayed on my bike. This is not the result I was hoping for.”

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin was hoping for better than 10th place. Sirotti photo

Both Van Aert and Dumoulin will start on Sunday as the leader of their respective country during the world championship road race.

NTT Pro Cycling sent me this:

IMOLA, Italy, September 25, 2020: NTT Pro Cycling will have no less than seven of its riders compete at the 2020 World Championships in Imola, Italy, starting on Friday 25 September.

On Friday, our contingent in the men’s individual time trial will be headlined by specialist in the event, Victor Campenaerts. The 28-year-old Belgian won the bronze medal in 2018 and will naturally be looking at higher honours in 2020. He will will face very stiff competition from the likes of Rohan Dennis, Filippo Ganna, Tom Dumoulin, Stefan Kung, Geraint Thomas as well as compatriot Wout van Aert, among others.

Campenaerts will be joined by Germany’s Max Walscheid who recently completed his debut Tour de France. The 26-year-old will also compete in Sunday’s road race.

The road race is just under 260km including around 5000m of elevation gain and is set to be a serious test for the field. Mads Pedersen (Denmark) won’t be on hand to defend his title but NTT Pro Cycling’s Michael Valgren will likely take a lead role in the Danish attempts to retain the jersey.

Nicholas Dlamini and Louis Meintjes will fly the flag for South Africa as it’s two entrants. The former continues to consolidate his racing season with his eye further down the road on a return to the Vuelta a Espana. Meanwhile for Meintjes it will be, rather surprisingly, his first senior World Championships appearance. In 2013 he finished second in the u23 race behind Matej Mohoric when the event was last in Italy and finished not far from this year’s edition in Firenze.

Also flying their country’s flag high will be Amanuel Ghebreighzabhier for Eritrea. He’ll line up alongside former teammates Natnael Berhane an Merhawi Kudus on a course that should suit the styles of all three.

Finally, the event promises to be an emotional one for 38-year-old Enrico Gasparotto. He will be proudly representing Switzerland in his first ever appearance at the World Championships and has been working hard in the build-up with his national team colleagues for the event.

Louis Meintjes

Louis Meintjes at the Coppi Bartali stage race a few years ago. Sirotti photo

Louis Meintjes:
I'm really looking forward to racing my first pro-elite World Championships. It’s always something special and something that I really want to do at least once in my life. This year looks like a good course so hopefully I can go there and have a good race.

I haven’t seen the course yet but in theory it should be good, lots of climbing! The goal for the day is to try and be happy with my ride as we’re not going there with a big team so odds are stacked a little bit against us but if I can finish the race and be in the front (group) then I’ll be really happy. My legs were pretty good in Tirreno so hopefully I feel the same and I just hope everything goes smoothly on the day.

Nicholas Dlamini:
Representing South Africa at the World Championships has always been a special thing (for me). This year’ World’s is a particularly hard and challenging course and given the funny season that we’ve had makes things slightly tricky.

Louis and myself just have to do our best and see what we can get out of the day. Just finishing the race is already an achievement with 5000m of climbing so I imagine not a lot of people are going to finish. I hope I’m wrong but the course is really tough and hopefully we can pull of a good result and do South Africa proud. There will be a lot of challenges we will have to face.

For myself, I plan to race it from the breakaway, go up the road. Whenever the strong guys from the peloton decide to go they can come across to us and perhaps by that time the bunch would have been reduced and we can get something out of that as opposed to just get dropped from the peloton. I think that there will be some guys coming out of the Tour de France flying so I basically want to race it from the front.

I think to finish the race and perhaps aiming for a top 20 as a goal then I think that I’d be really happy with that given the course as I do know it favours the light climbers.

Victor Campenaerts:
After Tirreno-Adriatico (where he finished second in the final stage time trial) I stayed on in Italy as where we finished is only 200km from Imola. I had a really good recovery after that race and I feel super, in good shape and the parcours (course) suits me really well.

So, I’m looking forward to rock and roll for 32km on Friday.

Max Walscheid:
I’m really happy that I got selected for my first World Championships. I was a late call-up on Sunday evening after the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees; Nikias Arndt, who was supposed to start, has to take a break and so I was next in line.

