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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Monday, June 15, 2015

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Today's Racing

Today is Tour de Suisse stage 3, 117.3 kilometers starting at Quinto and ending at Olivone. The riders will climb the Gotthard Pass, but the summit comes just 19 kilometers into the stage.

Critérium du Dauphiné team reports

The Critérium du Dauphiné ended today with Chris Froome earning the few seconds he needed to win the race on the final climb.

Here's BMC's Dauphiné report:

Modane/Valfréjus, France - Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team came up 10 seconds shy in his bid to win the Critérium du Dauphiné Sunday as Chris Froome (Team Sky) soloed to win the final stage and the overall title.

Van Garderen could not follow Froome's attack in the final 2.5 kilometers of the 156.5-km race that finished at the Modane Valfréjus ski station. By winning the stage 18 seconds ahead of van Garderen - who finished fourth - Froome earned a 10-second time bonus that was his final margin of victory.

Third here in 2010, van Garderen said the runner-up result was a bit of a disappointment. But it also shows he is on target in his preparation for his goal race of the year, the Tour de France.

"Every race you go to you want to shoot for the top," he said. "I am certainly happy with second place and I am really happy with how I am stacking up to all of my tour rivals. I think it is a good sign for July. But right now it is hurting a little bit. But sometimes that is a good thing."

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen in yellow during stage 6 of the Dauphiné

The BMC Racing Team won the Stage 3 team time trial Tuesday to propel Rohan Dennis into the overall lead. He kept it until van Garderen finished runner-up on Thursday, only to drop to fifth overall on Friday. But last year's fifth-place finisher at the Tour de France fought back with a runner-up result to Froome to take an 18-second lead into the final stage.

Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said he was pleased with how the BMC Racing Team twice rallied around its leader: first on Saturday to help van Garderen regain the lead and again on Sunday.

"When you have the jersey the last day, you hope you can deliver the victory," Ledanois said. "If you had asked us before the race about finishing second overall and winning a stage and having the jersey, we would have been pleased with those results. The good thing is that we know Tejay gave 200 percent. The stronger rider today was Froome."

Here's Lotto-Soudal's take on the Dauphiné:

Bart De Clercq chose to join a breakaway in the last stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Belgian was one of the last to join a front group of thirteen. Stephen Cummings was the one who could stay in front the longest, but on the final climb the GC riders passed him by. Chris Froome rode solo towards the stage win and overall victory. Bart De Clercq is fifteenth overall at just under ten minutes of the Briton.

Bart De Clercq: “I already tried yesterday to get away with a group of strong escapees, but Astana didn’t let it happen, then another group bridged to the leaders. A few of them got a top ten result, while today it was obvious quite soon that Sky wanted to take the bonus seconds to get the overall victory with Froome. We had a maximal advantage of three minutes and although we were ahead with some strong climbers, it wasn’t enough to fight for the stage win. I think the fifteenth place overall is correct for my level in this Dauphiné. Next week I’ll ride the road race at the European Games in Baku and then it’s waiting to see if I’m selected for the Tour.”

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “I think our performance in the Dauphiné was solid. In almost all stages we made the race. Tiesj Benoot was fourth in the first stage and got far in the mountain stage on Friday, Tony Gallopin was fourth in that epic rainy stage. Tosh Van der Sande animated the longest stage with a breakaway. Bart De Clercq has become fifteenth overall and Pim Ligthart joined a breakaway yesterday. Also Tim Wellens tried to show himself, but unfortunately he had to leave the race because of saddle sore. A few days rest should be enough, so he will be able to resume his Tour preparation next week. Tuesday he’ll leave for another training camp. Kris Boeckmans and especially Gert Dockx are the biggest victims this week.”

Tony Gallopin leads a break

Tony Gallopin leads the winning break in Dauphiné stage 6.

While the Dauphiné came to an end today, it was only the second stage of the Tour de Suisse. Jürgen Roelandts was part of an early breakaway of four. He was accompanied by Valerio Agnoli, Cameron Meyer and Luka Pibernik. Like in France the escapees didn’t stand a chance. The stage was won by Kristijan Durasek, Tom Dumoulin keeps the leader’s jersey. Jurgen Van den Broeck was the first Lotto Soudal rider to cross the finish, he was thirtieth at 1’01”. Maxime Monfort lost more than seven minutes today.

