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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. - Thomas Edison

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia rest day two news

Chris Froome's Team Sky posted this update:

Tour de France: the Inside Story

Chris Froome plans to take each day as it comes at the Giro d’Italia as he aims to ride his way back into the race. Froome finds himself 11th overall after nine stages, 2’27” behind race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

And the four-time Tour de France winner has vowed to keep fighting as he sticks to his pre-race plan of growing in strength through the Giro.

Speaking on the race’s second rest day, he said: “I always came into the Giro with the plan of building into the race, with the bigger goal of doing the Giro d’Italia and going on to the Tour de France. It was never my objective to arrive right at the beginning of the Giro absolutely firing on all cylinders because as we’ve seen in riders who’ve done that in the past, they reach July and just have nothing.

“I was always looking to build through this period, but I think the crash [before stage one] was a setback to me. I also think the second crash [during stage eight] didn’t help, also on my right side, but we’re here and that’s the nature of cycling.

“I’m here, soaking it up, and really enjoying racing here in Italy. It’s been tough but it’s been good bike racing.”

Yates has been the standout rider of the race so far and Froome was full of admiration for his fellow Brit. He added: “Mitchelton-Scott are in such a commanding position and they’ve ridden such a good race so far. It’s great to see another Brit in the leader’s jersey. I’m genuinely happy for Simon. It’s a huge achievement, what he’s been able to do so far, and he seems to be coping really well under pressure.

“I’m going to be trying to give him a tough time in the second half of this race but nonetheless it’s great to see another Brit in pink. He’s got the team to support him, so he’s definitely going to take a lot of beating.”

Chris Froome

Chris Froome finishing Giro stage nine

Froome concedes that the gap to Yates is already substantial, but doesn’t believe that it’s insurmountable. “It is a big gap,” he continued, “but we’ve got some extremely tough racing coming and we’ve got a long time trial as well. I wouldn’t say it’s likely at this point, but stranger things have happened.

“I’m going to take the race one day at a time. I still want to do the best I can do: if that’s 20th place, if it’s second place, or if it’s first place. I’m here to race. I’m a bike racer and that’s what I’m going to do.”

As well as the rolling 34 kilometre time trial on stage 16, from Trento to Rovereto, there are still seven mountain stages to come at the Giro, including the infamous Monte Zoncolan climb on stage 14.

And Froome remains hopeful of riding into form with a strong team around him. "Whenever you crash the body is going to take a bit of an impact and I’m not pedalling the same as I normally do. That’s something I hope today, the rest day, will hope compensate for a little bit. Hopefully I start feeling a little bit more like myself in the second part of the race.

“The team has been great. It looks different to how it would normally look if we were on the front with the leader’s jersey every day, it’s going to look different when we don’t have the leader’s jersey.

“I’m taking it day-by-day at this point. I’m hoping to feel better and obviously if I am feeling better I’m going to take the race on the best I can.”

Tour of California stage 2 news

We posted the report from stage winner Egan Bernal's Team Sky with the race results.

Here's what second-place Rafal Majka's Bora-hansgrohe team had to say:

Day two of the Tour of California and the race went straight into the mountains, with some hard third category climbs topped off by the race’s first HC climb – the 12km ascent to the summit finish. The GC riders knew this was where the race would really come to life, and BORA-hansgrohe’s Rafał Majka impressed on the climb, keeping a cool head and not allowing the late attacks to push him into the red by trying to respond. As other riders suffered from their efforts, Rafał took second position and managed to create a time gap over some of the other GC favourites.

Egan bernal

Egan Bernal wins stage two.

The Stage
Today the Tour of California went from a totally flat opener to a dramatic mountain stage, and this stark contrast would leave its mark. Starting the day at sea level, the race would leave the Pacific Ocean behind them, climbing 7,700 feet in total over the day, before a summit finish on Gibraltar Road, 157km later. The race would cross four third-category climbs before the final climb, each one of these ranging from short but steep, to longer but gentler climbs to sap the riders’ energy reserves. Just a short distance after the penultimate climb, with the efforts of the previous 8.1% climb of Valley Road still in their legs, it was the ascent to the summit finish – a 12km HC climb with an average gradient of 8% and a maximum gradient of 14% - that would be the day’s decider.

The Team Tactics
With today’s stage potentially playing a deciding factor in the outcome of the GC race on only the second day, all eyes would be on the final climb to see who had the legs and the team support to make an impact. Much of the team’s tactics would depend on how the stage unfolded as the day went on, but the team would be riding to keep Rafał Majka safe in the GC race and ensure the Polish rider was in the right place to avoid any time losses, as well as to capitalise on any opportunities that might arise in the finale.

