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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Saturday, June 6, 2015

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Today's Racing

The Tour de Luxembourg is currently running. Saturday is another day in the hills with stage three being 161.3 kilometers going from Eschweiler to Diekirch.

Starting Sunday the 7th is the Critérium du Dauphiné. We've got a full-race map and stage one map and elevation posted.

UCI closes Roman Kreuziger case

This short news item is from the UCI web site:

UCI and WADA terminate CAS case concerning Roman Kreuziger

05 June 2015: Based on the availability of newly obtained information, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) have come to the conclusion that, in accordance with the applicable UCI anti-doping rules and WADA Athlete Biological Passport operating guidelines, there is at this stage no basis to proceed further.

They have therefore decided to withdraw their appeals.

The ABP is managed by the independent Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) in Lausanne and ABP cases are prosecuted based on the opinion of an independent Expert Panel.

Consistent with the approach taken during this entire case and in light of the confidential nature of the information concerned, the UCI and WADA are not in a position to comment further.

Kreuziger's team, Tinkoff-Saxo sent this release:

Hoersholm, Denmark, 5 June, 2015. Tinkoff-Saxo is very happy with the decision taken by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to withdraw their appeals in the CAS case regarding team rider Roman Kreuziger. The team's management has always believed in Kreuziger and expressed its support, since the outset of the case. Tinkoff-Saxo will evaluate the implications of this decision and no further comments will be made at this stage.

Roman Kreuziger

Roman Kreuziger time trialing at the 2015 Giro d'Italia

Tour de Luxembourg News

Of course we have to start with Cult Energy, the Professional Continental (the rank below World Tour) team headquartered in Denmark.

Here's the release I got from Cult Energy:

Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s home turf heroes Alex Kirsch and Joel Zangerle both participated in today’s first breakaway in Tour of Luxembourg. But the 186 kilometer long and demanding second stage of the race took its toll on the front group, which fell apart. Linus Gerdemann launched a stinging counter-attack and made it to the finish line where he took the stage and the overall lead.

The initial break started falling apart with 80 kilometers to go and entering the final 40 kilometers, only two riders were left in front of the chasing pack. In the meantime, both Kirsch and Zangerle were back in the pack to support the rest of the team preparing for the undulating finale. Already with 35 kilometers remaining, the leader of the race, André Greipel had to forfeit in the hilly terrain and suddenly, the leader’s jersey was up for grabs.

On the Côte de Bereldange with 30 kilometers to go, Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Christan Mager launched an attack and the peloton instantly divided in to two groups. Teammate, Linus Gerdemann launched a fierce counter-move and bridged the gap to the front group with 20 kilometers to go. On the final climb of the day, the winner of Tour of Luxembourg 2011 launched another attack and entered the finish line along with Marc de Maar (Roompot) but the powerful and experienced Cult Energy German was the strongest in the sprint.

It was a tired and happy Linus Gerdemann giving interviews after the stage: "I have to say first of all that the team did an amazing job setting things up for me in the finale and I'm just happy to be able to pay back with the stage win and with the overall lead. Going away in the final kilometers, I wasn't sure whether or not I could take the jersey so I went for the sprint and the stage win. It was just such a relief for all of us in the team. We have been so close many times and finally, it was there. Now, we have some defending to do with two stages ahead of us. It's not going to be easy to hold on to it but we'll do anything we can to do so," promises Gerdemann.

Linus Gerdemann

Linus Gerdemann enjoys his stage win.

DS, Luke Roberts was all smiles after the stage: "Everything just fell into place today. We were setting up Linus for the finale and the guys delivered him perfectly. Actually, the finale started a little bit earlier than first expected but Linus was super strong and dropped everyone behind him. He launched another deadly attack on the final climb where only de Maar was able to follow him but on the finish line, Linus was the strongest. With the bonus seconds in the pocket, it means that Linus will lead the race and it also means that we have two more days of hard defending but I'm confident the guys are up for the challenge," says a happy Luke Roberts after the stage.

