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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 19, 2016

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The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office. - Robert Frost

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Tour of Switzerland team reports

Here's what Movistar had to say about the 8th stage:

Prodigious Jon Izagirre wins Tour de Suise ITT

Sticky Buns Across America

It might have seemed like the 49-second loss he suffered in the altitude of the Rettenbach glacier on Friday made the chase of GC glory in the Tour de Suisse unsurmountable for him. It even looked grimmer as Jon Izagirre clocked only the 62nd quickest time through the first intermediate check of the ITT in Davos -16.8km, with two demanding slopes and headwind for the late starters into the early part of the route-, looking like a fall in his form would derail him from overall contention.

However, the brave allrounder from the Basque Country was just keeping his key for success hidden to everyone, or maybe some of them: a 2016 Canyon Speedmax CF SLX TT bike which is not stopping offering glory to the Blues after Nairo Quintana's win yesterday at the Route du Sud; aplomb, will to suffer in those sections less suited to him; and splendid legs into the hillier parts of the route to beat TT legend Fabian Cancellara (TFS) into the last climb (-11") and reach the finish with an even bigger gap (-19"), claiming his third success of the 2016 season and the 25th for the Eusebio Unzué-managed squad, led by José Luis Jaimerena and José Luis Laguía on Swiss soil.

Jon oizagirre

Izagirre wins stage 8

Overcoming Barguil (TGA), who rolled off the start ramp today as GC leader, by almost one minute, Ion Izagirre jumped into third in a very tight overall classification: López (AST) is the new leader, with Talansky (CPT) 2nd at 8"; Ion in 3rd, 16" down; and Barguil himself, now fourth, just 18" behind. Ion -3rd in Romandie, runner-up in Algarve, 4th in Valencia, 5th in Paris-Nice- will try to keep dreaming big tomorrow into a tremendous final Alpine circuit around Davos, 118km which include the HC climbs of Albula and Flüela. His season, the most brilliant in seven years as pro, deserves a triumph like that.

Jon Izagirre: "It was a really difficult day, with a demanding route where you had to keep full focus on so as to know where you had to give your full energy. We had some problems with our chain, since it was a route that demanded many pace changes and exigence for our gearing was maybe too much, but fortunately, it wasn't too serious and didn't compromise the final result. Already since we inspected the TT route in the morning we knew that those little climbs and difficult sections made it one where we could excel. The difference was to be made into the uphill sections - that's where I tried to make up my deficit from the first part.

"I gave everything I had and that win makes me tremendously happy, even more so considering how well things are going for me so far this season. For the time being, we're on the GC podium, yet the gap against Barguil in fourth place is really short, plus López and Talansky are still within reach. Sunday's closer will be short, yet surely super intense and tough. It will be huge war, and we hope to come out of it victorious."

Astana posted this:

"I was very motivated," said Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno at the finish line in Davos. "I knew it was a very demanding time trial, I knew the route and I gave everything I had."

"I wanted to do well for me and the whole team who helped me a lot. Tomorrow? It will be a war, but I'm ready!"

The young Colombian talent was the author of a great race finishing second just 18" from the stage winner the Spanish Ion Izaguirre. Thanks to his excellent performance, Lopez is the new GC leader.


The new GC leader

"I'm not really surprised," commented sport director Dmitriy Sedoun. "I expected he could do well. Along with Miguel Angel we started thinking about this race already this winter and before the start of the Tour we tried all the stages."

"He's only 22 years old and he started to ride a bike 5 years ago and therefore still has much to learn. Having the leader's jersey is the signal that he is doing a good job."

Tomorrow, the last and decisive stage for 117km around Davos. Such ascent with the Albula and Flüela passes that will decide the winner of this eightieth edition of the Tour de Suisse.

And in the Netherlands there is the Ster ZLM Toer

Here's Lotto-NL Jumbo's news (also posted on the Ster ZLM Toer page)

Sep Vanmarcke won the queen stage of the Ster ZLM Toer today ahead of Wout Van Aert (Crelan - Vastgoedservice) in a sprint-à-deux in La Gileppe. The Belgian took the overall lead with victory, sitting five seconds ahead of Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal) with one day to race.

