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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, July 13, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

This is the strangest life I've ever known. - Jim Morrison

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Tour de France stage seven team reports

We'll start with the bad news from EF Education first:

American Tejay van Garderen has been forced to withdraw from the Tour de France after breaking his hand in a crash on stage seven.

The incident occurred just outside the start town of Belfort, seven kilometers into the longest stage of the Tour. Van Garderen hit a traffic island causing him to fall heavily on his hand, face, and front of his body. Mike Teunissen of Jumbo-Visma also hit the ground in the incident.

Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen finishing a stage in the Dauphiné earlier this year. Sirotti photo

“The crash was a result of a personal error,” said van Garderen. “I was looking down at my bike because I saw something caught up in it, like a piece of paper, so I was looking down and I hit a median. I have no one to blame but myself, and I really hope that no one else got hurt because of me.”

Van Garderen's EF Education First Pro Cycling teammates rallied around him in the aftermath and, after an initial medical inspection, he remounted his bike and rode the rest of the 223-kilometers to the finish into Chalon-sur-Saône, losing contact with the main group only in the last five kilometers.

He received an immediate medical examination at the finish line with the team’s head doctor, Kevin Sprouse, and from the Tour de France’s doctor as well. The two determined van Garderen required an X-ray, which was performed by the race radiologist. The X-ray confirmed that van Garderen had broken his hand.

“After today’s stage, Tejay had his wounds cleaned and bandaged,” Sprouse said. “We then went for an X-ray. In addition to multiple abrasions, it was determined that he has a nondisplaced fracture at the base of his first metacarpal on the left hand. He has been placed in a splint and will not start stage eight.”

“We never want to see a rider leave the Tour like this,” EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “There is a huge amount of work that goes into the preparation for this race, no one wants to be there more than these riders do. After talking with Tejay, our doctor,  and race directors this evening, we’re not only concerned about Tejay doing lasting damage to the fractured bone if he were to continue riding, but we are also concerned for the safety of others, too. Full use of your hand is important when racing alongside 180 riders.”

“We will miss having him in the team,” Vaughters added. “He has showed great form coming into the race. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he’ll be back racing again soon.”

Van Garderen will be sorely missed from the Tour team over the next two weeks, as the race tackles the Pyrenees and the Alps; not only as one of Rigoberto Uran’s support riders, but as an incredibly valued teammate.

"All I’m thinking about now is the disappointment, less for myself and more for the team," said van Garderen. "Rigo and Woods, they both have a big chance to podium, to win stages, even to win the whole damn Tour. I would have loved to have been a part of that, to contribute to that, but unfortunately, as all cyclists have become accustomed to saying, these things happen.”

Stage winner Dylan Groenewegen's Jumbo-Visma team sent me this report:

Dylan Groenewegen has won the seventh stage in the Tour de France. In the streets of Chalon-sur-Saône, the sprinter of Team Jumbo-Visma pushed his wheel across the finish line before Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan. It is the third stage victory for Team Jumbo-Visma in this Tour, after the Dutch team had previously won the opening stage and the team time trial.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen takes the Tour's seventh stage. Sirotti photo.

It is the eleventh victory of the season for the 26-year-old rider from Amsterdam. The victory in this Tour stage means the 38th season win for the team of manager Richard Plugge.

“This Tour did not start as I wanted”, a happy Groenewegen said. “It took me a few days to recover from my crash in the opening stage. Today I felt good again. We took the lead in the final quite early. Because of this, we got a bit locked in. Fortunately, Mike made some space, so I could get out. My Tour has succeeded with this victory.”

Wout van Aert, who, just like Tony Martin, Amund Jansen and Mike Teunissen, played an important role in the sprint train, had faith in the good outcome. “During the last sprint, Dylan had not yet fully recovered from his crash. Today, I noticed that he was a lot happier, but especially that he was more interested in the victory. It’s nice that he could finish it off today.”

Groenewegen: “I really wanted that victory. It didn’t work out during the first and the second chance, but third time's the charm.”

Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

Yesterday gave the peloton a brief insight into how the GC race might unfold in the coming weeks, but today it was going to be back to business for the sprinters on the Tour de France’s longest day. The 230km route headed south-west to the finish in Chalon-sur-Saône, crossing three categorised climbs, before a flat 90km blast to what was tailor-made for the sprinters. The intermediate sprint coming late in the day, at the 196.5km mark would mix things up a little, given the risk of late attacks if the peloton is all together for this.

With the race out of the neutralised zone, the attacks started and a duo made their escape, building up a lead that topped out at almost six minutes. This advantage rose and fell as the day went on, but there was little movement in the peloton in trying to make the catch too early when there was still so much of the stage still to go. With only two riders up ahead, there would be much more interest in the points available on the intermediate sprint and this was clear from the peloton organising itself from the 50km to go point. The pace rising briefly here and Peter Sagan taking second from the bunch, the gap dropped even more to just over a minute.

With BORA-hansgrohe driving the pace ahead of the finish, it was all back together with 12km to go – perfect timing for the sprinters to prepare themselves for the finale. Riding close to the front so he didn’t get blocked in, Peter was surrounded by the familiar white and teal jerseys of his teammates, Daniel Oss and Marcus Burghardt riding side by side at the head of the peloton.

