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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 23, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Tour of Switzerland stage eight reports

Here's the report from stage winner Yves Lampaert's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Yves Lampaert became the 14th different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to get a victory this season after blitzing the 19.2km course around Goms and breaking the sub 22-minute barrier for an outstanding time of 21:58. The 28-year-old Belgian rolled down the ramp long before the general classification favourites and showcased his ITT capabilities, displaying great composure as he went fastest through the intermediate point, before comfortably slotting into the hot seat at the finish.

Yves Lampaert

Yves Lampaert on his stage-winning ride. Sirotti photo

Minutes later, the 2017 Belgian ITT National Champion was joined on the provisional podium of stage 8 by teammate and former owner of the best young rider jersey Kasper Asgreen, who was just five seconds off the pace as he continued to impress en route to scoring another strong result at World Tour level.

Being an early starter meant that Yves had to wait for several hours to see if he’ll get his maiden World Tour individual time trial victory, but it was all worth it, as nobody could get close to his outstanding time. The double Dwars door Vlaanderen victor ended up taking to the podium, where he celebrated Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 41st victory since the month of January.

“I didn’t expect it, because before the start I thought I didn’t have the best feelings, but I just gave it my all and rode full gas. To beat so many riders, so many specialists of the discipline, including the World Champion, it’s just incredible and feeds my confidence ahead of next week’s Nationals. It’s my first World Tour ITT win and it’s just crazy. I’m surprised, but at the same time, so, so happy”, an elated Yves said after capturing his first victory in 12 months.

Asgreen made it a Deceuninck – Quick-Step 1-2, but he wasn’t the last of the team’s riders to impress on Saturday afternoon. Enric Mas – the squad’s highest-ranked rider in the overall standings – started the day in seventh place and posted a time of 23:12, which elevated him a position ahead of the final leg.

Scheduled around the same picturesque town of Goms, the ninth stage of the Tour de Suisse will be a mountainous one, set to feature three energy-sapping climbs: Nufenenpass, Gotthardpass and Furkapass, the last of these being topped with just 26 kilometers to go.

Here's the report from GC leader Egan Bernal's Team INEOS:

Egan Bernal held firm to retain his overall race lead at the Tour de Suisse following an impressive time trial performance.

The young Colombian put in a very competitive time to fend off the challenge of world time trial champion Rohan Dennis (Bahrain Merida), and now takes a 22-second lead into the final day.

Egan bErnal

Egan Bernal starts his time trial. Sirotti photo

11th fastest on the stage and only losing just under half of his overnight advantage across the flat 19.2-kilometre test, Bernal takes the yellow jersey into Sunday’s mountain decider – in addition to holding both the young rider and mountain jerseys.

Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) claimed the fastest time on the day with a benchmark of 21 minutes and 58 seconds, with Dennis only able to manage the sixth fastest time.

Egan Bernal:
“It’s for sure a surprise for me to be here in the yellow jersey. This morning I thought that maybe I would lose yellow and now I’m still here. I was in a fight for this jersey with the world time trial champion so I should be happy with the performance.

“In a left-hand corner I almost fell and I was a little bit scared because I took the corner really fast. It was a risk but I think that I took a couple of seconds in the corner.

“Tomorrow I think we should just try to keep the jersey, not do anything crazy. There’s one day to go. If Bahrain want to win the race they will try something but we just need to keep hold of it.”

Here's the report from Rohan Dennis' Bahrain-Merida team:

“I’m happy obviously I would loved to win today – comments Rohan Dennis – but it’s not always possible. A lot of things went in the right the last week and at the moment to be second in GC it’s a great result. I was thinking my training was going well but I didn’t realize it was done this well”.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis turns in a good ride. Sirotti photo

The Aussie rider, 6th in today’s ITT (19.2km) won by Belgian Yves Lampaert, has recovered 19” on the leader Egan Bernal and has maintained his second place with a 22″ gap from the young Colombian.

Domenico Pozzovivo has been very unlucky because he had puncture with only 6 kilometers from the finish line losing in that way important seconds on the other GC rivals. “It was really a pity – says the Italian rider, now 8th overall – because I was having a good race and instead I lost 30/40 seconds. Tomorrow the Queen stage will be very demanding and for sure I will try to recover positions”.

And here's the report from Patrick Konrad's Bora-hansgrohe team:

On today’s 19.2km Individual Time Trial, the GC riders had to make a decision – do they go hard today and hope to take enough time to keep them safe on tomorrow’s Queen Stage, but risk blowing up on the tough climbs, or do they hold back today and give it their all tomorrow?

The course was flat and fast, but some twists and turns, bridges and tunnels, meant this stage wouldn’t simply be about all-out speed and there would be plenty of opportunities to take some time. This was clear once the first riders went out on the course; there was a huge variety in the times, with some coming in after more than twenty-three minutes, with others digging deep and posting faster times. Maciej Bodnar was one of the early riders on the course, posting a time of 22:53.

In spite of his tiredness, his time placed him in the top ten for much of the day, only being pushed out when the last riders made their way onto the course. The Polish National Time Trial Champion was also able to pass on information to his BORA-hansgrohe teammates about the course conditions, and where time could be gained and where they needed to be careful. With Patrick Konrad making his way onto the road, only one rider had posted a time of less than twenty-two minutes. The Austrian rider, sitting in third in the GC, kept his nerve on the course, posting the second fastest time of the BORA-hansgrohe riders and keeping hold of his podium spot in the overall standings, with Maciej finishing the stage in 18th position.

Tomorrow, the team will ride to support Patrick on the race's Queen Stage, taking the fight to the mountains to protect his podium spot in the GC. Its three Hors Catégorie climbs make this not only the hardest stage of this year's edition, but also one that could be decisive in the quest for the yellow jersey.

From the Finish Line:
"I'm not happy with my result today, it wasn't one of my top time-trial performances. Unfortunately, there wasn't much more that I could have done, I wasn't at my best." – Maciej Bodnar

"I think I had a solid performance even if this wasn't one of my best time trials. I didn't have to go very deep in order to defend my podium position but I now have to focus on tomorrow, the last day of the Tour de Suisse. It will be a really big and decisive one." – Patrick Konrad 

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