“This is a very beautiful victory,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said. “We already won with three different riders in this race. It’s almost impossible to do better than this.”

A numerous breakaway escaped in the beginning of the penultimate stage of the Ster ZLM Toer. Ten riders gained a maximum advantage of three minutes, but with only 35 kilometres to go, the difference was still two minutes.

“Vegard Stake Laengen [IAM Cycling] broke away on his own at that point and we decided to help in the chase to close the gap,” Verhoeven continued. “It was our goal to go for the stage win and the general classification with Sep Vanmarcke and we succeeded.”

“Sep already showed his strength during yesterday’s sprint preparation for Dylan Groenewegen so he should have been able to make difference in today’s stage. He finished it off beautifully.”

Sep Vanmarcke

Sep Vanmarcke gets the win

Vanmarcke yearned for a win. He said, “I haven’t won a race since September 2014, so I felt that I really had the need to grab another victory. The whole team pushed to their limits to give me the chance to win this one. Timo Roosen sacrificed himself on the final climb and I broke away just before the steepest part. It’s a perfect scenario to grab the leader’s jersey, as well. I don’t have much of advantage, but it’s going to be very hard for De Bie to close that five-second gap. We’re doing a great job with the whole team this week and we’re ready to defend this jersey.”

Team LottoNL-Jumbo has to fight strongly to hold Vanmarcke’s small lead. “There are still 16 bonus seconds available,” Verhoeven explained. “The overall victory isn’t safe yet. We have to fight with the whole team and be focussed.”

Here's Etixx-Quick Step's report:

The Italian neo-pro Martinelli gained nine places in the general classification at the end of day four.

Everyone was expecting a fast and frenetic stage four in Ster ZLM Toer, but the tough parcours led to a different scenario, as the peloton decided to leave a big break pull away and keep it on a leash. As consequence, Phil Gaimon (Cannondale), Jochem Hoekstra (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Jimmy Janssens (Team 3M), Peter Lenderink (Rabobank Development), Xandro Meurisse (Crelan-Vastgoedservice), Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Florian Senechal (Cofidis), Ivar Slik (Roompot Oranje), Vegard Stake Langen (IAM Cycling) and Elias Van Breussegem (Verandas Willems) couldn't open a lead of over 5 minutes, despite working well together on the tough bergs sprinkled on the route between Verviers and La Gileppe, some of which reminded the riders of the Ardennes Classics.

Controlled by LottoNL-Jumbo and Lotto-Soudal, the strung-out pack chew into the escapees' advantage and as the terrain was becoming more and more challenging, resembling to a roller coaster, the riders at the front began to suffer and lose a serious amount of time. This led to a fragmented group, from which Stake Laengen attacked with less than 30 kilometers to go and went for glory, forging a 40-second gap on his former companions, who were eventually reeled in by the chasers.

As the finish neared, the Norwegian's advantage decreased and the harrowing climbs played into the peloton's favour, who neutralized that move and made contact with the lone escapee in the last kilometer of stage four. On the uphill drag to La Gileppe, Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) accelerated and topped two countrymen, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen), moving himself into the yellow jersey.

Neo-pro Davide Martinelli was also a protagonist on the sharp ramp, putting his explosiveness to work and crossing the line a few seconds behind the winner. Seventh on the queen-stage, Davide climbed to 5th place in the general classification – less than half a minute adrift – a position he is poised to hold on to in the last day of the race (Someren – Boxtel, 186 kilometers).

"The course suited me, and I really liked the fact that we went over La Redoute and Rosier, two climbs which play such an important role in Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The finish suited me and I must thank the team for protecting and bringing me to the front. When the others left, I tried to follow, but they had stronger legs. Still, I am happy with the outcome and with being in the top 5 at the moment. I will fight to keep my position, while also helping the team on the final day", concluded 23-year-old Davide, for whom a top 10 in Ster ZLM Toer would be his best result of the season in the GC of a stage race.

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