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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Saturday, July 18, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Today's Racing

Today's Tour de France stage, number 14, is seriously challenging. There are four rated climbs, two category-4 and two category-2. The stage ends with the 3-kilometer, second-category Côte de la Croix Neuve. With a ten-percent average grade, this might shake things up.

Stage 14 profle

Tour de France stage 14 profile

The Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen (Women's Tour of Thuringia) continues. We're posting complete results for this week-long, important stage race.

Coming up are a couple of important single-day races. On the 19th will be the Italian Trofeo Matteotti (1.1) and then on the 22nd the Grand Prix Cerami (1.1) will be run. We'll post complete results for both.

David L. Stanley explains Tour stage 13

Tour de France stage 13 was a good, hard day of racing. David L. Stanley tells the stage story and gives it his usual excellent analysis.

Andrew Wright, president of BTI dies in motorcycle accident

When I was in the bike trade, I loved doing business with BTI. It was a quality company in every sense, so this news posted in Bicycle Retailer and industry News made me quite sad:

SANTA FE, N.M. (BRAIN) — Andrew Wright, the president and co-owner of the Santa Fe-based distributor Bicycle Technologies International, died Wednesday after colliding with another vehicle while commuting home from BTI, the company announced in a statement.

Wright and co-founder Preston Martin started BTI in 1993 in a garage in Ashland, Ore., moving the company to Santa Fe in 1995. He had previously worked at United Bicycle Parts in Ashland, Ore., and in retail at The Bike Gallery in Portland and Bicycles Plus in Salem, Ore.

"Andrew believed strongly in fairness and taking the moral high road in business. Andrew was deeply concerned with the welfare of his employees, providing access to 100-percent paid health care and offering staff the flexibility to take care of their families. He was an outspoken advocate for cycling, having begun BTI's Advocacy Roundup which allows shops to roundup their orders to the nearest dollar for donation to a variety of bicycle causes," the company said.

"Andrew loved all things mechanical, traveling abroad, and bacon. Andrew is survived by his beloved wife Jennifer, his dogs Chupa and Kumar, his cats Quinn and Pikie, his mother, father and brother in Oregon, and the extended circle of friends he has collected over the last four and a half decades."

The funeral is yet to be scheduled.

Our condolences to his family and all who worked at BTI.

Tour de France stage 13 team reports

This update came from a very happy BMC:

Rodez, France - Greg Van Avermaet held off a charge by Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) on Friday's uphill finish to deliver the BMC Racing Team its third stage win of this year's Tour de France.

Van Avermaet and the peloton only swept up the last three riders from the day's six-man breakaway in the last 300 meters of the 198.5-kilometer race. Van Avermaet started his sprint with Sagan on his wheel and twice held off surges from the Slovakian national road champion and points classification leader to earn his first career Tour de France stage win.

"It was really close," Van Avermaet said. "I went really early because in Le Havre (on Stage 6), everyone was waiting. So I tried to go from the bottom. It was really long the last 100 meters and I saw there was somebody in my wheel, so I just kept on sprinting. I was just hoping that he didn't come over me."

Van Avermaet said he was not aware that the rider chasing him was Sagan, who has four times finished runner-up on stages of this year's race. Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale) finished third, three seconds back.

"I saw a wheel, but I didn't know who was there," Van Avermaet said. "I just kept on going to the line. I knew it would be hard. Once you are there, you just have to keep on going. It was a good finish for me."

Van Avermaet wins stage 13

Greg van Avermaet wins stage 13

BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen finished 10th, and in the same time as race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky), to maintain his second place in the overall standings.

"The plan was to watch dangerous breaks and to stay safe and then Greg had a free role in the sprint," van Garderen said. "It's incredible. We are really on a roll this Tour with the team time trial win and Rohan Dennis winning the individual time trial and now Greg taking our third stage. I think we are on our way to a successful tour."

Van Avermaet's stirring stage win was his fourth victory of the season, to go along with a stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico in March and a stage win and the overall title at the Baloise Tour of Belgium in May. It was the BMC Racing Team's 19th win of the season.

