Deceuninck Double At Cobbled Classics + Another Doping Scandal | The Cycling Racing News Show


(beeping)
(upbeat music) – This week on the GCN Racing News show, the cobbles are here, we’ll
be going over the main talking points in the men’s
and woman’s opening weekends. Meanwhile we’re still no clearer as to who the fastest sprinter in the world is after the conclusion of the UAE tour. World records tumble at the
track world championships in Poland, as two riders
announced their intentions to go for the world hour record, and a doping scandal breaks out in Austria and unfortunately involves
two high profile cyclists. This is always the part of the year, where I start to get really
excited about bike racing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve really enjoyed the racing
we’ve had already this year, but when I switch Euro Sport on and see the riders scattered all over a stretch of cobbled
road, it feels like things have just got very serious indeed. Saturday saw the men’s and women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
races, although the latter was temporarily neutralized mid race because, are you ready for this? Solo breakaway Nicole Hanselmann rode so fast that she was about to catch up with the men’s race. It was a little bit of a
farce to say the very least and many quite rightly wondered out loud why they didn’t stop
the men’s race instead. Anyway, once everything resumed we did have some great racing. In the men’s a very
strong group went clear after the Molenberg and
that was whittled down still further, through a
nasty crash of Tiesj Benoot. He’d actually been looking
really strong in the race too, he would have to forfeit
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne the following day, so let’s
hope he’s back in time to defend his title in Strade
Bianche this coming Saturday. That left us with six out front, which would soon be down to
five as Os couldn’t quite stick with the pace up the mure, the big favorite of the front group was Greg Van Avermaet, twice the former winner of this race. But, he was a bit too keen in the finale, first chasing down an initial
attack by Tim Wellens, and soon after chasing in vain,
as Zdeněk Štybar countered. The former cycle cross
world champion went all out, averaged 507 watts and 56 k’s per hour for the last minute
and a half of the race, taking Deceuninck’s first
winner on loop since 2005. Now, what in the world
deserved to win, it was. Štybar has been knocking on
the door of the cobble classics for what seems like
forever but, amazingly, that’s his first win in one of them. It’ll be interesting to see
if that sets the ball rolling for him, although, ominously,
nobody has ever won Omloop and the Tour
Flanders in the same year. In the women’s event, once
they were allowed to start racing again, Boels Dolmans
played the numbers game. Canyon SRAM had been particularly
aggressive, but it was a bit too much too soon and in the end, Boels were the only team with
two riders in the front group as they hit the mure. At which point, former world
champion Chantal Blaak attacked and would never be seen again. She crested the final
part of the Bosberg with half a minute of an advantage
and that had more than doubled by the time she reached
the finish line in Ninove. The best of the rest
was Marta Bastianelli, of Team Virtu cycling, whilst Boels Dolmans also got
the third step at the podium with 22-year-old Jip Van Den Bos. There was quite the
return to racing, though, for Annemiek Van Vleuten. She was expected to take
a little longer to recover from the fractured knee that she sustained at last years’ world championships, but she made her return
on Saturday and came 4th Absolute class act! Bastianelli got her
revenge the following day at the Omloop van het Hageland, winning the sprint from a group of 18, and of Lotaae Lepisto of Trek-Segafredo and Leah Kirchmann of Team Sunweb. Onto Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne now, which is traditionally seen
as one for the sprinters, despite a smashing of
the famous Flemish birds along the 204 kilometer route. However, this year, the
high winds made for some particularly tough racing
right from the very gun. Harder even, Omloop the previous
day if these stats sourced by Ematti Purali are anything to go by. Oliver Naesen’s actual average
power Omloop was 269 watts, whilst at Kuurne it was
304 watts for five hours, normalized at 336. Puts my attempt to get to 300 watts FTP into some context, I think you’ll agree. Naesen did point out, though,
that Omloop was also very hard but the first hour of that race, they were dawdling in the bunch. Which did effect the
overall average power. The former Belgian champion,
actually formed part of a five man move, that went clear with 50 kilometers remaining at Kuurne. Along with Langeveld to
the EF Education First, the Astana ardu of Cort,
Naesen, and Ballerini, and coupled newcomer Bob
Jungels of Deceuninck-QuickStep. And despite his lack of
experience in these races, it would be the Luxembourg
champion who’d take the win. He attacked with 16 kilometers
to go as the group behind was closing in, and managed
to hold them all at bay, becoming the first Luxembourger
to win the race, ever! What I do love about this win, though, is the fact that last year,
