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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, May 14, 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

Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, winter chilling the lap of very May; but at length the season of summer does come. - Thomas Carlyle

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage nine team reports

We posted the organizer's as well as stage winner Simon Yates' Team Mitchelton-Scott's reports with the stage results.

Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this:

Cycling's World Championships

Today´s stage saw a big breakaway group, including BORA – hansgrohe rider Cesare Benedetti which was gone for most of the stage. On the final climb the breakaway fell apart and one by one tried an attack, but all attempts failed. As the race headed into the final kilometres, the two GC Contenders Formolo and Konrad were in a good position in the reduced bunch. A final attack saw Davide Formolo in the first group and in an exciting finale, race leader S.Yates took the stage win ahead of T. Pinot, while BORA – hansgrohe rider Formolo crossed the line in a strong 6th place.

The Stage
The second consecutive summit finish awaited the peloton in stage 9 of the Corsa Rosa today. More than 220km from Pesco Sannita up to the mount Gran Sasso d´Italia, (category one), was on today´s menu. The first 100km took the riders from Benevento to Rionero on flat roads before they had to tackle the first climb of the day, Roccaraso, followed by a long descent to the city of Popoli. After two intermediate sprints the riders had to face the 45km long ascent up to the finish. The final climb was divided into two parts, the first was Calascio, the second one up to the famous Gran Sasso d´Italia. The ramps were steep over the final 7km and reached 2.000m in altitude, with gradients topping out at 13%.

The Team Tactics
BORA – hansgrohe goal for today was to support their two GC contenders as best and long as possible, to achieve another good stage result. Cesare Benedetti was the man for possible breakaways, to may help his teammates as a relay station later in the stage. Sam Bennett, Andreas Schillinger and Christoph Pfingsten stayed with the two climbers to help them through the day, while, like already in previous mountain stage, Felix Großschartner should still be able to help on the final climb if needed.

Sean Yates

Sean Yates takes the stage. Sirotti photo.

The Race
Right after the start a group of 14 riders with BORA – hansgrohe rider Cesare Benedetti formed the break of the day and opened up a gap of more than six minutes and was gone for most of the stage. But when the peloton started to increase the pace, the break fell apart with 25km remaining. Cesare Benedetti did a stellar job in the front group to help his teammates in the back, and with less than 20km to go, the reduced bunch had only some seconds left to the riders from the former breakaway. BORA – hansgrohe pulled hard and brought their two GC contenders into a good position for the last corners up to Gran Sasso. With temperatures of less than 10 degrees the reduced bunch rode up the ascent, as shortly before the finish eight riders managed to distance themselves from their opponents, one of them was BORA – hansgrohe climber Formolo, who finished second in yesterday´s summit finish. In an exciting finale Giro d´Italia leader S. Yates took the win ahead of T. Pinot, while BORA – hansgrohe rider Formolo finished in a strong 6th place on the cruel Gran Sasso d´Italia. Teammate Patrick Konrad showed once again a solid ride, he lost some seconds on the last kilometre, but still gained another 3 places in the GC, now sitting in 12th position.

From the Finish Line
“What can I say, I hoped for a better result but as the other climbers increased the pace in the final metres I couldn’t follow them or overtake them. But I achieved another top ten result and didn’t lose much time in the overall. Tomorrow is rest day, where I will relax and charge my batteries for the next part in this Giro d´Italia.” – Davide Formolo

“Our plan was to support Patrick and Davide until the finale, to have on the flat parts and also in the finale part teammates to support them. With Cece in the breakaway and Felix as their bodyguard all worked out perfectly, also Christoph Pfingsten was able to help them over many kilometres. The outcome of this great teamwork was the minimal time losses our two GC contenders. I think with our great stage win, three other podium results and Patrick small in the overall we can enjoy tomorrow´s rest day. And for the upcoming stages, I am sure there are coming more good results.” – Christan Pömer, sport director

And here's what GC third-place Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb had to say about the day's racing:

The last stage ahead of the second rest day tomorrow, stage nine of the Giro d’Italia featured another challenging summit finish with almost the entire final 50 kilometres of racing uphill. 14 riders jumped clear of the bunch in the early kilometres, opening up an eight minute lead over the peloton. It looked like the remaining rider from the break would take the stage honours, but with three kilometres to go he was caught just in time for the battle amongst the GC men to begin.

