Howson & Grmay make the front chasing group split on the final of stage two at Criterium du Dauphine – Team BikeExchange

Tour de Hongrie winner Damien Howson finished in a reduced chasing group on stage two of the Criterium du Dauphinetoday, as a solo breakaway rider stayed away for the second day in-a-row.

Five riders jumped away in the early kilometres, with the peloton allowing the escapees a maximum advantage of four minutes. The time gap eventually started to fall with around 50km to go, but with no concerted chase in the bunch, the gap remained at three minutes with 30km left to race.

Out front, Lukas Pöstlberger went solo from the breakaway while the peloton was thinning out over the remaining climbs behind. As the kilometres ticked down it was clear that the bunch had miscalculated the catch once again, with Pöstlberger holding on to win by 11 seconds while Howson rolled home in a reduced chase group alongside teammate Tsgabu Grmay.

Damien Howson
“It is pretty unusual racing, having the breakaway stay away on the first to days and especially as it was only one survivor but congrats to them. 

On the final climb, there was a bit of wind coming from the left and I think for Bahrain, it was a last attempt for them to try there to bring the breakaway back so with the wind and the pace, I think that is why it all split there.

I feel pretty good, I felt pretty comfortable in the select group at the finish, it was still a relatively sizeable group, but I think that was to be expected with a few of the sprinters that can climb where thinking they were in for a chance for a result today.

It was a hard day but the boys helped me all day so I could remain calm, and we look to tomorrow now.”

2021 Criterium du Dauphine stage 2 results:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger 4:25:20
2. Sonny Colbrelli +0:11
3. Alejandro Valverde ST
25. Damien Howson (Team BikeExchange) ST

2021 Criterium du Dauphine GC:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger 8:38:32
2. Sonny Colbrelli +0:12
3. Alejandro Valverde +0:20
26. Damien Howson (Team BikeExchange) +0:24

Photo courtesy of Getty Sport

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Australian duo Howson & Stannard lead Team BikeExchange’s charge at Criterium du Dauphine – Team BikeExchange

Recent Tour de Hongrie winner Damien Howson and young 22-year-old Robert Stannard lead Team BikeExchange at the eight-day Criterium du Dauphine later this week, as the team go on the offensive, eyeing stage wins and a high overall placing.

The diverse line-up allows the squad to make the most of opportunities that may present themselves during the French tour, with talent ranging from older experienced riders in American Brent Bookwalter, Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and Kazakh Andrey Zeits, who returns to competition after crashing out of Coppi Bartali in March.

Balancing out the squad and adding an ounce of youthful motivation alongside Stannard will be Hungarian Barnabás Peák and Italian climber Kevin Colleoni, ready for the tough eight-day race, which often sees many riders arriving in top form in preparation for the Tour de France starting later in the month.

Team BikeExchange at Criterium du Dauphine:
Brent Bookwalter (USA)
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Barnabás Peák (HUN)
Damien Howson (AUS)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Robert Stannard (AUS)
Andrey Zeits (KAZ)

Damien Howson
“Dauphine can be one of the most demanding one-week races on the calendar with many riders going there in top shape, for a lot of the field it is their final preparation race before the Tour de France so there is not surprise to how difficult it can be.

This year will be my eighth Dauphine, I have done it every year since I turned professional back in 2014 so I know what to expect and I think I can go into this race with a fair bit of confidence from my win last week at the Tour de Hongrie.

We have a good group of guys to take opportunities and mix it amongst all terrains and stages of this race. I hope to be consistent and look for a nice result next week.”

Laurenzo Lapage – Sport Director
“We have a good mixed team for the race and Rob Stannard has shown in Ruta del Sol recently that he is in good shape after taking multiple top-10 stage placings and coming close to a stage win, so he will be a rider we can look to for stage results during the week.

The general classification will be a hard fight, many riders use Dauphine as their preparations for the Tour and it is always a hard race. Damien Howson just came off an overall victory at the Tour de Hongrie, so we also know he is in good shape and can be an option for us for the overall.

With the team we have, there’s a lot of strength and a mix of youth and experienced riders so we can really look to use our numbers and race aggressively.”

2021 Criterium du Dauphine Race Details:
Sunday, 30th May: Stage 1, Issoire to Issoire, 182km
Monday, 31st May: Stage 2, Brioude to Saugues, 173km
Tuesday, 1st June: Stage 3, Langeac to Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux, 172.5km
Wednesday, 2nd June: Stage 4, Firminy to Roche-La-Moliere
Thursday, 3rd June: Stage 5, Saint-Chamond to Saint-Vallier, 175.4km
Friday, 4th June: Stage 6, Loriol-Sur-Drome to Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, 167.5km
Saturday, 5th June: Stage 7, Saint-Martin-Le-Vinoux to La Plange, 171.5km
Sunday, 6th June: Stage 8, La Lechere-les-Bains to Les Gets, 147km 

Photo courtesy of Vanik Zoltan

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Howson wraps up the overall title at the Tour de Hongrie – Team BikeExchange

Yesterday’s Queen stage winner Damien Howson delivered Team BikeExchange their second overall UCI stage race victory of the 2021 season at the Tour de Hongrie, after safely negotiating the final stage in Budapest.

