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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 14, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit. - Morgan Freeman

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More news on Chris Froome

Froome's Team INEOS sent me this update:

Team INEOS can confirm that Chris Froome’s surgery was a success following his crash on Wednesday afternoon.

Froome suffered multiple serious injuries after crashing at 55kmph on a recon of stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine, and was taken to Roanne Hospital where he was stabilised and assessed, before being helicoptered to St Etienne Hospital for surgery.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome just before the start of stage one of this year's Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

Speaking to TeamINEOS.com, Doctor Richard Usher said: “First things first, the surgery was a success. The operation, which lasted for six hours, went very well.

“Chris woke up this morning and was reviewed by the intensive care consultants and the orthopaedic specialist who operated on him and they’re both very happy with his progress to date.

“Chris will remain in hospital for the next few days for observation, but he is already actively engaging in discussing his rehabilitation options, which is very encouraging.

“As he begins his road to recovery, the Team will now only be providing further updates at a stage where it is necessary to do so."

Chris has asked the Team to extend his thanks for the overwhelming number of messages of support that he’s received over the last 24 hours. They mean a lot to him.

Chris will release a statement of his own in the coming days.

Critérium du Dauphiné stage five team reports

Stage winner Wout van Aert's Team Jumbo-Visma sent me this:

Wout van Aert has claimed his second stage win in the Criterium du Dauphiné. The day after his time trial victory, the Belgian of Team Jumbo-Visma sovereignly sprinted to victory in Voiron. Due to his win, Van Aert strengthened his leading position in both the youth and the points classification.

Because of his time bonuses Van Aert moved up to fifth place overall at twenty seconds behind Adam Yates. Kruijswijk is sixth at 24 seconds.

Wout van Aert wins stage 5

Wout van Aert wins stage five.

For van Aert it is his second victory of the season and it is Jumbo Visma’s 25th.

The stage that started in Boën-sur-Lignon took the riders over undulating roads. The early breakaway lasted for a long time and was only reeled in in the final kilometre. Lennard Hofstede, Pascal Eenkhoorn and Neilson Powless positioned van Aert well in the front. Subsequently, the Belgian positioned himself well in Julian Alaphilippe’s slipstream and outsprinted the French rider with a powerful sprint.

“This is unbelievable. I never expected to beat Sam Bennett here”, van Aert said. “We knew that it was going to be very sinuous and technical with all those roundabouts in the last two kilometres. It was necessary to be in position fairly early. My teammates brought me well and I positioned myself behind the leadout of Bennett in the slipstream of Alaphilippe. I launched my sprint in the last corner. When I passed Julian, I knew I had it: my second win in a row. What a great week. I did not expect to be able to win here, but I did want to try and sprint for my green jersey. From tomorrow on I will be riding in support of our leader Steven Kruijswijk and try to take the green jersey back to Belgium.”

“This is a very nice win”, Grischa Niermann said. “With an eye on the green jersey, we tried to get Wout in position for the sprint and grab the necessary points. It’s great that Wout wins.”

Second-place Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

After yesterday’s demanding time trial stage, the riders faced a 200 km flat stage from Boën-sur-Lignon to Voiron today. Only four category 4 climbs awaited the riders before the spectators saw an exciting bunch sprint, with a false flat last kilometer to the line. Today’s breakaway consisted of three riders and enjoyed an advantage of around three minutes. BORA – hansgrohe stayed in the main bunch and took together with Mitchelton-Scott, the overall leader’s team, control in the peloton. The leading group was gone for most of the stage and held a gap of constantly more than two minutes.

With 40 km left, Deceuninck - Quick-Step increased the pace in the main bunch and tried to close the gap. The trio at the front tried hard and was able to hold the pack away until the Flamme Rouge. There were some late attacks as the race headed into the finale, which was earmarked with some tricky corners, but BORA – hansgrohe was able to chase them down before starting their lead out for Sam Bennett. The Irish sprinter started his sprint early in order to be ahead of his opponents through the corners but J. Alaphilippe was on his wheel and overtook him on the last corner.

The BORA – hansgrohe Sprinter was able to follow and a battle to the line saw Sam Bennett taking second behind Van Aert. Although it wasn’t the result the team was looking for, it was nevertheless a strong result after the BORA – hansgrohe guys worked tirelessly in the last kilometres.

