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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 10, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. - Niccolo Machiavelli

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage one team reports

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

Here's the update from stage one winner Edvald Boasson Hagen's Dimension Data team:

Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to a fantastic victory on stage 1 of the Criterium du Dauphine for Team Dimension Data, beating Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo Visma) into the minor placings.

Edvald Boasson Hagenb

Edvald Boasson Hagen takes the first stage. Sirotti photo.

The Criterium du Dauphine got underway with a short but challenging 142km stage between Aurilliac and Jussac. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka started on a positive note, as Julien Vermote made it into the 6-rider break of the day.

Despite the 5 categorised climbs spread across the route, the sprint teams remained interested in today’s stage and kept the gap to the breakaway under control.

On the final climb of the stage, Deceuninck-Quickstep upped the pace and reduced the main group to just 60 riders, as the break splintered up the road. Boasson Hagen had to dig deep to stay with the group on the climb, but our Norwegian managed to do so as it peaked with just 18km to go.

Mitchelton-Scott then took up the chase and ensured the final 3 remaining breakaway riders were caught in the final kilometer. Boasson Hagen was able to benefit from the chase work of the other teams and found the strength to beat them all in the final sprint for the stage victory.

The stage win also secured the overall race leader’s yellow jersey as well as the green jersey, as the leader in the points competition for Boasson Hagen.

“I am really happy with today’s win. It has been a while since I have won in the World Tour, so this is great win for me and for Team Dimension Data. I was really suffering on the climb, but I managed to stay there in the group while the best sprinters were dropped. That worked out really well for me. I had good speed in the sprint and am just really happy to have won and to take the yellow jersey, even if only for a few days.” – Edvald Boasson Hagen

Second-place Philippe Gilbert's Deceuninck-Quick Step team posted this report:

The Critérium du Dauphiné kicked off the second part of the season for many riders, including Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert, who were protagonists in the hectic and tense finale of stage 1. Travelling from Aurillac to Jussac, the 142km opening leg took the peloton over five climbs, amounting to over 2500 vertical meters, and it was on this final ascent that our team put the hammer down, making significant damages in the bunch.

Philippe gilbert

Philippe Gilbert during the team presentation ceremonies before stage one. Sirotti photo.

Once Tim Declercq peeled off, Zdenek Stybar took over the reins at the front, upping the pace and seriously stretching the already reduced bunch, which mercilessly spat out riders at the back on the steep gradients of Côte de Roquenatou. Up the road, two riders from the original breakaway possessed a 20-second advantage which they extended over the top of the climb, after being joined by a man who attacked from the field.

A mad chase ensued on the twisting downhill to Jussac, with the gap coming down only inside the final three kilometers, once the road flattened. As soon as the catch was made, Deceuninck – Quick-Step emerged on a left-hand bend with Philippe Gilbert on Julian’s wheel, who winded up the pace and launched the Paris-Roubaix champion going into the last corner.

Gilbert, one of the sixteen Dauphiné stage winners at the start, put in strong sprint which netted him runner-up behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and the green jersey, which he’ll sport on loan during Monday’s stage from Mauriac to Craponne-sur-Azon.

And Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

The 71st edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné started today in Aurillac with a 142 km undulating stage. Five categorised climbs, one shortly before the finale, awaited the riders before they had to tackle two final laps in Jussac.

After some kilometres of racing a group of six riders built the day’s break, while BORA – hansgrohe took over the pace back in the peloton. The time difference was more than three minutes for the escapees with 69 km to go. Especially Cesare Benedetti and Shane Archbold pulled hard at the front of the bunch nearly the whole race.

The race headed onto the final laps, as the breakaway still had a gap of around one minute. Team Deceuninck – Quick-Step increased the pace and therefore some sprinters, also Sam Bennett, couldn’t follow the reduced peloton on the final tough ascent.

Approaching the finale, Gregor Mühlberger launched an attack and tried to bridge across but unfortunately the main bunch closed the gap. The race went on fire as the trio at the front was caught with 600 metres to go, with Gregor Mühlberger and Emanuel Buchmann in the first positions of the pack. In an exciting finish, the Austrian crossed the line in a strong fifth place, teammate Buchmann took 11th place on today’s opener.

