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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, June 11, 2016

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

I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road. - Stephen Hawking

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Orica continues with GreenEdge through 2017

This update came from the team:

ORICA-GreenEDGE is pleased to announce the renewal of naming rights sponsor Orica for a further 12 months to include the 2017 season. The sponsorship extension will mark the sixth and final year of the partnership between the two parties and will allow GreenEDGE to finalise details of ongoing discussions around new title sponsors for Australia’s top men’s and women’s professional cycling teams.

The welcome news of the renewal comes off the back of a successful start to 2016 for ORICA-GreenEDGE and ORICA-AIS. The two teams have recorded 23 UCI victories so far this season, including a stunning Paris-Roubaix win and Santos Tour Down Under overall victory for the men and two national titles for the women.

Team owner and businessman Gerry Ryan OAM welcomed Orica’s renewed commitment. "We are really happy to continue another year with Orica and we are looking forward to keep on delivering results above expectations,” Ryan said. They have been a great partner for us and we will of course continue our efforts to build this team even stronger going onwards."

Orica GreenEdge

Orica GreenEdge at this year's Tirreno-Adriatico race

Orica Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Samantha Stevens, said the global nature of the cycling calendar has enabled positive opportunities across multiple geographies for the company. “While the Orica brand has benefited from the goodwill associated with Australia’s most successful professional road cycling teams, many of our customers, communities and employees have also been able to participate in first hand experiences with the teams,” Stevens said.

“Exiting the partnership after 2017 was not a decision made easily.  However, given the more challenging environment facing the resources and mining services sectors, it is the appropriate decision for Orica at this time.  We wish the teams all the best for the future, and we are confident that they will build on their significant successes on the UCI event calendar, providing many more positive branding benefits for current and future sponsors.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE continue racing at the Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de Suisse this weekend with ORICA-AIS also lining up at the Auensteiner-Radsporttage.

Critérium du Dauphiné team news

Team Sky had this to say:

Chris Froome launched a stinging attack to take victory on stage five and move into the overall lead at the Criterium du Dauphine. The Brit benefited from another attacking performance from Team Sky, before accelerating hard on the final climb to Vaujany with 2.5 kilometres to go.

With just friend and former teammate Richie Porte remaining on his wheel, Froome dug deep in the final metres to edge clear by one second, taking a superb victory and with it the yellow and blue leader's jersey.

Continuing the offensive tactics that have characterised the team's Dauphine thus far, Wout Poels twice put himself up the road early, before Mikel Landa ensured the peloton blew apart late on with a powerful move.

Leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) became isolated as his team-mates looked to haul back the Basque star, placing an elite front group on the limit. Froome weathered the storm of a stinging Dan Martin (Etixx - Quick-Step) attack, before launching his own move with 2.5km to race.

Only Porte (BMC Racing) and Contador could follow, with the Spaniard eventually slipping back, finishing 21 seconds down to relinquish his jersey. Froome now leads the race by seven seconds heading into the weekend's final pair of stages.

After the stage Froome was quick to pay tribute to the efforts of his teammates, telling TeamSky.com: "It's an amazing feeling to be able to finish it off today for the guys after they rode their hearts out all stage like that. The guys rode a really aggressive race to put Tinkoff under pressure and then in the final they lit it up into the final climb which worked out perfectly.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome wins stage five

"It wasn't a really long climb at 4km but it was steep. I thought 'I'm going to give this a nudge here and see what the response is'. I heard on the radio pretty quickly that Alberto was distanced. I had my old teammate Richie for company so the two of us worked worked well. It was in both of our interests to work together and get as much time as we could on the stage."

The 140km test featured a rapid-fire sequence of categorised climbs, with Team Sky supporting Froome throughout the day. Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and Salvatore Puccio drilled it on the lead-in to the final climb, with Sergio Henao also following moves on the steeper slopes. Sadly the team only finished with eight riders after Michal Kwiatkowski was forced to abandon the race.

Sport Director Nico Portal was thrilled to see Froome take the win, with victory a great marker and confidence boost in the build-up to the Tour de France.
"Chris is where he needs to be. He knows and we know that he is still not 100 percent yet - that's the same of all of our guys and probably most of the other GC contenders. The guys have worked hard, everything is on track and to take a stage victory in this manner is really encouraging. For the riders and staff it's a big boost a couple of weeks before July.

"The plan today firstly was to not lose any time. It was the first of the real mountain stages with a proper summit finish.  We knew we didn't need to ride but if there was any opportunity to take something we were ready to ride at the bottom of the climb. We then wanted to either follow the moves or even go on the attack ourselves which we were able to do. And you saw the rest!"

