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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 16, 2016

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Tour of Switzerland team reports

BMC sent me this:

15 June, 2016, Cari (SUI): Darwin Atapuma put in an incredible ride on Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse to solo to victory on the first mountain stage of the race.

It was a day of redemption for Atapuma, who dedicated the win to his late mother, after a string of near-misses at the Giro d'Italia.

Atapuma formed part of a strong 24-rider breakaway after 20 kilometers of racing. As the breakaway reached the final climb of the day, it was down to a small group of riders to battle it out on the climb.

Atapuma attacked solo with six kilometers to go, and managed to hold off the General Classification group who were closing in, in the final hundred meters.

Tejay van Garderen showed his form in the GC group, crossing the line to take fourth place on the stage and move into fifth place on GC, 18 seconds behind new race leader Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale).

Interview with Darwin Atapuma

Was this a stage you had targeted before the race?

"Four days after the Giro d'Italia I came and did a recon of the final climb as I thought it would be a good stage for me. I was confident after the Giro d'Italia because I had really good legs. I looked at the stages of the Tour de Suisse and as this one finished at a high altitude and the two climbs before were also high, I knew it would suit me. If the altitude is more than 2000m it suits me well. I trained at altitude in the lead up to race to stay focused and motivated."

Darwin Atapuma attacks

Darwin Atapuma attacks

When you reached the final climb did you believe you were in a position to win?

"I was confident when the breakaway reached the final climb as we still had a reasonable gap. I knew that there were two possible scenarios that were good for the team. If Tejay attacked from behind, then I would be there to help him. Or, in case I got close to the finish as we eventually did, I would attack for the win."

You looked incredibly strong when you attacked solo, what was going through your head?

"I knew it was possible to win but I needed to stay focused. I had good legs, the others had dropped and I know the climb well. I was waiting for the right moment to attack and when I went I managed to develop a good gap, and it paid off. I had to dig deep in the final kilometer as I knew there were riders getting closer. But I just wanted the win so badly."

After missing out on a couple of stage wins at the Giro d'Italia, does this give you confidence going into the next part of the season?

"For sure my results at the Giro d'Italia gave me confidence as I know I have good form. The fact that I missed out on a stage win there gave me more motivation and kept me focused for this win. I did everything possible to stay in good form. I'm especially happy because I know how important this win is for BMC Racing Team and our title sponsor BMC Switzerland. To take the win at the Tour de Suisse is really something special for me and the team."

Fabio Baldato, Sports Director: "The plan for today was to try and put Silvan Dillier and Philippe Gilbert in the breakaway, to hopefully gain a good gap of five or six minutes. But when we saw the strong guys that went in the break, Darwin knew that he had to jump in. A 24-rider breakaway is dangerous so it was good to have Darwin there to put the pressure on."

"If Tejay wanted to attack and was in the position to do so, then Darwin would be there. Team Sky set a tempo but there wasn't a really strong chase which worked well for Darwin. For Tejay this was also a great result. He had good legs and gained a couple of seconds back on some of the GC guys, so he is well positioned going into the next mountain stages."

Giant-Alpecin posted this:

In the fifth stage from Brig-Glis to Carì, the overall classification started to take shape. At 126.4 kilometres, this stage was relatively short. On route into Ticino however, the Furka and Gotthard passes presented two large obstacles on the agenda for the riders and with the approximately 11-kilometre final climb towards Carì it was always going to be a tough day.

The day got off to a positive start with Laurens ten Dam part of the early break of 24 riders and they build up a maximum advantage of around 2' over the peloton. However on the first climb of the day, Cheng Ji and Tobias Ludvigsson were forced to abandon the Tour de Suisse. Indeed, they have both had very busy racing programs and with the high mountains they had no energy left in them to continue.

