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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 18, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said. - Peter Drucker

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Tour de Suisse Stage nine team reports

We posted the report from the race leader Richie Porte's BMC team with the results.

Here's the race organizer's stage nine report:

Furious final for the BMC Racing Team: Stefan Küng wins the final individual time-trial, Richie Porte clinches the overall victory.

At the intermediate point after 9 km Küng passed only in fifth place but there was no need to worry. The former pursuit world champion upped the pace throughout his effort on the technically challenging course. He won the time trial with an advantage of 19 seconds over Sören Kragh Andersen (SUN/DEN), the stage winner in Gommiswald. “This week has been exceptionally successful for Team BMC. We achieved all our goals this week and we'd like to dedicate all our achievements to the late Andy Rihs, our patron who passed away in spring,” Stefan Küng said.Küng wore the leader’s jersey for five days since the team time trial in Frauenfeld and then handed over the jersey to teammate Richie Porte. The 25 year-old man from Thurgau managed his first win of the season on Sunday but he targets much bigger goals in the future, for example the race against the clock at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Richie Porte managed to win the general classification of his maiden Tour de Suisse without taking a single stage victory, leaving aside the triumph at the team time trial of the opening stage. Porte excelled during the final kilometres of the stage to Gommiswald and fought hard to control the damages after the early move from climbing goat Nairo Quintana (MOV/ESP) in the stage to Arosa. In the final time trial, the South-American rider lost the second place overall by 10 seconds over Jakob Fuglsang (AST/DEN).

Richie Porte

Richie Porte riding the Swiss Tour's stage nine time trial

“Without my team this result wouldn’t have been possible. I must thank my teammates for what they did for me,” Porte said. The Australian rider had only one wish on Sunday evening in Bellinzona: heading back home as soon as possible to Monaco to see his wife and newborn son of only 3 weeks old. “I only got to spend one day with the two of them. Now I’ll be there for one week. Then, the fine-tuning starts ahead of the Tour de France.”

Points classification winner Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

For many riders, a time trial is the purest form of racing – no other riders to compete with, open roads and very little to slow them down, so all they have to do is ride hard and post the fastest time they can. This was especially true of today’s final stage of the Tour de Suisse – with the GC race still not settled and the time trial specialists looking to take the stage honours, it was full-on racing from the first rider out of the gate to the last. Having set the day’s provisional fastest time early on, Maciej Bodnar finished the day in fourth position. The UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, confirmed his record seventh black points jersey, and during the race took a record sixteenth stage win. The whole BORA-hansgrohe team could look back on a race where strong performances – both individual and as a team – put them in a good position to ride a strong Tour de France next month.

Peter Sagan

Another points jersey for Peter Sagan.

The Stage
34.1km was all that remained of the 2018 Tour de Suisse, and while some riders would be looking forward to a rest after a demanding nine days of racing, for many there was still everything to race for – whether for those final seconds in the GC race, or for the time trial specialists who would want to go full throttle after more than a week of waiting since the opening day’s team time trial. The course, which as on yesterday’s road stage, would start and finish in Bellinzona, would promote fast times – mostly flat and on smooth roads, although there were a few sections that could catch out the riders if they weren’t paying attention – a short uphill section a few kilometres from the finish, as well as a cobblestone section in the last kilometre among them.

The Team Tactics
With one of the best time trial riders on the BORA-hansgrohe team roster, much of the attention today would be on Maciej Bodnar. The Polish rider had put in some strong performances this season, both in time trials as well as working hard in the peloton, and this stage would give him a chance to stretch his legs. For the rest of the team, in addition to aiming to finish the stage safely, today would represent an excellent opportunity to dial in positions and equipment ahead of the Tour de France.

The Race
Today, it was all about the riders, with no breakaway to chase down and no finale to prepare for. One of the first riders out of the gate was Maciej Bodnar, who set the time to beat, posting a time of 40:10 over the 34.1km course. Taking his place on the stage’s hot seat as the day’s provisional leader, the Polish rider remained unbeaten for most of the day, in spite of others trying their best. With all of the riders home, Maciej took fourth position, while on a race where he took his sixteenth stage victory, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, confirmed his seventh Tour de Suisse points jersey. Looking back, the whole team had put in strong performances the whole race and were on track for the second Grand Tour of the season – the Tour de France.

From the Finish Line
"I'm happy with the result today, I feel my legs getting stronger. It was a nice time-trial with a course I liked. I was a bit more conservative in the first part and then made up, pushing harder.  I’m still working hard to be in good form for the Tour de France, but first, I'll race in the Polish National Championship, next Friday." – Maciej Bodnar

"I think we can be overall satisfied with our results and performance at the Tour de Suisse. We had a goal to win at least a stage and we achieved that with Peter, who was also very close to victory in all the sprints he fought for. Today, Maciej Bodnar rode a strong individual time-trial, taking fourth against some of the world's top specialists. Gregor Mülhberger also showed a solid performance on the mountains and the team as a whole worked very well, in cohesion. Unfortunately, we weren't able to reach our GC goals with Patrick Konrad but this isn't an issue. He came straight from a very tough Giro where he contributed to the team's successes, so he wasn't at his top form. In my view, we are on the right track for the Tour de France and we look forward to it." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director 

Here's the Swiss Tour final report Lotto-Soudal sent me:

Bjorg Lambrecht successfully defended his place on top twenty of GC during the closing time trial of Tour de Suisse. Before the start of the 34.1 kilometres long time trial with start and finish in Bellinzona, the neo-pro was seventeenth, eventually he ends this WorldTour stage race on the twentieth place overall at 5’31” of GC winner Richie Porte.

