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Saturday, July 6, 2024

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2023 Tour de France | 2024 Giro d'Italia

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. - Vince Lombardi

Tour de France: 2021

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2021: The Little Cannibal Dominates is available in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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  • July 27 - August 11: Olympic cycling

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Tour de France stage 7 reports

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

Here's the Tour report from stage 7 winner Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Remco Evenepoel became the first rider in history to have won a time trial at Il Giro, Le Tour, La Vuelta, the Worlds and the European Championships, a fantastic feat that came on the back of a phenomenal ride on the first stage against the clock of this Tour de France edition. The 24-year-old Belgian, a debutant in the race, proved he is the best time triallist in the world as he scored Soudal Quick-Step’s 51st Tour de France victory and cemented his place at the top of the youth classification.

Remco Evenepoel on his way to winning stage seven. Sirotti photo

“I wasn’t thinking of the GC, the only thing that I had in mind was the victory and it’s an incredible feeling now to be a stage winner in all Grand Tours. A big thank you to the team for all their support, and to Specialized and our other partners for the setup of the bike. It’s a very special day in my life and my career, one which I will always remember.”

The penultimate rider to leave the start house, the World ITT Champion produced one of the finest displays of power of his career, going fastest through all three intermediate checkpoints of the 23.4km undulating course between Nuits-Saint-Georges and Gevrey-Chambertin, before posting the best time at the finish thanks to a stunning 52.58km/h average speed. Following this impressive win, Remco gained twelve seconds on the yellow jersey wearer, only half a minute separating him from the first place in the overall standings.

“I had a very good day on this challenging course, which had a pretty hard climb and also some technical roads. I knew before the start that there wouldn’t be any big time gaps today, but I gave everything out there. I did a better time trial than the one in the Dauphiné. It ended up being a perfect day for me and my team, we took some time on the others, so it’s mission accomplished. We will celebrate this beautiful victory tonight, and from tomorrow, we’ll focus on the remaining stages of this week”, added Evenepoel – the youngest rider in the last 45 years to have individual time trial wins in all three Grand Tours.

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Here’s the Tour stage 7 report from GC leader Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

Only the time trial World Champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep) covered the course faster than Tadej Pogačar during the 25.3 km against the clock from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Gevrey-Chambertin at the Tour de France.

Tadej Pogacar riding to second place in the stage. Sirotti photo.

The UAE Team Emirates captain completed his performance in 29’04” (average speed of 52,2 km/h), while the Belgian rider marked the time of 28’52”.

Pogačar succeeded in pedaling with an effective pace, covering perfectly the only downhill of the course, so he could finish off a better performance then other GC contenders such as Primoz Roglic (Red Bull-Bora, +22”) and Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a bike, +25”). Eight place went to Joao Almeida (+57”).

General classification after the time trial stage: Tadej still leader with 33” on Evenepoel and 1’15” on Vingegaard; other UAE Team Emirates riders in the top 10 are Ayuso (5th at 2’16”) and Almeida (6th at 2’17”).

Stage 8 will bring the peloton on a 183.4 km hilly course from Semur en Auxois to Colombey les Deux Eglises.

Pogačar: “I started my time trial pretty well, feeling very good legs, and then went pretty hard on the climb. I think I was a bit too cooked at its summit, and that affected me towards the final. I didn’t know the exact gaps, but I got some nice encouraging words from the team car.

"I am pretty happy that I crossed the finish line in the position I did. I already did two good time trials at the Giro, yet I rate this performance somehow higher as I only lost to the current World Champion by just a few seconds and was still above some tough guys like Primoz [Roglic] and Jonas [Vingegaard]. I think the TT in Nice should be nice for me too, as I know the roads quite well. Last year I lost 1’40” to Jonas and today I’ve beaten him by 25” – that’s pretty good. But Remco showed pretty good shape, too. I hope I can put some time on him in the coming stages.”

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Here's the Tour report Jonas Vingegaard's Team Visma | Lease a Bike:

Jonas Vingegaard and Matteo Jorgenson are satisfied with their performance in the first time trial of the Tour de France. Vingegaard finished fourth in the race against the clock, while Jorgenson finished in seventh place. Remco Evenepoel won the time trial.

Wout van Aert also initially set his sights on a good result, but the Belgian had a tough time on the climb after a fast start. Van Aert had to dig deep, and eventually settled for 24th place.

In the final hour it was up to the favorites to battle it out. After Jorgenson was 2 seconds off the top time at that time, Vingegaard set the fastest time at every intermediate point along the way. However, the Dane was  passed by Remco Evenepoel and Tadej Pogacar. At the finish, the difference was 37 and 25 seconds, respectively.

