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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 12, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late. - Thomas Sowell

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Giro d'Italia stage seven team reports

We posted the organizer's as well as stage winner Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team's reports with the stage results.

GC leader Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

Mitchelton-SCOTT successfully piloted race leader Simon Yates through a sprint finish on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia to retain the pink leader’s jersey for another day.

The flat stage, won by Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), was designed for a bunch finish and as a result the sprint teams took responsibility for much of the day, relieving Mitchelton-SCOTT of much of their duties at the head of the peloton.

Clean break:
On just the second attempt of the day, a breakaway of three riders rode clear in the first ten kilometres.

Maxim Belkov (Team Katusha), Markel Irizar Aranburu (Trek-Segafredo) and Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) posed no threat on the general classification and allowed Mitchelton-SCOTT to ride an easy tempo on the front with Svein Tuft.

Light load:
With a small group, no overall threats and a stage primed to conclude in a bunch sprint, it didn’t take long for sprint teams to take control of the policing duties.

Quicksteps Floors and Willier Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia sent riders up the front early, before EF Education First -Drapac also contributed later in the day.

Fast finish:
A fast finale meant positioning was key, but the likes of Sam Bewley and Roman Kreuziger ensured their leaders in Yates and Esteban Chaves were positioned well to cross the line safely on bunch time.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates will start stage eight in pink.

Simon Yates – Race leader:
“I was a bit nervous. It was a big moment for me to wear the pink jersey, one of the biggest of my career, but it was a special day and I really enjoyed it.”

“It’s my first time leading a grand tour, but with the breakaway going away quite easy it was a bit more relaxed and a nice day.”

“I know nothing of the next two stages except what is written in the book, but our directors know the climbs very well as do a couple of our riders, so for me it’s not a problem.”

“It’s a little more difficult to attack now I am in the jersey, and I need to see if I have the same legs. The first climb nerves are out of the way. Sometimes the first climb doesn’t go as well as expected, but then as the race goes on riders become much better so we will have to wait and see how our rivals are feeling.”

Here's the report from points classification leader Elia Viviani's Quick-Step team:

Elia Viviani extended his lead in the maglia ciclamino standings, which he tops since last Saturday, despite coming runner-up on Friday's 159km-stage, a quiet one that took the riders from Pizzo to Praia a Mare, a town last visited by the caravan at the 2016 edition, when the course was completely different, more suited to puncheurs than sprinters, as was the case now.

Three men slipped away in the opening kilometers and built a 3:30-lead over the peloton, but once Rémi Cavagna moved to the head of proceedings the gap stabilized, as the 22-year-old led the peloton for over 100 kilometers, bringing back the escapees with 15 kilometers. After the relentless Frenchmann peeled off the front, former maglia bianca Max Schachmann took over and closed down a five-man move which emerged over the top of a short unclassified climb.

As was the case with the previous bunch finishes, in Israel, this too was a chaotic one, with several teams fighting for positioning inside the last five kilometers, which included a few tight corners. Escorted by his teammates, Elia Viviani moved towards the front two kilometers from the line and with 500 meters to go he took the wheel of Sacha Modolo (EF Education First), before opening his sprint.

The Italian led until the final 50 meters, when Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) overtook him, but held on for second place, a result which saw him increase the advantage he enjoys in the points classification, one of his goals at the Giro d'Italia.

Elia viviani

Elia Viviani (in purple), came close in stage seven, but the day was Bennett's

"It was another crazy sprint and we used a lot of energy to move up. Bennett was always on my wheel and he had the upper hand in those last 50 meters, where there was some wind which made it trickier. I'm sad for not taking my third win, but I am looking to the full half of the glass, which is the important points I bagged today at the intermediate sprint and the finish. The boys were again amazing, did a fantastic job and this defeat will only motivate us for the next challenge", said Elia Viviani after the last flat stage of the opening week.

BMC's Tejay Van Garderen returns to Tour of California

Van Garderen's BMC team sent me this:

10 May, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team heads stateside this week with Tejay van Garderen set to make a return to the AMGEN Tour of California (13 - 19 May) as part of a well-rounded BMC Racing Team line-up.

BMC Racing Team will be looking to target both stage wins and the General Classification at the UCI WorldTour seven-day stage race, Sports Director Jackson Stewart said. "We are heading into this year's AMGEN Tour of California with an experienced and very capable team. We are excited to be returning to this great race with Tejay van Garderen, who is a previous winner here, and of course, we would like to be successful in the General Classification. But, we will also keep an eye out for opportunities to go for a stage victory depending on the dynamic."

"We are going to arrive in Long Beach on Sunday with a very motivated roster of riders and staff and I'm looking forward to a successful week," Stewart explained.

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen racing in this year's Tour de Romandie

Van Garderen is heading back to the start line of the AMGEN Tour of California for the first time since taking overall victory in 2013. "I'm super excited about making a return to the AMGEN Tour of California as the 2013 edition was a special memory for me. The course is demanding but, we have a strong team and we will go into the race with big goals," van Garderen said.

AMGEN Tour of California (13 - 19 May)

Rider Roster: Patrick Bevin (NZL), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)

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