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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 20, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road. - Stephen Hawking

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Giro d'Italia stage fourteen news

We posted the organizer's and stage winner Chris Froome's Team Sky's reports with the stage fourteen results.

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

Two-time stage winner Simon Yates has finished second up the famous Monte Zoncolan on stage 14 to extend his overall lead at the Giro d’Italia. Yates finished six-seconds behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) who took out the stage, but the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider gained time on all his other rivals to put him one-minute 24seconds ahead of second-placed Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).

Brave breakaway:
As the Zoncolan loomed ahead, there was no shortage of riders brave enough to try to make the day’s breakaway. After several attempts, four riders rode off the front before being caught by three chasers to make a group of seven.

With Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) the highest contender on the general classification, at more than 13minutes adrift, Mitchelton-SCOTT settled on the front of the bunch to ride tempo with Svein Tuft and Sam Bewley.

Above and beyond:
Despite controlling the breakaway all day, Mitchelton-SCOTT’s men continued to ride on the front deep into the stage. Both Bewley and Tuft both contributed well beyond expectation at the start of the day before Chris Juul-Jensen and Roman Kreuziger took up the reins for the next phase of the stage.

The mighty Monte Zoncolan:
Yates had Mikel Nieve and Jack Haig for support as they began Zoncolan but on a climb that hard teammates can really help with positioning only. Team Sky hit the front and set a fast pace and shortly after, the remnants of the breakaway were scooped up and the stage victory was on offer.

Aru was in trouble with 6km to go before Froome put in his attack with a little more than four kilometres remaining. Yates responded with Domenico Pozzovivo and Miguel Angel Lopez before the 25-year-old went solo in pursuit.

As Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) lost touch, Yates continued to pursue Froome but couldn’t close the gap.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates finishes stage fourteen.

Simon Yates – Race Leader:
“I tried to go for the stage. I did my best to catch Chris. I just didn't have enough to get it. But as far as the Maglia Rosa is concerned, it's all good to be second here.”

"As expected, the gaps aren’t massive. I’m still happy with the gap to Tom [Dumoulin] and the rest of the guys behind. I wasn’t more nervous than the other days, as much as I am sure that Tom is confident ahead of time trials.

"I couldn’t follow Froome – he went at a really good moment. He put in a really strong acceleration. It was still a long way to go. I rode my own tempo at that moment – he didn’t get a huge gap. I tried to bridge but that’s ok. I did the best I could."

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this Giro stage fourteen report:

Today's finish on the legendary Monte Zoncolan ended with a frantic finale, where C. Froome took the win ahead of the Maglia Rosa, S. Yates. The two GC contenders Formolo and Konrad were able to go with all the favourites as the race climbed up to the finish. Patrick Konrad finished as BORA – hansgrohe best placed rider in 11th place and holds still a top-ten spot in the general classification.

The Stage
Today’s stage was maybe the most challenging stage in this year’s edition of the Giro d’Italia. With an elevation gain of more than 4,400 metres and five demanding categorised climbs, a brutal stage awaited the riders. The first part was calmer with only one KOM (cat.3), but the second part led the riders over three categorised climbs before the riders had to face the iconic ascent up to the finish on the Monte Zoncolan, with a maximum gradient of 22%.

Monte Zoncolan

The road up Monte Zoncolan

The Team Tactics
While the previous stages were designed for the fast men in the peloton, today was a day for the climbers and GC contenders. BORA – hansgrohe went into today’s tough stage with two cards to play, Davide Formolo and Patrick Konrad. The plan was to bring both of them into the best position before the final climb. Felix Großschartner was to be the key rider for BORA – hansgrohe’s GC contenders, his “job” was stay with them on the way to the ascent up the Monte Zoncolan. With three climbers, the goal was to secure Patrick’s position in the overall ranking and to achieve a good stage result with Davide Formolo.

