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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 3, 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.

Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy. - William Butler Yeats


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Critérium du Dauphiné stage four reports

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

Here's the report from GC leader Lukas Pöstlberger's Bora-hansgrohe team:

The race against the clock awaited the riders on day four of the Critérium du Dauphiné today. A 16.4-kilometer-long time trial from Firminy to Roche-la-Moliere on an undulated parkour was the first real test for the GC contenders.

With Politt, Kelderman, Konrad and Pöstlberger BORA – hansgrohe had four riders that were expected to do well, with Pöstlberger also trying to hang on to the yellow jersey once again. It was J. Vingegaard who set a first benchmark in 21:53 today. Nils rode a solid TT over pacing a little in the first part, which happened to a lot of riders today. He finished the race in 24thplace 51 seconds down on the stage winner.

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman's ride was good enough for fourth. Sirotti photo

Wilco Kelderman also started fast to set a new provisional best time at the intermediate split but managed to keep his pace throughout the race. He was the fastest of the BORA – hansgrohe riders today clocking an impressive 21:48 to take 4th place in the end. Meanwhile A. Lutsenko crossed the line after 21:36 to take the stage win, but Lukas Pöstlberger was still out on the course. Lukas did an exceptional time trial and took 9th place to defend the yellow jersey once again by only one second. Also Patrick Konrad showed a very strong performance taking 12th place in the end.

From the Finish Line:
"This was the TT of my life. Looks like yellow really gives you wings. When I saw the course this morning, I was happy because it had technical parts and uphill sections to push but no real flat part that favored the TT specialists. I took a lot of risk in the downhills to save power for the uphill parts. I also still could push a big gear in the last crosswind part, I think that was key. But in the end, I am really surprised to still keep the jersey. We’ll have to watch out tomorrow about the bonus seconds, but there is a chance to defend yellow one more day." – Lukas Pöstlberger

“Today I felt really good for the first time. After altitude it is always difficult to find your rhythm and I didn’t have the best legs the last days. I started a little too fast maybe and really suffered in the last part. It was a dynamic parkour, you had to go over the limit uphill and try to recover downhill. My feeling is good now and I am also confident for the next stages.” – Wilco Kelderman

"We are really happy today. All three guys did an exceptional job today. Also Patrick did a really strong TT and he is also in very good position now. Wilco was perfect, I think the best TT he ever did. And Pösti, well he surprised everybody, I think. He was giving it his all, or even more. He also took risks and got the reward. We are super happy to keep the jersey. Also tomorrow we will do our best to defend it once again, but our priority are Wilco and Patrick and if needed we will sacrifice the jersey." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

Stage winner Alexey Lutsenko's Team Astana-Premier Tech posted this report:

Alexey Lutsenko blitzed the field in the Crtierium du Dauphiné stage 4 time trial to take an impressive win on a day when Astana – Premier Tech went one-two with Ion Izagirre taking second place.

Alexey Lutsenko

Alexey Lutsenko was the day's fastest rider.

Izagirre set a flying pace on the 16.4km course to cross the line in 21’44” and move into the hot seat for a few minutes before Lutsenko stopped the clock eight seconds faster.

The Kazakh time trial champion started well to set the provisional third fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint but it was in the second half of the 16.2km course when Lutsenko put the hammer down on his Wilier Turbine to leave everything on the road.

“I did the maximum today and I’m really happy to win the stage. It wasn’t a big surprise for me because I did a lot of work on my time trial bike at altitude camp in Teide just before the race and I had a lot of motivation from Dmitry Fofonov in the car behind. We did many, many hours of training on the TT bike in the camp and it has paid off,” said Lutsenko.

“This kind of course, 16 kilometres of up and down is perfect for me. In the first six kilometres I went a bit slower and saved some energy and then in the last six to seven kilometres I went full, full gas. In the final, I just did my absolute maximum, 200 percent. To be only one second off the yellow jersey is a bit disappointing but the Dauphiné isn’t finished and I will fight to get the yellow jersey. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after in the mountains.”

Lutsenko came nail-bitingly close to taking the yellow jersey, having started the say 24 seconds behind races leader Lukas Postlberger, and ended up  missing out on the yellow jersey by just one second.

Lutsenko and Izagirre’s strong performances come on the back of a two-week block at altitude in Tenerife as they look to prepare for the Tour de France, which has seemingly paid off for the Astana – Premier Tech duo after their dominant performances today.

“I did a good time trial in Paris-Nice but in the Basque Country and Tour de Romandie, I didn’t feel very good in the time trials. So, you never know what to expect because it is a speciality but now, I feel very good. The second part of the time trial was hilly and was the most important part. There you could make the difference. I’m really happy with my result today and for the team with Alexey’s win. To be the top two on the stage is a really good result and now we’ll look to continue our success in the second half of the race,” said Izagirre.

