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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, July 8, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality. - John Locke

Current racing:

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Tour de France stage two team time trial reports

We'll start with winner Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has won the Team Time Trial in the Tour de France in a superior way. In Brussels, the team covered the 27.6 kilometres in a time of 28'57, twenty seconds ahead of number two Ineos. As a result, Mike Teunissen retained his leading position in the overall classification. The team now occupies the first five positions. Teunissen is also in possession of the green points jersey. Wout van Aert has taken the white jersey as he now is the leader in the best young rider classification.

Jumbo Visma

The Jumbo-Visma team was the day's fastest. Sirotti photo.

For Team Jumbo-Visma, it is the third victory in a team time trial in just a few months time. Last year, the team won the team time trial in the Tour of Britain and earlier this year in the UAE Tour. It is the 37th victory of the team this season.

“Today, everything came together”, Teunissen said. “You can see that everything is possible if you are in a flow. We maintained our speed and everyone worked very well. The boys were all very strong. Our big goal was to win the team time trial. We succeeded and that is simply amazing. The fact that I won yesterday was very nice, but winning as a team is actually even better. We haven’t won here with eight, but with about one hundred people. This is the reward for all the hard work that we put into this the past few weeks, months and even years, with the right people in the right positions. Holding on to the yellow is a nice bonus. Now I can enjoy the yellow jersey for a whole day tomorrow.”

Leader Steven Kruijswijk was very happy with the victory. “I was not focused on my position in the GC today. The fact that I am gaining time on my competitors here is a nice bonus. We came here to win the team time trial and we succeeded in that. Wout, Mike and Tony were the team’s engines. All went well today, the pace was good and everyone did their job. We went really fast. We have started the Tour well and hopefully we can keep this flow in the coming days and weeks to achieve even more.”

According to performance manager Mathieu Heijboer, this is the ultimate triumph after years of investment. “This is really fantastic. In 2015, when we started with Team LottoNL-Jumbo, the team time trial became a very important part of our process. We have had a steady development with ups and downs. Recently we were in a good flow with the victories in the Tour of Britain and the UAE Tour and the second place in the Tirreno-Adriatico. Today, everything fell into place. We worked on this team time trial for weeks and months. We did a recon of the course several times and we went through various scenarios. We were really confident and the yellow jersey provided us with extra motivation. This victory characterizes our team and the philosophy we have: winning together.”

Team INEOS was second. Here's their report:

Team INEOS enjoyed a strong outing on the stage two team time trial at the Tour de France, finishing second in Brussels.

The team were first down the ramp in the Belgian capital and set an opening benchmark time of 29 minutes and 18 seconds. That marker held up well, as 20 teams tried and failed to finish quicker across a fast power course.


Team INEOS beat all but one team. Sirotti photo

With the team waiting on the hot seats, it was Jumbo-Visma who crossed the line last, taking victory on the day by a margin of 20 seconds.

Despite missing out on the stage victory, the day proved to be a successful one as both Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal climbed the general classification, taking key time out of a number of contenders.

Without the benefit of knowing the time splits of their rivals, the team set a consistent pace across the course. Luke Rowe and then Wout Poels emptied the tank before pulling off, with Michal Kwiatkowski following suit on the finish straight. Thomas led the team in, flanked by Bernal, Gianni Moscon, Jonathan Castroviejo and Dylan van Baarle.

The result moves half of the team up into the top 10 overall, with Bernal and Thomas sitting 30 seconds behind continued race leader Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma).

Geraint Thomas:
"It was quite good going off first as your judgment on how the ride went isn’t skewed by the result, but I felt it was good.

"Looking at GC, it’s a good performance, but obviously we wanted to win. I think 20 seconds [to Jumbo-Visma] is a big enough gap to know a few mistakes didn’t cost us the stage win. It was a positive day for sure.

"I have no injury issues, I was going pretty slow when I hit the barriers yesterday - I'm absolutely fine."

Egan Bernal:
"I think we did a really good TTT and it was really nice to be in the hot seat. We took some time on some good GC riders today so it was perfect for us. I felt really good in the stage - the feeling was better than last year in the TTT. I can be happy with that because I'm not a specialist and I was doing the TT with some strong guys. It was difficult but I felt good.

