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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Sunday, June 14, 2015

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Today's Racing

The Critérium du Dauphiné ends today with a category 1 finish at Modane Valfréjus. Can Chris Froome wrest the 19 seconds he needs to win from Tejay van Garderen? You know he's going to give it his all, while van Garderen will go deep to preserve his lead. Should be a fantastic day of racing.

The Tour de Suisse has its second stage today, 161.1 kilometers starting and ending at Rotkreuz.

Alessandro Petacchi hangs up the chamois

Italy's finest sprinter of the past decade, Alessandro Petacchi (Southeast), has again retired. "Ale Jet" quit racing after Paris-Roubaix in 2013, but came back to racing to assist Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen and the Omega-Pharma team in August of that same year.

Petacchi's last race was May's Giro d'Italia. Talking to, he said, "I am not well yet after a virus that knocked me out in the Giro d'Italia. To tell the truth, I haven't touched my bike since June 9 when I hung it up in the garage from the ceiling with the rest of the bikes without wheels.

Petacchi has an admirable racing resume: 22 Giro stages, 6 Tour de France stage wins, 20 Vuelta a Espana stages, plus Milano-San Remo, Paris-Tours and Scheldeprijs.

But, Petachi's career was tarnished by a complex doping case. He was originally found "non-negative" for the banned drug salbutamol in 2007, for which Petacchi had obtained clearance to use. But, he used too much of the drug. He was absolved when the Italian federation found his overuse to be inadvertent.

Then, in May of 2008, the Court for Arbitration for Sport ruled that though the overuse was accidental, he had not used sufficient caution to avoid taking too much of the medication and therefore the ban that had been originally placed before he had been absolved, was enforced. Also all results obtained during the 2007 Giro d'Italia were erased. Petacchi has always said he had done nothing wrong.

About retiring, Petacchi said, "I raced a lot, I won a lot. Now, I don't want to pedal without a goal. I feel like the moment has arrived. I stop without regrets."

Alessandro Petacchi

Alessandro Petacchi wins the 2005 Milano-San Remo

Critérium Dauphiné news

BMC is happy with the day's results:

Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, France - Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team regained the overall lead on the penultimate day of the Critérium du Dauphiné Saturday by finishing runner-up to Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Van Garderen and his BMC teammachine SLR01 arrived at the mountain-top finish 17 seconds after Froome and more than three-and-a-half minutes ahead of previous race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team), who had taken the leader's yellow jersey from him on Friday.

"I am absolutely thrilled," van Garderen said after overcoming a 42-second deficit that had dropped him to fifth place. "We tried to stay positive after that crazy stage on Friday. We took all the positives we could out of it. The guys in the breakaway had to spend so much energy yesterday, so we thought it might catch up with them today."

Van Garderen holds an 18-second advantage over Froome heading into another mountainous 156-kilometer race through the Alps. Benat Intxausti (Movistar Team) sits in third, 45 seconds back. No other riders are within a minute of the lead.

"The tactic tomorrow is going to be to stay glued to Chris's wheel and try not to give him any room," van Garderen said. "It is going to be a tough fight. I am sure the breakaway is going to go crazy because it is the last stage of the race and it is technical again. But the team is ready, I am ready, and we are going to fight to the finish line."

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen

Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said van Garderen finished off a terrific job the BMC Racing Team did to deliver him in good position to the last climb of the 155 km race. In the final 3.5 km, Froome and van Garderen overhauled the remnants of what was once a 26-man breakaway. Froome then attacked van Garderen with 1.5 km to go but could not significantly increase the gap.

"Today was a hard day because Team Sky went full gas the whole stage," Ledanois said. "For us, the plan was all for Tejay. We did not try to take the breakaway. All of the guys were around him, helping him. I told them I wanted to see Tejay in the top position at the foot of the last climb and Rohan Dennis and Samuel Sánchez did a good job of doing that. Then Tejay took over and was great in the final."

