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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

A room without books is like a body without a soul. - Cicero

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Tour de France stage three team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the stage results.

Here's stage winner BMC's report:

9 July, 2018, Cholet (FRA): After two hectic days of racing, the Tour de France turned its attention to team time trialling on stage 3 today with BMC Racing Team showing its strength in this discipline to take the stage win and put Greg Van Avermaet into the yellow jersey.

BMC Racing Team was one of the first teams to roll off the ramp in Cholet and all eight riders quickly settled into the team's trademark rhythm as they started their 35.5km team time trial.

Third-fastest at the first intermediate checkpoint after 13km, BMC Racing Team kicked it up another gear heading into the second part of the course, setting the best time at the 26.5km mark before the first five riders powered across the line in a time of 38'46"20 to move into the hot seat.

After a long wait, BMC Racing Team's impressive show of strength, speed and teamwork proved to be enough to take both the stage win and the leader's jersey with Van Avermaet moving into yellow ahead of teammate Tejay van Garderen at the end of the day.

The team's excellent ride also propelled Richie Porte up the General Classification with the Australian rider able to make up time on some of his rivals and move up into 14th overall.

Quotes From the Finish Line:

Greg Van Avermaet:
"I think we were really smooth today. I think everybody did a good time trial and we were all working well together. We knew that Team Sky would be the team to beat and we also knew that it would be close. We worked together and that's what team time trials are about. We stayed together with eight guys for a long time and on this parcours, that was the key to winning the race."

"It was a goal to get yellow in the first week. I have worn it one time already and it was an incredible feeling so, I am pretty happy to be in this position for a second time. I will enjoy it tomorrow because for any rider it is a special feeling. I want to thank my teammates as without them, it wouldn't have happened."

Team BMC

Team BMC was the day's fastest.

Richie Porte:
"I think after what happened on the first stage, throwing 51 seconds away, it was good to take back time on some of the other GC guys. I think the guys were really impressive today. They did a really good job. It's hard to pinpoint one of the guys but when you have someone like Stefan Küng, it makes it a little easier."

"It's been a fantastic day. To win the stage with a team like we have here, and especially with the passing of Andy Rihs, is special. Today puts us right back in the game. It's still a long way to Paris but it's great to win a stage at the Tour and we will enjoy this moment."

"It's also great to have the yellow jersey in the team and Greg deserves it. For me, the next few days are really about staying out of trouble. Yesterday, we put the team up towards the front and obviously you burn energy doing that but it's just the way you have to ride at this Tour. Tomorrow is a little more straightforward perhaps but stage 5 is really hard. We've done a race there this year already so we know it is going to be a tricky stage."

Sports Director, Fabio Baldato:
"Stage 1 has been forgotten about already but it did provide us with the extra boost to go faster today. Victory in the team time trial is one of the best feelings. The prize is shared between all of the team. Everybody works hard, everybody does their homework and prepares well for day's like this and that means that the win is shared by everyone. For me, that is why day's like this are special."

Team Sky was a close second in the time trial. Here's their report:

The second squad down the ramp in Cholet, Team Sky worked hard to set a time of 38 minutes and 50 seconds.

Crossing the line with six riders after the technical 35.5-kilometre course, the result was enough to elevate Geraint Thomas up to third place overall, with Chris Froome now sitting 18th.

Team Sky occupied the hot seat briefly at the finish before BMC Racing set a time four seconds quicker. Holding off a late charge from Quick-Step Floors ensured second place, on a competitive day that saw the top five covered by 11 seconds.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) moved into the yellow jersey, level on time with team-mate Tejay van Garderen, with Thomas now just three seconds back on GC. Froome sits 18th, 55 seconds back on yellow.

Team Sky

Team Sky kept it close.

Along with Froome and Thomas, Gianni Moscon, Michal Kwiatkowski, Jonathan Castroviejo and Egan Bernal all crossed the line together after Wout Poels and Luke Rowe had worked hard early. The result also lifted Bernal to second overall in the young rider classification.

After the stage Froome said he was happy with how the team rode as a unit, explaining: “Just going off feeling and how we rode that I think we can be pretty happy. I think we gave it everything we had and it went pretty much all to plan. You can never tell who is going to be on a good day and who is not. I think all in all it worked out really well for us.

“Obviously it didn’t start too well with the crash on stage one. But that’s bike racing and there’s still a lot of racing to come. We’re just taking it one day at a time at the moment and trying to get through the best we can until we get to the mountains. [Taking back some time] is reassuring. It would have been nice not to lose it in the first place, but I think there will be a lot more time lost throughout the GC group before we hit the mountains. One day you gain, one day you lose. That’s just the nature of the game really.”

Thomas added: “It was good, I think we rode really well. I’m a bit disappointed I feel like I didn’t really get it all out, I always seemed to be on the front on the descents, when we were doing short turns.

He told ITV: “There’s a few things [to improve], you always think you can go a little bit quicker, but I think we rode it really well technically and communicated well.

“We knew we could afford to lose two riders, Wout and Luke, but there was no set plan to do it, just to commit if they didn’t feel great and go as far as they could and that’s what they did. And that’s what it’s about, riding well like that together.”

Here's Bora-hansgrohe's report:

Having taken the race’s coveted Maillot Jaune after his sprint victory on stage 2, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, started the day in yellow, proudly wearing the jersey for the first time in BORA-hansgrohe’s history. However, today’s Team Time Trial took place over a demanding parcours that didn’t play to the Slovak rider’s strengths. In spite of this, Peter rode hard with his teammates to post the seventh fastest time of the day, keeping Rafał Majka in contention in the GC race, as the Polish rider climbed to eleventh in the overall standings.

