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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

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Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert leaves the Tour of Switzerland after Covid-19 positive

Here is the full press release from the race organizer:

A member of the Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert team tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. The PCR-test was taken in the morning and during the afternoon the result was received. The particular team member tested negative on Saturday. The person was immediately quarantined at the hotel. The person has no symptoms and feels fine. All members of the team were subjected to an additional test on Tuesday evening. This morning the results of these tests all confirmed the negative results of the previous day. This morning the team was tested once again with a new method. The goal of these additional tests is to be sure that no other members of the team were infected and to keep them healthy.

Since Tuesday evening the race organizer has been in contact with the responsible medical service of the canton and all decisions were taken together.

The concerned team is allowed to continue the race based on the multiple tests. Due to the elaborate testing system it can be ensured that neither the members of the team nor the members of other teams are at risk. Despite this, the team management of Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert decided to leave the Tour de Suisse today. As race organizer, we respect this decision which is taken for the good of all.

We regret this positive test result but are on the other hand relieved that the protection methods are working so that everyone in the Tour caravan can safely continue the race. We wish the affected person a speedy and full recovery.

Tour of Switzerland stage three reports

We posted the report from Julian Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Here's the report from Max Schachmann's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Ahead of tomorrow's first challenging mountain stage, the peloton took on a hilly 185 km-long course from Lachen on Lake Zurich to Pfaffnau. A quartett escaped relatively early on and shaped the race proceedings for quite some time, while their lead over the peloton levelled out at around 5:30 minutes for the first 100 km. In the second half of the race, however, several teams took up the chase and as a result, the gap slowly began to dwindle.

In the final phase of the race, BORA - hansgrohe and Alpecin-Fenix put down the hammer at the head of the field, leaving many riders to fall back. With 25 km remaining, Matteo Fabbro positioned his team captain Max Schachmann well at the front of the peloton while the breakaway was reeled back in. Yet when M. van der Poel launched his sprint on the finishing stretch, no one was able to follow him, and the Dutch champion took the stage honours.

Max placed fifth, crossing the line in the same time, and with that result, he now sits in fourth position in the GC, 6 seconds in arrears of the current leader M. van der Poel.

Mathieu van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel takes stage three. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"The stage was harder than expected, and particularly at the end it was really hard going in the reduced group. We had already seen the finale on the penultimate lap and in the sprint I was quite well positioned, yet unfortunately I was a bit boxed in and in the end it was enough for fifth place. But I'm in fourth position overall, only 6 seconds behind the leader, with the really hard stages still ahead of us." - Maximilian Schachmann

"The race was relatively controlled until the last climb. On the ascent, Van der Poel harnessed his teammates in an attempt to drop some sprinters. In the end Max sprinted to fifth place out of the reduced field of 30 riders. It was a bit of a shame because he had good momentum, however, he was caught up in the last 400m and had to brake. Then all the momentum was gone and fifth place was the best he could get out of that situation. But that's how it is sometimes. Overall, the team communicated and worked well together today and we'll now be looking to tomorrow." - Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

Tiesj Benoot's Team DSM posted this stage three report:

A 182-kilometre long rolling stage in the hills of Switzerland lay ahead of the riders this afternoon as they left the start town of Lachen. With a tricky climb almost immediately from the flag drop, a big fight was expected to make the morning breakaway. Yet, a four rider move was able to slip away relatively easily and with the peloton fanning across the road, their gap was allowed to expand quickly.

The peloton slowly started to reel in the breakaway throughout the afternoon and as they approached the final categorised climb with 25 kilometres to go it was all but back together. A really strong pace was set at the front of the bunch and the group exploded on the ascent, with a dangerous counter attack going clear. The rest of the peloton was quick to respond though and eventually things regrouped and proceedings calmed down for a few minutes.

Heading into the final 15 kilometres though there were a flurry of attacks, with Andreas Leknessund riding strongly to cover the moves while Tiesj Benoot stayed in the bunch behind. One solo rider hit out, but the sprint teams took over at the front and made the catch at the flamme rouge. With Leknessund dropping Benoot towards the front, he used his good bike handling skills to move up a few places going around the last corner. In the punchy sprint to the line Benoot gave it his all to take a good seventh place at the finish for the team.

“We can be satisfied with how today went for us,” expressed Leknessund after the stage. “We rode well and stayed out of trouble all day, keeping Tiesj in the front group. Coming into the finish it came back together and Tiesj also managed to do a nice top ten in the sprint for us.”