Tinkoff-Saxo sent me this Dauphiné report:

In Critérium du Dauphiné, Tinkoff-Saxo had Chris Anker Sørensen and Pawel Poljanski in today’s breakaway that nearly made it to the finish line in Saint-Gervais. Poljanski ultimately finished 15th after the favorites caught up with the break, while Kiserlovski advanced to 14th in the general classification.

Following the stage finish, Pawel Poljanski commented that he had wanted to give it a shot in the breakaway of the day. “Today our DS told me that I could go on the breakaway and I wanted to give my best. Yesterday, I made a small mistake at the start of the race and stayed back. I was unable to help Robert at the front and I was really angry. That's why we had decided that today I would get my chance.

"I’ve felt in good shape since the first stage and today I wanted to go in the breakaway. First it was Chris Anker that got away and then I went with Rolland before the second tough climb. We probably didn't pull hard because we were waiting for the final two climbs”, says Pawel Poljanski, who adds: “My aim was truly to win the stage because I was feeling very well and maybe I made a bit of an error and waited too much. I could have gone a bit earlier but I was afraid I wouldn't make it. Then with 3km to go, Froome and Van Garderen attacked and I tried to follow them but didn't have the legs. Nevertheless, I feel confident about myself and I look forward to tomorrow's last stage”.

The penultimate stage 7 from Montmélian to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc took the riders 155km in mountainous terrain with six categorized climbs. According to Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Patxi Vila, the squad had performed well on the stage.

"Pawel Poljanski, Chris Anker Sørensen, Robert Kiserlovski and the entire team had a good day. In particular, Pawel and Chris Anker were in the breakaway throughout the race and Pawel just needed a bit more to finish in the lead. David de la Cruz from Etixx-Quickstep joined the breakaway, and he was at three minutes, and didn't leave us any space. It's a pity because with one more minute, the breakaway would have finished ahead. Both Pawel and Chris Anker were superb in the breakaway.

"They work hard for a long time and constituted the main core of the breakaway. Overall, we are satisfied with how the team worked on this penultimate stage of Dauphiné”, asserts Patxi Vila before elaborating: “Kiserlovski was in better shape today compared to yesterday. He's now 14th in the GC and we are closer to our goal of a top-ten finish. All our riders worked well today and we have to be happy with their performance. For a young rider such as Pawel Poljanski, the fact he was in the breakaway throughout the day and stayed in the front is a very important experience. That will undoubtedly help him develop as a rider. As for Kiserlovski, his form is building up day by day in view of the Tour de France three weeks from today”.

And the Tour of Switzerland has started...

Giant-Alpecin had this to say about the Swiss race:

Tom Dumoulin (NED) raced to victory in the prologue of the Tour de Suisse, taking his second time trial win of the year.

Covering the 5.1km course around the city of Rotkreuz with a time of 5’41” and an average pace of almost 54km/h, Tom Dumoulin was the fastest today, putting former world champion Fabian Cancellara in second place by two seconds.

In addition to his win in the prologue, Dumoulin will be the first overall leader in the Tour de Suisse and will start tomorrow's stage in the yellow jersey.

Doumoulin said, “I am very happy with this victory. After returning from the team's altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada (ESP), it is always a question as to how the legs will perform but it is a great feeling that it turned out to be excellent. During the prologue I didn't feel great but apparently it went pretty fast and it was enough for the win. "I went full gas uphill and used my aerodynamics in the downhill section.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin

"Now I have the yellow leader's jersey and together with the strong team that we have here, we will see and try to keep it as long as possible obviously.” 

Rudi Kemna (NED): "It went really well and he showed a great time trial performance today. He rode strongly and especially in technical sense, with good corners and good acceleration.

"Tom [Dumoulin] divided his strengths really well over the 5.1km course. From the start until the finish he gave everything and did not drop one single second anywhere, because on a short time trial like today it is always a race about the seconds.

"Tomorrow there already is a difficult stage, but we will do anything to keep the yellow in the team." 

Here's Tinkoff-Saxo's Swiss tour report:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan grabbed fourth place after a powerful effort during the 5.1km prologue at Tour de Suisse. The team captain was 5 seconds behind stage winner Tom Dumoulin.

