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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 16, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

When giant companies wanted more tax loopholes, Washington got it done. When huge energy companies wanted to tear up our environment, Washington got it done. When enormous Wall Street banks wanted new regulatory loopholes, Washington got it done. No gridlock there! - Elizabeth Warren

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Team Ag2r-La Mondiale's Tour of Switzerland stage 6 report:

“I have been waiting a long time for this: dropping everyone on the climb, bridging up to the breakaway, taking the win…I had a perfect start to the season, and my Giro went very well (6th place). I have had good legs and it was necessary just to have the right mindset in order to do something at the Tour of Switzerland.

"We made the most of our resources as a team. With Jan Bakelants in the breakaway, that allowed us to hold back a little and save some energy. I will now try to increase my lead in the overall especially since there is a time trial on the final day that really does not suit me.”

Domenico Pozzovivo currently leads the general classification.  After 22 hours 3 minutes and 28 seconds of racing, he has taken control of the yellow jersey on the same time as Damiano Caruso, and 13 seconds ahead of Steven Kruijswijk.

MATHIAS FRANK (4th): “I know that last descent in the rain very well. And if we were able to ride at the front today, it is also thanks to the mechanics who installed the perfect brake pads on our bikes today for this type of weather! We won the stage, we took over the leader’s jersey, and I am in 5th place in the GC as well. It is a perfect day. Several times over that last pass, I had to climb at my own pace; I could not follow all the accelerations. But I am still very happy with my day. We have a very good team here for the Tour de Suisse, and tomorrow we will have to defend the jersey. We can be proud, and push ourselves to do more.”

Mathias Frank is 5th in the overall standings, 23 seconds behind Domenico Pozzovivo. He also wears the jersey as the best Swiss rider.

DIDIER JANNEL: “We knew it would be a difficult day. Our riders fought all day, and it was a victory for the entire team. Jan (Bakelants) rode an amazing stage today, and spent his day at the front. He was not far off the general classification, and this forced BMC to ride behind to chase the break. That meant that Caruso found himself alone at the front near the end of the stage.

"Domenico showed that he has regained all his qualities as a great climber.
After his strong Giro, he has proved that he can keep himself at a consistent and high level. He won today in the downhill, and in the rain. This is certainly a highlight in his career. We now have the leader’s jersey to defend, and so we must take more time tomorrow with the finish in Sölden. In order to be in a position to win this Tour of Switzerland, we will have to fight to the end. The general classification is far from finalized.”

Domenico Pozzovivo

Domenico Pozzovivo wins stage six in style.

THE NEWS: With Domenico Pozzovivo wearing yellow jersey, Mathias Frank in 5th as well as being the best Swiss rider, and Jan Bakelants in 16th, our team leads the overall team classification with a time of 66h15'54'',  7'33 '' ahead of Movistar.

THE NUMBER: 5; This victory for Domenico Pozzovivo is the 5th for our team this season. Samuel Dumoulin (1st stage of the Tour du Haut Var), Alexandre Geniez (2nd stage Tour de Provence), Mattéo Montaguti (4th stage Tour of the Alps) Alexis Vuillermoz (Grand Prix of Plumelec) have also chalked up wins this season.

And here is the UAE Team Emirates' Swiss Tour stage 6 report:

Another second place for Rui Costa, after the three got at the recent Giro d’Italia, at the Tour de Suisse during the real first mountain stage of this edition. The stage 6 enrolled from Locarno to La Punt after 166.7 km with the last HC climb of Albulapass with just 9,3 km to go.

During the last ascent there was a hard rhythm and a huge selection between the GC contenders. Rui Costa was one of the best but the Italian rider Domenico Pozzovivo attacked in the final kms of the climb and he was able to maintain it and to get the victory under the rain.

Rui Faria

Rui Faria Costa nails second place.

Domenico Pozzovivo is also the new leader with the same overall time as Damiano Caruso (BMC). Rui Costa moves to the seventh GC place with a gap of 54” from the leader.

“Despite the really hard climb of the last mountain I was able to stay with the best GC riders” said Rui Costa “the final in descent was quite dangerous due to the heavy rain and we pushed to the limit trying to catch back Pozzovivo. We can’t but I got a good second place. It was important to play an important role to win the stage and to get a better overall ranking possible. Now we have others possibility. We’ll see”.

Tomorrow there will be another uphill-finish, the Zernez – Solden of 160.8 km.

Tom Dumoulin does not start Swiss Tour stage 6:

Here's the update from Dumoulin's Team Sunweb:

Unfortunately, Tom Dumoulin is unable to start stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse today due to fatigue. After an intensive and demanding racing period, The Giro d'Italia winner is feeling the effects and the decision has been for the 26-year-old Dutchman to pull out of the Tour de Suisse.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin heading to the start of stage four

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef said: “Before heading to Switzerland we already knew that our expectations would be taken day by day with Tom. At the uphill finish of stage 4 we monitored increased fatigue and yesterday we tried it once again. The conclusion was that it wasn’t worth continuing to battle and we would rather him recharge his batteries once again for next week’s nationals before taking a break in July, ahead of the second part of the season.”

