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Saturday, April 29, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance. - Confucius

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Tour de Romandie stage three reports

We posted the report from stage winner and new GC leader Juan Ayuso's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from Tobias Foss' Team Jumbo-Visma:

Tobias Foss has finished eighth in the third stage, a time trial, of the Tour de Romandie. The world-time trial champion is now third in the general classification. Spaniard Juan Ayuso hit a double.

Tobias Foss time-trialing at the 2022 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

The time trial of the Swiss stage race was 18.8 kilometres against the clock in and around Châtel Saint-Denis. There was a four-kilometre climb in the middle of the stage, and it was on this climb that the biggest differences emerged.

World champion Foss was the penultimate rider to start the time trial as the penultimate rider after the other five Team Jumbo-Visma riders had already finished. Foss, who had just returned from altitude training and was recovering from an illness, set the eighth intermediate time at the top of the climb. He held this position until the finish, conceding 24 seconds to Ayuso. In the general classification, the Norwegian rider dropped one place to third.

"The last part of the climb didn't go very well", Foss admitted. "It wasn't the day I hoped for, but it's not a bad result either. It is what it is. The course didn't lend itself to going 50 kilometers per hour all the time, but the time trial specialists were definitely able to have a go. I am still in a good position in the general classification. With the last two days ahead of us, we will do everything we can to secure the highest possible position in the general classification."

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Here’s the Tour of Romandie report from Thibaut Pinot's Team Groupama-FDJ:

A first crucial test was on the menu for Thibaut Pinot and Lenny Martinez this Friday on the Tour de Romandie, and the duo managed it nicely. In the hilly 19-kilometre time trial in Châtel-Saint-Denis, where the GC contenders were supposed to deliver their first battle, the two Groupama-FDJ riders met the expectations. The young climber even took the day’s sixteenth best time, four seconds ahead of his eldest teammate (18th). The latter now sits sixteenth overall before the queen stage scheduled for Saturday.

Thibaut Pinot raing in stage 9 of the 2022 Tour de France. Sirotti photo.

The tension increased quite a bit this Friday on Swiss territory. In Châtel-Saint-Denis, over 18 and 750 meters, the favorites were expected on a difficult time trial that could create the first proper damage. “The circuit was far from simple”, introduced Nicolas Boisson, the team’s coach. “The first part was tailwind but with two small hills that broke the pace. The return to join the bottom of the main climb was quite hard too, with hills of 700-800 meters, and also with the headwind. If you did not manage your effort well on this first part, it could then be difficult for the rest of the race. Then, there was the climb: five kilometres at 5%. After, it wasn’t downhill straight away, and it was important to still be able to deliver energy and power on this section. The time trial was almost over 1500 metres after the climb. There was really no more effort to make then. It was really about “piloting” in the downhill, which was very fast with a lot of curves and a really steep finish, where the best could go up to 100 km/h. These are very high speeds with a time trial bike, but luckily the road was dry”.

The first Groupama-FDJ riders took the start between 2:35 p.m. and 3:47 p.m., while Lenny Martinez and Thibaut Pinot set off just thirteen minutes apart, around 4 p.m. “They were very committed”, said Nicolas. “We know that Thibaut is in his final preparation for the Giro. It is also a time trial that looked like the one he won in the past in Romandie. He wanted to do well, to test himself, given that there will also be three time trials in the Giro. It was a good rehearsal. He was 100% involved. It was the same for Lenny, who was a little disappointed with his prologue. The goal for him was to remotivate himself, on a course that also could suit him better”. From the intermediate checkpoint, located at the top of the climb, both men gave good signs and proved that they were right in the mix. Both were in the provisional top-5 before the downhill. There, Lenny Martinez gained a few more seconds, allowing him to rank third provisionally at the finish. A few minutes later, Thibaut Pinot established the sixth mark on the line. After the last fifty men took the start and covered the route, the two men lost a few positions, but they nevertheless remained in the top-20.

