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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 13, 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.

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. - Thomas Aquinas

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Tour of Switzerland stage seven team reports

We posted the report from GC leader Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Rigoberto Uran's Team EF Education-Nippo:

A mountain time trial doesn’t suit most riders… then again, most riders aren’t Rigoberto Urán. The terrain and Rigo’s mettle proved an ideal match, as the Colombian made a joyous return to the podium Saturday, winning stage seven at Tour de Suisse by an emphatic margin of 40 seconds.

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran on his stage-winning ride.

“This race is hard because my first win in this race was in 2007, many years ago. Today’s time trial was special because there was the climb and then the downhill. It was a special day for me and the team,” said Urán.

Not only is today’s win his first since 2017 when he won Milano-Torino and took a stage at the Tour de France, but it’s also his first since becoming a father in March.

“This year is so special for me. I haven’t raced much, also because of a small problem, but I had good preparation for the Tour de France and done some hard racing here at the Tour de Suisse.”

He is now in second place by just 17 seconds on the general classification with one stage remaining. He will have the full support of the team, but Rigo takes nothing for granted. “With these great legs, I’ll try. But it’s a hard stage and the Tour de Suisse ends tomorrow.” 

Way to go, Rigo!

Third-place Gino Mäder's Bahrain Victorious team posted this report:

Gino Mäder placed third on the 23.3 km long ITT stage 7 over the Oberalp Pass. The course was split into two parts, starting with a challenging climb to the Pass, followed by a fast descent to Andermatt with riders reaching speeds over 100km/h.

Riders were faced with a decision to use their road bikes, TT bikes or a combination of the two. Mäder stuck with his TT bike throughout and proved to be third fastest on the day behind Rigoberto Uran (Education First Nippo)  and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Gino Mader

Gino Mäder winning stage 6 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Gino Mäder was glad to take a podium finish in his homeland: “Finally, I was able to show what I wanted to show in my home race. It was nice to have legs again. I missed them after stage 3; luckily, they’re back for these final days. I think it’s so good to take a podium position. I really enjoyed the race. It was super hard with the climb at the beginning and then a fast and furious downhill. I’m glad we could deliver a solid performance again today, which makes us hungry for tomorrow. Maybe the legs won’t be so fresh, but obviously, the mind will be so and also motivated. We hope for an excellent finish in this race.”

Wout Poels was the fastest on the downhill, and at the finish, he was just out of the top ten at 11th place: “It was not a bad time trial at all. So, I’m happy with the result and also with the fact that I had a faster downhill. In the end, of course, the time at the finish counts, so I think it was a good performance for me and Gino, who did an amazing job. So, I think we can be happy with the day. There is one more day to go, so let’s see what we have left in the tank for tomorrow and make a good and nice day of it and finish this week with a bang and hopefully another good result”.

Julian Alaphilippe is leaving Tour of Switzerland. Here's the Deceuninck-Quick Step team post:

Ed: That Alaphilppe will not finish the Tour of Switzerland despite his being in third place is at the end of this post.

Julian Alaphilippe demonstrated again his prowess against the clock on the penultimate day of the Tour de Suisse, which put on the table a tasty individual time trial consisting of a tough climb up the Oberalpass (9.5km, 6.5%) and a fast descent to Andermatt.

The last of the six Deceuninck - Quick-Step riders to leave the start house, Julian didn’t need too much time to show he is on a fine day, tapping out a strong tempo that by the time he crested the top of the ascent saw him record the second-fastest provisional time.

Julian Alaphilippe

World Champion Julian Alaphilippe earlier this year at the Tour of Provence. Sirotti photo

On the long descent, Alaphilippe didn’t take any risks, but the effort he put in was enough for him to take his eighth podium of the year, as he concluded the stage runner-up to Rigoberto Uran (EF Education).

Third in the general classification, Alaphilippe was content with his race, which he will now leave in order to be home for the birth of his first child: “It was a good week and I’m satisfied with how things went. It was a nice test as the parcours suited me and I gave my best to get a strong result or help the team every time it was possible. Today’s result is another solid one. I felt good on the climb, but then on the descent I didn’t want to take that many risks, so to be on the podium even in these conditions makes me happy. It was my first time here at Tour de Suisse, and I enjoyed it, as we showed many beautiful things. Now I’m happy to head home to meet our baby soon.”

Ed: Deceuninck-Quick Step posted this Tweet: Alaphilippe will not start Sunday’s #TourdeSuisse stage 8, as he will travel home to be with his partner, who is due to give birth to the couple’s first child.

Max Schachmann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

The Tour de Suisse continued today with a second race against the clock, which covered 23.2 km. Almost immediately after the start in Disentis-Sedrun, the riders had to contest a challenging 10 km ascent up to the Oberalp Pass before descending to the finish line in Andermatt.