Bjorg Lambrecht: “At the beginning of the Tour de Suisse it wasn’t a goal of mine to claim a high overall result. It was a goal for Tim Wellens, but after a few days it turned out that Tim wasn’t as good as he had hoped. At that moment I was still well positioned on GC and from then on I tried to lose as little time as possible every stage. And I can say that worked out well for me, even on this highest level of cycling. This was the first time that I raced for nine consecutive days. I was able to keep my head up in this WorldTour race, among riders who will be taking part in the Tour de France next month. Maxime Monfort, my roommate this week, has taught me a lot; also today during the recon of the time trial he gave me a lot of tips.”

“I will ride the road race of the Belgian Championships next Sunday, but otherwise I won’t be racing for seven weeks. First, I will take some rest. In July I will join the team training camp in Livigno. The Tour de Pologne in August will probably be my first race afterwards. I hope to gain as much experience in the second part of the season as in the first and to maybe show myself when possible.”

Today, Lotto Soudal also participated in the Elfstedenronde in Bruges. Jens Keukeleire and Tosh Van der Sande became part of a front group of nine riders with about fifty kilometres to go. Unfortunately they were caught at eight kilometres from the end. Adam Blythe sprinted to victory; Lotto Soudal wasn’t able to claim a top result.

Tour of Slovenia final team reports

Though we don't cover the Tour of Slovenia, we do post the reports about the race teams send us.

Here's the news from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Primoz Roglic has won the Tour of Slovenia for the second time in his career. The 28-year-old Slovenian did this in style by winning the queen stage and the concluding time trial in Nove Mesto. For Roglic, who already won the Tour of Slovenia in 2015, it’s his seventh victory of the season. As a result, he increased Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s victory tally to nineteen in 2018.

Roglic, who will start his second Tour de France in a month, was outstanding in the twenty-one kilometre long hilly time trial. He was about thirty seconds faster than Jan Tratnik. Due to his time trial victory, LottoNL-Jumbo will head home with three stage wins and the overall win.

Primnoz Roglic

Roglic after stage one of this year's Tour de Romandie.

“The result is perfect. I’m very happy that I’ve been able to win here for my home crowd. But this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my teammates and fans. My fans were great all week. This victory is also for them. It’s been a week I’ll never forget”, Roglic said.

“For me, the Tour of Slovenia has been an ideal race in the build-up to the Tour de France”, Roglic continued. “The Tour begins in three weeks and this race was perfect to get the intensity back in the legs. The upcoming weeks will mainly consist of training and resting and hopefully I’m ready for the Tour. But for now, I’ll enjoy my victory.”

Earlier this season, Roglic won the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Tour de Romandie.

EF Education Frist-Drapac sent me this Slovenia Tour update:

Rigoberto Uran time trialled to 15th place on the final stage of Tour of Slovenia, clocking a faster time than all but two of the riders in the general classification top 10. The performance was enough to keep Uran in second overall.

Overnight race leader Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) won the stage and the green jersey.

“I’m happy,” said Uran. “The most important for me is the Tour, but before the Tour, I have good legs to finish second, win a stage in Slovenia and also do a good time trial today. I’m so happy to know everything is where it needs to be.”

EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale included Tour of Slovenia as a late addition to the team’s race calendar specifically with Uran’s Tour de France preparation in mind. With the Tour starting one week later than usual, neither Tour de Suisse nor Criterium du Dauphine could replicate Uran’s 2017 pre-Tour build-up.

#PinkArgyle arrived in Slovenia with the goal of winning a stage and building confidence. In each regard, it was mission accomplished.

“Everything went well in the time trial,” said DS Ken Vanmarcke. “Rigo was never in trouble and could pace the way he wanted. His main goal is in three weeks, not today, and this week was a perfect preparation. Rigo is healthy, had nice weather to race in, and goes home with a victory and a good feeling for the last build part towards the Tour de France. Knowing what’s coming, we can’t ask for anything more.”

Uran has spent the last two months at altitude in Colombia. He travels to his European base of Monoco from Slovenia.

“Between now and the Tour, I do more of the same,” said Uran. “I want to have good training. We have one small training camp in Girona focused on the team time trial. Then it’s Tour time.”

Coryn Rivera wins OVO Energy Women's Tour

Rivera's Team Sunweb sent me this:

Team Sunweb's Coryn Rivera (USA) has secured the team's first WorldTour GC win at the OVO Energy Women's Tour, after a fantastic team effort across the five day stage race. After securing points at every opportunity throughout the week, she also takes home the sprints jersey.

Rivera: "Being in the leaders jersey is about being calm and in control and the whole team were exactly that throughout the whole week. Today was a difficult stage but we set the pace on the climbs and were in good position all day. This is something special and new for me. I'm really proud of the work that I've put in and the work that the team and staff have put in this week. We played to our strengths with the intermediate sprints, we knew that this race comes down to seconds so we put our energy in that at the beginning of the race and this proved to be the difference at the end. I'm really proud to have taken the win, the jersey belongs to the whole team."

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED): "We can be super proud of the team. What they showed today and through the whole week is outstanding. They controlled the whole race and paced on the climbs; they were so strong that no one could attack. It's really amazing and the win can only be for the whole team, they were super strong and executed the plan to perfection in the end."

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