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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, May 6, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. - Thomas Jefferson

Plato's Apology

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Final team reports on Tour de Romandie

We posted the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Here's the Romandie report from second-place Rui Costa's UAE-Team Emirates:

Rui Costa, UAE Team Emirates, confirmed his good feelings in the Swiss stage race, getting on the final podium for the fourth time after the third places of 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The Portuguese cyclist closed the final individual time trial in seventh position with a gap to the stage and eventual overall winner Pimoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic winning the final stage. Sirotti photo

He climbed onto the final podium together with the Slovenian and third place Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos).

Rui Costa: “The course of this time trial was very interesting and selective. The last part was very fast and managing my energy well along the way, maintaining the necessary forces to be able to run the whole six kilometres with the road slightly downhill, was fundamental.

“Placing seventh today in the time trial and winning the final second place is big for my morale. To beat Roglic like this was practically impossible, so my second takes on more value. Now I want to continue to work well and try to get the most out of the Tour of Switzerland.”

For the Emirates team, it is the 16th second place in 2019, in addition to 11 victories and 11 third places.

Victor Campenaerts' Lotto-Soudal team sent me this report:

Victor Campenaerts finished runner-up in the closing time trial of the Tour de Romandie today. Early in the race, the European champion against the clock set a strong provisional best time as he covered the undulating course in and around Geneva in 20’11”. That way, the Belgian was rewarded with a place in the hot seat. After more than 90 minutes of waiting in suspense, the time of Campenaerts was only beaten by Primož Roglič, who finished the time trial in an impressive 19’58”. With his third stage victory of the week, the Slovenian secured his second consecutive overall victory in the Tour de Romandie. Norwegian Lotto Soudal rider Carl Fredrik Hagen held on to 15th place on GC after a strong and consistent week of racing in Switzerland. 

Victor Campenaerts

Victor Campenaerts is a fast man against the clock. Here he is setting a new World Hour record.

The curtain fell on the 73th Tour de Romandie today with an individual time trial around Lake Geneva. At around thirteen o’clock, Campenaerts started his over sixteen kilometres long battle against the time. The Belgian covered the course at an average speed of around 50 kilometres an hour and finished in a time of 20’11”. At that moment, he improved the provisional best time set by the Italian Ganna (20’13”) with two seconds. After over 90 nail-biting minutes, only Primož Roglič was able to beat the time of the European time trial champion. The Slovenian took, with a time of 19’58”, not only his third stage win this week, he also more than secured the overall victory.

Victor Campenaerts: “Throughout the week, I already noticed that Roglič was riding on another level, so I knew it would be difficult to beat him today. Of course, I am very disappointed. The prologue, in which I crashed, was a wasted opportunity. I thought about it a lot. I took too many risks and that backfired on me.”

“Today however, I rode the best possible time trial. The first part included some climbing and was really tough but I am very good at riding uphill on my time trial bike. However, there’s still someone who does that even better and that’s Primož Roglič. The team prepared everything to perfection so it’s a pity I can’t reward them with the victory.”

“There was a pretty strong but invariable wind today. So that certainly did not play a part in the victory of Roglič. Due to the headwind and the uphill sections, the toughest part of the time trial was situated in the beginning. Normally, I am more of a relatively slow starter but today, I had the second best time at the intermediate point. That’s of course an indication of the good shape I am in.”

“In the run-up to the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de Romandie has learned me that I easily survive uphill but also that it will be really hard to beat Primož Roglič in the time trials. He always needs to give his all given the good general classification he will pursue. It will be a really tough opponent but of course I will go for victory in all three time trials. Hopefully, I will be able to take the win in one of them. If I could choose, I would prefer to win the first time trial but that will also be the hardest one to do so.”

And Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this update:

The 73rd edition of the Tour de Romandie concluded with a rolling 16,85km-long individual time trial in Geneva, host city of the final stage for the third time in the last four years. The first BORA – hansgrohe rider to leave the start ramp at midday was Erik Baska followed by Shane Archbold. As the third BORA – hansgrohe rider, TT specialist and polish time trial champion, Maciej Bodnar, started out on the course, he, as expected, showed his strength in this discipline. The polish rider finished the stage in a time of 20:44:57, which brought him 11th place at the end of the day.

