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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

In politics stupidity is not a handicap. - Napoleon Bonaparte

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Chris Froome breaks leg, will not ride Tour de France

June 12: While checking out the course of the Dauphiné's stage four time trial, Chris Froome (Team INEOS) fell and broke his femur.

Speaking shortly afterwards, David Brailsford, Team Ineos manager, said: “He crashed in the downhill section of the course at high speed. He hit a wall. The ambulance came quickly, he’s been taken care of and waits for an helicopter to be transferred to Lyon or Saint-Etienne. It’s a very serious accident. Clearly, he won’t be at the start of the Tour de France. It’ll take quite a long time before he races again.”

Chris Froome

Chris Froome won his fourth Tour in 2017.

Froome had built his season around the Tour de France, becoming just the fifth rider to have won it four times. With the Tour de France just three and a half weeks away, Froome will have to wait another year.

If Froome chooses to race the Tour in 2020 he will be 35 years old. Four riders have won the Tour at 34, including Cadel Evans. But only one rider older than 34 has won the Tour. Firmin Lambot was 36 when he won the Tour for a second time in 1922.

Critérium du Dauphiné stage three team reports

We posted the organizer's race report with the results.

Stage winner Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

After two demanding stages, today’s stage was something for the fast wheels in the field. 177 km from Le Puy-en-Velay to Riom with only four category four climbs awaited the peloton.​​​​​​​ Right after the flag dropped, two riders launched an attack and were gone for most of the stage. The leading duo enjoyed a gap of more than three minutes, while Giro d’ Italia stage winner Cesare Benedetti pulled at the front of the peloton.

The gap came down to nearly one minute with 46 km remaining, and with BORA – hansgrohe controlling the pace the advantage dropped steadily. 16 km before the finish the peloton closed the gap and everything was set for the expected bunch sprint. As the race headed into the final kilometres, the sprinter teams started their lead-out. The BORA- hansgrohe train led their sprinter Sam Bennett perfectly, especially Shane Archbold, who did a stellar job to open the sprint with 500 m to go and launch his captain perfectly to the line. After a masterful sprint Sam celebrated his seventh season win in Riom on stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett wins stage three. Sirotti photo.

From the Finish Line:
“I am super happy to take the win today. It's certainly not just my victory, the team rode absolutely amazing today and the support I got is what made that win look so easy! Therefore, a huge thanks to the whole team for the effort. Let's hope the legs are still good for stage 5 in two days.” - Sam Bennett

“We wanted to take control of the race right from the beginning. That only two riders went up the road was an advantage for us. When they had three minutes, Cesare started to pull and other teams joined to help us close the gap, therefore it was clear that it would come down to a sprint. The rain and cold temperatures made the race hard. In the finale we waited quite long with our lead-out. The whole team worked great and Shane did an amazing lead-out. Sam was the strongest and deserved the victory. Congrats to the whole team.” -Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director​​​​​​​

Here's the report from GC leader Dylan Teuns' Bahrain-Merida team:

Riom (France) June 11th – Dylan Teuns retained the Dauphiné yellow and blue leader’s jersey after stage 3 Le Puy-enVelay>Riom, 177km.

Dylan Teuns

GC leader Dylan Teuns before the start of stage three, Sirotti photo.

On the paper it was an easy day that gave the pure sprinters a chance to take home a stage win. In fact Sam Bennett sprinted to win, but unfortunately for Team Bahrain Merida there wasn’t Sonny Colbrelli to contest it. The Italian rider wasn’t in a good position in the final km and he didn’t even try to go for it. He finished in the top twenty.

The other mission of the day was to keep Dylan safe and defend his overall leader’s jersey. The boys worked very well, riding at the front and staying around him on a cold and rainy day.

“I tried to save energies, but the cold was hard” Teuns commented after the finish “I enjoyed my day in yellow and blue jersey, but I would have enjoyed it more with the sun. It’s important that all went good and we finished safely in the bunch”.

All thoughts are now for tomorrow’s individual time trial: “It’s a big day for the GC riders. I will have a small advantage on the big names of the overall, but I will try to defend the jersey. I’m confident seen my performance on the time-trial I did this year and I believe in myself”.

Lotto-Soudal headed to Baloise Belgium Tour

Here's the preview the team sent me:

From Wednesday 12 June until Sunday 16 June, the 89th edition of the Baloise Belgium Tour will take place. The peloton will start this five-day stage race in Sint-Niklaas and will finish in Beringen. With two flat stages, two hilly courses and an individual time trial, the Baloise Belgium Tour nearly has got it all. Also the ‘Golden Kilometre’, the unique bonification system in the deep finale could play a crucial role in this Belgian stage race.

Lotto Soudal rider Jens Keukeleire won the previous two editions of the Baloise Belgium Tour. This year, the team will again target the overall victory and starts with a strong line-up. Tim Wellens and Victor Campenaerts will be the leaders. Sports director Kevin De Weert has a lot of faith in his team.

Ruta del Sol

Tim Wellens winning the first stage of the 2019 Ruta del Sol. Sirotti photo

De Weert: “The course of the Baloise Belgium is similar to the ones from previous years. With a stage towards the coast, one in the Flemish Ardennes and a tough day out in the Ardennes, there is something for everyone. The Baloise Belgium Tour often is a game of seconds and also the ‘Golden Kilometre’ is usually really important. The queen stage will be ridden on Saturday. Apart from various other climbs, the riders will deal with a double ascent of the Roche-aux-Faucons in the finale. The tough climb, famous from Liège-Bastogne-Liège, will be crucial during Saturday’s stage.”

“With Victor Campenaerts and Tim Wellens, we have two strong leaders within our line-up. Victor just finished the Giro d’Italia and should be in good shape. Tim Wellens is building up towards the Tour de France and should also be able to battle for the victory. First and foremost, Victor will have to ride the best possible time trial. Hopefully, we can obtain a nice position in the general classification there and afterwards, it will mainly be about taking advantage of our two trump cards, especially during Saturday’s stage.”

“The time trial in Grimbergen is with a distance of nine kilometres relatively short. Victor prefers a longer time trial – ideally around the hour – but he already proved that short distances do suit him as well, something we have already seen in the Tirreno-Adriatico closing time trial. The test against the clock in Grimbergen includes some technical corners but there are enough straight sections where Victor can benefit from his power and aerodynamic advantage. I am also curious about how Brent Van Moer will perform in his first individual time trial with the pros. Therefore, I would like that he can take it a bit easy during the first two stages.”

“With Tim and Victor in our line-up, the other Lotto Soudal riders will mainly have a serving role. Iversen and Frison are two strong riders who should be able to support the team really well. Jelle Wallays – who was very strong in the Ardennes stage last year – is riding his first race kilometres after a lot of bad luck the past few months. With Adam Blythe – who’s also back to racing after some physical problems in the Tour de Romandie – we will try to be up there in the possible bunch sprints.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Adam Blythe, Victor Campenaerts, Frederik Frison, Rasmus Byriel Iversen, Brent Van Moer, Jelle Wallays and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Kevin De Weert and Kurt Van de Wouwer.


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