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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Friday, June 12, 2015

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Today's Racing

Today we have the sixth stage of Critérium du Dauphiné. The stage is 183 hilly kilometers going from Saint-Bonnet-en-Champsaur to Villard-de-Lans - Vercors. Villard-de-Lans is a third-category climb, so it isn't the pure play the ascent to Pra Loup on Thursday was.

The Tour de Suisse starts Saturday, the 13th.

Bike Sales back on the upswing in the U.S.

Bike Europe had this heartening report:

PORT WASHINGTON, USA – According to market researcher NPD Group Inc. bike sales in the United States are on the up again. Sales grew 9% in value in the first quarter of the year. In particular lifestyle/leisure bikes are up big which could point to changes in the sports orientated US bike market.

That such changes are taking place was reported by the Wall Street Journal recently. The renowned newspaper said, “There is new hope for cycling. Bike makers are paying more attention to people interested in zipping to the coffee shop instead of through the Pyrenees. These riders want the health benefits that come with pedaling without ending up drenched in sweat. The most basic bikes—those without exotic parts or elaborate gears—are suddenly selling.”

Growing bike sale in the first three months of 2015 comes after a year that saw disappointing results. According to the National Sporting Goods Association bike sales were up 3% in units last year. Complete bike sales totalled USD 2.1 billion (€ 1.9bn), down 9% compared to 2013. This drop was driven by a lower average value per sold unit of USD 267 (€ 237), down 12% compared to 2013.

The whole story is here.

Cancellara good to go for Swiss Tour

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) confirmed today on his Twitter account that he will be ready to race when the Tour de Suisse starts Saturday, the 13th. The powerful Swiss rider had to miss Thursday's GP Canton Aargau because of a throat infection and his Swiss Tour start was far from certain..

Cancellara's 2015 season has been a rough one. He broke two vertebrae at the GP E3 and didn't start racing again until late May at Norway's Tour des Fjords.

Fabian Cancellara

Fabian Cancellara earlier this year at Tirreno-Adriatico

Critérium du Dauphiné news

BMC is justifiably pleased with things:

Pra-Loup, France - BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen assumed overall leadership of the Critérium du Dauphiné from teammate Rohan Dennis by finishing runner-up to Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) on Thursday's mountain-top finish.

Van Garderen had been tied on time with Dennis after the BMC Racing Team won Tuesday's team time trial. But Dennis was unable to make the selection on the penultimate climb of the 161-kilometer race, allowing van Garderen to ride into the lead by finishing 36 seconds behind Bardet. Van Garderen showed his strength by countering an attack by 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) in the last two kilometers.

"At first, I did not want to follow him out of fear I would go into the red," van Garderen said. "So I kept him at a reasonable distance and stayed within myself. It looked like he kind of died at the end, so I was able to get the jump on him. It kind of surprised me. I thought he was going to start riding away."

With nearly all of the top Tour de France contenders competing in France this week - save for defending Tour champion Nairo Quintana and recent Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador - van Garderen said he took confidence from his performance.

"I think everyone kind of wants to strut their stuff a little bit before July and I think I showed I am right up there with them," he said. "Everyone has their different methods. You can never read too much into the Dauphiné as far as what their form is going to be in the Tour. But I definitely take some satisfaction and confidence out of today."

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen gets the leader's jersey.

With three days of the race to go, van Garderen is 17 seconds ahead of Beñat Intxausti (Movistar Team), who finished fourth, and 20 seconds ahead of Bardet. Those two are among five riders within 45 seconds of the lead.

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the BMC Racing Team did a good job to help propel van Garderen into the lead. But a lot of work remains to keep him there, he said.

"The guys all did a very good job on a hard day that had 4,000 meters of climbing," he said. "But we have another three days to come that will be very hard. And there might be bad weather. The most important thing is that the jersey stays with us."

This came from Lotto-Soudal:

The Dauphiné was over for Gert Dockx before it had really begun. He was involved in a crash in one of the first kilometres of the first stage. He broke his elbow and collarbone. Dockx underwent surgery  of his collarbone yesterday, all went well. Now he will have a rehabilitation of six to eight weeks. It’s a big setback for the Lotto Soudal rider.

Gert Dockx: “This is really unfortunate. I was riding very well in the Tour de Picardie and Baloise Belgium Tour. A few months ago I crashed in the E3 Harelbeke and I could not cycle for one and a half week. It took three weeks before I had all my strength back. I was looking forward to the Dauphiné and the Belgian Championships. But the Dauphiné was over really soon. After one and a half kilometres a rider next to me was standing on his pedals, but his chain broke, he crashed and hit my bike. I fell. After sitting on the road for 30 seconds I realized it was over, I felt the pain of my collarbone and elbow.”

