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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Sunday, July 26, 2015

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

Today's Racing

Sunday is Tour de France's last day.

Stage 21: 109.5 km, Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest – Paris/ Champs Élysées

Rated ascent:

Stage 21 profile

Stage 21 profile

There is also the second stage of the HC-ranked Tour de Wallonie which started on the 25th and the Le Course by Le Tour de France, a 1.1-rated race for women held today.

Tour de France:
Police open fire on car that tries to break through barricades

This was posted in the International Business Times:

Paris police have opened fire on a car that attempted to smash through the barricades on the final day of the Tour de France. It is believed that the car drove away after police began shooting at 8 am Sunday. The driver is believed to be still on the run.

"Shots were heard just after 8am," an eye-witness told the Daily Mail.

"A car seemed to be involved in some kind of accident, and then tried to get through a security barrier. Police tried to stop it, but when the driver refused he drove in their direction and then the shots were fired.

"The man is said to be wounded and on the loose still. Police are looking for him."

Luc Poignant, a spokesman with the SGP police union, told the BFM television network that police officers were finishing up setting up the barricades when the car approached. He added that the two occupants of the car appeared to be unharmed when they drove away.

Paris police looks at tdf shooter clues

French police examine scene after police opened fire on a car that drove through barriers set up for final stage of Tour de France. Photo: Reuters, Stephane Marie

Thousands of people are expected to head to the finish line in Place de la Concorde later on Friday.

Paris and France as a whole has been on high alert after a series of terrorist attacks in 2015, beginning with the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January.

The Tour de France is in its final day today in Paris with Briton Chris Froome poised to become the first British rider to win the tournament twice.

Predicting a Tour stage's speed from 4,000 miles away

This interesting article was in the Washington Post:

He’s swift, adaptable, and getting better every year. Stage by stage, he takes on the world’s most brutal bike race, complete with grueling climbs and punishing flats. But this Tour de France star isn’t a cyclist, and he doesn’t do his work in a jersey. He’s John Eric Goff, a physicist who uses Newton’s laws and a painstakingly developed model to predict how many minutes and seconds each stage of the race will take cyclists to complete — even though he’s never seen the race in person.

Descriptions of the route from fans on the ground make Goff “green with envy,” but he has to content himself with an Internet feed in an office 4,000 miles away. He may be far away, but the Lynchburg College physics department chair has quite the success rate. During this year’s Tour de France, his predictions differed from the winning times of eight consecutive stages by fewer than 1.85 percent. The secret lies in the very variables that make the race notoriously difficult for bookies who want to assign odds: things like air drag, elevation, and terrain.

Every year, Goff uses the Tour de France’s own publications on each stage of the race to create a complex profile of his own. He gathers published data on elite cyclists’ power output, information about turns and hills, and intel on the newest bike materials for his calculations, which come together with the help of Newton’s laws and inclined planes.

Tour de France

The science of sport gets more interesting every year.

Following the Tour de France isn’t just a spectator sport for Goff: it’s been his job since 2003, when a student got him interested in the race. For over a decade, he’s published research on the race and the science of other sports, like World Cup soccer.

In recent years, Goff has had to adjust his model for bigger power outputs (read: faster cyclists). Could doping be the reason? He’s coy. “It’s quite possible that in 10 years cyclists have just improved,” he concedes, noting that better training methods, diets and gear are being developed all the time.

Click here for the rest of the article

And don't miss John Eric Goff's Blog

Velocio-SRAM will be at La Course

This came from the team:

Matera, Italy - 25 July, 2015 - Velocio-SRAM are ready to return to Champs Élysées for one of the biggest one-day races on the women's calendar: La Course by Le Tour de France, tomorrow Sunday 26 July. The 89 kilometre course on one of the most famous streets in the world is set to play stage to another great race.

La Course will see riders complete 13 laps of a 6.8 kilometre course and racing starts at 13:25 tomorrow afternoon. The inaugural edition in 2014 saw a win to Marianne Vos in a bunch sprint, with podium places filled by Kirsten Wild and Leah Kirchmann. Velocio-SRAM rider Lisa Brennauer finished fourth last year.

Ronny Lauke, team Director Sportif previews the race. "I think because last year was the first edition, there was a lot of excitement amongst the teams right from the start. It's the sort of course that doesn't allow easy breakaways, especially in the early part of the race. That being said, the course is tougher than you might think. There is a slight up and down undulation for most of the circuit and the road surface takes it's toll after 13 laps. I think teams will be more hesitant than last year, but overall my expectation is that it will end in a bunch sprint again. In any case our team will be ready for either situation."

Trixi Worrack

Trixi Worrack will be at La Course

The Velocio-SRAM roster is packed full of talent with Lisa Brennauer, Trixi Worrack, Barbara Guarischi, Tayler Wiles, Loren Rowney and Tiffany Cromwell ready to take to the start line.

Tour de France team reports

This came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Alberto Contador will enter Champs-Élyseés as 5th in the GC after the final fight up Alpe d’Huez. On the verge of concluding his daunting Giro-Tour attempt, the Tinkoff-Saxo team leader tells that he would have regretted not having tried. Team sports director Steven de Jongh applauds the team performance noting that the squad has delivered dedicated backing since the start in Utrecht. With a 104-point lead, Sagan heads to Paris with the green jersey secured.

Standing across the finish line after the final GC showdown of the Tour de France 2015, Alberto Contador underlines that it was the right decision to try out for the double, while he admits that he will recalibrate his approach in the 2016 season.

