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Monday, June 20, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour of Switzerland stage eight reports

We posted the report from final overall winner Geraint Thomas' Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

The race organizer posted this 2022 Swiss Tour summary:

Geraint Thomas took the overall victory in the Tour de Suisse. The Welshman finished the time trial in second place behind Remco Evenepoel. Best Swiss was Stefan Küng. He took third place in the stage and fifth place in the General Classification.

It was very literally a “hot” race in and around Vaduz, the capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein. On one hand it was about the day’s victory, on the other hand the General Classification, in which the top three were separated by only 19 seconds. The stage was set for the time trial specialists. Dylan Van Baarle took the hot seat early on.

But Remco Evenepoel shattered his time coming home in 28:26 minutes with an average speed of 54.02 km/h. No one could match this pace. No one came close to that time. Stefan Küng put up a strong performance and was two seconds faster than Evenepoel at the halfway point of the race but in the end it was only enough for third place, 11 seconds behind the Belgian. Geraint Thomas squeezed in between them.

Geraint Thomas finishing his time trial. Sirotti photo

Although he was clearly behind Küng and Evenepoel at the intermediate check, only three seconds separated him from victory in the end. The General Classification was thus a formality. His direct competitors Sergio Higuita and Jakob Fuglsang finished more than a minute behind in second and third place respectively. Stefan Küng jumped two places to finish the Tour de Suisse in fifth place overall.

Thomas is sober in victory
In typical Welsh fashion, Geraint Thomas took an outwardly sober approach to his victory. “I prepared for the race in the normal way and tried not to think about the overall classification but to concentrate on the race.” So he kept a cool head while warming up on the roller for the race to avoid overheating. Regarding his narrow miss of the day’s win, he added nonchalantly that he was not directly informed about the overall standings. “I knew I was slightly off the pace at the split time. But what can I say? I probably lost to the biggest young talent in cycling. It’s fair enough.”

A learning experience for Remco Evenepoel
The close stage victory went to Belgian Remco Evenepoel. With this an otherwise personally disappointing Tour de Suisse for him ended triumphantly. “I am happy about the stage win here. It is a beautiful course. There should be more like this on the world tour.” But the Belgian was also reflective, looking back on his entire Tour de Suisse campaign. “I learned a lot. For example, that you can’t win this race if you give 100% right from the start. So that I’m not misunderstood, you have to have 100% concentration but you must also reserve your strength until the end. I didn’t manage that sufficiently. Hopefully I will be able to put this knowledge into practice at the Vuelta.”

Here’s the report from stage eight winner Remco Evenepoel's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

Remco Evenepoel confirmed again he is one of the peloton’s finest time trialists, notching up his seventh success in the discipline after a storming ride on the last day of the Tour de Suisse, which concluded in Liechtenstein’s capital, Vaduz.

Remco Evenepoel on his way to winning the time trial. Sirotti photo

As soon as he left the start house, Remco showed he was a man on a mission, flying on the first part of the 25.6km hilly route and going fastest by a mile at the 12.9km checkpoint. Averaging over 54km/h, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s rider stormed around the course and obliterated the best result at the finish, going into the hot seat with just a dozen riders still to come. Not even the European Champion or Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), who would go on to win the overall classification, could improve Evenepoel’s time (28:26), and the 22-year-old celebrated his maiden time trial victory in the World Tour ranks.

“It’s a beautiful way to finish it off like this. It was close in the end, but I had the fastest bike and I’m happy and proud to win against so many very good riders. I learned a lot this week – which was one with ups and downs and with many difficulties – including on the days I lost time, where I missed some freshness. In the last two stages I began feeling better, the shape was improving, so I focused on this time trial, knowing I had a chance.”

“It was quite hard today with the heat, but I could keep the power despite these conditions, sticking to my pace plan, and I’m delighted I could pull it off. This result in a World Tour ITT is a big step in my career and an important win ahead of next week’s National Championships, where I’ll go motivated and with a good morale”, added Remco after his 31st pro victory.

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Here's the final Swiss Tour report from Sergio Higuita's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The Tour de Suisse concluded with a largely flat 25.6km individual time trial around Vaduz, on a course that suited the time trial specialists. Sergio Higuita, who entered the race against the clock as the overall leader, was only a few seconds ahead of the second and third placed riders at the start of the stage. The Colombian road champion rode well, especially in the second part of the course, and finished in 11th place, 1:17 minutes behind the day's winner, Remco Evenepoel.

Sergio Higuita just about to cross the time trial finish line. Sirotti photo

With that result, Sergio finished second overall, while his teammates Maximilian Schachmann and Felix Großschartner also produced solid performances, reaching the finish in sixth and seventh place respectively. Max concluded the Tour de Suisse in tenth place while Felix finished in a strong seventh position overall. For BORA – hansgrohe, this was a very successful Tour de Suisse. The team from Raubling finished second overall, took a stage win, was runner-up on the opening stage, took victory in the young rider and team classifications and twice rode into the yellow jersey.

