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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, May 16, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me. - Soren Kierkegaard

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Giro d'Italia stage five team reports

We posted the organizer's & Bora-hansgrohe's reports with the results.

Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb sent me this short, sad note:

Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin was forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia in the early kilometres of stage five, with the injuries sustained in yesterday’s crash proving too much for the 2017 winner to continue with the race.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin heads to the start of stage five. Sirotti photo

Dumoulin said: “I came here for a three week adventure and I wanted to finish it, I’m not ready to go home. I went on the trainer this morning in my room and it was actually kind of ok, but when I stood up on the pedals my knee was really sore. I also tried it seated but that didn’t work either – I could spin the legs but not race.

“For me its terrible. Months and weeks of preparation and dedication went into this Giro and in one moment it’s over. It’s not how I wanted it to go of course, but it is how it is. I don’t know how bad the injury is, we only know that nothing is broken and it will probably just be swollen for a few days, but we have to see. For now I will just rest and see how it goes.”

Team Sunweb physician Stephan Jacolino said: “Unfortunately the pain in Tom’s knee was too much for him to continue today. He sustained bruising to his quadriceps tendon and surrounding soft tissues, and we hoped the pain might ease as the day went on, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. We’ll see if additional examinations are needed when he returns home but hopefully with some rest, he should be back on the bike with a week doing some easy training.”

Team Sunweb’s Giro d’Italia coach Marc Reef added: “We’re really disappointed to see Tom abandon today, this was our main season goal and we came here for a good GC result, but of course this changes our complete focus for the race. We’ve got a really strong group of guys here, both younger talents and those with more experience, all of which are more than capable of going for a stage. We’ll take a day by day approach, look for opportunities and match our strengths to the stages to try and go for the win.”

Second-place Fernado Gaviria's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

In stage five (Frascati-Terracina)The Colombian sprinter showed his competitive edge, ploughing forward in the closing kilometre to take up a good position on the wheel of one of his fellow riders at the front of the peloton. The relentless rain provided difficult conditions for the peloton, and that undoubtedly played on the mind of the sprinters, who were all waiting for the right time to make their move. But with just 300 metres to go, Gaviria went, and it looked like he was primed for the stage win, before Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) pipped him to the line.

It was close between Gavria and Ackermann. Sirotti photo

It was Gaviria’s second podium finish of this year’s race, adding to the stage win he picked up on Stage three, and continues the team’s good form following Diego Ulissi’s third placed finish on Stage four.

Commenting on the race, Gaviria said: “Today the rain and the cold made the race demanding, and I was pretty tired in the approach of the final circuit. Despite this, I gave the best in the sprint and I almost hit the big target. The arrival was at the end of a very long straight, it seemed we could never reach it! Watching the sprint after the race, I started the sprint too early, I would start later if I could go back and repeat it.”

Stage six (Cassino-San Giovanni Rotondo) will be the longest of the Giro 2019 and at 238km, could be good for a breakaway.

And Caleb Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this update:

Today’s stage between Frascati and Terracina was covered in very rainy conditions. Despite the short distance of only 140 kilometres, it was a tough stage. Five leaders formed the break of the day, but they were caught at a considerable distance before the finish. Due to the harsh weather conditions, the Giro organization decided that the time differences would already be taken on the first passage of the finish line, which was nine kilometres before the actual finish. A bunch kick decided who would take the stage win.

The preparation by Victor Campenaerts, Roger Kluge, Tosh Van der Sande and Jasper De Buyst went well initially, but then Caleb Ewan got boxed in. Therefore, the Australian could not begin his sprint soon enough, but he still managed to take fourth place. The win was for Pascal Ackermann, who beat Fernando Gaviria and Arnaud Démare. Primož Roglič remains the leader in the general classification.

Caleb Ewan: “It was difficult today, because we started uphill and it was really cold and wet. I just put more clothing on and tried to stay as warm as possible. The GC teams were not there to race through the dangerous corners. I think it was a good decision to stop the race there, but for the sprinters the race went on, so it did not make much of a difference for us. We were on the right hand side and suddenly, there was a big puddle. I think everyone who went through it, lost all their speed. That was with only 400 metres to go, so that was disappointing.”

Unfortunately, Jelle Vanendert had to abandon today. The Lotto Soudal rider is struggling with an inflammation of his right knee. Vanendert already felt the ache yesterday and eventually, he was forced to end his Giro today.

Jens Keukeleire finished fifth in the second stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. The stage from Walllers to Saint-Quentin was mostly flat. Six riders broke clear, but they were reeled in and a bunch kick would take place in Saint-Quentin. Clément Venturini initially won the sprint, but was later relegated by the jury. That way, Dylan Groenewegen took his second stage victory and extends his lead in the general classification.

Jelle Wallays crashed yesterday and did not take the start today. Further examinations revealed a contusion of the left ribs. In addition, the middle finger and the scaphoid bone of the right hand are contused as well. The period of inactivity should be limited for the Lotto Soudal rider, but a definitive answer will follow in the coming days.

Tour of California stage three team reports:

CCC Team sent me this:

14 May 2019, Morgan Hill (USA): A late attack from Simon Geschke on stage three of the Amgen Tour of California paid off with third place, behind winner Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), which was Geschke’s first podium result of the season.

Remi  Cavagna

Remi Cavagna wins Tour of California stage three.

After a crash-marred start to the season, Geschke’s result comes on just his 11th day of racing this season after breaking his collarbone on the final stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

Geschke’s attack with 23 kilometers to go was one of many moves from CCC Team during the stage, which started with a large 19-rider breakaway, featuring Michael Schär and Szymon Sajnok, that went clear in the first 20 kilometers. As the group established a 45-second advantage, the peloton split into pieces due to strong winds and a fast pace at the front of the bunch with many teams unhappy with the composition of the breakaway.

