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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 16, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. - Michael Jordan

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage seven team reports

Here's the report from stage winner Wout Poels' Team INEOS:

Wout Poels secured a dramatic late victory in the pouring rain on the Queen stage of the Criterium du Dauphine to move up to fifth overall.

Wout Poels

Wout Poels takes the stage.

Poels had been working as part of an elite chase group trying to bridge the gap to leaders Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) as the pair had a narrow advantage towards the end of the final climb.

And while the gap was slowly dwindling, it looked as through the duo would stay away until the Dutchman decided to attack the GC group in the last kilometre, catch Fuglsang and Buchmann with just 250 metres to go and powering past them to earn his first stage win of the season.

The result moves Poels up to fifth overall, just 28 seconds behind new race leader Fuglsang, who took the yellow jersey from Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), ahead of Sunday’s final stage.

Earlier, Dylan van Baarle and Gianni Moscon had kick-started the tactical plan by joining a very strong 22-rider breakaway in the opening kilometres, allowing teammates Poels and Michal Kwiatkowski to be absolved of chase duties.

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) was the GC threat in the break, which forced Mitchelton-Scott to work hard to reduce the deficit throughout the stage, and he kickstarted the attacks in the final 35km.

This dramatically reduced the size of escape group , which left Moscon and Van Baarle to return to a select bunch behind to assist with the chase before Kwiatkowski attacked and bridged to Lutsenko and Michael Woods (EF Education First).

Again, this forced Poels’ rivals to react to bring the trio back into contention and the Dutch rider was able to wait for his moment and after Kwiatkowski was caught, Fuglsang and Buchmann forged ahead until Poels was able to catch and surpass them to record Team INEOS’ 10th win of the season.

Reaction, Wout Poels:
"I attacked a few times and [the GC group] didn't let me go, then going into the final kilometre it was a case of now or never and I gave everything. I am normally quite good in the bad weather - maybe the best way to keep warm is to pedal faster! For some reason I always seem to go well in bad weather.

"It was hard to see what happened to Chris, obviously I was behind it when it happened, it gave me a little bit more motivation as he should be the leader, but then I had to take over. It’s really nice for the team to get a nice win and and it’s a gift for Chris.

"I felt pretty strong all day. The team did an amazing job. 500 metres before the line, I thought it would be difficult to catch the two guys away but in the last corner I came and just round over them. It’s very nice to win here.”

"One day to go, the legs are good so I’ll give it a good try to go for the overall win, but Fuglsang has been really good all year, he looks strong and he has a really good chance.”

New GC leader Jakob Fuglsang's Team Astana posted this report:

The Critérium du Dauphiné has a new overall leader after Stage 7, as Jakob Fuglsang finished second behind stage winner Wout Poels and moved into pole position for the GC with one more day to go. Alexey Lutsenko and Magnus Cort made it in the day’s breakaway, they got caught on the final climb and together with Gorka Izagirre, they put Fuglsang in a position for his attack in the final kilometers.

Jakob Fuglsang

Jakob Fuglsang will start the final stage in yellow. Sirotti photo

- Today went almost exactly how we planned it. We only had hoped that there was a possibility to create a bigger time gap and to go for a stage victory for Alexey Lutsenko or Magnus Cort, who were in the breakaway, or for me. For us, it was a good situation to have two men in the breakaway. In the end, it all came back together in one big group. I decided to attack because I didn’t want to ride all the way to the finish with them. But it was not easy to sprint for the stage win, as I was very cold, just like everybody else.

Tomorrow will be a hard stage. I know from back in 2017 when Richie Porte had to defend the lead, that it’s not easy to defend a jersey on the final day. For sure it’s going to be difficult. But the team is riding very strong so far and I hope this gives them the motivation as well to dig deep one more time. And I will just try to defend my jersey, we will see what tomorrow brings, - said Jakob Fuglsang.

Stage 7 was 133,5 kilometers long and went from Saint-Genix-Les-Villages to Pipay, over three 1stcategory climbs and a summit finish on Montée de Pipay (HC). After a hard start, a group of 22 riders went clear, including Kazakh champion Alexey Lutsenko and Magnus Cort. On the final climb, Lutsenko attacked and took Michael Woods with him, but they were not able to stay away from the chasing but strongly reduced peloton. In the end, it came back together, and Jakob Fuglsang was still surrounded by Gorka Izagirre, Lutsenko and Cort. Jakob Fuglsang attacked in the final kilometers of the stage and rode to the finish with Emanuel Buchmann and Wout Poels. Poels took the stage win in front of Fuglsang, who moved into the overall lead.

