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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, winter chilling the lap of very May; but at length the season of summer does come. - Thomas Carlyle

Bicycle History

James Witherell's book Bicycle History: A Chronological History of People, Races and Technology is available in both print and Kindle eBook formats. To get your copy just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de Suisse team reports

We posted the report from third-place Wout van Aert's Team Jumbo-Visma with the results.

Here's the report from Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Traveling from Beromünster to Nottwil, over 173.7 kilometers containing some short climb, stage 2 of the World Tour race got off to a quiet start, only two riders making it in a breakaway whose maximum buffer didn’t hit three minutes. Behind the two, the teams interested in a bunch sprint – including Soudal Quick-Step – pulled to keep the gap in check so they would have a calm final hour of racing.

It wasn’t as straightforward though, a crash with 30 kilometers to go, just before one of the two climbs coming in quick succession, spreading a bit of panic in the bunch, who eventually regrouped before the intermediate sprint. There, Remco Evenepoel made a smart move, clipping off the front and taking the last second in play, which moved him closer to the yellow jersey.

It was Biniam Girmay who won the stage.

Once the escapees were reeled in, the lead-out trains positioned themselves at the front, but the finale was very scrappy, as there wasn’t room for everybody. The win went to Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty), while Belgian Champion Tim Merlier got boxed in and couldn’t get involved in the fight for victory. The GC remained unchanged, meaning that Evenepoel will start Tuesday’s mountain stage in second overall and with the white jersey on his shoulders.

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And here's the Tour of Switzerland report from Pavel Bittner's Team DSM:

After coming into the week in good shape and solid results in the opening time trial, Team DSM confirmed their good start to the Tour de Suisse on Monday as the team led out Pavel Bittner to his first top five finish at WorldTour level. After a hilly day, the stage finished in a bunch sprint in Nottwil, where the young rider from the Czech Republic powered to a nice fourth place.

It didn’t take long before a two-man breakaway went up the road in the hilly beginning on the stage. Things calmed down in the peloton, with our guys always riding well-organised in the front of the peloton to not be surprised or caught up behind the facts. This turned out to be important when a big crash caused some chaos in the last 40 kilometres and almost the whole team could escape. Shortly after this, the pace in the bunch picked up, as the race approached the final categorised climb. The team kept his position in front and saved some important energy for the run-in to the line. With three kilometres to go, they fought their way to the front and were brought into the final kilometre by Romain Bardet. Marius Mayrhofer then dropped Bittner in a perfect position, who showed his speed and finished fourth, his best result as a professional.

After the fast finish, Bittner stated: “The first stage after a good prologue. Our main goals were keeping Romain safe and well in GC, and sprinting with me as finisher. Other teams controlled the whole stage, only on the last climb the racing opened up a bit but then it was sure it was going to be a sprint. We came together in position and started moving up as a block as the last kilometres were narrow and fast. The guys did an amazing job for me in the final, really smooth natural navigation. Marius released me in the last 400 metres and then I surfed a bit and found the perfect line in the sprint. I did not have the speed to win today but it feels great to be in the mix. I’m very grateful for the opportunity; the best way to start off the week.”

Team DSM coach Pim Ligthart added: “We saw some solid teamwork today and that already started early when the big crash happened. At this point, we were all in front and only Chris got caught up but could quickly make it back to the bunch. We then saw some great teamwork in supporting Pavel for the finish, who then did a nice sprint. He just missed out on a podium, but I think it’s a really good start to the week after the good TT yesterday. There are some positive vibes here in the team to keep going like this.”

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Team DSM's upcoming racing

Here's the team's update:

Baloise Belgium Tour, JUN 14 - 18

Rudi Kemna - Team DSM coach:
"We go to the Baloise Belgium Tour with a core of riders that had a good week of racing at the ZLM Tour. We want to show ourselves strongly in the peloton and go for day results from there, building good foundations towards the Tour de France."

Joost Brinkman (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Sam Welsford (AUS)

John Degenkolb will be at the Tour of Belgium. Here he is winning stage 3 of the 2020 Tour of Luxembourg. Sirotti photo

Tour de Suisse Women, JUN 17 - 20

Kelvin Dekker - Team DSM coach
"Tour de Suisse means back to action for our climbers. The four days are packed with different kinds of parcours which will have all ingredients for exciting racing. There’s a long TT on day two which will be important to make the GC. With Juliette, we have a strong finisher for the general classification, but we also have different other cards to play in different scenarios."

Francesca Barale (ITA)
Eleonora Ciabocco (ITA)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Eglantine Rayer (FRA)
Becky Storrie (GBR)
Nienke Vinke (NED)

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Team Uno-X reflects on the Critérium du Dauphiné

The team sent me this:

Uno-X has completed the Critérium du Dauphiné twice. Both times, we managed to secure a top-10 position, with Torstein achieving a historic 8th place this week. This is the best Norwegian placement ever in this race.

Take Torstein Traeen. He is a highly dedicated guy, loyal to the team and committed to the long-term belief that it's possible to improve a little every day. He has been with Uno-X for seven years and has been there since the beginning of the team. It's an adventure story that we are very proud of. At this time last year, he was at home battling cancer. That says a lot... We may not be able to keep Torstein; it would be expected that others take notice of him now. Regardless of what happens, he has our full support. Torstein deserves the best.

Torstein Traeen leading a break in the 2022 Tour of the Alps.

Moving on to Belgium
Søren Wærenskjold is breaking watt barriers while assisting Erlend Blikra. Erlend achieved a fantastic fourth place in the Elfstedenronde yesterday. On Saturday, Søren punctured in the leading group, where Rasmus sat. He received a wheel from our mechanic, Ranjit, once he was out of the gravel. He rode his way back up to group 2, demolished it in the final, and finished in seventh place. Please, Søren, stay healthy now!

Meet the Bull Ferdinand. Often his monstrous powers are locked away. He might come across as a bit cautious and overly kind. But when he finds his groove, he turns brutal. Rasmus Tiller's victory yesterday was incredibly impressive. He has actually been riding around with those powerful legs for a long time. Now everyone can see his abilities - again.

We have a team in form
We're accumulating over 500 UCI points this week and are now ranked as the 3rd best UCI ProTeam. We have no plans to look back. At the same time, not everything is straightforward. We're in the final week before selecting the team for the Tour de France. We will choose riders who are on the rise and hitting their peak at the right time. We will select riders who contribute to the team's dynamics. We will choose riders who are right for the team in the short term, but also in the long run. We will focus on development while also performing here and now.

What do you think we should aim for?

I celebrated the week with my good friend, Pol Roger, and pondered how we should put this together. This year, just like last year, we were "Dauphinated." The only difference is that this year, the Tour awaits us as well.

Talk to you soon,

Jens Haugland

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