Team DSM coach Marc Reef added: “We expected a hard start, which it was, but the bunch didn’t really want to race so in the end four riders got away pretty easily and it was controlled from then. When we hit the local lap with 45 kilometres to go, the race was really on. There were a few crashes, that thankfully we weren’t in, so the guys were in a good position to avoid them. Then on the last categorised climb we were in an okay position around two corners before, but we took the wrong side of the road and that cost us a few spots. In the end Tiesj and Andreas had the legs to move up again so they were in the first part of the group going to the line. Andreas supported Tiesj as good as possible and at the finish Tiesj sprinted to seventh for us. Feeling wise, it was a better day for us so we’re looking forward to the upcoming days.”

Victor Campenaerts & Giacomo Nizzolo to ride Baloise Belgium Tour

Team Qhubeka-Assos sent me this update:

The Baloise Belgium Tour gets underway tomorrow, starting in Beveren and will see the UCI 2.Pro peloton take on five stages, four road stages and one ITT stage, before finishing in Berengin

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 8, 2021/ -- Team Qhubeka ASSOS will be lining up for the Baloise Belgium Tour with a strong team, able to challenge for stage wins but also eyeing a top GC placing.

Victor Campenaerts, now recovered and ready to race again after his exploits at the Giro d'Italia where he won stage 15 of the Italian grand tour, will lead our team alongside Italian and European Champion, Giacomo Nizzolo.

Victor Campenaerts

Victor Campenaerts winning 2021 Giro stage 15. Sirotti photo

Dimitri Claeys and Lukasz Wisniowski will add great strength and depth to our lineup, both capable of riding to success on Belgian roads.

Lasse Norman Hansen, Emil Vinjebo & Matteo Pelucchi will complete our line-up.

Victor Campenaerts - Rider:
"I'm really excited to be back racing and on home roads. After racing the classics for the first time this year, and really enjoying that experience, the first stage here will be on a typical classics style course. So, I am really excited for that. We have a very strong team, we have options with Nizzolo for the sprint stages and Dimitri, Lukasz and me all for the GC so we will go for it in our Ubuntu way."

INEOS Grenadiers extend partnership with Pinarello

The team sent me this release:

The INEOS Grenadiers will continue to race on Pinarello bikes for the next four seasons, extending their successful and longest standing partnership beyond 15 years.

Since 2010, the team has raced 17 different models of Pinarello in the world’s biggest events. Six new evolutions of the iconic Dogma frame have also been supplemented by additional lightweight versions in the high mountains. Following in the footsteps of the Graal, the Bolide time trial bike broke new ground and that success has been further bolstered by the Evo version. The team’s Classics aspirations have been furthered by a series of cobbled-focused frames, with the K8 and K10 featuring suspension variants, right up to the full suspension Dogma FS.

Richie Porte’s win at the 2021 Criterium du Dauphine made it 393 victories in total on Pinarellos, which is every single win by the team and all 12 of its Grand Tours, including seven Tours de France and most recently the 2021 Giro d’Italia, won by Egan Bernal.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte on his Pinarello at the final stage of the 2021 Critérium du Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We have been racing on Pinarello bikes since our inception and it has always been a partnership grounded in a shared love of racing and innovation.

“Pinarello is a company with a unique place in our sport. They have a deep respect for the heritage of cycling, but they combine it with a desire to remain at the cutting edge of technology and engineering.

“The sport has changed a lot over the years and Fausto and the team have been a big part of our journey for over a decade supporting the team with the very best in bike technology. We have experienced a lot but it still feels as exciting now as when we first started out, and we are proud to continue racing together for many years to come.”

Fausto Pinarello said: “The INEOS Grenadiers are world-class bike racers, who love racing. They continue to push for excellence in everything they do. This dedication, professionalism and joy of racing is what enables the riders to race like they do and achieve the results we see at the world’s biggest races, aboard our bikes.

“At Pinarello we have strived to constantly develop our flagship race bike to keep the INEOS Grenadiers at the head of the peloton. That commitment to having the best-possible equipment started with the Dogma 60.1, right through to the Dogma F12 of recent years. The same evolution has followed in the cobbled classics and also in our time trial bikes. To see Filippo Ganna take the team’s 50th Grand Tour stage victory in Milan on the Bolide Evo was yet another proud moment for everyone at Pinarello.”

Antonio Dus, Pinarello CEO added: “We are linked to INEOS Grenadiers in two respects. The victories have always represented the true spirit of Pinarello but above all we thank them for the magnificent example of team work and passion which for us at Pinarello is a source of great inspiration in our daily work.”

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