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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Friday, June 19, 2015

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Today's Racing

There are lots of people racing bikes all over the place today.

We'll start with the ongoing Tour de Suisse (Tour of Switzerland). Today is stage 7, 164.6 kilometers going from Biel/Bienne to Düdlingen.

The third stage of Women's Tour of Britain is in Northhamptonshire today, 139.2 kilometers going from Oundle to Kettering. There will be 1,579 meters of climbing in the stage.

The Dutch Ster ZLM Toer is also on its third stage, 190.5 kilometers starting and ending at Buchten.

In France, the Route du Sud will ride its second stage, 140.9 kilometers from Auch to St. Gaudens.

Tinkoff-Saxo quite pleased with Tour de Suisse stage 6

The team's press office sent this:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s team captain Peter Sagan grabbed his second stage win of this year’s Tour de Suisse making it a total of 11 wins. A prime lead-out from his teammates sent Sagan off into the last 90-degree bend from where he powered towards the line. “It wasn’t too dangerous but it was very technical”, says Peter Sagan.

After taking a moment to thank his teammates immediately after the finish, Sagan explained how he had approached the stage finale.

“It was very crazy in the finale. We did a good lead-out train the last two-three kilometers, as in the headwind everybody wanted to be at the front. I took the penultimate turn to the left a little bit back but I gained more speed and I was in second position before the last turn thanks to great help from Bennati. I could start the last part of my sprint after the corner and I won the stage”, Peter Sagan says and adds:

“I am very happy and today my team once again supported me and thanks to them I could take my second stage win this year. It was a very technical finish but I don’t think that it was too dangerous. In fact, if everybody can be at the front it’s more difficult than if the front is stretched out”.

“I'm very happy with the result and I'd like to thank the entire team because they have executed the lead-out train at the finish. Ferdi Kübler and Hugo Koblet are the record-holders in the Tour de Suisse with 11 stage wins each and now I’m alongside them. Tomorrow, we will try to beat that record!".

Peter Sagan wins stage 6

Peter Sagan wins stage 6

Stage 6 from Wil to Biel had 193.1km on the menu in lumpy terrain. According to Tristan Hoffman, Tinkoff-Saxo sports director, the plan was to put everything on the line during the final kilometers.

“We’re of course very happy to take the second win here in Tour de Suisse and Peter showed once again that he has the technical skills in terms of bike handling on a tricky finish as well as the legs to win. This victory is the result of a great piece of teamwork, where the boys took to the front before the finish to position Peter and then Bennati took over and paid excellent attention in the lead-out. Our plan today was to stay calm in the peloton, protect Peter and then lead him out in the final technical sprint. The guys executed this strategy and Peter finished it off”, comments Tristan Hoffman before finishing:

“We of course aim to keep this momentum going and aim for top results. We know Peter has the shape and we are ready to give it our best during the coming days”.

Peter Sagan retains his lead in the points classification, while Daniele Bennati also finished in the top ten in 5th place.

Over in France there was the Route du Sud

Cult Energy was there:

The 204 kilometer long initial stage of Route du Sud from Lourdes to Auch was dominated by a four rider breakaway while the French team, Europcar animated the chase in the pack. After a promising counter-attack from Karel Hnik, the stage was concluded in a bunch sprint where Cult Energy's Michael finished 3rd and teammate, Linus Gerdemann was 6th.

There was never any doubt that the morning breakaway would be caught as the escapees were kept on a very short leash and almost within eyesight. The chasing teams Europcar were eager to set things up for their sprinter, Bryan Coquard while Tinkoff-Saxo seemingly wanted to keep their captain, Alberto Contador out of trouble just like Movistar were visible at the front with Nairo Quintana. The Cult Energy Pro Cycling riders were protecting Michael Carbel and Mads Pedersen throughout the day to prepare for the finale.

Steven Tronet wins stage 1

Steven Tronet wins Route du Sud stage 1

With 24 kilometers to go, Daniel Martinez (Colombia) flew up the road and instantly distanced his previous breakaway companions to take the mountain points on the final climb. Behind him, several attacks were launched from the field and Cult Energy’s Karel Hnik was in the new breakaway group passing Martinez.

