Archiv für den Tag: 13. Oktober 2019

PARIS-TOURS 2019: Stefan Küng: “The more demanding it is, the better it suits me”

Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer

Recent bronze medallist at the World Championships in Yorkshire after blowing up the race at more than 60 kilometres from the finish, Stefan Küng is among the riders on form as the season nears its end. The Swiss rider from the Groupama FDJ team also expects to be in his element on the uncomfortable terrain to try to win Sunday in Tours.
Several riders have already finished their season after the Worlds. To the contrary, do you want to continue to take advantage of your current form?
“I took a break in September and did some high-altitude training to prepare for the Worlds, which has allowed me to take on the end of the season both mentally and physically fresh. The World Championship was the main objective, but there are still some terrific races afterwards and in particular Paris-Tours. This is the one I have had in mind since the conclusion of the Worlds, and the one that suits me best.”
You returned to competition on Binche-Chimay-Binche (9th) where you were still in contention and even a protagonist in the leading group in the final stretch. How were your feeling?
“I felt very good, maybe a little too good, because I really put in a lot of effort. I didn’t want to wait for the sprint, so I pulled away from the peloton several times, but in spite of that, there was a regrouping and I was dropped. It was still confirmation that I am in very good shape.”

The scenario on last year’s Paris-Tours, with a rather aggressive selection quite far from the finish, would suit you nicely for a solo attack…
“I hope the race will be tough, the more demanding it is, the better it suits me. I saw that the selection can also happen due to mechanical problems on the trails, so we will put in a meticulous reconnaissance ride Friday, which will allow us to adapt the equipment and avoid a premature elimination.”
©Presse Sports “Once I build a gap, I know that I can hold on and the distance doesn’t scare me. That is why I always prefer to anticipate.”
What do you think about the trails in the vineyards? For someone who is strong on the Roubaix cobblestones in the Spring (11th), it shouldn’t be too much of a big deal…
“Yes, and I also love the Strade Bianche, so it doesn’t pose any problems. When I train, I very often ride on rocky trails because I like it. I know how to react on these terrains and in the race, it helps. It does not scare me and it’s even an advantage.”
Your success rate is rather high when you decide to attack. What tells you when it is the right time to go for it?
“When my legs are really hurting, I tell myself that it must be truly difficult for everyone. And generally, it is at that moment that an attack can allow me to take off. And once I build a gap, I know that I can hold on and I am not afraid of the distance. That is why I always prefer to anticipate and have a lead from my adversaries.”

You have the chance to put in a strong race with Groupama FDJ. What will be the strategy on Sunday?
“We will use all of our options. It will certainly be up to me to be the first one to move and to be included in the selection. And if it doesn’t happen, with Arnaud and Marc who is also in good shape, we will for sure still have at least one rider in the group for the win. It is always good to be able to count on several options, especially in a race of more than 200 kilometres.”
To win Paris-Tours would be a terrific way to end your first year with Groupama FDJ…but what initial evaluation can you already make?
“It has been very positive because in changing teams I wanted to take on more responsibilities. Having to ride for Greg Van Avermaet, I lost a bit of the winning instinct, which made the start of the season a little difficult. But then I was able to take on my role as a team leader and win some races. And of course, there was the Tour de France where I rode for Thibaut Pinot, who has the ability to win, which is extremely motivating.”

Australian stage win starts the 25th Crocodile Trophy


Australian stage win starts the 25th Crocodile Trophy
The 25th Crocodile Trophy started in Cairns today and almost 80 race competitors and over 50 crew are taking part in the 25th Edition of this iconic event. The Anniversary race kicked off with an Australian stage win: the Australian Michael England (nr. 201) from Gladstone in Central Queensland wins in a sprint finish at Ringer’s Rest against Brandan Marquez Fernandez (nr. 6) from Spain after a winning race time of 3h11:43. The fastest woman is the Austrian elite racer Angelika Tazreiter with an impressive 13th outright placing on the 80km course.
The stage plan of the 25th Anniversary edition of the Crocodile Trophy will be a celebration of this iconic mountain bike stage race’s history over the last quarter of a century and an homage to the land it calls home: Australia.
The course will transverse over 700+ kilometres with an approx. climbing of 13,000 – 14000vm. There will be four main stage destinations: the Crocodile Trophy camp will be set up at Ringers Rest, Wondecla and Skybury Coffee Plantation for two nights each before the last night at Hartley´s Crocodile Adventures. With a daily average of 88km, this year’s longest stage will be 125 km long and the shortest stage will be a 34 km time trial.
For the first time the Ringers Rest bush venue and camp is hosting the Crocodile Trophy. Starting today it offers an authentic stay in the Australian bush for the first two nights of this year’s event.
Tomorrow’s stage will be a 76km circuit marathon with 1900vm through Danbulla Forest National Park.

Australischer Etappensieg zum Auftakt der 25. Crocodile Trophy

Die 25. Crocodile Trophy startete heute in Cairns (Queensland) und mehr als 80 Rennfahrer und über 50 Mitglieder der Organisation nehmen an der 25. Ausgabe dieses legendären Rennens teil. Das Jubiläumsrennen startete gleich mit einem australischen Etappensieg: der Queenslander Michael England (nr. 201) gewann im Sprintfinish gegen den Spanier Brandan Marquez Fernandez (nr. 6) mit einer Siegerzeit von 3h11:43. Die schnellste Dame auf der heutigen 80km Strecke war die Österreicherin Angelika Tazreiter mit einem sensationellen 13. Platz in der heutigen Gesamtplatzierung.

