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Dan Martin makes top 5 on final mountain stage in the Tour

Dan Martin put Israel Start-Up Nation right in the mix on stage 18 of the Tour de France with an impressive effort on the final climb to Luz Ardiden where he took fifth place on the day.

With only two flat stages and a time trial remaining of this year’s Tour, today’s stage was the last opportunity for the climbers to put their mark on the race. Many tried to escape at the beginning of the stage but it wasn’t until the peloton took on the iconic Col du Tourmalet that a few riders managed to get away.

However, despite several breakaway attempts, it all came down to a fight between the GC riders on the steep slopes of Luz Ardiden. Determined to put on a strong performance on this final day in the mountains, Martin hung on to the group of favorites until the leading rider, Tadej Pogačar UAE Team Emirates) put in his expected attack on the last 3 km.

Keeping his own pace, Martin minimized the gaps as much as possible before putting in a final acceleration on the last kilometer trying to make it all the way back to the front. Ultimately, the Irishman crossed the line in fifth place, just 24 seconds down on Pogačar who took the win and increased his lead in the general classification.

Dan Martin: “I’m glad that I got to show the real me on the final day in the mountains. I wasn’t really sure how my legs would be after not feeling great the last couple of days, so I decided just to sit back and get as much draft as possible as the final climb was really fast. That way I could also see how the other guys were doing, if they were fading or looking good or not. Every time somebody would let the wheel go a little bit, I just jumped over them. I was actually a bit a surprised of how it went and as we got closer to the finish, I started to think that maybe I could go for the stage.

“When the group split, I was staying with O’Connor and Kelderman for a bit as they were pacing for their GC spots. At one point, I felt that they started to tire so I jumped away from them and tried to close the gap to the front group. Without the hard tempo from Sepp Kuss maybe I would have had a chance to come back. Regardless, it was really nice to feel like myself again on the climbs today and show my true colors for one of the first times in this race.”

— Mikkel to israelcyclingacademy.com

Astana – Premier Tech focuses on final Pyrenees stages at the Tour de France – Astana

Astana – Premier Tech focuses on final Pyrenees stages at the Tour de France

With just six stages remaining at the Tour de France, Astana – Premier Tech’s riders are eyeing the upcoming Pyrenean mountain stages as the last opportunity for a stage win at the Grand Boucle.

The Kazakh – Canadian team has been present multiple times in several breakaways, with Hugo Houle winning the combative prize on stage ten and Ion Izagirre narrowly missing the stage win on stage eight. The hunt for a stage win continues after the second rest day while the team also looks to support Alexey Lutsenko in the General Classification.

 

Lutsenko is satisfied with his race so far and is hoping to remain in the General Classification battle in the final week of the race.

“I am sitting currently in seventh place on the overall ranking, which makes me really happy. I came here to get in top shape before the Olympics and wanted to try to repeat a stage win, which I still want to, but I also kept an eye on the overall ranking. To finish the biggest and most known cycling race in the top ten overall would be amazing. So, I will try in the upcoming days to again be in the mix with the other GC contenders for the final mountain stages and then of course, the stage 20 time trial.” – Alexey Lutsenko

Jakob Fuglsang is looking to use the final week to fine tune his shape ahead of Tokyo.

 “It has been two tough weeks of racing so far. As mentioned in the previous days, I had my second covid vaccine ahead of the Tour de France, which I was really happy to do. But I think I reacted to the second one to an extent, especially going straight to a Grand Tour where you push your body every single day to the limit. It is not that I feel unwell but of course doing professional sport, especially a sport as demanding as the Tour de France, means you can react differently. I hope to reach my top form in the upcoming days and keep pushing myself to the limit and to finish this year’s Tour de France with a good result. We have some good opportunities in the next days in the Pyrenées so we will look to race as aggressively as possible. I then head to Tokyo on Monday for the Olympics, where I still have the goal of turning Rio’s silver into Tokyo’s gold.” – Jakob Fuglsang

 

©Gettysport

— nadine Pfeffer to www.astanapremiertech.com

Arnaud Démare contrarié par un final chaotique

Ce devait être le premier emballage massif du Tour de France 2021. Dans les rues de Pontivy, ils n’ont finalement été qu’une dizaine à se disputer la victoire dans la dernière ligne droite, la conséquence à une série de chutes dans le final. Pris dans l’une d’entre elles à cinq kilomètres du but, Arnaud Démare n’a pas été en mesure de défendre ses chances mais est heureusement ressorti indemne. Miles Scotson est lui passé au travers et s’est ainsi classé douzième sur la ligne. David Gaudu, pour sa part, a conclu l’étape à vingt-six secondes du vainqueur Tim Merlier et se retrouve désormais douzième du classement général.

