Friday, March 24, 2017

Tour Down Under, Stage 4: Keeping The Lead

BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis and Cadel Evans avoided injury in a crash in the finishing straight Friday to keep their places in the top two spots on the overall classification at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Neither rider went down in the pile-up that happened fewer than 300 meters from the finish of the 144.5-kilometer stage that was won by Australian national criterium champion Steele Von Hoff (UniSA-Australia). BMC Racing Team's Michael Schär, who was escorting Evans, said the downhill sprint made for a more dangerous situation.

"The speed was very, very fast in the peloton – I think we were going over 60 or 70 kilometers an hour," the past Swiss national road champion said. "Some guys just took too many risks and they went down. I was right behind Cadel and we were sprinting full gas and just hoping we wouldn't go down. Luckily, we stayed upright and everything was fine."

With two days of the race to go, Dennis leads Evans by seven seconds. Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) is third at nine seconds, while Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) finished runner-up to Von Hoff and earned a total of nine bonus seconds on the day to move from 10th to fourth, 13 seconds back.

Dennis said his first day in the ochre leader's jersey was a smooth one, thanks to the help of his five teammates.

"It was a hectic day, a bit stressful," he said. "But the team was great. They really rode well together and kept me out of trouble whenever it was stressful. They protected me perfectly."

Saturday's penultimate stage finishes atop Old Willunga Hill. The stage was pivotal in last year's race in which Evans lost the overall lead by a single second to eventual winner Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE) while Richie Porte (Team Sky) took the stage win. Porte sits in fifth overall, 15 seconds back of Dennis.

"Our goal is to get both Cadel and me on the podium as one and two," Dennis said. "There is no definite leader. What we want to do is strive to be one and two at the finish and try to pull off the team classification. The one thing in cycling is that you have to risk everything to win everything. It is risky, but it is definitely possible – with Cadel's form, with my form and with the team we have."

The BMC Racing Team remains the leader in the Virgin Australia team standings while Dennis also holds the lead in the Cycle Instead "young rider" competition.

Michael Rogers in top finish on final climb at Tour Down Under

Tinkoff-Saxo’s GC captain, Michael Rogers, was in the mix of GC contenders fighting for the win on stage 3 of Tour Down Under. With a steep, final 2-kilometer climb featuring percentages around 15 % on some sections, the favorites drew swords and battled it out up towards the finish line in Paracombe.

Michael Rogers finished 5th on the day and takes 7th overall in the same time as Richie Porte (Team Sky) in 4th. They are now 15 seconds down on race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC), who also took the stage win following a surprise attack on the last 200 meters of the stage. Upon his return to the Tinkoff-Saxo team hotel, Rogers commented:

“I’m very happy with how it went today. It was a new and untested climb. We hit the bottom after 140 kilometers in a hectic pace, I made sure to find my rhythm and I actually felt pretty good on the climb, which is definitely a nice way to start the season”, says Michael Rogers.

For the third day in a row, four riders made it into the main breakaway of the stage. The group had several minutes on the pack for the majority of the race, but as the favorites closed in on the final climb, so did they on the breakaway, which was caught with 8,7km to go. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Christopher Juul-Jensen, Oliver Zaugg and Jesper Hansen worked hard to position team captain Michael Rogers in the front of the field before the final steep kilometers.

Climb got the system online
The favorites and their lieutenants immediately set a ferocious speed on the climb in what seemed as an uphill lead-out. A small gap among the favorites was closed on the last 0,5km and that was where Rohan Dennis jumped from the front group and secured the stage win. According to Michael Rogers “today’s stage definitely got the system online”.

“Today was actually a bit of a shock really - at least for my body. It was the first stage of the season, where we went full gas on a climb. Normally, I prefer longer and steadier climbs but I felt good today, and I look forward to stage 5 to Willunga Hill, where the race will be decided”, explains Michael Rogers, who is glad to see his fellow teammates finding their race shape.

“The boys are getting better and better. I had a few race days before Tour Down Under at the nationals, but guys like Chris Juul, Zaugg, Jesper Hansen are really finding their race speed. I think we can create some good results together here at the second part of the race”.