"This is just crazy," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said. "Three victories after not even two weeks is just crazy. But we have a big team and a strong team - one that has a good ambiance. We talked with Greg in the pre-race meeting and told him to take this opportunity. It was a big opportunity for him and he took it and won."

Tinkoff-Saxo wasn't too unhappy either:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan claimed second place on stage 13 to Rodez, where he extended his lead in the points classification to 24 points after a punchy 570m finishing climb. Just missing out on the win behind Greg Van Avermaet, Sagan notes that he is grateful for his teammates’ effort but found himself wanting the stage win.

Crossing the line in Rodez after a flat-out battle between the fast guys, Peter Sagan assesses that he made a mistake on the final part of the 570m finishing climb of 9.7 percent.

“It was my mistake because I was waiting for too long and when we came near the top I was in the wheel of Van Avermaet but I should have continued to push out of the saddle. I could have won but I should have continued past him, when I came to his wheel. I want to thank all my teammates for the effort they put today for me”, says Sagan before adding:

“It was a very hard finish and I waited too long as I started a bit down but then I came to the wheel of Greg and I stayed there. I should have continued and in the final meters I didn’t have the power. I took points for the green jersey but I really want to win a stage for the team, my teammates and myself”.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan tightened his grip on the green jersey.

Stage 13 from Muret to Rodez took the riders 198.5km under a scorching sun that sent the temperature soaring at around 40 degrees. Alberto Contador, team captain, states that he believes in teammate Peter Sagan and his chances for the coming days.

“In these stages it’s important that the team works well. Today it was a good day for us. In the finale, the team did a good job. Peter stayed near the front and had to ride exposed to the wind. Still, he was so close at the finish line. Maybe he didn’t win but he took some points. He has been fighting from the start of the Tour and I hope, or better said I’m sure the well-deserved victory will come another day. Of course it’s frustrating that we didn’t win but we also spent energy in the intermediate sprint. Peter cannot do more than he’s already doing, he is incredible and he also works hard for me”, says Contador and adds about his race for the GC:

“It’s going to be hard to beat Froome, head to head it will be hard, but we need to see what will happen if the other teams also attack from a long distance. If we wait until the last climb, it will be too difficult to make up time. But in this moment, I need to go day by day and recover after these many hot days and I will see what my legs can do in the Alps”.

Steven de Jongh, Head Sports Director, asserts that Sagan will get more chances in the coming days.

“We still have three days of transition left between the Pyrenees and the Alps and Peter will surely get the opportunity again. Of course we are disappointed today. Peter rode really well, so did the whole team. He really wants that stage win and he came really close today. It was a very hot day with sections of 40 degrees and we took our responsibility in chasing down the break. Peter came to the steep uphill sprint in a good position, but had to close a gap to Van Avermaet and in the final hundred meters he didn’t have the energy to go past”, finishes Steven de Jongh.     

Here's Lotto-Soudal's report:

Thomas De Gendt animated the thirteenth Tour stage, between Muret and Rodez. Together with Cyril Gautier and Wilco Kelderman he entered the final kilometre, but the peloton caught them after all. Thomas De Gendt got the award of most combative rider, his fellow countryman Greg Van Avermaet won the stage.

At about twenty to one the thirteenth stage started. Thomas De Gendt decided to take his chance and got in a breakaway. He was accompanied by Cyril Gautier, Alexandre Geniez and Wilco Kelderman. Nathan Haas and Pierre-Luc Périchon bridged the gap a bit later and so there was a front group of six. The gap stabilized around four minutes. In the second half of the stage lay three official climbs, one of the third and two of the fourth category. Thomas was first at the top of the third category climb. After these climbs it wasn’t flat though. Haas was the first to attack, just after the mark of the last 25 kilometres. The others came back and with less than fifteen kilometres to go Kelderman attacked. He was only joined by De Gendt and Gautier. The three riders entered the final kilometre together and that was uphill. De Gendt and co didn’t make it. Greg Van Avermaet was the first to cross the finish line, he beat Peter Sagan.

