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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Monday, June 8, 2015

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Today's Racing

Monday the 8th will see the second stage of Critérium du Dauphiné. It's 173 kilometers going from Le Bourget-du-Lac to Villars-les-Dombes. It has two major climbs, including the first-category Col de Cuvéry, but the stage's major climbing will be finished with only 75 kilometers ridden. The non-climbers will have almost 100 kilometers to regain contact with the mountain goats.

The Tour de Luxembourg ended Sunday with Linus Gerdemann defending his overall lead. This is a smashing win for the small Cult Energy team, the sort of unexpected win one loves to see.

Bradley Wiggins Successful World Hour Record Attempt

Bradley Wiggins smashed the World Hour Record, going 54.526 kilometers (33.88 miles) in an hour at sea level, adding an incredible 1.589 kilometers to the record. Wiggins rode smoothly, beautifully the entire time. He slowed measurably, but slightly during the final 10 kilometers. Clearly, he was at his limit the whole ride.

The air density at London's Lee Valley Park velodrome was higher today, slightly more than several previous days. This slowed Wiggins, keeping him from his goal of 55 kilometers. In fact, they had to adjust his gearing for the thicker air. As it was, he powered as astonishing 58 x 14, a 108.9 inch gear. And he made it look as if he were spinning a 42-16.

Wiggins became the sixth rider to both win the Tour de France and hold the World Hour Record, following Lucien Petit-Breton, Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain.

After the ride, he said, "I'm just glad it's done. It was torturous... That's the closest I have ever come to what it's like to a have a baby. You're constantly looking at the clock counting down. When you're out there, you never think it's coming to an end. I always compare myself to the greats and I am just glad to be in the company of those guys."

He not-humbly added, "To get up there and do that, to put yourself on the line, takes a lot of courage and it's a mental game as much as anything."

Bradley Wiggins Wourld Hour Record attempt

Wiggins rode a smooth, even Hour.

YouTube Video of Wiggins ride:

You can watch it by advancing the time line until the actual video starts.

Tour de Luxembourg

This came from a jubilant Cult Energy:

A big break of eleven riders launched an early attack during today’s 156 kilometer long final stage of Tour of Luxembourg from Mersch to Limpertsberg. However, they never threatened to take leader's jersey away from Linus Gerdemann who finished the stage well-guided by his teammates in the remains of the bunch to claim his second overall win of the race.

Just like the previous stages of Tour of Luxembourg, the breakaway riders started being dropped from the front group entering the local circuit as the pace intensified in both the field and the group. The Cult Energy riders spent the entire day on the front of the pack pulling hard to keep the escapees within reach to defend the overall lead. But the last standing escapees were working brilliantly together and made it to the finish line where Sean de Bie (Lotto-Soudal) took the stage win.

In the field, Cult Energy’s Linus Gerdemann remained cool knowing the overall lead wasn't in danger and the strong German crossed the finish line a few moments behind the stage winner to claim his second overall title in Luxembourg.

Linus Gerdemann

Linus Gerdemann was the overall winner of the 2015 Tour de Luxembourg.

Naturally, Linus Gerdemann was happy about the result and he praises the team for the hard work: "It was not an easy stage at all. It was hot and the undulating course slowly but surely emptied the legs along the way but my teammates worked tirelessly and relentlessly on the front and made sure that there was never any immediate danger but we had to control the gap. Naturally, I owe this win to the whole team and I truly can't tell how honored and proud I am about the workload they shared for me today. Now, we can finally celebrate the win together."

DS, Michael Skelde was proud of the entire team after the final stage: "Everyone is tired, extremely tired but very happy as well. The boys demonstrated immense will power and stamina leading the pack throughout the whole day. It's no secret that we have been missing a victory this spring after having been close many times. We knew all along that Linus was a big talent and an amazing rider but having him as a road captain and as a GC contender means so much for the entire line-up. His experience and  calm nature is such a gift for a team like ours," says Skelde after the stage.

Lotto-Soudal, the team of stage winner Sean De Bie, was pleased as well:

Sean De Bie has won his first race as a pro! The 23-year-old Lotto Soudal rider was the best in the final stage of the Tour de Luxembourg.

The stage, 156 kilometres long, took the riders from Mersch to Luxembourg City. There were eight official climbs, one of those lay in the local lap of 6.7 kilometres which had to be covered five times. Quite soon after the start eleven riders escaped the peloton, Sean De Bie was one of them. The break had a lead up to six minutes. In the finale the front group fell apart. Five men rode to the finish line together: Sean De Bie, Leonardo Duque, Jimmy Engoulvent, Björn Leukemans and Kenneth Van Bilsen. De Bie triumphed at the end. He beat Duque and Leukemans. It was a successful Tour de Luxembourg for Lotto Soudal with three stage wins, two for André Greipel who can return home with the points jersey.

