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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 13, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I used to tease Joe Louis by reminding him that I was the greatest of all time. But Joe Louis was the greatest heavyweight fighter ever. - Muhammad Ali

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Chris Froome's Team INEOS reports on Froome's accident

Here's the release Froome's team sent me:

Team INEOS can confirm that Chris Froome sustained multiple serious injuries during a recon of stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine today (Wednesday).

The 34 year old crashed towards the end of his route recon in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, sustaining injuries including a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs.

Froome has subsequently been ruled out of the rest of the race and will also miss the 2019 Tour de France.

Chris Froome

The day before the disaster. Chris Froome has his bike checked just before the start of stage 3. Sirotti photo

Team Doctor, Richard Usher, said: "Chris was taken to Roanne Hospital where initial examinations confirmed multiple injuries, most notably a fractured right femur and right elbow. He has also suffered fractured ribs. He is now being airlifted to St Etienne University Hospital for further treatment.

“On behalf of the Team, I would like to commend the treatment he received from the emergency services and all at Roanne Hospital in assessing and stabilising him. We will now turn our focus towards supporting him in his recovery."

Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, added: "Our primary focus now is obviously on ensuring Chris gets the very best possible care, which he will do, so he can recover as soon as possible. One of our big strengths on this team is coming together in difficult moments, and we will ensure we do everything possible to support Chris and his family.”

Brailsford continued: “Even though we all recognise the risks involved in our sport, it’s always traumatic when a rider crashes and sustains serious injuries. Chris had worked incredibly hard to get in fantastic shape and was on track for the Tour, which unfortunately he will now miss.

“One of the things which sets Chris apart is his mental strength and resilience – and we will support him totally in his recovery, help him to recalibrate and assist him in pursuing his future goals and ambitions.”

Everyone at Team INEOS wishes Chris well in his recovery.

Critérium du Dauphiné stage four team reports

We posted the organizer's race report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Wout van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert has won the time trial in the Criterium du Dauphiné in an impressive way. In the 26 kilometre time trial in Roanne the Belgian rider of Team Jumbo-Visma was the only one to finish under 34 minutes. He was more than half a minute faster than the number two.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert going very fast at the Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

Team leader Steven Kruijswijk rode a more than promising time trial. The Dutchman finished fourth at 49 seconds from Van Aert. In the overall standings Kruijswijk is now fifth at 24 seconds from Adam Yates. Van Aert has moved up to ninth place and retains the lead in both the points and the youth ranking.

For Van Aert, who already finished on the podium four times this season - of which twice in the Dauphiné - it is his first victory of the season and the twenty-fourth for Team Jumbo-Visma.

“It’s a great win. I can’t believe it”, Van Aert says. “I have worked a lot on my time trial in recent weeks, but I never expected to win here. I am very happy with this victory. Obviously the course suited me very well with the long straight roads and that climb. I knew I could do good time trials, but I never really focused on it because of my cyclocross duties. This highly experienced team focuses on this discipline and that makes a big difference. This was my first time trial in the colours of Team Jumbo-Visma and I immediately won the race. It is also my first WorldTour victory. It couldn’t have been more beautiful.”

Steven Kruijswijk was happy with Van Aert’s victory. “It is super nice that he wins. With a second and third place this week, he was close twice already. It was also a good day for myself. I know I can do good time trials and this fourth place confirms this. I am happy that my form is good. It provides confidence for the coming days and certainly for the Tour. It’s a pity that I lost time in the second stage, but we are back in a good position for the Alps. I am happy with the way this day evolved.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann experienced a super day. “It couldn’t have been better today. In advance we had hoped to have two riders in the top ten, but this victory and the fourth place are beyond our expectations. It was really a time trial for the GC riders and the climb was far from easy. Wout and Steven rode a very consistent time trial and confirmed to be in a good shape. Wout is going to be of value for Steven in the Tour. Not only in the mountains, but also in the flat stages and in the team time trial. We already knew he could do this, but now he has proved it too.”

New GC leader Adam Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

Briton Adam Yates had a strong ride in today’s individual time trial to move himself into the overall race lead after four-days of racing at Critérium du Dauphiné.

Yates started the stage in 10th place overall, 24seconds down on race leader Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), and after his powerful performance resulting in sixth place on the stage, the 26-year-old did enough to move into the race leader's jersey, four-seconds ahead of Teuns.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates turning in his excellent ride. Sirotti photo

In the early proceedings of the 26.1-kilometre time trial, it was Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) who set the early bench mark with a time of 35minutes 16seconds.

The fairly technical course with one climb up to 613metres, saw some large time gaps opening up, and the general classification began to naturally take shape.

Things got interesting in the second part of the race as Woet van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) beat the next best time set by stage favourite Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) by over 47seconds.

Knowing the time to beat, Yates set off and headed through the first time check after 11.5kilometres of racing, with a promising time of 19minutes 16seconds, which was good enough for a provisional third fastest time.