Portal also gave us an update on Kwiatkowski who will now rest up and recover after leaving the race due to illness. "Michal has not been feeling well during the race," he added. "There's nothing wrong with his form, and when you have 150 guys on the front over the first climb it's not normal to see an ex-world champion suffering. We know he will be back strong for the upcoming races. He's a great punchy rider and he will have wanted to show what he can do on the climbs, but when he is not feeling himself the best thing was to ensure he didn't push too hard."

Tinkoff sent me this report:

After the uphill prologue on the first day, the Critérium du Dauphiné has been comparatively flat. Today, however, the race entered its final three days – all of which will be contested on some tough mountains. After the team worked to reel in a big breakaway, it was all going to come down to the final climb into the ski town of Vaujany. Responding well to the early attacks on the steep and changing ascent, Alberto worked with other GC contenders to take fifth on the stage.

The Critérium du Dauphiné hit the mountains today! While the race has covered climbs in the earlier stages, the coming three days were where the GC competition was really going to start. Today the route was punishing – while the 140km route was the shortest of the Dauphiné, it was also one of the more draining. With six categorised climbs in the first 80km, the saw-tooth profile would drain energy before the final climb to Vaujany.

The hardest of the initial six climbs was the first category Col du Barrioz, which came at the 41.5km point. This 7.8km long ascent came with an average gradient of 6.5%, with the harder sections at the bottom half of the climb reaching a maximum of 10%. While the gradient levelled of towards the top, a final 9.4% ramp would slow riders down after a shorter section averaging around 4.5% gave them a chance to rest a little.

With a short downhill following, it was a slow drag through the Isere valley with the road gradually rising upwards, before the final climb of the day to Vaujany. This was where the GC action was going to take place – the gradient was tough and changeable, with 10.8% sections hitting gentler gradients shortly after, before ramping up again to 12.5%. The riders who favoured a steady cadence would struggle here, leaving the more aggressive climbers an opportunity to attack.

As the day started, the Tinkoff riders were keeping a close eye on the attacks, not wanting to allow anyone who could challenge the yellow jersey of Alberto Contador to escape up the road. While attacks came, they were pulled in quickly. It wasn’t until almost 40km had passed and the race was starting the Col du Barrioz that a break looked as if it were finally getting away. A group of three went up the road, before being followed by a large chasing group, merging and growing to around twenty-five riders, including Robert Kiserlovski and Roman Kreuziger. While this break was strong in number, it was pulled back in within 40km, leaving a lone rider to attack and go out alone.

As the 40km remaining point came and went, the Tinkoff riders were riding strong at the head of the bunch. With the solo breakaway joined by four others, this group created a gap of 2’30” on the peloton. With one climb left, the pace rose steadily. In spite of the escapees increasing their advantage slightly, by the time the race hit its final 10km the gap was down to 1’30” and falling quickly.

The race hit the 5km to go mark and the attacks started and the pace began to rise. With Roman Kreuziger riding in support, Alberto was safe twenty seconds behind the escapees, their advantage falling quickly. With 4km to go, the route hit a shallower section, but there was no chance of recovery, as the pace continued to rise. More attacks came and while Alberto was able to chase at first, as the gradient ramped up again, he settled into a rhythm with some of the other GC contenders to stay safe in the finishing stretch. Crossing the line in fifth position, Alberto let go of the yellow jersey after holding it from the start of the race in Les Gets, five days ago.

Alberto Cpontador

Alberto Contador finishes stage 5

From the finish, Alberto saw the day’s outcome as an integral part of his preparation for the Tour de France. “In the final I tried to follow Chris and Richie but it came down to having the legs, which I always said before the race was what I was here to test. I’m happy because this time it was not me in the jersey and I think that day by day we will go better - tomorrow’s another day.”

Looking back over the way the day turned out, Sport Director, Steven De Jongh, was pleased with how the team worked to support their leader. “Alberto didn’t have the legs we hoped for in the final, but the team did a great job today keeping control and protecting him. There was a big breakaway and we pulled that back in, which was good. Over the whole stage there was pressure to defend the jersey, which made things harder. We didn’t want to give it away too easily.”

Continuing, De Jongh highlighted how well the whole team was coming together ahead of the Tour. “We got the big group back, so it was less dangerous - the boys did an amazing job today. We had a really good day with the team and some showed they’re really ready for the Tour. Alberto is in a good place, and he needed some more action before the tour so this is exactly the preparation we needed. We hoped for a better result but we’re not too unhappy with how the day went.”

Tomorrow is the Dauphiné’s Queen Stage, and it’s going to be a spectacular day’s racing. The route from La Rochette to Meribel covers 141km and five incredibly tough categorised climbs, including the Hors Catégorie Col de la Madeleine. While the 19.2km, 7.9% climb is the hardest climb of the day, it may be too far from the stage finish, coming at the halfway point, to decide the outcome of the stage. What it will do however, is show who has the form to contest the stage win and compete for the GC.

