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Thursday, August 4, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. - Lao Tzu


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Tour of Poland stage five team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Phil Bauhaus' Team Bahrain Victorious with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Sergio Higuita's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The fifth stage with its numerous ascents and 176 kilometres had a similar profile as yesterday, but the finale in Rzeszów was flat. Stronger sprinters would have a chance today, but as the last climb was only 10 km from the finish, a small group could also manage to go clear and take the victory.

An early breakaway, which included Shane Archbold, led the race for a long time, yet the peloton kept the situation under control and the last of the escapees were eventually reeled back ahead of what ended up being a hectic finale. The final kilometre saw a mass crash at a corner and as a result only a few riders were able to go on to sprint for the win. Ryan Mullen was the best-placed BORA-hansgrohe rider, having finished in eighth place. Sergio Higuita was given the same time as the day's winner Phil Bauhaus and heads into tomorrow's stage in the yellow jersey.

Phil Bauhaus wins stage five.

"I recovered well after my crash yesterday and under the circumstances I was feeling pretty good today. So we're on a good path here in Poland. I'm looking forward to the time trial tomorrow with confidence." - Sergio Higuita

"The plan was to ride for Sam today. Ahead of the finale, we were in a perfect position, but some riders in front of us hit the deck, which caused a big crash in the field. Somehow I managed to avoid the crash, using up one of my nine lives so to speak, and then tried to ride for the best result under the circumstances. But it's a shame that we weren't able to contest the sprint with Sam in the end. On the other hand, we did manage to defend the yellow jersey, which is definitely a success with two stages ahead of us" - Ryan Mullen

Here's the Tour of Poland report from second-place Arnaud Démare's Team Groupama-FDJ:

It wasn’t quite a bunch sprint on Wednesday on the Tour of Poland. Once again, a crash occurred in the last kilometre, but Arnaud Démare and his lead-out men managed to get through it thanks to their excellent positioning. In a small group, the Frenchman only got beaten by Phil Bauhaus for a close margin, therefore taking second place on the day. Quentin Pacher sits in eighth place overall before a decisive time trial on Thursday.

In the aftermath of a hilly stage, yet not hilly enough to get rid of all the sprinters, a similar scenario was expected on stage 5 this Wednesday. “Considering Arnaud went through the climbs quite well yesterday, and that it was a bit less difficult today, he was confident to go for a sprint finish”, said Sébastien Joly. “We took the start with this goal, especially since it was a flat finish. Today, we only had one plan and it was to go for Arnaud. So, we worked all day for it”. A breakaway including Sean Quinn (EF Education-Easy Post), Yevgeniy Fedorov (Astana), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel-Premier Tech), Jakub Murias, Mateusz Grabis (Poland), Michal Schlegel (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Shane Archbold (Bora-hansgrohe) took the lead during the stage, but never really enjoyed a big gap as the bunch proved cautious. About thirty kilometres from the finish, the was less than two minutes as the riders tackled the last climbs of the day.

“In the final, the two guys who had the best GC ranking (Quinn and Schmidt, editor’s note) accelerated, the gap went up again, so Bruno [Armirail] went to pull”, added Sébastien. “It allowed us to be in control of the situation, and we did well because we caught the last two men barely three kilometres from the finish. Bruno did a great job once again”.

After having gone over the last climb with ten kilometres to go, the whole lead-out train was in the bunch to fight for the sprint. It appeared at the very last moment. “It was really fast in the final”, said Arnaud Démare. “We made our effort at the right time, just before the last kilometre, because we knew it was a strategic place where we needed to be positioned”. “The guys followed the plan we put in place this morning to perfection,” confirmed Sébastien. “Kono did a good job at first, then Miles took the lead two kilometres from the finish. He put Bram and Jacopo in the ideal spot before the last curves of this twisty final. It’s a good thing we took the lead, actually, because a crash happened in the last kilometre, and we were able to get through it”.

