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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, June 2, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind. - Robert Green Ingersoll

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Lotto-Soudal previews Critérium du Dauphiné

Here's the update the team sent me:

From Sunday 3 June until Sunday 10 June, Lotto Soudal will take part in the 70th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné. This French eight-day WorldTour stage race is traditionally regarded as the ultimate lead-up to the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday 7 July. With its prologue, team time trial, two stages on a hilly course and four summit finishes, it promises to be an exciting build-up towards the Tour de France.

The Critérium du Dauphiné starts with a prologue in Valence. The first two stages can either end with a selective group that will sprint for the victory or a breakaway that makes it to the finish. Wednesday 6 June, a team time trial of 35 kilometres is scheduled. The final four days will be really tough as they all finish on top of a climb. The penultimate stage with 4,000 metres of elevation over only 110 kilometres is nearly a copy of what awaits the riders in the eleventh stage of the upcoming Tour de France.

The Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang won the Critérium du Dauphiné last year. Thomas De Gendt won the opening stage in Saint-Étienne after he proved to be the strongest of a seven-rider breakaway and he conquered the yellow jersey. Sports director Herman Frison and last year’s stage winner Thomas De Gendt talk about the plans and ambitions they have this year.

Jakob Fuglsang

Jakob Fuglsang won the 2017 edition

Herman Frison: “The Critérium du Dauphiné is traditionally a race with a challenging course. It’s a taste of what the riders awaits during the Tour de France. This year, the Dauphiné starts with a prologue. With Victor Campenaerts, we have a candidate for the victory in our team. He was already close during the opening time trial in the Giro and he will certainly want to prove himself once again. The prologue is 6.6 kilometres long, which is a little bit shorter than the time trial in Jerusalem. The course is U-shaped and is not that technical. The road to the finish is slightly uphill, but the course should definitely suit Victor.”

“Our goal for the Critérium du Dauphiné is to take a stage victory. We will evaluate our position on GC day by day. It is always our ambition to win a stage if we take part in a stage race. The first two stages might end with a sprint, but the rest of the week is very challenging. We will play the card of Jens Keukeleire when it comes down to a sprint.”

“Almost every stage offers an opportunity for us. Riders like Tiesj Benoot, Tomasz Marczynski and Jelle Wallays could join the breakaway during the hard stages and are able to finish it off in the end. Jens Keukeleire won’t only be an asset for the possible sprints. If he joins a large breakaway, he definitely has a chance of winning. If Jelle Vanendert could slip into the breakaway during the stages with a summit finish, he also has a considerable chance to win. And of course, Thomas De Gendt has the experience to finish off a breakaway.”

Thomas De Gendt: “I had a good preparation. I almost completed 100 percent of my planned training rides and I didn’t get ill. I will start with the same ambition as last year in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Then it was not really the plan to absolutely go for the stage victory. You always have to wait and see how the body reacts after a month of training, including three weeks of training on altitude. It could well be that I perform a bit less, but hopefully I have some good days as was the case last year. I don’t have big ambitions for the Dauphiné, but I intend to race in order to find the good feeling and the race rhythm. Probably, I’ll try to do this with some attacks. I rarely target the stages where I want to perform well. But if I’ll get the chance to win a stage, I definitely won’t let it slip through my fingers.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Victor Campenaerts, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Keukeleire, Tomasz Marczynski, Jelle Vanendert and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

Stages:

UAE-Team Emirates headed to Critérium du Dauphiné

The team sent me this:

UAE Team Emirates will head to the Critérium du Dauphiné, running this Sunday through June 10, with an eye on the Tour de France.

Its roster includes Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norwegian), Valerio Conti (Italy), Daniel Martin (Ireland), Manuele Mori (Italy), Simone Petilli (Italy), Edward Ravasi (Italy), Rory Sutherland (Australia). Philippe Mauduit (Fra) and Daniele Righi (Ita) will direct the team.

The historic race in southeast France opens with an individual time trial of 6.6 kilometres. It continues with two flat stages finishing in Just-Saint-Rambert and Belleville.

The team will time trial together in the third stage. It does not let up with two summit finish stages following in Lans-en-Vercors and Valmorel.

