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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, April 30, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America. - James Joyce

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Chad Young dies from crash injuries

Chad Young crashed on a high-speed descent at the Tour of the Gila last Sunday, suffering terrible head injuries. The Axeon Hagens Berman racer never recovered and died Friday evening. The team issued this statement:

Axeon Hagens Berman mourns Chad Young

I am very sorry to let everyone know that Chad Young did not survive his crash last Sunday. He passed away Friday evening, surrounded by his family.

We lost a friend, a teammate and a family member. I have no words that can express my pain over this loss. I can only say that I am very thankful to have known him and that I feel privileged to have been able to share in his passion for cycling.

Thank you for the outpouring of love and support over the past few days. We ask that you keep his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

May he rest in peace.

Axel Merckx, General Manager, Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team

BMC's Tour de Romandie stage four report

29 April 2017, Leysin (SUI): It was billed as a day for the General Classification contenders, and Tour de Romandie stage 4 didn't disappoint with Richie Porte locked in a two-way battle on the final climb before taking second place on the stage and moving into a podium position on the General Classification.

It was a fast start to the day with several early breakaway attempts trying to go clear. But, it wasn't until after 30km, of the 163.5km course, that eight riders were able to extend an advantage over the bunch.

The gap continued to rise, and as the breakaway reached the first of four categorized climbs, the Col du Jaun, it had started to hover around 4 minutes. However, with gradients of up to 10.5%, the climb quickly saw the peloton cut into the advantage of the race leaders.

With 60km to go, the remaining five leaders were sitting less than three minutes ahead of the peloton. A group of six others attempted to bridge the gap but they were eventually reeled back by the bunch as Michael Schär moved up to the front to help drive the chase.

With 20km to go, the pace began to increase with the General Classification contenders, including Porte and Tejay van Garderen, being drawn out at the front of the bunch as they headed over the summit.

A fast descent soon followed with a group of seven going clear and joining the last remaining breakaway rider, Mikaël Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale), at the front of the race. They group was sitting just under one minute ahead of the peloton as they began the final 6km ascent to Leysin, which peaked out at 8.5% before leveling off over the final kilometer.

With 4km to go, Porte attacked off the front of the peloton and looked powerful as he made light work of bridging across to the three remaining leaders. Porte continued to push on at the front of the race with Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) locked onto his wheel as they headed under the flamme rouge and towards the final kick up to the line.

As the finish line came into view, Porte continued to set a hard pace but, with just 50m to go, Yates launched his final sprint, moving around Porte to narrowly take the stage win.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates finishes ahead of Richie Porte

Porte now sits second overall on the General Classification, 19 seconds behind Yates, heading into tomorrow's final time trial. Behind them, Tejay van Garderen was successfully covering any moves from the bunch before he was also able to distance himself from the group to finish fourth on the line in Leysin.

Richie Porte:

"At the bottom of the final climb, Danilo Wyss and Nicolas Roche just exploded the race, and then we knew it was time to go. It was a little earlier than expected but in the end, it was the right time. I am happy with today's result. Tejay van Garderen did a great job covering the wheels behind and making sure the other guys didn't chase too hard. It's early season for me, but I am definitely happy with this team and the faith they have shown in me."

"Tomorrow we have a good time trial, and we will see how that goes. We didn't come here to finish second, but we will just have to see what happens. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) is obviously climbing well, but it's also a great time trial for me. It's going to be hard, but I'm ready for that."

Tejay van Garderen:

"The legs were good today. Richie Porte hit out early on the climb so, I was left marking the moves behind. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale - Drapac) went at one point, so did Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) but I didn't have to work with them as we had Richie up the road. Then on the final kick, I was able to attack away from them on my own."

"Even though the climbs weren't too hard today, this was a good stage in terms of my preparation for the Giro d'Italia. It was a fast start and full power all day. Now, it's about seeing what I can do at the TT tomorrow and then resting up."

"I finished the stage to learn that Chad Young from Axeon Hagens Berman died at 21 years old from injuries sustained at Tour of Gila. I wish I had the opportunity to get to know him, as he sounded like an exceptionally genuine young man, and an amazing athlete. It's just devastating and I pray for his family."