After fighting his way around the final downhill kilometres of the course, Yates eventually crossed the line with a very respectable time of 34minutes 34seconds, for sixth position.

As the last nine riders completed the distance, Yates sat as the virtual race leader waiting patiently to see Teuns’ time. Having given everything he had, the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider’s time proved to be enough to move into the yellow jersey, an exciting position to be in with four-hard stages to come.

Adam Yates - Overall race leader:
"I went out, did the best I could and here we are. We knew it would be a hard day but it was a very good course for me, really. These big long straights aren’t my favourite but I put my head down and rode the climb as fast as possible.

"I made a good time. It was a good day for me. It’s a sprinters’ stage tomorrow, so hopefully other teams will be eager to control. It’ll be a massive task to bring the yellow jersey until the end. I hope to do it but I’ll take it day by day. It’s gonna be tricky. I’m sure the mountain stages will be hard to control."

Fifth-place Emanuel Buchmann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

The fourth stage of the Critérium du Dauphine saw an individual time trial on a 26,1 km long course around the city of Roanne. After 11,5 kilometres the course featured a 4-kilometre-long climb, followed by a fast and technical downhill, before a last flat section. The first BORA – hansgrohe rider to leave the start ramp was Shane Archbold, followed by Giro d’Italia stage winner Cesare Benedetti and Christoph Pfingsten.

Yesterday’s stage winner Sam Bennett left the start ramp shortly before 2pm and finished the course in a time of 38:18 minutes. BORA – hansgrohe’s climbers Felix Großschartner and Gregor Mühlberger went out on the course relatively relaxed to save energy for the upcoming mountain stages. Nevertheless, Felix showed once again his great shape and time trial skills, as he finished the course after 36:16. Teammate Gregor Mühlberger finished the course in a time of 37:08. The last BORA – hansgrohe rider was Emanuel Buchmann, who started the day 13th on the general classification. The German rider wanted to improve his position and gave everything to finish the course with a good result.

Emanuel, not known as a time trial specialist, put in a great effort, taking the fifth best time at the intermediate checkpoint. Emanuel finished the time trial in a time of 34:29, which was the 5th place at the end of the day, and meant by far his strongest time trial result so far. With this strong performance Emanuel Buchmann also moved up to seventh position in the GC.

From the Finish Line:
“Right after the start I found my rhythm and had good sensations, but also the course suited me well. I felt really good and of course I wanted to move up in the general classification, therefore I gave my all. I am happy, that I was able to hold my rhythm and pace to finish the time trial in 5th place. I am now in a promising position before the mountains on the week end, and I am really looking forward to these stages now.”– Emanuel Buchmann

“I am here at the Critérium du Dauphine to support Emu and Sam. After my successful spring season, where my teammates have supported me perfectly, I am happy to be able to give something back now. I was in the wind tunnel and we changed my TT position slightly, I felt good today but went easy on the course to save the energy for the upcoming stages.”– Felix Großschartner

“We wanted to do a good time trial with Emu, the course was really technical, and it was not easy to find a rhythm. Emanuel found right from the beginning a good pace and felt good at the first part, which was marked by headwind. He had the 5thbest time at the intermediate check point and was able to hold this position until the finish line, a really strong result. I think it was so far his best performance in a time trial. Due to this result he moved up to seventh overall and we are back on track also at that end.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

Thomas De Gendt: Giro is done, now the Tour

De Gendt's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

For the first time in his career, Thomas De Gendt will be riding all three Grand Tours in one year. The Lotto Soudal rider only just returned from the Giro d’Italia but already has the next goal in mind: the Tour de France. The allrounder lends an insight into the period between the past Giro d’Italia and the upcoming Tour de France.

Thomas de Gendt

Thomas De Gendt riding stage 12 of the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo.

Thomas De Gendt: “The Giro was tough for everyone, but we managed to complete it. The team went to Italy with a clear goal: to take a stage victory. We succeeded in that objective with Caleb Ewan, who won twice and we also took some nice podium places as well.”

“The upcoming training schedule will be limited the coming week. Having ridden the Giro, I don’t need to do any additional long training rides. I will now train until the Belgian championships, where I will take part in both the time trial and road race. In addition, I will train three days in Spain and two days in the Vosges. The other rides will be close to home.”

“I need the Belgian championships to maintain the race rhythm. Winning would be very nice but if that doesn’t happen, I have at least those kilometres in the legs towards the Tour de France.”

“In the Tour de France, it will in the first place be about trying to take a stage win with Caleb Ewan. Hopefully, that will already be the case in the first week, which would take away a lot of stress inside the team. Winning in Brussels would be the perfect start but the Tour is always something special. It will be difficult.”

“I will of course also be aiming for a stage win in the Tour de France. I think there are more possibilities in the Tour than the Giro this year. After the first rest day, the peloton will more often give the escapees some freedom and that’s exactly where my opportunities are. I am not exactly a superstitious person, but if I sleep in room number 103 during the Tour de France, you need to keep an eye on me. I already won often with that number and it will always be special.”

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