From the Finish Line:
“I think, we showed a strong performance today. We worked for Sam, to bring him into a good position for the final climb. When Deceuninck – Quick Step took over control, the race went on fire. I launched an attack but unfortunately it didn’t work out. However, I tried and finished in fifth position, Emu crossed the line at the same time, so we have a good position for the GC.” – Gregor Mühlberger

“It was a really strong breakaway today. We controlled the race to bring Sam into the bottom of the last tough climb in a good position in case he was able to make it over the top for the sprint, but the pace was too high. After that, Gregor tried and launched an attack, as the breakaway was caught Gregor gave his all and took a strong fifth place. Overall I think we can be satisfied with today’s opening stage.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director 

Mitchelton-Scott reports on Hammer Limburg

The team sent me this:

After a disappointing start to Hammer Limburg, Mitchelton-SCOTT fought back to win today's Hammer Chase, a lengthy 49.6kilometre team time trial.

After the team's collective performances over the previous two-days, they started today's Hammer Chase in the runner-up group but with a clear ambition of trying to win the day's race.

With a five-rider squad suited to the discipline, they powered around the course to set the fastest time and claim the race victory by 16seconds over CCC Team, while team Deceuninck-Quickstep did enough to secure the overall Hammer Limburg 2019 title.

Starting the event in the first of two groups, the runner-up group, it meant that Mitchelton-SCOTT had one goal in mind, to win the Hammer Chase.

The team built from powerful time trial riders paced their efforts to pass the only team in front of them, Team Ineos, in the early stages and then continued to get faster and faster as they flew around each of the four, 12.4kilometre circuits.

The team completed the distance with a time of 53minutes 30seconds to win the runner-up group, before waiting patiently for the Finalist’s group to finish. In the end, the Australian outfit's time proved to be faster than the rest to clinch the Hammer Chase title, which rounds-up the second Hammer Series race of the year.

Overall Hammer Limburg:
With things not going to plan on day-one, Mitchelton-SCOTT finished in 14th position but fought back with an aggressive showing in the Hammer Sprint, taking fifth place. Adding their win in the Hammer Chase to their overall tally meant that Mitchelton-SCOTT finished Hammer Limburg in ninth place and moved to sixth place on the Hammer Series leaderboard.

Michael Hepburn:
"Obviously starting in the runner-up group we were never up for the overall after losing too much the previous days but coming into today the focus was on winning the Chase. We had a strong team for today and everybody was focussed on producing a good ride and luckily it was enough.

"We just wanted to get from A to B as fast as possible. Starting second in the group, meant there was only Team Ineos in front of us and we were pretty confident that nobody was going to come from behind so we just tried to ride our own race. Luckily we caught Ineos quite quickly and could pull away from them."

Alex Edmondson:
"It would have been better if we were going for the overall win but we just had to take what we could and that was to try and take the Chase, we really put everything out there and to be able to come away with the win was awesome.

"Whenever you can race you always want to do well and with the team time trial we are starting to show that we are one of the strongest team. Hats off to all the boys and to the staff, the last two-days didn't quite go to plan but it is nice to be able to finish it off."

Cameron Meyer - Hammer Captain:
"It all went perfectly to plan, we had a chat before the start and we looked at last year's times and we actually looked at what they did to win it last year and we really wanted to go close to those sort of times. We had good information coming from the car and it just all went to plan.

"We didn't have the best start to the week but we clawed our way back and come away with some success."

Hammer Chase results:
1. Mitchelton-SCOTT 53:30
2. CCC Team 53:46
3. Team Sunweb 53:57

Overall Hammer Limburg results:
1. Deceuninck-Quickstep
2. Team Jumbo-Visma
3. Mitchelton-SCOTT

Hammer Series Leaderboard:
1. Team Jumbo-Visma 181 points
2. Deceuninck-Quickstep 134.9 points
3. Team Sunweb 134.1 points
6. Mitchelton-SCOTT 84.1 points

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