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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 4, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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

Current Racing

Latest completed racing:

Critérium du Dauphiné prologue team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski's Team Sky:

Michal Kwiatkowski kicked off the Criterium du Dauphine in superb style with a victory in the opening prologue. One day after his 28th birthday, the Pole clocked an unbeatable time of seven minutes and 25 seconds around the 6.6-kilometre opener in Valence, claiming victory by just over a second.

The result saw him pull on the race’s opening yellow and blue jersey, during a day which saw Team Sky display plenty of strength in depth. Gianni Moscon impressed with a powerful ride to third spot on the stage, just three seconds back on his teammate. Moscon will don the white young rider's jersey on Monday's stage one, while Kwiatkowski also bagged the green points jersey for good measure.

Jonathan Castroviejo headed down the ramp early but his time held up well for ninth place, nine seconds back on Kwiatkowski.

Geraint Thomas was the final Team Sky rider down the ramp but the Welshman endured a tough start to the famous stage race. Sliding out on a fast right-hand corner, Thomas crashed into a roadside fence but was able to quickly remount and finish. A gutsy effort saw him drop only 21 seconds at the line, bettering a number of general classification contenders despite hitting the deck.

After a perfect start to the Dauphine Kwiatkowski admitted he wasn’t sure how he’d perform, having not raced since Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April. He explained: “After 40 days without racing of course it’s a bit of a surprise, but I know how hard I was training to be in good shape here in the Dauphine, as well as preparing for the Tour. You have to always be at the start thinking about the win, otherwise you are not able to perform well.

“It's going to be difficult, the transition I have to make from spring and performing in the Classics, to getting ready for the Tour. I was training for more than two weeks at our altitude training camp getting ready for the climbing. Let’s hope I can find my legs, if not here then for the Tour.”

Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkoski on his way to the prologue win.

Kwiatkowski also shared his support for co-leader Thomas following his crash on a tricky corner. He added: “I know where it happened, it was a really fast bend. I know G can fight for the win in this race. Let’s hope he’s all right and there’s nothing serious.

“Both Geraint and myself we came here to see how the shape is growing before the Tour. It’s an advantage to win the prologue but the hardest stages are at the end of the race – four mountain finishes, four really hard stages and a team time trial. For sure we are looking forward to racing hard, but at the moment I just want to enjoy this victory. I had my birthday yesterday and as well this is maybe the last time trial in the national champion’s jersey. Of course I will try to defend it at the national championship in a couple of weeks, but it’s always a nice feeling.”

Jos van Emden was second. Here's what his LottoNL-Jumbo team had to say:

Jos van Emden has finished second in the prologue of the Criterium du Dauphiné. In the 6.6 kilometre test in Valence, Van Emden was a mere second slower than winner Michal Kwiatkowski.

“I really wanted to win here. That was my goal for this race after a tough Giro. Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed”, a disappointed Van Emden said. “This was a race for the specialists. It was very fast. My time trial was close to perfect, but there was one rider faster. I almost immediately knew that it was a good time and that I was going to be very close to the win. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann could confirm Van Emden’s feeling. “This is a pity. Losing with one second is dreadful. Jos did very well today. It would have been nice if we had won. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. We came here without a specific rider for the overall classification. We started with only six riders, because Robert Wagner had to rush to the hospital for the birth of his child. An early success would have been nice.”

Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this Dauphiné report:

The Critérium du Dauphiné started with a 6 km individual time trial, won by M. Kwiatkowski. The BORA – hansgrohe equipe tried to avoid any time losses for the general classification. Best placed BORA – hansgrohe rider Lukas Pöstlberger finished 18 seconds behind the winner. Emanuel Buchmann came in 32 seconds after Kwiatkowski and sits in a good position for the overall ranking.

The Stage
The 70th edition of the Criterium du Dauphine started with a 6km long prologue through the city of Valence today. The intermediate time check was taken after 3km.

The Team Tactics
The German team arrived with a strong line-up and focused on a good GC ranking with Emanuel Buchmann. Today’s prologue set the first time in the general classification, therefore the team tried to limit any time losses.

The Race
First rider was Rudi Selig, who left the start ramp, team mate Alex Saramotins, Latvian National TT Champion managed a solid ride and finished 27 seconds behind the later stage winner. J. Van Emden was the rider who crossed the line with a new best time, he came in after 7:26 and was able to keep the hot seat for a long time. In the early afternoon, J. McCarthy went up the road, the clock stopped after 7:43 minutes, and took 34thplace in the end of the stage. The Austrian rider Lukas Pöstlberger left the start ramp and showed a good performance. He finished as BORA – hansgrohe best placed rider 18 seconds behind the later stage winner M. Kwiatkowski (Team Sky). GC contender Emanuel Buchmann avoided any bigger time losses and sits 32 seconds behind the leader at the Criterium du Dauphine.

From the Finish Line
“After a period of training, I am back in race mode and I am satisfied with my result and my performance today. We will see what happens in the upcoming stages, but I look forward to the next days, and of course I will support our GC contender Emanuel as best as possible.” – Lukas Pöstlberger

“I am not really satisfied with my performance today. I wasn’t able to find a good rhythm and the course wasn’t really for the climbers in the peloton. I wanted to go faster, however there are plenty of stages left, where I get the chance to make up for this.” – Emanuel Buchmann

“It was Lukas´first race after a period of training and he showed a solid ride today. Emu was able to avoid any bigger time losses and sits in a good position for the upcoming stages. Therefore, we will see what happens and try our best in the next days to achieve good results.” – Steffen Radochla, sports director 

Medical update on Lotto-Soudal riders

The team sent me this:

Lawrence Naesen suffers from mononucleosis. Because the recovery time from this illness varies individually, it is unsure how long Naesen will be out of competition. His blood levels, which will be evaluated weekly, have to be normal before he can restart training.

Frederik Frison contracted a severe respiratory infection after the Giro d’Italia. He had to go really deep to finish his first Grand Tour. At the moment, Frison is recovering but it’s still unclear when he will be able to race again.

Jasper De Buyst underwent dental surgery, which was necessary due to the consequences of his crash after the fifth stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. Thanks to the surgery, he should be able to function normally again.

Jasper de Buyst

Jasper de Buyst should be back in action soon.

Harm Vanhoucke, who will turn pro at Lotto Soudal as of 1 July, suffers from anaemia. At the moment, his physical activities are on hold and his situation is being constantly monitored. Because caution should be exercised, it is still unclear when he will start training again. Full recovery is necessary before he can return to competition.

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