Jürgen Roelandts: “My attack wasn’t really planned. At a certain moment I was riding at the front of the peloton and accelerated. Cameron Meyer continued the move and that’s how we got away. I wanted to get in front with a big group, but it was limited to four. We cooperated well together, but the peloton didn’t give us much space; three minutes max. I wasn’t the best uphill and was distanced on the climb of the first category. It was too steep and I had to let go of the others. I saved some energy when I realized the stage win wouldn’t be possible, I want to focus on other stages, the one of Tuesday for example. I had a good feeling today, so that’s promising.”

Tinkoff-Saxo's assessment of its Dauphiné:

“We’ve had a good Dauphiné keeping in mind the very high level here”, assesses DS Bruno Cenghialta after the concluding stage of Critérium du Dauphiné, where Kiserlovski finished 14th in the GC.

Tinkoff-Saxo had Bruno Pires in the long breakaway of the final stage 8, while Kiserlovski and Poljanski equally showed good shape. That’s the overall verdict of team sports director Patxi Vila, who says: "We had a plan to be in the breakaway, which got away almost at the start of the race with 12-13 riders, with Bruno Pires in it. Tony Martin was also in it and soon staged a solo attack, leaving a group of 9 riders behind him with Pires still there. They pulled very hard and had always 3'00" to 3'30" advantage. However, behind them the group was fighting a war and Sky pulled hard. They wanted to bridge the gap, win and take the bonus seconds”, comments Bruno Cenghialta and adds:

“They executed that plan and brought Froome to the last climb and then attacked Van Garderen, taking the stage and the race. Our riders performed very well today, especially Pires who worked very hard in the breakaway. Kiserlovski and Poljanski were also in good form and stayed with the group until the last 2-3km”.

After eight stages and 1214 kilometers with four days in the mountains in the second part of the race, Vila notes that he is pleased with the team effort.

“Overall, I can say that nearly all our riders had a good Critérium de Dauphiné. Of course, Jesper Hansen had to abandon after crashing on the fifth stage, so we can't assess his overall performance but the rest of the squad raced well. We should always keep in mind that the level in the Dauphiné was extremely high, the favorites were gearing up for the Tour de France and the best riders were here”, explains Bruno Cenghialta before concluding: “Taking that into consideration, our riders were in good form and they showed very good teamwork. In the tough, mountain stages they were in the front during big parts of the stages. Overall, our squad had a good race against some of our toughest competitors”.

Lampre-Merida did well at the Dauphiné:

Rui Costa is once again on a podium in a top level race.

The portuguese from Team Lampre-Merida added the 3rd final place in the Critèrium du Dauphinè 2015 to his large collection of top results and victories in the most important short stages races (three victories in the Tour de Suisse, one podium in the Paris-Nice, three podiums in the Tour de Romandie), in addition to his many successes in the one day races.

The 3rd place was conquered thanks to his perfect performance in the final stage of the French race, Saint Gervais Mont Blanc-Modane Valfréjus, 156.5 km with a 5 KOM climb on a 1st category KOM.

Rui reached the finish in 3rd place, with Yates (2nd) and Van Garderen (4th), 18" after the winner Froome and with 26 precious seconds of advantage on Intxausti, who was 3rd this morning in the overall classification. Thanks to this 26" advantage and to the time bonus, Rui succeded in overtaking Intxausti and obtaining the podium by 5".

Rui Costa

Rui Costa wins Dauphiné stage 6

Froome won the race with 10" on Van Garderen and 1'16" on Rui Costa. Valls was impressive as well, obtaining 12th place in the stage (+52"), unfortunately this result was not enough for enter in the top ten. Valls completed the Critèrium du Dauphinè in 11th place at 4'20" behind Froome.

Ruben Plaza succeded in completing the French race in the top 20, obtaining the 18th place.

"Today at the start I was satisfied fwith my performance in the Critèrium du Dauphinè - Rui Costa explained - I had come back to this race after three victories in a row in the Tour de Suisse. I obtained one stage victory and I was 4th in the overall classification. These were very good achievements for me.

The podium was not so far, but I was aware of the value of Intxausti. During the race, I was focused on the road and in managing my strength, especially in the final climb which was covered at a very high rhythm. When I noticed that Intxausti was in behind, the morale helped my legs to give their best and to manage the situation, because Yates, who was just behind me in the overall classification, was pedaling close to me.

I succeded in obtaining a place on an amazing podium: I thank my mates for their support. This is a good group which can battle in the Tour de France".

Tour of Switzerland Team Reports

Tinkoff-Saxo sent this:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan was not far from the front group at the finish line of stage 2 in Tour de Suisse after having fought hard on the descent from the 4-kilometer, 9%, climb close to the finish line. Sagan was ultimately 10th, 14 seconds off stage winner Durasek and now sits 5th in the general classification.

