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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 5, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience. - Thomas Merton

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Team reports on Tour de Romandie stage four

We posted the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Here's the Romandie report from second-place Rui Costa's UAE-Team Emirates:

Former world champion Rui Costa came close to winning the Tour de Romandie’s queen stage, albeit shortened by 60 kilometres due to bad weather but maintaining the summit finish in Torgon. The Portuguese was beaten in the sprint by the leader of overall Primoz Roglic, who consolidated his leadership ahead of the final stage. Third place of the day for the winner of the last year’s Tour de France, Geraint Thomas, now in fourth position in the standings at 26" from Roglic. Rui Costa regains second place just 12" back with French Gaudu now third at 16".

Primoz roglic

Primoz Roglic wins the fourth stage. Sirotti photo

“I knew I was good,” said Rui Costa, “but such a long climb was an unknown factor for me too. In the last period, I had prepared myself more for the classics and I concentrated on the more explosive climbs. I’m therefore satisfied with my performance and in the end, I also had the strength to make a good sprint, even if against such a fit Roglic it was practically impossible to win. Now, I’m back in second place in the standings and the hope is to make a good final time trial to keep at least the podium.”

Tomorrow the final stage covers 16.85km, with cyclists racing individually in a time trial, mostly flat, around Lake Geneva

And Bora-hansgrohe sent me this Tour de Romandie report:

Today’s queen stage was shortened from 176 kilometers to 107 kilometers due to snow and according to the extreme weather protocol. Two of the major climbs were eliminated, but the mountain top finish on the Torgon remained unchanged.
Right after the start, eight riders formed the day’s breakaway and were gone for most of the stage with a gap of two minutes. Back in the peloton, BORA – hansgrohe focused on protecting their leader Großschartner and Buchmann, in order to bring them as fresh as possible to the bottom of the decisive climb of the day.

The breakaway was still two minutes ahead of the bunch as they headed into the final ascent of the day, with 13 kilometers to go, while back in the bunch BORA – hansgrohe delivered their two GC contenders into a good position. The breakaway fell apart already after some meters of climbing, but also the peloton split up immediately into different groups. Both BORA – hansgrohe climbers were able to stay with the first group of favorites, when the last of the breakaway riders where caught with about 5 km to go.

When attacks started in the front group yesterday’s stage winner David Goudu was on the move, but also Buchmann and Großschartner tried to distance themselves from the rest of the reduced group. Felix attacked shortly before the finish, but it was yet again Primoz Roglic, who proved to be the strongest, taking his second stage win at this year’s Tour de Romandie. Finishing at the same time, Großschartner crossed the line in sixth, Buchmann in eighth place. A strong ride from both BORA – hansgrohe leaders, who are sitting now in fifth and eighth place overall before tomorrow’s last stage, and individual time trial around Genève.

From the Finish Line:
“It was the right decision to shorten the stage, it was snowing on the two climbs and safety is the most important thing. But the short stage changed the whole race, it was faster, and everyone waited until the final climb to make a move. I think, our two GC contenders showed once again their great shape and that they are always right up there. With Felix’s attack he showed, that he is always a guy for surprises too. We go into tomorrow’s final stage with two guys in the top ten overall and the TT could course could suit them. Therefore, we will see what tomorrow will bring.” – Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

“Due to the short stage, the race was fast and all happened on the final climb, as always. Emu and I were able to stay always in a good position in the first group, after the team delivered us perfectly. Shortly before the finish I increased the pace, I felt good and wanted to try something. But Roglic was just too strong today, however, I am satisfied with my performance so far here.”- Felix Großschartner

Tour de Yorkshire reports

The organizer sent me reports for both the men's and women's races. Here's the men's race update:

A wall of sound greeted Alexander Kamp as he sprinted to a nail-biting victory on the third stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Scarborough’s North Bay provided a dramatic finish location for the fifth year in succession, and as the waves crashed onto the coastline, a crescendo of noise also erupted as a vastly reduced peloton raced onto the closing straight.

Alexander Kamp

Alexander Kamp wins the stage.

It was Kamp (Riwal Readynez Cycling Team) and Chris Lawless (Team Ineos) that went toe-to-toe on the seafront, with Kamp emerging triumphant by less than half a wheel length. Lawless’s disappointment at being denied the win was quickly tempered however when it emerged he had moved into the overall race leader’s jersey sponsored by Yorkshire Bank. Although the duo are level on time, Lawless tops the standings on count back, with defending champion Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) just six seconds behind in third place overall.

