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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, July 1, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path. - Khalil Gibran

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Updated version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 2 is available

We've updated our two-volume history of the Tour de France. The second volume, which brings the race up to 2018 and Geraint Thomas' win over Tom Dumoulin is for sale on Amazon in both print and Kindle e-book versions. Both and Amazon UK have the books.

We're nearly ready to release our revised and updated first volume. We'll let you know when it is for sale. The link to the right will take to to Amazon's listing of the Kindle version of Volume two.

To make room for the decade-plus of racing since we first issued our Tour history in 2007, the Eddy Merckx years have been moved to the first volume. The second book starts with super climber Lucien van Impe's 1976 win on a course made for riders with wings. Van Impe's win was followed by Bernard Thévenet's second Tour win and then the Bernard Hinault years.

Here's the cover art with Hinault winning stage eighteen of the 1981 Tour:

The Story of the Tour de france

Max Schachmann, Patrick Konrad, Davide Formolo, Sam Bennett and Juraj Sagan claim National Road Titles for BORA - hansgrohe

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this:

Already on Friday Maciej Bodnar was able to defend his national time trial title. Today the road races were decided at the national championships. BORA – hansgrohe riders took the titles in Germany, Austria, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia. With a total of 10 medals the German team can look forward confidently to the upcoming Tour de France.

Maxh Schachmann

Max Schachmann is the new German road champion

"What to say, I am more than happy to have become the new German Champion and to keep the jersey in our team. We rode an amazing race today, my teammates supported me on the final laps and it is such an incredible feeling not only to take the win, but also to complete the podium. I am really looking forward to wearing this beautiful jersey next week at my first participation at the Tour de France.” – Max Schachmann

“It was a tough race. There was already a selection on the first climb if the day. In the downhill, Michi Gogl attacked and Gregor and me were able to follow. It was still pretty far to the finish, but we worked well together to extend our lead constantly. With 20 km to go the attacks started. It was Michi who made a first move, Gregor closed, and I was able to counter attack. Without Gregor it would have been a different story, he was really strong and was a big help in the final. He also would have deserved to win, but in the end I was lucky to take my first road title. To wear my countries National Champions jersey at the upcoming Tour de France make me really proud and gives also an extra motivation for the race in France.” – Patrick Konrad

“I’m very happy to be crowned Slovak champion for the third time in front of such big crowds. It was a nice race and we look forward to some big celebrations tonight.” – Juraj Sagan

"When I attacked with 40km to go, I thought, I can try the same I did at Volta a Catalunya on the final stage and just pulled. With a gap of 30 seconds and less than 20km to go, I knew I have to give it my all and just put the head down and rode. I am so happy. To wear the Maglia Tricolore is something really special, I am so proud and overwhelmed to be able to represent, at the next races and upcoming season, my country on the roads all over the world.” – Davide Formolo

"I couldn't be happier to have become Irish National Champion today. It has been a career goal for the longest time. I can't wait to wear the Irish National Jersey on the WorldTour in a bunch sprint finish. Eddie Dunbarr was so strong today, I had to fight really hard to stay with him on the last lap. I am really pleased with the result.” – Sam Bennett


01 P. Konrad
02 M. Gogl
03 G. Mühlberger

01 M. Schachmann
02 M. Burghardt
03 A. Schillinger

01 J. Sagan
02 E. Baska
03 P. Tybor

01 D. Formolo
02 S. Colbrelli
03 A. Bettiol

01 S. Bennett
02 E. Dunbar
03 R. Mullen

Poland TT
01 M. Bodnar
02 K. Gradek
03 M. Bialoblocki 

Jansen wins Norwegian title, Van Aert third at Belgian championship

Team Jumbo-Visma sent me this report:

Amund Grøndahl Jansen has won the Norwegian championship. The 25-year-old Norwegian from Team Jumbo-Visma was the fastest of a group of three riders. Wout van Aert won the bronze medal at the Belgian championship. In the mass sprint the 24-year-old Belgian came up fast, but in the end he had to settle for third place. In the Netherlands, Danny van Poppel initially finished second. However, he was classified 28th by the jury due to irregular sprinting.

amund Grondahl Jansen

Amund Grøndahl Jansen winning stage three of the ZLM Tour.

