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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 9, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy. - Eric Hoffer

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage five team reports

We'll start with stage winner Phil Bauhaus' Team Sunweb's news:

A breakaway of 6 riders spent most of the day out front, gaining an advantage of over five minutes. Looking to set up Phil for the finish, the team moved to the front to add firepower to the chase. The final rider was brought back by the charging bunch with six kilometres to go setting up a fast bunch kick to the line.

The team worked well to keep Phil out of trouble, delivering him towards the front in a fast and hectic finale. He still had a lot of work to do to overcome other sprinters’ lead-out trains, but a perfectly timed sprint provided Phil with the biggest win of his career to date – his first WorldTour victory. A victory of this magnitude at the age of 22-years-old affirms Phil’s place as one of the fastest sprinters in the peloton. Finishing in the same time as the bunch, Sam Oomen remains in the white jersey for best young rider overall.

Team Sunweb Coach Morten Bennekou reflected: “We are all very happy here with the victory of Phil and we’re proud of the way the guys fought today. We supported him as much as possible during the day and also towards the finish and we can go into the coming stages with confidence now having achieved a stage victory here. On top, Sam secures the white jersey for another day, so we can be very satisfied with the team performance.”

Phil Bauhaus

Phil Bauhaus wins the fifth stage

After the stage Phil said “I felt good from the beginning today. The team protected me well. The guys started pulling at the right moment and did a great job. At the Giro d’Italia I came close to the podium twice. Now with the support of the team, I have taken the biggest win of my career so far. It’s a great feeling to win here at the Dauphiné.”

And Richie Porte's Team BMC had this to say about the stage:

The peloton faced a nervous 175km of racing on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the last day for the sprinters, with a technical sprint finish which saw Richie Porte cross the line safely to retain second place on the General Classification.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte after winning stage four.

Unlike the previous stages when the breakaway was established in the opening kilometers, it took multiple attempts for a breakaway to form before finally, four riders went clear after 15km.

Nicolas Roche crashed in the first hour of racing but was able to quickly re-join the peloton after a bike change. Porte spent the day towards the front of the peloton, protected by his BMC Racing Team teammates, as the breakaway’s advantage reached more than five minutes.

The sprinters’ teams, knowing it would be their last chance, began the chase to bring the quartet back and by the time the breakaway reached 30km to go, their advantage was under two minutes. It wasn’t under 6km before the finish line in Macon when the peloton reeled in the final breakaway survivor, Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team), and set the stage for a sprint finish.

The final 3km featured a technical parcours, including multiple turns and small roundabouts, and the peloton was in single file in a frantic chase to stay out of trouble.

Phil Bauhuas (Team Sunweb) took the win and Porte crossed the line in the peloton with the same time as the leader of the race, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).

After four relatively flat stages and a time trial, the General Classification battle is set to heat up on stage 6, the first of three big mountain stages.

Richie Porte: “It was so fast and the peloton was so strung out. It was hard but credit to my team. Once again, they were brilliant. We have Kilian Frankiny who is a neo pro and he is fighting with seasoned veterans for position. I think every one of the guys today were really good. Nico [Roche] had a bit of a scare there when one of the cars in the convoy slammed on the brakes in front of him so hopefully he is ok. It’s not over yet and I think certainly the next three days are more suited to the team.”

“It’s a super hard climb and quite a tricky descent into the finish tomorrow. It’s going to be a solid stage. Everyone is talking about the descent, but I think make it to the top of the climb first because it’s a really hard climb. I think it’s going to be quite tactical with the start tomorrow. Probably a bit like today, it’s a hard start as well. It’s going to be interesting. We’ve got quite a strong team. Whatever happens tomorrow, I’ve already got some good sensations going into the Tour de France.”

Fabio Baldato, Sports Director: “We are in a good position. Today was a little nervous, as it was two days ago. Twisty roads, some wind, never sure which direction the wind would come from, all of that kept everyone a little stressed. Our guys did a good job again especially in the final with the high speed of the bunch going towards the sprint. For us, it was important to get through today safely.”