Alex Aranburu, who was third overall at the start of the day, crashed during his time trial in a day of mixed fortunes for the team but fortunately did not sustain any major injuries.

Here's the report from Kasper Asgreen's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Wednesday afternoon, the Critérium du Dauphiné scheduled its shortest individual time trial in seven years, held over an undulating 16.4km course between Firminy and Roche-la-Molière, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It was a day that reshuffled the general classification, although the gaps between the yellow jersey favourites weren’t that big by the end of the stage, meaning that everything will be decided in the last three mountain days.

The last Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to start the ITT, Kasper Asgreen had a good start and went through the day’s only checkpoint fifth-fastest, before upping the tempo in the second half of the course and making up ground as he averaged over 45km/h. A solid time of 21:45 put the Danish Champion into third place, for his fifth top 3 finish of the season, just a couple of seconds behind Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), who claimed the victory.

Kasper Asgreen

Kasper Asgreen punching the big gear to a third-place finish. Sirotti photo

“It was a hard course and I was fighting all the way just to get the bike up to speed over the top of those small climbs and take advantage of the fast sections. It wasn’t enough, as there were some guys who were faster than me and also better climbers, so finishing third is a good result considering the circumstances. I am happy with how I paced myself, with the time trial I did and with where I am after four days of racing”, said Kasper after moving one place in the general classification, up to third, just a few seconds off the lead.

Here's what Geraint Thomas' INEOS Grenadiers had to say:

Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas set the sixth and 10th fastest times respectively in the Criterium du Dauphine time trial.

The Grenadiers duo ensured they head into the mountains in a strong position, with Porte moving up to seventh on the GC, just 16 seconds back on continued leader Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe). Thomas remains in eighth, eight seconds back on his teammate with four stages still to go.

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas is in 8th place in the GC.

Michal Kwiatkowski put in a solid time to take 11th on his birthday, with Astana's Alexey Lutsenko securing victory on the day.

Thomas was the fastest rider through the intermediate split at 7.5 kilometres, but the Welshman admitted after the stage that he'd done out too hard.

He said: "My pacing was a bit too aggressive really for what I had today.

"It's not the type of course where you want to be hanging on for the last seven or eight km. I'm there or thereabouts so it's all still to play for."

Here's the report from Ilan Van Wilder's Team DSM:

This afternoon’s action at the Critérium du Dauphiné saw the peloton take on a very challenging 16 kilometre long time trial from Firminy to Roche-La-Molière, which featured several rolling ascents and roughly 300 metres of climbing; making for a hard 20 minute effort in the saddle.

Setting a good early tempo, Chad Haga crossed the line for a strong provisional third place with an effort of 22 minutes and 37 seconds, before other riders would go on to best his time. Marco Brenner and Martijn Tusveld also completed their efforts in very respectable times, both featuring in the top ten at one point during the stage upon crossing the line.

It would be last rider down the start ramp, Ilan Van Wilder, that would complete the hilly course in the best time for the team. Charging around the testing 16 kilometre long parcours, Van Wilder set a strong intermediate time before holding that pace all the way to the finish, stopping the clock in 21 minutes and 49 seconds to end the stage in a very strong fifth place. Van Wilder also holds onto the white jersey as best young rider for the team ahead of another day in the hills at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Ilan Van Wilder

Ilan Van Wilder currently leads the Best Young Rider classification

“I had a good feeling in the time trial,” explained Van Wilder. “It was a nice course and was up and down, which made it hard for us to pace but we did well. I pushed on the climbs and tried to recover a bit more on the descents and get as aero as possible. In the end it was a nice result with fifth place and I’m happy with the feeling.”

Team DSM coach Wilbert Broekhuizen added: “Today was a really nice day. We once again showed some really good teamwork from both the riders and staff, and everyone was sharp out there for us. All of the guys warmed up well and were focused to do a good race today, with Chad and Martijn producing some nice results. Ilan had a few difficulties in the first corners but then came back really strongly, where he focused on good aerodynamics and held his position on the bike well. He managed to keep a high speed up and fought all the way to the line for a really nice result with fifth place for us. We can be really happy with that and the team performance in general today.”

INEOS rider Tom Pidcock breaks collarbone in training crash

Here's the short note from Pidcock's INEOS Grenadiers' team:

Tom Pidcock is recovering from injuries sustained on a crash during a ride in Andorra on Monday.

Tom suffered a broken collar bone and underwent surgery at a hospital in Girona this morning. The injury means he will not be racing in the Tour de Suisse which begins this weekend.

Tom Pidcock

Tom Pidcock winning the Branbatse Pijl earlier this year.

Coach Kurt Bogaerts said: “Tom is doing well and is already looking ahead and focussed on his rehabilitation. While this means he won’t be able to start at the Tour de Suisse this week as planned, he will get back to training as soon as possible and prepare for the rest of the season.”

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