The Race
After some kilometres of racing a group of seven riders went up the road and built a gap of more than 5 minutes over the peloton and was gone for most of the stage. The BORA – hansgrohe equipe stayed in the main bunch and worked for their two GC contenders Patrick Konrad and Davide Formolo. As the race came into the final climb of the day, the breakaway was caught, but two riders launched an attack and built a small gap. The race came alive as the group with all favourites started to follow. With an incredible strong ride of Felix Großschartner, who helped his teammates, three BORA – hansgrohe riders managed to stay in this group. All of them pulled hard and showed a strong ride up to the finish but with 4km to go, C. Froome launched an attack, closed the gap to the two riders at the front and in the back the group fell apart. The two BORA- hansgrohe riders Formolo and Konrad were together some seconds behind the leaders and tried to bridge the gap but as S. Yates increased the pace, both weren’t able to follow. On the last metres Yates came closer and closer but it was C. Froome who took the win on the legendary Monte Zoncolan. Around one minute later, Patrick Konrad finished as best BORA – hansgrohe placed rider in 11thplace, 1:48 behind winner Froome. Davide Formolo crossed the line in 18th place, some seconds behind his teammate. In the overall ranking Patrick Konrad is still in the top-ten.

From the Finish Line
"I am satisfied with my performance and result today, it was a brutal stage but I stayed in a good position and tried to ride my own rhythm. But I am happy that this stage is over, especially the final climb is really a tough one. I am still in the Top-ten in the overall ranking and therefore, I am in a good position for the upcoming stages to secure my position” – Patrick Konrad

“I think, we can be satisfied, Patrick is still in the top ten in the general classification and also today he showed a strong performance. The team works good together and the team spirit is great, which is important for the last period of the Giro d’Italia. – Jens Zemke, sports director 

Tour of California final team reports

We posted the report from stage seven winner Fernando Gaviria's Quick-Step team with the race results.

Tejay van Garderen's BMC team sent me this news:

19 May, 2018, Sacramento, California (USA): Tejay van Garderen headed onto the podium in Sacramento this afternoon after finishing safely alongside his BMC Racing Team teammates in the bunch sprint to secure second overall on the General Classification.

The final stage of the AMGEN Tour of California started and finished in the state capital and saw the riders tackle a 143km pan flat course that drew to a close with three laps of a 3.5km circuit in the heart of the city.

As expected, once the day's breakaway went clear, it was the sprinters' teams that took responsibility for the pacemaking at the front of the peloton in anticipation of a final fast and furious finish in California.

The advantage of the four leaders, who went clear after a fast opening 15km of racing, was never allowed to extend beyond 2'15" and behind, BMC Racing Team was sitting comfortably around van Garderen in the first half of the main bunch. 

At the 50km to go mark, the gap was hovering around 1'30" with the chase heating up 15km later, and by the time the race reached the first local lap, just 25 seconds separated the breakaway from the rest of the field.

The peloton was stretched out in single file as the catch was made, and the battle for position began, just before the bell rang to mark the start of the final 3.5km lap.

After a photo finish, it was Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) who took the stage win while van Garderen, who was kept well-positioned by his teammates in the closing kilometers of the race, finished safely in the peloton to secure second overall, 1'25" behind Egan Bernal (Team Sky).

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria barely wins stage seven.

Tejay van Garderen:
"It's been great to be back racing over here and hear the crowds and hear my name. I have a stage win and a podium finish here and obviously, a victory is nice but I think we can look back on this week and be proud. I think he [Egan Bernal] played his cards well. We knew he was going to attack in the mountains and I had to nail the time trial and in the end, the race went in his favor. I did everything that I could do and I can't think of any mistakes or anything I would do differently to come out on top."

"I came here with the goal to win. That's not me saying that I am not stoked to finish in second place but I came here thinking I had the ability to win. I think I showed I have pretty good form and we are still a couple of months away from July so I have a little room to improve but I think I am on track."

"When I won here in 2013, I think the level was a little lower. It wasn't a UCI WorldTour race and there weren't as many WorldTour teams here. With the importance that WorldTour points have, I think teams send a deeper roster to the race with more ambition and a higher level. I'm not going to say it was easy to win here in 2013. I would never disrespect the field in that way but it was certainly a deeper race this year."

Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"Today was a sprinters' stage with a little bit of wind but in the end, it wasn't enough to do anything decisive. It was a fast finish and all of the sprinters' teams were really going for it. We managed to stay out of trouble. We had a little bit of a scare with both Danilo and Tejay needing wheel changes in the final 25km but the group was still pretty compact at that point and we got into the final circuit without any trouble. Tejay secured second place on the podium so it was a good day."

"Our number one objective coming into this race was to finish on the podium and we did that. Then, secondly we wanted to get a stage win which we also did so, I think we have met our major goals for the race, and we can be happy. We rode to win and we were able to get second. It was a job well done from everyone this week, both team staff and riders, and overall we've enjoyed the past two weeks we've spent in California."

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