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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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2023 Tour de France | 2024 Giro d'Italia

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. Albert Einstein

Tour de France: 2019

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2019: A Year of New Faces is available in both Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de Suisse stage two team reports

We posted the report from second-place Michael Matthews' Team Jayco AlUla with the results.

Here's a machine-translation of the report from stage winner Bryan Coquard's Team Cofidis:

How good this victory feels! After a final bend, Bryan Coquard, well placed, launched his effort. In the streets of Regensdorf after 177 km of racing, the Rooster launched his sprint early, which allowed him to gain a few meters of lead and finish in style. He had time to exult, raise both arms and display a bright smile. Congratulated by his teammates, Bryan was able to savor the win.

Stage winner Bryan Coquard. Sirotti photo

A timely victory
The sprinter has had a lot of patience this season, he who has "circled" around the victory since the beginning of the season. This is in fact the 12th time that he has finished in the 'top 10'! Bryan had come close to victory at the Classica Valenciana (2nd), at the Al-Ula Tour (2nd in the 4th stage), at the Tour of Oman (2nd in the 1st stage), at the Tour of Catalonia (3rd in the 3rd stage). He therefore returns to the success he has been waiting for since April 2023 and a success in the Pays de la Loire Region Tour. Note that this is the 4th victory for Cofidis this season signed by a 4th different rider.

This victory comes at the right time for the Rooster who is gaining momentum in view of the Tour de France. At 32, he is preparing to compete in the Grande Boucle for the 7th time and here too, he is chasing victory. What if this was the right year?

Bryan Coquard:
“I think this is my best victory! It was a difficult stage with a small difficulty just before the finale. Today, we knew it was a great opportunity for me. I arrived in a small group and I did the perfect sprint! I have often finished second and especially on the Tour de France. I am very happy because I am returning from a training camp at altitude precisely to prepare for the Grande Boucle. I'm back in competition and I win, it's perfect!"

Jimmy Engouvlent, sports director: "It's really great for Bryan. He had a great race and a very nice finish despite the adversity. Bryan knew how to position himself well to attack the sprint in the best possible way. It was really a stage that was made for him! We all know that the level is a notch above in the Tour de France but in this kind of stage, Bryan is capable of being in the game and beating everyone. This success is also a collective victory with great work from Ion in the final and all the other riders during the stage."

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Here's the Swiss Tour report from GC leader Yves Lampaert's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Yves Lampaert retained the overall lead at the Tour de Suisse after concluding in the peloton the second stage of the stage, which had a hectic final ten kilometers. Victorious on the opening day of the prestigious race, Yves carried a small gap on the others going into the bunch sprint in Regensdorf, but that proved to be more than enough for him to remain at the top of the general classification.

Yves Lampaert will wear yellow in stage three. Sirotti photo

Animated by a five-man breakaway, the stage was controlled by the Soudal Quick-Step boys, who made sure of bringing the escapees back before the Regensberg, the 3.5km climb averaging 5.7% which the riders tackled in the closing kilometers. Attacks flew left and right, whittling down the bunch and leaving only 35 riders in the lead, including Yves, who showed a great fighting spirit on those gradients, digging deep to stay with the main group.

On the descent, more riders put pressure by going clear and opening a small gap, but they were all caught by the peloton and the stage came down to a fast and furious mass gallop, won by Bryan Coquard (Cofidis).

“Today was a tough day. It was very warm and the last climb was harder than expected, with the peloton going full gas. I suffered a bit there, but did my best to remain in the peloton. I want to thank my Soudal Quick-Step teammates for their hard work, they did a great job the entire stage. I’m glad I could keep the yellow jersey and that I get to wear it for another day”, said Yves after the stage.

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Here's the update from fourth-place Brandon Rivera's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Brandon Rivera sprinted to a fine fourth place at the Tour de Suisse as the Grenadiers emerged through a hectic finish to stage two.

The Colombian helped to position Tom Pidcock during a fast run-in but was able to open up and extend his sprint all the way to the line, coming home to secure his first WorldTour top-five finish.

A strung-out peloton races across the Swiss Countryside. Sirotti photo

Pidcock came in just behind in seventh, with the stage win going to Bryan Coquard (Cofidis). Despite a late split in the bunch, Egan Bernal was able to finish safely in the peloton on the same time as the leaders.

Ethan Hayter had been moving into position to contest the sprint but was held up behind a crash with 1.5km to go. The Brit was able to resume and safely finish the stage.

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Team Visma | Lease a Bike posted this report:

Team Visma | Lease a Bike got through the second stage of the Tour de Suisse without any problems. The stage from Vaduz to Regensdorf contained a fair amount of altimeters, but was eventually won by French sprinter Bryan Coquard.

Within minutes of the official start, five riders got away. The peloton approved, as evidenced by the lead built up by the quintet in no time. Along the way, they divided the points at the mountain and intermediate sprints, after which the adventure was over.

There was some nervousness in the closing stages as the peloton had to maneuver through narrow streets. A few riders still tried to escape, but a bunch sprint proved inevitable. Ben Tulett and Wilco Kelderman showed they were up to the task. Both riders finished in the top twenty. Cian Uijtdebroeks also finished in the same time as the day's winner.

Before the stage start, in the center that should be Wilco Kelderman. Sirotti photo

“We knew it could be a hectic final,” said sports director Marc Reef. "Especially given the climb at the end and the many narrow roads full of traffic obstacles. Fortunately, we got through the ride well. That was also the main thing today. We kept Ben, Wilco and Cian well up front and were in good position at the important moments. That's a good sign towards the rest of this week.”

And here's the SwissTour stage two report from Team dsm-firmenich PostNL:

After yesterday’s opening time trial, the Tour de Suisse peloton was back on open roads for day two of racing. Awaiting them was a rolling day through the hills which included the Regensberg ascent, a three kilometre climb that averaged six percent in gradient, coming with just over ten kilometres to the finish; tempting the attackers. Riding well as a unit throughout the afternoon, Team dsm-firmenich PostNL approached the last climb in a solid position, managing to avoid a few earlier spills in the peloton.

On the ascent a fierce pace was set and unfortunately the squad’s fast-men had to let go of the group before the top. Multiple attacks followed from the bunch, but things ultimately came back together for a reduced group sprint, with Oscar Onley leading the team home on the day.

Yves Lampaert was the day's quickest speedster. Sirotti photo

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL road captain Chris Hamilton said: “It was a pretty hard first road stage here in Switzerland actually, with quite a few climbs. Our main priority was to get Oscar through the stage and get him home safe and sound. He did a good job at that considering it is his first race back after his long break due to injury. We also had the second goal of trying to go for it in the reduced sprint finish, but in the end the last climb was just too hard for our fast guys. We’ll continue on with the rest of the week and look for our chances.”

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