Team Sunweb announces two riders for Tour de France

This was in my inbox:

With the second Grand Tour of the season fast approaching, Team Sunweb are pleased to announce their long-list for the 2017 edition of Le Tour de France. [Editor's note: only two riders are actually named at this point]

This year's Tour de France is a special edition for Team Sunweb as it starts on home soil in Düsseldorf, Germany. The 104th edition of the race is made up of nine flat stages, five hilly stages, five mountain stages and two individual time trials, the first of which comes on the opening day.

Team Sunweb heads to the Tour de France with the main focus on stage success and its nine-rider line-up will be forged to chase this goal. Two of the team's riders that are confirmed in this early stage are Michael Matthews (AUS) and his main lead-out man German Nikias Arndt. The duo were recently successful at the Tour de Suisse, catapulting Team Sunweb to victory on a difficult stage three. Next to their chances in both the flat stages and the sprint stages with a difficult finale, the team will add riders to the line-up to also fight for results on the hilly and mountainous terrain.

Nikias Arndt

Nikias Arndt is headed to the Tour de France

In advance of the Tour de France, Team Sunweb's coaches and experts have created the most optimum performance plan in preparation for July, consisting of a mix between races, altitude training and balanced rest periods.

Team Sunweb's trainer Hendrik Werner (GER) said: "This year our goal is to go for stage results and this long-list will offer plenty of talent and opportunities to select a powerful line-up. A line-up not only to support Michael optimally on the sprint stages with a strong lead-out, but also one to create opportunities from breakaways that potentially make it to the finish, as well as the intermediate stages. We have spent time training at altitude together, along with the rest of the team, building further on a strong foundation from the first racing block of the season to prepare for a tough three-week-journey in France. The last couple of races ahead of the Tour have been and will be used to focus on coaching, cooperation and on the dynamics within the team and to fine-tune the sprint preparation process."

Lotto-Soudal's rider medical update

The team sent me this report:

This morning Adam Hansen didn’t start the second stage of the Ster ZLM Toer. The Aussie crashed in the fourteenth stage of the Giro and fractured a bone in his right hand. Almost four weeks later Adam still has pain when racing, that’s why he had a scan taken this afternoon. That showed no fractures, but a severe bone bruise that can only heal with rest. Hansen can train when his hand is immobilised. A Tour participation is not jeopardized.

Five weeks ago, during the first stage of 4 Jours de Dunkerque on May 9, Lotto Soudal rider Frederik Frison crashed hard. He incurred several injuries: a pelvic fracture, three broken ribs, two fractures to the transverse process on his vertebrae, a fractured sacrum and a small pneumothorax. At the moment Frederik is working on his comeback in the peloton.

Frederik Frison: “In front of me some riders hit the deck and I couldn’t avoid them anymore. Riders behind me crashed into me at high speed. I could hardly move the first ten days. It was only after fourteen days that I could start moving on crutches. One and a half weeks later I could stand on my legs and from then on I started riding on the home trainer a quarter of an hour each day. That was extended to one and a half hours and afterwards I trained an entire week on rollers. One month after the crash I went back on the road for the first time. I took smooth roads, because it was painful to absorb the shock when riding over holes in the road. At the moment I do trainings up to three hours. That can be extended pretty quickly as I still have a basic condition. The next step is building up the intensity. That will hurt the most.”

“In July I will go on an altitude training camp to Livigno with the team. It is difficult to put an exact date on my comeback in the peloton. That will depend on the progress I make the next weeks. It is unfortunate this happened, but I can put things in perspective. It could have been much worse.”

Sean De Bie abandoned the Giro with back problems. This was caused by his position on the bike. The medical staff of the team corrected the position of Sean. Sean will race next Sunday in Bruges.

Jens Debusschere will also race in Bruges on Sunday after he had to pass for the Tour de Suisse because of a back injury. The Belgian is still being treated for it, but has already started training. After the Belgian Championships on Sunday June 25, Debusschere gets a rest period as planned.

Tosh Van der Sande abandoned the Critérium du Dauphiné with a viral infection. The team immediately decided to pull him out of the race. In the meantime the infection has gone.

Bart De Clercq, who is riding Tour de Suisse at the moment, left the Giro with a leg injury. This was caused by overburdening and the need of a corrected bike position. The injury evolves in the right direction now and he is feeling better every day.

Thomas De Gendt didn’t start the last stage of the Dauphiné because of a wrist injury. Examinations showed that he has an oarsman’s wrist. He has to wear a brace for three weeks, but can train. This is no obstruction for his Tour participation.

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