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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, July 7, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. - Dalai Lama

Current Racing

Latest completed racing:


Tour de France stage six reports

Here's what stage winner Marcel Kittel's Quick Step Floors team had to say:

Marcel Kittel celebrated his 11th Tour de France stage victory in Troyes, a town which played host to a stage finish for the first time in 17 years. Once again, the closing kilometers were impossible to control by the sprinters' teams due to the nervousness and fierce battle for positioning, so when it came to crunch time, after a technical and sinuous last kilometer, it was every man for himself in the 400m-long finishing straight.

As the stage approached the final kilometers of a day in which the main difficulty the riders had to deal with was the heat, Quick-Step Floors' sprinter was brought to the front by a strong lead-out train comprising Jack Bauer, Fabio Sabatini, Zdenek Stybar and Matteo Trentin, who moved to the pointy end of the peloton once the escapees had been reeled in by the fantastic Julien Vermote, who once again put in a gargantuesque effort to keep the escapees in constant check.

Some of the sprinters decided to go from a long way out, once they overcame the chicane and tight roundabout in the final, but not Marcel, who accelerated with 200 meters to go on the left side while all the other contenders were crammed on the right side of the road, and with a perfectly-timed effort scored his second win at the 2017 Tour de France, by a bike length.

"I was really confident in myself today. I talked to the guys and told them we should take the lead with five kilometers to go and defend our position, which they did. That also meant that Fabio Sabatini had to start early and he once again he did a very good job. We can all be proud of this victory", said Marcel right after crossing the finish line.

"In the sprint, I tried to follow Arnaud Demare, but then I found an opening and could start my sprint one second ahead of the rest, which gave me the chance to pass them on the left side. You know, despite two of the main sprinters being out of the race, it still was very hectic and tense today. A victory doesn't come easy and I don't take anything for granted, so to win again gives me a special feeling", explained Marcel, only the second German rider to reign supreme in Troyes.

Marcel Kittel

The stage is Marcel's

Second in the green jersey classification, 27 points behind the leader, the 29-year-old insisted he hasn't made a goal out of conquering the points rankings: "It's true that I notched up some important points today, but it's still a long way to go. In a week we will see how things stand in the classification and will reassess the situation. For the time being, I'm happy and proud to have won 11 stages at the Tour de France."

GC leader Chris Froome's Team Sky made this report:

A test for the sprinters on stage six allowed Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to retain a Team Sky 1-2 at the Tour de France. At 216 kilometres the test provided a long, warm day in the saddle, with Team Sky aiming to conserve energy and stay hydrated in the peloton.

Froome and Thomas crossed the line together safely, with the maillot jaune retaining his 12-second advantage over the Welshman.

A three-man breakaway proved easy to control for the peloton, with the sprinters’ teams taking up the running. At the finish in Troyes it was Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) who prevailed, taking a clean route to the line to see off Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal).

Team Sky arrived at the front in the closing stages, with Luke Rowe and Christian Knees leading the line to keep the GC men in position. The bunch sprint also allowed Team Sky to retain their advantage in the team classification, taking a 1:59 lead into Friday’s seventh stage.

Chris Froome

Team Sky has owned the 2017 Tour de France's Yellow Jersey from the start.

Sport Director Nicolas Portal was more than happy with the way the day panned out. He explained to Eurosport: "It's one more day in yellow so that's pretty good. It was an easy day in that we didn't need to do a job working on the front again. At the end there were no crashes and the finish wasn't that technical. The wind was picking up a little bit through the stage, but at the end it seemed the pressure dropped down and there was less wind. That made it better, as with 20km to go there could have been some cross-winds potentially. It was a good day.

"From day one having the yellow is something a bit strange. We are super happy, especially when you change the yellow t-shirt as we call it. We had G, now Froomey so it's something special for sure. We don't feel any pressure because every day teams have been taking the responsibility for the stage victory, or like yesterday BMC tried to bring back the breakaway. For us so far it's been pretty good."