« Il n’y a pas la place pour tout le monde », Frédéric Guesdon

Au sortir de deux premières étapes mouvementées, et dynamitées par les meilleurs puncheurs mondiaux, les gros bras du sprint étaient censés faire leur véritable apparition sur la scène du Tour de France ce lundi, dans le troisième acte breton entre Lorient et Pontivy. De par ce scénario semble-t-il joué d’avance, l’échappée s’est ainsi constituée très rapidement avec cinq hommes : Cyril Barthe, Maxime Chevallier (B&B Hotels), Michael Schär (AG2R-Citroën), Jelle Wallays (Cofidis) ainsi que le maillot à pois Ide Schelling (Bora-hansgrohe). Le peloton a temporisé quelques instants mais deux équipes n’ont pas tardé à venir prendre la chasse à leur compte, dont l’Équipe cycliste Groupama-FDJ pour son homme fort Arnaud Démare. Sur ses terres, c’est Valentin Madouas qui s’est alors mis à la planche pendant une centaine de kilomètres. « On voulait absolument que ça arrive au sprint et nous avions désigné Valentin pour rouler derrière l’échappée, expliquait Frédéric Guesdon. Il a fait un excellent boulot. À deux – avec Thomas De Gendt -, ils ont maintenu l’échappée à deux minutes ». Le jeune puncheur tricolore a ensuite passé la main, après le passage du sprint intermédiaire où Arnaud Démare s’est doté de sept points supplémentaires.

La course est alors entrée dans les soixante derniers kilomètres, et sous une météo changeante, la tension a grimpé d’un cran au sein du peloton. « Compte tenu du parcours proposé, ça devient forcément nerveux relativement tôt, appuyait Frédéric. Les routes sont sinueuses, pas très larges, il y a du public, des villages compliqués à traverser… Tout le monde a le même objectif : courir devant. C’est le cas des sprinteurs, qui veulent jouer la victoire, et des coureurs du classement général, qui ne veulent pas perdre de temps. Ça fait beaucoup de monde, et il n’y a justement pas la place pour tout le monde ». Dans un final sous haute tension, une série de chutes s’est alors initiée à un peu plus de dix bornes tandis que chaque leader tentait de se frayer un chemin avant l’ultime descente vers Pontivy. Valentin Madouas a été l’un des premiers à toucher terre, heureusement sans dommages. Primoz Roglic a connu le même sort quelques instants plus tard, puis ce sont plusieurs coureurs qui ont été projetés au sol à cinq kilomètres de la ligne. Parmi eux se retrouvait malheureusement Arnaud Démare, la carte maîtresse de la Groupama-FDJ ce lundi.

« Logiquement frustré et déçu », Arnaud Démare

L’ancien champion de France a certes pu se relever et repartir, mais ses espoirs étaient partis en fumée. « J’avais dit ce matin que le final allait être chaud, racontait l’intéressé. Heureusement, il n’a pas plu, mais rien que sur le sec c’était un carnage. Je tombe et il n’y a pas grand-chose à dire… Un coureur va tout droit dans un virage et je le heurte. Je suis logiquement frustré et déçu car j’étais en bonne posture ». Suite aux diverses cassures, c’est donc un peloton ultra-rétréci qui s’est présenté sous la flamme rouge, et le sprint en lui-même a été marqué par un ultime accrochage violent entre Caleb Ewan et Peter Sagan. Tim Merlier a finalement tiré les marrons du feu dans ce final d’étape chaotique. « C’est évidemment une déception, sur le premier sprint du Tour, d’être mis hors jeu sur une chute à cinq kilomètres de l’arrivée, commentait Frédéric. Maintenant, on va essayer de positiver. Arnaud n’a rien de cassé, il va repartir demain et on va se reconcentrer pour faire une belle étape et un beau sprint ». « Sur le moment, ça allait plutôt au niveau des séquelles, reprenait Arnaud. Il faut veiller maintenant à ce que des douleurs ne se réveillent pas, car une chute laisse toujours des traces. Je retiens que je m’en sors bien. Je vais passer entre les mains de l’ostéopathe, bien récupérer, et j’espère être opérationnel dès demain ».

À l’arrivée, seul Miles Scotson a passé la ligne avec le premier groupe, en douzième position. Retardé par les chutes, David Gaudu a lui accusé vingt-six secondes de retard à l’arrivée, terminant notamment au sein du groupe Pogacar. Il pointe désormais au douzième rang du général, à cinquante-deux secondes du maillot jaune Mathieu van der Poel et vingt-et-une du podium. « C’est toujours embêtant de perdre du temps, mais il faut là aussi positiver, concluait Frédéric Guesdon. Ça aurait pu être bien pire. Au final, vingt secondes de perdues sur une telle étape, ce n’est pas un drame ».

— Alexandre to www.equipecycliste-groupama-fdj.fr

Matthews takes 18th on a chaotic crash marred final to stage three at the Tour de France – Team BikeExchange

Stage one’s second place finisher Michael Matthews avoided the crashes on today’s chaotic finale to stage three of the Tour de France but missed his opportunity to sprint, after being caught behind one of the touch downs with just over three kilometres to go.

Despite being in good position with teammate Luka Mezgec, a tight corner caused a massive pile up and effected the outcome of the stage, with many riders caught behind the crash and a significant split occurring.

In the end, 17 riders survived and went on ahead to contest the sprint, with Matthews crossing the line in 18th place, the best of the rest in the second group on the road.