Following several falls in a right turn, only a handful of riders were able to fight in the last hundreds of metres, including three men from Groupama-FDJ. “Bram and Jacopo did a great job,” continued Sébastien. “Jacopo dropped Arnaud in the wheel of the Bahrain-Victorious’ guys, then it came down to legs”. “Given the speed we were going at, I felt that I couldn’t do a long sprint, I had to go use drafting and go for it at the last moment”, said Arnaud. “I tried to pass Bauhaus in the last fifty meters, but it did not work out. It was super tiring today, and I did not feel as good as yesterday”.

On the line, the Frenchman therefore grabbed second place, a wheel away from the German winner. “I’m still happy with this Tour of Poland”, confessed Arnaud. “Obviously, we’d prefer to have a stage victory, but we are physically ready and we just need to be patient”. “Of course we would all have preferred to win, but it’s still a good performance,” concluded Sébastien. “Above all, the guys have worked really well as a team. It’s a returning race for them, and I think they’re already doing pretty good. There is also a good atmosphere around Arnaud and Quentin. We are in the mix on the stages and on the GC. Tomorrow, we’ll have a nice time trial for Quentin and Bruno. The victory is not there yet, but the guys are committed”.

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Third-place Nikias Arndt's Team DSM posted this Tour of Poland report:

Another day in the Polish hills awaited the peloton this afternoon at the Tour de Pologne, as they took on a 178-kilometre long route from Łańcut to Rzeszów. Despite the hilly nature, today’s stage on paper was easier than yesterday’s so another bunch sprint was expected unless a strong break could go clear.

It was a fast start to the action with a lot of attacks in the early proceedings, which the team covered well, before eventually an eight rider move broke the elastic and forged on out front. Their advantage peaked at almost five minutes but throughout the afternoon it slowly dwindled and despite a valiant effort, the remnants of the move were caught in the closing five kilometres.

Working well together throughout the stage, the team kept GC finisher Thymen Arensman safe before fully focusing their attention to positioning Nikias Arndt for the sprint finale. Last lead out man Niklas Märkl brought Arndt into position in the final three kilometres, towards the front of the peloton. Due to the good positioning, Arndt managed to avoid a crash in the closing kilometre, before producing a great turn of speed to take a strong third place at the line.

“It was another hilly stage today,” explained Arndt. “A group went away and the GC teams started controlling alongside some sprint teams. Our goal again was to get Thymen safely to the finish and not lose any time. That went really well and the team did a great job at that. From three kilometres on we focused on setting me up for the sprint with some good support by the guys and I could follow the wheels. Luckily we avoided the crash and got a nice third place, but I’m just not quick enough to go for the the win there, but still I’m pretty happy with the third place today.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “The stage today had some potential to be a tough one but a break quickly formed and we had a relatively controlled stage. In the final we wanted to bring Thymen in safe and set Nikias up for a sprint. Despite a big crash the team could manage both goals and Nikias finished it off with a third place on the stage.”


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Filippo Ganna pens four-year contract extension with the INEOS Grenadiers

Here’s the news release the team sent me:

The INEOS Grenadiers are excited to confirm that Filippo Ganna has signed a new long-term contract with the team.

The double world time trial champion has signed a four-year extension until the end of 2027, with both rider and team committed to chasing more success and ambitious goals together.

Filippo Ganna riding 2022 Tour de France stage one. Sirotti photo

Ganna has developed into the world’s best time trialist since signing with the team in 2019. 21 victories and an Olympic Gold medal later, the Italian is ready to commit the next phase of his career to the team.

Filippo Ganna said, “It’s exciting being a part of this team, not least the way we approach goals and the amount of effort that’s put into our development and equipment. Everything is based around the objective of making us go faster. Whether it’s with the Performance Team, working with our partners or learning from the wider experience within INEOS Sport. When there’s that much dedication from everyone around you, it just makes you want to go out there and give it your all.

“There is still plenty to focus on for the rest of this season and going into next year, and having that level of support behind me is so important. I’m looking forward to spending more of my career with this Team.”