“Tomorrow will be a fast, technical descent into the finish. For the guys who know the descent well, it’s definitely an advantage. For us, we will try to stay safe and the climb is hard enough to make a selection and take a small group on the descent, which is good for Richie.”

And Chris Froome's Team Sky posted this:

Another day for the sprinters saw Chris Froome finish safely at the Criterium du Dauphine as attention turns to the mountains.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome before the start of stage five

With a trio of high-mountain tests set to decide the prestigious event, stage five gave Froome and his fellow GC contenders chance to keep their powder dry. Despite the flat profile the stage held a sting in its tail, with a technical run into Macon causing nerves in the bunch.

Froome was shepherded into position well as Team Sky moved to the fore with 6km to go. After Christian Knees made the initial move Luke Rowe and Pete Kennaugh helped to ensure Froome was to the fore, in a bid to avoid splits and crashes on the run-in.

Michal Kwiatkowski was the first Team Sky rider across the line. The Pole mixed it among the sprinters but opted to sit up when he saw his path to the line blocked.

Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) popped up to take the sprint victory on the day, leading home French duo Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie).

Froome heads into Friday’s run to La Motte-Servolex in sixth position overall, 1:04 back on the yellow and blue jersey of Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal).

The 175.5km stage provided one final chance for the sprinters and the day’s four-man break were held on a tight leash. Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) scooped enough mountain points to take the jersey before dropping back into the bunch, while Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac) was the final man to be caught with 6km to go.

Sport Director Nicolas Portal told he was happy with how the day panned out. "Today the plan was to make sure everything is going right," he explained. "We’ve got three really hard days coming up and it’s going to be a big battle for the GC. The plan was to stay out of trouble, make sure Froomey was out of trouble, and let the sprinters' teams control.

"It was also the first really hot day today, around 28 degrees, and that can be tough sometimes, so everything went well."

GP Canton Canton Aargau/d'Argovie team reports

Here's BMC's news:

GP du Canton d’Argovie came down to a predicted uphill sprint today with victory going to Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Silvan Dillier crossing the line as BMC Racing Team’s top-placed rider at his home race.

As the race headed onto the third of ten undulating laps around Leuggern, a group of four riders had extended a lead of more than 4’30” over the rest of the field. The peloton was quick to regain control of the race, bringing the gap down to 3’40” as the riders began lap five with 113km, of the 188.7km course, still to go.

From there, the breakaway’s advantage continued to fall and, eventually, they were sitting less than 30 seconds in front of the main bunch with two laps remaining.

With the race quickly back together, BMC Racing Team moved up to the front of the bunch and began to set a relentless pace. One by one, riders started to drop off the back before a select group was left to battle for the top step of the podium over the final 18.9km lap.

Despite attack after attack on the final climb, and BMC Racing Team continuing to set the tempo, the bunch was back together once again with 4km to go and the bunch sprint looked inevitable.

A short but sharp final kick up to the line awaited the riders, and after a chaotic uphill sprint, it was Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) who crested the top first to take the win ahead of John Degenkolb (Trek - Segafredo) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team).

Dillier was BMC Racing Team’s first rider across the line, finishing in 29th position after a day of racing on home soil.

Silvan Dillier: “It was a nice race today. We knew that there were some good sprinters here with teams who could make good leadouts so, we needed to try and eliminate the possibility of the bunch sprint. We caught the breakaway quite early and then took the race into our hands. We tried to make it as hard as possible, but at the end, the sprinters’ team had the better card to play and they were able to control it.”

“For me, this is a really important and special race. I know so many people and a lot of them come here to cheer for the team and me, and I am always happy to come back.”

Winner Sacha Modolo's UAE Team Emirates sent me this:

Sacha Modolo won the Gp Canton d’Argovie-Gippingen, 188,7 km (10 laps of a 18.7 km circuit). UAE Team Emirates’ cyclist preceded in a bunch sprint a list of top quality riders: Degenkolb (2nd), Bonifazio (3rd) and Albasini (4th).