Oliver Zaugg crosses the finish line after having provided valuable help leading up to the final climb 

Michael Rogers won Tour Down Under in 2002. Since then he has seen the race grow bigger each year with an increasing amount of enthusiastic spectators along the Australian roads.

“As a native Australian, it’s really encouraging to see this great race evolve. There are so many people at the side of the roads enjoying the summer and showing their support for cycling”, finishes Michael Rogers.

With tomorrow’s 145km stage from Glenelg to Mount Barker favoring the sprinters, the GC contenders will have to wait until Saturday for the queen stage to Willunga Hill.



Clarke Earns Most Competitive Rider Award

January 22th, 2015 (Adelaide, Australia) —Drapac Professional Cycling’s William Clarke delivered an instrumental attack in Stage 3 of Santos Tour Down Under, establishing a day long break to earn Most Competitive Rider. Rohan Dennis (BMC) took the stage victory with Cadel Evans (BMC) second and Tom Dumoulin (TGA) third.

Clarke launched at 3km and was joined by fellow Australian Calvin Watson (Trek Racing), Lasse Norman Hansen (Cannondale-Garmin) and Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale) at 9km.

“I wanted to go pretty early today. I felt good and we got rolling nicely as a group. I am pleased with today and I gave what I had. It was good to open the legs up a bit and go up the road and I am happy about getting the sprints,” Clarke said.

The quartet then built out a lead on the peloton that hovered around 3 minutes for the next 100km.

“All in all it was a good day today. I am pleased we were in the break and Will rode strong all day,” Tom Southam, Sports Director, said. “Will gave today exactly what we asked him to do and rode aggressively.”

Clarke, in his 5th appearance at Santos Tour Down Under, won the first and second iiNET Sprint (67km and 93km) ahead of Hansen and Domont. Domont then dropped off just before the final sprint of the day. Clarke took the third sprint with Hansen and Watson behind him. Not long after the sprint line, Hansen fell back and Watson followed soon after. Clarke rode solo for the next 10km before being swallowed up by a charging peloton.

Clarke is no stranger to the breakaway attack having won the 2012 Stage 2 of Tour Down Under in Stirling on an all-day breakaway.

Drapac’s highest place GC rider, Travis Meyer started the day in 31st and was positioned with the peloton as they tackled the final climb of the day.

“I felt good leading into the bottom of the final climb. I was perfectly positioned behind Sky and Greenedge but unfortunately didnt have the legs to follow the big guns,” Meyer said. Meyer finished the day at +2’32”.

Drapac’s Tim Rowe suffered a puncture with 5km to go and unfortunately lost valuable time, dropping his hopes for a high placing finish for the day.

“It was unlucky for Tim to puncture when he did. You can't stop it from happening but it's disappointing when it does. He was riding well today and it is just unfortunate,” Southam added.

Jordan Kerby was today’s top finisher for the team at  +1’59”.
Tomorrow’s 144km stage takes the peloton up Sellicks Hill before sprints are contested at Ashbourne and Macclesfield.

Results Snap Stage 3 Santos Tour Down Under

Classification Results 3 –
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC
56. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 01'59"
69. Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  02'32"
81. Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  03'14"
87. Martin Kohler (SUI) Drapac Professional Cycling 03'31"
114. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 07'37"
118. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 07'52"
131. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 11'35"

General Classification 3 –

1. DENNIS Rohan (AUS) BMC  10h17'06"
53. Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  10h19'48"
59. Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  10h20'30"
92. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  10h25'35"
106. Martin Kohler (Sui) Drapac Professional Cycling  10h30'37"
110. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  10h32'24"
120. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  10h39'09"
130. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h48'27"

Teams Classification 3
1.  BMC RACING TEAM   30h52'12" 00"
19. DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING   31h00'07" 07'55"

Lotto Soudal: Jasper De Buyst looks back on the World Cup in Cali

Last weekend the third and last World Cup of the track season took place in Cali, Colombia. Jasper De Buyst conquered the silver medal. In the first World Cup in Guadalajara he had to abandon because of a crash and in London he finished as eighth. Nonetheless in the overall ranking of the World Cup De Buyst got second as well. The omnium at the World Cup is spread over two days. On day one the riders ride the scratch, individual pursuit and elimination. The second day the time trial (1 kilometre), flying lap and points race are scheduled.

