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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 11, 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.

The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. - Thomas Paine


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Latest completed racing:


Emanuel Buchmann makes comeback at the Tour de France

Buchmann’s Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this update:

During a training camp in Livigno, the decision was made to take on the Tour. However, Buchmann will not start the race as captain.

Emanuel Buchmann

Emanuel Buchmann (shown winning a stage in the 2020 Illes Balears races) is planning to ride the Tour de france.

"My crash at the Giro was very bitter. I was in really good shape and am convinced that I could have ridden right up front there. First of all, I had to deal with this setback and also heal the injuries from the crash. The motivation came back quite quickly and that's why I went to the training camp last week to see where I stood. My knee continued to be slightly sore for a while, however, everything is okay now. I feel fit, yet whether I can be in top shape for the Tour still remains to be seen. I haven’t been able to prepare for several months like I did for the Giro, which was to be my highlight. That's why I'm not aiming for the overall classification. I want to take the Tour day by day without pressure, taking my chances and riding offensively when possible. That doesn't necessarily mean that I'm writing off the overall classification from the outset, but with Wilco there, we’ll have a leader who has been able to prepare himself in the most optimal way. He will be the clear number one there and I will also give him my full support where necessary." - Emanuel Buchmann

"First of all, I am very happy that we will see Emu at the Tour. I would have preferred to see him on the podium in Milan, but unfortunately that wasn’t able to happen. For the second year in a row, Emu has had to bid farewell to a high point that he had been working towards for months. This is quite tough and I very much respect the way he handled the situation, and that he is now trying to attack again at the Tour.

"However, it is also clear that Wilco is our leader. After a few setbacks during the spring, his preparation has proceeded very well over the past few weeks, and at the Dauphiné it was clear that he’s able to be right up there. He will have 100% support from the team. Emu will have freedom, but one must also be realistic: the Tour parcours is not ideal for him, and he dropped out of the Giro injured. The overall classification therefore plays a subordinate role, in my perspective, but of course he won't allow himself to be left behind on purpose either. We'll have to see how it goes and ideally, he’ll be able to show his strength in the mountains. If his form is right, I would like to see him attacking and taking risks. We’d like to show the fans in Germany an offensive and attractive style of riding." - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

Tour of Switzerland stage five team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Jakob Fuglsang's Team Astana-Premier Tech:

A gutsy performance from Jakob Fuglsang saw the Danish rider narrowly miss the win on stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse after attacking in the final 15 kilometres.

Stage 5 took the riders from yesterday’s finish town of Gstaad to Leukerbad with a category one climb right after the start but as expected, the race lit up in the final 50 kilometres on the category one Erschmatt climb.

The Astana – Premier Tech riders did a stellar job delivering their leader Jakob Fuglsang into position at the bottom of the final ascent. The Danish rider showed his strength and launched an attack with 20 kilometres to go, bridging across to the current leader Esteban Chaves.

Cycling fans saw an exciting finale as later stage winner Carapaz attacked from the chase group and joined Fuglsang, who was, at this point, leading the race solo after dropping Chaves. A battle to the line saw Fuglsang take a strong second place, missing the stage win by centimetres with Carapaz just coming around Fuglsang on the line.

Stage 5 sprint

Richard Carapaz (right) took the stage. Photo: Getty Sport

In the overall ranking, the Lombardia 2019 winner moves up to an impressive second place, 26 seconds behind new leader Carapaz.

“I felt good and today’s stage was hard and long but the profile suited me. The team did a great job. They protected me the whole day, from the first climb onwards. As planned, on the bottom of the final ascent I stayed first with the others and tried then to distanced myself. But when I heard Carapaz was coming I tried to save a little bit of energy as I knew it was going to be a tough battle. I just started the sprint too early, but I moved up to second on the General Classification and there are still some stages to come.” – Jakob Fuglsang

“We can be really happy with today´s performance. The guys worked really well together and as planned, they brought Jakob perfectly into position. On the final ascent, Jakob felt good so he launched an attack earlier than maybe expected, nevertheless it was a strong performance and at the end he just missed a few centimetres to win the stage. On the overall ranking he now sits second, with only some seconds behind Carapaz but there are a few hard stages to come. Tomorrow will be another tough one and we will try everything to support Jakob again as best as possible.” – Ivan Velasco, Coach

Here's the report from Tiesj Benoot's Team DSM:

The Tour de Suisse headed to the climbs today with a tricky 175 kilometre long route from Gstaad to Leukerbad on the menu, which featured a climb from the flag drop and two challenging ascents in the finish. It was an incredibly fast start to the stage as numerous riders looked to get into the day’s breakaway on the first climb, which resulted in lots of riders dropped from the peloton.

