About life’s new opportunities: David Lozano

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Some days after his stage victory at Tour of Rwanda (2.2), in last August, I had the opportunity to have a coffee with David Lozano (1988) in Terrassa -our hometown- to which, by the way, I thank him for inviting me. Lozano enjoyed a few days of popularity after getting a victory of great value for him and his team, it was his first one as a professional rider and the first one for Team Novo Nordisk since 2015. Lozano tells that the African event largely exceed his expectations and confesses that he did not come very motivated but that he came to the race with some objectives. He had prepared it in Andorra in order to adapt to the altitude of the country. Moreover, he did not finish the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, a week before traveling to Rwanda, as a precaution as he complained about the poor conditions of the circuit.

Fighting for overall classification was clearly impossible, in the second stage, he was in the main break of the day, but his breakaway rivals attacked him incessantly, “it’s another kind of racing, they do not manage his efforts, they give all or nothing”. There were only 5 riders per team, but the leader that came up the day of the break, and final winner, Samuel Mugisha, had the support of his team… and that of five more! Lozano justifies it: “A place to participate in the Tour de l’Avenir and an invitation to the Colorado Classic were at stake for Rwanda”. The amount of spectators was one of the things that surprised him the most: “I’ve never seen so many people cheering, not even in the Tour de France”. A few months ago, the UCI encouraged African countries to organize the World Championships for 2025 and Rwanda is among the possible candidates.

David Lozano wins Tour of Rwanda stage 7 in Kigali after an attack in the final climb – Photo credit: Kigali Today

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GP de Plouay

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(Based on an article I published in Volata #5)

The “Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France” (formerly, “GP de Plouay”) presumes to be the only French race in the top category that is not organized by the giant “Amaury Sport Organization”, an entity that hides even more power than the governing cycling body, the UCI.

Like many cycling events, the “Grand Prix de Plouay” has also the support of a newspaper, in this case a regional one, “Ouest-France”. The birth of this modest race takes us to 1931, when Dr. Berthy, a doctor at the Tour de France, became the new president of the organizing committee of the Plouay festivities. Taking advantage of his passion in cycling and taking advantage of his influences and contacts within the world of cycling, he decided to create the “Grand Prix International de la ville de Plouay”. The friendship that he established with some riders helped him to attract them and that they were part of the departure of this classic.

The race circuit, with the côte de Ty Marrec as the main element of the race, is named Jean-Yves Perron, organizer of the race between 1975 and 1999, who died in February 2000 after being the victim of cancer when he was 53 years old. He was the one who, since joining the committee, saved the race of his disappearance. In 1975 the race hit rock bottom, in that edition there were only nineteen riders registered, one of them was Cyrille Guimard, the great favorite, because the start-list did not present better candidates. Even so the Loire rider, which did not miss the forecasts and ended up winning, claimed to be “the hardest race I had ever played”, because without a team and full of independents, “it was an 18 against 1 race”.

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Is Grand Tour quality of accommodations the same for all teams?

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More than three thousand kilometers around a country in 25 days, counting the previous days and the rest days too, require the organizers a hard planning of the accommodations of the 22 teams with their riders, directors and assistants, in addition to those of all the organizational team and the race staff. Resting is a key element for riders after each stage and the hotel becomes, in addition to the place where riders should sleep a minimum of 8 hours in order to recover, in a space of coexistence, disconnection, reflection and recovery. Of course, the quality will be different depending on the place assigned by the organizer, taking into account, also, the additional kilometers of transfer that the trip to the hotel may involve.

Team Sky, always innovative in this kind of things, tried to avoid the negative effects that could produce to their riders a bad choice of accommodation or those negative effects that suppose changes of bed day after day. The British team took a motorhome to the 2015 Giro d’Italia, in order that his leader, Richie Porte, sleep there after each stage (one of those “marginal gains”). After complaints from several teams, the UCI issued a ban the following month:

Art. 2.2.010, UCI Regulations: “In all road stage races on the international calendar, the organisers must cover the subsistence expenses of the teams from the night before the start to the final day; riders must stay in the hotels provided by the organiser throughout the entire duration of the race”

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