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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, September 12, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made. - Groucho Marx

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Romain Bardet our of Tour with concussion

Here's the sad news from Bardet's Ag2r La Mondiale team:

Romain Bardet will not take the start of the 14th stage: 11 September 2020

Romain is suffering from a concussion the intensity of which he showed signs at the end of the stage, which necessitated that our medical team insist he undergo a brain scan at the Clermont Ferrand University Hospital, with the help of Dr. Mathieu Abott of AS Montferrand. The CET scan did not reveal and lesions. However, Romain Bardet must stop all his sporting activities for the moment, and he will therefore not be able to take part in the start of the stage tomorrow. His date for returning to competition will be defined “according to the evolution of his condition,” head doctor of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team, Dr. Eric Bouvat, explained.

Romain Bardet

Romain Bardet at the end of the 2019 Tour, in the climber's dotted jersey. Sirotti photo

Romain Bardet:
"This stage on my home roads was the complete opposite of what I had hoped for. The crash was severe, downhill at high speed, and I struggled all the rest of the day. The medical examinations confirmed what I already suspected, and I am not able to continue in the race. I know that my teammates will give their best to finish the Tour de France with strong performances."

Vincent Lavenu:
"We are all sad to see Romain leaving us, near his home, on his roads, in a stage where he dreamed of shining. He once again showed admirable courage and fought like a lion to the end of the stage. We’ll fight even harder to honor him, with a polka dot jersey to defend and stage wins to earn. We send him all our support and hope he will come back even stronger very soon."

Tour de France Stage 13 team reports

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

Here's the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic continues to lead the general classification after the thirteenth stage in the Tour de France. The Slovenian leader of Team Jumbo-Visma attacked on the final climb and was joined by his compatriot Tadej Pogačar. As a result, Roglic did well with regards to the GC. He now has a 44 seconds lead over Pogačar and almost a minute over Egan Bernal.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic (shown in stage 12) remains the the GC leader. Sirotti photo

In the stage through the Cantal Mountains, with seven climbs along the way, the pace was very high from the start. It took quite a long time for a large leading group to get the space and compete for the stage victory. Behind the breakaway, Team Jumbo-Visma controlled the stage. After preparatory work by Tom Dumoulin and Sepp Kuss, Roglic and Pogačar attacked in the last two kilometres.

“I am very happy with how it went today”, Roglic said. “I took valuable time on my rivals, except for Pogačar. He is very strong and he is a tough opponent. It’s no surprise to us that he’s doing so well. We saw that in the Vuelta last year. But all in all it was a good day. As long as you gain time, it’s okay and to my advantage. Every second counts. The team was again very strong today. This is not only my performance, but that of the whole team. After all, we do this together. It was a tough day and the final climb, above all the last two kilometres, was very steep. It was tough and everyone was riding at their limit. This has been a good day, but we are not there yet. The Tour is still long and a lot can still happen. We will continue to focus on our plan and then we will see where it takes us.”

Tom Dumoulin was impressed by his leader. “Primoz indicated that he was feeling good and that he wanted to try something in the last two kilometres. He was dominant and the team did very well. It is the first day that differences have been made in the GC. We had hoped to gain time on Egan, but we didn’t expect it. Especially not when Ineos took over on the penultimate climb. They were going really fast. They really went full throttle. After that, Sepp and I took over. Sepp was really strong. It’s still a long way to go in this Tour and there is a very tough third week ahead of us. So far it is going well and today was a good day.”

Here's the report from Egan Bernal's INEOS Grenadiers team:

Egan Bernal sits third overall following the stage 13 summit finish as the general classification received a shake up at the Tour de France.

The Colombian fought hard to limit his losses in the final kilometres of the Pas de Peyrol, crossing the line 38 seconds behind chief rivals Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates).

The result sees Bernal drop one place to third overall, now 59 seconds back on the yellow jersey of Roglic.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal (shown in stage 11) is no longer in the Best Young Rider's White Jersey. Tadej Pogacar leads that category. Sirotti photo

A relentless day of climbing saw a battle to make the breakaway, with Pavel Sivakov riding well to get into the early move. The 17-man break produced the eventual stage winner in Daniel Martinez (EF Pro Cycling).

The INEOS Grenadiers took it up on the front on the penultimate climb, the Col de Neronne, with Dylan van Baarle and Michal Kwiatkowski setting the pace before an acceleration from Richard Carapaz.

And here's the report from Simon Geschke's CCC Team:

The fight to make the breakaway was on from kilometer 0 where Geschke was one of the first riders to go on the attack as part of a five-rider move.

Multiple riders jumped from the peloton, including Alessandro De Marchi, and eventually a large chase group featuring Matteo Trentin and Jan Hirt formed behind.

The groups continued to reshuffle on the category one Col de Ceysatt while behind, the peloton kept the advantage to just over one minute for the first hour until finally, the peloton eased their pace and the first two groups on the road merged to form a 17-rider breakaway with Geschke flying the CCC Team flag.

With the peloton sitting up, the breakaway’s advantage extended to ten minutes as the group ticked off climb after to climb throughout the 191-kilometer stage which featured more than 4400 meters of elevation spread across seven categorized climbs.

