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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 14, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Why old-fashioned soap is actually better at destroying the coronavirus [than alcohol]: the hydrophilic tails of soap molecules bond with the lipid membrane that protects the virus, literally ripping it apart, while their hydrophilic heads bond with the water that washes the dead virus away. – Brooke Jarvis in The New Yorker

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage two team reports

We posted the organizer's stage two summary with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic has claimed yet another victory for Team Jumbo-Visma. The Slovenian leader was supreme on the Col de Porte and climbed to the second consecutive stage victory for his team in the Criterium du Dauphiné. The national road champion also takes over the overall lead from teammate Wout van Aert.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic wins the stage and takes over the GC lead.

It is the twelfth victory for Team Jumbo-Visma in 2020 and the eighth in the last thirteen days. For Roglic it is his fifth victory of the season.

In the stage with the finish on top of the Col de Porte, an early breakaway was successfully controlled by Tony Martin, Robert Gesink and overall leader Van Aert. After Team Ineos had done its job on the final climb, Sepp Kuss pulled through and kept going with Roglic following in his wheel. Going into the final kilometre, Roglic accelerated, after which no one was able to follow. Tom Dumoulin had a mechanical at the start of the climb and, like Steven Kruijswijk, he had to give in a little more than a minute.

“It is a good result for our team”, Roglic said. “We have shown once again that we prepared well for these races. The whole team did a great job and I am glad I was able to finish it off. We knew it was going to be a difficult stage with a tough final climb. Perhaps the toughest this week. We controlled the stage from the start. The boys were very strong and we finished it perfectly. I am very happy with this victory. I certainly cannot complain with how it is going after having won the Tour de l’Ain and this stage. I am happy with every race I can ride this year and I am very happy with the way things are going now. Both for me and for the team. But we are not there yet. The next three days are going to be tough and we have to stay sharp and focused.”

Sepp Kuss supported Roglic until the last kilometre and made a strong impression. “I felt really good. The pace of Team Ineos was high from the start of the climb and it was mainly a matter of keeping your rhythm and trying to follow. After Ineos was done, I increased the pace because I knew Primoz could finish it off on such a finish. He did, and how! We have once again proved that we can work well together as a team and that our confidence is very high. I am already looking forward to the coming days.”

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

On only the second day of the Criterium du Dauphiné, the riders would see an Hors Catégorie climb. The road to the stage finale on the Col de Porte stretched on for 17.5km at an average gradient of 6.2%, preceded by a first category ascent just to make the legs hurt even more.

With only 135km to make an impact, the escape went off early, with eight riders building an advantage of 3:30 as they crossed the third and fourth category climbs that marked the first half of the stage. At the head of the peloton, the BORA-hansgrohe riders were steadily reducing the break’s advantage as the escapees started to drop off the back of the lead group on the tough Côte Maillet climb. Pushing hard in the peloton were Gregor Mühlberger, Daniel Oss, Lennard Kämna and Felix Grossschartner, protecting Emanuel Buchmann for the GC race.

Into the last 15km, the break was just thirty seconds ahead of the bunch, which was picking off the stragglers from the escape one by one. One rider was left on the front, hanging on as the reduced peloton made its way up the final climb, but this was to be a GC day, and they were swept up and spat out the back of the bunch. The finish line got closer and Emanuel stayed with the GC contenders, Kämna dropping off having supported him to the last 4km.

Taking to the front with 2.4km to go, Emanuel put his foot down and upped the pace to reduce the size of the already small leading group even more. A late attack from Jumbo-Visma’s Roglič took the win, but Emanuel showed his form, taking third on the stage and jumping to third in the GC.

Primoz Roglic

This screen capture shows how large a lead Roglic built.

From the Finish Line:
"I felt very strong today, even though the pace was relatively fast. In the end, I tried to attack and just see what happens. I took 3rd in the end, which isn’t so bad. The level is very high here, there were lots of riders still present in the final stage of the race, something we wouldn't have expected, and they looked to be in good form, so in the end, we more or less had an uphill sprint to the line. Roglic looked very strong, and he’s definitely the favourite. But we’ll keep trying over the next few days. Today was certainly a good test for the upcoming stages, as well as for the Tour de France, and I think it shows that I’m one of the stronger riders here. My performance bodes well for the next few days at the Dauphiné." - Emanuel Buchmann

"It was the first real mountain finish of the Dauphiné and the entire team concentrated on helping Emu. Our strategy was to only have a small group that breaks from the start and if it weren't the case to have a rider in there. The guys worked well together and always brought Emu in a good position ahead of the climbs and at the bottom of the important ones we were very well placed. Lennard was strong today and held on for a long time together with Emu, who was still strong in the last three kilometers. He tried a couple of times to attack but the strongest opponents were able to respond. In the end, he took 3rd, behind Roglic. We are happy so far but we have another three hard stages ahead of us." - Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director 

Here's the Dauphiné update from Julian Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Our team rolled out of Vienne with just six riders, after a bout of vomiting during the night spelled the end of neo-pro’s Mauri Vansevenant race, but was prominent from kilometer zero, when Kasper Asgreen got infiltrated in the day’s break. Counting eight riders, the group powered ahead and opened a 3:30 maximum advantage, to which the reigning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne champion contributed by doing some long and solid pulls at the front.