Andre Greipel won two stages

André Greipel won two stages of the Tour de Luxembourg

Sean De Bie: “It were four tough days, also because of the hot weather. I still felt good before the start of this last stage and knew a breakaway could survive. I didn’t hesitate and attacked immediately after the start. On the first climb we took off. It was a nice group and we worked well together. Everyone was standing far enough in the classification, so we could get a sufficient lead. In the local laps the front group fell apart. I wasn’t the best uphill. When the others accelerated I looked for my own tempo. I was lucky no one got away alone and there was always some hesitation, that’s why I could always close the gap.”

“Also on the last hill I lost contact. Just before the last straight line I could join the others again. Because of the speed I had, coming out of the bend, I could pretty easily pass them by. I had done a recon of this stage, except for the lap in the centre. It was going up and down all the time today. Thanks to my knowledge of the route I could always take a good position to save as much energy as possible. The previous days I could give tips to the team. This first pro victory feels really good. A few times during the season I can take my chance and it’s fantastic it turned out this way.”

In the first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) was the strongest. In a short but tough stage he left his companions behind with whom he had created a gap on the last climb of the day. At the finish line he had a few seconds left on a sprinting, reduced bunch. Modolo got second, Boasson Hagen third and Tiesj Benoot  surprisingly fourth. The Belgian of Lotto Soudal could go on stage to receive the white jersey as best young rider.

And there is the Critérium du Dauphiné

This is from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo got up to speed at the opening stage of Critérium du Dauphiné, which was decided in a high-speed chase, where Sky’s Peter Kennaugh kept the bunch at bay to snatch the win. Just behind, young Jay McCarthy grabbed 7th place in the bunch sprint for the secondary placements.

Peter Kennaugh won the Dauphine first stage

Peter Kennaugh won the Dauphine's first stage.

After the first act, Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Bruno Cenghialta noted that the team had focused on positioning Jay McCarthy for the final sprint.

“Today wasn’t a long stage. It was 132km and despite some hilly sections, we counted on the stage ending in a bunch sprint. It nearly did but Kennaugh made a powerful move. Our strategy was to work for McCarthy in the finale and avoid using excess energy during the stage. In the end Jay entered the sprint in a good position and 6th in the peloton’s sprint against riders like Bouhanni and Modolo is a good result for him”, says Bruno Cenghialta before adding: “The guys did a good job in sticking to our plans. We still have to enter more demanding terrain to find out exactly which level everybody is on, but it was a good start today”.

Critérium du Dauphiné presents the riders with a notably challenging second part of the race, as the riders enter the high mountains. Cenghialta asserts that this is, where the GC favorites will reveal their current level.

“Tomorrow will most likely end in a sprint. Then we face the hard TTT and another relatively flat stage. So we’ll get the final signs on how Robert Kiserlovski and Jesper Hansen are doing, when we hit the high mountains on stage 5. We’re aiming for a good GC result and the other guys also have possibilities in the breakaways”, comments Bruno Cenghialta.

“But we’ll have to wait and see. We are on a good path but we know that it will be very difficult against the favorites such as Nibali, Froome, Rodriguez and so on. Our mentality is to work hard, try our very best and recognize the fact that we don’t necessarily have to take the initiative”, finishes Bruno Cenghialta.

Lampre-Merida's press release:

The good period for Lampre-Merida continues in France after the positive performances in the Giro d'Italia and in the Tour of Japan. It happened thanks to one of the protagonists of the Pink Race, namely Sacha Modolo, who obtained the 2nd place in the 1st stage of the Critèrium du Dauphinè, Ugine-Abertville (132 km, 6 laps of a circuit with the passage on the Cote du Villard).

The race was led for most part by a 4-rider breakaway, which had a max advantage of 7' which required the Lampre-Merida to contribute to the chase thanks to Matteo Bono, who was incisive as usual.

The attackers were caught on the final passage on the Cote du Villard (summit was 12 km from the finish), but 5 riders counter-attacked and one of them, the British champion Kennaugh, could realize a solo action which gave him the victory. The bunch was 2 seconds behind, so Modolo battled in the sprint for the 2nd place: he preceded Boasson Hagen and Benoot.

"It was great to have again the same good feelings I had in the Giro d'Italia - Modolo said - The stage was unusual, being short and with a quite demanding cote, but I succeded in being competitive. Unfortunately, Kennaugh was great and so the sprint I won was not for the first place. I hope my legs will be as good as today in tomorrow's stage as well".

Lampre-Merida

Lampre-Merida is presented before the race start.

Philippe Mauduit, Lampre-Merida's sport director, explained why he's satisfied with the team's performance: "It would have been great to begin the Critèrium du Dauphinè with a victory, even so we are satisfied with the second place by Modolo. In fact, he's the only rider of the team who raced in the Giro d'Italia, while all the other athletes have spent the past weeks in hard training in order to be very competitive in July, so they were not completely at the top on a short and intense course as the one they covered today.

Bono was great in working in the front of the bunch, allowing the team to give its contribution to the chase of the breakaway, and Plaza did a good job in supporting Rui Costa and Valls in the stage

Directing our glance to the future, today we had good feedback".

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