Mohoric: I respect the cobbles, but I don’t fear them

After doing so much of the heavy lifting to ensure the surprise success of the break on stage 3 of the BinckBank Tour, fourth place initially felt like a scant reward for Matej Mohoric. As the Bahrain-Merida rider wheeled to a halt in Antwerp, however, it gradually became apparent that he would receive the considerable consolation of moving into the green jersey of race leader.

“I always had the general classification in the back of my mind beside the stage victory. I still focused on the stage win, but I knew it was going to be quite hard as the other guys knew I was the strongest because I pulled the most to arrive to the finish with the biggest gap possible,” Mohoric said just past the finish line on Desguinlei.

Mohoric was the driving force behind the five-man break that upset the sprinters by coming in 1:11 clear of the peloton. The Slovenian attacked to pick up 9 seconds during the trio of ‘Golden Kilometre’ bonus sprints in the finale and then kicked three more times on the run-in. Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) would ultimately clip away for the stage victory, however, and Mohoric risked coming away empty-handed when Sean De Bie (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) pipped him to third place on the stage and the final bonus seconds.

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“In the final, I tried to go with the Roompot guy when he attacked but I couldn’t close the gap,” Mohoric said. “I thought that Sean De Bie would do a long sprint, but he decided to target me and sprint for second place afterwards, which is fine. But I think I might just still get the jersey.”

Indeed, as Mohoric spoke at the finish, his Bahrain-Merida entourage were performing the mental arithmetic to establish whether he or De Bie would be called to the podium. A discreet nod from a soigneur confirmed that he would take over from Stefan Küng (BMC) atop the overall standings. Mohoric starts stage 4 with a lead of one second over De Bie, with Küng a further 21 seconds back in third.

The BinckBank Tour’s first stage on Belgian roads was expected to finish in a bunch sprint, but when Küng’s BMC team handed over the reins at the head of the peloton, there was a marked hesitancy among the sprinters’ teams. On reaching the finishing circuit with 25km to go, Mohoric and company still had almost three minutes in hand, and the combined might of Quick-Step Floors, LottoNL-Jumbo and Mitchelton-Scott could not peg them back.

GC and Classics

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Bronzini to retire, join Teutenberg as directeur sportif with Trek

Italian Giorgia Bronzini has decided to call an end to her storied 16-year-long cycling career and will take up a position as directeur sportif with the new Trek women’s team in 2019. She will work side by side with former German rival Ina Teutenberg in the team.

Bronzini has amassed over 80 victories on the road and the track, including two UCI Road World Championship titles (2010 and 2011) and the Points Race World Championship in 2009. She has won stages of the Giro Rosa, Route de France, Tour of Qatar, the Amgen Women’s Race and most recently the Tour of Chongming Island.

The 35-year-old had contemplated retiring after the 2016 UCI Road World Championships, but renewed with Wiggle-High5 for 2017. But Bronzini said in the Trek press release that the time was right.

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“I am retiring from the races because I feel now is the time,” Bronzini said. “I really still enjoy the racing, but what I am finding heavy is all the training.”

Bronzini moved from Wiggle-High5 to the Cylance team this season, but began her post-career planning earlier this year, signing up to take the UCI training to be a directeur sportif this December. In April, Bronzini told Cyclingnews she was still not fully decided on what to do after she stopped racing, saying that careers in the restaurant or hospitality industries were an option.

Although Bronzini and Teutenberg often went head-to-head in sprints, Bronzini was looking forward to working with the German at the newly formed squad.

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Phinney and Martinez lead EF Education First-Drapac at Colorado Classic

Taylor Phinney and Daniel Martinez will lead the EF Education First-Drapac squad at the second edition of the Colorado Classic. Stagiaire Jose Neves will make his debut in team colours with Nate Brown, Hugh Carthy and Joe Dombrowski completing the line-up.

Based in Boulder, the four-day event is the team’s home race. It begins on August 16 and is centred around Vail and Denver, with the high-altitude time trial in Vail one of the key stages.

Both Phinney and Martinez have enjoyed a short break from racing following the Tour de France in July. It was a turbulent Tour that saw the team lose their general classification contender, Rigoberto Uran, in the second week. Martinez contested the Clasica San Sebastian before heading home to Colombia for some rest and recuperation.

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“I’m anticipating a competitive race,” Martinez in a team press release. “The legs are feeling good, and I think the team can ride well this week.”

Phinney has not raced since the Tour while he recovered from a broken nose that he suffered when he crashed in the final kilometres of the penultimate stage. The injury was such that he was unable to fly with the team to the final stage in Paris. Phinney grew up in Colorado and is looking forward to racing at home, but is unsure how he’ll fair with little training since completing the Tour de France.

“I have a solid two days of training in the legs heading into this race, on top of three weeks of the Tour de France, so I’m not sure what to expect – but my face is fine. My nose has a bit of chicane in it but it’s hardly noticeable,” said Phinney. “I get a little nervous thinking about racing in Colorado, which is a good thing, I think. I’m excited. I’m happy to see the race branch out of Denver with two stages in Vail.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com