Today’s win is the 28-year-old’s third overall stage race victory of his career following on from last year’s Czech Tour title and the 2017 Herald Sun Tour. 

The race concluded with 12 laps of a circuit around the capital with the stage always likely to finish in a fourth bunch sprint in five days. A breakaway was established in the opening kilometres, but the sprint teams kept them on a tight leash throughout the 92km stage.

New Zealander Sam Bewley chipped in with work on the front, while the rest of the team amassed around race leader Howson and guided him safely through the day. The sprint teams made no mistake and reeled the breakaway in ahead of the final lap before setting it up for a sprint finish won by Edward Theuns.

Damien Howson:
“Bike racing is never over until it’s over, so particularly until three kilometres to go I definitely had to be very attentive and have a little bit of luck go my way, no misfortune and at the end of the day I got around the course safely.

The team rode well and I’m happy to come away with the victory at the end of the week. It’s nice to see people at the side of the road again supporting bike racing and it was a nice day supporting the yellow jersey, I enjoyed it out there.
I think last year after winning the Czech Tour I had the desire to get a few more wins and it’s something I’ve put focus on and this race, I came close last year, so I knew it was in my grasp if I played it smart.”

Mat Hayman (Sport Director):
“We’re really happy to finish the tour off like that, it’s always a little bit nervous with a street circuit and there was quite a lot of rain this morning, but the boys did well defending the jersey.
We wanted to go for both, defend the jersey and go for the stage win, but it was quite a messy sprint again and Kaden [Groves] was a bit out of position, so that was a bit disappointing.

But we’re happy to see Damo get on the bus with the yellow jersey, we ticked that box, we won a stage and the tour, so we are really pleased.”

Tour de Hongrie – Stage 5:
1. Edward Theuns 1:55:46
2. Olav Kooij ST
11. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange) ST

2021 Tour de Hongrie – GC
1. Damien Howson (Team BikeExchange) 18:07:10
2. Ben Hermans +0:16
3. Antonio Tiberi +0:24

Photo Courtesy of Tour de Hongrie.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Howson storms into Tour de Hongrie race lead after stage four summit triumph – Team BikeExchange

Australian Damien Howson moved into the race lead at the Tour de Hongrie with one day to go, thanks to a stunning victory on the summit finish to stage four.

The day was always set for a general classification showdown on the final climb, with Team BikeExchange taking a backseat for most of the day before the breakaway was reeled in and the race hit the slopes of the category one ascent.

Both Kaden Groves and Barnabás Peák set a strong pace on the climb before swinging off and leaving it to Howson and Italian youngster Kevin Colleoni with four kilometres remaining. Howson then bided his time and didn’t panic when Jhojan García made his move with two kilometres to go and instead waited to launch his bid for glory inside the final kilometre.

With Colleoni setting a strong pace behind, Howson powered across the gap and straight pass the Colombian, with nobody able to follow the 28-year-old’s stinging acceleration as he crossed the line. The victory propels the Czech Tour winner into the overall race lead by 16 seconds with just one stage remaining.

Damien Howson:
“I feel bad for the Caja Rural rider, he did exactly the move I did last year, and I knew if a team still has more than one rider it’s virtually impossible to stay away.

From the beginning of the race, from the first 30 kilometres until the break went, the team was flawless, the communication was fantastic, they marked every move that we knew was dangerous and we didn’t have to commit anyone to the front until the final climb.

It was quite an easy stage until the final climb, but I needed to make the race as hard as possible to get rid of some of those faster guys. So, we took it up from the bottom and once the solo rider attacked with two kilometres to go, I was lucky to have Kevin Colleoni there.

He just rode a really hard tempo, I think everyone was uncomfortable on the wheels and I was able to time my move to perfection and essentially copy last year’s stage winner and the way he won, so I couldn’t be happier!”

Mat Hayman (Sport Director):
“What can I say? We came here with a team with only two climbers with Kevin and Damo, but the boys really stepped up today and a lot of the boys that we’ve been using for the lead out started climbing and it was really nice to see how everyone pulled together to give Damo that opportunity.
He came close last year, he made a little bit of a mistake last year and this year he fixed that mistake and won the stage convincingly and it was really nice to see. It was pretty impressive how some of the guys were climbing on a course that doesn’t really suit them.
Also, without Kevin there, who knows what would have happened? To have a guy that young to be able to react that quickly and to ride tempo for Damo was great. So all round a great team performance and I’m super happy for Damo to get the win after last year when he came ever so close.”

2021 Tour de Hongrie Stage 4 – Results
1. Damien Howson (Team BikeExchange) 2:55:50
2. Ben Hermans +0:09
3. Antonio Tiberi +0:15

2021 Tour de Hongrie Stage 4 – GC
1. Damien Howson (Team BikeExchange) 16:11:24
2. Ben Hermans +0:163. Antonio Tiberi +0:24

Photo Courtesy of Vanik Zoltan.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com