As soon as the race came back together, counter attacks were immediately launched. All moves were neutralised until the final kilometre when accelerations caused gaps to open which proved tough to close. Tom Dumoulin finishes the day 12 seconds down on the stage winner and now sits 3rd overall ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.

Stage 9

Stage nine went up. Sirotti photo.

Tom said: ‘Today was a tough day, with the distance and this final climb. I knew that at this altitude I shouldn’t follow each attack, so I closed them at my own pace. I have a good GC position and I’m satisfied with the form. At this moment in the race there are a few guys that are just better than me uphill. Tomorrow is the second rest day and I look forward to the second week.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef said: “Today was a long stage with another hard start and a finish on a 45 kilometre-long climb. Our goal was to protect Tom as long as possible and to be in a good position on the climb. The boys did a good job and we had five guys going into the last four kilometres. Then things exploded and Tom was able to follow the other GC guys for a while. In the last kilometre some gaps came and he finished 12 seconds down, and is now 3rd on GC.”

Tour of California stage one team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Fernando Gaviria's Quick-Step team with the results

Here's the report from Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe squad:

The Stage
The opening stage of this year’s race saw the Tour of California return to Long Beach on a criterium style course, setting the scene for a fast and thrilling first day. The pan-flat route meant consistently high speeds over each of its twelve laps, but with some tight twists and turns spread out over the parcours, this street course would make for exciting racing. At the end of the 134.5km stage, a sprint finish was all but guaranteed, but the high speeds and the winding finale would make it all the more difficult to stay in contention to the end.

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria takes the stage in Long Beach

The Team Tactics
Having taken a stage win in last year’s edition of the race, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, would be looking to add to his tally of Tour of California victories, but with a finale better suited to the pure sprinters, taking the win would be tough. The opening stage would provide ample opportunity to see how the Slovak rider’s rivals were performing after the demands of the Classics season, but with a week of racing ahead of the team, it was just as important for everyone to finish safely as it was to go for the win today.

The Race
The perfect weather conditions meant riders were positive and eager to make their mark on the first day, and two riders went on the attack early. While the nature of the parcours would make it difficult to stay out until the end of the stage, it didn’t stop this duo on the front from trying, holding the peloton at bay much of the day with an advantage of around a minute and a half. However, for the opening day, the sprinters had no intention of letting the break take the stage, and with a little under 10km to go, the peloton made the catch. The pace ramping up, Peter was riding calmly around ten riders back, his BORA-hansgrohe teammates protecting him well, but after negotiating the final few bends well, the UCI World Champion was fighting to find space to hit his top speed, taking third on the line against some of the strongest pure sprinters in the professional peloton.

From the Finish Line
“The opening stage of the Tour of California started at a normal pace and finished with a very fast sprint. I found myself a bit at the back when the sprint started and I wasn't able to overtake Ewan and Gaviria. They were faster and Gaviria took a nice victory. I felt in good form today, my legs were good, so I look forward to the next stages. Tomorrow, we have a mountain finish on Gibraltar Rd, so we will all try to help Rafał Majka and will then take every day as it comes.” – Peter Sagan

“I think we can be satisfied with what we achieved today. It was a stage for the sprinters and we knew it wouldn't be easy. Some of the best sprinters of the world are here, with strong supporting squads, so Peter taking third, close behind the two leaders is a good start. He came to California after a long and hard Classics season and this is his first race after nearly a month. The team worked very well, Rafał Majka had good sensations, so we look forward to a week of racing where we will take all the opportunities we can.” – Patxi Vila, Sports Director 

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