Strong start
De Buyst started strong on Saturday with a second place in the scratch and a second place in the individual pursuit. Then he got tenth in the elimination. After the first day De Buyst was second in the classification. The 1-kilometre time trial and flying lap made him fall back to place four, but he gained two places in the points race.

Rio 2016
In Cali De Buyst gathered important points for the Olympic Games of Rio 2016. Belgium is ninth in the UCI Olympic Track ranking at the moment and the fifth European country. To qualify a rider for the omnium a country has to be in the top 18 and only a maximum number of eight Europeans can participate.

Jasper De Buyst: “This silver medal was welcome, certainly because I need the points for the Olympics. This is reassuring. I started well, with two second places. Usually I don’t start that strongly. In the elimination I only got tenth, that’s where I lost gold. Tactically I made some wrong choices and then it can go fast. Still, I thought about the gold medal at the end of the first day. The second day the points race is the most important event, each point counts. As a road cyclist the points race, of forty kilometres, suits me best.”

Unexpected second overall
“That I am second in the overall classification of the World Cup omnium is unexpected, certainly because I abandoned in the first round. Last year I won the overall, now I didn’t think I’d set a high result. Because of the circumstances I don’t look back with a good feeling on this World Cup season. In the first round I had bad luck, you can’t change that. In London I felt really bad. I had ridden the Six Days of Ghent with a broken nose and back problems, that had its consequences. That’s why I didn’t perform well in the second World Cup and I definitely wanted to set a good result in Cali.”

World Championships track (18th – 22nd February)
“At the moment I’m pretty safe for the Olympics, but there are important points to gain at the World Championships in February. I’m really motivated. First I’ll ride the Six Days of Copenhagen (29th January – 3rdFebruary, LTS), together with Marc Hester.

Santos Tour Down Under, Stage 3: BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis wins

On the strength of a vicious attack on Torrens Hill BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis soloed to victory and into the race lead Thursday at the Santos Tour Down Under. His BMC Racing Team teammate Cadel Evans finished second. 

Team's First Win of 2015
Dennis crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of his teammate Cadel Evans and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Although the hour record contender had to switch plans in the final, he is very satisfied with his win and the overall lead. "The plan for me was to attack at the bottom of the Torrens Hill climb to put the pressure on Richie Porte (Team Sky) and the other contenders and let Cadel just sit back", Dennis said. "Obviously I was too far behind to actually follow that plan." Winning in front of his home country's crowd Dennis also takes the first BMC Racing Team's win of the season.

One-Two overall classifications 
The 143.2 km stage that was marked by a four man breakaway that gained a freedom of maximum 3 minutes 30 seconds. The last remaining attacker was caught heading to the 1.2 km final climb. BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans who is now second overall, 7 seconds behind his teammate Dennis, is happy how it worked really well for the BMC Racing Team today. "We had a plan on covering on two bases, but of course I also want to be able to lend a favor to my teammates where I can and where it's favorable", Evans said. "We had Rohan and Peter ready to do an attack anywhere where they could and it worked out really well for us." With three more days to go Evans remains the team leader Dennis said: "Obviously we are both protected riders but Cadel is still a leader in my eyes." 

Besides the overall classification (Ochre jersey), Dennis also leads the Subaru King of the mountain and the Cycle Instead young rider classification. While his BMC Racing Team teammate Cadel Evans, second overall, tops the Iinet sprint classification. The BMC Racing Team leads the Virgin Australia winning team classification after stage 3 in Santos Tour Down Under. 
Rohan Dennis will attempt the Hour Record on Sunday 8 February at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen. 

Listen to comments from Evans and Dennis on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line

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