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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 19, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered. - Edgar Allan Poe

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Tour of Switzerland final team reports:

Since BMC took the first three places in the final stage, we'll start with their report.

18 June 2017, Schaffhausen (SUI): The Tour de Suisse drew to a close in Schaffhausen today with Rohan Dennis taking his second victory of the race ahead of teammates Stefan Küng and Damiano Caruso, who also secured second overall on the General Classification.

As Rohan Dennis rolled off the ramp he made his intentions clear quickly, setting the provisional best time at the first and second intermediate checkpoints before powering across the line in 36'30".

The current Australian national time trial champion had a long wait in the hot seat and ultimately his impressive effort would see him secure the final stage win in Switzerland.

Stefan Küng also showed why he is fast becoming known as one of the world's best time trialists, crossing the line 29 seconds back to mirror the results from the prologue and take second.

Damiano Caruso was the penultimate rider to start his 28.6km effort and after proving his form on the race's three summit finishes, the Italian rider looked equally impressive out on the course.

Caruso posted a time of 37'17" which saw him secure a BMC Racing Team 1-2-3 on the stage and also second overall on the General Classification, 48 seconds behind Simon Ŝpilak (Team Katusha - Alpecin).

Tejay van Garderen also put in a solid performance and stopped the clock at 37'32" to finish ninth. 

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis on his stage-winning ride

Interview with Rohan Dennis

Congratulations, Rohan. Talk us through today's time trial.

"It was 28.6km of pain. The first 4km felt okay and then it was all about switching off and telling myself that the top of the climb was the finish. From there, it was just 5km to go. I tried to save something in the little valley and stay as aerodynamic as possible before going as fast as I could on the climb. I'm not a climber but I am also not too heavy so, I could try and hold the climbers on the ascent."

You haven't had many race days since the beginning of May. How have you felt in terms of your form, particularly after you crashed on stage 2?

"It hasn't been an easy run for me. I haven't felt too good and I think I have been lacking a little bit  of form. My body was in a bit of shock after the first road stage and the crash. After crashing out of the Giro d'Italia and then crashing here, I think I was a little bit down about it. It was obviously good that nothing was broken and there were a couple of days where I thought I should've gone home. But, there was something good at the end of it."

Coming into the race your main objectives were the two time trials and to regain your race form. Would you say it is job well done?

"Definitely. We arrived here with the objective to try and win with Damiano Caruso and we came very close so, I think we can happy with how we have raced this week. It's been a successful week for us."

Damiano Caruso: "It was a really good week for me and for the team. I felt really good this week but I was surprised with how I rode today. I knew my shape was really good but I never thought that I could take third place today. Plus I am really happy that I could finish second on the General Classification. I want to say thank you to my teammates because they have been amazing this week. They supported me every step of the way and I am looking forward to the rest of the season." 

Sports Director, Jackson Stewart: "It's been a super day for the team. Even if you go deeper than the 1-2-3 on the stage, all our guys did respectable time trials. At first, I thought it was going to be Rohan Dennis, Stefan Küng and Tejay van Garderen but then, Damiano Caruso did a great ride. Even after losing his chain at the top of the climb, he did an amazing job. It was a pretty impressive display from us and I think it shows that all the work behind the scenes has paid off. We have a big team that does a lot of good work on the technical side of things so it is nice to see it all coming together."

"If we came into this race knowing that we could make the podium, we would have been happy so, to finish second is a great result. Damiano has been super impressive all week and I think everyone can be really happy after this race."

And here's the final update from overall winner Simon Spilak's Katusha-Alpecin team:

With a win already in the bag in Ster ZLM Toer, Team KATUSHA ALPECIN looked to double up on victories Sunday and did just that with a strong performance from Simon Špilak in the individual time trial in the 81st Tour de Suisse (2.UWT). Špilak took fifth on the stage and maintained his wide margin of victory to take a second GC title in the important lead-up race to July’s Tour de France.

“This was a very hard day and difficult TT,” said Simon Špilak. “It was harder than we expected. We did our recon of the route in the morning. By this afternoon it was so hot, but I am so happy. It is my second win here. I am happy for my teammates, too. All week all of them did such a great job. Temperature is my biggest enemy here in Suisse, but I beat the heat this time.”

The final stage in Tour de Suisse was a 28.6k ITT in Schaffhausen. Known for being able to produce a good effort against the clock, Špilak took fifth on the day behind winner Rohan Dennis and captured the overall GC by 48-seconds to Damiano Caruso (BMC). It was Špilak’s second win in three years at the Tour de Suisse and his 12th professional win with half of them coming on Suisse soil.

simon Spilak

Spilak rides the final stage

“Looking ahead is Poland; that is my next goal,” said Simon Špilak. “No grand tours for me since 2014 – this is my own decision. I prefer stage races of six-10 days. Of course, it would be nice to win a Tour de France stage or to become world champion.”