Jungels won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and he’s also been a white jersey at the Giro d’Italia, and
he’s now trying his hand at the cobbles and already winning. And he’s not alone in trying either. Tim Wellins and Dylan Teuns,
prime examples on Saturday. Michael Valgren can also do both, and Peter Sagan is this year, apparently, looking to test himself
at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. So, in an era where there
is an increasing amount of specialization, it’s
fantastic to see these riders trying something different. They’ll never be as good
as Anna van der Breggen, though, let’s face it. So, Jungels becomes the
first rider to win both Liège-Bastogne-Liège and
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in their career, since Rolf Sørensen who won the later in 1996. Thanks to Cillian Kelly for that stat. Now, last week, I reported
on the opening day of the UAE Tour, where
Primoz Roglic had gone into the leaders jersey
after his team Jumbo-Visma won the opening team time shot. And, well, basically
nothing changed after that. He held the lead from start to finish, in what was a massive display of dominance by both he, and indeed, his team. Rogerts did lose out to
Valverde on the stage three, the world champion managing to take his first win in the rainbow
stripes, and in doing so, became the oldest rider to win a pro race in the rainbow bands. He averaged 415 watts for
the last five minutes of this stage, in a typically canny attack. Roglidge, though, got his own win on the second Montataque finish on stage six, out sprinting Tom Dumoulin. Incidentally, Dumoulin averaged 550 watts for the last one minute and
50 seconds of the stage, and 770 watts for the last 300 meters. Shows you how much you
need to be able to do to be at the top of that sport. The other big story of the week, was the battle of the sprinters. And we really became no clearer as to who can lay claim to being
the fastest in the world. Gaviria took the spores
on the first sprint date, Fibiana a couple of days later, Caleb Ewan won a slightly different sprint up the Hattered Dam, while Sam Bennett sends a very strong message to everyone, including his own team, by
winning the final stage. Marcel Kittel, despite
looking far better this year, wasn’t able to do better than third, whilst Mark Cavendish still
appears to be recovering from that Epstein-Barr virus which wiped out most of his 2018 season. Now, for some more
interesting well on numbers, Alexander Kristoff was on
lead out due to (mumbles) at the UAE Tour, and averaged
a whopping 1080 watts for the last 27 seconds at the last stage, whilst doing that job. Still bagging himself
fourth place on the stage. You wonder if duties have actually been the other way around that day. And sticking with Velon, I absolutely loved this clip
from them from stage three. Now it’s really hard to get
a sense of just how dangerous and hectic it is inside a
peloton from normal TV shots, but this video from inside the
peloton, does exactly that. Turn up the volume, and enjoy! (wind howling) (men yelling) Talking of hectic, fast,
and furious racing, this coming weekend we’re
going to be live streaming the Rad Race over on Facebook. Fixed gears, indoors, and the last man and woman standing format. And we’ve even got our
own GCN representation, because competing in the event is Hank. He doesn’t know that yet, but
I’m sure he’s gonna love it. This is what he, and you,
can expect from the event. (shouting) (cheering) (arena music) On top of that, we’ll also have
highlights of Strade Bianche men’s and women’s races on Saturday, highlights of Paris-Nice
starting on Sunday, and live coverage of the next round of the Italian Ciclismo Cup on Sunday, the Grand Prix Industria and Artigianato. Over to the boards now for
the World Track Championships, which took place in Poland last week. So many events there, obviously, that I can’t mention them
all, but here are a few of the stand out performances. The Dutch sprint team,
which is 5/100 of a second away from the world record,
with a time of 41.9 seconds. Needless to say, they went on
to become the world champions. Meanwhile, Australia did
break the world record in the men’s team pursuit,
and by quite some margin. They knocked 1.8 seconds off, with a mind blowing time
of just over three minutes and 48 seconds. Basically, they started fast,
did the middle section fast, and according to
Zavia-Disly, pushed the pace even more at the end. Ash Ankudinoff won the
women’s individual pursuit, and rarely have I seen
such an outpouring of love from somebody’s peers. That was obviously a
very popular win, indeed. It came 10 years after she
made her world championships debut at the very same track,
and two days after she picked up gold in the team pursuit
with the Australian squad. Amy Peters and Kirsten Wild
won gold for the Netherlands in the Madison event, whilst
the men’s title in that event went to Germany with Roger
Kluge and Tier Reintahr. That win, made all the more impressive, because Kluge only landed
in Poland three hours before the event, and had only just finished the seven day EAU Tour. Hats off to you Roger, that’s
pretty blooming impressive. And even on top of that,