Critérium du Dauphiné starts Sunday

Here's the link to the 2015 Critérium du Dauphiné page

Tinkoff-Saxo sent this news:

Tinkoff-Saxo sends a team of climbers to the mountainous 67th edition of Critérium du Dauphiné. Robert Kiserlovski, confident about his form, leads the team in the search for stage wins and a good GC result against tough competition.

Tinkoff-Saxo lines up with the overall goal of having Robert Kiserlovski achieve a good GC result, while stage wins remain a priority. And according to sports director Bruno Cenghialta, the Croatian climber starts the race in shape.

“We have a squad with good climbers and this year's Dauphiné is quite demanding, especially the four last stages, which are mountain stages. Kiserlovski feels very confident about his current form and he has worked very well recently. We will focus on him to achieve a good GC result. Jesper Hansen comes fresh from the overall victory in the Tour of Norway and I think he can perform well on the climbs. So, with these two riders and guys like Chris Anker, Pires, Beltran and Poljanski, I think we can realistically aim at a stage win”, says Bruno Cenghialta.

Lining up alongside Kiserlovski are Chris Anker Sørensen, Evgeny Petrov, Pawel Poljanski, Bruno Pires, Jesper Hansen, Jay McCarthy and Edward Beltran.

Robert Kiserlovski

Robert Kiserlovski (in Tinkoff-Saxo kit) riding the 2015 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Bruno Cenghialta notes that while Kiserlovski will play the part as team leader, one of May’s big surprises, Jesper Hansen, could prove capable as well.

“According to the plan Kiserlovksi will be our rider for the GC but we might get another positive surprise from Jesper Hansen. He showed his form in Norway and his morale is without doubt high right now”, says Cenghialta and adds: “In what regards the parcours, we have a team time trial on stage 3 that is quite unusual and in which one can lose a minute quite easily. It isn't long, a bit over 24km, but it could potentially cost us. We will try to limit our losses there, since our squad here doesn’t have many TT specialists. We aim at a deficit of 30-40 seconds, which would be a good result”.

The 67th edition of Critérium du Dauphiné presents the riders with 1,214km during the course of eight stages in southeastern France. Four stages in a row, all with summit finishes, constitute the second part of the race. Cenghialta underlines that the GC will be decided there.

“The four last stages are equally demanding and I couldn't single out one of them as the most decisive one, where the GC will be at stake. All of them have aspects that could turn the GC tables around. There is one with a serious mountain finish, while another one has more climbs and we will have to tackle all four with the same concentration", concludes Bruno Cenghialta.

Race details

Lampre- Soudal will be at the Dauphiné:

Rui Costa lived the cycling spring as a protagonist and now, after having spent several weeks in training preparing for the Tour de France, he's ready to take part in the Critèrium du Dauphinè (7-14 July).

In the French race, the sport directors Mauduit and Scirea will count on Valls, Bono, Modolo, Oliveria, Plaza, Pozzato and Serpa, in addition to the above mentioned former World Champion.

Rui Costa

Rui Costa in 2014 when he had the rainbow jersey. This is of the pack at the Coppa Agostini.

The members of the operative staff will be the doctor De Grandi, the masseurs Chiodini, Lima, Napolitano and Redaelli and the mechanics Bacchion, Bortoluzzo, Romanò and Tiede.

The two opening stages of the course of the Critèrium du Dauphinè (Ugine-Albertville and Le Bourget du La-Villars les Dombes) will be suitable for the sprinters, then the teams will face a 24,5 km team time trial, which precede a stage in which the more complete riders will have their chance to obtain a good result (4th stage, Anneyron-Sisteron).

The final four stages with summit finishes will be perfect for the climbers.

The Critèrium du Dauphinè will be an interesting appointment for Rui Costa in view of the Tour de France as well as for Valls, who'll be back to racing after a first part of the season where he did well.

