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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 11, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage seven team reports

We'll start wtih GC leader Richie Porte's Team BMC news:

10 June, 2017, Alpe d'Huez (FRA): Richie Porte not only consolidated his Critérium du Dauphiné race lead on stage 7, but also gained time on the majority of his General Classification rivals, after a summit showdown on Alpe d'Huez.

Porte's teammates had their work cut out for them to protect the yellow jersey and responded with a huge performance to control the race situation and set Porte up in the finale.

There were multiple attempts to form a breakaway but BMC Racing Team responded to each attack before finally letting a group of 17 riders, who posed no threat to Porte's race lead, go clear.

The advantage hovered around the three-minute mark for the first half of the race, before extending out to more than five minutes, and then coming back down again on the approach to the Col de Sarenne.

One by one, Porte's teammates pulled at the front of the bunch until it was just Ben Hermans leading Richie up the climb. Hermans did a brilliant job responding to multiple attacks from Porte's General Classification rivals.

Up ahead, the remaining riders from the original breakaway fought on, and behind Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) was the only General Classification rider to gain time on Porte's group.

Inside the final 2km on Alpe d'Huez, Porte went from riding defensively to going on the attack and dropped most of his rivals, with the exception of Jakob Fulgsang (Astana Pro Team), and eventually crossed the line in sixth place behind stage winner Pete Kennaugh (Team Sky).

Porte's stellar performance on stage 7 sees him extend his race lead to 1:02 over Chris Froome (Team Sky) and 1:15 over Fulgsang.

Richie porte

Will Richie Porte be in yellow Sunday afternoon?

Richie Porte: "It was a good day. Attack is the best form of defense. All I can say is my team worked incredibly today, especially Ben Hermans in the final. He covered the moves from the biggest riders. I tip my cap to each and everyone of my teammates today as they were incredible. From the neo pro Kilian Frankiny to Ben Hermans there in the final, without those guys it would have been impossible to put more time into guys like Chris Froome. One more hard day left. I really want to win this race. Fulgsang came with me when I attacked and he is obviously riding well. I felt great all day and it makes sense when you feel good to go for it. I'm just happy with how it went."

"The guys did such a good job on the penultimate climb that I came to the bottom of Alpe d'Huez with good legs. Some of the other guys attacked so I thought I would have a crack. It wasn't always the plan to have a go. If you have good legs like I did today I think it's probably worth trying to take some more time."

"We can't be complacent. Tomorrow is a short stage and I expect fireworks. It's not over until it's not. We are in a good position and the team is incredibly strong. I'd love to finish this off tomorrow, I'd love to win this race."

Lotto-Soudal sent me this report:

Jelle Vanendert got fourth this afternoon in the seventh stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné with finish on Alpe d’Huez.

The Lotto Soudal rider was part of a breakaway of seventeen riders. It took more than 25 kilometres before a front group was established. The peloton gave Jelle and his companions up to six minutes advantage. Unlike yesterday, the escapees would battle for the stage win. On the Col de Sarenne, a 15.3 kilometres long climb in the finale, the front group fell apart.  Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift had about twenty seconds lead over Vanendert and Herrada on the top. In the last fifteen kilometres the gap increased. At the end of the stage there was a 3.7 kilometres long climb to the finish on Alpe d’Huez. Kennaugh left Swift behind and won the stage. Vanendert crossed the finish line as fourth, at 1’13”.

Tiesj Benoot had another strong day in the mountains. He got sixteenth at 2’30”. Rafael Valls was 24th at 2’44”. Benoot moves up to the thirteenth place on GC. Valls lost two positions and is now twelfth.

Jelle Vanendert

Jelle Vanendert on the Alpe d'Huez ascent

Jelle Vanendert: “My job was to support Rafael Valls today, but because it took such a long time for a group to get away from the peloton and it cost a lot of energy, I decided to join the attacks. I expect a long battle to get into the break tomorrow as well. That’s typical at the end of a stage race. Riders play all or nothing.”

“There was a difference between the riders in the front group, which became quite clear on the Col de Sarenne. Pretty soon after the beginning of the climb I rode away with two others. Later several riders bridged to us. Two kilometres from the top Kennaugh and Swift created a gap. I arrived at the top together with Herrada. Before we got to Alpe d’Huez there was another uphill part where we should have closed the gap. When we hadn’t done that, I knew it was too late.”

“I can be satisfied with today’s stage. A fourth place on Alpe d’Huez is a nice result. The whole team has had an excellent week at the Dauphiné. It was fantastic to have the yellow jersey in our team. That motivates everybody.”

And this came from UAE Team Emirates:

Ben Swift got second place at Alpe d’Huez, after being part of the day’s large breakaway with Diego Ulissi. In the last ascent he went clear with Peter Kennaugh before to be distanced by him on the finale.

Ben Swift

Ben Swift on the day's final climb

“There was a moment I believed in the win” said Ben Swift “but I spent so much energy and I had cramps on the finale and I couldn’t push more. What a pity!”

Louis Meintjes raised in 11th GC position after taking the 13th place of the day. Porte is still leader of the Overall Ranking with one stage to go. “Today I felt better than yesterday. The legs were good and I’m quite happy about the condition” says Meintjes. “But also today I was in a wrong place in the wrong moment and I suffered the last accelerations”.

Also sport director Mario Scirea was satisfied about the UAE Team Emirates’ guys: “what a stage! I’m satisfied about our race and I also thought Ben could win the stage. He passed the hardest final piece, but he had cramps. He was able to manage the final anyway, and he got a great second place. About Meintjes, he was better than yesterday and I think he’s growing day by day. I’m confident in the work we are doing for the Tour de France. We’ll see”.

Tomorrow there will be the last stage from Albertville to Plateau de Solaison on 115 km and 4 climbs with the last one of Hors Category.

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