"I'm happy to be through these first two stages. In a Grand Tour you have to go day by day. I'm already thinking about tomorrow."

Nicolas Portal:
"Fantastic. This morning everyone was nervous. We’ve always done well in the TTT at the Tour but we’ve never won it. It’s day two so if you’re not too sure, you can lose time. We were pretty confident but you never know, and it’s a stressful day.

"At the end we’ve just been beaten by one team. We are a GC team and the guys have been working hard at climbing. They are all good time triallists but they’ve been working hard to become super climbers. So, for a climbing team, that’s a really good result."

Here's the report from third-place Deceuninck-Quick Step:

For the sixth time in the past decade, the Tour de France scheduled an early team time trial, on a fast and slightly undulating 27.6km-long course around Brussels. Riding on their new and lighter Specialized Shiv bikes, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders were among the last to leave the start house and put in a huge effort, flying over the route at a whooping average speed of 56.519km/h.

Team Quick Step

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step on their third-place ride. Sirotti photo

Not even the technical finale in the shadow of the Atomium – the breathtaking structure built for the 1958 World Expo – could stop the Wolfpack from clocking one of the day’s best times, 29:18, which put us in third place at the end of the stage – the squad’s first podium at the current Tour de France edition.

Sunday’s result helped Elia Viviani remain the team’s best placed rider in the overall standings, where he now lies in tenth position, but more importantly, elevated race debutant Enric Mas and helped him gain nearly one minute on many of the riders who are gunning for a strong GC result.

“We did a good time trial. Ok, we lost Michael and Max quite early, but the other riders covered them and rode as a compact unit, keeping the speed high and giving their all out there”, sports director Tom Steels said. “We would have loved to win today, but considering everything, third isn’t a bad result, especially as we protected Enric and helped him move up in the ranking, alongside Julian.”

And here's Bora-hansgrohe's report:

Staying in Belgium for stage 2, riders took to the streets of Brussels for a second time for a Team Time Trial. Starting from the Palais Royale, the 27.6km route took place over a rolling parcours, and while the profile wouldn’t trouble the riders too much, the terrain would stop the day being about all-out speed, while strong bike-handling skills would be needed both to negotiate the twists and turns as well as the street furniture as the race moved into the city. Teams would have to stay together, riding carefully to avoid losing too much time, as even at this early stage, any time gaps could prove pivotal in the GC race.

Going out of the start gate fifteenth of twenty-two teams, BORA-hansgrohe would have an idea of the times they would have to beat, with the faster finishers coming in in less than thirty minutes. Rolling down the start ramp on custom-painted Roval 321 wheels, the team looked relaxed and rode strategically and efficiently to conserve their energy over the long course, with Peter Sagan wearing the familiar green jersey by virtue of his being second in the points contest.


Bora-hansgrohe takes a corner. Sirotti photo

Coming through the first checkpoint in 14:15, this put the team in the top half of the field. Keeping an eye on their rivals’ times and not allowing the sight of the famous Atomium on the horizon to push them into the red by pushing too hard, they crossed the line in a time of 29:44. This put the BORA-hansgrohe riders into sixth on the road, and with all the teams in, the squad took twelfth on the stage, forty-six seconds down on the stage winners. 

From the Finish Line:
"I had a crash yesterday and felt a bit of pain in the evening but it was already much better this morning and didn't have any effect on my performance in the race today. I think we had a solid time-trial, probably not the best but still, we didn't lose much time. My aim is to finish in Paris in the GC top ten and I think I have the margin to achieve it if everything goes smoothly and I don't suffer from something unexpected." – Emanuel Buchmann

"Our plan today was not to start too strong and gradually build up the pace. The guys did a good job in the second half of the race and minimized our time losses. With half a minute lost over the main contenders, this was more or less what we were expecting today. Being a very close race, our standing wasn't the best but the time differences were within what we thought was possible. In hindsight, you could argue that we could have taken a bit more risk in the beginning but I think the result was OK and that we are on the right track." – Enrico Poitschke 

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