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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 21, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger. - Harriet Tubman

Current Racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage fourteen reports

Here's what Team Sky had to say about the day's racing in Italy:

Mikel Landa battled to a gutsy third place on a brutal climb into Oropa on stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia as Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) extended his overall lead in the general classification.

Landa was part of a selective lead group of four containing Dumoulin, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha-Alpecin) which went clear with 2km to go on the final climb.

Zakarin attacked in the closing 300 metres only to be pegged back by Dumoulin and overtaken, while Landa followed in behind leaving Quintana unable to react having expended a lot of been clear of the chasing bunch

Earlier, Diego Rosa had instigated an early break on the ascent, gaining nearly nine seconds on the chasing pack until Movistar reacted en masse to drive the dwindling peloton together again with 6km to go.

This then set the stage for Quintana to mount his attempt to close the gap at the top of the overall standings, only to be denied by Dumoulin who extends his GC advantage.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin wins Giro stage fourteen

Landa was disappointed not to take the stage win, but was encouraged by his performance, especially considering the injuries suffered in the crash on stage nine. He told “You always want to win, but I have to remember that six days ago I crashed and I have pain so I have to be happy.”

“The team were helping me and they were focused on the race. We have one week to race and it would be nice for us to get a stage win.” He added:  “I am feeling healthier and better day by day. I hope after the rest day I will be 100 per cent.”

Sport Director Dario Cioni was also encouraged by Landa’s climbing and believes his form can inspire the team to earn a stage win. He said: “It was a good result and Mikel showed he was one of the best climbers. It boosts morale for the next week and we can really go for the race win.

“The plan was to give Mikel the chance to have a stage win and the guys did a good job and delivered Mikel in a good position at the base of the climb.”

And Ilnur Zakarin's Katusha-Alpecin team posted this Giro report:

Team Katusha-Alpecin’s leader Ilnur Zakarin produced a strong performance in stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia, only beaten by overall leader Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) on the summit finish to Oropa.

"I am happy with my performance today. Of course I wanted to win the stage but Dumoulin was a bit stronger in the last meters. As I said before, the final week will be very decisive and I focused on it. It was only the first fight from a lot of hard days in the Alps and I am only looking to my own performance and not to the other riders. I try to race as best as possible and then we'll see what's going on at the end in Milan,“ said Ilnur Zakarin.

As expected, the summit finish to Oropa saw the first attack from Nairo Quintana. (Movistar). However the GC leader Tom Dumoulin came back, bringing Mikel Landa (Team Sky) and Ilnur Zakarin along with him, meaning there would be four riders contesting the stage win. Dumoulin led them into the final 300m, when Zakarin burst for the line. Dumoulin quickly jumped onto the Russian’s wheel, while Quintana, suffering from his early efforts was distanced. As the road turned left into the finishing straight it was a two-horse race between Zakarin and the pink jersey, and in the final 150m to former faded, allowing Dumoulin to come around the right-hand side to take a famous stage win.

Tour of California team report from Dimension Data:

The Amgen Tour of California came to an exciting conclusion today thanks to Lachlan Morton and the Rally Cycling Team taking the final stage by the horns. Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) was the final stage winner, David Lopez (Team Sky) was 2nd and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) finished 3rd. Morton was 4th across the line and George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the race overall.

Evan Hufman

Evan Huffman won the California Tour's final stage

The final stage left Mountain High on a 125km mostly downhill route, finishing in Pasadena. Starting with a slightly treacherous descent, which saw 2 riders crash out of the race, the peloton neutralised the racing until reaching the valley road. From then on though the attacks came thick and fast and Lachlan Morton was at the helm of it all.

Our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider timed his attack well, making his move when the peloton was at its limit, with 4 other riders joining him initially. Huffman, Rob Britton (Rally Cycling), Edet and Lopez joined Morton before Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling) rode across the gap a few kilometers later. The break worked well together, except for Lopez, who was sitting on in order to protect his teams GC ambitions.

With 5 riders fully committed to the move, the gap opened to 1’45” with 45km to go. They then hit the final cat 2 climb of the day and the peloton was able to close the gap down to just 40″, but the increase in pace also the peloton blow to pieces. In the end, it was a group 25 riders versus the 5 that were working up front.

Incredibly, the break was able to make it all the way to the line. Lopez tried to get one over on the break right near the line but Huffman was still able to roll him for the win. Morton took 4th but was able to reclaim the Best Young Rider Jersey and moved up two spots on GC, to finish 7th overall. A gutsy ride by Morton which our whole team can be proud of, after their tireless work this week.

Lachlan Morton – Rider: "Today was just a great bike race to be part of. The team had worked so hard for me all week and I kind of wanted to repay them somehow, so I saw an opportunity today and took it. We had 5 guys really going for it in the break and it was just full gas all the way. To come away with the jersey in the end is great, and it ends the tour off on a positive note for our team. I feel right at home with the team, we race for a great cause, it’s like one big family so I am happy with how it ended today for all of us."

Tour of Norway stage four report from Orica-Scott:

Consistency is the name of the game at the Tour of Norway and Simon Gerrans showed his form yet again on stage four today, coming close in the fast finale to take fourth place and hold on to third overall ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.

ORICA-SCOTT have started to bloom late in this race and played a significant role in bringing the stage back together for the sprint in the closing kilometres after another long day spent behind the day’s breakaway.

It was Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) who took the stage win after dominating the sprint with Gerrans in fourth on the day and third on the general classification going into the last day of racing.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen getting another stage win in Norway

Pieter Weening (Rompoot-Nederlandse-Loterij) retains the race lead with Edvald Boassen-Hagen (Dimension-Data) three seconds behind in second and Gerrans also at three seconds. Rob Power started the stage in the best young riders white jersey and is maturing with every performance.

“The team rode fantastically going into the final today,” said sport director Matt Wilson. “We really nailed it and made only one small mistake which was dropping Simon off a little bit too early and that allowed Groenewgen to get the jump and come past for the victory.”

“We rode well, but we are disappointed. Simon had great legs and we came very close to getting the win and moving to within one or two seconds on the general classification, but we are still within reach.

“It is going to be hard now, the top three is really tight and even though tomorrow’s stage suits us it will still be tough. The route is the Oslo World Championships course from 1993 and lends itself well to aggressive racing and we intend to go all out tomorrow and go for the win and the overall.”

How it happened:

Five riders went clear early on today’s stage four and quickly developed a ten minute advantage over the peloton, returning to the form of the first two stages and likely to stay this way until the start of the three finishing circuits.

No chase of significance materialised until after the stages halfway point, with the gap standing at a whopping eleven and a half minutes Rompoot decided it was time to start bringing things back together.

The chase continued to intensify and with the sprinters teams getting involved over the closing circuits the gap had fallen to two minutes with 25kilometres to go and the catch looking assured.

Four riders were left out front going into the final lap as the peloton steamed behind them, dropping off one by one in the final kilometres the catch was almost made when Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) launched a late attack.

Gallopin was caught by ORICA-SCOTT lined out on the front of the bunch with all six riders and only two kilometres remaining as the fight for positioning for the sprint started.

In the end it was Groenewegen who took the stage victory with Gerrans again coming close and taking fourth place after good work from the Australian outfit.

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