40+ winner Beacon On The Avenue Trinidad
Just over a week before the World Championships team time trial, in Doha, Qatar, Daniel Bichlmann found out he had gone from first reserve to a member of the six-man Stradalli-Bike Aid team for the TTT.
But before he could even think about flying to the Gulf, he needed to get the time off work from his boss first. She could hardly say no to a shot at cycling’s annual blue-riband event.
“She’s been so awesome about this,” Bichlmann says. “She was like: ‘I’m happy for you, but you have to work hard after the world championships.’ I think I still owe her some hours. So, after the Worlds, there is no more time for holidays!”
Bichlmann is a part-time chimney sweep in his native Germany, getting up at half-four in the morning for a twelve-hour shift that involves lying on roofs to clean industrial stacks with long brushes. “You get dirty, really dirty,” he says.
He got into the profession on the advice of former Six Day racer Michael Haase. It is hard work, but because it is part-time by German law, it gives him opportunities to trade his black boiler suit for lycra and race for German UCI Continental squad Stradalli-Bike Aid.
They are globe-trotters, competing in Europe, Asia and Africa, with a specific mission to support African riders; Bichlmann rode alongside Eritrean rider Meron Teshome in their World Championships line-up.
If you’re looking for a good news story amid the WorldTour TTT boycott and criticism of the oppressive Qatar heat, this is it.
“You know the movie Cool Runnings? That’s what we are, more or less,” the Bavarian says, referring to the cult film based on the adventures of the Jamaican bobsleigh team at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
“For the WorldTour guys, it’s like daily business; they go to the Worlds every year. For me, it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
“When I was young, I always had these posters from the UCI World Championships on my bedroom wall. Maybe I can make it onto one of the posters in another kid’s room now.”
Bichlmann dreamed of being a top-level racer. He was on the same junior team as John Degenkolb and had an offer to turn pro with Austrian Pro Continental team Elk Haus, which he refused.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” he says. “Well, to be honest, my mum made it. She told me ‘after you get a job, maybe you can do whatever you like for two years.’ I’m pretty sure if I had signed that contract, I wouldn’t be riding now.”
Since joining Bike Aid in 2014, Bichlmann has enjoyed taking the long, exotic route to the World Championships, racing in countries such as Cameroon, China and Colombia. “You realise that you can’t win the Tour de France, that you can’t become world champion.
“But there’s more to cycling than that. Cycling is such a passion. All this travelling, learning languages, meeting people, it’s so nice.”
For Stradalli-Bike Aid, a third-tier squad with no full-time mechanics and a small budget, Sunday’s 40-kilometre team time-trial was like David’s baby brother squaring up to the WorldTour Goliaths. Most of the team holds down a job alongside racing; Bichlmann’s team-mate Joschka Beck is a university student in Kaiserslautern.
Bichlmann and company went all out and finished in last place, seventeenth out of 17 teams, 7-24 behind winners Etixx-Quick Step. But it didn’t matter one bit.
“It’s the pleasure of being there. We take it seriously and do our very best, but it’s not about where we finish… it’s rolling down this start ramp and the dream coming true.”
Nikodemus Holler raced with a constant performance to a great 7th place in the GC of Tour of China while Meron Teshome finished two times Top 10 in the sprint.
Everybody knows what large country China actually is. But not many of us could imagine how big it really is. Allthough we knew that with its 1,4 billion people China has almost 20% of the world's population, it was hard to realize what that means in reality. People where everywhere you look, cars everywhere and just crowded places one after another.
While cities as Berlin are already huge in our middle European understanding, it is not worth to talk about small towns like this in China. It starts with 10 million people to be a city. And when you land in a city named Chongqing, you start to understand that this is just another dimension of everything.
Chongqing – the biggest city on this planet has a surface of 83k square kilometers – the same as whole Austria (a country in Europe) – but with 4 times the population of Austria, 32 Million inhabitants. Awesome, insane or whatever you want to name it. Just unbelievable.
A normal day at this Tour was a little bit the same as at every other stage race so far, but just longer with everything, except the race. Wake up early morning, had breakfast and hed to the race start. 4 hours of racing and then a short shower followed by 6 to 7 hour transfer by bus. Yes, indeed, transfer by bus as the distances in this tour are also unbelievable. On two days the organizer preferred to put the riders and teams into airplanes for transfer as the distance between the cities was about 2.400 kilomterers .
Translated in European way of thinking: race in Frankfurt, transfer to Rome by Bus, then next day flying to Portugal for race and after transfer again to north of Spain. Awesome!
