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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step to knowledge. - Benjamin Disraeli

Current Racing

Latest completed racing:


A few more Tour de France final team reports

Team Sunweb had a dream Tour. Here's their report:

Team Sunweb have upped their Grand Tour classification triumphs to three in as many months, as Warren Barguil (FRA) and Michael Matthews (AUS) bring home two of the Tour de France's prestigious jerseys for the German team.

With 4 stage wins, 11 top tens, two jerseys and the race's most combative rider; Team Sunweb conclude their Tour de France campaign on a truly spectacular note. Three weeks of commitment to Team Sunweb's shared goal saw both Barguil and Matthews enter the final four stages with a leading margin so big that they became invincible and the team's focus could then shift to crossing the line safely on the Champs Élysées and bathe in the pride that both jerseys bring.

After the podium ceremony Barguil said: "It's still so hard to believe what we have achieved. It's been such an amazing Tour de France and I've loved every minute of it. The climbs were really tough and it was such a battle to get this jersey. I will enjoy this victory for the rest of my life, it's a dream come true."

Matthews said: "It's been a rollercoaster with a lot of highs and lows. The second week was when mine and Warren's dreams started to come true. We more or less took it in turns with the wins and continued the momentum together, along with the rest of the team. To bring these beautiful jerseys to Paris is really something special and a moment I will remember forever."

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews won the green jersey.

Team Sunweb's Tour de France coach Aike Visbeek (NED) praised the entire team's efforts: "We are all delighted with the performance from the entire team and so proud of what they have done. Everyone has worked so hard to take such a historical win and we couldn't be happier with their performance. From the staff through to the riders, everyone remained calm throughout it all, creating an environment which made it possible to get into this flow. It's a team performance and we couldn't have done it without each and every rider."

Team Sunweb CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) said: "We can be extremely proud of what we've achieved together over the last three weeks. It came down to having everybody committed to the exact same goals, to having an intelligent plan on how to achieve those goals and everybody committing to that plan, then working together to execute it."

Here's the Orica-Scott Tour wrap-up:

The conclusion of the Tour de France has seen Simon Yates officially awarded the white jersey for the best young rider in Paris this evening.

Yates backs up the result of twin brother Adam Yates, who won the jersey 12 months prior for ORICA-SCOTT, becoming just the second British rider to claim the classification and the first ever brothers to share the title.

“I think it’s a great thing,” Yates said of he and his brother’s achievements. “I hope it’s one of those thing that we look back on and see it as a great achievement that we’ve won the white jersey as brothers back-to-back.”

The 24-year-old’s consistency across the three-week, 3,540km Tour saw him finish in seventh position overall. He took the white jersey on stage five and held it right through to Paris.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates takes home the white jersey.

Today’s (Sunday) final stage was won in a sprint by Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) whilst Team Sky’s Chris Froome was presented with his fourth Tour de France title. Nearest best young rider competitor Louis Meinjtes (UAE Team Emirates) finished two-minutes six-seconds behind Yates.

“I tried when I could to attack but also saved energy by staying in the wheels when it was the right time too,” Yates said. “Whenever I have the opportunity to attack I like to race aggressive. I think it’s great for the fans, but riding GC is also about picking the right time to do that and the right time to sit back and I am learning that.

“A lot of things have contributed to this throughout the three weeks. I had a good prologue and it was actually earlier in the race when I made the most difference.  Louis had a great ride and clawed a lot of time back on me but I managed to hang on.

“From the time I joined the team, we knew this is what we were aiming to do – riding for general classification. We approached it like any other race, with no pressure and I think that’s the best way to do it. The team did a fantastic job from the very beginning. They know me, they know how I ride and I want to thank them for everything they’ve done the past few weeks.”

Going into the world’s biggest race with the goal of a top-ten overall and winning the best young rider competition, sport director Matt White was pleased with the team’s commitment to the objective – a new one for ORICA-SCOTT at the Tour de France.