Five different teams were represented in the new breakaway quintet including Tinkoff-Saxo, AG2R, Cofidis, Colombia and Cult Energy leaving Europcar on the chase behind. Entering the final kilometer, the break was within spitting distance and Cult Energy’s Linus Gerdemann went to the front to lead out Michael Carbel in the technical finish. In the slightly uphill finish, Carbel sprinted across the line in third position while lead out man, Gerdemann finished 6th.

DS, Luke Roberts states: "We knew it was going to be a difficult finish so we waited for the obvious moment to go and I guess Karel chose the right moment to create a new breakaway. Unfortunately, Europcar eventually organized a new solid chase and because of the slightly uphill finish, we had to make sure that Michael Carbel was kept to the front. Therefore we took the front entering the final kilometer with Michael Reihs, Linus and Carbel and I think they did a super job. Carbel excellently managed to keep up the pace but just needed that little bit of extra pace on the final 100 meters. Tomorrow, there's another chance and we'll do what we can to put Carbel up there again," says Luke Roberts.

Tinkoff-Saxo had Alberto Contador ride the Route du Sud:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador commenced his final preparation ahead of Tour de France as he returned to racing in Route du Sud, where he finished 10th and most importantly stayed safe throughout the stage.

After the stage, Alberto Contador commented that he had good sensations during his first race since winning the Giro d’Italia.

Alberto Contador: "It was the first day of racing after the Giro and a relatively quiet stage. There was a breakaway at the start of the stage, while Europcar together with us, controlled the group. We decided to have a rider to collaborate in the front of the group so that we could have some control of the race. At the end, it turned out to be more difficult because of the undulating terrain but I felt in good shape”, says Contador and adds:

“In the final 500 meters, that were uphill, I decided to move to the front. With so few days left until the start of the Tour de France, it is better to be in the front in order to minimize the risks of a crash. Being my first contact with a competition after the Giro, it was a long stage, 220km long. It proved very useful in order to ramp up after a break of nearly three weeks and all in all the sensation I had today was good”.

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador is trying to recover from the Giro and still be ready for the Tour de France.

Stage 1 ran from Lourdes to Auch with a total distance of 204km. Alberto Contador finished 10th on the stage together with the main bunch, 3 seconds off Steven Tronet, who took the stage win. Patxi Vila, Tinkoff-Saxo sports director, explains how the stage unfolded:

“It was a long and relatively quite stage. There was a breakaway that started very early in the race and set a strong pace. In the main group, Europcar initially took responsibility to work towards bringing the breakaway back and we helped as well towards that. We alternated with them at the front and had one rider to pull initially and two later on. Alberto decided to stay in the front as well and in the final sprint he moved ahead. It was an uneventful stage that played out the way we had planned. We managed to stay safe and avoid any crashes and incidents and it was a good return to competition after the Giro”, finishes Patxi Vila.

Two riders re-up with Giant-Alpecin

The team sent this release: Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce that Dutch riders Koen de Kort and Tom Veelers have renewed their contracts with the team. De Kort has been with the team since 2009 and will extend his commitment to the team for one more year, while Veelers joined the team one year earlier, in 2008, and will extend his contract for another two years, until the end of 2017.

“Koen is an important support rider both in the classics and in the sprint preparation. Koen is part of the core of the team, and his experience is very important to a lot of our younger riders.

“Tom has gained a great deal of experience over the years as well, which he conveys to the team. As the last man in the lead-out train, he makes a significant contribution to the victories of our sprinters,” said Rudi Kemna (NED).

De Kort commented on his contract renewal: “I’m excited to be on this team for another year. I have been part of many big victories in the past few years, and I hope there are many more to come.”

Veelers said: “I am very happy with my contract renewal. The team feels like home to me, and I completely support the team’s vision and way of working. My personal goals include educating the younger guys and preparing them to one day take over my position. I also want to keep challenging myself to contribute to the victories of the team and distinguish myself in my role.”

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