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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, June 11, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France: 2021

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2021: The Little Cannibal Dominates is available in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage six team reports

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

Here's the report from GC leader Wout van Aert's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has not competed for the win in the sixth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The early breakaway riders dueled for the stage win and the Dutch team was okay with that. Wout van Aert remained the leader in the general classification the day before the final weekend.

Wout van Aert has a tough weekend ahead. Sirotti photo

The fight to get in the day's breakaway was very intense. Many riders attacked. After fifty kilometers, seven riders formed the leading group after which Team Jumbo-Visma took control. The team did not allow this group to extend their lead beyond five minutes. Their lead was steadily decreasing but not fast enough to thwart the escapees' plans.

"The main goal in this difficult stage was to defend our positions in the general classification", Van Aert said. "The start was very hectic. After a while, an ideal race situation developed. Other teams tried to catch the break but came too late. It's not a disappointment that we weren't competing for the stage win. With the mountains coming up, we are now focusing on the GC. Jonas and Primoz sailed through today's stage without any problems. For them, an important final of this stage race starts tomorrow."

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Here's the Dauphiné report from fourth-place Andrea Bagioli's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

Labeled by many as the last real opportunity for the attackers before the mountainous weekend that will decide the winner of the 75th Critérium du Dauphiné, stage 6 witnessed a fierce battle for the breakaway. For more than 50 kilometers, attacks came in waves, for each small group that went up the road being a team that responded immediately and pegged it back.

The Dauphiné will only get more challenging over the next couple of days. Sirotti photo

It was only on the first classified ascent of this 192.6km stage that a move was established, and when it did, the Wolfpack was represented there by Andrea Bagioli, a top 10 finisher this week in Chaintré. The Italian was prominent in the group whose maximum advantage went north of four minutes with 80 kilometers to go, before the peloton began to gradually erode it under the impetus of several squads who wanted a bunch sprint in Gap.

For a moment there, inside the final ten kilometers, it looked as if they would do it, but the front group – where Andrea continued to put in some strong pulls – crested a small unranked climb with over 40 seconds in hand, at which point it became clear they would fight for glory. In the end, it wasn’t a sprint for the win, but a solo attack, and Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies) took the victory. Bagioli tried to close the gap to the Frenchman with 200 meters to go, but with little help from the others he couldn’t do it and eventually finished fourth.

“The first part of the stage was crazy fast, a lot of riders wanted to be in the front and we had one attack after another. Then, once a breakaway formed, we worked well together and despite all odds, we managed to hold off the bunch. The finish was a bit strange, as it was all downhill, so when a rider attacked from behind, it was really difficult for me to shut down that move. It’s a pity I couldn’t get the victory, as I was very close today, but it is as it is. Now I look forward to recovering a bit and helping the team in the next two days”, said Andrea after the stage.

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Here's the Dauphiné stage six report from Bruno Amirail's Team Groupama-FDJ:

He had perhaps done the hardest part by entering the right breakaway, which established itself after a big fight at the start. However, Bruno Armirail could not complete his day at the front with a result on stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Distanced from the leading group in the last climb, the Frenchman was eventually caught by the peloton, which arrived a few seconds after the winner, Valentin Ferron. David Gaudu is eleventh overall on the eve of the mountainous, decisive weekend.

Early in the stage, the riders tackle a rising road. ASO photo

Towards Gap, on Friday, a large part of the bunch was aiming for the same thing: to enter the breakaway. The hilly route clearly gave the fugitives a good chance of success in this sixth day of racing, and unsurprisingly, this led to an extremely lively first hour of racing. “Today, almost everyone in the team had the opportunity to go in the break because we knew that it could be a winning move”, said Thierry Bricaud. “Kevin tried first, the others also followed some moves, and Bruno eventually managed to get into the right group”.

It was only after fifty kilometres that the break could go. In the lead, the time trial specialist found himself with Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hôtels-KTM), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-Citroën), Andrea Bagioli (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) and Victor Lafay (Cofidis). After shaping up in the first climbs of the day, this breakaway was then able to build itself a four-minute advantage following the Col du Rousset.

The gap then remained steady in a long valley leading to the last categorized climb of the day. In the long but rolling col de Cabre (9 km at 5%), located fifty kilometres from the line, Bruno Armirail was left behind in the break.

“Unfortunately, he was not in a great day”, explained Thierry. “He was not going so bad as he had the legs to be in front, but it was still too difficult to go until the end with these riders. On this type of terrain, you can’t hide, especially since the speed was always high. When you’re not in a good day, you immediately pay for it. Up front, they thought he was bluffing because he was not maybe as generous as usual. But no, he just wasn’t feeling very good.”

The 28-year-old rider was then caught by the bunch which, despite a few accelerations, proved unable to get the rest of the break. Valentin Ferron took victory up front while David Gaudu finished in the main bunch thirty-two seconds later. On the eve of the Alpine weekend, the young man sits in eleventh position overall, 2’13 behind the yellow jersey Wout van Aert but only 1’10 from second place. “David was supported by his teammates all day, and he never was in trouble”, added Thierry. “It was a fast day for everyone, but it was quite straightforward for us prior to the weekend that lies ahead. We are happy to get there being already almost in the top-10, and with such little gaps to the other favourites. We will take stock tomorrow, but it could be a nice day”. A nice but tough day.

In just over 134 kilometres, the riders will face the slopes of the Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer and then the Vaujany climb on Saturday.

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GP Canton Aargau reports

We posted the report from winner Marc Hirschi's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Maximilian Schachmann's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Two days ahead of the Tour de Suisse, the GP Aargau took place on a 173.8 km hilly circuit around Leuggern, with the Rotberg climb having to be taken on seven times. Ide Schelling, last year's winner, was counted among one of the favourites for today's race. With 45km to go, all escapees were caught again and there were several attacks from a reduced peloton, with a soloist successfully going clear 20km ahead of the finish.

In the decisive final stage, however, it was all over for the leader and Maximilian Schachmann managed to take the lead at the front in a small chasing group. With three kilometres remaining, the German champion attacked with two others, but the trio was reeled back in by the chasers shortly before the finish and it came down to an uphill sprint among the seven-man leading group, in which Maximilian took a strong second place.

Marc Hirschi was first across the line.

"It was my first race after a difficult first part of the season so far and after a training camp and I tried to ride actively for Marco today. I jumped in quite early and was then at the front of the group. It wasn't quite my best day, but still the outcome wasn't bad. In the end I couldn't get past Hirschi in the final sprint and so finished second." - Maximilian Schachmann

"Today was a type of preparation race for the upcoming Tour de Suisse. Our main goal was to drop the sprinters to give Marco a good chance in a final sprint. In the end, just ahead of the final selection, we had Marco, Maximilian and Felix in the reduced group. And when the moves really came, Max followed the attacks and made it into the seven-man group that eventually contested the finish. He put in a very strong performance after a while without racing. Marco was also very strong today, as the race wasn't necessarily an easy one. And Felix, who just returned from altitude, also rode well in the group. In fact, Toni, Max and Sergio also were recently at altitude and considering that, rode very well today. We're pleased to have taken second place in the end with Max, a good sign for the upcoming Tour de Suisse." - Enrico Gasparotto, Sports Director

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