The race was dominated by Team Sky and they set a high pace at the bunch all day as the peloton thinned down throughout the day. On the slopes of the final climb, Darwin Atapuma Hurtado left his breakaway companions behind and it was a well-timed move from him to eventually take the stage win. In the final kilometer, Warren escaped from the GC group and took third. An excellent result for him. In the overall classification, Warren moves up to fourth, 16" behind new leader Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R La Mondiale).

Warren Barguil

Warren Barguil also escaped.

Warren Barguil said: “It was a nice day for me. My legs were good and my teammates protected me really well during the stage. I was thinking of attacking with 5 km to go but the pace was not high enough in the reduced group because of course I need to gain time before the time trial on Saturday.

“The training in Sierra Nevada and the preparations with my trainer Morten helped me a lot today. I think I have taken a step forward this year and I hope I will continue this way.”

“Next time I hope to be in a breakaway again but then with better legs,” explained Laurens ten Dam.” I was happy to be there but I was disappointed to drop when the group split.”

Coach Morten Bennekou added: “The team in general and Warren individually did a really good stage today. Warren was well supported until the last climb by Sam, Sindre, and Simon. And on the uphill finish he was the strongest.

“Unfortunately, Atapuma made it to the line with a 3 seconds gap after a long day in the breakaway so Warren finished 2nd after attacking out of the first group within the last 2km. He is now fourth in the GC and we are looking forward to the upcoming days.”

Here's LottoNL-Jumbo's Swiss Tour update:

LottoNL Jumbo’s Wilco Kelderman came a few tenths of a second too short to get the leader's jersey in the Tour de Suisse. The 25-year-old Dutchman finished fifth in the stage won by Darwin Atapuma (BMC).

Pierre Latour (AG2R) took the jersey after placing third with the same time in the overall as Kelderman.

Break

The break with the day's top finishing riders

A break went early into the 126-kilometre stage. Sports Director Frans Maassen appointed Koen Bouwman and Paul Martens to be in the breakaway, but Bram Tankink did so with 24 others.

"Tankink said that he felt strong and wanted to go in the break,” Maassen explained. “It was quite a struggle to get in the break but he finally succeeded.” After the break split on the Gotthard Pass and Tankink returned to the peloton. “He put Kelderman in the front at the foot of the final climb to Cari."

"I fell. That was a disappointment,” said Kelderman. "Someone stood up on his pedals and I struck his wheel. I broke my bike, but my legs were good. I felt right so I had morale in the final. The crash was stupid, though."

"At the time Kelderman went to the doctor, the peloton broke up. Fortunately, Lindeman and Martens could close the gap,” added Maassen. “We will see what the damage is tonight, but what Kelderman showed on the final climb bodes well."

"We get four stages to climb,” Kelderman added. “I had hoped that I would have this level because in altitude training my values ​​were good. Better than before."

“We set the bar high today and Kelderman proved that he is on a good level,” continued Maassen. “He looked strong and we knew that this would be possible. The jersey is always nice, but we are certainly not upset because there are still four difficult days where Kelderman can try."

On the final climb, Kelderman was in the small peloton and he tried to attack in the final. Not much later, Warren Barguil (Giant Alpecin) moved clear and finished four seconds behind Atapuma. Seven seconds behind the winner, Latour finished, and at nine seconds, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Kelderman. Latour, thanks to bonus seconds, was equal with Kelderman, but the hundredths of a second in the prologue the difference.

Tomorrow: "Tomorrow is a similar stage like today, more hard climbs and summit finish,” said Maassen. “We hope that Kelderman shows the same strength tomorrow.”

And here's what Lampre-Merida had to say about the stage:

First test on the mountains of the Tour de Suisse and Rui Costa and Jan Polanc were the two most competitive riders from Lampre-Merida.

In the 5th stage, the riders started from Brig-Glis and in 126,4 km, after covering the Furkapass (hors category climb), the Gotthardpass (1st category) reached the summit arrival in Carì.

