Thursday, June 22, 2017

TDF News

Lotto Soudal: Lars Bak attacks in Tour stage 8


One day before the team time trial there was another chance for the punchers at the Tour de France. The riders started in Rennes and finished after 181.5 kilometres on the Mûr de Bretagne. Tony Gallopin finished on the fifth place, his fellow countryman Alexis Vuillermoz won the stage.

Early in the stage two duos melted together into a front group of four: Sylvain Chavanel, Bartosz Huzarski, Romain Sicard and Pierre-Luc Périchon. Lotto Soudal took control of the peloton. Thomas De Gendt rode many kilometres at the front again. 73 kilometres before the finish lay the intermediate sprint. André Greipel won the clash in the peloton and gained eleven points. A few riders escaped the bunch after the intermediate sprint and bridged to the four leaders. A new front group was formed afterwards with Lars Bak. The Dane of Lotto Soudal was accompanied by Huzarski, member of the early breakaway, and Michal Golas. The peloton, with Cannondale - Garmin at the front, didn’t give them much space. With seven and a half kilometres to go Lars Bak and co were caught. The peloton moved quickly to the Mûr de Bretagne. Alexis Vuillermoz attacked and finished five seconds ahead of Dan Martin. Tony Gallopin was fifth. Peter Sagan, fourth in the stage, took the green jersey away from André Greipel, who is three points behind the Slovakian rider.

Tony Gallopin: “This was a tough finish, tougher than I had hoped. I could hang on at the front of the bunch and take a nice fifth place, but I didn’t have energy left to attack. The team made sure I started the climb in a good position. The kilometres before the Mûr de Bretagne shouldn’t be underestimated either. At a high pace the peloton headed towards the climb and the bunch got reduced considerably.”

“The first kilometre of the climb was the steepest. I wanted to stay at the front and take my chance in the last kilometre if I could. It was a strong acceleration of Alexis, something that I couldn’t do. The past days I was happy with the two team victories, now I’m less happy. I had marked this stage, but after the rest day on Monday there are other stages that suit me as well and then I’ll try to join a breakaway.”

BMC's Tour de France, Stage 8: Two In The Top 10

Greg Van Avermaet finished sixth and Tejay van Garderen was 10th Saturday for the BMC Racing Team on the eve of the team time trial at the Tour de France.

Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r La Mondiale) attacked in the final 700 meters of the finish climb of the Mûr de Bretagne to win solo, five seconds in front of runner-up Daniel Martin (Team Cannondale-Garmin) and 10 seconds ahead of a reduced peloton.

Heading into Sunday's 28-kilometer team time trial, Chris Froome (Team Sky) leads Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 11 seconds overall. Van Garderen is third, at 13 seconds, and Van Avermaet is fifth, 28 seconds back.

"With the team I have and what they have shown so far, I think we are pretty confident," van Garderen said. "We are just going to go out there and ride as hard as we can. We have four world champions in that discipline on the team, so we will put out the best performance that we think we can."

In addition to van Garderen, Rohan Dennis, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato were the other three members of the BMC Racing Team's winning team at the world championships last September. Dennis won the opening stage of the Tour de France one week ago and was part of the winning team time trial squad last month at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

"We are the favorites, but I don't ever look at the other teams as not challenging us," Dennis said. "If you start looking at them in that way, you get beat. Also, looking at it as you are not the favorite - that you are chasing the win - never lets you relax."

2015 Tour de France: Stage 8 Preview:

Stage 8 of the 2015 Tour de France runs 181.5kms from Rennes to Mur-de-Bretagne.  The bunch sprint stages are done for awhile, and this is a chance for an attacker or, maybe, a GC man to grab vital time bonuses. 



The intermediate sprint is at 108.5kms in Gare de Moncontour, and there are two categorized climbs:

  • Km 99.5 - Col du Mont Bel-Air1.5 kilometre-long climb at 5.7% - category 4
  • Km 181.5 - MÛR DE BRETAGNE2 kilometre-long climb at 6.9% - category 3

Since we are in Brittany, I bet a Bretagne-Seche Environment rider would like to get into the day’s breaks.  But the battle royale will either take place on the final climb of the day—a longer, straight climbed compared to the finale on Stage 3, or it will be a flier attack.  

Valverde takes 3rd in Mûr-de-Bretagne

The first stage victory for the Movistar Team in the 2015 Tour de France was closer than ever on Saturday. Alejandro Valverde took 3rd place in Mûr-de-Bretagne, at the end of a 2km uphill finish (6.9% average gradient), leading a sprint mainly composed of GC contenders which only two attackers anticipated into the last stretch of the ascent: Alexis Vuillermoz (ALM) and Dan Martin (TCG).



The telephone squad worked again relentlessly to keep Nairo Quintana safe until the foot of the last ascent -with Malori, Erviti, Dowsett or Castroviejo always doing an excellent work-, while Cannondale, Tinkoff or Astana -into a late, strong move- neutralized the most dangerous of the two breaks in the stage, with Bak (LTS), Huzarski (BOA) and Golas (EQS) up-front until the final 7km.


Read more: Valverde takes 3rd in Mûr-de-Bretagne

Sagan scores fifth top-three finish at Tour de France

Tinkoff-Saxo’s fast man Peter Sagan took 3rd place on stage 7 of Tour de France in a traditional head-to-head sprint, where Mark Cavendish drew the longest straw. Sagan notes that despite a lack of karma, he believes that the sought-after stage win will materialize. Alberto Contador was pleased with the outcome of the stage and looks forward to Mûr-de-Bretagne.

After crossing the finish line in third place behind Mark Cavendish and André Greipel, Sagan told the press that his spirit is high despite taking his fifth top-three placing during the first week of racing at Le Tour.


“It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But it will come, just be patient. It was a very difficult sprint but I think I’m doing well. I didn’t crash and I was there in the finale. I was on Degenkolb’s wheel just before the final sprint and then I was on the wheel of André Greipel in the final meters but Cavendish was very fast today. I gave it my best and now I look forward to tomorrow and then we’ll start to think about the team time trial. I think the most important is that I’m in good condition and I have avoided crashes and I will definitely try again”, says Peter Sagan, who remains uncertain whether the climb to Mûr-de-Bretagne will suit him.


Read more: Sagan scores fifth top-three finish at Tour de France

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