The team’s climbers Lucas Hamilton and Esteban Chaves finished amongst the other main GC contenders, 26seconds behind the stage winner, which Richard Carapaz the only main GC contender to profit from the day, finding himself in the front selection and taking extra time on his contenders. With 18 stages still remaining, it is all still very much to play for.

Michael Matthews
“I guess the final basically started after the intermediate sprint, quite narrow, twisty roads and I think everybody basically knew about the corner when the crash actually happened. So, it put stress in the peloton with everybody wanting to be further forward into that corner and I was just behind the crash.

Me and Luka were around the top 15 when the crash happened and everyone in front and around us crashed and we just didn’t get back to the front.

That ruined my race because I was stuck in between the front group and the peloton trying to chance across by myself.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director 
“It was as predicted a nervous day; the final was as tricky as we expected and some major crashes that has taken out key riders which split the group. Michael was unfortunately caught behind the final crash there so was best of the result. 

Again, we lost a little bit of time to some guys but gained sometimes on others, so it has been the story of the first week. You need a little bit of luck but also you have to make it. There’s a long way to go but we are certainly playing the long game. Things will settle down eventually.”

2021 Tour de France – Stage 3:
1. Tim Merlier 4:01:28
2. Jasper Philipsen ST
3. Nacer Bouhanni ST
18. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:14

General Classification after stage 3:
1. Mathieu van der Poel 12:58:53
2. Julian Alaphilippe +0:08
3. Richard Carapaz +0:31
14. Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange) +0:52

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Bahrain Victorious Double on Final Stages at Tour of Slovenia and Tour de Suisse

Bahrain Victorious took two victories on the same day, with Phil Bauhaus sprinting to success for his second stage win at Tour of Slovenia, while Gino Mäder’s perfectly timed move on the queen stage of Tour de Suisse saw him take the win.

In Slovenia, for the second time, Bauhaus was lead out superbly by his teammates to the final sprint and made no mistake winning by a clear margin. The last man of the lead out, Henrich Haussler, finished strongly and rounded off the podium on the final stage. Matej Mohoric also was rewarded for his strong performances throughout the five-stage race, securing the points jersey for Team Bahrain Victorious.

Phil BAUHAUS of BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS during the 5th Stage of 27th Tour of Slovenia 2021 cycling race between Ljubljana and Novo mesto (175,3 km), on June 13, 2021 in Slovenia. Photo by Matic Klansek Velej / Sportida

Phil Bauhaus was delighted with his fifth win of the season so far:
“It’s incredible. The team did a fantastic job once again today. We did the last two km pulling on the front, and then it was a perfect one into the finish: Haussler, as the last lead-out man, brought me in the first position 200 metres to go, and from there, I could start my sprint in an ideal condition. Happily, it was a good one!”

Overall best in points classification Matej MOHORIC of BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS celebrates at trophy ceremony during the 5th Stage of 27th Tour of Slovenia 2021 cycling race between Ljubljana and Novo mesto (175,3 km), on June 13, 2021 in Slovenia. Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

Matej Mohorič reflected on the race:
“We are delighted to conclude the Tour of Slovenia like that, with Phil’s win and my red jersey.
I think we can look forward to the Tour de France, where I will target the stage wins”.

At the Tour de Suisse, Gino Mäder secured his second win of the season on the queen stage. After his podium finish in yesterday’s TT, Gino put in a perfectly timed move over the final climb to move away from the GC group and beat Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) to the line.

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 8th stage Andermatt – Andermatt 159,5 km – 13/06/2021 – Gino Mader (SUI – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Peter De Voecht/PN/BettiniPhoto©2021

Gino Mäder shared his happiness, especially for taking a win in his homeland:
“I was looking forward to this stage. I wanted to finish off my home race with a win, and I achieved it. The team worked well from the beginning, with Wout Poels in the breakaway, then Hermann Pernsteiner jumping across to him and having two riders in the front was perfect. All the other teammates were helping me behind, bringing food and water and mental support as well. They positioned me perfectly into the last climb. It was incredible teamwork from everybody”.

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 8th stage Andermatt – Andermatt 159,5 km – 13/06/2021 – Passo del Gottardo – Gino Mader (SUI – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Peter De Voecht/PN/BettiniPhoto©2021

Team Technical Director Vladimir Miholjević commented on this fantastic day for the team: “There are not a lot of days that a team could enjoy a double victory. Today we had the privilege to enjoy it. From Slovenia to Switzerland, everything worked perfectly today. Great work from all team members, both staff and riders. Significant commitment and trust in the team and themselves. I can only express joy and gratitude to each staff member for their effort, as they are also part of the team success. We’re more than happy and proud. We’re eager to continue with the hard work and the improvement, as we always have some objectives in front of us. Not simple to reach, but let’s go and find the way towards our most significant goals.”

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 8th stage Andermatt – Andermatt 159,5 km – 13/06/2021 – Gino Mader (SUI – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Heinz Zwicky/BettiniPhoto©2021

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Sportida @TeamBahrainVictorious)

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com