Sports Director, Fabio Baldato:

"It was a smart move from Yates and hats off to him on a great win but Richie was amazing today. The way he bridged across to the leading group and took around 50 seconds out of most of the GC rivals was incredible. Now, he is 19 seconds behind, and we will see what happens tomorrow, but I have every confidence in him."

"We have seen that Tejay van Garderen is riding well this week and it was a good move from him to anticipate the bunch. It is also a good TT for him so we look to see if he can also move up into the top ten overall."

Orica-Scott's Tour de Yorkshire stage two news:

Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan found some consolation on stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire today, after another second place finish in the sprint saw the Orica-Scott rider move into the race leaders blue jersey ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.

A short and sweet second stage unfolded over the narrow and undulating lanes between Tadcaster and Harrogate with an attack filled final 30kilometres making for a nervy finale.

More hard work from the strong men of Orica-Scott kept the front of the race under control with Svein Tuft, Mathew Hayman, Mitch Docker and Roger Kluge all playing significant roles going into the business end of the race.

The road dipped and rose viscously in the final kilometre making for a chaotic sprint as Ewan fought hard to jump out of the box and close the gap on eventual stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).

The victory wasn't to be and it would be second again for Ewan, who now holds the race lead and also the green points jersey going into tomorrow’s tough final stage. “It’s disappointing, two second places in a row,” said Ewan. “I’ve been feeling pretty good the last few days and it would have been nice to finish it off with a win, but we stuffed it up a bit in the finish and we paid for it in the end.”

“We hesitated at the dip with 600metres to go, lost our momentum and ended up getting swamped. It will be a super tough stage tomorrow, but for sure it will be nice to race in the leaders jersey.”

Nacer Bouhanni

Nacer Bouhanni wins the second stage

Sport director Dave McPartland praised the work of the team going into the finale and the excellent condition of Ewan. “The guys did a really good job today,” said McPartland. “We were excellent in keeping Caleb out of trouble, especially Svein Tuft who yet again took things under control in the last 30kilometres when a lot of sharp attacks were coming.”

“Our only mistake was a moment of hesitation in the final kilometre that cost us the race really. We needed to keep going and maintain our speed, but we hesitated and by then it was too late and over within seconds. That’s racing and you have to move on and learn from your mistakes.

“It’s great that Caleb is holding two jerseys and moved into the race lead, despite the results of the last two day’s I believe he is the fastest guy here and it’s a huge positive for the team that his condition is so good ahead of the Giro d’Italia.

“Tomorrow is a really tough day, a stage for the general classification contenders. There is a real heavy concentration of climbs throughout the middle and second half of the stage and without doubt it is the hardest day of the race, not a day for the sprinters."

How it happened:

A short and punchy stage two rolled out of the northern English market town of Tadcaster this lunchtime, covering only 122.5kilometres with one categorised climb, the Cote de Lofthouse coming right in the middle.

Attacks sprang straight out of the neutral zone with four riders managing to break clear after 20kilometres of racing with an advantage of around two minutes. The quartet held their lead past the halfway point and over the Lofthouse climb with the peloton effectively neutralised and climbing as a unit and all the sprinters making it over without issue.

There was a feeling of inevitability about the whole stage, LottoNL-Jumbo controlled the front of the peloton for race leader Dylan Groenewegen with the other sprinters teams happy to let the Dutch team do the early work and keep the four up the road at two minutes.

Inside the final 35kilometres and Tuft moved up to the front of the peloton for Orica-Scott with the leaders now at one minute, before an attack by Thomas Voeckler (Direct-Energie) brought the race quickly back together.

Throughout the final 20kilometres the attacks kept on springing from the front of the bunch over the narrow rolling country lanes towards the finish town of Harrogate, but nothing stuck.

The lead out trains started to move forwards inside the final five kilometres with Kluge taking over at the front from Tuft and Ewan positioned nicely behind road captain Hayman.

The road dipped up and down in the final kilometre and Ewan was boxed in as the sprint began, fighting hard to break free, the 22-year-old made up a lot of ground in the last 100metres, but not enough to pass Bouhanni who took the win with Ewan in second.

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