The two GC contenders, Emanuel Buchmann and Felix Großschartner left the start ramp in the early afternoon. Emanuel Buchmann showed a solid performance and crossed the line in 20:54:36, which put him into 17th place in today’s final time trial. The last BORA- hansgrohe rider was time trial specialist Felix Großschartner, who was sitting in fifth in the general classification at the start of the day. The Austrian put in a great effort, setting the best time at the intermediate check point so far. Felix finished the course in a time of 20:42, ninth place today. Therefore, the German team completed the Tour de Romandie with two riders in the top ten overall, Emanuel took seventh and Felix moved up to fourth place.

From the Finish Line:
“We leave the Tour de Romandie with two riders inside the top ten in the general classification. I think, with these results we can be more than satisfied. Felix and Emu gave everything today too and also Bodi showed a good time trial. He and Felix both had the best intermediate time, therefore we can be happy with today’s results. The team was great, worked together all the time, even when the weather was terrible and made it a hard race.”– Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

"Well, I am super happy with my time trial today. All in all, I am happy with my shape and I missed a podium spot by just one second, but I am not thinking about that, I am focused on my shape, which is good. Now I focus on my regeneration and looking forward to California."- – Felix Großschartner

Tour de Yorkshire final team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results

CCC Team sent me this:

05 May 2019, Leeds (ENG): Greg Van Avermaet sprinted to his second win of the season on stage four of the Tour de Yorkshire which saw the Belgian secure second place overall.

Greg Van Avermaet

Greg Van Avermaet winning the final stage.

Van Avermaet, who won the race in 2018, started the final day six seconds behind eventual winner Chris Lawless (Team INEOS) and gained ten valuable bonus seconds with the stage win, but Lawless’ second place on the stage was enough to secure the General Classification and Van Avermaet settled for second place, two seconds behind.

The queen stage of the four-day race featured five short, but steep climbs before a flat run into the finish in Leeds and although nine riders managed to go clear in the first 15 kilometers, of the 175-kilometer stage, the peloton kept their advantage to three minutes.

As has been the case in the first three stages, Van Avermaet was well protected and positioned throughout the stage by his teammates, especially approaching the final two climbs when the pace in the peloton increased and the breakaway’s advantage started to come down.

Just three riders remained in front on the run into the final climb, the Cote de Otley Chevin, meanwhile behind Michael Schär and Nathan Van Hooydonck led the peloton onto the climb.

An attack from Chris Froome (Team INEOS) immediately caused a split and Van Avermaet dug deep to bridge to the group of seven riders. Eddie Dunbar (Team INEOS) was the next rider to attack and managed to catch the remaining breakaway riders while behind, the two chase groups came back together.

Van Hooydonck and Serge Pauwels immediately took control of the chase, putting in a huge effort to bring the leading quartet back and although the gap hovered around the 20-second mark for some time, the catch was made in the final 10 kilometers when Van Avermaet attacked from the group, with Lawless on his wheel, and bridged to Dunbar. The trio battled on in the final five kilometers, managing to hold the chasers off, and after opening his sprint in the final 200 meters, Van Avermaet crossed the line first to raise his hands in the air.

Interview with Greg Van Avermaet:

Congratulations, Greg. How are you feeling after today’s stage win?

"I am really happy that I won the stage. Winning the overall title would maybe have been better but in these circumstances, with Team INEOS being that strong, it wasn't possible. I think I made a good move, attacking on the last climb to bridge over to Dunbar. Lawless was still on my wheel at that point but, it was the only option to try to win something."

You came into this race after a long Classics campaign, how would you sum up the last four days of racing?

“I was fighting from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to Liège-Bastogne-Liège for a win and I missed out on a win in my bigger goals. Of course, I was disappointed in those races as I was expecting more from myself. This win makes it a little better as it’s a nice way to end this first part of the season but for sure, the Classics was my bigger goal.

