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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 13, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. - Samuel Johnson

Plato's Crito

Plato's dialogue Crito is available both in audiobook and Kindle eBook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage eight team reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here’s the report from winner Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic have given an impressive performance in the queen stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The two crossed the line shoulder to shoulder on the final climb. Vingegaard won the stage; teammate Roglic took the overall victory.

Roglic and Vingegaard approach the finish line together. Sirotti photo.

Team Jumbo-Visma showed from the start that they had big plans. A group of fifteen riders never got more than a two-minute lead. The black-and-yellow brigade appeared with several riders at the foot of the final climb and opened the throttle once more.

After Christophe Laporte, Chris Harper, Tiesj Benoot and green points jersey winner Wout van Aert had done their work, it was Steven Kruijswijk's turn. On the day’s last climb, the Dutchman rode at a scorching pace for kilometres on end and several riders from the now depleted peloton had to let go. A few kilometres from the top, Kruijswijk rolled out the red carpet for teammates Vingegaard and Roglic. The duo rode away and a few moments later they crossed the line together. Vingegaard won the stage, while race leader Roglic secured the overall victory. It took Team Jumbo-Visma's 2022 victory tally to 23 wins. For Vingegaard, it was his second season victory; Roglic has already won four times this year.

"This is great. I can't describe it any other way", an elated Roglic said. "A beautiful day for our team. Everyone has ridden great. We can all enjoy this. I am thrilled with the final win in this Dauphiné. We also came here to prepare for the Tour de France. We are on the right track. We still have a few weeks to put the finishing touches. Hopefully, we can still improve a little bit. I am happy that I am no longer bothered by my knee injury. That gives me confidence in the run-up to the upcoming races. We will now enjoy this beautiful week, then rest briefly and train well with the team in Tignes."

Vingegaard was delighted with the team's success. "A wonderful day. We planned to attack with Primoz following me in my wheel. We wanted to see if it was possible to get rid of everyone. The fact that it turned out exactly that way is better than we had thought. We are proud of what we have shown here as a team. I did not have the best spring, but I think I am now on the way back. Last week I achieved a high level. That gives a lot of confidence for the coming weeks. I am thrilled with my stage win and second place in the general classification."

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And here's the closing Dauphiné report from Team Groupama-FDJ:

The 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné was set to end on the Plateau de Solaison this Sunday afternoon. In a short but dynamic eighth and final stage, the Groupama-FDJ cycling team first went for victory by putting Michael Storer and Bruno Armirail into the breakaway. The Australian did take advantage of his French mate’s hard work, but he couldn’t hold off the bunch in the last climb, taking 19th place and the most combative prize. As for David Gaudu, he suffered a bad day, was unable to stay with best and finally placed seventeenth overall.

Between Saint-Alban-Leysse and the Plateau de Solaison, only 138 kilometres were to be covered to complete the Critérium du Dauphiné, but no less than 3800 meters of elevation gain featured along the way. After a hilly start to the stage, riders especially had to deal with the Col de la Colombière and the ascent of the Plateau de Solaison in order to finish the event. The Groupama-FDJ cycling team started this last day of racing with a dual objective: the stage win and the overall. This is why, from the first climb of the day, Bruno Armirail and Michael Storer both attacked from the bunch to slip into the breakaway.

The peloton ascends the stage's first real climb, the Col de Plainpalais. Sirotti photo

However, the latter did not establish itself straight away, and they had to fight for almost twenty kilometres, including on the Col de Plainpalais (9 km at 6.5%), to finally take a gap on the bunch. The gap actually increased to two minutes… but not much more. In the back, the team from yellow jersey Primoz Roglic maintained the pressure and left no margin to the fifteen leading riders. At the bottom of the Col de la Colombière (12 km at 5.7%), the lead of the breakaway was only one minute and a half, and Bruno Armirail then took control to speed up the pace. The breakaway split and its lead returned beyond two minutes. After a huge pull, the Frenchman was dropped three kilometres from the top, and Michael Storer tackled the downhill further up the road together with George Bennett, Jan Hirt, Laurens De Plus, Eddie Dunbar and Kenny Elissonde.

