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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, July 10, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Current racing:

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Latest completed racing:


Simon Yates & Lucas Hamilton crash out of Tour

Here’s the bad news from their Team BikeExchange:

Two Team BikeExchange riders, Simon Yates and Lucas Hamilton were forced to abandon stage 13 of the 2021 Tour de France after crashing with 62km to go.

Both riders remounted after the crash and initially tried to continue before abandoning the race shortly afterwards.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates finishes a stage in the 2020 Tirreno-Adriatico. Sirotti photo

Yates was assessed by the Tour de France medical team and Team BikeExchange Head Doctor, David Hulse, and it was confirmed that he had trauma to his abdominal wall.  He was transferred to hospital in Carcassonne for CT scans, as a precaution, which showed no fractures or internal injuries.  

Lucas Hamilton has suffered a right shoulder injury. X-rays showed an acromioclavicular joint dislocation.

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“It is devastating for Lucas and Simon; everybody knows how much hard work the boys put in to prepare for the biggest race of the year. We have lost two of our three climbers going into the Pyrenees which means we are going to have to adjust our tactics but the immediate priority for us is to see how the guys are and that they recover well.”

The team start tomorrow’s stage 14 with six riders and with Michael Matthews sitting in second place overall in the points classification after finishing 12th place on today’s stage into Carcassonne.

Roger Kluge forced to abandon Tour de France after crash on stage 13 descent

Kluge's Lotto Soudal team sent me this:

With 62 kilometres to go on stage 13 of the Tour de France, Lotto Soudal’s Roger Kluge hit the deck in a crash – caused by loose gravel on the road - which took down several other riders. Kluge was brought to hospital in Narbonne where no fractures were diagnosed. However, Kluge incurred heavy abrasions on the back, right hip and elbow. The latter needed stitching as well.

Roger Kluge

Roger Kluge racing in the 2020 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

“Suddenly everybody started braking and when I reached for my brakes, I already touched wheels”, says Roger Kluge. “I clipped out of my right pedal and went down on my right side. I crashed pretty hard and then I realized why everybody was braking… The road was full of little stones and we were just sliding on loose gravel. I had to think of what Caleb said after he went down. Immediately after the crash, I was also in a lot of pain, especially my back hurt a lot. I didn’t think a second of jumping back on the bike.”

Because of the absence of fractures, it looks like Kluge’s Olympic campaign will not be affected. The former Madison world champion will represent Germany in both the Madison and omnium discipline at the Olympics in Tokyo.

“Luckily there are no broken bones, so normally Tokyo will be the next step for me. But first, everything needs to heal well of course. I’m happy that I didn’t break anything and the Olympics are still possible but we will need to see how it goes. Luckily, there’s still some time”, concludes Roger Kluge.

Tour de France stage thirteen reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Mark Cavendish's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Mark Cavendish dashed to a resounding victory after producing a perfect sprint in the scrappy last kilometer of Friday’s 219.9km stage and tied a record that had stood for 46 years, since Eddy Merckx captured his last win at the race, in Auch, some 170 kilometers from this edition’s stage 13 finish location.

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish gets his 34th Tour stage win. Sirotti photo.

Carcassonne, the town that became famous centuries ago for its role in the Albigensian Crusades, was the site of the 36-year-old’s incredible feat, who dominated again the field after another sensational job by his Deceuninck – Quick-Step, on one of the longest and hardest stages of this edition. The day had everything – from strong winds and some tricky, undulating roads to a tense battle between the attackers and the bunch and crashes that took their toll on the peloton.

Tim Declercq was among those to hit the deck in a massive pile-up with 60 kilometers to go, which meant a quick change of plans for our team, who immediately sent World Champion Julian Alaphilippe and Dries Devenyns to take over the reins at the head of the group and peg back the late attackers. Kasper Asgreen and Mattia Cattaneo then swept to the front inside the final ten kilometers, keeping the green jersey well positioned as the peloton tackled another section of exposed roads that made things even more nervous.

Under the flamme rouge, Davide Ballerini pressed on so hard that he opened a small gap which forced the others to close with 600 meters to go. Tucked on the wheel of Michael Mørkøv (who would go on to finish runner-up from the lead-out), Cavendish waited patiently for the last 100 meters to hit out and blast past all his rivals with another hugely impressive sprint that saw him let out a massive roar as he crossed the line and etched his name in the history books.