The second-last stage follows what the riders will face in the 11th stage of the Tour de France, 110 kilometres from Frontenex to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo.

The last stage covers 129 kilometres, finishing with a climb to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc.

Daniel MArtin

Daniel Martin racing stage five of the 2017 Tour de France

Daniel Martin heads the team: “The Critérium du Dauphiné is always a good test before the Tour de France, but given that this year there’s an extra week between the end and the start of the Tour de France, I expect that my form will be slightly behind with respect to the past years.

"The training period leading up to this has gone well and my feelings are good, but it’s true that this is a very different race. The most important thing will be to get rhythm in my legs, race freely and end it with a precise idea of my form for the Tour.

"The Dauphiné is important also because it’s a mini-Tour de France, with an individual time trial, a team time trial – things that are hard to mimic in training – and because we race on some of the same roads that we are going to face in the 11th stage of the Tour.”

Mitchelton-Scott won sixteen races in May

The team sent me this release:

Mitchelton-SCOTT men and women have ridden one of their most successful months in history, recording 16 victories across Europe in May.

The men’s team recorded 11 wins headlined by five stage victories at the Giro d’Italia, including three stages to Simon Yates in the leader’s Maglia Rosa and two others courtesy of Esteban Chaves and Mikel Nieve.

Encouraged by the performances in Italy, Michael Albasini announced his return to form following early-season sickness to claim a stage and overall victory at the Tour des Fjords before joining a motivated team at Hammer Stravanger to take a clean-sweep of the Sprint, Climb and Chase events to convincingly win the overall competiton.

Michael Alabasini

Michael Albasini winning stage two of the Tour des Fjords.

For the women’s team, it was another successful mid-season team camp that triggered an influx of success. Debuting her rainbow jersey and custom SCOTT bike in Europe, world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten won the stage two time-trial at Emakumeen Bira to take the race lead before teammate Amanda Spratt was allowed on a long-range solo attack to claim the final stage and overall victory.

Returning to action last weekend, Spratt took a second consecutive victory with a small team lining up at SwissEver GP Cham – Hangerdorn whilst on the same day a second squad rode Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik with Sarah Roy and Gracie Elvin coming to the line alone to give Mitchelton-SCOTT another dream 1-2.

Mitchelton-SCOTT general manager Shayne Bannan praised the performances of the two outfits. “We knew when we started the 2018 season that we had established two of the most well-rounded squads we have seen in our team’s history,” Bannan said. “But we were under no illusion that taking those lists and turning them into results was not a given.”

“For us, it’s the team dynamic that is the most crucial element of a team’s success on and off the bike and you only have to look at our results to see we are on the right path.

“Our stage six victory at the Giro d’Italia and women’s performance at Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik are two postcard advertisements of that team dynamic. To have two riders from the same team come to the line to raise their arms in triumph together is the stuff of dreams. To have that twice in one month is incredible.

“We are not getting ahead of ourselves, there is a long season ahead, but it’s also important to acknowledge and celebrate the wins – they are not easy to come across. And our start to the year, followed by 16 victories in the month of May alone is something we are truly proud of.”

May Victories:
1. Giro d’Italia – Stage 6 (Esteban Chaves)
2. Giro d’Italia – Stage 9 (Simon Yates)
3. Giro d’Italia – Stage 11 (Simon Yates)
4. Giro d’Italia – Stage 15 (Simon Yates)
5. Emakumeen Bira – Stage 2 TT (Annemiek van Vleuten)
6. Emakumeen Bira – Stage 4 (Amanda Spratt)
7. Emakumeen Bira – General Classification (Amanda Spratt)
8. Tour des Fjords – Stage 3 (Michael Albasini)
9. Tour des Fjords – General Classification (Michael Albasini)
10. Hammer Stravanger – Hammer Climb (Team)
11. Hammer Stravanger – Hammer Sprint (Team)
12. Hammer Stravanger – Hammer Chase (Team)
13. Hammer Stravanger – General Classification (Team)
14. Giro d’Italia – Stage 20 (Mikel Nieve)
15. Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik (Sarah Roy)
16. SwissEver GP Cham - Hangerdorn (Amanda Spratt)

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