For the Italian rider today is his 3rd seasonal victory, the 12th in 2017 for the team of the president Matar.

“I welcome with huge pleasure this victory, because it comes in a key moment for me – Modolo explained – After I left the Giro d’Italia in the final week, my morale was not good, nevertheless I kept on training hard and today, my first day of race after the Giro, I had good feelings and I succeeded in sprinting for the victory.
My team was perfect, Mohoric was in the main breakaway of the race and this allowed us to pedal in the bunch, saving energies in view of the sprint. I was just behind Albasini and at -200 mt I decided to start my sprint, I was not sure that no one could overtaking me, however I was pretty fast and I achieved the best result. I’m happy and more confident in view of the stages for sprinters which are scheduled in the Tour de Suisse“.

Sports director Pedrazzini pointed out also the good performance by Mohoric: “The presence of Matej in the breakaway was important for the team. In our plan, he had the task to join larger group attacks, however he went clear with other three riders and they succeeded to lead the race for most of the course.

Moreover, when the breakaway had been neutralized, Matej still had energies to give his contribution in the approach to the sprint”.

Lotto-Soudal previews the Tour of Switzerland

The Tour de Suisse is a nine-day World Tour stage race that starts on Saturday June 10th and finishes on Sunday June 18th. Many riders use this race as a last preparation for the upcoming Tour de France. The course is therefore suited for GC contenders, with a prologue, three mountain stages, a stage for sprinters, some stages for punchers and a time trial on the last day. Lotto Soudal will start with a team that can be competitive in every stage. The prologue and the first two stages are perfect for Jürgen Roelandts, while Maxime Monfort, Tim Wellens and Louis Vervaeke can show themselves in the high mountain stages.

There are some remarkable GC contenders at the start of the Tour de Suisse, such as Tom Dumoulin, the winner of the past Giro d’Italia, but also Ion Izagirre and Miguel Angel Lopez, last year’s winner, are keen on a good result. Next to the GC contenders, there will also be several riders at the start who dominated the spring classics. The Tour de Suisse will probably see some great battles between, Degenkolb, Sagan and Van Avermaet.

Tom Dumoulin

Giro winner Tom Dumoulin is headed to the Tour of Switzerland.

Normally, Jens Debusschere would be riding this Tour de Suisse as well, but he cannot start due to a back injury. He will now get proper treatment as he doesn’t want this to endanger the Belgian Championships and the rest of the season. He will be replaced by Nikolas Maes.

Jürgen Roelandts: “The prologue will be my first objective in this Tour de Suisse. Normally, a time trial of six kilometres is perfect for me, but this year’s course suits me less. The prologue is on predominantly flat roads and is also less technical than last year, with only four corners. Nevertheless, I aim for a good result.”

“Next to the prologue, there are also some other stages which suit me, with some short climbs along the way. I am on my best in this type of stages, when a small group can make it to the finish. For the remainder of the Tour de Suisse, I hope to finish the mountain stages with a good feeling, to prepare myself in the best possible conditions for the Belgian Championships at June 25th.”

Frederik Willems, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Our main objective is to win a stage in this Tour de Suisse and we are less focused on a good result in the GC. I think we can obtain a good result in almost every stage with this versatile line-up. Jürgen Roelandts can get a good result in the prologue, since he finished second last year. In the two subsequent stages, there are also some chances for him.”

“This year’s Tour de Suisse is yet again another very hard race. This might be an advantage for Tim Wellens, as he always puts up good results in tough circumstances. Apart from Wellens, we also have Maxime Monfort and Louis Vervaeke for the mountain stages, but it remains to be seen how well Monfort has recovered from the Giro d’Italia.”

“The team has performed very well over the past weeks with stage wins in the 4 Jours de Dukerque, the Belgium Tour and the Critérium du Dauphiné. We want to continue this streak in the upcoming Tour de Suisse.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Bart De Clercq, Tomasz Marczynski, Nikolas Maes, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Louis Vervaeke, Jelle Wallays and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Frederik Willems and Mario Aerts.

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