Archive for the ‘Omega Pharma – Lotto | archives’ Category

André Greipel scoops bronze

Monday, September 26th, 2011

In a brilliant World Cup final in Rudersdal/Denmark André Greipel from Hürth in Germany sprinted to win the bronze medal.

 

Even though the captain of the German squad did regret to have lost the opportunity of bringing rainbow jersey back to Germany for the first time in 45 years, André called this result a “great success”.

The 266km race was characterised by a hellish pace. Despite a crash on lap 12 coupled with technical trouble the German squad put on a really good show. “This is world class,” well-experienced Danilo Hondo complimented his team captain Greipel. “We have won a bronze medal and not lost gold,” as Jan Schaffrath, directeur sportif of the BDR team, points out. “To achieve a third place under these circumstances is absolutely fantastic”, Tony Martin said. He was one of the many riders who crashed on lap 12, 75km from the finish. The same was suffered by Christian Knees, who then lost contact and could not support André Greipel in the sprint finish.

André Greipel only had to admit defeat to Mark Cavendish of Great Britain and Australian Matthew Goss. “Cavendish is a worthy World Champion,” the 29-year-old André Greipel acknowledged after the race.

André Greipel’s Omega Pharma – Lotto team-mate Jurgen Roelandts finished in a very creditable 5th place. On the final 300 metres the Belgian stuck to the rear wheel of the later World Champion Mark Cavendish. “I tried everything in my power to stay behind him but I was squeezed in,” Roelandts explained. Thus, a fifth place was the best achievable result for the 26-year-old. “A real pitty. A victory was out of reach, but the podium sure wasn’t,” Jurgen Roelandts said.

Gilbert does it again

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Philippe Gilbert once again demonstrated his exceptional domination of the tough one-day race scene with an impressive win in the GP Wallonie.

1300 metres from the finish on the climb up to the Citadel of Namur Philippe, wearing the colours of Belgian champion and riding his Canyon Aeroad, attacked and no other rider was able to respond. In the closing 250 metres the Belgian champion looked back several times in near disbelief to see that there was no trace of any of his rivals.
Gilbert therefore rolled along over the last few metres, celebrating his 24th win of the season. Two seconds down the Frenchman Julien Simon (Fdjeux) won the sprint of the pursuers just ahead of Belgian Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) and Bert de Waele (Landbouwkrediet).

Third placed Leukemans hit the nail on the head when he said that nobody else had a chance whenever Gilbert was riding.
By winning the 1st category GP Wallonie 29 year-old Gilbert has further increased his lead in the UCI World Ranking. Tour de France victor Cadel Evans is well behind Gilbert back in second place.

Gilbert continues his run of classic wins

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma- Lotto) continued his run of classic wins at the Clasica San Sebastian. After his win in the Ardennes Classic the Belgian champion also won the Basque World Tour race over 234 kilometres. Gilbert attacked 4 kilometres from the finish from a breakaway group and was able to maintain a lead of 12 seconds on the Spaniard Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) until the finish line. Barredo had previously won the event in 2009.

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“I’m very pleased about this win”, said a beaming Gilbert shortly after the finish. “I would really like to win all the major classics and today I have come one step closer to achieving that aim. My next events are the Eneco-Tour, the Vattenfall Cyclassics, the GP Plouay and the races in Canada. After all that I’d love to win the world championship road race”.

After the Tour de France the Belgian champion didn’t have a single day off. He commented, “The last week has been very stressful. After the Tour I took part in numerous criteriums and always got to bed very late – around 11 p.m. or midnight or sometimes even at 2 a.m. Yesterday I took part in the Criterium St. Niklaas and travelled to the event by private jet, which landed at around 2 a.m”. With reference to these irregular sleeping habits he added, “I feel rather like a Spaniard”.

 

My lucky charm

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Faith moves mountains and in our case hopefully faith will propel us over the mountains on tomorrow’s stage. Before the start of every stage I kiss my wedding ring and believe firmly in my two loved ones back home. That gives me confidence and self-belief. It’s also supposed to give me protection and the strength to overcome these difficult obstacles. Some call this faith; some call it having a lucky charm.
You’ll find that virtually every rider in the peloton has one of these larger or smaller lucky charms. Some have it on their helmets; many have their luck y charms on a necklace or have a tiny cuddly toy, bracelets and all the rest of it. I always wear a necklace with my engagement ring hanging from it as my lucky charm. In addition, there is also a medal on the necklace with the images of my wife and son engraved on it. Emilio also gave me a cuddly toy after all my stuff was stolen during my last winter training camp. The lucky charms that I had had with me for years were gone in a flash. Hopefully my lucky charms won’t just protect me on the dangerous descents, but together with my loved ones at home, guide me over the mountains ahead and give me the necessary stamina and strength. After all, today it’s the Queen’s stage and after that the short but extremely difficult ride to Alpe D’Huez.
So long,
Seb

Senseless cavalry charge …

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Apparently everyone was so relaxed after the rest day that it was a real cavalry charge. After a little more than two hours racing we had already clocked up 105 kilometres and an average rate of watts of around 310! Not until the senseless cavalry charge was over were 10 riders able to break away. I also tried to get away again and again, but couldn’t quite manage it and it was probably better that I didn’t either. I just wouldn’t have had the legs to stay up there at the front today.