Lenny Martinez took sixteenth place thirty-five seconds behind the winner Juan Ayuso, Thibaut Pinot placed 18th at thirty-nine seconds. “It was quite a good time trial,” commented Lenny. “I had good legs, the course was hilly, so it was more to my advantage compared to the prologue. I also did a good downhill, because there was a rider in front of me, and I had to manage it well to pass him. The specific training with La Conti certainly helped (smiles). Anyway, I am satisfied with my time trial”. “It’s better than the prologue, and it’s already reassuring,” explained Thibaut. “I lacked a bit of power on the false flat after the climb. The downhill was not particularly dangerous but descending at 100 km/h with a time trial bike is not my specialty. I did what I could, and let’s say it’s satisfying”. Nicolas Boisson was more convinced: “Both gave their best and there was a great fight between Lenny and Thibaut. It’s a good time trial for them. I think Lenny completely made up for his prologue. It was also his first experience of such a time trial in the WorldTour, and he did very well. Thibaut did not take any risks in the downhill, so it is very promising to see him finish in the top-20”.

On Friday evening, Thibaut Pinot also moved up to sixteenth position in the general classification, one minute behind the new leader Ayuso, while Lenny Martinez is just outside the top-20 (22nd at 1’10”). “It will be tough tomorrow with the queen stage of this Tour de Romandie”, added Nicolas. “With Lenny and Thibaut, and all their teammates by their side, we certainly have the possibility to get a good result and enter the overall top-10. That will really be the goal, and there will definitely be some gaps”. “It’s a great stage, with the rain, three beautiful climbs, and we’ll take stock at the top of Thyon 2000,” added Lenny. “It’s possible to achieve a good stage, and I hope to have good legs”, confirmed Thibaut.

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And here's the Tour de Romandie report from Josef Cerny's Team Soudal-Quick-Step:

Châtel-Saint-Denis, a small but picturesque town lying in the canton of Fribourg, welcomed the race for an 18.7km individual time trial. The course was quite a testing one, the presence of the Route du Moleson climb (5km, 4.9%) complicating things for many of the pre-stage favourites, due to the presence of some steep double-digit ramps in the first part. The subsequent descent was fast and technical in places, only adding to the complexity of the ITT.

Prologue winner Josef Cerny once again finished the day as the best-placed Soudal Quick-Step rider, clocking up a time of 25:56 after averaging a solid 43.38km/h on the stage won by Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates). He was followed by teammate Rémi Cavagna, who remains our squad’s highest-ranked rider on the general classification, only three seconds from the top ten.

Josef Cerny racing the prologue tme trial Sirotti photo.

The race continues with what will be the decisive stage of the week. Saturday takes the peloton atop Thyon 2000, a long and gruelling Hors catégorie ascent that will be tackled only for the second time this century.

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And here's the Romandie Tour report from Team Bora-hansgrohe:

A 19-kilometer-long individual time trial was a first decisive stage regarding the general classification at the Tour du Romandie. M. Brenner set an early best time before first M. Bejrg followed by W. Barta better the time to 25:35. The BORA – hansgrohe boys showed a solid performance with Cian Uijtdebroeks, Bob Jungels, Ben Zwiehoff and Nico Denz all putting in good performances today. The teams’ best rider was Cian who finished 33rd. Fastest in the end was Juan Ayuso today in a time of 25:15

Juan Ayuso was the day's fastest rider. Sirotti photo

“I am quite happy. It wasn’t my best TT but it was ok. My legs have been good, I only over-paced a little in the beginning. Regarding pacing strategy I still have to learn. But now I already look forward to tomorrow’s mountain top finish.” – Cian Uijtdebroeks

“Well, you have to see where we are coming from. Considering this I have to say it was a solid day for us. Bob, Ben and Nico all did a good TT. Of course, our focus was on Cian. Unfortunately, he over paced a little in the beginning and then couldn’t find his rhythm on the climb. From the intermediate split to the finish, he lost just a few seconds. I would say his performance was within the range we expected. The finish tomorrow should suit him. But I have to admit we don’t really know where his level is at the moment after abandoning the Tour of the Alps due to illness.” – Rolf Aldag, sport director

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