Unfortunately for the fugitives, the pack also accelerated, and the gap was again 1’30 at the top. After a long descent and a bit of flat road, the leading men eventually started the ascent of the Plateau de Solaison (11.4 km at 9%) with only a minute lead. Storer proved to be among the strongest up front, but favourites group caught him and the others with seven kilometres to go.

“It was a very hard day, and unfortunately Jumbo-Visma was riding too fast behind”, commented the Australian. “We had little hope, but we had to try anyway. I spoke with Bruno, and we had to go hard in the Col de la Colombière. We still rode fast today, I pushed quite big numbers, but it was not enough to hold off Jumbo-Visma”. Once he got caught, Michael Storer reached the finish line at his own pace, in nineteenth place, and was then awarded the most combative prize. “We were up there, we had a role in the race,” said Frédéric Guesdon. “The problem is that the peloton did not play with the breakaway, which obviously upset our plans for the stage win. Bruno and Michael did everything right, we can’t blame them for anything. We have no regrets. They were just beaten by stronger riders, who today were the GC guys in. Jumbo-Visma decided to go for the stage, so we cannot be disappointed from this point of view”.

David Gaudu, on the other hand, experienced a more difficult day to complete this Critérium du Dauphiné. Right up there in a small bunch of around thirty men with Kevin Geniets, Bruno Armirail and Rudy Molard at the bottom of the Plateau de Solaison, the French climber was quickly forced to let the GC group go. “There are days when things don’t go well, when the body says no. Today was one of those days”, the young man briefly said. “I tried to hold on but unfortunately, I realized I couldn’t. I am very disappointed, and I apologize to the team. There isn’t much else to say. I’ll need to bounce back and rest. The third week of the Tour is still a long way off”. David Gaudu reached the line with Rudy Molard and Kevin Geniets and eventually took seventeenth place overall, far from his morning goal.

“We hoped to climb in the general rankings with David, but it did not go as we would have liked”, concluded Frédéric. “It’s sport, and today it didn’t go our way. He had a bad day, we are disappointed, but we must not forget that he had not raced for a long time. In the end, it’s still not a bad Criterium du Dauphiné. We won a stage and performed well every day. We must keep the positive, the week’s balance remains very decent, and the goal still is the Tour. We need to keep our spirits up and there is still a bit of work to do”.

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Tour of Switzerland stage one reports

We posted the report from stage winner Stephen Williams' Team Bahrain Victorious with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Maximilian Schachmann's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The Tour de Suisse commenced today with a 176 km long hilly course around Küsnacht, featuring a total of eight climbs, the last one coming only 4.5 km before the finish. A few kilometres after the leading group was caught, a small group including Maximilian Schachmann, Sergio Higuita and Aleksandr Vlasov successfully broke away from the thinned-out peloton with 5km to go. With about 1.5km remaining, Aleks attacked from the front group, but ultimately wasn't able to get away, and the race ended in a sprint, which van Wilder opened first.

The German champion managed to pass him on the outside with 100m remaining, yet was narrowly beaten by Stephen Williams, who overtook him in the final metres, and finished in a strong second place. Teammate Sergio Higuita crossed the finish line in eighth place, while Aleks also finished in the same time as the stage winner in 12th place.

Stephen Williams wins the first stage.

