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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 19, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit. - Helen Keller

Current Racing:

Latest completed racing:


Geraint Thomas forced to withdraw from Giro d’Italia

Team Sky sent me this bad news:

19th May 2017: Geraint Thomas’ Giro d’Italia has come to an end after injuries sustained in a crash during Sunday’s Stage 9 forced him to withdraw from the race.

The physical impact of the crash was obvious at the top of Blockhaus, where Thomas had fought back bravely to limit his losses, and in the immediate aftermath he described the damage he had sustained to his shoulder.

Thomas bounced back to record a brilliant second place in Tuesday’s Individual Time Trial. However, with the impacts of the crash taking their toll over the past 2 days of tough racing, the decision has been made that he will withdraw from the Giro.

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas headed to the start of Thursday's stage twelve

Geraint Thomas: “I’ve been suffering since my crash on Sunday. I’ve had an issue with my shoulder which is manageable, but my knee has also been getting worse each day.

“Obviously it’s never nice to leave a race early, especially when it’s your main goal of the season, but I have to look at the bigger picture. I'd love to continue, but it would be a case of trying to survive each day rather than racing.

“I’ll turn my attention to the Tour de France now, and I want to arrive there with the same good form I started the Giro with.

“I want to thank all the staff and riders here. It’s been great fun and I wish them all the best for the remainder of the Giro. I’ve really enjoyed racing in Italy again. The fans have been amazing and I’ll be back.”

Sir Dave Brailsford: “It’s desperately sad for Geraint. He has worked hard to arrive here in such great condition and we were looking forward to seeing him compete.

“As always, he has shown true fighting spirit and demonstrated what a competitor he is, but the impacts of a crash like that take their toll. We have to make sure that his injuries are managed optimally, ensure he is able to maintain his fitness and condition, and then look to set new targets.

“As far as the team goes, the GC has gone but there is still plenty to fight for and the opportunity is there for our riders to achieve a stage win in the 100th Giro”.

Giro d'Italia stage twelve team reports

Here's what race leader Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb had to say:

The Maglia Rosa stays with Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin (NED) after a bunch sprint saw the pink jersey roll home safely in the peloton, with no time losses over his main GC competitors.

Team Sunweb had another successful day defending the pink jersey at stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia. A strong team effort saw Dumoulin spend the day surrounded by team mates, keeping him safe and fresh for the coming mountain stages. Dumoulin rolled home inside the peloton with no time losses and will wear the Maglia Rosa for the third day tomorrow.

After the stage Dumoulin said: "Today was a pretty relaxed stage so it was a good day. There was a tailwind in the final which made it really fast, but the team had positioned me well to stay out of any trouble. Tomorrow is another sprint day so we aim to keep safe again and look forward to the mountain stages coming up at the weekend."

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin started and finished the day in pink.

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "We didn't have to work so much today as we knew the sprinters teams would take control. The team did a great job of protecting Tom all day, there was a section where potential splits could have formed as a result of crosswinds but everybody stayed alert, focused and in position. Once we knew that Tom was safe, Phil [Bauhaus] was able to do a really good sprint and took fourth on the stage."

Bora-hansgrohe posted this report:

Today was another chance for the sprinters to show their skills. The BORA – hansgrohe train worked out perfectly but on the last meters Sam Bennett was overtaken by two riders. He took third place in stage 12 at the Giro d´Italia, this means podium result number six for BORA – hansgrohe.

The 12th stage was also the longest stage in this 100th edition of the Giro d´Italia. More than 220 kilometers from Forli to Reggio Emilia, which were mostly flat, waited for the peloton today. The race featured two categorized climbs and two intermediate sprints, the last 70 kilometers were totally flat, therefore another bunch sprint was expected.

The peloton took it very easy in the beginning of the stage. After 35 km into the race the 3 escapees had a 7-minute lead. BORA – hansgrohe took a conscious decision to stay in the peloton, focused to go only in big groups and also on the final lead-out for Sam.

