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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 4, 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.

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.  – Quentin Crisp


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Critérium du Dauphiné stage five reports

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

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

Another day in Yellow for BORA – hansgrohe, but a tricky stage at the Dauphiné as there was some crosswinds expected in the finale and a steep climb waiting with only 10 kilometers before the finish in Saint-Vallier.

After the first KOM of the day a strong five men break formed at the front including Kasper Asgreen who was sitting only 9 seconds down on Lukas Pöstlberger in GC. BORA – hansgrohe tried to control the race and as the gap was only 40 seconds with about 100km remaining another three riders attacked to join the leading group. But especially Gamper, Schwarzmann and Wandahl did an excellent job today pulling in the bunch to keep the gap under 2 minutes and with 70km remaining Bahrain also started to work in the bunch.

It didn’t take long until the break was caught, but echelons forced splits in the bunch serval times now. On the final climb there were no attacks as the race was really hard until that point and Lukas stayed without any trouble in the first group. In the end Geraint Thomas took the stage with a late attack, while Lukas retains the Yellow Jersey.

Lukas Postleberger

Lukas Pöstlberger is still in yellow. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"The day was very hard like we expected it to be. I followed some moves in the beginning but then Asgreen was in the break. Our initial plan was to go for Patrick and a stage result, but then our guys did an incredible job to keep control of the race. I felt really good in the end but unfortunately, we messed it up in the final. But of course, it is great to keep the jersey one more day. Tomorrow is a GC day and I will work for Wilco and Patrick, so I don’t think we’ll see at the podium tomorrow." – Lukas Pöstlberger

"To wear Yellow is an honor and of course you don’t want to give it away easy, on the other hand we didn’t want to defend it at all costs. That’s why we started to ride early to don’t let the group with Asgreen go away too far. At a certain point the race got some dynamics which was to our favor. I have to say that Nils, Patrick Gamper, Frederik and Schwarzi did an excellent job today. In the final, due to our work, there was a bigger group battling for the stage. We wanted to give Patrick the opportunity to follow moves on the last climb or to go for the sprint. That didn’t work out 100% but still we are very happy with the day. We are in Yellow and Patrick and Wilco finished without any troubles." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

Here's the report from stage winner Geraint Thomas' INEOS Grenadiers team:

Geraint Thomas launched an audacious late attack to catch a reduced peloton off-guard to win stage five of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

With just over a kilometre remaining, Thomas attacked out of a tight right turn, stealing a march on the chasing pack in a technical finish, leaving the chasing pack scrambling to close the gap.

Sonny Colbrelli was the only rider close to catching him, with Thomas edging the onrushing Bahrain Victorious man on the line to secure his first stage win of the season to move up into the top 10 overall.

Gerant Thomas

Geraint Thomas just makes it to the line first as Sonny Colbrelli (in green) goes flying by him. Sirotti photo

Thomas rounded off what had been a strong team performance with the win, after the Grenadiers had come to the fore on the final category climb, brining the break to heel and setting a pace to deter many counter-attacks.

The team then led the peloton around a twisty final run-in and as the sprinters' teams slowing for a tight hairpin, Thomas launched the decisive move and held on for a memorable victory.

Geraint Thomas:
“It wasn’t planned, I knew that Bahrain didn’t have any guys left as they'd been riding. I knew it was all lined out and I knew the last turns were a bit twisty, so I thought sod it, just go for it. I went with a kilometre to go, the boys said on the radio that ‘I’d got a gap and I went all in.

“To be honest I didn’t think I had that on the line, I just sat up two metres before to give it the big ‘boom’ and I saw Colbrelli came by so fast he nearly took my helmet off! But it was great, really nice to get that win for sure.

“It was definitely disappointing yesterday [in the time trial], it was a combination of not great legs and but also riding it really badly and dying in the second half completely where you need to be strongest but it was nice to bounce back today.

"I'm looking forward to the mountains now, it’ll be a good test. Fuel up now, plenty of rice and see how we go."

Here's the report from second-place Sonny Colbrelli's Bahrain Victorious team:

Sonny Colbrelli missed out on his second win at this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, crossing the line centimetres behind stage winner Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).

Geraint Thomas

Colbrelli went right on by Geraint Thomas, but after they crossed the finish line. Sirotti photo

It was hot conditions from the start in Saint-Chamond as the riders set off to take on the 175.4-kilometre route through to Saint- Vallier over five classified climbs and 2,800 vertical metres.

Unlike the opening two stages, breakaway attempts were managed by the peloton onto the final climb, Cote du Montrebut. The category two climb of 1.3 kilometres at 12% broke up the peloton, with Colbrelli again showing he is more than just a sprinter, getting over the climbs. As the only sprinter left in the group, he was marked by the others.

In the final kilometre, Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) launched an attack breaking away from the reduced peloton. After tremendous work all day, Jack Haig chased down the move and set Sonny up for the sprint. However, Thomas was able to hold on and narrowly beat Colbrelli to the line.

Colbrelli commented on the finish: ” I was so close to the chance for another win. Thanks to my team, who put in super work today and also in the final. But, last 800 meters Thomas attacked, and Jack was pulling and I followed, but it’s normal to be on the limit after the hard work. I started the sprint with 300 meters left, but I just finished second.”

Here's the report from third-place Alex Aranburu's Astana-Premier Tech team:

It was a fast finish on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné which saw Alex Aranburu sprint to third place to continue his run of top ten finishes on all four of the road stages so far.

After an impressive one-two on the stage four time trial, Alexey Lutsenko and Ion Izagirre retained their places on the General Classification with second and fourth place respectively.

It was a battle for the breakaway and after a few reshuffles at the front of the race, eight riders went clear to form the breakaway of the day. The peloton kept them close and eventually brought them back approaching the final 40 kilometres.

Despite further attacks, the reduced peloton remain intact as they reached the technical final five kilometres until Getaint Thomas launched what would be the winning move with one kilometre to go.

Thomas held on to a narrow advantage to take the win and behind, Aranburu launched a strong sprint to cross the line in third place, despite his crash in the time trial.

“After the crash yesterday the idea was to see how I felt today. At the beginning of the stage, I didn’t feel good at all and I suffered a lot. But then in the middle of the race, when the race started moving a little again when there were more attacks,  I tried to be in the group as I was feeling a little better. And then on the last climb, I took things easy. I started a bit behind and little by little, I managed to get ahead and was still in the first group heading into the finale. I was well placed in the sprint and in the end, I’m happy with third place today,” said Aranburu.

With three stages remaining, the mountains continue on stage 6 with four tough climbs scheduled in the final 50 kilometres.

Chris Froome acknowledges 2021 Tour de France win is out of reach

This Chris Froome quote (posted below the picture) in the Critérium du Dauphiné's Stage 5 live race feed caught my eye. He is currently 36 years old. At next year's Tour he will be 37. No one has won the Tour at the age. The oldest winner to date is Firmin Lambot, winner of the 1922 edition when he was 36. That race saw the two major contenders, Philippe Thys and Eugène Christophe knocked out of contention by a crash and a mechanical failure. Lambot's win was a century ago.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome at the start of stage five. Sirotti photo

The passage in the Dauphiné live feed:

Froome: “I don't go from this level to winning the Tour de France in a few weeks”

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), this morning at the start: "I’m not talking about winning the Tour de France in a few weeks. I'm very much focused on just returning back to my former level and taking one step at a time. I don't go from this level to winning the Tour de France in a few weeks. I know where I come from. A year ago, I was on a bike before I could even walk. Just to be here, walking without problem, being in the race, it’s a real progress. I know a lot of people don’t see this because they don’t know what goes behind the scenes."

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