Not only has the 26 year old excelled on the time trial bike, but he’s also demonstrated impressive climbing skills, as evidenced by an amazing solo breakaway stage victory at the 2020 Giro d’Italia.

Deputy Team Principal Rod Ellingworth is excited to watch Ganna develop further over the next few years: “Filippo is one of those bike riders whose ability to generate power through the pedals is just incredible. You can never tire of watching him execute a time trial or being on the front of the bunch single handedly ripping a race apart.

“To have a talent like Filippo in the team is a huge bonus to us from an equipment development point of view too. From working with him in wind tunnels, to seeing him ride on the track, it’s in part due to him that our equipment is at the level it currently is. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together over the coming years.”


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Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Sazka Tour: AUG 04 - 07

Boris Zimine - Team DSM coach
"The Sazka Tour will be a nice event for our Development program, with Tim bringing his experience from our Men's program and Pavel making his first outing as part of the Men's program on home roads. We look forward to racing against some strong opposition and our goal will be to compete for day results through some good riding. All four stages have a really different profile so every rider can find a stage that suits them. Stage one is more hilly but can be decided in a sprint, before we then take on two mountain stages with a summit finish, while the last stage includes an explosive finale with some cobbles which suit the puncheurs. We are looking forward to an exciting week of racing."

Line-up:
Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
Moritz Kärsten (GER)
Lorenzo Milesi (ITA)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Max Poole (GBR)

Vårgårda Westsweden TTT: AUG 6

Huub Dujin - Team DSM coach:
"After two years of absence, the Vårgãrda TTT is back on the calendar again. It is a traditional and somewhat rare race as it's the only team time trial on the UCI calendar on its own, which makes it special but also difficult to train possibilities are limited. In the lead up to the race we will do some additional rides on the TT bike together, practicing our formation and learning as much from that as we can, so that we can do the best we can on race day where we will give it our all."

Line-up:
Francesca Barale (ITA)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Elise Uijen (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

Vårgårda Westsweden RR: AUG 7

Huub Dujin - Team DSM coach:
"Following on from the TTT, we then have the road race in Vårgårda. It's a race that normally is decided by a strong break or a small bunch sprint for the win. The weather can also be of influence so we will keep an eye on that as well. We have a squad that provides us with different options and we want to race aggressively and look for opportunities through the breaks. If it comes down to a sprint then we will look to set up Tour de France Femmes two-time stage winner Lorena as our finisher for the kick to the line.”

Line-up:
Francesca Barale (ITA)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Elise Uijen (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

GP Jef Scherens: AUG 7

Marcel Sieberg - Team DSM coach:
"GP Jef Scherens is a hard race where the first part of the route is a bit similar to Brabantse Pijl and the last part is comparable with the route from the recent World Championships in 2021. We bring a nice and well mixed team, with Joost and Axel joining us from the Development program which will be a good experience for them. With Casper and Cees we have two options for fast finishers who can survive the hills and potentially play a role in the final depending on how the day is raced.”

Cees Bol (shown winning 2021 Paris-Nice stage 2) will ride the GP Jef Scherens.

Line-up: Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Cees Bol (NED)
Joost Brinkman (NED)
Nico Denz (GER)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Axel Källberg (FIN)
Casper van Uden (NED)

Tour of Scandinavia - Battle of the North: AUG 9 - 14

Huub Dujin - Team DSM coach:
"The Tour of Norway has been lengthened with the exciting new addition of two extra stages in Denmark and Sweden, and we're looking forward to seeing more great crowds in the region. The race itself has a bit of everything. There are pure sprint stages, lumpy days where the breakaway has a good chance, as well as a mountaintop finish on day five. Every day we will make a plan together to see how the race might play out and what our best options are for day results. Next to that, it is also a good race to continue developing our group in this six-day stage race."

Line-up:
Léa Curinier (FRA)
Megan Jastrab (USA)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Charlotte Kool (NED)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)

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