according to Kenny De Ketele, it was the fastest Madison
that he’d ever riden, 59.2 k’s per hour average
for the 50 kilometer event. Pretty remarkable. Italy’s Filippo Ganna set a
new sea-level world record in the four kilometer individual pursuit, clocking a time of four minutes 7.456, just 2/10 of a second away from Ashton Lambie’s record
time set at altitude in Aguascalientes just last year. He would go on to win
the gold in the final, with a ride off against Wein Steinbeiss, beating the German by over four seconds. And finally, Sam Welsford,
won two gold metals in the space of just 30 minutes. He was a part of
Australia’s record breaking team pursuit score,
then half an hour later went on to win the men’s scratch race. Australia and the
Netherlands certainly seem to be the dominant forces
in track racing right now. Time for some racing of
a different kind now, and we’ll start with the Biking Man Omad, that’s a 1,000 kilometer,
self-supported race that crosses the Hagile Mountains, starting in Barka and finishing
in the capital of Muscat. Now, although the race has a 120 hour or five day time limit,
the winning time this year was taken by Peruvian, Rodney Soncco in just 38 hours and 17 minutes. Some eight hours faster than
last years winning time. Rounding off the men’s
podium was Jason Black, and then friend of Jason, our
very own bike-packing expert, Josh Evert was in third. The women’s winner was
Dutch, ultra-legend, Jasmijn Muller in just over 45 hours. She held off her rival Helly
Backafin by just one hour. Third in the women’s standings
was Georgina Pancher, making her ultra-racing
debut over in Omar. The sixth round of the
Zwiftkiss super league also took place last week,
and in a league of his own, was the Madison Genesis rider, Ian Bibby. That’s actually Bibby’s
second win in the series after he took one in the opening round. Riders last week, racing the epic climb in the Watopia big league reverse, which produced some big numbers. Bibby’s peak minute was 534 watts and his peak 10 minutes
was close to 400 watts. Bibby now leads the
series whilst his team, Madison Genesis, has been
at the top of the standing since the very opening round. Back to track news briefly now,
as two riders have announced they will be attempting
to break Bradly Wiggins hour record this year. First up, the Belgian
Victor Campinos has stated that he will make an attempt
at Aguascalientes at altitude, of course, on April the
16th or 17th this year. Whilst the youngster, Michael
Beurg, who last year set the second farthest distance in
history at just 19 years of age, is reported to be making another attempt in June at sea-level in Denmar. Fantastic, I’d have to
say to see that event with so much attention again right now. I regret, though, that I will now finish this week’s Racing News
show with some news that leaves more than just a
bitter taste in your mouth. Many of you last week,
will have seen a video that went viral, of cross
country skier Max Hauke, who was literally caught red-handed in the act of blood
doping by Austrian police. That arrest was part of a much
wider federal investigation into an Austrian and German doping ring, and it has since been
reported that Austrian cyclist Stefan Denifl and Gail
Preidler are also involved. Denifl is reported to have
admitted to blood doping, whilst Preidler appears to be claiming that he did have blood removed and stored, but never used it. Which is just such a cop out, and takes us back to two decades when that sort of pathetic
excuse was previously used. I have to say, I’ve
been left flabbergasted, angry, and also embarrassed,
really, by this discovery. Why the embarrassment? Well, I’ve been convinced that this sort of thing
was no longer going on at the very top level of the sport. You can call me naive, and I know that many of you will
in the comment section. I also feel even more deceived
by the fact that Denifl was a former team mate and
actually a genuinely nice guy. Again, call me naive, but
I was genuinely gobsmacked by the news, and it certainly
gives a possible explanation as to why he suddenly
decided not to fulfill his new contract with CCC late last year. I am still adamant that cycling
has done a fantastic job of cleaning itself up since
the days of the festine and the US postal and
operation porter scandals, but obviously not quite as
much as I’d previously thought. I do personally think, that I can believe in most of the performances
that I see on screen at races, but I have no doubt that
many of you would disagree. I guess the most worrying
aspect to all of this is that from what we know,
neither of them posted any kind of abnormal values
in their anti-doping test, which flagged them up as suspicious. So, from that point of
view, thank goodness, the law enforcement agencies
are still well and truly on it. And with that, I shall say
good bye for this week, and next week I’ll be
back with Strade-Bianche, Paris-Nice, and the Rad Race. In the mean time, though,
if you’ve ever wondered what pro riders have in their pockets during a stage of a stage race, John Canings found out from a few of them over at the UAE Tour, and it might not be necessarily what you’re expecting. You can find that video, just down here.