BMC sent me this stage 6 report:

6 July, 2017, Troyes (FRA): Stage 6 of the Tour de France provided another opportunity for the sprinters with a bunch sprint playing out and Richie Porte staying out of trouble on the 216km stage.

After the first General Classification battle and summit finish on stage 5, the peloton was happy to sit up immediately as the flag dropped at KM 0 and three riders went clear to form the day's breakaway.

With a sprint victory up for grabs, the sprinters' teams kept the trio's advantage to within four minutes in the first half of the stage. The peloton timed the catch to perfection and the race was brought together with 3km to go, by which time the sprint trains were already formed.

BMC Racing Team retained a strong presence at the front of the bunch until this point to protect Richie Porte and in doing so, Porte crossed the line safely in the bunch behind stage winner Marcel Kittel (Quickstep Floors).

Porte retains fifth on the General Classification, 39 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome, going into stage 7 which is expected to be another day for the sprinters.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte stayed out of trouble in the sixth stage.

Richie Porte: "It was nice to get that one out of the way. Today was such a long day. We probably could have had the same result with half the distance so it's just nice to get it done. As we say, there is nothing to gain but so much to lose. It was quite a hectic finish but the guys were once again absolutely incredible. Tomorrow will be another long day."

Fabio Baldato, Sports Director: "It was a good day but a bit nervous at the end because we saw the thunderstorm was just over the peloton. The wind was changing so that was a bit stressful as you never know what to expect when it changes direction. The guys were really good to keep Richie in front, protected, all together. I expect a little bit the same tomorrow. It's just another transfer day for the GC guys."

This came from White jersey owner Simon Yates' Orica-Scott team:

After climbing to the best young rider lead on yesterday’s summit finish, Paris-Nice and Tour of Romandie stage winner Simon Yates has successfully retained the white jersey after stage six of the Tour de France today.

A long and hot day on the road finished with an expected bunch sprint won by Marcel Kittel (Quickstep Floors). Behind, after being protected by his ORICA-SCOTT teammates throughout the day, Yates rolled safely across the line in 60th place.

“On a day like this it’s not so difficult on the body, it’s more in the head with the stress of fighting for position and making sure you’re in the front and not behind any crashes or splits in the bunch,” Yates explained after a five-hour day in the saddle at over 35degrees. The heat wasn’t too bad until the end in the last hour when the paced picked up to catch the break.

“Before then it was OK. You could manage yourself and take on the fluids you need to. In the final it’s more stressful and it’s difficult to cool yourself down.”

Sport director Matt White said the stage ended up being an reasonably stable one. “At the start of the day we knew there was some open roads and the potential for winds so we needed the guys to be attentive all day,” White explained. “In the end the wind died down and really didn’t have any impact on the race.”

“It’s another day done. On these days our aim is to get through safely and use as little energy as possible.”

How it happened: After yesterday’s summit finish, the roads on stage six returned to flat terrain with another sprint finish expected.

Proceedings followed suit with three riders forming the break of the day and the peloton allowing them a maximum four-minute and average of two-minute advantage for the majority of the 200+km stage.

Perfectly controlled, the sprint teams left the trio out in front before sweeping them up with just three kilometres to go ahead of the bunch sprint.

Kittel was too strong, coming from almost ten riders back to take a clear victory as the peloton rolled in safely behind.

And here's the UAE Team Emirates stage 6 update:

UAE Team Emirates’ Vegard Stake Laengen put up a thrilling attacking display during stage six of the Tour to win the award for the most aggressive rider (photo Bettini) of the day and will go into stage seven wearing the red numbered bib. A breakaway specialist, the Norwegian – who is competing in his first Tour de France – formed part of the three-man breakaway group that went on to head the race for over 210 km. The group were eventually caught just 3 km from the finish.

The riders fought with temperatures of over 30 degrees throughout the stage, which finished in the French town of Troyes, with Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) producing a sensational sprint finish to win his second stage of the Tour.