Tomorrow is the final day of Critérium du Dauphiné. Stage 8 will bring the riders from Cluses to Champéry, racing for 113,5 kilometers and including seven climbs of which a 1st and 3rd categorized climb will be in the final 20 kilometers of the race. Jakob Fuglsang leads the race with 8 seconds on Adam Yates and 20 seconds on Tejay van Garderen. Astana Pro Team is also back in the lead in the Team Classification, defending a 4'49" gap on Team Jumbo-Visma.

Third-place Emanuel Buchmann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this update:

The penultimate stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné was also the queen stage of this year’s edition. It was a short but intense day, the riders had to tackle 133,5 km but three category one climbs before heading up to the summit finish on Pipay, a Hors Categorie climb.

As expected a breakaway formed early in the day, as 22 riders established a gap of more than three minutes. Today, Felix Großschartner represented the German team in the day’s break. After the first ascent the breakaway split, as two riders managed to distance themselves from their fellow escapees. Felix Großschartner rode in the chasing group, which grew to 27 riders. The group rode together onto the final ascent of the day while, Emanuel Buchmann was riding in the yellow jersey group only some minutes behind the leading group.

The race headed onto the final climb as Felix was caught by the yellow jersey group, where Emanuel Buchmann rode. As expected it all fell apart in the final kilometers. Two riders at the front were caught and with 3km to go the BORA - hansgrohe rider launched an attack followed by Fuglsang. The young German rider dug deep in the closing meters of the stage. At the very last moment W. Poels bridged across and was able to overtake both to sprint to victory. The young German crossed the line in third place, moving up to fourth on the general classification. He is now 21 seconds down on the new leader, but only 1 second away from third place overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

From the Finish Line:
“It was indeed a queen stage today, but the rain made the final ascent even harder. Huge thanks to the whole team, the boys supported me the whole day and always brought me into position. I rode in the group of favourites, and wanted to wait with a final attack as long as possible. Then I thought, now or never and launched and gave it a try. Fuglsang went with me but as Poels bridged across it was just too late to react. Of course, a victory would have been excellent but I will give my best tomorrow to make that one second up to the podium.”– Emanuel Buchmann

“The team did a stellar job and protected Emanuel the whole day. They brought him into perfect position ahead of the day’s climbs. We focused on the final climb and wanted to have as many helpers as possible for Emanuel, and that worked out perfectly. Gregor rode once again a really good race. In the last kilometers we planned an attack, and even that worked out. Emanuel showed a great performance today, and this was rewarded with a strong third place. He is only one second away from a podium spot, and we will give our best to make this second up tomorrow.”– Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

Chris Froome's thanks for 'overwhelming support'

Froome's Team INEOS sent me this:

Chris Froome has thanked Team INEOS fans and the wider cycling family for their overwhelming support in the wake of the crash he suffered on Wednesday lunchtime.

Speaking from the University Hospital of St Etienne, where he continues his post-surgery recovery, the four-time Tour de France champion expressed his thanks to the thousands of well-wishers who have sent him messages.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome in his hospital bed at St. Etienne

“Firstly, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has sent their best wishes to me since the crash.

“This is obviously a tough time but I have taken a lot of strength from the support over the last three days. The outpouring of support has been really humbling and something I would never have expected.

“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the Team, especially Doctor Richard Usher and his medical staff, who have been exemplary since the crash. In addition, I am so thankful to the emergency services and everyone at Roanne Hospital who assisted and stabilised me, as well as the surgeons, doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of St Etienne, who have really gone above and beyond the call of duty, for which I am ever so grateful. I know how lucky I am to be here today and how much I owe to all the paramedics and medical staff on the race.

“Whilst this is a setback and a major one at that, I am focusing on looking forward. There is a long road to recovery ahead, but that recovery starts now and I am fully focused on returning back to my best.

“Finally, I want to thank my wife Michelle and my family. They’ve been with me every step of the way and their love and support will motivate me to return as quickly as possible.”

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