Cannondale-Drapac reports on the final Tour du Sud stage:

New Zealander Tom Scully won his first race in #GreenArgyle on Sunday, when he took the final stage of La Route du Sud, giving Cannondale-Drapac its second victory in as many days. Pierre Rolland won the race's queen stage on Saturday.

Scully, 27, rode for Drapac Professional Cycling Team last season and this is his first win in the WorldTour. He won the 154-kilometer tilt from Gers-Saint Michel to Nogaro with a mixture of craft and strength.

Tom Scully

Tom Scully wins the final stage

"I knew it would be hard for a team to chase in the heat, as it was really easy to go into the red in these conditions," said Scully.

In a nail-biting cat-and-mouse game in the final kilometers of the race, Scully was one of five riders of the original nine-rider break that stayed in front of the peloton on the line.

While the nine-rider group was still intact underneath the flamme rouge, the peloton closed in on the group in the final meters to result in a bunch sprint-type of finish. Scully posted up on the line. Tom Van Asbroeck celebrated a little further back, taking twelfth.

Scully not only took control of the final, he also played an active part in setting up the breakaway. "The early break went after about 15, 20 kilometers," Scully said. "It was a hot, dry, blue-sky day. Will Clarke was strong, covering moves right from the start. I waited after it was really hard, then gave it a go on a slight drag up. A few followed and we kept the gas on for a bit and eventually we had a group of seven away, working nice together. Shortly after two more joined."

With no one in the breakaway a threat for the general classification, the peloton let them have a maximum advantage of 2:40. "We knew in hot weather, and with the bonus seconds being fought over between GC teams, that a breakaway had a chance to make it to the line," said sports director Charly Wegelius. "Nine riders is a good sized group. That made it hard for the peloton to catch them back."

The 154.8 kilometer stage ended on the auto-track Paul Armagnac, with the break in plain sight for the peloton to chase. The wide and twisty roads made the finishing kilometers of La Route du Sud a true spectacle.

"The group was working hard, but everyone was getting tired approaching the car racing track," Scully said. "At three to go, the gap was down to 12 seconds. I wasn't particularly aiming for a stage win coming into this race, but it's always on the cards when you can have the freedom to get in the breakaway," Scully said. "So you just have to be ready."

Ready he was. He felt confident he could finish it off if he ended up in a race-winning escape. "I felt strong," Scully said. "I'm happy with how the condition is after a big block of training following the Classics."

Scully's performance was inspired by Rolland's victory the previous day. "Pierre's a great guy to race with. He led by example this week on a course that suited him," Scully said. "Today I had my chance on terrain that suited me to do the same. The feeling in the team at La Route du Sud was a good atmosphere.

"Looking back on La Route du Sud overall, I loved it, even the big day yesterday over the Tourmalet," Scully said. "For me, it was the first time racing in the big, big mountains, so it was pretty cool to do that."

"It's great seeing a kid that was on our development team all those years ago, and then come to us via Drapac, make good on his talent and racing instinct," Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. "Scully had a brief stint with the team in 2012, then called Garmin-Sharp, when he joined the team as a trainee from August to the end of the year.

Cannondale-Drapac walks away from the south of France with two stage wins and a top ten overall, with Rigoberto Uran in eighth.

And here's LottoNL-Jumbo's final Ster ZLM Toer report:

Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to second place behind Marcel Kittel in the fifth and final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer – GP Jan van Heeswijk today in Oss, The Netherlands. LottoNL-Jumbo’s Primoz Roglic closed second place overall and Groenewegen took home the points classification.

Andre Greipel

André Greipel was too fast for everyone else at the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer.

“Today Kittel was very strong, it is as easy as that,” Groenewegen said. “It was hectic in the final. I was able to get next to Kittel, but after a speed bump, he rode away a bit. We rode a very strong race here and I won two times. That is the confirmation that my form is good. Now it is time to get the last details right and we are ready for the Tour de France.”

Groenwegen, looking ahead to the Tour, feels suited to sprints that finish on a slight uphill. “A fast sprint is also good for me. It all depends on timing. You have many good sprinters. He who times it the best and has the most energy in the end, wins.”

“In a bunch sprint, it is all about the win and that was the only goal today,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said. “It is all about perfecting the sprint train for Dylan. Today, it didn’t work. We are going to evaluate this thoroughly. Towards the Tour de France, things like this are good and valuable. It was a huge fight, but compared to the Tour, this is nothing. I think we are doing better than last year at this point.”

In the last stage, Roglic was unable to improve his position in the overall classification. “It might have been different if there was a lot of wind, but there was no wind. Primoz is going to rest and sharpen for the Tour. We have had a good week. We are full of confidence towards the national championship and after that, the Tour de France.”

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