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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Friday, May 15, 2015

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Sorry I have to get this posted so early....tomorrow's news today, I guess.

Today's Racing

Five races today:

The seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia, the sixth stage of the Tour of California, and the second stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt -Tour of Bavaria.

And...the first stage of The Tour of Picardie plus the Tour of California Women's Invitational Time Trial.

Tinkoff-Saxo Reports on Alberto Contador's Giro Crash Injuries

This release from Contador's team came at 12:13 PM Pacific time:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s team captain sustained a dislocated left shoulder, as he was dragged down by a big crash within the last 200 meters of stage 6. With a lot invested in this year’s Giro d’Italia, Contador remains optimistic and will further assess the injury before and on tomorrow’s stage.

At 7pm, after arriving to the team hotel, Tinkoff-Saxo’s captain Alberto Contador underwent medical examinations for 30 minutes in the mobile medical vehicle of the race organization, where both x-rays and an echography showed that Contador had dislocated his left shoulder in the crash.

Reemerging from the mobile unit, Alberto Contador explains that together with the team and race doctors he will reevaluate the effects before stage 7 but that he will take to the start.

“I haven’t broken anything but I have suffered a dislocation of the left shoulder. The doctors have recommended that I immobilize my left arm during the evening and night, while I try to move it a bit with the help of my other arm to promote the movement of the shoulder. I will focus on this until tomorrow before the stage, where the doctors will come back to put on a layer of bandage for the race”, says Alberto Contador and adds:

“I will try to start tomorrow on stage 7, as I have worked very hard ahead of the Giro. I will try to continue until the very last moment. I’m optimistic about the start tomorrow, but we have to wait until right before the start to see what happens and how serious the effect of the crash is”, finishes Alberto Contador.

Alberto Contador after Giro stage 6

On the awards platform, Contador has bandaged knees and couldn't put on his pink jersey.

In the crash, Alberto Contador also wounded his right knee, which, however, doesn’t worry the team captain, who has his focus directed towards his injured shoulder.

As the big pile-up occurred within the last 200 meters, Alberto Contador retained his overall leadership at Giro d’Italia, still with 2 seconds to Fabio Aru.

Giro d'Italia Team Reports

First off, the happy report from Lotto-Soudal:

German champion André Greipel finished off the teamwork of Lotto Soudal in the sixth Giro stage! The stage took the riders from Montecatini Terme to Castiglione della Pescaia over a distance of 183 kilometres, an ideal stage for a bunch sprint.

The break of the day consisted of five riders. The sprint teams kept the gap stable, around five minutes. Lotto Soudal was riding very attentively in the front part of the peloton. Sander Armée was the first of the team to lead the chase. With fourteen kilometres to go the escapees were reeled in. Because of the crosswind there was a chance of echelons, but eventually that didn’t happen. When entering the last three kilometres Lotto Soudal took control, Lars Bak took the first position of the bunch. As planned Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson were the last men in front of André Greipel. Hendy did the perfect lead-out and Greipel finished it off. He beat Matteo Pelucchi and Sacha Modolo. This was the third stage win for the Gorilla in his third Giro. Greipel now leads the points classification.

Andre  Greipel wins Giro stage 6

André Greipel wins Giro stage 6

André Greipel: “I’m really happy and relieved after this victory. And of course I’m immensely proud of the team, the guys did such an amazing job today. I’m really thankful. We took our responsibility today. We wanted to show ourselves from start to finish, so the others would know we were there. We didn’t make any mistakes. Sander Armée was the first rider who took control in the chase to keep the escapees close and to reel them in later. Grand Tour debutants Stig Broeckx and Louis Vervaeke also did their part of the job. With Lars Bak, Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson I had three riders in front of me when entering the last three kilometres. It all ran according to plan.”

“The beginning of this Giro is not at all like the other Grand Tours that I have done before, it was really tough the third and fourth day. I now have the points jersey. We’ll see what happens the next stages and how long I’ll keep it. It’s an honour to ride in it tomorrow, but it all depends on how the race develops. But now we have a first victory, we’ll definitely aim for a second one.”

LottoNL-Jumbo sent this in about the Giro:

Moreno Hofland sprinted to 11th today in stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia. The young Dutchman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, who finished second in the second stage on Sunday, wasn’t able to mix in for the stage win in Castiglione della Pescaia. Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel claimed the victory.

The bunch sprint was marred by a big crash. Fortunately, all Team LottoNL-Jumbo riders managed to stay upright. Maglia Rosa Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) did fall, but remains the overall leader.

Maarten Tjallingii and Rick Flens supported Hofland until the final three kilometres on Thursday. Nick van der Lijke was the final lead-out man and dropped off his teammate in Greipel’s wheel with 1.5 km to go. “That was a strong move by Nick,” Hofland said. “When the pace suddenly lowered, some riders passed me, though, and I got boxed in. Because of the crash I also had to hit my brakes and that ruined my chances.”

Moreno Hofland wins stage two of the 2015 Tour of Yorkshire

Moreno Hofland wins stage two of the 2015 Tour of Yorkshire.

Sports Director Jan Boven wasn’t particularly satisfied with the result, but saw that his riders executed the plan well. Bert-Jan Lindeman’s efforts helped to catch the five-man break in time, after which Tjallingii, Flens and Van der Lijke dropped off Hofland for the sprint. “The feeling after a stage is of course determined by your results, but the execution of the plan was as agreed,” Boven said.