Thomas De Gendt: “It was the plan to have a rider of our team in the breakaway. The beginning of the stage took place on narrow roads and the road went up and down all the time, it wasn’t easy to get away. I could escape the peloton and with the six of us we worked well together. At first it was only Giant – Alpecin that pulled in the peloton. We had agreed not to go full until the intermediate sprint, so they would think they had the situation under control. Then we would raise the tempo.”

Thomas de Gendt

Thomas de Gendt

“I believed in it till the last twenty kilometres. It cost some energy to respond to the attack of Kelderman. I had hoped the three of us would battle for the stage win, but just like in Paris-Nice this year it was over with only a few hundred metres to go, that’s a pity. It’s nice to get the award of most combative rider. When I was in the break during the cobblestone stage I already hoped to get it, today it certainly had to be for one of the escapees. I would have loved to win the stage of course, but it’s fantastic for Greg after all his attempts; it’s well-deserved. Maybe I attack later in the Tour again. I came to the Tour with a very good condition, without my rib injury I could have already shown myself more, but I’m glad with today’s performance.”

André Greipel won the intermediate sprint in the peloton and gained nine points. The German virtually wore green again, but because of his second place at the end Peter Sagan took the jersey back. He now has a lead of 24 points on Greipel.

And here's LottoNL-Jumbo's Tour stage 13 report:

Wilco Kelderman came very close to victory in Friday’s 13th stage of the Tour de France. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo youngster was caught only 250 metres before the line after a long flight. He ended up 21st.

“Very sad, I was so close,” Kelderman said immediately after the 198.5-kilometre stage. “On the road, I did not believe that I would fight for the win. The peloton kept the gap small. When we accelerated and they didn’t really close in on us, I started to believe in my chances. On the final climb, I gave all I had and didn’t look back. With only 500 meters to go, I thought about a victory, but when they caught us, I was done.”

Greg van Avermaet and Wilco kelderman

Wilco Kelderman and Greg van Avermaet in stage 13's closing kilometers

Greg Van Avermaet won the stage. The Belgian BMC rider out-sprinted Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) in Rodez on the Côte Saint-Pierre. Paul Martens took a notable fifth place.

“For me, this is a good result,” Martens concluded. “I had to take it easy in the sprint because Robert Gesink was on my wheel and therefore couldn’t jump into every hole, but I’m happy with this result and the fact that Robert finished in a good position.” Robert Gesink placed 13th and remains seventh overall.

Kelderman has been suffering from a back injury since a big crash in the opening week of the Tour de France. “After my crash, I tried to save as much energy as possible. We picked out some stages to try something, and this was one of them. I don’t think my back will fully recover this Tour, but racing is not a problem now. A little more pain is OK. If your legs hurt, you don’t really feel all the other pain.”

Sports Director Nico Verhoeven was proud of Kelderman. “Wilco and the other attackers were great today, they rode very hard. Wilco got in the mix even if he isn’t fully fit -- that’s a positive sign. He is not one-hundred per cent, but he still almost won a very difficult stage in the Tour,” Verhoeven said.

The DS knew there were chances for attackers today. “The plan was that many of our guys would try and get in the break. You cannot do that with one man. The first group directly proved to be the right one. We’d hoped that the group would be larger, but the peloton didn’t feel the same. Giant kept the break in check and the gap remained small. We thought it was not going to happen for Wilco, but in the end, he came so close. He was stranded with only 250 metres to go. Chapeau for Wilco.”

Marcel Kittel race plans:

Giant-Alpecin sent this update:

German sprinter Marcel Kittel will continue his season at the Tour de Pologne. The stage race, scheduled for August 2-8, consists of six stages and a closing individual time trial. Kittel will then work toward the Vattenfal Cyclassics and GP Ouest France - Plouay one-day races at the end of August.

“I am looking forward to racing again after a good period of training at home,” said Kittel. “The Tour de Pologne is a nice race to get back into racing and gain rhythm. As a team, we will be aiming to win sprint stages in Poland.”

Marce Kittel

Marcel Kittel

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary