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Monday, July 25, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury. - Marcus Aurelius

Tour of Flanders, the Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Tour of Flanders: The Inside Story - The rocky roads of the Ronde van Vlaanderen is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de France stage 21 team reports

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

Here’s the report from Team Jumbo Visma:

Jonas Vingegaard has won the Tour de France. The Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma crossed the finish line safely on the Champs-Élysées, securing the overall victory. Besides the yellow jersey, Vingegaard also won the polka dot jersey for best climber. Wout van Aert proved unbeatable in the battle for the green jersey and also won the prize for the most combative rider. In addition, the Dutch team won no fewer than six stages. It is the most successful Tour de France in the team’s history.

Team Jumbo-Visma owned this Tour. Sirotti photo

Vingegaard took the yellow leader's jersey in stage eleven to the Col du Granon, which he won, and never relinquished it. "This means everything to me", the Dane described his overall win. "It is the most prestigious prize in cycling, the biggest race in the world. It makes me proud that I can share this success with my family. We did a fantastic job as a team in the past few weeks. We will celebrate this. I thank every member of the team—both the riders and the staff. Since last year I believed I could win the Tour. The fact that my dream has come true is indescribable. This is the best moment of my life."

"This is what we have been striving for so long", team manager Richard Plugge said with pride. "Six years ago, we drew up a plan. We invested in talent development, equipment, workforce, knowledge and skills. Today, the work of the past years all came to a climax. We could not have imagined that this Tour de France would be such a resounding success for our team. We won the yellow and green jersey, the polka dot jersey, six stages and the prize for the most combative rider. I have once again seen how many people are involved in Team Jumbo-Visma. The commitment of all these people is invaluable. We are all going to enjoy these successes. Next week we will turn the switch and start preparing for the next year’s Tour de France.

Sportive director Merijn Zeeman did not hide his enthusiasm either. Zeeman helped lay the foundation for the team to develop into one of the best cycling teams in the world within a few years. "This is bizarre. I hardly have the words to describe this success. This was our dream. We worked towards this goal for years. Day in, day out, we were working with just one goal in mind. We won the Tour, the biggest cycling race in the world. It's hard to comprehend at the moment. I still have to ‘recover’ from it. I have a lot of admiration for the guys who can perform under such pressure. This team deserves this most of all", Zeeman said.

"It has been a fantastic three weeks. I'm very proud to be a part of this", said Van Aert, the three-time stage winner, winner of the points classification and winner of the most combative rider prize. "We have shown we have a powerful team. Beforehand we said we wanted to go for both the yellow and the green jersey. We more than succeeded in that. This is very emotional for me. Winning the Tour de France as a team is something I dreamed of as a little boy."

Vingegaard's overall win marked Team Jumbo-Visma's 33rd season victory.

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Here's the report from Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

The 2022 Tour de France reached its end today with reigning champion Tadej Pogačar putting in a courageous fight to place second behind his closest rival Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) with Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) completing the podium.

Tadej Pogacar ended the Tour as the Best Young Rider. Sirotti photo

The final sprint on the Champs Elysees was taken by Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

UAE Team Emirates closed the race with 3 stage victories, the white jersey, and 5 days spent in the Maillot Jaune.

This Tour was not without adversity with several riders being ruled out by illness and injury: Vegard Stake Laengen and George Bennett fell victim of Covid-19 while Marc Soler missed the time cut due to stomach problems and Rafal Majka had a leg muscle injury. All were forced to withdraw.

Nevertheless the remaining four riders battled on and put in a brave display to reach Paris with good spirits and hungry to coming back fighting in 2023.

Pogačar : “It has been a great Tour de France for us all-round. I think for the fans especially it’s been an amazing Tour with lots of exciting racing as we had hoped.
Jonas deserved the win, he was the strongest rider and it gives me more motivation to come back stronger next year.”

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Here's the report from GC third-place Geraint Thomas' Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Geraint Thomas secured a fantastic third place overall at the Tour de France as a memorable race came to a close in Paris.

The Welshman couldn’t resist a final-lap acceleration on the famous Champs-Elysees but was able to cross the line safely to make sure of a third podium finish in the fastest ever edition of the French Grand Tour.

After winning the race in 2018 and finishing runner-up to Egan Bernal in 2019, this year Thomas completed all three steps of the overall podium after using all his experience across the three weeks.

The Grenadiers also clinched victory in the team’s general classification by a commanding margin of 37 minutes and 33 seconds. After leading the competition since the cobbles of stage five, it represented the second time the team have donned the yellow helmets in Paris, after last tasting success in 2017.

INEOS Grenadiers won the teams classification. Sirotti photo

Adam Yates battled through illness to secure an admirable and impressive 10th place overall. Tom Pidcock took a highlight victory atop Alpe d’Huez and finished 17th on his debut Tour de France.

Jonathan Castroviejo, Filippo Ganna, Dani Martinez, Luke Rowe and Dylan van Baarle all played key roles across the three weeks and ensured the whole team finished the race together in Paris.

Geraint Thomas:
"It was a tough end to last year, so to come back from that and prove a few doubters wrong has been really enjoyable. I’ve really enjoyed racing this year, the team’s been great and the Tour has been a real good bunch of guys. We all get on really well and the atmosphere on the bus is good. It’s a good vibe.

"I’ve done some of my best numbers. But at the same time some of my best previous were in 2018, and it felt on those climbs I still had more, so it’s hard to just go off that. I’m certainly in top shape and happy to have got here.

"I’m still making the most of it. As I’ve said many times now, I can see I’m much closer to the end of my career than the start. I’m making the most of it, soaking it all in and trying to enjoy days like this as they don’t come round too often."

Luke Rowe:
"We've gone into every stage with the ambition of giving G and the GC guys the best run in the stage and also tried to animate each day and try to win a stage if possible  It's been an exciting style of racing and great fun off the bike.

"Steve Cummings is one of the DSs who reminds me a lot of Nico Portal - things could be going not quite to plan and Nico would not be stressed. Steve is very similar in that sense and he's been a breath of fresh air, incredible actually.

"The tribute to Nico was special, we stayed the night in Pau and his kids stayed at the hotel and we got to see them and there was the massive poster of Nico on the stage. He was a massive character, on and off the bike, here in Paris he would bring his kids and they would be the stars of the show. When I was rolling down here he was the person I was thinking of. A special guy - gone but not forgotten."

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And here's the report from team BikeExchange-Jayco:

Team BikeExchange-Jayco wrap up the 2022 Tour de France proud and satisfied after claiming two phenomenal stage victories with two different riders, and four impressive second place finishes, including today’s final stage on the Champs Elysées to make it 10 top-10 placings.

Dutch fast-man Dylan Groenewegen went close to making it a fairy tale finish in Paris as he sprinted to a hard-fought second place, capping off a successful three weeks for the Australian squad.

Dylan Delivers in Denmark
With huge pressure on his shoulders returning to the Tour de France, Groenewegen got Team BikeExchange-Jayco off to a dream start, taking a stunning and emotional victory early on, on stage three in Sønderborg.

Groenewegen put his hands to his head as he crossed the line, unsure if he’d taken the win, but the emotions soon poured out, as his first Tour de France stage win in three years was confirmed. The victory set the tone for the team for the rest of the race, and with high moral and confidence, more sensational results followed.

Michael Matthews wins stage 14. Sirotti photo

Schultz Shines
In his debut Tour de France appearance, the 27-year-old from Brisbane, Nick Schultz, made a name for himself on stage 10, heading into a hotly contested breakaway before almost walking away with an unbelievable stage victory, after a fierce two-up uphill sprint for the line in Megève.

However, it was a bittersweet result for the team and Schultz, despite a career best performance from the Australian. With the lengthy, brutal stage concluding in a tight photo finish, the victory was missed by the narrowest of margins. Taking the positives from the ride, it made Team BikeExchange-Jayco even hungrier to get on that top step once again.

Mighty Matthews Moves Mountains
Michael Matthews showed his true grit and determination on stage 14, bouncing back from two painful second place finishes on stage six and eight to take an emphatic and meaningful solo stage victory into Mende; his first Tour stage win in five years.

Unlike his previous three Tour stage victories, the win made heads turn as the 31-year-old infiltrated a large breakaway, before attacking with 50km to go and then going away solo on a final steep 2.9km ascent - a totally new racing style for the Australian.

However, it wasn’t an easy feat, and the dream was almost over when Alberto Bettiol caught and passed the Team BikeExchange-Jayco as the summit approached. Unwilling to be the bridesmaid for the third time, Matthews wasn’t giving in easily and showed the world he had more. ‘Bling’ caught back up to the Italian rider and accelerated past to take the team’s second stage victory of the 2022 race.

The success throughout the three-week race has been testament to the Australia’s outfit’s hard work, day in day out and the commitment to the plan, bouncing back from near misses, going on the hunt in breakaways, before finally clinching those emotional wins and making it one of the team’s most consistently successful Tour de France appearances to date.

Dylan Groenewegen:
“The team today was really brilliant, I went a bit too early [in the sprint] but there was no other option I think. Sometimes you are lucky, today we are second, it’s good, but it’s not good enough, but the team was really strong.

"I think that the team was really impressive today, if you see, I signed seven months ago with the team and now we did one of the best lead outs. I’m really, really thankful for that, for this big chance.

"We have two stage victories for the team, and we are really proud, and now we’re going to celebrate. Today was second, not enough, but we are happy with this Tour.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director
“At the start of the Tour de France we started with the goal of winning a stage, more teams don’t win stages than win stages, and we come away from a really successful Tour.

"Two stage wins, four second places and a really dominate performance from all of the guys. I’m really happy with how they committed to the daily plan, and we certainly left our presence on this race."

Gerry Ryan – Team Owner:
“It was a fantastic Tour and I’ve never seen any team that I’ve been involved with, work so well together. The bonding from the first day, to now, is pretty special.

"Two stage wins and four seconds, we’re going to come back next year and be a lot stronger. It’s very exciting times ahead.”

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