While all those around him were losing their cool and expending themselves too early, Peter was the picture of calm – four men back and waiting before starting his sprint with 200m to go. In a powerful sprint, he was passed only in the last seconds into third position – a strong performance after more than six hours in the saddle. Peter’s position in the intermediate and finishing sprints means he tightens his grip on the Maillot Vert ahead of some difficult days to come.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan tightened his grip on the green jersey. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line :
"I'm happy with my performance and my result today.  It was a very long stage, with wind and quite slow speed that finished, as expected in a bunch sprint.  It was the fastest rider that won today but once again, everybody worked hard in the team, I took more points in the intermediate sprint while my third place at the finish further increased my advantage. I'm happy with my form, we have a tough stage tomorrow where we will give our best." – Peter Sagan

"We had a good day in my view. We are aware that under normal circumstances in a clear, flat and fast sprint like the one today, there are a couple of riders that would be faster than Peter, so third place is a really good result. However, it was also important to achieve this without spending too much energy, in view of tomorrow. Everybody tried to save as much as they could during the stage since this will be crucial. Tomorrow's stage will be hard but also one where we have a chance, so every single rider in the team has to be as fresh as possible in order to achieve the best result possible. Having Peter in the top spots of the sprint finish while saving our legs for tomorrow were our two goals and I think we achieved that today." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director 

Mitchelton-Scott reports on the Giro Rosa

The team sent me this update:

The eighth and longest stage of the Giro-Rosa saw Mitchelton-SCOTT work to keep race leader Annemiek van Vleuten safe and in the Maglia Rosa for another day.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Here's Annemiek van Vleuten in the 2015 Giro Rosa. She's not new to winning.

In the final 40kilometres, a breakaway group of 10riders jumped away and with all the general classification contenders watching each other behind in the main peloton, the group was able to gain some distance and survive all the way to the finish line.

A late attacker, Elizabeth Banks (Bigla Pro Team), held on to take a solo stage win with Van Vleuten, Amanda Spratt and Lucy Kennedy all finishing safely in the main bunch.

The stage began with a flurry of attacks but once again no riders were able to get away in the opening kilometres. Mid-way through the race, on the first of two categorised climbs of the day, Van Vleuten attacked and rode away solo, cresting the top around 15 seconds ahead of a reduced chase group containing all the GC riders and teammate Spratt.

Van Vleuten's attack was a surprise for many, but came from the idea of starting the tricky descent in a good postion, rather than riding down in a large group. After the descent the peloton settled down as Van Vleuten returned to the group of chasers which had swelled in size with 70kilometres still left to race.

On the rolling roads towards the finish line, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Van Vleuten were happy to let a group of 10riders breakaway. This allowed the two-time stage winner to remain relaxed in the main bunch with the general classification under no threat.

After finishing the stage safely, Van Vleuten holds on to her sizeable overall race lead of four-minutes and 11seconds going into tomorrow's penultimate stage, the final summit finish of the race.

Annemiek van Vleuten:
“It was a really, really good day for us today, the girls where awesome, even better than the last days. I had goosebumps seeing all five of them, the black and yellow Mitchelton-SCOTT train riding in front of me.

“I attacked on the main climb with about two-kilometres from the top just because we did a recon and I knew the climb and that descent was quite dangerous.

"Girls without the pink jersey could take it fast and take more risks down the decent to put me under pressure or the podium under pressure for the general classification, so I just wanted to go down the descent ahead in order to be safe.

“I was actually eager to continue ahead once I had a gap but I know tomorrow is an important day and that wasn’t the plan for today to get away.”

Giro-Rosa - Stage 8 Results:
1. Elizabeth Banks (Bigla Pro Team) 3:38:17
2. Leah Thomas (Bigla Pro Team) +0:30
3. Soraya Paladin (Ale-Cipollini) +0:30
21. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:56

General Classification after stage 8:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 18:43:01
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) +4:11
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) +4:26

Dutch bike market turning exclusively electric

Bike Europe sent me this:

AMERSFOORT, the Netherlands – First half year results for the Dutch market indicate that again electric bike sales is showing huge growth. It contrasts sharply with the sale of regular bicycles, which is sinking further and further. This mounting divergence even raises the question whether there will still be room for regular bicycles in the near future, or whether the Dutch market as a whole will switch to electric? And is this an indication on what’s to happen in more markets?

After a year that had already saw unprecedented growth, 2019 is also showing relentless interest in electric bicycles. During the first half year the sale of city e-bikes (turnover-wise) grew by some 35 percent in the Netherlands. In 2018 (volume-wise) electric bike sales in Holland rose by close to 38 percent to 410,000 units growing to be the biggest category.

Despite the fact that the sale of electric bicycles in the Netherlands continues to grow for many years now, there’s no sign of saturation whatsoever. A recent Dynamo Retail Group market survey underlined that. Dynamo Retail Group is operating shop formats like Bike Totaal, Dynamo Retail Service, Fietswereld and Profile de Fietsspecialist in Holland, Belgium and Germany and has some 800 affiliated dealers/members.

This survey involving 321 stores in the Netherlands indicates that in terms of turnover bicycle sales (including e-bikes) in the first six months of 2019 was up 17.4 percent compared to the same period one year earlier. For e-bikes in the city bike category the Dynamo Retail Group survey reveals that turnover on average at the 321 surveyed stores increased by 35.3 percent! Electric Trekking bikes sold also well with a 10.8 percent turnover growth in the first six months of the year compared to the same period of 2018. E-MTB sales was also up big in the first half of 2019; even by 47 percent. However, that sale is in turnover-wise still very limited.

You can read the entire story here.

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