Modolo will focus his attention on the first two stages. Moreover, the French race will be important to evaluate the team spirit of the group of riders who will probably be the framework of the blue-fuchsia-green selection for the Tour de France.

Lotto-Soudal will be at the Dauphiné:

The day after tomorrow, Sunday 7th June, the Critérium du Dauphiné starts, a tough eight-day WorldTour stage race which is a perfect preparation for the Tour de France for many riders.

The Dauphiné is a race for climbers. Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens will defend the Lotto Soudal colours. All three of them just got back from an altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada, which they hope to benefit from in a few weeks. The fast men have the biggest opportunity in stage two. Lotto Soudal counts on the sprint of Kris Boeckmans. He can expect competition of Nacer Bouhanni and Sacha Modolo.

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We aim for a stage win; that can be with Kris Boeckmans in the sprint or in the mountains with Tony Gallopin or Tim Wellens. For Tony and Tim this is the first race since Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Together with Bart De Clercq they stayed on the Sierra Nevada for two weeks for a training camp. Like always we have to wait how they react in the first race. They certainly get their types of stages. Bart, Tim and Tony have to be good in the Dauphiné, but not in top shape yet. The main goals lie in the Tour.”

“There is a team time trial next week. Unfortunately we can’t ride it with the Tour team. That’s never the case because the riders are always spread over several races. That day we won’t strive for the victory, it’s just important that everyone does their part of the job. The riders in the Dauphiné can take a look at a part of the Tour route. The fifth stage is exactly the same as the seventeenth Tour stage. In the last stage the riders have to climb the Lacets de Montvernier, which lies on the course of the eighteenth Tour stage as well. It’s a special climb with many turns and a very steep descent.”

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin at this year's Amstel Gold Race

“The route of the Dauphiné is made for climbers. I hope for two sprints, there definitely won’t be any more. The first stage is not that long, but the climb in the local lap could make the race hard. The second stage is the most flat one, there is a big chance of a bunch sprint. There is a climb of first category in the first half of the stage, but that shouldn’t be an obstacle. The fourth stage might end with a sprint of a reduced peloton. Kris Boeckmans is riding very well, he’s our man for the sprint.”

Selection Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Kris Boeckmans, Bart De Clercq, Gert Dockx, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Tosh Van der Sande and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Marc Wauters.

Special Lotto-Jumbo jersey for Tour de France

Teams have had to wear different jerseys for the Tour in the past when they were too yellow.

Here's the release from Lotto-Jumbo:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Tour selection will start in a new jersey in Utrecht, on Saturday the 4th of July. The jersey has been designed with a lot of white on the chest and sleeves. With this jersey, the riders are easily distinguished from the yellow jersey wearer, though the team stays recognizable in the yellow of sponsors Lotto and Jumbo. The special personalised Tour jersey will be available in the web shop as of today.

The modified jersey has a few more details, added especially for the Tour de France. Each rider will wear his name, including nationality, on his shoulder. The collar is provided with the Dutch flag, to illustrate the ‘Dutch pride’ of the team from the Netherlands to enter this year’s Tour de France. Those who pay special attention to the jersey will notice that each rider will take his six lucky numbers to the Tour. The picture shows Steven Kruijswijk in front of the Dom in Utrecht, where the Grand Départ will take place in less than a month. One of his lucky numbers is 9, the number of his first obtained top 10 classification in a grand tour (Giro d’Italia in 2011).

"We’ve had contact with the Tour de France and UCI from the start of the season onwards to develop a modified design. We’ve made the upper half of the jersey white out of respect for the yellow of the leader’s jersey. Last week, general director of the Tour, Christian Prudhomme, let us know he appreciates our efforts to ride with a new jersey and helmet in July. In the end, the benefits of this decision are twofold, we respect the Tour de France, and it gives us the opportunity to provide each rider with their name and unique numbers. Which is beneficial for the team’s visibility in the peloton,” says managing director Richard Plugge.

Steven Kruijswijk

Steven Kruijswijk in Lotto-Jumbo's Tour de France jersey.

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