Overhauled by a pack keen on not missing an opportunity to flex its muscles on the first mountain top finish, Asgreen was back in the peloton with just three kilometers left until the start of the Col de Porte. The 17.5km climb averaging 6.2% featured in the past also on the Tour de France, among the riders who crested it in the lead being Federico Bahamontes, Gino Bartali, Chrly Gaul, Eddy Merckx, or Luis Ocaña.

A double stage winner at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Julian Alaphilippe remained in the elite group until with six kilometers to go, when the gradients stiffened and a huge injection of pace at the front saw him lose contact. From the depleted bunch, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) accelerated with 600 meters to go and took both the win and the leader’s jersey, while Julian concluded the day once again as Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s highest-ranked rider.

And Egan Bernal's Team INEOS posted this Dauphiné report:

Egan Bernal finished 10th on the Col de Porte summit finish as the general classification picture changed at the Criterium du Dauphine.

Team INEOS took it up on the hors-categorie climb, putting the whole team on the front to gradually increase the pace. After turns from Dylan van Baarle, Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Geraint Thomas and Pavel Sivakov, attacks began to fire as the peloton broke apart.

Bernal worked hard to follow the moves, positioning himself on the wheel of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma). After a brief acceleration with 1.5km to go, Bernal slipped back in the closing metres to finish 10th, 10 seconds back on stage winner Roglic.

Bernal now sits fourth overall, 16 seconds back on Roglic whilst also retaining the white young rider jersey.

Reaction, Chris Froome:
“It’s incredible to be back in the peloton, but keeping in mind I’ve only had a handful of days racing in over a year’s time now. Obviously I’m still finding the race rhythm but I’m feeling better and better as I do more days of racing. I’m feeling optimistic about the Tour.

“Egan has done really well in Occitanie and Tour de l’Ain. We had a victory and a second place, so the whole team here is trying to look after Egan and try to put him in the best place to go for the victory.

“Every day is a test and every day is about pushing the condition. I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made so far – it’s been really encouraging.”

And finally, EF Pro Cycling sent me this:

Stage two of the Critérium du Dauphiné promised a big General Classification shakeup and with a 17 kilometer ascent up the Hors Category climb, Col de Porte, its shadow cast down upon the peloton with looming storm clouds whirling above. As the lead group hit the start of its steep slopes Team Ineos set a blistering pace, as they neared the finish line Team Jumbo-Visma took over positioning Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo–Visma) perfectly to take the win and take the leaders jersey from his teammate, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) rounding off the podium behind him.

An eight-man breakaway formed early on in the stage and they would go on to build a steady gap over the rest of the peloton. But with a general classification battle looming, it was never in doubt that they would get caught. The breakaway started to fragment on the first category climb up the Côte Maillet, and was swiftly reeled in on the foothills of the final climb of the day.

A mad scramble for position on the valley roads leading to the Col de Porte saw several riders crash after EF Pro Cycling rider, Sergio Higuita, hit a lane divider. Luckily, the young Colombian was able to get back on his bike and finish the race with just road rash and bruises.

On the final climb of the day Team Ineos started to dictate the pace early on and put many pre race favorites in trouble. The blistering pace led to the gradual attrition of the pack leaving only a select group of riders with 2 kilometers to go including our very own Dani Martínez. Attacks started rolling off the front with a little over 1 kilometer to go but Roglič wielded the final blow in the last 600m of the race to take the win. Dani Martínez crossed the line in seventh position, just ten seconds off the winner’s time. 

What the team had to say…

Dani Martínez - rider
“It was a pretty hard day, at the beginning it was really hot and then I just made it over the line before the storm. It wasn’t great to see Sergio crash since he was going to be a key player with me in the final climb, but my legs were feeling good and felt like they were racing well. I was a little bit behind some of the others, but it was good to still make it to the line with the best riders.”

“It was a day where there was a really strong pace set by Ineos at the beginning of the climb and then Jumbo-Visma towards the end of the stage, but I’m feeling good and I’m looking forward to the next few days and the battles they’ll involve.”

“Being back racing is great, I was getting bored of just being at home training. It’s good to be getting back into the rhythm, but yesterday felt hard. The first day of competition always feels a bit strange, especially with the heat and then the changes in pace that you don’t experience in training, but we fought well in the group. Then today with the longer climbs it felt better.”  

Sergio Higuita - rider
“I’m feeling ok after the crash today, luckily there’s nothing broken. It’s only some bruising, but I hit quite hard just above my right knee and there’s a bit of swelling so we iced it to help take it down and we’ll see how it is tomorrow.

"I was in the lead group and I was feeling good, at that moment it was fairly calm when we were up there. Around four kilometers out from the start of the last climb is when it happened, which was a real shame, but it is what it is. There’s nothing we can do about it now.”

The road ahead
Tomorrow, stage 3, is another hard mountain stage which will see the riders take on the mythical Col de la Madeleine. This Hors Category climb is a Tour de France staple and will feature in this year’s edition as well. Col de la Madeleine will be the first proving ground of the day for the climbers before yet another summit finish on the category 1 climb to Saint-Martin-de-Belleville.

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