After crossing the finish, Sagan says that he had been aiming for the win but looks forward to the coming stages.

"I was aiming for the win so I can’t say that I’m completely satisfied. I haven’t raced since Tour of California and I’m expecting my form to increase during Tour de Suisse. It’s always difficult to go from a race break and directly into a short and intensive prologue, so I wouldn’t say that today wasn’t good. I finished fourth, a few seconds behind and I have the chance to make a result during the next stages. We are here with a strong squad and we will give it our best and see what happens”, comments Peter Sagan.

The opening stage of Tour de Suisse consisted of 5.1 fast kilometers around Risch-Rotkreuz, where Tom Dumoulin (TGA) took the win five seconds ahead of Peter Sagan. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka finished 20 seconds down – a result that the climber is satisfied with.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan had a good time trial at the Tour de Suisse

“I think it went pretty well today. I felt fine considering the route. It’s of course not the type of race that suits me, but I think I can be pleased. I haven’t raced since Tour of Romandie, so it was a good start for me and I hope to build my shape during the race. Stage 5 is of course very important and I now have some stages to find the rhythm. However, I race with the Tour de France in mind and the ultimate goal is to improve and prepare for July. I stayed 15 days on Mt. Etna just before this race and I think my shape is where it should be according to my race plan, but ultimately we have to wait and see what happens during the next days”, says Rafal Majka.

Elaborating on the result, Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Sean Yates asserts that the race lead is still within striking range, as the coming days present the riders with undulating stage profiles, which, on paper, should suit the likes of Peter Sagan.

“Ultimately, when you have a guy like Peter, who you know has the potential to win, you will be aiming for that win. And we did that today, however in the end he missed five seconds on the line, which is not a lot. With that said, I think he did well in his first stage since the Tour of California and he obviously showed that he has good legs. Now, he’s five seconds off the jersey and we face some stages during the next couple of days, where he can fight for the stages and bonus seconds. He has the backing from the team, who all did their best today and all the guys remain very motivated to support the team ambitions here in Switzerland”, tells Sean Yates before adding:

“I was also pleased to see Rafal doing well today. He finished around the same time as the other climbers, gaining a bit of time on Henao, while he lost a few seconds to Pinot. The most important thing is of course that he builds shape for the Tour but I have a feeling that he’ll be there, when the road gets steep during this Tour de Suisse”

Tom Veelers out of Tour de France

Tom Veelers (NED) has suffered a setback in the recovery from a knee injury sustained in the beginning of the year, and as a result he will unfortunately not line up for the start of the Tour de France on July 4 in Utrecht (NL), nor will he participate in Rund um Köln and the Ster ZLM Toer.

After already canceling his participation in the Tour de Romandie and Giro d’Italia, the team has determined that the Tour de France is also too early for the 30-year-old Veelers, as he needs additional time to recover from the knee injury. To resolve the problem, he underwent keyhole surgery at OCON in Hengelo, the Netherlands, in April. In consultation with the performance staff, the team’s physician and Tom himself, the team decided that more recovery and training time are needed before he returns to competition. Veelers will also not participate in Sunday's Rund um Köln, and will not be replaced.

“Obviously I am very disappointed to be unable to start in the Tour de France, since I was really looking forward to this year’s start in my home country,” said Veelers. “After my surgery in April we know that the risk of not participating in the Tour was there, but all the time we focused on the best possible outcome: quick recovery. We have canceled my participation in a couple of races already, and it has become clear that the Tour is not within reach either. So together with the team’s medical staff, we decided it was best for me to get off the bike and rest and recover. I will continue to work with the physio but not compete in races for a while.”

Team physician Anko Boelens added: “Tom is recovering from keyhole surgery to repair a small cartilage imperfection. When he is free of pain the team will determine the best opportunity for him to return to competition.”

Both Veelers and the team are disappointed that he will not be able to be present at the Tour as a valuable member of the sprint preparation. Veelers will work closely with the team’s medical and performance staff to ensure a gradual buildup in the intensity of his training.

The Tour de France lineup will be announced later this month.

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