The riders face the longest stage of this year’s Giro tomorrow. They need to tackle a whopping 264 kilometres. The race heads from Grosseto to Fiuggi.

“It will be a day of surprises,” Boven predicted. “It could go either way. An escape has a good chance, but a sprinter that can handle the hills in the final could win as well.”

Lampre-Merida had this to say about the sixth Giro stage:

Sacha Modolo performed a quite good sprint which gave him the 3rd place in the 6th stage of the Giro d'Italia (Montecatini Terme-Castiglione della Pescaia, 183 km).

The course, with only one climb, of 4th category (Pomarance) at 93 km, before the finish, gave a good opportunity to the sprinters, who in fact did not miss it, controlling the 4 breakaway riders that characterized the stage and neutralizing them in the final part of the race.

The sprinters' teams tried to keep their captains in the front positions of the bunch: the Lampre-Merida trio Ferrari-Richeze-Modolo was involved in this hard battle and with effort they succeeded in bringing Sacha on Greipel's wheel.

The sprint of a German athlete was too powerful for Modolo, who crossed the finish line in the 3rd position (2nd place for Pelucchi).

The Slovenian Polanc retained the blue jersey as leader of the KOM classification and the whole Team Lampre-Merida received the award for Super Team. No blue-fuchsia-green rider got involved in the crash which occurred on the final straight.

Modolo explained that: "Greipel performed an impressive sprint and I congratulate him. I thank my team mate for having dedicated their energy to me, I would have liked to have given them a top result, but I spent energy in the battle for the head position in the approach of the sprint.

Ferrari and Richeze helped me get on the Greipel's wheel, but this meant we made two little sprints before reaching Andrè, who made a powerful sprint.

Anyway, third place is fairly good, I'll try to do better in the next stages. The sprints are becoming more and more risky because some riders, who can't rely on their team mates for the approach to the sprint, try to enter in the lead-out trains of the other teams: this is something that an unwritten law of the bunch discourages. It's quite dangerous and it could cause crashes".

And There was the Bayern Rundfahrt-Tour of Bavaria

Giant-Alpecin, team of stage winner John Degenkolb sent this out:

John Degenkolb (GER) sprinted to victory in stage 2 of the Bayern Rundfahrt, taking Team Giant-Alpecin's first victory in Germany this season. Following a third place in the opening stage yesterday, Degenkolb was the fastest in the bunch sprint today. After strong chase work and a superb lead-out by the team, Degenkolb laid down a strong sprint to take the win at the second stage of the German stage race.

With this victory, Degenkolb became the new leader in the General Classification and he will start tomorrow’s third stage in the yellow jersey.

John Degenkolb (GER): “It was a great day, we targeted this stage win and it’s great to reach it. The team worked hard, but they also did that yesterday where we did not succeeded 100%. Today they gave me a great lead-out and I am very happy with that.

"The sprint today was a bit uphill for the final 250 meters and that suited me very well. We have the yellow jersey now and we are going to defend it tomorrow. It won’t be easy, but we will see how it goes. It is great to see how excited the German fans are and how they are supporting us here in Bayern right now. German cycling is really going up again after a lot of work and that makes me really happy. That is why it is extra special to show the public a nice win here in my home country.” 

John Degenkolb

John Degenkolb with the treasured cobblestone trophy after winning Paris-Roubaix this year.

Christian Guiberteau (FRA): "We are very happy with this succes at the second day of the Bayern Rundfahrt. The team performed very well and the lead-out went perfectly today. From the start our goal was to win a stage here and we knew it was possible with John [Degenkolb] and we did it.

"Today, we changed our strategy a little bit by not wasting too much energy in the chase as Lars [van der Haar] started to join the chase from the feeding zone. In this way we kept Albert [Timmer] and Ramon [Sinkeldam] fresh for the final kilometer. Also this victory in Germany is very important and nice for our sponsors.” 

This from Cult Energy:

Today’s 179.5-kilometer long second stage of Bayern Rundfahrt from Waldassen to Selb was dominated by a breakaway consisting of six riders but without CULT Energy Pro Cycling participation. However, the Danish team worked hard in the finale to put Fabian Wegmann in a favorable position for the frantic bunch sprint.

Entering the final 15 kilometers, the break was down to three riders with a gap of 55 seconds and with ten kilometers remaining, the final escapee was swept up by the speeding peloton. Instantly, new attempts to break clear from the bunch were made but the sprinter teams including CULT Energy Pro Cycling joined forces on the front to prepare for a bunch sprint.

And today, home turf favorite, John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) made no mistake in the furious finale and took the stage win ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Fabian Wegmann was up there but finished outside the top-10.

DS, Luke Roberts says: "Today's stage didn't get as chaotic as I expected. There was a few climbs along the way but none of the GC contenders wanted to make a move and eventually, it fell into the hands of the sprinters. We were supporting Fabian for the sprint and even though it's difficult to compete with hardcore sprinters like Degenkolb and Bouhanni you never know what might happen and surely, we're not hesitating to try. Tomorrow, I expect another bunch sprint unless the GC riders start jumping but I reckon that most teams are playing the waiting game until Saturday's individual time trial where we hope Gustav and Rasmus will give us a result," concludes Roberts.

Degenkolb leads overall as well.

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