The race situation was a long time the same, with a trio in front of the race and a gap over some minutes. With 50 kilometers remaining Team Quick-Step Floors took over the lead in the peloton and set the pace to catch the trio. Also, José Mendes was always in front of the peloton and represented BORA – hansgrohe´s team colors with a strong ride.

On the last 20 kilometers, the peloton raised the pace therefore the gap dropped steadily. BORA – hansgrohe formed their lead-out and dominated again the race. The team was always present in front of the race and rode together an amazing train.

With 7 kilometers to go, all escapees were caught and the peloton rode together into the city center of Reggio Emilia. Sam Bennett was in the perfect position behind all his lead-out men. The last meters to the finish were tricky with some narrow streets and corners, the BORA – hansgrohe train went perfectly through these obstacles.

On the final meters, it was a battle between the Quick – Step Floor and BORA – hansgrohe, with Rudi Selig being the first one to hit the home straight. But when F. Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) launched his sprint, Sam Bennett couldn´t respond and was overtaken to finish 3rd, which is the 6th podium result for BORA – hansgrohe.

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria finishes ahead of Jakub Mareczko and Sam Bennett

“A third place in a Grand Tour is of course a very good result. Still we are a little sad, everybody would have treated him the victory today and I think our strong teamwork proved that. I am really proud of our great team spirit. We will analyze today´s sprint and try it again tomorrow.” – Christian Pömer, sports director

"The guys did an amazing job once again. I would like thank the team for the trust and the effort they are giving. I hope I can repay their efforts in tomorrow´s sprint." - Sam Bennett

UAE Team Emirates sent me this:

UAE Team Emirates’ Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo placed seventh with teammate Roberto Ferrari in tenth position during the 12th stage that concluded on Thursday 18 May. The stage was won by Fernando Gaviria (Quick – Step Floors) who came first while Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) still holds the race lead. Marcato great protagonist in daily breakaway.

“I didn’t feel good in the first week of the Giro but now I feel that I am getting better and better with every day that goes by” sai Modolo. “Unfortunately I feel that I’m still only at 80% and that is not enough to win at the moment. But who knows, the Giro still has a few stages to go and things may change.”

Speaking of the team’s tactics Marco Marcato said: “Our team always aims to be a participant of long breakaways. We decided to try and join the breakaway for today because we were aware that after yesterday’s stage a lot of riders would be exhausted and wanted to take advantage of that. I succeeded in breaking away from the group immediately after the start, however only two other riders joined me and it was quite difficult to maintain it to the very end.”

Stage 13 is 167 km long starting from Reggio Emilia and is considered to be the sprinters’ last chance to shine. The route is flat and ends in a slight ‘elevation’ of 115 m above sea level in Tortona.

Team Dimension Data reports on the Tour of Norway's second stage

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did well to defend Edvald Boasson Hagen’s leader’s jersey on stage 2 of Tour of Norway. In the sprint, the Norwegian champion finished third and thereby increased his lead in the general classification.

Today’s 194 km long stage from Eidsvoll to Brumunddal took place in horrible weather conditions. Only three riders dared to break away from the peloton and the pack made sure the trio never got too much of a gap. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka controlled the situation perfectly and with 22 km left to go, it all came back together again.

As the riders headed into the expected bunch, Lotto-NL Jumbo took the front and delivered their sprinter, Dylan Groenewegen to victory, while Boasson Hagen made podium and got additional bonus seconds for the GC. He now leads with eight seconds down to Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) and 10 seconds to Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott).

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen wins the Norway Tour's second stage

Alex Sans Vega – sports director: “We controlled the whole stage and kept the breakaway within reach. Towards the end, Lotto-NL Jumbo started working as well and we made sure Edvald [Boasson Hagen] was in a good position and didn’t lose any time. At the end, Edvald finished third and got a few more bonus seconds, which usually are very important in this race. Tomorrow is a very hard stage, which will decide the GC. We are looking forward to it and we will try our best”.

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