Der Etappenplan der 25. Crocodile Trophy wird ihre Heimant im tropischen Norden von Queensland und die Geschichte der Vernstaltung im Verlauf des letzten Vierteljahrhunderts in spektakulärer Manier zur Schau stellen.
Die Streckenlänge beträgt insgesamt mehr als 700 Kilometer mit einem Höhenprofil von circa 13.000-14.000 Metern. Es wird vier Hauptetappenziele geben: heute zum ersten Mal bei Ringers Rest, dann Wondecla ebenfalls auf der Atherton Hochebene und dann die Skybury Kaffeeplantage. Zum Abschluss wird die Hartley´s Krokodile Abenteuerfarm ein Highlight sein. Mit einem Tagesdurchschnitt von 88km wird die längste Etappe 125km haben und die kürzeste Etappe ist ein Zeitfahren auf 34km.
Heute und morgen ruht man sich bei Ringer´s Rest aus, einem ur-australischen Buschcamp in Mitten der so einzigartigen Flora und Fauna des roten Kontinentes.

Die morgige Etappe ist ein 76km Rundkurs Marathon mit Start und Ziel in Ringer´s Rest mit 1900 Höhenmetern.

700 km | 13,000 vm | 8 days
STAGE 1 – Saturday 12 October | Cairns – Ringers Rest (80 km / 2100 vm)
STAGE 2 – Sunday 13 October | Ringers Rest – Ringers Rest (76 km / 1900 vm)
STAGE 3 – Monday 14 October | Ringers Rest – Wondecla (74 km / 1700 vm)
STAGE 4 – Tuesday 15 October | Wondecla – Wondecla (98 km / 3200 vm) “Queen Stage”
STAGE 5 – Wednesday 16 October | Wondecla – Skybury (120 km / 1600 vm)
STAGE 6 – Thursday 17 October | Skybury – Skybury (125 km / 1200 vm)
STAGE 7 – Friday 18 October | Skybury – Hartley’s Croc Adventures (84 km / 800 vm)
STAGE 8 – Saturday 19 October | Hartley’s Croc Adventures – Port Douglas (34 km / 900 vm) “Greg Parr Stage”


Key points:
 Just like last year, when Søren Kragh Andersen used the rugged terrain as a launchpad to claim a solo win, the 113th edition of Paris–Tours should come down to a showdown among classics specialists. Oliver Naesen, Niki Terpstra, Nils Politt and Stefan Küng will be vying for his crown this year.
 For the second time running, the peloton will have to tackle vineyards tracks (nine sectors totalling 10.7 km), along with seven climbs in the final 50 kilometres.
 The classic of the falling leaves will also be the final curtain call for Brice Feillu, the winner of the stage to Andorra-Arcalís in the 2009 Tour de France, who will be hanging up his wheels at the end of the season.
Paris–Tours has ended in a bunch sprint 12 times since the finish line was moved to the Avenue de Grammont in 1988. In other words, short- or long-range solo attacks and small group sprints have carried the day almost two thirds of the time. While the addition of vineyards to the course in 2018 ripped the peloton apart, the sporting manager of the race, Cédric Coutouly, thinks that the selection could be less abrupt this time round. „As well as shortening those sectors a bit, we increased the distance between the two that did the most damage last year. We have also thrown in a 10-kilometre breather that will make it easier for groups to reform. I have an inkling that the decisive selection will come later. On the other hand, team tactics will be less important than usual because almost every vineyard track comes right after a climb, when everyone will be going into the red anyway. As a result, only the tough guys will be a factor. However, having a teammate in the finale can still come in handy from a strategic point of view, for example, in the event of a small group finish.“

Brice Feillu is set to hang up his wheels at the end of what is his 11th season in the pro peloton. The Frenchman, now racing for Arkéa–Samsic, experienced the sweetest moment of his career back in 2009 when, riding the Tour de France as a neo-pro, he claimed a Pyrenean stage ending in Ordino Arcalís, Andorra. The man from Châteaudun, who will be competing almost in his own backyard in the first part of the race on Sunday, has taken part in seven editions of the Grande Boucle and will be starting his fifth Paris–Tours.

Just like its pro counterpart, Paris-Tours Espoirs is an important late-season race for U23 riders. 31 teams featuring some of the most prolific rising stars of this season will roll out of Bonneval on Sunday. If defending champion Marten Kooistra is to go two for two on the vineyard tracks, he will have to see off the likes of the Norwegian winner of the Tour de l’Avenir, Tobias Foss. The U23 is a launch pad to the elite: Dutchman Nils Eekhoff, who came in third in last year’s Paris–Tours Espoirs, will be racing in the pro ranks with Sunweb this time round. Another five podium finishers in the U23 category will be riding „with the big boys“ on Sunday: Angelo Tulik, Tony Gallopin, Olivier Le Gac and Kris Boeckmans, as well as Jelle Wallays, the only man to have won both races.

Before the U23 riders and the pros, it will be the turn of the O15 riders and Juniors selected by the departmental and regional cycling committees to take the Avenue de Grammont by storm. 19 teams will go head to head in the Paris–Tours Kilometre following the format that premiered last year, with mixed teams of two girls and two boys apiece.