Jonas Vingegaard on his way to fourth place in the stage. Sirotti photo

"To be honest, it was a good time trial for me," Vingegaard said after his arrival. "I'm satisfied with my performance. Especially in the first part of the time trial I felt myself in very good shape. On the climb I was able to pedal fine power. To only lose 37 seconds compared to Evenepoel, I had signed up for that beforehand. The 25-second difference with Pogacar is also playable. Of course they take time, but I expected to lose more. The course is much more suited to them. Perhaps in the high mountains it will be about minutes rather than seconds. We have to stick to and believe in our plan."

Vingegaard doesn't forget where he came from. "As I have already indicated, anything we achieve is nice. Of course we are going for the highest possible, but losing time in the first part of the Tour was definitely calculated. I feel my form is improving day by day. I am satisfied with today's day and look forward to the rest of this Tour de France," concluded the two-time overall winner.

"I really gave everything today," Jorgenson said after his seventh-place finish. "I kind of saw the top of the climb as a first finish line. Fortunately, I then managed to recover well on the descent. On the last flat stretch I gave everything I had left in the tank. I am satisfied with this result. I came to the start of the Tour in good shape. The crash in the opening weekend didn't help that form. I felt a little off for a few days, but it's going in the right direction now. In any case, today I felt in good shape."

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And here's the Tour stage 7 report from team Groupama-FDJ:

It was a goal of his for weeks, but once again, luck was not on his side. On his way to an excellent performance in the first individual time trial of the Tour de France this Friday, Stefan Küng was stopped in his momentum at mid-race following a chain drop. Although he did not stop, the Swiss rider lost some time to fix the situation and get back at it. Instead of a potential podium, he had to settle for tenth place, one minute behind Remco Evenepoel.

Stefan Küng at the 2023 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

A crucial stage loomed on Friday on the roads of the Tour de France for the GC contenders. But for Stefan , the time trial between Nuits-Saint-Georges and Gevrey-Chambertin was also particularly important. For his fourth official ride on the Wilier Triestina Supersonica SLR, the Swiss specialist had great ambitions, despite a course which also suited the favorites.

A little more than twenty-five kilometres were indeed to be covered, flat at the beginning and at the end, but with a decisive climbing portion halfway through. Long before the former double European champion, Lenny Martinez set the provisional fastest time shortly before 2 p.m., with a mark of 31’30. “I didn’t do it 100%,” said the young climber. “I just got carried away a bit in the climb, then I tried to ride with speed in the final.” His teammate David Gaudu rode a relatively similar time trial around 3 p.m. “I’m happy with the legs,” said the Frenchman. “I felt I could push when I wanted to. I didn’t expect to get back to this level so quickly. The first two days were difficult physically after Covid. The breakaway to Valloire gave me confidence, and today is another step in the right direction.”

As David Gaudu was completing the course, Stefan Küng was tackling it at 3:05 p.m., with the Swiss champion’s jersey on his shoulders. He lived up to his status at the first timing point, where he set the best time ahead of Victor Campenaerts and Kévin Vauquelin. Unfortunately, not so long after, things got a bit wrong for him. “Right after the hill, while picking up speed, the chain dropped off and it actually took me a while to put it back on,” Stefan explained. “I decided to put a double chainring in order to be able to turn my legs faster in the climb. When I went on to the bigger gear again, it just didn’t go well. Maybe I hit a hole at that moment.” Without stopping, the Swiss man manipulated his chain to put it back. The seconds seemed like an eternity, and his momentum was stopped right away. “When you stop your effort, it’s difficult to start again at the same pace straight away,” he said. “It broke my rhythm. I tried to get back into it in the end, but it was difficult.”

At the second timing point, he found himself around fifteen seconds behind Vauquelin and Campenaerts. He then managed to regain ground on the downhill, but it didn’t prove enough at the finish, as he came eight seconds behind the two men.

Much later, the favorites started, and six of them placed themselves in front of him. Stefan Küng eventually had to settle for tenth place on the day. “The time trial doesn’t lie and unfortunately that’s not what we were hoping for,” he said. “You can have the best bike in the world, but at the end of the day, you need for everything to come together. The two tests before the Olympic Games did not go as we wanted, and we will do everything to make sure that this does not happen in Paris.” “It’s very disappointing given all the work that has been done,” confirmed Benoît. “I think we could have made it to the podium without this incident, but unfortunately, mechanicals are part of the sport.”

In addition to Stefan Küng, Romain Grégoire delivered an excellent performance for his first time trial in the Tour de France. He took twentieth place, 1’36 behind winner Remco Evenepoel. “He was really committed and focused from this morning,” added Benoît. “The rest of the team was too, and that shows the good condition of our riders.” Tadej Pogacar kept his yellow jersey, and before the dirty roads stage around Troyes on Sunday, a bumpy day looms on Saturday. “The weather will be the real challenge tomorrow,” concluded Benoît. “It should be a sprint, but we will still need to be vigilant at the start. If there are moves, we will have to be there.”

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