Speaking after the stage, Vegard Stake Laengen, who was the largest men in the three rider breakaway group, said: “It was a hard stage, almost totally flat. It was hard to believe that the breakaway should arrive to the finish. Hopefully later in the Tour I will try on stages with more climbs. I’m taking more wind than the others, but I have a good position on my Colnago bike and I had good legs, so it was ok today“.

Stage seven is again suited to the sprinters, with just one categorized climb on the 213,5 km course. The peloton will leave Troyes where the race will likely see a breakaway heading to Nuits-St-Georges. However, the breakaway group will expect to be drawn back in during what is anticipated to be hard fought 50 km sprint finish.

Giro Rosa (Women's Giro d'Italia) stage 7 report

The organizer sent me this update:

SHEYLA GUTIERREZ RUIZ SPRINTS FOR THE VICTORY IN BARONISSI

The Spanish National Champion has won the Stage 7 of the 28th Giro Rosa (Isernia - Baronissi, 145 km), beating the Italian Soraya Paladin (Alè - Cipollini - Galassia) and the Polish Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana). Anna Van der Breggen keeps the Pink Jersey as leader of the General Classification.

This was a very wavy and hilly stage, with the Intermediate Sprint of San Giorgio del Sannio and the Cathegorized Climb of Passo Serra as springboard to the finish of Baronissi. Thirteen riders were the protagonists of the day, in a breakaway that reached till 3'00'' gap: Chloe Hosking and Soraya Paladin (Alè - Cipollini - Galassia), Alison Jackson (BePink - Cogeas), Eugenia Bujak (BTC City - Ljubljana), Elena Cecchini and Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM), Clara Koppenburg (Cervelo Bigla), Carmela Cipriani (Conceria Zabri - Fanini - Guerciotti), Rossella Ratto e Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Cylance Pro Cycling), Tatiana Guderzo (Lensworld - Kuota), Sabrina Stultiens (Team Sunweb), Lauren Kitchen (WM3 Cycling Team).

The Australian champion of Alè - Cipollini Galassia Team loses meters right before the Intermediate sprint, which was won by Stultiens. The climbers in the breakaway set the pace, Guderzo is first on Passo Serra, followed by Bujak and Stultiens. The gap goes up and down, from 1'30'' to about 3'00'', then it started to decrease quickly. The twelve athletes resisted and could finalize the breakaway: the Spanish Champion Gutierrez was faster in the sprint than Paladin and Bujak, the main peloton arrives after 47'' and the Cuban Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women Team) won the sprint.

Anna Van der Breggen can keep the "Maglia Rosa" without problem and Elisa Longo Borghini completes the overall podium with Annemiek Van Vleuten and the Olympic Champion of Rio 2016.

Tomorrow there is the Stage 8 (Baronissi - Palinuro, 141 kms), with the KOM of Cuccaro Vetere not far from the famous Sea Village on the Cilento.

ORDINE DI ARRIVO 7° TAPPA (TOP 5):

1. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Cylance Pro Cycling)     3h43'16''     Avg. 39,096 km/h
2. Soraya Paladin (Alè - Cipollini - Galassia)                   st
3. Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)                             st
4. Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM Racing)                           st
5. Lauren Kitchen (WM3 Pro Cycling Team)                    st

CLASSIFICA GENERALE DOPO LA 7° TAPPA (TOP 5):

1. Anna Van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans)           15h37'14''      Avg. 40.239 km/h
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5)                       +1'03''
3. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica - Scott)                     +1'39''
4. Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans)                           +3'11''
5. Amanda Spratt (Orica - Scott)                                  +3'32''

LE MAGLIE DEL 28° GIRO ROSA DOPO LA 7° TAPPA:

Maglia ROSA COLNAGO: Anna Van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans)
Maglia CICLAMINO SELLE SMP: Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
Maglia VERDE PURPLE by GLOBAL STOCK: Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
Maglia BIANCA COLNAGO: Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb)
Maglia BLU GSG: Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5)

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