Cycling News and Opinion
July 11, 2014
July 11, 2014
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Tour de France Stage 6 News
Tinkoff-Saxo suffered a serious loss when one of their ace climbers, Jesus Hernandez, fell hard. Hernandez was expected to help Alberto Contador in the coming mountain stages. This came from the team:
"A foggy and rainy day in Nortern France created difficult and dangerous siuations with numerous crashes. A breakaway consisting of Tom Leezer (Belkin), Luis Maté (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (IAM) and Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) managed to work up a small lead but the peloton became startled as soon as the wind picked up and the battle for position was due. The up-beat pace of the pack caused havoc and unfortunately, Tinkoff-Saxo Spaniard, Jesus Hernandez crashed out of the race.
"But Alberto remained surrounded by Michael Mørkøv, Daniele Bennati, Nicolas Roche and Michael Rogers throughout the entire stage and they didn’t leave the front before the final 12 kilometers where the last standing escapees were inhaled by the field. No less than 9 roundabouts and endless road furniture created the dangerous scene for the swift bunch sprint finale where André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was in a perfect position and took a superb stage win.
"Unfortunately, Jesus Hernandez was forced to abandon after his crash where he hurt his head: 'Jesus was riding in the far side of the road because of the crosswind and somehow lost control of the bike and he hit the road pretty hard and when I talked to him, he had the symptoms of a concussion. But he’s on his way to the hospital at this moment and they will examine him so we’ll know for sure. It’s a sad day for Alberto and for team to miss a rider but we have to stay focused. Tomorrow’s stage could be a tricky one and I’m not sure the entire pack is going to cross the finish line in a bunch sprint. We have to stay alert like today and keep Alberto safe,' said DS, Philippe Mauduit after the stage"
While I'm posting press releases, here's the one from Lampre-Merida:
The 6th stage of Tour de France (Arras-Reims, 194 km) had no demanding difficulties on the road profile (two 2nd category KOM), but it caused trouble for the bunch because of some crashes.
Two crashes at 70 km to go broke the pack: two LAMPRE-MERIDA's cyclists, Nelson Oliveira and Josè Serpa, got involved. No consequences for the Portuguese champion, a bruised hip for the Colombian climber.
After [Ariel] Richeze’s withdrawal, caused by the injury to the knee he suffered during the 5th stage, Cimolai was the captain of the team for the sprint, but he faced a puncture that forced him to spend energy chasing the bunch, so he could not have ambitions for the sprint (137th place).
On the contrary, Rui Costa and Horner were skillful and lucky in avoiding any trouble: they both crossed the finish line in the head group (22nd place for the world champion, 40th place for the winner of Vuelta a Espana 2014). Victory for Greipel.
"In these early part of Tour, it's important to pay the max attention not only in stages as yesterday one, but also in stages that could appear easy,” Horner explained. “Today I achieve my goal, Rui too, so we're satisfied".
Team manager Copeland said: "Avoiding crashes in stages like these, it's a good result for the two riders that we hope could be competitive in the mountains, Rui and Chris. They paid attention and team mates are giving their best to improve the cooperation: it's also important to point out that we faced the withdrawals of two cyclists, Modolo and Richeze that could have been useful to support mates thanks to their skills of pedaling in the bunch".
Peter Sagan: "Today the most important thing is that I have nothing broken. Two crashes in two days are not something that makes me happy, but I'm ok. The crash happened during the descent before the intermediate sprint. The road was wet, few riders slid down in front of me and I have to set foot on the road. Few other riders, who were coming from behind, slid as well and involved me. About the finale... well, there are not many things to say. Simply, I wasn't able to sprint. I was closed in the bunch and I finished fifth doing nothing, just pedaling. I hope to absorb the bruises I have on my body without as soon as possible.
"If I look back to the stages we've done, I have two different feelings. I have a good advantage in the green points classification, I finished always in the front. On the other side, this is not my first Tour de France, it's the third experience, and my aim is to do better and improve year by year. I had the chance to take the yellow jersey and I always get closed to win. Even today I wanted sprint but I had no chance. It's a little frustrating, maybe sometimes I ask too much to myself. But now I just want to keep concentrated and to try again."
For the sixth consecutive day Sagan keeps the white jersey - for the fifth, the green jersey.
FDJ had a terrible stage six. Team boss Marc Madiot had predicted trouble from cross-winds in this stage. Yet, when Omega Pharma dropped the hammer and shattered the peloton into desperate echelons, FDJ's GC man, Thibaut Pinot was caught out and ended up losing almost a minute. FDJ's sprinter Arnaud Démare was delayed by one of the stage's many crashes and couldn't contest the sprint.
Today FDJ team member Arthur Vichot had this to say, “It can be a good day for a breakaway, but not for us! Today, we'll stay focused on our main goal, which is the overall classification for Thibaut [Pinot]. Yesterday, we screwed up a bit. We have to make it up and remain gathered around Thibaut. We've looked well at road maps and profiles of today's stage and [FDJ assistant directeur sportif] Christophe Mengin gave us details about the end of the race. It's been well explained at the team meeting this morning. So we also spoke about his stage to Nancy in 2005 when, alone in the lead, he crashed in the last curve on a wet road, but it's anecdotal because today it's a totally different race with two serious climbs in the finale rather than one nine years ago. We're motivated to do well.”
The Dutch team with their German powerhouse sprinters Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb came off the rails during stage six. Though the squad did a lot of work early in stage six, when the crosswinds hit, they were unable to keep Kittel at the front. John Degenkolb has a bad muscle tear in his gluteus and is hoping to heal over the next several stages and be a player later in the the Tour. Christian Guiberteau, the team's director, has modest ambitions for stage seven with its lumpy final kilometers, "This stage was going to be his [Degenkolb's] but it can't be anymore. It's not a goal for Marcel either. That wouldn't be realistic. Considering the difficulty of the finale, we'll see if there's any opportunity for Tom Dumoulin or Koen de Kort. The fatigue in the team was obvious yesterday. Coming into Reims, Albert Timmer went well at a roundabout but the guys got disorganized. Marcel lost his team-mates and gave up when he realized that he wouldn't be able to win. He didn't have any mechanical."