Eventually three riders escaped on the descent, including the yellow jersey, and with a fourth joining them they would form the break of the day. The peloton kept them close though, not allowing their advantage to grow much greater than two minutes, so the pace remained high. With the final two climbs approaching, the catch was all but made and the bunch charged onto the penultimate ascent.

After some good positioning work by the team, Andreas Leknessund and Tiesj Benoot were to the fore as the group drastically reduced in size, with the duo riding well together as the kilometres ticked by. Approaching the top of the climb, the pace was upped yet again and they had to let go of the wheels to not go too far into the red. On the descent and valley road, Leknessund dug deep and set a strong tempo for Benoot, before he fought valiantly and gave it his all to the finish, crossing the line in 13th place.

Tiesj Benoot

Tiesj Bennot racing in the 2020 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

“I’m pretty disappointed with the day,” said Benoot. “On the second last climb I had some issues with my hamstrings which made me drop just before the top. Andreas helped me as much as he could on the descent and in the valley, before I went as fast as I could to the line. I am feeling good though, and hopefully with some good treatment tomorrow will improve. We’ll talk this evening about how we take on the next few days and go from there.”

Team DSM coach Marc Reef added: “Today was the first mountain stage of the race and our goal for the day was to support Tiesj as best as we could. It was a fast start, before three guys got clear on the descent of the first climb, with one more guy jumping across. There was then control in the bunch and a high speed as the race went towards the second last climb. The guys did well and we put Tiesj in a good position, when almost immediately from the bottom of the climb there was a fast pace. Just before the top there were some attacks and Tiesj had to let go of the wheels. Andreas was there to help him and they fought well together on the descent and in the valley, and on the last climb Tiesj pushed on as much as he could, crossing the line in 13th place.”

Team Qhubeka-Assos sent me this:

Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse was a tough 175km mountain stage, which concluded with a summit finish to Leukerbad. The early racing saw a 4-rider break go clear but it was always going to be the final 30km where the race for the stage & GC battle would commence in earnest.

The break was caught ahead of the two tough finishing climbs of Erschmat and & Leukerbad, respectively. Team Qhubeka ASSOS was looking after Pozzovivo for the climbing finale and did well to move him up near to the head of the GC group at the foot of the penultimate climb.

Domenico Pozzovivo

Domenico Pozzovivo racing in the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

The Tour de Suisse is the first race back for Pozzovivo, after being forced to abandon the Giro d'Italia this year after a nasty crash on stage 6 of the Italian grand tour. While the Italian climber was unfortunate to lose some time in the rain-soaked stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse, being caught behind a split on the descent, he certainly bounced back today.

Cresting the penultimate climb with just 15 riders remaining up front, Pozzovivo was putting up a strong fight riding among the race favourites. The final 7km ascent saw Carapaz attack from the Pozzovivo group, crossing a small gap to Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).

As a few riders would falter in the chase group, Pozzovivo and 5 others pushed on, trying to limit the gap to the leading duo. In the end, Carapaz got the better of Fuglsang at the line with Pozzovivo's group arriving 39 seconds later.

Taking 8th place on the stage, Pozzovivo also climbed back up the general classification rankings, sitting 10th overall with 3 climbing stages still to come.

Domenico Pozzovivo:
"Today was the first real mountain stage of the week. It was also the first day the weather changed, from all the rain we have had, today it was quite hot. The feeling for me was much better, I could stay with all the top GC riders and only two guys were in front of us at the end. I am happy with my shape and feel a lot of confidence that we can do something over the next three days."

Baloise Belgium Tour stage two team reports

We posted the report from GC leader Remco Evenepoel's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results

Here's the report from Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert

An individual time trial of 11.2 kilometers was on the program for the second stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour (2.Pro). Contested this Thursday under more than 25 degrees, this stage featured an entirely flat course on the outskirts of Knokke-Heist, not far from the coast. Very few technical turns and long stretches took the riders from Heist to Ramskapelle, and then reach the town of Westkapelle where the finish was located.

Race leader Evenepoel (Deceuninck) recorded the fastest time, completing the course in exactly twelve minutes. The Belgian Loïc Vliegen, the man protected for the general classification, crossed the line in 12:44. His performance of the day allows him to climb to 14th place overall.

Remco Evenepoel

Remco Evenpoel was the day's fastest time-trialist. Gety Sport photo

Loïc Vliegen:
"It's a successful day. This type of time trial is far from ideal for me, I prefer a more hilly and more technical course. Knowing that also I had a problem with my saddle towards the end, which came down and led me to change my position. I probably lost a few seconds because of this mechanical problem. But I look at the positive, I climb up the general classification, which was the goal. I am therefore happy with this result. I also had less trouble dealing with the heat compared to yesterday. Our focus is now on tomorrow's stage where we will defend the chances of Danny van Poppel, then on Saturday which will be decisive for the GC race."

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