“It’s one of my hardest wins. I went incredibly deep today with the wind and the heat, but I had an amazing time around me, guys who rode their hearts out to deliver me in a perfect position. A lot of the day it didn’t feel like it was going to happen, but we gave everything and the guys were phenomenal in the way they controlled things. That’s why it makes me super happy to be able to share this unforgettable moment with them.”

“I can never compare myself with Eddy Merckx, but if those following cycling will be inspired by what I did to get on a bike and just ride, then that’s the most important thing and would give me such a tremendous joy. As a kid I dreamed about winning a stage at the Tour de France, and having 34 now it’s just unbelievable, something I would have never imagined but for which I worked so hard”, added Mark Cavendish, who now has a buffer of over 100 points in the green jersey classification.

Here's the report from Wout van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert did not get a chance to sprint in the thirteenth stage of the Tour. The winner of the stage over the Ventoux got locked in and could not compete for prizes.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert winning stage eleven. Sirotti photo

The first racing hour was again fiercely contested by the attackers. Eventually three riders managed to get in the breakaway of the day. The sprinters teams then took control towards Carcassonne, with Team Jumbo-Visma also present in the front of the bunch. Despite several new attack attempts and a big crash, that image hardly changed.

Because of the danger of echelons, the pace went up in the final, but Team Jumbo-Visma didn’t let up. In the sprint, Van Aert saw Mark Cavendish take his fourth stage victory in the distance.

“It was a stressful day”, the national champion of Belgium said. “The goal was to keep Jonas well in front and ride a sprint myself. I had hoped for some more action, but the wind was not strong enough for that. At two to three kilometres from the end Mike and I were a bit outmatched and at five hundred metres from the finish I got boxed in again. It just wasn’t good enough today, unfortunately. And I can only respect what Cavendish did.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann was relieved. “We came through the day well. It’s a shame that Wout got caught up, because we would have liked to ride the sprint with him. The Tour is and remains super hectic. You saw that again today with the crashes and the chance of echelons. Tomorrow a breakaway group will have a good chance, even though it will be a tough stage again. And who knows, maybe the GC riders will get involved as well.”

Wilco Kelderman's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

It was going to be a long and hot day in the saddle for the peloton on stage 13. Having encountered all types of weather in the first week and a half, there was 30ºC heat at the start line in Nîmes and it would be scorching in Carcassonne for the finale.

While the 219.9km parcours featured only one categorised climb, the terrain would be up and down constantly as the Tour de France hit the Pyrenees, and while the flat finale suggested it could be one for the sprinters, there was always a chance the break could steal the win again today, especially with a technical run to the finish that could split the bunch – or even cause crashes. It took around 30km for the day’s break to form, with three riders managing to escape after multiple attempts had been brought back before this move went out. This trio maintained a slim lead that hit nearly 4:30 at its peak before the peloton slowly started to draw them back in, confident they could claim the stage for the sprinters, the gap falling to three minutes with 100km left to race, but it was all back together with 53km to go, leaving the door open for another attack.

While attempts were made, the fast riders weren’t going to let a late break steal the stage, with Daniel Oss taking to the front to keep the peloton in check, the Italian rider’s pace even risking a split, as he prevented the GC riders from getting into any moves that could affect the overall standings.

Wilco Kelderman

Alexey Lutsenko leads Wilco Kelderman up Mt. Ventoux in stage 11. Sirotti photo

Into the final 10km and the BORA-hansgrohe team’s tactics were to get Wilco Kelderman to the line safely in some tight and winding roads to the finish line. While the sprinters took the stage, Wilco crossed the line with Daniel and with Patrick Konrad to protect the Dutchman’s sixth spot in the GC.

From the Finish Line
"It was a long and hard day, not a nice one, which, in the end, it came down to a bunch sprint. There was some nervousness in the finale but we were well-positioned in the front, so there weren't any problems. I felt horrible, it was too hot. It wasn't a good day for me, I don't feel well in the heat but that's what it is. Anyway, this day is over, now on to the next one." – Wilco Kelderman

"It was a hard day. The start was fast and it took a while before a group of three riders went away. From that moment, the race was controlled but we went through very narrow roads, up and down, left and right, and our squad was constantly working to be in a good spot. That cost energy and in the finale, there were crosswinds again and action. We were always there, keeping Wilco safe and well-positioned but it wasn't easy. It was a hard day." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

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