“Our Tour de France campaign has definitely been a success,” White said. “It’s Simon’s first time targeting the general classification at the Tour. We knew if we won the white jersey that it would put us in the top ten in the general classification because we know the talent of Meinjtes.”

“The development that Simon has shown these last few weeks has been a big step up. We are proud with how all of the boys have ridden. We had a very specific focus and we weren’t shy in stating our goals at the start of this Tour.

“It’s been a gradual process for this team to learn to ride for the general classification over the past 18months. We have learnt in every Grand Tour and we’ve had a different group in each Grand Tour. We know that our leaders can podium and they are only going to get better. Now we also know that no matter who is at what race, we have different combinations to support them.”

How it happened:

After 20 days on racing, the peloton rolled out of Montgeron in good spirits for a short 103km final stage to the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Yates rolled alongside fellow jersey winners Froome, Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb – sprint) and Warren Barguil (Team Subweb – mountain) in the ceremonious parade ahead of the local laps in Paris.

After entering onto the Champs-Elysees to a rapturous applause, the stage in earnest began as the sprint teams worked to earn the last prize on offer, a final day stage win. Nine riders worked off the front to form the day’s breakaway, with South African Daryl Impey representing ORICA-SCOTT.

They were eventually caught and a bunch sprint resulted with Groenwegen the winner ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal).

“The Champs Elysees is the most iconic finish in our sport, I think it’s the most iconic finish of any sport,” White said. “It’s on a global stage and we want to ride aggressively and showcase our sponsors. You can do that in two ways, put someone in the breakaway or contest the sprint and we had Daryl in the move which was great.”

And here's the Cannondale-Drapac final Tour report:

It has become somewhat of a #GreenArgyle Grand Tour tradition to collect rider reactions from every Cannondale-Drapac rider that makes it to the finish of a three-week tour. Typically these comments are shaped by individual experiences and allow us to share some of the lesser-told stories of a race.

When we asked our Tour de France nine to share their stand-out memories and the things they will carry with them when they head home from Paris, their comments were distinctively different than those we’ve become accustomed to hearing.

This is a group that arrived in Dusseldörf ready to attack and animate the race, take whatever opportunities they could seize. They did exactly that during the first week.

Taylor Phinney nearly held off the peloton in the stage two finale. Caught in the final kilometer following five hours up the road, he came away with the polka dot jersey. Nate Brown got in the breakaway the next day and scored enough mountain points to keep the polka dot jersey within the team.

Alberto Bettiol finished in fifth place on stage three in a technical finish won by Peter Sagan (BORA – hansgrohe). Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) rounded out the stage podium. Dylan van Baarle spent several days in the first week on the escape. He earned most aggressive on stage seven, sporting the award’s distinctive red numbers on stage eight.

Then Rigoberto Uran won stage nine of the Tour de France, jumping up to fourth overall and announcing himself as a general classification contender. And suddenly the target shifted shape.

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran (Left) finished second in the 2017 Tour de France.

Cannondale-Drapac spent the final two weeks of the Tour de France largely at the service of their leader – a leader who went on to finish second overall, the best general classification result in Slipstream Sports Tour history.

The team’s comments in Paris reflect this shift, this accomplishment, this experience of rallying around Uran. In Paris the personal took a back seat to the collective.

ALBERTO BETTIOL (ITALY) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE

“I’ll remember the crowds. And I’ll remember the feeling we have created instead the team, not only between our riders but really all the people around, the mechanics, the soigneurs, every single member of this team. This is a big family, at least for me. And I will remember this feeling we have here after one month together until the day I die.”

ANDREW TALANSKY (USA)

“I’m here. I’m happy. I’m healthy. This isn’t the Tour I would have dreamed of, but it’s a dream to be a part of a podium ride at the Tour. It’s not something that comes easily or often, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

“The moment that will stick with me, I think, is when the team went into the stadium yesterday to watch the final riders in the time trial. To see that excitement, not just from us but the fans, to take in the Tour as a sporting event, that was incredible. You know, you go to football games, basketball games, baseball games. You know what’s that like. And here you’re in the Tour. We all raced stage 20, but then we walked into the stadium and got to experience one of the very biggest sporting events in the world as spectators.”