From the Finish Line:
“Unfortunately, it was not to be today. The boys rode super well for me but the finish was super chaotic and earmarked by many attacks. I saw that Alaphilippe was coming around the corner so I was a little bit boxed in for a second, but I managed to take second place. I am disappointed but I am grateful to the guys for working so hard to pull the break back.”– Sam Bennett

“We worked right from the beginning with Cece followed by Christoph and wanted to be at the front especially shortly before the finale. The trio stayed out at the front quite a long time and battled hard. On the last kilometers, we have seen a lot of attacks. Therefore, it was difficult to start a proper lead-out, but still the guys did a great job. Of course, we wanted to win but nevertheless it is a strong second place.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

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

Mitchelton-SCOTT successfully kept 26-year-old Adam Yates out of trouble on today’s lengthy sprint stage of Critérium du Dauphiné, to retain his overall lead after five-days of racing.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider stayed well protected and towards the front of the peloton for the majority of the race, eventually sprinting into 12th position on the stage, with Woet van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) claiming a consecutive victory.

From the very start of the lengthy 201kilometre day a trio of riders, Alessandro de Marchi (CCC), Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Yoann Bagot (Vital-Concepts), escaped from the peloton and quickly opened up an advantage of over two-minutes.

As the race leading team, Mitchelton-SCOTT took control and led the peloton with a steady chase for the majority of the day with some welcomed help from Bora-Hansgrohe.

Once the race passed the 50kilometre to go mark the sprint teams began to come to the fore, picking up the pace as the leading trio still remained around two-minutes in front.

With pan-flat roads all the way to the finish line, it was clear that the peloton wanted to take their final opportunity at a bunch sprint finish and the Australian outfit surrounded Yates, keeping the Brit well protected as the charge for the finish picked up.

After a furious pace was set in the final five kilometres, the breakaway trio were all finally caught with just one-kilometre remaining.

Finishing the day safely and on bunch time, the general classification remains much the same, with Yates maintaining his race leaded by four-seconds over Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) as the climbs begin tomorrow on another lengthy 229kilometre stage.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates will start stage six in yellow. Sirotti photo

Adam Yates - Overall race leader:
“Nothing really happened until about 60kilometres to go today. The wind was picking up a little bit but still, it wasn’t the right direction or it wasn’t strong enough to do anything, so it was just a bit of stress in the peloton.

“I don’t know much about tomorrow’s final, the downhill at the end could be decisive but it’s not worth risking your life for gaining ten seconds. Any stage from now on is pretty hard, the last two are quite short and selective but as I said yesterday I’m feeling good. The sensations are good.”

CCC Team to Focus on Stage Wins at Tour de Suisse 

The team sent me this:

13 June 2019: In the absence of a General Classification contender, CCC Team will focus on stage wins at the upcoming Tour de Suisse which serves as the final stage race for the team ahead of the Tour de France.

Sports Director Valerio Piva said the riders will use the nine-day stage race to fine-tune their form and look to race aggressively.

“When you look at our Tour de Suisse roster, it is clear that we don’t have a rider for the mountains so we are not expecting to do anything on the General Classification. Instead, we will aim to win a stage and race aggressively, starting with the individual time trial which should be a good one for Patrick Bevin,” Piva explained.

“Michael Schär, who is our only Swiss rider, will, of course, be motivated racing on home soil and for the riders who are on the Tour de France long list, the Tour de Suisse is their last opportunity to show their form. If we win a stage at the race, I think we can say it was a successful week for CCC Team.”

Michael Schar

Michal Schär leads at break at the 2019 Amstel Gold Race. Sirotti photo

Van Avermaet is motivated for the Tour de Suisse, which will be his second WorldTour stage race of the season. “The Tour de Suisse is always a really hard race so it is the best preparation for the Tour de France. This year, without a GC rider in the team, I think we will all be able to go for our own opportunities so I hope to make the most of that as there are a few stages that I like the look of,” Van Avermaet said.

“Hammer Limburg was a good test of my form and I was happy with my legs, especially on the Hammer Climb day, which is a good sign ahead of the Tour de Suisse as we have plenty of climbing throughout the race. A good result in Switzerland will give me a lot of confidence going into the Belgian national championships and the Tour de France, so that’s my main goal.”

Bevin is looking forward to testing himself against the clock after finishing in fourth place in his last ITT at the Tour de Romandie.

“It was great to have a reset [after Tour de Romadnie] at this time of the year as starting my season in the first week of January makes for a long opening stanza. My main objective at Tour de Suisse is both time trials. Both are great parcours for me and I am obviously trying to improve on my results against the clock. I have been there or there abbots but yet to stand on top of the podium so I am hungry to make that next step in my performance,” Bevin said.

“It’s an exciting time of the year. I have come off a huge block of training in Andorra and with the Tour de France the centre piece of the cycling world come July, it’s been great to have that as my main goal.”

Tour de Suisse (15 - 23 June)
Rider roster: Patrick Bevin (NZ), Simon Geschke (GER), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL).

Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Piotr Wadecki (POL)

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