But the riders of team STRADALLI – BIKE AID were highly motivated to show another good stage race and play an important role both in GC and also in the daily sprints of this race that is ranked in UCI category 2.1. While Meron Tehsome finished two times Top 10 in the sprint of stage 1 and 5, Nikodemus Holler also performed well in the mountain stages with his 5th place on stage 3 and 9th in stage 4 that took him to the 7th place in the GC at the end of the race.
Both of the riders got great support from their team-mates who worked really hard to put them in position or defend the position in the GC by chasing down dangerous break-aways or just destroy the break in the beginning. Cycling is a team sport and without a team behind a captain it is nearly impossible to achieve good results. That's what makes a team into a team, to act together, to suffer together and to ride one for all, all for one without any compromise.
„It is really great to see, how the guys sacrificed themselves for me to keep the opportunity upright for me to take this great result in this hard race. I am so proud to have them on my side and that this year this special team spirit is in the team“ Nikodemus Holler said after the final stage.
Meanwhile, Tour of China II is on the run, with mainly flat stages in this second week in a country that is so unbelievable and unique.
We will have updates soon for part II
Patrick Lechner wins regional championships in hill climbing and Dominik Merseburg takes 2nd place in Lingenfeld Crit race!
It was the hottest weekend of the year, with temperatures about 38 degrees Celcius but the guys from Stradalli - Bike Aid successfully beat the heat. While Patrick Lechner won the regional championship in hill climbing on satruday with a superb ride about 32 km per hour for 6 kilometers, Dominik Merseburg could prove that he is still in good shape and ready for Tour of China in 2 weeks
In a dramatic crit race on sunday afternoon in Lingenfeld, he and the team fought again aginst the experts in crit-racing Team Möbel - Ehrmann. After much effort and a dramatic final, Dominik had to let Simon Nuber take the place on the top of the podium but the team was very happy with his 2nd place: "the team worked really hard and well together for me today. It was a very hard fight with the guys from Ehrman and especially Simon Nuber and in the end he is a legend in crit-racing and for sure deserves to win. But I am very happy with my 2nd place today", Dominik Merseburg said after the race.
Under the watchefull eye of Tom Steinbacher, CEO and owner of Stradalli cycle, it was also Justin Pfaff from Florida who could do his first kilometers of racing in Europe as a new comer for Stradalli-Bike Aid pro cycling team .
Justin also will be racing Tour of China in 2 weeks for the team as his first professional UCI stage race.
Patrick Lechner sprints to the next podium for STRADALLI-BIKE AID.
Last nights criterium in Rülzheim Germany he could only be beaten by Marcel Fischer and Simon Nuber while Niko Holler team Stradalli- BIKEAID ranks 6th.
It was already late evening, under the floodlight of rülzheim that illuminated the Crit course with lots of corners, when Patrick Lechner stepped up again to the podium. He just finished 3rd in the criterium before and managed to fight against the two leading criterium-teams Möbel Ehrmann and Racing students who showed up with a squad of 8 racers .
After 15 laps in front of the pack, Patrick gained already lot of points and cash money that he could only be beaten in a hard final sprint by Marcel Fischer (Racing Students) and Simon Nuber (Möbel Ehrmann). A great result in a great race where Nikodemus Holler rounded the night up with his awesome 6th place.
After Meron has already showed the last two days with 2 times top 10 that he is in a promising shape, the whole team was motivated to step up with great results on today's stage. Knowing about the strength of the fast man from Eritrea, the team wanted to support Meron with no comprimise.
In the final of the stage the team led Meron out in a perfect position to start his sprint and he finished with a great performance only beaten by Jakub Mareczko from Italian Procontinental team Wilier Trestina. Marko Kump from World Tour team Lampre – Merida completed the podium on place 3, who already won 2 stages of this year's Tour of Qinghai Lake.
After taking this great result, Meron Teshome said with a big smile on his face: "today was a perfect day. The whole team comitted yesterday to work very hard to bring me in a good position and the guys did a great job. In the end I had the pressure to finalize the good work and to finish 2nd in such a big race with such great sprinters is just awesome".
Hi, for those of you that don't know me very well my name is Angel David Rodriguez, I am a 10 year old from Doral, Florida that love the sport of cycling. When you see this, I will be on my way to California, to compete on a Mountain Bike XC race for the National Title. My performance will be dedicated to all the kids in this World that like me are touched by the Autism Spectrum. On Wednesday about 4:30 pm pacific time, all of you can help me with your thoughts and prayers so we, together can make this happen.
Although I am well prepared mentally and physically by may coach Filippo Barbieri and I will be riding my trusty Stradalli 650 B AKA "The Beauty". Your wishes will be the extra boost needed to get the best result possible. For some of us "Autism is not a disability, it's just a different ability"