The Queen Stage will be an excellent opportunity to test his legs and help fine-tune his performance, Alberto explained from the finish. “We will see what happens tomorrow. I’m sure that day by day I will go better. Anything can happen. The only thing that’s important for me is that I’m ready for the Tour de France. It’s the last race before the Tour and I want to be 100%. We’ll see how my legs feel here and we’ll do some work after the race ends, because the final week of the Tour will be very hard, and now I will work on my recovery before tomorrow’s stage.”

With Alberto going into tomorrow’s stage without the yellow jersey, the pressure was off Alberto and the team, De Jongh explained. “We can live with the result – there are still two very hard days to come in the mountains and not having to defend the jersey will make it easier. We’re expecting rain tomorrow, so that will bring an extra challenge to the day. We’re looking forward to the race.”

And this Dauphiné report came from BMC:

10 June 2016, Vaujany (FRA): Stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné saw the General Classification contenders come out to play, with Richie Porte going head to head with Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the final climb.

After multiple breakaways, the race came back together with five kilometers to go, making the way for attacks from all directions.

Porte and Froome attacked to distance themselves from Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) in the final three kilometers, with Froome just distancing himself in the final 200 meters, to take the stage win, one second in front of Porte.

Porte's second place result has bumped him back up to second place overall, seven seconds behind new race leader Froome.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte completes Dauphiné stage 5

Richie Porte: "The team was really good around me today so I'm happy with how things are. To be honest it was probably better than expected. It was a really hard day. Today showed that I'm in a good place. To ride away with Froomey like is a good sign. For the moment I'll enjoy this, it's a good result."

"I knew it was hard from six to two kilometers but when Froomey attacked like that and you see guys crack, it gives you a bit more inspiration to keep pushing on. We still put good time into the other guys, so I'm happy with that. Both Froomey and I are in good form for July, we're both going so well. It's a little bit different to be riding for yourself and I'm quite enjoying it."

"Obviously Contador didn't have a good day but there's still two more days to come, and it's still not July. The goal now is to recover as best as possible for the Queen Stage tomorrow."

Valerio Piva, Sports Director: "It was the first of three important uphill finishes so to see Richie take second place, it's a good result. He was strong and the team was around him the whole day. It was a very hard day and very fast, and there were a lot of attacks throughout the stage. We had two guys in the 25-rider breakaway, Greg Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis, and then when they were caught we were there to keep Richie in a good position. In the end Froome showed that he is strong, Richie showed he is also strong, so I'm optimistic for the next two days."

Primož Roglič is Slovenian time trial champ

LottoNL-Jumbo sent this report:

LottoNL-Jumbo rider Primož Roglič won the Slovenian time trial championship today. The 26-year-old beat Matej Mohorič (Lampre-Merida) over 44 kilometres. It’s his second win of the year after winning the Chianti time trial in the Giro d’Italia.

"I'm happy that I was able to win a time trial again,” he said. “Every time that I race against the clock, I don’t know what I can expect."

Primoz Roglic

Primož Roglič celebrates his Giro stage win

The Giro stage win helped him realise that he’s a good time trialist, but this championship was already part of the winter’s plan. “I scheduled it at the beginning of this season, so it is good that I can win here."

The former ski jumper is riding his first year at the WorldTour level and he is uncovering a whole new world. "I want to specialise in time trials in the future, but for now, it is especially important for me to find out what my strengths are. If it is in time trials, then I definitely want to focus on those."

Next month, Roglič is racing the Tour of Poland. Part of his plan for the overall will be the time trial. "The Tour of Poland ends with a time trial, and even there, I hope to take the win."

New Shimano Europe HQ to employ 200 engineers

This came from Bike Europe:

EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands – The High Tech Campus in the south of the Netherlands is the location of Shimano Europe’s new HQ which will be opened in January 2017. This Shimano office should accommodate more than 200 employees. “Initially, in January, there will be around 150, but we expect to grow this number rapidly,” says Rudy Bouwmeester, Sports & Events Manager at Shimano Europe.

“The new office will focus on the renewal of the existing product range and to design new ones,” writes the news website E52 in the interview with Bouwmeester. “The R&D will mainly concentrate on research. The real product development and production will continue to be done in Asia, at least for the next few years.”

According to Shimano Europe spokesperson Ben Hillsdon, “The Eindhoven office will become the most important one in Europe and coordinate all product improvements and development, also in close cooperation with athletes who are connected with Shimano via sponsor contracts.”

You can read the entire story here.

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