For the brand new Norwegian champion Jansen it is his second victory of the season, after he had previously won a stage in the ZLM Tour. Jansen’s win in the Norwegian championship means Team Jumbo-Visma’s thirty-fifth win of the season. Jansen will wear his new champion jersey for the first time during the first stage of the Tour de France on July 6.

“It was an ideal course for me”, Jansen said. “It included some hills and the wind created echelons. It will be fantastic to ride the Tour wearing the Norwegian jersey. I’m going to enjoy it very much.”

In the final kilometres of the Belgian championship the breakaway was caught, after which the peloton prepared for a mass sprint. Van Aert had to come from afar and could not prevent his friend Tim Merlier from becoming Belgian champion, despite his strong final shot.

“I already had to do a sprint when I came out of the last corner”, said Van Aert. “When I wanted to go, I was locked in. It was my own fault. My three teammates gave their all for me. We went for the title today, but unfortunately it did not work out. I would have liked to see that the race was more difficult in the final. Unfortunately, the course was not made for that.”

Jos van Emden and Koen Bouwman made the race at the Dutch championship in Ede. They were present in a leading group of nine with a maximum lead of almost nine minutes. This group was caught in the last five kilometres, so this championship also ended in a mass sprint. Van Poppel was well-positioned by his teammates of Team Jumbo-Visma, after which he rode a strong sprint and finished second. A wrong maneuver in the last hundred and fifty metres caused the 25-year-old rider to be relegated to place 28.

“It feels like I finished second today”, a disappointed Van Poppel said. “But I have to accept the decision of the jury.”

Ag2r La Mondiale makes changes to its Tour de France team

The squad sent me this update:

After the finish of the French Championships, Alexis Gougeard was chosen to compete in the Tour de France. “Alexis has returned to his best level, which he confirmed after spending the day at the front of the race of the French Championships. This earned him the chance to return to the Tour de France. He has found an exceptional level of form. He is a great rider, able to be strong in the middle mountain stages, and he has an exceptional team spirit,” said Vincent Lavenu.

Alexis Gougeard

Alexis Gougeard wins the third stage of this years Tour of the Sarthe.

However, it has also been decided to replace Pierre Latour with Alexis Vuillermoz in the squad for the upcoming Tour de France: “After talking with Pierre Latour, we decided that it was more reasonable to replace him for the next Tour de France. He has been struggling since returning to the competition, and it would have been very risky to send him to a race like the Tour de France,” Vincent Lavenu explained.

ALEXIS GOUGEARD : "Extremely happy"
"Since the beginning of the season, I have proved that my condition is good. I am very happy to return to the Tour. I wanted to prove that I had my place.

I have great memories of my participation in the 2016 Tour where I worked very well with Romain. I have been frustrated not to participate in the last two editions, but I simply did not have a high enough level. I want to prove that the team has been right to choose me. That means I want to be an important asset for the stages in general, but also for the time trial.”

ALEXIS VUILLERMOZ : "Honored with this trust"
"After the Giro d'Italia, I started training quickly again. I did have being selected for the Tour team in mind, and I am very honored that the team trusts me. During the month of June, I re-found great sensations that I have not had for a long time in training. I am going to the start in order to work for the team to the maximum, and hopefully to take my chances when the opportunity arises.”

PIERRE LATOUR : "It's better like this"
"I'm not disappointed, it's better like this. I was not in a good enough condition during the Tour de Suisse, and that was confirmed today at the French Championships. At the Tour, I would not be worth anything to the team. This absence will allow me to continue training well with the goal to be better at the end of the season and the Vuelta.”

Medical report after the crash involving Gallopin, Cosnefroy and Paret-Peintre.

“Tony Gallopin suffered ‘left elbow wounds that required stitches, but also multiple superficial wounds on the left side and a trauma to the left calf’.
Benoît Cosnefroy was taken care of by the medical service of the French Championship organizers, and suffers from ‘road rash of the right shoulder, elbow and hip.’ As for Aurélien Paret Paintre, he suffers from multiple areas of superficial road rash,” explained Dr. Eric Bouvat, medical director of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team.

Regarding the participation of Tony Gallopin and Benoît Cosnefroy in the Tour de France, a decision will be made in the coming hours.

Mathias Frank took third place in the Swiss Road Championships: "This race is always a lottery. It was very hot today and I am happy to have been in the game all day. This gives me confidence before the Tour de France.”

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