The breakaway collaborated well to maintain their advantage, staying together until just over 30 kilometers to go when Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling) launched the first move to split the breakaway.

Geschke formed part of a small chase group behind while Max Schachmann (BORA – hansgrohe) pursued Powless and eventually caught and passed him to lead solo approaching the final climb of the day, the category one Pas de Peyrol.

Geschke was distanced from the chase group approaching the final climb but continued to dig deep and climb at his own tempo eyeing a top ten result at the summit finish.

Schachmann was joined by teammate Lennard Kämna and Dani Martínez (EF Pro Cycling) in the final two kilometers with Martínez taking the win while Geschke fought to seventh place in what was a strong ride from the German from an elite breakaway.

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke (shown at the 2019 Tour de France). Sirotti photo

Simon Geschke:
“I was not really sure but I followed one of the first moves and I felt on the first uncategorized climb already that I had the legs today. it was a long fight to get away from the bunch. We went pretty hard on the first categorized climb and in the end, the big chase group joined us. I looked around and saw that there were many strong guys so in the end, I’m really happy to finish in the top ten because it was really a strong breakaway and it was not an easy stage. It was just about the legs and it was a very honest race. I think I tactically did it very well and I’m definitely satisfied with seventh place.”

“It was definitely good for the morale. I was struggling a bit in the first week and on the rest day I had a little cold but today, the legs were definitely there so hopefully it continues like that.”

Bora-hansgrohe reports on Tirreno-Adriatico stage five

Today’s fifth stage covered 202 km from Norcia to Sarnano-Sassotetto. The route featured three classified climbs, the last of which was 14 km long and up to 12 percent steep.

Six riders, joined several kilometres later by four others, broke away early and the peloton let them go until the field started to chase the leaders in earnest as they hit the final 50 km, and the gap began to dwindle.

Team EF Pro Cycling and Mitchelton-Scott set the tempo in the main field to bring back the remaining five escapees. On the final steep climb the race came together again and Rafał Majka managed to make it into the group of favourites. With only 4 km remaining, S. Yates attacked, but Rafal was able to counter quite quickly. Although the BORA - hansgrohe rider was ultimately not able to catch up to the Brit in the end, he fought valiantly to take third place.

After this strong performance, he maintains his second place in the general classification, while teammate Pascal Ackermann retains his lead in the race for the points jersey.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates wins stage four. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"It was a difficult stage, but the course suited me and I think I rode a good race. I was able to save a lot of energy during the race and in the end I still had good legs. On the final climb I rode in the first group and was able to keep up with Woods and Yates at first. But when Yates made his decisive attack I had to let him go. I tried together with Thomas to catch up to him, but we didn't manage it. In the end I took 3rd place, which is not bad at all.“ - Rafał Majka

"Chapeau to the entire team, which supported Rafa very well. The only downside is that we were unable to take the jersey, with Yates now leading overall by 16 seconds. Rafa put in a very good performance today, especially to ride Woods out of the jersey. We remain second in the general classification and also continue to hold the points jersey, so until now it has been a successful race for us.“ - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Gilbert, Degenkolb and Wellens to resume competition in Tour de Luxembourg

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

Philippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb, who crashed out in stage 1 of the Tour de France, as well as Tim Wellens, who crashed on training one week prior to the Tour, will all three start next Tuesday in the Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg, a UCI 2.Pro stage race from September 15th to 19th.

John Degenkolb: “It was a big shock for me to leave the Tour after one stage with both knees heavily impacted. I suffered from a contusion at both sides. A re-check, two days later, in the hospital of Frankfurt, confirmed that there were no fractures. The first week was very painful, especially because of the road rash, but I’m training already five days. I am extremely happy that I can resume competition much earlier than initially expected. My good condition will not be gone. I am quite confident. That Tour de Luxembourg will be perfect for the preparation of the rest of the season, especially the Binck Bank Tour and the classics.”

Philippe Gilbert: “In the end the patella fracture of my left knee was a re-opening of my old 2018 fracture. It’s a non-union fracture which didn’t cause much pain any more after a few days. That’s why I've started my training sessions quite early. Yesterday I did 4.5 hours. I really want to race. This season is already so short and I want to perform. The stage race in Luxemburg is ideal for me. Already in the Tour de Wallonie I saw that racing had such a fruitful effect on my condition. I aim for the same effect in Luxemburg. I missed the Tour, but there are still the classics. I am ambitious and very hungry.”

Philippe Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert (shown winning stage 17 of the 2019 Vuelta) is ready to race. Sirotti photo

Tim Wellens, who was unable to start in Nice due to the serious injuries he sustained in a high-speed motor-pacing crash one week prior to the Tour: “I was off the bike for a week. But in the meantime I have been training for over a week. I am feeling good. Although of course I have to see how I will feel in competition. Luxembourg is ideal for that. I am preparing for the classics. After Luxembourg, first the Belgian Championship will follow and I am also motivated to do the Worlds in Imola. "

Selection Lotto Soudal Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg: Philippe Gilbert, John Degenkolb, Tim Wellens, Harm Vanhoucke, Tosh Van der Sande, Tomasz Marczyński

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