The Race
The peloton was once again treated to some beautiful Californian weather, and in spite of the difficult day awaiting them, a three-man breakaway took the chance to make their escape. With the group’s advantage hitting more than five minutes, it was clear that this escape was determined and could steal the stage win from the GC favourites, spurring on the peloton to chase. Michael Kolar took over on the front of the chasing group, swiftly bringing the gap down to a little over three minutes with BORA-hansgrohe the driving force in bringing the break back in, before making the catch at the foot of the final climb.

As the GC teams put the pressure on, the peloton began to string out and the effort was beginning to show, but as the kilometres ticked by and the bunch hit the harder sections of the climb, Rafał was still up there as other riders dropped off, looking comfortable and ready to react. When the attacks came, the Polish rider didn’t panic, and although he didn’t have the legs to go for the stage win, he kept a cool head and beat the other contenders to the line for second position, taking all-important seconds in the GC race.

From the Finish Line
"After nearly a month out of racing, I'm happy with my result today. It was a hard climb but I managed to keep my pace and finish second. We have five more stages to go and, together with the rest of the squad, I will do my best to aim at the GC." – Rafał Majka

"We knew that today's stage and its final climb on Gibraltar Road would be hard and that Bernal would be the toughest opponent. He's a young rider, a pure climber and his attack with 2km to go was strong. Still, Rafał Majka was able to finish second, ahead of the main contenders, taking bonus seconds. I think we can be satisfied with the result, Rafał had good legs and the team worked well to position him in the front at the bottom of the climb. There are still five stages and five more opportunities for us." – Patxi Vila, Sports Director

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The squad sent me this schedule:

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED): "The parcours remain similar to last year's edition with two sprint stages and one climbing stage. Racing on home soil, we line-up with Coryn as our sprinter for the race with a solid combination of youth and experience to support our sprint ambitions. For the sprint stages we will try to make it really hard. Stage two is around Lake Tahoe and we have Ruth, Liane and Juliette will be our final riders in this stage. It will be interesting to see where we can go with our young leaders; Juliette and Liane really thrived in this role during the Tour de Yorkshire last week. The third stage is again a criterium in Sacramento. Our GC position will depend on the tactics here; we are hoping to defend a podium place."  

RACE: Amgen Tour of California (WT)

DATE: 17-19/05/2018

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Pernille Mathiesen (DEN)
Coryn Rivera (USA)
Julia Soek (NED)
Ruth Winder (USA) 

Coryn Rovera

Coryn Rivera will be on the start line for the Women's Tour of California

Team Sunweb coach Koen de Haan (NED): "The parcours have changed in comparison to last year, it has been reduced from five stages to three and the race is now in May, rather than in August. The opening stage is a flat one, followed by a day in the Jura with seven climbs for stage two. The final stage is another uphill day and finishes at the 10 kilometre long Col de la Faucille. This is a race on a difficult course with a strong field of participants. This makes it a good race for our young riders to develop and to check where their level is against a field like this. Our leader for the race is Marc, who has already shown his climbing strength this season with his stage win at the Istrian Spring Trophy. Marc marked this race in red, because of the parcours and it’s not far away from his hometown Bern. He is supported by Jarno who has already ranked top ten in the GC twice this season in a stage race. Felix, Florian and Martin have experience in this race from last year and will also be key support riders alongside Leon Heinschke who is racing his first stage race after breaking his hand earlier this season." 

RACE: Tour de l'Ain (UCI 2.1)

DATE: 18-20/05/2018

COACH: Koen de Haan (NED) 

Felix Gall (AUT)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Marc Hirschi (SWI)
Jarno Mobach (NED)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Florian Stork (GER) 

Team Sunweb coach Morten Bennekou (DEN): "We are looking forward to competing in Norway with a strong selection of riders. We have ambitions both in the sprints and in the GC, and we believe that we have good cards for day results as well as a solid GC result. Søren finished second in the GC in the 2015 edition of Tour de Fjords in his last year as a continental rider, proving that this is a race that suits him well. He will have the opportunity to go for his chances in the GC again and we also line up with Edward who is a fast rider for the bunch sprints”. 

RACE: Tour des Fjords (UCI 2.HC)

DATE: 22-24/05/2018

COACH: Morten Bennekou (DEN) 

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