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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, April 30, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - Confucius

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Tour de Romandie stage two team reports

We posted the report from GC leader Rohan Dennis' Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Patrick Bevin's Israel Start-Up Nation team:

Israel Start-Up Nation came very close to victory on stage 2 of Tour de Romandie, as Patrick Bevin was narrowly denied the win in the final sprint.

Sonny Colbrelli

Sonny Colbrelli finishes ahead of Patrick Bevin.

After his strong performance yesterday, Bevin was eager to get in the mix again today and despite the challenging profile with over 3400 meters of climbing, the versatile Kiwi had no problems staying in the select group of favorites fighting for the win.

ISN team leader, Michael Woods, did well to support his teammate and set him up for the sprint, but unfortunately, Bevin ran out of the road at the end, having to settle for second place behind Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) who won the stage.

In the general classification, Bevin moved up to second place, just eight seconds down on the leading rider, Rohan Dennis (INEOS).

Patrick Bevin: “Another close one! I was hoping that the pace would be a bit higher on the climb so there would have been a smaller bunch at the end. Unfortunately, I was the second fastest guy to make it over the climb. I’ll keep pushing on for the next stages!”

Here's the report from Wilco Kelderman's Bora-hansgrohe team:

While yesterday’s stage of the Tour de Romandie gently eased the riders into the mountains, today’s parcours was unforgivingly undulating from almost the moment the stage started. Six categorised climbs dotted the 165.7km profile, with the last being the first category La Vue-des-Alpes ahead of a short descent to the finish line in Saint-Imier.

The start of the stage was peppered with attempts to break away, with several groups going on the attack only to be brought back. It wasn’t until 30km had been covered that six riders managed to make a move stick, going on to build a lead of a little more than two minutes over the peloton. This remained the case as the day went on, as Wilco Kelderman stayed safe in the peloton, awaiting the big moves on the final climbs, his BORA-hansgrohe teammates supporting him well. As the break splintered as the number of climbs racked up, a hard effort from the peloton brought the last escapee within reach, destroying their two-minute advantage in the space of 5km before making the catch with 20km to go. From here, it was the GC race that took centre stage, with multiple attacks pulled back and an incredibly fast pace stretching out the bunch.

With no splits on the last climb to create time gaps, it was all going to come down to the fight to the finish. Here, Wilco rode hard and got involved in the sprint for the line, the Dutch rider taking sixth after staying in contention the entire stage. This strong finish saw him move into the GC top ten, closing the day in ninth position overall.

From the Finish Line:
"It wasn't an easy day, with those climbs but I stayed in the front group and had a good finale. I tried to sprint, I gave it my all but I don't have sprint legs. Sixth was probably the best I could achieve but it was a good result. We'll take our chances in the next stages and see what we can achieve." – Wilco Kelderman

"It was a hard stage, with many climbs and a big altitude gain. The race played out the way we had expected and our goal was for Wilco to stay with the main GC contenders and not lose any time. It worked out well, the guys worked fine and we are right there, in the GC battle. I think we can be satisfied." – André Schulze, Sports Director

Here's what Team Groupama-FDJ has to say about stage two:

At the end of a very hilly Stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie, contested in the Swiss Jura, only thirty riders or so contested the victory in Saint-Imier. Groupama-FDJ’s Swiss climbers, Sébastien Reichenbach and Matteo Badilatti, managed to stay in the right peloton and could already test themselves ahead of the queen stage planned on Saturday.

On Thursday, the breakaway looked way more coveted than yesterday on the Tour de Romandie. The fight therefore lasted longer at the start of the stage, and the good move actually went only when they hit the first climb of the day. Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-Nippo), Chris Hamilton (Team DSM), Davide Villella (Movistar), Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Victorious) were able to make a gap. However, Ineos limited this same gap to 2’30 at best throughout the day’s route. “The stage was done at a ‘juggernaut’ pace,” said Yvon Madiot. “There were strong climbers up front. Ineos therefore set a good tempo in order to not give them too much scope. The riders told me that there was a high pace all day, and that it hurt. Moreover, they also experienced some showers along the way.”

As expected, it was however the last climb of the day to La Vue-des-Alpes (7.8 km at 6.7%) that proved to be the decisive point of the stage. In the second half of the hill, Sébastien Reichenbach followed a move with Sepp Kuss and Michael Woods, but the yellow jersey Rohan Dennis himself set a big tempo to neutralize the attacks. At the top, the bunch was made up of only thirty-six riders.

“It’s not easy to go away when Ineos sets the pace,” said Yvon. “That being said, we thought there would be even more damage today, with rather 20 than 30 men at the finish. Stefan tried to hold on, he wanted to go over that last climb but he came short in the last two kilometers. He told me that the tempo was a little too high and the climb a little too long for him.” However, Matteo Badilatti and Sébastien Reichenbach succeeded in staying in the first group that fought for the win about fifteen kilometres later. The two Swiss climbers took no risks in the final while Sonny Colbrelli won the sprint. “We needed to go through that stage safely,” said Yvon. “Seb and Matteo were supposed to be in front, they were there, so mission accomplished! It’s good to see them there in front anyway, both are in good shape. This is their returning race, they have only prepared for the Giro, but they already have a good level. It’s promising for Saturday, but even more for the Giro. We are on the right timing”. “It was a nice stage today,” added Matteo. “The team rode very well and we were able to stay in the first group at the end. Seb was really strong when he attacked in the climb. Unfortunately, there was some headwind. We still have some nice stages ahead and we will try to go for something more”.

On Thursday evening, Matteo Badilatti sits 24th overall, 27 seconds behind the leader Rohan Dennis, while Sébastien Reichenbach is 32nd, 31 seconds behind the Australian rider. Before the queen stage on Saturday, another slightly undulating route is looming tomorrow around Estavayer. “This course looks a bit like the first stage,” said Yvon. “It may be the right day for a breakaway. I’m not sure the sprinters will control the race, and with the gaps we witnessed today, Ineos will probably try to let go less dangerous riders”.

2021 edition of 4 Days of Dunkirk is cancelled

Here's the announcement that was posted in l'Equipe:

The 2021 edition of the Four Days of Dunkirk, which was scheduled for May 4 to 9, was canceled on Tuesday due to the health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Organizers announced the news on social media. The event could not be contested last season, for the same reason.

Mike Teneussin

Mike Teunissen (right) won the last edition of the race in 2019.

Eight World Tour teams were to participate, with riders like Oliver Naesen (AG2R - Citroën), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Pascal Ackermann (Bora - Hansgrohe), Sam Bennett, Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck - Quick Step), Philippe Gilbert or again John Degenkolb (Lotto - Soudal).

Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa - Samsic), Adrien Petit and Niki Terpstra (Total - Direct Énergie) were also registered.

Cancellation had become the most likely option, since the prefecture of the North had given an unfavorable opinion due to the health situation. The organizers appealed to the Interministerial Crisis Cabinet, but to no avail.

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