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WOODS TO LEAD TEAM ISN IN THE TOUR DE FRANCE

Israel Start-Up Nation Lineup for the Tour de France 2021

Rider: Mike Woods

Role: Leader

Goals: GC and stage victories 

We call him Woodsy, and we fell in love with him the moment he arrived. And what’s not to love? Woods was all we expected and much more. He quickly became one of our brightest stars with his winning mentality and mode of attacking, he delivered victories and came so close many other times. 

Head sports director, Rik Verbrugghe:

“The thing with Mike is that before joining us, he was always the second rider. The one to work for a leader. Joining ISN, we allowed him to lead, and he proved to us that he is, indeed, a natural leader.

His success in the Classics, the Tour de Romandie, and the Tour de Suisse gave him – and us – the confidence that he can play the role in the greatest cycling race of all, the Tour.

“I expect him to fight for stage wins and be there in the GC hunt as he did in the Tour de Suisse. The team’s primary focus will be to protect Woodsy and provide all the support he will need.”

Mike Woods: 

“I am really excited to represent Israel Start-Up Nation in the Tour de France, especially in a team leader role. I had an opportunity to lead a team in a Grand Tour, but never at the Tour de France. I am honored to be given this position, especially considering the quality of the team we have.

“My main goals and priorities are clear: stage wins first and try to go high on the general classification. We want to do well on the GC, no doubt, most important thing for me is the stage wins. That’s the main focus.

“I am looking forward to taking on the GC role in the team. I love racing GC. It’s really challenging and doing it on Tour is more challenging, more intense, and much more stressful. But the way I am riding these days, I am up to the challenge. And with the team that we have, we will be a force to be reckoned with.

“I think I’m in a good spot right now. I learned some excellent lessons in the Tour de Suisse that we just finished yesterday, where I was able to fight for stage wins and finished fifth overall. I think we’re going to use those lessons going into this Grand Tour. I’m excited about it, I believe there are some excellent opportunities for us – not just for me but for the team, and I’m looking forward to starting up in Bretagne.”

Tour de Suisse 2021 – 85th Edition – 8th stage Andermatt – Andermatt 159,5 km – 13/06/2021 – Passo del Gottardo – Michael Woods (NZL – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Peter De Voecht/PN/BettiniPhoto©2021

— Tsadok to israelcyclingacademy.com

Lutsenko climbs into the race lead on Critérium du Dauphiné stage 6 – Astana

Lutsenko climbs into the race lead on Critérium du Dauphiné stage 6

Alexey Lutsenko returned to the podium on stage six with the yellow jersey on his shoulders as the new race leader after an impressive performance in the mountains.

After flying to the time trial win on stage four, Lutsenko started the day one second off the race lead and dug deep on the category three summit finish to cross the line in seventh place and inherit the race lead.

“For me, this is really special. Today was a really hard stage but we fought for the yellow jersey. I’m really happy to take the yellow jersey as that was the goal today. Today was hard for everybody, not just for me. I didn’t have a plan to attack, my plan was to follow and take the wheels of Movistar and Ineos. In the last kilometres, I was following Valverde’s wheel but I wasn’t able to stay with him,” said Lutsenko.

“Day by day, I am feeling good but the most important thing before tomorrow is recovery and seeing how the lags are tomorrow on the climbs. I have worked a lot so far and tomorrow is another hard day. The climbs are longer but I will fight to keep the yellow jersey and we also have Ion Izagirre just behind me so we have good cards to play.”

Lutsenko was joined in the front group by Ion Izagirre who moves into second place overall, eight seconds behind Lutsenko, after a brilliant day of teamwork from Alex Aranburu, Dmitry Gruzdev, Yuriy Natarov and Oscar Rodgriguez.

“It was a good day for us and we worked hard to set things up in the finale as it was a good finish for Alexey. In the last five kilometres there were some good attacks but finally we arrived all together, about 25 of us. In the sprint I am not so fast so I just tried to stay up there and not lose any time. Tomorrow will be another hard stage especially in the beginning as it will not be easy to control. There are some guys not so far away in the GC who may try to go in the breakaway so we have to be ready for anything. And then in the last climb, you have to give everything you have. My legs are good and I’m feeling good after the altitude block so I’m happy with how things are going,” said Izagirre.

After a battle for the breakaway that played out for more than one hour, 14 riders eventually went clear but the peloton kept their advantage under three minutes in anticipation of the four categorized climbs in the final 50 kilometres.

The breakaway’s advantage quickly came down as various teams took up the chase, including a strong effort from Astana – Premier Tech approaching the final 25 kilometres.

With the last of the attackers caught, the General Classification riders began to pick up the pace on the final three kilometre-climb to the line. But it was an attack from Alejandro Valverde that went unmatched and saw the Spaniard take the stage win while Lutsenko followed close behind in seventh place and Izagirre in 15th.

Lutsenko carries the race lead into a big weekend of racing in the mountains, including the summit finish on La Plagne on stage 7.

Race Profile

Critérium du Dauphiné

Stage 6: Loriol-sur-Drome > Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse

Top 3: 1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), 2. Tao Geaghan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers), Patrick Konrad (Bora- hansgrohe)

Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 7. Alexey Lutsenko, 15. Ion Izagirre, 66. Yuriy Natarov

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.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 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