Following the stage finish in Risch-Rotkreuz, Peter Sagan comments that he was disappointed not to compete for the stage win. “Today's stage was difficult and as you saw, those who finished up front were mostly climbers. I tried to be in front, but in the last hill I did not manage it. I lost about 15 seconds at the top and then I couldn’t catch up on the way to the finish so I finished in 10th place. Too bad because I used up quite a lot of energy and spent power to be in front, but to no avail. Never mind, at least I tried it and we'll see what happens tomorrow”, says Peter Sagan.

Peter SAgan

Peter Sagan riding the Swiss Tour's first stage

Stage 2 presented the riders with 161.1 undulating kilometers, where they had to tackle the 4km climb of 9% to Michaelskreuz twice. The last top came with just 12km to the finish line, where a select group, mainly of climbers, had built a lead of around 15 seconds to the group of Peter Sagan. Despite his efforts to close the gap on the descent towards the finish line, the stage was decided among the front group, where Kristijan Durasek (LAM) took the win.

“The last 4km climb was done at a very high pace and Peter was not far from the front on the top. He kept a good pace and only lost a bit more on the final part. He more or less kept the distance on the descent and finished 14 seconds off. We knew that his chances depended on how the last climb was raced and how big the group was. So, we can be fairly pleased considering how the race developed”, says Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Tristan Hoffman before adding:

“Rafal Majka struggled a bit on the last ascent and finished 37th. He has had five weeks off racing, so he wasn’t on top on the final climb, where he lost time to some of the other climbers. Overall, the team did their best and also put in an effort at the front to decrease the time gap to the breakaway before the finale. Now, tomorrow is another hard stage with some hills in the final part, but I think we will get the chance to go for the win with Peter”.

Lampre-Merida was pleased with stage two's outcome:

Kristijan Durasek, 27 years old from Croatia, gave to Lampre-Merida victory in the 2nd stage of the Tour de Suisse (Risch Rotkreuz-Risch Rotkreuz, 161,1 km) thanks to the mix of a very good condition with the clarity of mind in the final kilometers.

The blue-fuchsia-green climber reached the summit of the last climb of the course (Michaelskreutz, 13 km to the arrival) in the lead group of 9 riders, whose members were all top riders (Dumoulin, leader of the overall classification, Spilak, Moreno, Fuglsang, Lopez, Arredondo, Pinot and Thomas). He waited for the best moment to make the winning attack: he attacked at 600 meters to go, obtaining 30 meters of advantage which were enough for crossing for first the finish line on his Merida New Scultura, preceding Moreno (+4") and Arredondo.

Kristijan Durasek

Kristijan Durasek wins Swiss stage 2

The sport directors Pedrazzini and Vicino could be satisfied also for the amazing performance of the young gun Pibernik (21 years old), who was protagonist of the main breakaway of the stage from the 20th km to 15 km to go (originally 4 members, then a duo composed by Pibernik and Meyer). Good results for Conti (24th) and Niemiec (28th), both in the third chasing group, 1'01" behind Durasek.

In the overall classification, Durasek is 8th at 18" to the leader Dumoulin.

"This is my first victory in a World Tour race, I'm happy and proud because a very good season is going on in the best way after the victory in the Tour of Turkey - Durasek said - I'm satisfied I completed in a victory the good performance of the whole team. The presence of Pibernik in the breakaway allowed the other team's members to be in the bunch and to save energy for supporting me in the two approaches to the climb of Michaelskreutz, whose road was narrow.

My legs gave me positive feedback, so I could ask of them extra effort to attack, since I was aware I was not the fastest rider of the head group: the final attack attempt gave me the victory".

Sixth success in career for Durasek, 16th seasonal victory for Team Lampre-Merida

And then there was the Rund um Kölm

Cult Energy was there and sent me this report:

The German one-day race, Rund um Koln was dominated by a big breakaway containing 18 escapees including several Cult Energy Pro Cycling riders. Eventually, Linus Gerdemann made it in the crucial small group and finished 4th.

It took a long while for the breakaway to get established but when it finally went, they meant business and Cult Energy’s Linus Gerdemann, Fabian Wegmann Christian Mager and Troels Vinther were all in the mix. As the race progressed and toughened, a select group containing Gerdemann and Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick Step) broke clear. On the run-in to Cologne, Gerdemann made a few moves to avoid the small group sprint but the powerful contenders were instantly on his tail.

In the sprint, Linus finished fourth while Tom Boonen took the win.