“It’s true that there are riders that would dream of finishing fifth. For me that was not my objective but I’m glad that I tried. If I hadn’t tried then after my career I might have wondered whether I could have done the Giro-Tour double and now I know. I don’t think it’s impossible to do the double but it’s really complicated because nobody has the experience on how to prepare it. However, I prefer having tried than being left with a desire to do it. For next year I plan my season similar to that of 2014 - to enjoy the start of the season in top shape and to do the Tour and then the Olympics. I think that next year’s Olympics is hard and as such can adapt to my style, which doesn’t happen often”, says Alberto Contador before adding about stage 20:

“It was very hard, I particularly felt fatigued and it’s also true that the crash three days ago took its toll. I can say I’m satisfied because I did an acceptable Tour. I think that Quintana did a good race today but couldn’t take more time on Froome because his team rode in an intelligent way. Next year we will completely change the plan and we will fully focus on the Tour with different ambitions and one goal. Now the focus for me is on 2016”.

“The truth is that this year, although the start of my season was quite calm, the main problem was the requirements of the Giro. I think that this Giro was very hard from the beginning due to Astana’s performance and left me exhausted everyday with long time trials and the final week, which was marked by extraordinary efforts. As a result, although my mind wanted to proceed my body needed more rest”, sums up Alberto Contador.

Stage 20 from Modane to Alpe d’Huez took the riders 110.5km across the HC climb of Col de la Croix de Fer before concluding the general classification up the Alpe d’Huez. Tinkoff-Saxo Head Sports Director Steven de Jongh notes that the team suffered but then overcame a difficult moment on Croix de Fer.

“Everybody gave their absolute best today and in the end we competed in a very nice ambience up Alpe d’Huez, which is just one of the best settings in this sport. In the beginning of the stage, we tried to put Rafal in the break but they didn’t give him any space, as he was a threat to the mountains jersey. Alberto had a difficult moment on Croix de Fer and then Rafal had a flat tire. However, Alberto overcame this and on the descent from Col du Glandon, Roger and Kreuziger made it back into the front GC group before we went full speed into Alpe d’Huez. Rafal did a really good job for Alberto and supported him on the climb”, states Steven de Jongh.

Peter Sagan leads the points classification by 104 points and tells that working for Contador makes it even more special to head into Paris wearing green.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan has a tight grip on the green jersey

“Every year it’s different to fight for the green jersey and I think it’s more difficult to get the 2nd, 3rd and 4th green jersey. For sure I had a more diverse job here than the other sprinters but still I felt very well and I also tried my best after the flat stages to do something and overall I think it went well. It made taking the green jersey even more worthwhile that I had to work for Alberto, while a sprinter like Greipel could focus on the sprints. I have enough points, but I still have to cross the line in Paris”, says Peter Sagan before concluding.

“I did a very aggressive Tour de France from the start and until the last four mountain stages that were more for the climbers but still I did my best and this year I felt strong. But it’s not over yet. Now we will see how I will finish this Tour off on tomorrow’s stage”.

LottoNL-Jumbo sent this:

Robert Gesink held his position in the general classification of the Tour de France during the last stage through the Alps. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo front man suffered on the Alpe d’Huez, but was able to fight back into the group with his main rivals and hold sixth place. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the stage.

“The pace was already very high on the first climb,” Gesink said after the finish on top of the Alpe d’Huez.

“I really had to push in that part of the race and I didn’t recover completely in the flat part in between the mountains. I have to thank Steven Kruijswijk again. He did a terrific job. I didn’t collapse in the end and was able to fight back to Nibali. I was exhausted in the last weeks. I’m glad that today was the last day. It’s finished, fortunately.”

Robert Gesink

Robert Gesink leads a small group in stage 19

Gesink, over three weeks, earned a sixth place in the general classification. “That’s a superb result,” Gesink added. “I don’t think that I’m realising the worth of it. All the big guns for this year’s overall were able to stay in the Tour de France. That makes it even more special.”

Bram Tankink agreed. “The five riders who finished above him have all won a big tour once in their lives. That proves how unique his performance is. I take my hat off with the greatest respect for him.”

Tankink enjoyed his ride up to the top of the Alpe d’Huez and brought his daughter a birthday present. “A friend of mine brought a present for her with a balloon on it and he gave it to me on the Alpe d’Huez. My wife and my daughter were one turn further. I took the present with me and stopped for a while when I reached them. My daughter was impressed. Many people came towards us immediately. It was crazy.”

Gesink was well supported by Steven Kruijswijk again today. “I noticed that he didn’t feel great today,” Kruijswijk said. “That’s why we made some decisions already on the Col de la Croix de Fer. Robert wanted to ride at his own pace and didn’t want me to ride in front of him. On the Alpe d’Huez, I thought that we would have been able to return to the group with Nibali. I decided to set the pace at that moment and told him that he had to go faster if he didn’t want to ride behind me. He was able to profit from my work. Robert proved that he’s worth his sixth place during the last three weeks.”

“Robert was struggling today,” sports director, Nico Verhoeven added. “He wasn’t able to save energy so Steven had to stay with him. He supported Robert in a very good way. They finished the stage in a group with Contador, Nibali and Mollema in the end, so the result of the day wasn’t bad at all. It’s a pity that we weren’t able to fight for the stage victory because Steven was very strong.”

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