I don’t feel any pressure as it’s my first World Championships, I think that the parcours (course) suits me and I will just go as fast as possible. I don’t have any crazy expectations for the race but it would be amazing if I could be in the top-20; it’s a very high profile starting lineup so we’ll just try to do my best race possible.

I think I’ve come well out of the Tour de France but obviously it’s not long ago so let’s hope that I’ve recovered, my legs are feeling good and I’m looking forward to it.

Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier:
I am so very happy to be here to represent my country at the World Championships, together with my teammates. I didn’t do anything special in terms of preparations for World Championships but I’ve been performing quite well so I’m ready to give my all on Sunday.

I just want to thank everyone for the amazing support that we continue to receive and I hope to make you all proud in Imola.

Michael Valgren:
I’m super-proud to be representing the Danish national team as it’s always a huge honour to put on the red and white jersey and to go and fight for your country.

It was obviously a hard Tour de France but hopefully I’ve recovered well and I hopefully have some good legs (on Sunday). The expectation for race is that we have a strong team, I want to do well and hopefully I get a good feeling again after the Tour and with a view to the racing to come.

Enrico Gasparotto:
First of all I’m super-excited to ride the World Championships and as it’s my first time riding this event so for me it’s something very special. It will be even more special because I’m with the Swiss national team, at the World’s, in Italy, so I think the location can give added meaning (to me) for this particular event.

I’m really happy to ride for Switzerland as it’s where I live and my wife is also Swiss, so in a way I have the opportunity to give something back to Switzerland because at this point the country is giving me a lot.

I’m so excited and just trying to stay balanced and not be too over enthusiastic. Once the team gets together it will be emotional but I know that as soon as we get on the bike we are solely focused on the race. I really hope to travel home on Sunday very happy with my performance and why shouldn’t it include a result.

Deceuninck-Quick Step to ride Binckbank Tour

Here's the team's update:

Two overall wins, 18 stages and six secondary classifications – it’s safe to say that the BinckBank Tour has been a happy hunting ground for the Wolfpack since 2003. Taking place this year over just five days, the World Tour race will see once again a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team line-up at the start, ready to take on a mix of flat and hilly stages (including one finishing on the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen), spiced up by a 10.9km-long individual time trial in Vlissingen.

Having shown a very good condition at the Tour of Slovakia, which he finished in third overall, Shane Archbold will be back in action, as he gets to display his New Zealand National Champion jersey for the first time this season in a World Tour race on European soil. Victorious here in 2013 and points classification winner five years later, Zdenek Stybar will also be at the start and will give our team several cards to play, together with Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Stijn Steels, Tour of Slovakia champion Jannik Steimle, and Bert Van Lerberghe, who just last weekend came close to winning Gooikse Pijl.

Zdenek Stybar

Zdenek Stybar at the 2018 BinckBank Tour. Sirotti photo

“It’s the last stage race before the Classics for many of the guys and we are going there with a squad capable of getting in the mix and bringing a couple of good results. Some of our riders are coming to the start after showing a good form at the Tour of Slovakia, while others have done the Belgian Championships recently. We’ll try to do also a good general classification and we expect the Muur-Kapelmuur stage on the last day to be again decisive in the final outcome”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Wilfried Peeters.

INEOS Grenadiers confirm signing of Tom Pidcock, Richie Porte, Laurens de Plus and Dani Martinez to complete 2021 roster

The team sent me this news:

The INEOS Grenadiers have today confirmed the signings of Tom Pidcock, Richie Porte, Laurens de Plus and Dani Martinez. They join Adam Yates as new signings for the team for the next season.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte (shown winning stage 6 of the 2019 Tour Down Under) will be an INEOS rider in 2021. Sirotti photo.

INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “This season we have seen a change in both individual performance levels and the collective strength of teams. Riders are better prepared and teams more organised. The intensity of competition is increasing and it’s getting more difficult to win. We are relishing this challenge and focused on coming back stronger. The riders themselves are at the heart of any team and each one of our new signings forms a key part of the evolution of the Team.

“It’s clear Tom is one of the most exciting young riders in world cycling and part of a new era of incredible all-round talents. We’re witnessing a new trend in cycling, with an emergence of young riders who come from a broader, multi-disciplined background. Tom’s career so far really embodies that. He’s competed at the highest level across several disciplines, an incredible bike handler, a natural born bike racer, and a winner.

“Now he’s going to be an INEOS Grenadier and it’s invigorating for the whole team to be developing a talent like Tom.

"We are also particularly happy to add a rider of Lauren’s capability to our team. We admire his breadth of ability and we want to support him to develop and reach his full potential both individually and as part of our Team.

“Our mission is to bring together a squad capable of performing in the world’s most important races and believe Laurens will play a key role in that. He is single-minded, determined and willing to work hard to get to where he wants to go – everything we look for in an INEOS Grenadier.

“Richie’s richly-deserved podium at the Tour de France once again demonstrated that he’s one of the best riders in the peloton. He’s a world class climber, time triallist, and if you are building a team to be competitive against the world’s best then you’d want Richie Porte by your side.

"We already know how each other works, he knows how we race, and with the wealth of experience that Richie now has he has so much to offer the team. We really are extremely pleased to welcome him back!

“We’ve been monitoring Dani for many seasons as he has impressed us from an early age and after his recent performances, now everyone can see why we’re so excited.

“He rode a fantastic race at the Dauphine and he showed what he’s made of again with his gruelling stage win at the Tour. He is a tenacious, world-class climber who can also time trial and we want Dani to continue his success and be a key part of our future team."

Tom Pidcock, the 21 year old from Yorkshire who is fresh off his win at the 2020 Baby Giro and set to lead Team GB in the elite men’s road race this weekend in Italy said: “I am incredibly excited and proud to be signing for the INEOS Grenadiers. Like so many British cyclists of my generation, I have always aspired to race on the road with this team - to me, the best in the world.

“I just want to keep racing, learning and growing as a bike rider, and having the opportunity to do that in this team is amazing. I feel like I’m ready for the WorldTour but also excited to keep exploring multiple disciplines with the support of this team behind me.”

Pidcock’s contract with the INEOS Grenadiers will begin on 1 March 2021.

Richie Porte, who finished third at this year's Tour de France and will return to the team having spent four successful seasons as a Team Sky rider from 2012 to 2015, said: “I had four fantastic years and some of the happiest memories riding here. I weighed up the options this year and I’m very motivated to be able to finish my career at such a fantastic team.

“I’ve been privileged with the teams I’ve ridden with but the camaraderie in this team is just incredible. It’s a great atmosphere and it will be nice to come back and hit the ground running. There are still so many good people and friends in the team that I’ve worked with before.

“I’m motivated to be a part of more victories and to come back and race with some of the best guys in the world. I know what my role is – I know I can still win races on my day, but I see myself slotting in as a climbing domestique and it’s something I really look forward to.”

Laurens de Plus, the young Belgian climber who displayed talent and versatility last season with an overall victory at the BinckBank Tour and a stand-out performance in his Tour de France debut, said: “I am really happy to have this chance. In the peloton, everybody talks about this Team and the way they have taken cycling to a higher level. I want to be a part of that. It was not an easy decision, of course, but riding for this Team has been my dream for a long time.

“Last year’s Tour de France felt like a breakthrough for me and I just want to keep going on that trajectory. I am looking forward to learning from the best Grand Tour riders and developing over the next few years. There is a super strong group of young riders at the INEOS Grenadiers and I want to be part of that as this group develops and gets even better.”

Dani Martinez, fresh off an impressive Tour de France stage win and overall victory at the prestigious Criterium du Dauphine, said: “I have been making progress over the last few seasons and have been really lucky with the support I have had, but the opportunity to ride for the INEOS Grenadiers was too good an opportunity to not take. I believe this is the right time to try and take my career to the next level and I am hugely motivated to learn from the best in the world. 

“I obviously know Egan and a few of the other guys in the team too so it will be nice to continue to ride with some compatriots.”

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