Despite all that there was one positive thing that came out of today’s stage – it was over more quickly. However on Wednesday and Thursday we have two very long days ahead of us. Now I’m counting down the days until I reach Sunday, and I’ll finally know that I’ve completed my seventh Tour de France.

Before the race we still had plenty to laugh about. Firstly, Philippe Gilbert completed the final kilometre to the start on the bus. As on every other day, the press was standing in front of the bus and wanted to do an interview with the Belgian champion as well as with Jelle Vanendert, who is currently leading the king of the mountains competition. Marcel Sieberg then slipped on Philippe Gilbert’s jersey for a laugh especially for the press and we were rolling round laughing on the floor of the bus. After that André Greipel pulled on the polka dot jersey and went outside and we just couldn’t control our laughter. So as you can all see, even when we have to endure such mega pain on a daily basis, the general mood in the team is good.

See you tomorrow in Italy
Seb

Rest day number two and a haircut to boot …

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Ahead of the final and second rest day of the 98th installment of the Tour de France we first had to overcome stage 15. Thanks to the strong winds we didn’t get the rain that had been forecast; however the wind made it a very nervous stage. After just a few kilometres five riders made off from the main field and it therefore became very quickly clear to all the riders that there would be a sprint finish at the end of the stage. The stage was finally won by Mark Cavendish, who scooped his 4th stage in this year’s Tour and continued to extend his lead in the green jersey competition.

The tail wind was blowing so strongly from the left that the entire main field was very nervous all day long. The sprinter teams wanted to have their men at the front and the riders challenging for the overall classification wanted the same. In fact, basically everyone wanted to be at the front and the traditional fear of going flying in the cross wind did the rest. It was a very unpleasant stage with so many rides through small villages and a constant changing of direction on the route both before and after. If you are further back in the main field, when you come out of the village you can be as far as 500 metres off the front of the peloton. All you can then see is a long chain of riders. You know exactly when it’s time to get out of the saddle and sprint. This concertina like ride really softens you up in the long-run.

After the stage we had a four hour bus ride to the next hotel. We all did without the massage and at quarter to ten we had dinner. We all then fell into bed exhausted and I slept like baby.

We then eased our way gently into the final rest day. You stay in bed a little longer, don’t pack your things and don’t need to go to the start. It’s all just that little bit easier. We then went for a one hour potter on the bikes and after the ride treated ourselves to a nice cool drink.

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I rode the first few kilometres on the photographer’s motorbike, who I’ve known for a long time now and whose bike I also rode on the Champs-Élysées last year. The boys didn’t look in too bad shape and Jelle Vanendert was riding nicely tucked in in my slipstream.

We used the rest of the day to be checked over by the osteopath, have a massage and get a haircut. It was all pure luxury, but tomorrow it’ll all be a distant memory when we reach the Alps and have a very tough last Tour week ahead of us.

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Sporting greetings from Seb

Stage preparation

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Third stage victory for the team in this year’s Tour de France. Jelle Vanendert wins the toughest Pyrenees stage in 2011 alone. Therefore as well as André Greipel’s birthday we’ve got one more big reason to celebrate this evening.

 

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In this article I’d like to give you a deeper insight into what you might not always notice when watching the event on television.

The Tour de France is the most important event of the year for a cycling pro. Alongside winning the world championship road race a stage victory at the Tour de France is something of major prestige for any pro rider, to say nothing of the overall victory. That is for sure the pinnacle of any rider’s career.

The high profile of the Tour de France has above all changed the way teams prepare for this race over the last few years. The race favourites all check out the stages well in advance and also ride the key stages themselves in order to get an impression of what the climbs and descents are like, as well as the approaches to the mountains. Jurgen Van Den Broeck also did this together with Herman Frison. Our Sporting Director also prepared a hand-written sheet as a supplement to the road book, where the precise details of the individual mountain stages are listed. Philippe Gilbert and other riders then study exactly how particular climbs are in detail.

Together with all this preparation on the evening before the stage and again before the start of the stage we take a look inside our road book. This book includes all the stages and shows us the route profile on a map, altitude profile, approaches to the finish and danger spots in the last 5 kilometres and a route plan with times and average speeds. In addition, the road book contains information about the length of the neutralised section of the stage, the length of the individual mountain sections, the average gradient of the climbs and where the feed stations are located on route.

