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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, June 9, 2018

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

That money talks, I'll not deny, I heard it once: It said, "Goodbye". - Richard Armour

Current Racing

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Latest completed racing:

Critérium du Dauphiné stage five team reports

We posted the organizer's race report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Dan Martin's UAE-Team Emirates:

Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

Climbs, high level rivals and a difficult course: ingredients that wet the appetite for Daniel Martin. He conquered the 5th stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné, 130,5 km with the summit finish in Valmorel.

He won by 4" on Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and 15" on Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). It marks his first success of 2018 after finishing second in the stage yesterday.

The day was marked with a early escape over the first climb. In the nine men move was Edward Ravasi. The young Italian climber maintained his position at the head of the race until the final climb, being caught at 6 km to go.

After an attack by Adam Yates, Daniel Martin made his move at 3,5 km remaining.
He now sits 14th overall ar 2’26” from the new leader Thomas.

“Yesterday I attacked but couldn’t win, today it worked. I thought if I attacked, they’d let me go. I’m a little further back in the overall. I took the opportunity, everyone seemed to be in the red after Adam Yates attacked – said Martin (photo Bettini) – This success brings fantastic feelings, after second yesterday and a period of adjustment with the new team, where we all are getting familiar with each other.

"The team was perfect, even when the wins don’t arrive, we are always a united group and I received constant support. That makes it all the better to add a victory as payback for everyone’s work."

Dan Martin

Dan Martin wins stage five

"I’m surprised, my training went perfectly over the past few weeks. I didn’t expect to bo in top form yet, I’d rather be in this position than in difficulty for the Tour de France".

The 6th stage tomorrow covers 110 km and finishes at 1850 mt at La Rosiere. Two Hors Categorie climbs – Montée de Bisanne, 12,4 km at 8,1% and Col du Pré, 12,6 km at 7,6% – a second category Roselend, 5,7 km at 6,4% and 17,6 km up to the finish line.

New GC leader Geraint Thomas' Team Sky had this to say about the day's racing:

Geraint Thomas powered into the race lead at the Criterium du Dauphine with an impressive show of strength on stage five. The Welshman distanced his rivals with a stinging attack inside the final kilometre but just missed out on the stage win, finishing four seconds behind solo winner Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates).

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) crossed the line 11 seconds later to round out the day’s podium, highlighting the strength of Thomas’ late acceleration. He now leads the race by 1’09” from Damiano Caruso (BMC).

Gianni Moscon started the day in the yellow jersey and rode well to limit his losses on the tough final climb. The young Italian now sits third overall on the same time as Caruso, while teammate Michal Kwiatkowski sits fifth at 1’15”. Moscon also retains the young rider's jersey.

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas is the new GC leader.

He said: “The boys rode really well at the start, we controlled that nicely then Bora wanted to ride, so that was good for us. On the final climb the guys rode really well and we controlled it.

“Obviously Yates and Mitchelton put the hammer down a bit and it was hard going but we stuck together and Tao did an exceptional ride. In the last kilometre I went to close as much down as possible. I took it quite steady on that last corner - I didn’t want a repeat of the prologue! A really good day.”

Asked if holding onto the jersey will be the toughest test of his career, Thomas continued: “Most definitely. These four days are the hardest four days I would have raced in a one-week stage race. They’re super hard climbing stages, even harder on the weekend now. I’ll try to enjoy tomorrow in the jersey and try to defend it. But it’s super hard and anything can happen. So far so good.

“There’s a lot of climbing tomorrow. It might be a short stage but there’s three big climbs and a little one as well. It’s certainly a big test.”

The short 130km stage was another fast and furious one in France, with an uphill start setting the tone. Dylan van Baarle and Luke Rowe rode strongly at the head of the peloton for the majority of the day, sharing pace making duties with Bora Hangsrohe ahead of the final climb.

All eyes were on the hors categorie Valmorel and the second summit finish in as many days but attacks were late to fire on the 12km climb. Yates opened proceedings with a dig 4km from the finish. Thomas was quick to get on his wheel, before Martin caught and countered.

At that point Geoghegan Hart hit the front and put the hammer down, impressing for the second day running. His effort halved the gap to Martin and as he pulled off under the flamme rouge, Thomas went.