With the event moving into the weekend, the number of roadside spectators according to the police swelled to a whopping 660,00 people across the men’s and women’s races; incredible given the blustery conditions. Those fans were treated to a feast of world-class cycling as well with Marianne Vos (CCC Liv) romping to overall victory in the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s before Kamp followed in her tyre tracks.

Robert Scott (Team Wiggins) will wear the best climber’s jersey sponsored by LNER on Sunday’s final stage after a solid performance on today’s five categorised ascents, while Boy Van Poppel (Roompot – Charles) will keep the best sprinter’s jersey sponsored by Asda warm for Lawless as the Team Ineos rider tops both the points and general classification. John Archibold (Ribble Pro Cycling) meanwhile, will don the most active rider jersey sponsored by Dimension Data.

And here's the organizer's Women's Tour de Yorkshire report:

Marianne Vos produced a brave performance on an enthralling final stage to win the 2019 Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race.

Vos – a living legend in the sport with over 180 career victories to her name – joined an elite group of three riders on the fast run in to Scarborough and then outsprinted Mavi Garcia (Movistar Team Women) and Soraya Paladin (Ale Cipollini) along North Bay to wrap up the blue jersey sponsored by Yorkshire Bank.

Marianne Vos

Marianne Vos winning a cross race in 2018

The Dutchwomen, who rides for CCC-Liv, won the race by a seven—second margin courtesy of the bonus seconds she picked up over the two days of action. Garcia took second place on both the stage and overall standings, with Paladin in third.

The concluding stage proved to be a real war of attrition and home favourite Lizzie Deignan (Trek Segafredo) helped thin out the field with an attacking performance that saw her voted the most active rider sponsored by Dimension Data in a live Twitter poll at @letouryorkshire.

Garcia also produced a gutsy solo attack and the fact that she crested the Côtes de Grosmont and Ugglebarnby in first place meant that she earned the best climber’s jersey sponsored by LNER. Vos and Paladin eventually hauled her back and it was Vos who bossed the sprint in front of massive crowds on the seafront in Scarborough.

Christine Majerus meanwhile, crossed the line 1min 22sec later in fourth place, and that meant the Boels Dolmans rider won the best sprinter classification sponsored by Asda following her second-placed finish on Friday.

Results:

Stage two
1 Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv        3:59:16  
2 Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Movistar Team Women                      
3 Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini                 
4 Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam          0:01:22  
5 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women
Final standings
1 Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv        7:34:27  
2 Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Movistar Team Women      0:00:07  
3 Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini 0:00:09  
4 Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam          0:01:28  
5 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women  0:01:35   

Team Ineos, Once Team Sky, Is Off to a Very Bad Start

Joe Lindsey, one of the sport's finest writers, wrote this Outside Magazine piece:

A secretive launch signaled that the new team isn’t going to be a softer, cuddlier version of its controversial predecessor

Team Ineos, the new name for what was known as Team Sky before April 30, launched yesterday. I wasn’t there, but maybe that’s just as well, since the launch seemed to be a disaster.

Chris Froome

The new INEOS jersey

Reports indicate that Dave Brailsford, the team’s general manager, was his usual chummy self, able to spin pleasant-sounding word-salad replies out of almost any question. As for Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe? A verbal train wreck of combative arrogance and misstatements. Let’s explore.

The launch was secretive to avoid the presence of anti-fracking protesters. (Ineos is a petrochemicals company.) Ratcliffe went to great pains to avoid them—even arriving by helicopter—and although he was successful, many of the questions from the press dealt with exactly the issues the protesters wanted to highlight. The central accusation: Ineos’s sponsorship is an effort to greenwash its environmental record by developing an association with cycling, which has something of an eco-friendly gloss. (Never mind the fleet of vehicles involved with putting on a road race.)

Ratcliffe wasted little time sharing his opinion that the critics were ignorant and should be ignored, according to news stories from the event. He insisted we “look at the science” behind hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and claimed it’s safe because “all you do is pump water down.” That’s demonstrably untrue. Both the process of injecting fracking fluid and treating the waste brine creates risks for water and air pollution, including contaminated wells, according to the EPA.

Then the conversation pivoted: Ineos’s business includes a heavy focus on plastics, yet last year, Team Sky participated in a high-profile PR campaign against plastic pollution of the ocean. Plastics, Ratcliffe argued, are essential to modern life. (True.) But from there, he took a questionable turn. “We don’t chuck it in the sea,” he said. It’s nice that Ineos doesn’t make plastics with the express goal of throwing them into the ocean, but collectively we do exactly that, and in great quantities: 18 billion pounds a year, enough to pack every linear foot of coastline in the world with five grocery bags full of the stuff.

You can read the entire story here.

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