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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. - Mark Twain

Tour de France: the Inside Story

Current racing:

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Tom Dumoulin heads to altitude after minor surgery

Dumoulin's Team Sunweb sent me this update:

After abandoning the Criterium du Dauphiné last Saturday, Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin underwent additional examinations this weekend at OCON Medical Centre to further confirm the irritation to his knee. After successful treatment, Tom is now en route to altitude camp.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin riding stage four of this year's Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

Team Sunweb physician Camiel Aldershof explained: “Tom underwent minor surgery yesterday, in which they removed what initially looked like a metal splinter, but was ultimately a tiny shard of gravel. We decided to remove the piece because it was causing a slight inflammatory reaction. Tom did a test ride this morning and all went well. He is now cleared to travel to altitude and continue his preparations. Progression will be closely monitored day by day, possibly adapting training plans accordingly, but the signs are good already.”

EF Education First's final Dauphiné report

The team sent me this:

Tejay van Garderen secured second overall at the 71st Critérium du Dauphiné. The American finished 20 seconds behind race winner Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).

“I’m happy with this result,” said Van Garderen. “The Dauphiné is a prestigious race, and to be on the podium shows a big level. It’s a nice confidence boost heading into the Tour, where I will look to support Urán.”

The EF Education First Pro Cycling team for the Dauphiné included two neo-pros in Julius van den Berg and Jimmy Whelan and second-year professional Logan Owen alongside more experienced riders van Garderen, Mike Woods, Simon Clarke and Alberto Bettiol.

Until Woods and Bettiol withdrew ahead of the stage eight with illness, the team topped the team classification. “Everyone wanted to do a nice Dauphiné, and when I say ‘everyone’, I mean every single rider,” said sport director Andreas Klier. “Which everyone did. Every day, every rider fulfilled his race tasks. The general classification was not a goal at the start, and coming second is, of course, a nice present on top of the daily work.”

The surprise result can be attributed to two main factors: a consistently strong team effort and Van Garderen’s second place in the stage four individual time trial.

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen finishes the rainy seventh stage of the Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

“That time trial was the ace in my pocket,” said van Garderen. “I’m a good climber, but I’m not at the same level as a lot of those 60 kilo guys. The time trials are where I can really make a difference.”

The time trial afforded van Garderen an 11-place jump up the general classification from 14th place to 3rd place. EF Education First successfully defended van Garderen’s third overall through stage seven.

“To have three rookies for such a big race, all the unknowns they faced, for sure they had a difficult week,” said Klier. “They managed far better than everyone expected. For me, seeing what they could contribute, seeing what we can build up with them, that was the thing I enjoyed the most.”

“The team was amazing this week,” van Garderen added. “The young guys stepped up and rode well beyond their years, and the veterans of the team had a calming presence and were dialed in their roles. Woods rode aggressive, which was exciting, impressive, and super helpful.”  

“It was a shame losing Mike and Alberto,” he said. “It could have lead to some interesting tactics.”

“Obviously we knew very late that they couldn’t start, and the plan Charly [Wegelius] and I made was, of course, interfered with by their absence,” said Klier. “But already during our team meeting, we felt the team adjust, we felt the riders make the switch. If you watched the stage on TV, you saw it worked out just fine.”

More than fine. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT), 12-seconds ahead of van Garderen heading into the final stage, withdrew on stage eight, allowing Van Garderen to move up to second place.

“This race was smooth for us from day one until the end of today,” said Klier. “We never really got in trouble on the bike, but also off the bike, between the staff and the riders, it was the right spirit. We all could feel that. This spirit is the basis for our success. At the end of the day, the riders have to pedal, of course, and that’s something else than the atmosphere, but when the spirit is there, the rest works out. It was a pleasure to work with this group here, with every person.” 

UAE-Team Emirates set for three races in Belgium

The sent me this schedule:

UAE Team Emirates are set to take on three category 1.1 races Belgium: the Dwars door het Hagelan (198 km, Friday, June 21), the Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl (194 km, Saturday, June 22) and Elfstedenronde (195 km, Sunday, June 23).

Sports director Marco Marzano (Ita) will guide a five-man team over the weekend:

– Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
– Cristian Muñoz (Col)
– Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
– Rory Sutherland (Aus)
– Oliviero Troia (Ita)

Jasper philipsen

Jasper Philipsen at the 2019 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

All eyes will be on the local young talent, Jasper Philipsen: “I have never participated in these three races, but I know the roads well. They are typical Belgian races, with hilly parcours and narrow, technical sections. They will suit the fast finishers and also the riders who go well on this type of terrain.

"I am really motivated, racing on the roads of Belgium is always special for me and I hope to be in the mix to fight for good results".

Lotto-Soudal previews ZLM Tour

The team sent me this:

On Wednesday 19 June, the start of the renewed ZLM Tour will be given with a prologue in Yerseke. Until Sunday 23 June, the cycling fan will be able to cheer for the international cycling top on Dutch soil. Several WorldTour teams consider the ZLM Tour as the ideal preparation for the flat Tour de France stages and also Lotto Soudal will bring its lead-out train to the Dutch stage race. With the Tour de France in mind, this race is an ideal final test for Caleb Ewan and his men. Sports director Bart Leysen gives his pre-race thoughts.

Bart Leysen: “There is not much to say about the course. Most stages are suited to the fast guys. The stage to Landgraaf is maybe a little tougher but with the final climb still at 40 kilometres from the finish, a sprint for the victory is also a possibility. The course is not as selective as other years, in which for example La Gileppe was decisive.”

“Appearing at the start with Caleb Ewan, you have to focus on a stage victory. We have a really fast rider within our line-up, so you don’t need to make other tactical plans. The confidence in Ewan is big, for sure after his two victories in the Giro. De Buyst and Kluge will go to the Tour as well so they know their job. Wallays and Maes are experienced enough to know how to best take a stage win. For Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen will be the man to beat.”

“The general classification is not a main goal. A lot will depend on how our riders will perform in the prologue. The course is fast, flat and not too technical. I believe that Caleb Ewan and Jasper De Buyst will be able to set a strong time.”

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan (shown at the 2019 Giro d'Italia) will ride the ZLM Tour. Sirotti photo.

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Jasper De Buyst, Caleb Ewan, Rasmus Byriel Iversen, Roger Kluge, Nikolas Maes, Brian Van Goethem and Jelle Wallays.

Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Kevin De Weert.


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