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) was able to stay with the 32 year old for a few seconds before losing the wheel and Thomas continued his pursuit of Martin, rolling in just four seconds behind the Irishman to put himself in a dominant position with two days to go.

Speaking after digging deep to finish 21st on the day, Moscon said: “It was a very hard stage. The uphill start was very tiring. From the gun, I still felt yesterday’s stage in my legs - I hadn’t fully recovered and I didn’t have one of my best days on the bike.

“Of course I’m still happy with how things went because we still have the leader’s jersey with Geraint. We can really play for the overall victory. There are two hard stages left with a lot of climbing.”

Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

BORA – hansgrohe took control over the reduced bunch to close the gap and as the pack caught the escapees, Emanuel Buchmann stayed in a perfect position and showed once again a great performance. It was D. Martin, who took the win ahead of G. Thomas, BORA – hansgrohe rider Emanuel Buchmann came in 4thand is now 10th in the general classification.

The Stage
Stage five at the Critérium du Dauphine opened with two category two climbs in the first 20km of the race before a mostly flat run into the base of the final 12,7km Hors Category climb to the finish line in Valmorel. The race started in Grenoble and covered 130km in total with an elevation of more than 2.500m.

The Team Tactics
Like yesterday, BORA – hansgrohe worked for GC contender Emanuel Buchmann. The team supported him as best as possible to accomplished another top ten result in today’s short but tough stage. 

The Race
Eight riders escaped early and after some kilometres the advantage increased to around two minutes. BORA – hansgrohe stayed in the peloton and worked for their GC contender Emanuel Buchmann to bring him in a good position for the final climb. Emanuel’s teammates did a stellar job to protect him and took control over the peloton to close the gap. The breakaway was gone for most of the stage but shortly before the final climb the escapees were caught. On the final ascent the reduced bunch fell apart and some riders lost contact, BORA – hansgrohe rider Emanuel Buchmann rode a good pace and was able to stay in an optimal position, the German rider showed once again a great performance. In the finish, it was D. Martin, who took the win ahead of G. Thomas. E. Buchmann crossed the line in a remarkable fourth place, following this great result, he moved up to 10th place in the overall ranking.

From the Finish Line
“I am really satisfied with today’s result, of course a podium spot would have been nice but I am now 10th in the GC. We missed the breakaway, so we had to took the control over the peloton and tried to close the gap. My teammates did a great job and brought me into a perfect position. Tomorrow will be another tough stage and I will try to enhance my top ten spot.” – Emanuel Buchmann

“Our goal was to go for another great result, maybe for the win. The whole team worked very hard to close the gap and as we reached the final climb, Emanuel was in a perfect position. He showed once again a really strong performance, at the end he came in fourth and moved up to 10th place in the GC. I think with these results we can be more than satisfied.” – Steffen Radochla, sports director 

Tour de Suisse team previews:

Lotto-Soudal sent me this update:

On Saturday 9 June, Lotto Soudal will be at the start of the 82nd edition of the Tour de Suisse. This nine-day WorldTour race is with its varied course a good preparation for what awaits the riders in the upcoming Tour de France. When the Tour de Suisse ends in Bellinzona on Sunday 17 June, there are only three weeks left till ‘Le Grand Départ’ in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île.

The Tour de Suisse kicks off with a team time trial of 18.3 kilometres in and around Frauenfeld. The next three stages are hilly and will offer opportunities to strong sprinters as well as attackers. On Wednesday 13 June, the riders will head into the Swiss mountains for three days of climbing. During these days, the sprinters will already look forward to the penultimate stage in Bellinzona, where a short stage of 123 kilometres on an undulating local circuit is scheduled. The Tour de Suisse concludes with a 34 kilometres long individual time trial. Last year, the Slovenian rider Simon Špilak took the overall victory ahead of the Italian Caruso and the Dutchman Kruiswijk.

Simon Spilak

Simon Spilak won the 2017 edition of the Tour de Suisse

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “This year, the Tour de Suisse starts with a team time trial and ends with an individual time trial. These two days will be very important for the general classification. In my opinion, the rest of the stages are rather feasible. Of course, it is still a stage race in Switzerland but some of the previous editions have been harder. This year, there are no summit finishes on a long and tough climb like in Sölden.”