Gert Dockx

Gert Dockx

“It’s still sore at this moment, more than when I broke my collarbone last year. My elbow is put in a open cast because it has to move sometimes. But that’s not easy because of the collarbone fracture. I’ll have to see day by day how it evolves. I’ll have to wait until I can stretch my elbow again before I can get back on the bike. This is the third year in a row that I break something. This is tough mentally, but I was able to make my way back to the highest level the previous times. Hopefully I can still do well in the last part of the season.”

Tinkoff-Saxo sent in this report:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s GC captain Robert Kiserlovski finished 16th on the first mountain stage of Critérium du Dauphiné to Pra Loup, 1’35” down on stage winner Romain Bardet. “There’s room for further improvements”, asserts DS Patxi Vila pointing to the last three mountain stages.

The riders of Critérium du Dauphiné hit the mountains on Thursday’s stage 5 to Pra Loup, where Tinkoff-Saxo’s Robert Kiserlovski finished 16th after Romain Bardet (AGR), who had attacked solo on the descent from Col d’Allos. After the stage, team sports director Patxi Vila comments: "It was the first tough mountain stage with 3,400 meters of climbing and some serious mountain passes. Our goal was to save Kiserlovski and Poljanski for the GC. There was a breakaway on the climb from Bardet and we decided to follow the favorites, such as Froome, Valverde and Nibali. Kiserlovski was in good shape but not at the level we would have expected. We retain our overall goal, which is a top-ten position in the GC for Kiserlovski”, says Vila.

Robert Kiserlovski

Robert Kiserlovski (in Tinkoff-Saxo kit) racing at Liege-Bastogne-Liege earlier this year.

Stage 5 consisted of 161km from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup with five categorized climbs along the way. Bardet’s attack just before the descent from Col d’Allos netted him the win by a 36 second margin, while the favorites behind were splintered due to a frantic pace on the final climb to Pra Loup. Patxi Vila adds that Kiserlovski will likely improve during the final mountain stages.

“It was his first mountain stage and we think he will make progress. He felt in good form but he commented that he would have more potential in the following days. In what regards Poljanski, he performed the way we had expected and finished 25th. We still have three difficult stages ahead and we will fight for our goal. We know we aren't the favorites here and we have to face strong competition”, concludes Patxi Vila.

Cult Energy was pleased with today's Dauphiné stage:

Cult Energy Pro Cycling German, Fabian Wegmann finished 7th and Linus Gerdemann 11th in today's 181 kilometer long Swiss one-day race, GP du Canton d'Argovie after teammate, Martin Mortensen spent the day in the break.

Coming directly from Tour of Luxembourg, Martin Mortensen launched an early attack and was followed by six breakaway companions. As the race progressed, it became clear that they would not succeed and with 10 kilometers to go, Linus Gerdemann initiated a counter-attack. However, with several sprinter teams on his tail even the winner of Tour of Luxembourg wasn’t able to keep them away.

Fabian Wegmann

Fabian Wegmann

In the bunch sprint, Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Fabian Wegmann sprinted his way to seventh place while Norwegian, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) prevailed.

Wegmann says: "It wasn't exactly my favorite finale with a slightly downhill bunch sprint but I managed to get in the right position at the right time and simply couldn't have done it faster. Even though it's not a win, the result confirms that I'm in very good condition at the moment so hopefully we can take advantage of that in Sunday's Rund um Köln."

LottoNL-Jumbo's Plans for Rund um Köln

Moreno Hofland returns to the peloton on June 14 in Germany’s Rund um Köln one-day race after a post-Giro d'Italia recovery period. The young Dutchman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo is looking forward to race again. “I’m going to make sure that I’ll arrive at the start fresh and revitalised, but I’m not sure how it will be for me to be back in action again,” Hofland said. “The Giro was the first grand tour in my career that I finished and I don’t know what it will mean for my legs.”

Moreno Hofland

Moreno Hofland wins a stage at this year's Tour of Yorkshire.

Hofland rode the Rund um Köln once before. Last year, he was riding in service of Barry Markus, who placed second. “The course is selective. It’s like Limburg, but slightly heavier. Last year, I was in good shape and in the hill zone, I was always in the first group. After that, I did the lead-out for Barry. We will find out soon enough if my legs feel good enough for a result.”

Frans Maassen is keeping all options open. The sports director knows from experience that it can go several ways in the Rund um Köln. “The first part of the race is hilly, but often you see the groups reconnect on the local lap. We head into the race with an open mind. Most guys have done the Giro and from what I can see, they came back from Italy in good shape. This is a first test, though, and we’ll have to wait and see how they will do.”

Team line-up: Rick Flens, Moreno Hofland, Nick van der Lijke, Barry Markus, Timo Roosen, Maarten Tjallingii & Robert Wagner.

Sports Director: Frans Maassen.

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