DYLAN VAN BAARLE (NETHERLANDS)

“The way we worked altogether for a podium spot, that hasn’t happened in any other Tour for me. It was a really cool experience.”

NATE BROWN (USA) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE

“It’s been a big month: my birthday, the polka dot jersey, the stage win for the team, second overall. The jersey was unreal. Wearing it was a humbling experience to say the least. I think that’s something I’ll remember forever.”

“Getting Rigo on the podium, it’s not something I would have ever thought would happen in my first Tour de France. This team rose above its abilities every single day. The way we did that is something that will stick with me.”

PADDY BEVIN (NEW ZEALAND) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE

Note: Paddy sustained multiple injuries, including a sprained ankle, when he crashed on the opening stage of the Tour de France in Dusseldorf at the beginning of July. Initially Bevin’s sprained ankle seemed the worst of the injuries, but as the ankle healed, a foot injury lingered. Cannondale-Drapac head of medical Doctor Kevin Sprouse, who arrived on the race on the first rest day in Dordogne, used a portable ultrasound device to look at the bone in his foot, which was when he diagnosed the foot fracture.

Bevin had already raced more than half the Tour with a broken bone, and he wanted to continue if he could. The team allowed him to make this choice, and Bevin opted to hold off on an x-ray until the final stage time trial. The x-ray in Marseille confirmed the fracture. Bevin rode into Paris with a broken foot, having completed 20 stages of the Tour with the injury.

“Personally, finishing the Tour regardless of the injury was a top priority. I didn’t want a crash on stage one to define my Tour. Riding on as a functional member of a team that fought to win the Tour de France was an honor, and it is a memory I will have for the rest of my life.”

“It’s a long hard three weeks regardless of how it unfolds. To be a part of a team that fought for the general classification win was a lot of fun. We didn’t expect this, and the momentum with Rigo, it built over these last three weeks. You know he won the stage, and then he was there on general classification. A few more days pass by, and he’s still there. He passes this test. That test. Three days to go, and he’s still in with a shot. That feeling, it was really fun. It’s a long time though, man, Dusseldorf feels like it was months ago not weeks ago.”

PIERRE ROLLAND (FRANCE)

Pierre spent much of the middle part of the Tour battling illness.

“I have a good memory and a bad memory. The good memory is how we raced as a team to put Rigo on the podium, to win a stage. There were very good feelings in all the team for all the Tour. It was very special. The bad memory is my personal Tour de France. It was very bad. It was hard. There were some stages where I was fighting to follow the last rider. I spent so many days hoping for one good day, but that day never came. I’m happy to finish because finishing the Tour is important. That’s the only race where everyone can agree to finish is one goal.”

RIGOBERTO URAN (COLOMBIA)

“Finishing second to Froome at less than a minute seems pretty good to me. It’s a quality final podium in Paris, so this is the greatest success of my career. This result is dedicated to my family, friends, my team and everyone who has supported me during the last three weeks."

“We knew it would be difficult to win the Tour but not impossible, so we gave it everything. It’s been a great Tour.”

SIMON CLARKE (AUSTRALIA) – TOUR ROAD CAPTAIN

“It was a really amazing experience to be road captain in a team that came away with a result like the one we achieved here – second in the Tour de France. I’m very honored to be a part of it, not only with a great group of riders but the team as a whole, and that’s including all the personnel we have here. We were able to achieve this in a bit of underdog situation. It’s no secret that we don’t necessarily have access to all the resources that some of the other teams have; yet, through motivation and cooperation and determination, we came away with an exceptional result.” 

TAYLOR PHINNEY (USA) – FIRST TOUR DE FRANCE

“I’ve never had a team leader that I truly looked up to until this race. Working with Rigo has been a pleasure and an inspirational, and the way the team rallied around him is something I’ve never seen before.”

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