The breakaway was brought back after 40 kilometers which set the stage for new attacks and eventually, Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Alex Hoehn (USA National Team) were allowed to go clear.

With more than 2900 meters of climbing throughout the 207-kilometer stage, the peloton was content to let the leading duo stretch their advantage to more than ten minutes. Paweł Bernas attacked from the peloton approaching 100 kilometers to go, at which point the breakaway’s advantage was sitting at eight minutes, and managed to gain four minutes on the bunch but was unable to close in on Cavagna and Hoehn.

With the steep climbs taking their toll, Bernas was caught by the peloton entering the final 60 kilometers, by which point Cavagna had dropped Hoehn and forged on ahead.

As Cavagna extended his advantage and looked set to claim the stage win, Hoehn was losing momentum and with the peloton seemingly happy with the situation, Geschke made the most of an opportunity to attack with 23 kilometers to go.

Geschke was joined by Ben King (Team Dimension Data) and, together, they extended their advantage and caught and passed Hoehn at the 10 kilometers to go mark, at which point Cavagna had passed the flamme rouge on his way to take the stage win.

King managed to come around Geschke on the finish stretch, taking second place, while Geschke rolled across the line in third place and onto the podium. 

Unfortunately, Will Barta was involved in a crash on the descent of Mt. Hamilton and sustained a fractured collarbone. An update on his condition is provided below.

Quotes from the Finish Line

Simon Geschke:
“We tried to go in the early breakaway as it seemed like a good day for the breakaway. But, then everyone was surprised when it was only two guys who eventually went clear. I felt really good and actually, I was a bit surprised by my race today. Yesterday, I was suffering and, of course, I didn’t come here with the highest expectations after my two injuries this season. My legs today were better than yesterday. Cavagna was so far in front so the speed was not too high in the peloton, so I managed to get away inside the last 30 kilometers. I was still racing for third place at that stage and then, later on, we caught Hoehn. So, then I was riding for second place before eventually finishing in third place, which is still a really nice result for me. After the start to the season that I had, it’s a really nice feeling to be attacking and be up there in the final of a stage. My goal for the race was to go in a breakaway and take any opportunities, and I was able to do that today.” 

Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
“The stage played out a little bit different to how I imaged. We all thought the breakaway would be a bigger group, as it was the beginning of the stage, and with riders far down on the General Classification that could contend for the stage. But, that first group was brought back because Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) was in it and he was close on GC. Even if the peloton had let the group stay in front longer, it still would have been brought back as there were a lot of guys who started the day less than two minutes’ back.” 

“Once the two guys, who were both far down on GC, went clear there was no reason to bring them back, so the GC teams were just riding tempo on the climbs and controlling on the descents. We had wanted to be in the breakaway so Simon Geschke’s attack was a last minute move towards the end of the stage when all of the GC riders were more or less neutralized. It was nice for Simon to see an opportunity there and get a top three result for us.” 

Dr. Eric Heiden on Will Barta’s injury: 
“Will Barta sustained a displaced, comminuted left collarbone fracture in a crash on the descent of Mt. Hamilton. He will require surgery in the coming days which will be performed in Salt Lake City. After Will’s surgery, we will be able to assess his recovery time but normally, he should be able to start on the rollers one-week post-surgery and be back racing in approximately six weeks.”

And here's the Tour of California report from Bora-hansgrohe:

Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California was to be another long day in the saddle. Riders would be finishing the 208km stage in Morgan Hill, the irony being that in spite of its name, the finale was where the gentlest terrain of the day would come. Dotted throughout the profile were six categorised climbs – including the first Hors Catégorie climb of the race, the fearsome Mount Hamilton.

Summitting at the 138km point, there was still a long way to go to the finale, and while the ground levelled off for the last 20km, there was no chance the sprinters would be in any condition to contest the stage. Plenty of attempts were made to break away at the start of the day, Oscar Gatto trying his luck early on, but it took 50km for anything to stick – a duo making the most of the warmup the flat terrain provided before the road turned upwards.

While small in number, these two riders built a significant lead of more than ten minutes, and while the two lost contact with each other a little ahead of the day’s HC climb, they each still maintained a lead of more than seven minutes on the peloton, who seemed disinclined to pull them back owing to their not threatening the overall standings. In spite of some attempts to bridge from the bunch, the solo breakaway rider’s lead with 10km to go was still sitting around eight minutes. With the winner across the line, it was a matter of the GC contenders working to protect their position in the overall standings. Coming in sixth on the stage, Maximilian Schachmann held onto his fifth position in the GC, while Felix Großschartner held GC ninth after finishing with Maximilian in the bunch.

From the Finish Line:
"It was a very long stage but without any change at the top of the GC. Once the smaller break went away, the peloton didn't have much interest in chasing them. Cavagna didn't present any threat, so we stayed with the group of the GC contenders and made sure we didn't lose any time. Felix and I keep our positions and it's one stage less to Pasadena." – Maximilian Schachmann

"Another very long stage where we raced for our GC riders. We stayed in the peloton, calm, in view of the coming stages. A big group with 20 riders went away after the start and Oscar Gatto was there but after 20km they were reeled in. Then Cavagna with another rider escaped and the two were allowed to build a gap of 9 minutes because there wasn't any interest in bringing them back. The stage then went on like this until the finish and Cavagna took the win with a margin of 7 minutes. Our GC riders, Felix and Maximilian, together with Daniel and Juraj, finished in the group of favourites while Peter, Oscar and Erik came in a few minutes later in another group." – Jan Valach, Sports Director

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