“Overall, I am really happy with how this race has gone though. This is my last race before my rest period and, it's been a hard week of racing in difficult conditions but, I am really happy with the way me and the team have raced. The course of this race is really good for me. It's really hard but I can survive and I have a good sprint.

“I knew it would be really hard to win the General Classification. It was good that I was third yesterday so I got some bonus seconds and had an advantage over some other riders. I knew Team INEOS and Riwal were really strong but I was hoping that they may battle each other more and I would be ready. For this reason, we saved the team to the end. It was good that we could bring Dunbar back and I could jump, and it was only Lawless who could come with me. Tactically, I don’t think I could have done more so I’m happy with a stage win and second overall.”

Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
"It was a really good team effort over the last four days and it was nice to see Greg finish it off for everyone with the stage win today. The guys commit a lot to Greg at every race and he always wants to be able to pay them back. He was able to do that today and in doing so, he came really close to defending his overall title. We were a little bit outnumbered in the end to be able to do that but we did our best."

"It was nice to get the stage victory today. Last year we didn't manage to do that but we took the overall win, and this year we finished second on the General Classification but we won the hardest stage of this year's race."

"We had a little bit of bad luck throughout the week and losing De Marchi was obviously a pity as that would have given us more firepower but we raced aggressively and we can be happy as we achieved one of our goals which was to come away with a stage win."

Here's the report from GC winner Chris Lawless' Team INEOS:

Chris Lawless finished off an incredible display of teamwork to clinch overall victory at the Tour de Yorkshire for Team INEOS.

Chris Lawless

Chris Lawless winning a stage in the 2018 Coppi-Bartali stage race.

In the team's first race in new colours, Lawless became the first Brit to win the stage race after a thrilling final day of racing. With the backing of his teammates, Lawless dug deep on a challenging parcours before following the crucial attack on the final rise into Leeds.

Following Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team), the pair joined up with Eddie Dunbar on the run-in after the Irishman had launched clear on Otley Chevin. Dunbar buried himself in the final kilometres to ensure he and Lawless stayed clear. With Van Avermaet sprinting to victory, second place ensured Lawless wrapped up the blue jersey with a winning margin of two seconds. Third on the stage and third overall was reward for a selfless ride from Dunbar. A consistent race also saw Lawless take home the sprinters' jersey.

Chris Froome also unleashed an acceleration on the famous Otley Chevin climb, providing a launchpad for Dunbar, and using his experience in the bunch to help guide the team during a supreme tactical display. Owain Doull, Michal Golas, Ian Stannard and Leonardo Basso all put in phenomenal rides on the day.

- Chris Lawless:
"If someone had told me coming in that I’d win this race I’d have called them a liar. I didn’t think it was possible! I managed to get to the bottom the Chevin without getting dropped. Then around halfway up it I starting losing distance with the main guys. I knew the climb with 5km to go wouldn’t be too bad for me, and I knew I could go hard for that amount of time. If I could just get back over the Chevin to that group then I might have a chance of staying up there.

"Doull did a really good job of getting me back over the top of the Chevin. When Greg went on the climb with 5km to go we already had Eddie up the road. I knew I just had to follow Greg. I didn’t do a turn getting across to Eddie and then as soon as we got there I just told Eddie to ride. I knew even if I got second I’d still win (overall).

"I’ve got to really thank the team for putting the faith in me and still backing me. I’ve not had a good history of performing on courses like this. The team looked at how I was going yesterday and said ‘we’re going to give you a shot.’ I’m so happy they did!"

- Chris Froome (ITV Sport):
"It’s great for us having numbers there in the final and eventually putting Eddie up there. It put us in a great position behind – we could just follow the wheels. I think at the end of the day it was Chris Lawless who really had the legs to go with Greg in the final which won us the race overall. I’m really proud of him.

"Chris being up there and getting bonus seconds every few days really put him in the best position to win overall. As a start for INEOS we couldn’t have asked for much more really."

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