The Furkapass was the springboard for the attack of 24 cyclists, which included the Eastern duo from Lampre-Merida Krisjtian Durasek (winner of the Risch Rotkreuz stage in the Tour de Suisse 2015) and Jan Polanc.

The breakaway, which had a maximum advantage of 2'55", got selected on the Gotthardpass and both Durasek and Polanc were dropped from the head of the race, however the Slovenian rider succeeded in limiting the gap and he could recover the front group in the downhill.

On the final climb, the fast pace of Atapuma, who was a member of the breakaway gave to the Colombian the deserved victory, however Polanc could complete a good performance reaching the finish line as 18th at 59" to the winner.

Behind the leader Atapuma, the top riders group was reduced to few members, especially when, at 3 km to the arrival, Rui Costa raised the pace and only Van Garderen, Pantano and Thomas could be with him.

The Portuguese champion crossed the arrival in 8th place, at 16" to Atapuma and losing few meters from Van Garderen in the final sprint (7" to the American rider).

In the general classification, Rui Costa is very close to the top 10, being 11th at 35" to the young French rider Latour, who's the new leader of the race.

"Today stage was a good test to check my condition, considering both the side of the long term program for the Tour de France and the current competition of the Tour de Suisse - Rui Costa explained - I pedaled during the whole stage in the group of the top climbers and main general classification contenders, I had quite good feelings, however I feel I can improve my fit and this is something good, especially thinking to the next month big appointment.

It will be interesting to evaluate how the top riders will recover energy quickly in view of the next stage with the summit arrival at Amden and the climb of Klausenpass at half course".

Ster ZLM Toer team reports:

LottoNL-Jumbo had a good day on the Dutch roads:

Jos van Emden won the opening 6.4-kilometre time trial of the Ster ZLM Toer in 7’23". The LottoNL-Jumbo cyclist was three seconds faster than the American Taylor Phinney (BMC). Swiss Stefan Küng placed third.

“I do not often win, so I am very happy with it,” said van Emden. "It did not feel great, but a time trial has to hurt. Luckily, I had some energy left in the end to give everything. And that last part was the hardest, and I was able to push a larger gear and make a difference."

Jos van Emden

Jos van Emden having a terrific ride

"This is a beautiful win,” added Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. "Jos van Emden began not too fast but after that, he came on strong. With only a kilometre left, he was on the schedule for the fastest time at that moment. And if you see that he is still able to go 60kph then you know it is a good final kilometre. In the last kilometre, he went three seconds faster than the rest."

"I hope to keep the jersey as long as possible, which should be possible in the stage between around Oss tomorrow, but you never know. I’ll enjoy this first," said the new leader.

Verhoeven is already happy with the team’s ride in the tour. He said, “We're not just going to give the jersey away. We want to keep it as long as possible. We are here with Dylan Groenewegen also to win stages."

And BMC sent me this report:

Jos van Emden won the opening 6.4-kilometre time trial of the Ster ZLM Toer in 7’23". The LottoNL-Jumbo cyclist was three seconds faster than the American Taylor Phinney (BMC). Swiss Stefan Küng placed third.

“I do not often win, so I am very happy with it,” said van Emden. "It did not feel great, but a time trial has to hurt. Luckily, I had some energy left in the end to give everything. And that last part was the hardest, and I was able to push a larger gear and make a difference."

"This is a beautiful win,” added Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. "Jos van Emden began not too fast but after that, he came on strong. With only a kilometre left, he was on the schedule for the fastest time at that moment. And if you see that he is still able to go 60kph then you know it is a good final kilometre. In the last kilometre, he went three seconds faster than the rest."

"I hope to keep the jersey as long as possible, which should be possible in the stage between around Oss tomorrow, but you never know. I’ll enjoy this first," said the new leader.

Verhoeven is already happy with the team’s ride in the tour. He said, “We're not just going to give the jersey away. We want to keep it as long as possible. We are here with Dylan Groenewegen also to win stages."

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