“Our plan was to try to prolong the time before the right break would be allowed to go in order to make sure the group would be strong enough to last and after an hour on the road, they managed to break away. They were all doing very well and Christian won the mountain jersey along the way while Linus was in the select group lasting all the way to the finish line. They know Linus and were aware they couldn’t let him go but he did the only reasonable thing to do and tried to break clear. Ultimately, we can be happy with the overall effort and result,” says Luke Roberts.

Emma Johansson wins Euskal Emakumeen Bira

I got this report from Orica-AIS

Swedish champion Emma Johansson has wrapped up a successful Euskal Emakumeen Bira [our names must look strange to Basques] winning the final stage, her second for the Tour, today.

Johansson narrowly edged out overall winner Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabobank-Liv Woman’s Cycling Team) for final spoils to finish the five-day race with two wins, third overall and as the winner of the points classification.

Orica-AIS also boasted Katrin Garfoot (5th) and Amanda Spratt (9th) in the top ten overall, four stage podium places and the overall best team classification. “It’s really nice after a hard spring to come here for six days of racing and come home with three victories,” Johansson said of her success at Euskal Emakumeen Bira and Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria.

“I gave it a crack today, I knew I needed to make a gap to be able to take the general classification but Niewiadoma has been glued to my wheel all week. But to have the team riding so strong is really nice too and it’s always special for me to race here as well.”

Despite going into the final day with ambitions for overall, the victory capped off an incredibly successful week for Johansson and the team. “It was great way to cap off a good race,” sport director Gene Bates said. We went into the stage trying to win the overall, that was our first goal. We always knew it was going to be difficult because Rabobank were never going to give up without a fight.

Emma Johansson

Emma Johansson (far left) barely wins stage 2

“The girls put everything they had into it and tried to get up the road. Amanda Spratt was in a couple of strong moves, but they had the legs to bring it back together.”

The final stage featured two climbs. As the peloton approached the first at 40km, it was still together. Despite no serious attacks it strung out and several groups formed on the descent.

Seven leaders then formed at the front of the race with Spratt amongst them. They got out to 30seconds advantage but with a late final climb pending, the race was back together with a little under 20km remaining. A series of attacks were launched at the foot of the final climb with 10km to go. Six riders broke clear, one dropping off by the top of the climb to make a lead group of five.

Johansson and Niewiadoma finished a second clear of their counterparts to secure the stage win and overall victory respectively.

Bates praised the improvement of the whole team after a slow start to the season. “The fact we are getting results and consistently, we are really seeing a big shift since the break in May and camp,” Bates said. The girls are riding a big wave of confidence and they expect to be in the front now where as prior to that it was a real struggle to get people up the road.

“Now everyone has really stepped up and we have multiple riders who can win races. We are going from strength to strength.”

LottoNL-Jumbo's plans for the Ster ZLM Tour

Team LottoNL-Jumbo plans to get the Dutch public ready for the Tour de France start in Utrecht with good results in next week’s Ster ZLM Toer.

“We’re looking forward to racing in front of our home crowd,” Maarten Tjallingii said. "We want the get the people in the mood for the Tour de France.”

The experienced Tjallingii will assist Moreno Hofland in the sprint stages, but also has ambitions of his own. “I’ve recovered well from the Giro,” the 37-year-old said. “Training rides still go with ups and downs, but in the race I’ll pull through, that’s going to be fine. I want to get back into my rhythm in Rund um Köln after which I hope to keep going in the Ster ZLM Toer.”

Tjallingii knows the importance of a good start. “The prologue is crucial when you want to get involved in the overall. The new time trial bike from Bianchi gives me moral. The course in Goes is twisty, which suits me. There’s no better way to confirm that you’re in a good shape than with a result,” said Tjallingii, who won three of his four professional wins in Dutch-Belgian stage races.  The Dutchman finished in the top 20 of a Ster ZLM prologue on three occasions.

Erik Dekker agrees with Tjallingii. “We want to score in the prologue with multiple riders. With a good start, we are halfway there, especially in the Ster ZLM Toer. Rick Flens, Martijn Keizer, Robert Wagner and Maarten are all specialists.”

In the sprints stages, Dekker wants to get involved with Moreno Hofland. “We certainly want to grab some bonus seconds for the overall. For us, and especially for Moreno, the Ster ZLM Toer is very important in the run-up to the national championships.”

Moroeno Hofland

Moreno Hofland riding in the 2104 Tour de Romandie

Team line-up: Rick Flens, Moreno Hofland, Martijn Keizer, Barry Markus, Timo Roosen, Maarten Tjallingii, Robert Wagner & Dennis van Winden.

Sports Director: Erik Dekker.

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