The Stage
It’s been three years since the Tour de France hosted a Team Time Trial, but the circuit of the town of Cholet and its surrounding countryside would mean there was something for riders of all abilities today. The 35.5km route would take in climbs, descents, street sections, tight bends and long straights, however, the most important thing would be to make sure all the riders stayed together, as the team’s time would be taken from the fourth rider to cross the line. The more technical finish meant a slower second half could be expected, but hot weather and headwinds would also play their part in making the day challenging.

The Team Tactics
At the start of the day, the weather forecast predicted there would be wind on the course. On parts of the parcours this would mean a tailwind, but at points, this meant headwinds would slow riders – especially in the final kilometres. On such a demanding course over varied terrain, the aim would be to stay together as long as possible and not to lose too many riders on the climbs. Riding to protect Rafał Majka in the overall standings, the tactics would not be to win, but to ensure that the winning team was kept in touch and not to lose too many seconds.

The Race
Starting the day last as the team of the Maillot Jaune holder, UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, BORA-hansgrohe. had a slight advantage in knowing how well other teams had performed and any sections of the course that caused particular problems. The aim was to finish in less than forty minutes, and after staying together from the start, the team reached the midway point with seven of their eight riders still on the train. With 10km remaining, the efforts were beginning to take their toll, with both Marcus Burghardt and the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, dropping off, but in spite of this, four riders crossed the line to take seventh position with a time of 39:36 – fifty seconds down on the stage winners, BMC. While Peter had lost the Yellow Jersey, the Slovak rider would start tomorrow’s road stage in the Maillot Vert of points leader, while Rafał Majka climbed twelve places to eleventh in the GC as the first real shakeup of the overall standings gave a taste of what was to come in the next three weeks.

From the Finish Line
"It was a tough day out there and we all suffered a lot. My legs felt really good and I could push a lot but we never found the right rhythm today, so we lost a few more seconds than we would have liked. The position I find myself in the GC now is still fine, and there are still a lot of tricky stages ahead of us where we can gain back some time." – Rafal Majka

"I had bad legs today, from the start. It was really hot and I also lost my bottle on a bump, just 400 meters into the race. I gave my best, as I always do, but I also suffered a lot to respect the coveted yellow jersey I had. I wish I could have contributed a little bit more to Rafal's GC quest today but this is the way it is in sports. You have good days, you have difficult days. Tomorrow we'll have another chance and, once again, we will give it our all." - Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion

"I couldn't say it was a bad TTT but it wasn't our best one either. I think we didn't show our full potential today. The guys didn’t find their rhythm at the beginning, they did their best and fought to the end. I think everybody was pretty nervous with the first yellow jersey ever in our squad, which is understandable. Peter didn‘t have his best day either but he gave his best to support the team. In the end, we limited our losses and 50“ down in the GC is not bad at all, but we hoped to do a little better."– Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director 

Jolien D'hoore takes second consecutive victory in the Giro-Rosa

Mitchelton-Scott sent me this race report:

Yesterday's stage winner Jolien D'hoore once again showed her turn of speed to take a second consecutive sprint victory on the fourth stage of the Giro-Rosa.

Despite being dropped on the only categorised climb of the day, the 'Belgian bullet' found her legs and was able to come back to the front of the peloton in time to claim another stage win for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

After a pan-flat sprint stage yesterday, the sprinters had another opportunity to try again before the race heads to hillier terrain in the coming days.

Jolien d'Hoore

Jolien D'hoore winning stage three.

Mitchelton-SCOTT and D'hoore stayed relaxed in the main peloton throughout the stage, working to keep their two general classification leaders safe before turning their attention to the sprint in the final 10kilometres.

The category three climb, Rivergano, after 52km of racing saw the peloton split with a leading bunch of around 60 riders remaining at the front. It looked like it could be all over for the Mitchelton-SCOTT sprinter after getting dropped over the top of the climb, however, feeling confidence after her victory yesterday, the 28-year-old was determined to get back in contention and did so on the flat run in to the finish as the front bunch eased up slightly.

With 30kilometres to go, one rider made it hard for the sprint teams with a successful attack that rode out to a maximum advantage of 50seconds. The peloton worked to make the catch with nine kilometres to go, but a crash in the group shortly after saw splits in the bunch with some of the sprint favourites coming down.

In the end, D'hoore was able to find a good position and have a clear run to the line to take another win. The team's two GC riders, Annemiek van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt stayed safe in the front bunch to remain in a good position overall after four days of racing with Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) retaining the overall lead.

Jolien D'hoore - Stage 4 winner
"We rode really well today, we always stayed together to keep our general classification leaders safe, also in the final.

"I did a lot of work and I was dropped on the climb. I didn't feel like I was having my best day today but everything came back together and again it was a bunch sprint.

"Once I see the finish I get new legs so again I am really happy to get the victory today. Teams were riding the climb really hard, a few of the GC riders were attacking so I was dropped but I had Jess Allen with me. I didn’t panic because I heard on the radio that it was going slowly after the hill so I just kept faith and kept driving it and we got back.

"The last corner I got a bit boxed in and had to come from the back again, so I did a sprint before my actual sprint and I didn't feel fresh anymore when I started my real sprint but it was enough to win it.

"For the next coming days I hope for more victories for the team. We are going into the mountains, our GC riders stayed safe today and they are feeling good so I can't wait for these next days."

Giro-Rosa stage 4 results:
1. Jolien D'hoore (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
2. Marta Bastianelli (Ale Cipollini)
3. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla)

General classification after stage 4:
1. Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb)

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