For Maximilian Schachmann, who at the beginning of the stage sat in third place overall, this offered a chance to capitalise on a good starting position before tomorrow's queen stage. He was the final BORA - hansgrohe rider to roll out of the start house, and completed the route, amongst a field of strong riders, in 13th position in a time of 37:25 minutes, 1:23 minutes behind the eventual winner R. Uran. Maximilian now sits in fourth place in the overall standings before the Tour de Suisse comes to a close tomorrow with a tough mountain stage.

"It was not an easy time trial because we faced headwind today. Nevertheless, I managed it well and tried not to lose too much time. There are several good time trialists in participation at the race, and I think I netted a solid result in the end, and I can be quite happy with it. Tomorrow we're going to tackle a hard stage and I’m hoping to also do well there." - Maximilian Schachmann

"That was quite a hard time trial with a climb featuring 600 metres of elevation gain and also a pretty difficult descent. It was clear that Max had to go full throttle there and he did that well. He is now fourth in the GC and has increased his gap to several of his rivals so, all in all, it was a good race." - Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

Here's the race report from Antwan Tolhoek's Jumbo-Visma team:

Antwan Tolhoek has again shown his attacking skills in the sixth stage of the Tour de Suisse. The climber of Team Jumbo-Visma went for the stage win and gave everything he had, but after many attacks he eventually finished in eighth place.

Antwan Tolhoek

Antwan Tolhoek winning stage 6 of the 2019 Tour of Swtizerland. Sirotti photo

From the start in Andermatt it was all about climbing. On the Gotthardpass there was a battle, but the escapees never got much space from the peloton. The coming and going of attacks continued almost the entire stage. Tolhoek and Gijs Leemreize were finally in the large group that could fight for the stage victory.

After Leemreize’s work, Tolhoek showed himself several times, but the Dutchman could not get rid of his fellow escapees. Dane Andreas Kron won the stage after the disqualification of Rui Costa. Sam Oomen moved up one place in the general classification due to the loss of a competitor. He is now the new number seven

“Since the Ruta del Sol I’m in very good shape”, Tolhoek said after the mountain stage. “I think I raced well, but it’s a pity that I didn’t make it today. Uphill I was definitely one of the better ones, but I really had to gamble all the time. On the steep parts I tried to let them go. I rode a good race and can’t blame myself. This was the third attempt this week, maybe the fourth time I will succeed. The penny has to drop in the right direction once. Hopefully that will happen this week.

Sports director Addy Engels had seen an attractive race from start to finish. “Antwan and Gijs showed themselves. The other guys were also where they needed to be. Antwan was very strong today. I think he was one of the better guys in the leading group. He’s a real climber who prefers a more difficult finish. Then you have to gamble and he did. I also think it’s really nice to see that Gijs can show himself at WorldTour level in his debut year with the pros.”

Route d'Occitanie stage three team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Antonio Pedrero's Team Movistar with the results.

Here's the report from third-place Oscar Rodriguez's Team Astana-Premier Tech:

After a solid performance on the one-day race Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, Oscar Rodriguez continues to deliver impressive results for Astana – Premier Tech. Today he took a strong third place on the queen stage of La Route d’Occitanie with the finish atop Le Mourtis climb (12.7 km, 6.3%).

Rodriguez counterattacked from a small chasing group trying to bridge to the solo leader Antonio Pedrero. It did not work as Pedrero was able to stay clear in front, taking the stage win and the race lead. However, Rodriguez did his best and finished third just behind Jesus Herrada, who claimed second.

Antonio Pedrero

It was Antonio Pedrero who won the day.

“It was a hard day with some difficult climbs including Tourmalet and the final summit. My teammates worked really well protecting me and helping to bring the breakaway back. On the final climb I did my best, it was impossible to catch Pedrero, but I was still there in front fighting for a high result and finally I was able to take a third place which makes me happy”, – said Oscar Rodriguez.

Thanks to today’s result, Oscar Rodriguez moved up to the third position in the General Classification of the race, 49 seconds behind Pedrero.

Merhawi Kudus also did a very good race, finishing seventh today.

“The team worked very well today and the guys did a great job from the start and until the finish. Yevgeniy Fedorov spent a strong day in front of the peloton, helping the team to control the breakaway on Col du Tourmalet. Also, Yuriy Natarov and Merhawi Kudus stayed close to our leader Oscar Rodriguez until the very last kilometres. Well, we were hoping to fight for a stage win today, but there was a stronger rider in front, and we did not manage to catch him. However, Oscar was really strong today, he did a smart race and at the end he finished this day with a nice podium. We can be really happy with this result”, – added Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.

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