"I knew it would be hard today. The gap between the best placed GC riders was not that big and the course was more suited to the time trial specialists. I did my best and in the end it was enough for second place overall. I am happy with my result here, because to be able to wear the yellow jersey on the last day and take a podium place in the GC is really nice and gives me extra motivation for the next races. We were a bit unlucky that some of our riders unfortunately had to drop out due to illness, but thank you to everyone who was still able to support me here until the end." - Sergio Higuita

"Another great result for us today. The goal was to finish on the podium and that was hard enough because there were strong time trialists behind us, with the likes of Küng and Powless, and it was important not to lose too much time on today’s flat time trial. Sergio rode one of his best time trials, taking eleventh place and took a sensational second place overall. Furthermore, we placed two more riders in the top 10 with seventh and tenth positions for Felix Großschartner and Max Schachmann. We also won the team classification and are very pleased about that. After quite a few riders dropped out due to Covid, we have to praise the strong performance of our three riders today." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director


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Tour of Belgium final reports

We posted the report from GC winner Mauro Schmid’s Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl with the results.

Here’s the report from GC Second-place Tim Wellens’ Team Lotto Soudal:

Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens has finished the Baloise Belgium Tour in second place on the general classification. Following yesterday’s Ardennes stage in Durbuy, both Wellens and leader Schmid started the final day of racing between Gingelom and Beringen in the same time, making the Golden Kilometre a decisive moment in the battle for the overall victory. Placed between kilometre six and five before the finish, it would be a real thriller for the bonification seconds and the GC win.

Lotto Soudal worked tirelessly at the head of the bunch to make sure a complete peloton would start the Golden Kilometre and so it also happened. After an intense kilometre with three bonification sprints, both Wellens and Schmid each took four seconds, which caused no differences on the final classification. It was Fabio Jakobsen who won the closing stage, Tim Wellens had to settle for 2nd overall, Victor Campenaerts finished 5th. That way, Lotto Soudal ends the Baloise Belgium Tour with two riders in the overall top five.

It was Fabio Jakobsen who won the final stage. Photo: Getty Sport Images

Wellens looks back on a nerve-racking and chaotic closing stage at the Baloise Belgium Tour.

“Of course I am disappointed to be so close to winning the Baloise Belgium Tour”, says Tim Wellens. “As a team, we would fully go for the overall victory and we did everything we could to enter the Golden Kilometre in a perfect position, which we also did. Arnaud De Lie launched me perfectly towards the first sprint, where I took three seconds. The goal was to go full for the first sprint and then focus on the wheel of Schmid. It looked very good after the first sprint but it went wrong towards the second sprint. That move of Lampaert did cost me the overall victory but his disqualification does not change anything of course.”

“You might also say that I lost the Belgium Tour in the time trial or the Ardennes stage… In any case, it was a really exciting battle and really entertaining to watch for the fans. Losing with such a small gap is never nice but as a team we can be proud of how we raced during the Belgium Tour and this gives confidence for what’s to come”, concludes Tim Wellens.

Teammate Arnaud De Lie sacrificed his own sprint chances to try to get Tim Wellens on the top step of the podium.

Arnaud De Lie: “It was just logical that I would help Tim today because there was a good chance we could still win the overall classification and eventually we came very close. I launched Tim towards the first sprint, where he immediately took three seconds. The legs exploded a bit after that effort so I didn’t really see what happened afterwards. I still tried to be in the mix for the final sprint but I was a bit boxed in after the team had worked all day long.”


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Here's the Tour of Belgium report from third-place Quinten Hermans' Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert:

The Tour of Belgium was concluded with a royal sprint in the streets of Beringen, in the Limburg region, this Sunday. Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux was active all week and was rewarded by a stage podium and two riders in the top four of the final classification.

Gerben Thijssen, the protected rider for the sprint and local rider, finished third in this fifth and last stage after finding his way in between his competitors in the final 100 meter. It is the sixth podium of the season for the Belgian sprinter, who will celebrate his 24th birthday next Tuesday.

Yesterday’s queen stage winner, Quinten Hermans, finished third in the final classification ahead of his teammate Lorenzo Rota (4th). Loïc Vliegen is sixteenth. The World Team concludes its national tour in the lead of the team classification.

“Closing the eight-second gap with the race leader with bonus seconds was not a realistic scenario, so together with the sports directors we decided that I would devote my efforts fully to Gerben Thijssen in this final stage. One day after the impressive collective performance, I was very motivated to work for our young sprinter. Battling with the robust riders of the sprint trains of other teams is not easy for a rider of 60 kilogram like me. The third place of Gerben makes me a proud teammate. I feel fulfilled at the end of this week thanks to my stage win and the 3rd and 4th place of myself and Lorenzo in the final classification.” - Quinten Hermans

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