As you all can see, there’s a lot of preparation that goes into each stage and we pay a great deal of attention to all these variables and there are one or two who have even experienced it all on the bike.

Seb Lang

We’ll get the green jersey back

Friday, July 15th, 2011

The first week of the Tour went up and down like a yo-yo for our team. It all started with a bang with fast Phil’s impressive victory on stage 1, but was followed by our below par performance in the team time-trial and Jurgen van de Walle’s retirement from the race following a crash on stage 1. After that we had superb results with André and Phil, who could have easily won 3 stages. Jurgen van den Broeck’s crash, during which he sustained serious injuries and Frederik Willems also went down in and couldn’t continue, was of course disastrous. Most recently we had the superb success for André, who was able to get the better of Mark Cavendish in a direct duel and thus provide the best answer to all the negative remarks he had received over the last few weeks. We also had the outstanding second place of Jelle Vanendert on the first tough stage in the Pyrenees.

Now Phil has lost his green jersey and we are already making plans how we can get it back. In fact it’s really easy – he merely has to pick up more points than the others. That’s the theory but in reality it’s not quite so simple. I have looked at the coming stages and the only possibility I see is that Phil drops his rivals and takes points in the sprints which come directly after big mountain climbs, thereby turning his current deficit into an advantage. It would of course be helpful to win a stage, for example in Pinerolo and/or Paris although I wouldn’t begrudge André the win in Paris because that makes a sprinter immortal. So you see, it’s all very difficult, but I never said that it would be easy but possible. We shall see what happens and if he recaptures green, then that will be great. If, however, he doesn’t quite manage it, we’ll still be happy that he wore it for at least a few days.
Best wishes,

Michael

French Bastille Day …

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

On 14th July the French celebrate Bastille Day and this means a great deal to them. There were thousands of people at the start, who wanted to cheer on Thomas Voeckler and celebrate his lead in the race. He is currently wearing the yellow jersey and has succeeded in defending it on this very first tough day of the Tour in the Pyrenees. I couldn’t really believe that after just 4 kilometers the 6-man leading group was already formed because for all French riders Bastille Day is something really important. In my very first Tour de France it took well over an hour until a breakaway group was able to escape from the main field.

Generally, on nearly all stages there wasn’t much resistance when a breakaway group formed. For two days now it had taken longer until somebody had got away from the peloton. In my eyes, this is above all because the riders have been saving there reserves of strength much better. Nobody just makes crazy attacks any more, but considers carefully when he should put the hammer down. This also changes the tactical decisions that are made and also the course of an entire race. When talking to Jens Voigt he told me he was sure that Thomas Voeckler wouldn’t defend his leader’s jersey, to which I replied that I was sure he would.

The entire range of ability in the field of riders is much closer together than it used to be. This is even the case among the top riders in the peloton. There just isn’t anyone who can totally dominate everybody else any more.

Today, our Omega Pharma-Lotto rider Jelle Vanendert produced an excellent performance in today’s race. Finishing second on such a tough mountain stage is worthy of great respect.

Despite the exertions of the “Col du Tourmalet” I personally enjoyed the stage. I’ll never climb this mountain in the saddle again and with so many spectators watching. During the stage I thought of a film which I can strongly recommend to you all. “Phantom Pain” is a film about cycling and the myth of the mountain.

Sporting greetings from Seb

That was more than enough rain thank you very much…

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Of all my appearances in the big loop, this is the one I have suffered most in. You can all call me a fair weather rider if you like but I’m just about fed up to the back teeth with all this rain. Alongside all those hair-raising stages in the first week of the Tour, sunshine has been in short supply in this year’s race. Nearly every day we’ve been hoping for an improvement in the weather conditions. Some of the riders are slowly running out of clothing. Racing shorts, jerseys and socks don’t look so great after two days riding in the rain. It’s above all the socks and shorts that can no longer be worn after such long rides in the wet.

André has really got going now and was able to scoop yesterday’s stage victory. He has therefore proven to all his critics that he isn’t just capable of winning stages in minor events. After finishing second on today’s stage he almost grabbed his second stage win of the Tour. One can therefore safely say that Mark Cavendish and André Greipel are the two fastest riders in this year’s Tour de France.

As far as speed is concerned, from tomorrow we’ll be seeing quite different numbers on all our bike computers because tomorrow we arrive in the Pyrenees and then it’ll be really competitive. One thing is for sure – it won’t be a showdown between Cavendish and Greipel and the men who really want to challenge for the yellow jersey will have to lay their cards on the table for the very first time.

As every day on this year’s Tour I’ll be hoping for sunshine tomorrow and that the rain holds off completely.

Soaking and sporting greetings from Seb.