“André Greipel will do the sprint, but I think there will be at most two chances to do so. The second stage in and around Frauenfeld includes some climbing but will possibly end in a sprint. Stage eight in Bellinzona is relatively flat and should also offer a chance to the sprinters. But riders like Gaviria, Sagan and Matthews will have also targeted these stages. Greipel is mainly preparing for his biggest goal this season, which is the Tour de France. Nevertheless, the Tour de Suisse is important to fine-tune the sprint train. Greipel has been riding with Marcel Sieberg for a long time, but not with Jasper De Buyst. But the cooperation between Jasper and André has been running smoothly so far.”

“Tim Wellens will definitely try to win a stage in the Tour de Suisse. Maybe a good result in the general classification is also possible. Tim rode a major part of the Giro d’Italia, so we will have to evaluate his position on GC day by day. Our race tactics will depend on Tim Wellens his position in the general classification. Maxime Monfort is someone who can support Tim, but he is also a perfect rider to join breakaways. Adam Hansen has just completed the Giro but is of course used to riding consecutive races. He will be of crucial importance during the team time trial. He can also contribute to the preparations for the sprint and support Wellens uphill.”

“Neo-pro Bjorg Lambrecht will continue his learning process in the Tour de Suisse. Bjorg already rode some high-level races and did very well so far. He can assist Tim Wellens in obtaining a good result in the general classification. But above all, he has to watch and learn.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Jasper De Buyst, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Bjorg Lambrecht, Maxime Monfort, Marcel Sieberg and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

And here's the race preview EF Education First-Drapac sent me:

EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale will send a stage-hunting squad to the Tour de Suisse, which begins on Saturday in Frauenfeld, Switzerland.

Matti Breschel, Nate Brown, Hugh Carthy, Will Clarke, Joe Dombrowski, Taylor Phinney, and Sep Vanmarcke make up the team for the nine-day trek around Switzerland. Tom Southam and Fabrizio Guide will direct the team’s efforts.

Sep Vanmarcke

Sep Van Marcke (shown at this year's Paris-Roubaix) will be on the start line for the Tour de Suisse.

“I like Switzerland and the Suisse race because it’s a beautiful country, the climbs generally suit me, and the pavement is good. The only downside sometimes can be the weather. If it rains can be nasty and cold. Otherwise it’s great,” said Joe Dombrowski. “This year is different than others because it is further from the Tour de France, so I would say that it’s a pretty strong field. Normally you’d have a number of Tour riders racing Dauphiné instead.”

The parcours is a balanced one, with opportunities for varying types of riders. The race opens and closes with time trials. A team chrono comes first. An individual effort on stage nine in Bellinzona will likely decide the overall winner. There are two mountain-top finishes and another mountain stage tossed in for good measure. The race lists the stage from Oberstammheim to Gansingen as suitable for a classics rider, while two circuit stages will offer chances for sprinters. But, as Dombrowski notes, the route isn’t as climb-focused as those in the past.

“The stages aren’t particularly hard compared to normal. There’s a lot of time trialing kilometers and there’s two uphill finishes but I think they both are fairly shallow gradients and kick up just at the end," said Dombrowski. "It’s probably similar to the Suisse Cancellara won back in 2009."

The team will search for opportunities, both high and low.

“We’ve some of our heavy hitters going, guys like Sep, Taylor and Matti. Will Clarke is also a guy who is aggressive and is prepared to race hard. These guys will be looking to create opportunities on the flatter stages,” Southam said. “The climbers we have all come from the Giro team. I expect them to be particularly hungry for success.”

Southam also sees teams taking a hard look at the team time trial since the TDF also sees a team effort against the clock. Suisse represents the last chance before La Grande Boucle to assess the discipline in a race setting. 

“The team time trial will be interesting to give everyone a measure of where they stand pre-July,” Southam noted.  “And stage three into Gansingen looks like it will produce an interesting final.”

The Tour de Suisse wraps up on Sunday, June 17.

EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale for the 2018 Tour de Suisse

Sport Directors: Tom Southam (GBR), Fabrizio Guidi (ITA)

Matti Breschel (DEN)
Nate Brown (USA)
Hugh Carthy (GBR)
Will Clarke (AUS)
Joe Dombrowski (USA)
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Sep Vanmarcke (USA)

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