"It was actually quite a tough stage today. Initially, I didn't feel so great due to the heat, but I saw that a lot of other riders were also suffering. On the last climb, the pace picked up and a selection was then made there. Everyone went full gas and no one was quite able to get away. It ended up being a bit of a poker game, but as a team we played it well. It's always nice to race as part of a successful team and the spirit in the squad is really good here this week. In terms of the final result, it was very close in the end, but Williams was simply stronger today." - Maximilian Schachmann

"We tried to bring the positive vibe of the Giro to Switzerland. The seven riders we have at the start are mostly coming from altitude training, so it's a first assessment of sorts here, and few have ambitions for the Tour. Our goal today was to win the stage and also to have a say in the GC. We succeeded very well with Max's second place. In addition, Sergio and Aleks were also in the first small group, which of course also bodes well. All in all, it was a very good day for us and we can be satisfied with second place, even if it was very close. The important thing is that Max has once again found his previous strength." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Here's the Swiss Tour report from sixth place Ilan Van Wilder's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

The hilly 177.6km opening stage of the Tour de Suisse put on the table a terrain very much to the attackers’ liking, and our team just couldn’t miss this rendez-vous. As a result, Tim Declercq moved to the front of the peloton to take over the reins soon after the breakaway formed, and produced another huge effort, gradually chewing into the seven-man breakaway’s three-minute gap and bringing them into the bunch’s view on the final lap of the Küsnacht circuit, consisting of two hard climbs.

At the bottom of the last of the day’s eight ascents, Fausto Masnada – who returned with the Wolfpack for the first time in more than two months – pushed an insane tempo with Liège–Bastogne–Liège Remco Evenepoel at all times in his wheel, before peeling off once his job was done and the peloton was reduced to some 20-odd riders. When the attacks came, Evenepoel was the first to answer, making a selection in an instant.

That small group was caught by what was left from the peloton before Remco went again, at 1500 meters to go and with only one other rider for company. For a brief moment there, it looked like they would go all the way to the line, but the chasers joined them with just 500 meters left, and the stage came down to a sprint, which Ilan Van Wilder tried to anticipate. The 22-year-old Belgian went all-out and almost made it, only for the group to catch him inside the last 50 meters. Stephen Williams (Bahrain Victorious) won, while Ilan still had something left to finish sixth.

“It was a hard stage to kick off a race, but we did a good job, staying together, controlling things and answering all the dangerous moves. The list climb was demanding, but Remco gave it a go, while I stayed with the rest. When he got caught the second time, I went for it, but the others were faster. Still, to finish top 10 in my first race in a while is a good and encouraging result”, said Ilan, who in Switzerland made his first appearance with the Wolfpack since crashing out of “La Doyenne” at the end of April.

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ZLM Tour final reports

We posted the report from overall winner Olav Kooij's Team Jumbo-Visma with the results.

Here's the report from third-place Sam Welsford's Team DSM:

The final day of racing at the ZLM Tour saw the peloton take on 160 kilometres from Made to Rijsbergen, and another flat parcours. It was a steady start to proceedings with a five rider breakaway escaping early into the stage, quickly building up their lead, with all Team DSM riders in the bunch; focusing on conserving energy for the finale.

As the kilometres ticked by, the advantage for those out front slowly fell but they fought hard and heading into the last 25 kilometres it stood at just over two minutes. Tim Naberman helped to contribute to the chase alongside the other teams and through a crosswind section it reduced dramatically. Things slowed and regrouped somewhat before a crash saw the already reduced bunch split even more, with Patrick Eddy, Pavel Bittner, John Degenkolb and Sam Welsford well to the fore.

Heading into the finale the team fully committed to the sprint with Eddy, Degenkolb and Bittner all taking strong pulls at the front, with Bittner acting as last lead out rider for finisher Welsford. Coming around the final few kinks and twists in the road, Welsford gave it his all and fought to the line; ending the day with a good third place for the team.

Jumbo-Visma's Olav Kooij was first across the line.

“It was a windy final stage today and everyone really wanted to go full for it,” explained Welsford at the finish. “The break stayed away for a while and we had Tim up there to help the chase. All the boys were fully committed to sprinting for me today, keeping me out of the wind and safe until the final. There weren’t many people left going into the final because of the crash and the tough circuit. John, Pavel and Pat all did an awesome job to keep me out of trouble going into the finish. I was caught a bit in the wind in the last kilometre but really happy to finish on a high this week with a podium after the bad luck we had. It was super commitment from the guys today and it shows that we can compete when the luck doesn’t go against us.”

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