Monday, July 24, 2017

TDF News

Joaquim Rodriguez wins atop Plateau de Beille in Tour de France

The hardest climb in the Pyrénées proved to be the perfect proving ground for Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez to find his form and solo into his second stage win in the 2015 Tour de France.  Part of an original 22-man break that held more than 13-minutes along the route to the summit finish of Plateau de Beille, Rodriguez launched his attack with 8 km to go and methodically made his way up the 15,8 km climb to claim his third career stage victory the French tour. “Purito” Rodriguez, 36, also won stage 3 on the Mur de Huy back in the first week of racing. Today’s victory marks up his fifth win of the season. 

- It is a miracle. Everybody wants to win this stage. Plateau de Beille is a climb I really like. I live 50 km from here and I am used to climbing here. I have here family and friends and saw many people with Purito t-shirts. That helped me a lot. Honestly I did not suffer any more those last 5 km. On the contrary I enjoyed them with all my friends on the road and when Torsten Schmidt behind me in the car told me that I had 40 seconds it gave me wings. I could maintain my rhythm and knew I would win. It is a dream, especially as it was a hard stage with the weather: first hot and then cold and then the dangerous descents, - said team leader Joaquim Rodriguez


A joyous Rodriguez accepted the stage trophy and flowers in front of his family and the many fans supporting the Spanish rider near his training ground of Andorra. His efforts moved him into 15th place at 13.45 on the general classification, perhaps still within striking distance for a top ten finish.  Rodriguez also currently holds second place in the mountains classification, only 9 points behind the lead of Chris Froome for the polka dot jersey.  


- After my bad last two days with hunger and a crash, to go in the break appeared to be a good move. First I thought it would be a bad move as we had only four minutes for quite awhile because there was no ideal cooperation in our group but then that got better.On Plateau de Beille I felt fantastic. I saw soon that Fuglsang would be the hardest competition but when I attacked and I saw his face I knew everything. I decided to go 3 km at 200 percent to permanently drop him, - continued Rodriguez.  

At 195 km, Stage 12 began in Lannemezan and proceeded over three rated climbs before the final ‘beyond category’ climb to the finish line. Starting the day at just over 20-minutes behind for the classification, Rodriguez was free to go for stage wins and quickly put himself in the break of the day formed up after the sprint point in the early kilometers of the stage. Rodriguez worked well with the others to steadily build the gap in the early heat of the day. But midway through the race the rain moved in, temperatures dropped and chances for the break to succeed grew as the main field showed more caution on the course. 


Reigning world champion Michal Kwiatkowski initiated an attack on his breakaway companions to take a small group clear with 75 km to go, but Rodriguez remained calm to pick his own time for an attack and steadily rode up to and then past Kwiatkowski on the last climb. Rodriquez continued to gain ground, crossing the finish line with a winning time of 5:40.14. Second place at 1.12 went to Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and AG2R La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet at 1.49 rounded out the daily podium. The win gives Team Katusha victory number 35 in the current season.


- I came here for the GC but now I’ve won two stages. I think for the team this is just as important. And also I’m starting to like this more than fighting for a 5th or 6th place in GC. This is one of my best Tours ever. And the Tour is not over yet. Mende is also a stage I like, as I won there 5 years ago. I also don't exclude the mountains jersey but it is hard to predict something for that. I am also so happy to win just on the day that our team owner Igor Makarov arrived in the Tour. This is the best present I could give him, - added Joaquim Rodriquez.


Despite repeated attacks against the yellow jersey of Chris Froome (Team Sky), the gap for the general classification remained at 2.52 to Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and 3.09 to Nairo Quintana of Movistar. It was the final day in the Pyrénées, but four climbing days in the Alps remain for the last week of racing.

Friday's stage 13 is 198,5 km from Muret to Rodez. Sprinters capable of handling the three rated climbs packed into the last part of the course could be the ones contesting the finale for this stage.

Kwiatkowski Wins Most Aggressive Rider Award Again

Etixx - Quick-Step rider Michal Kwiatkowski won the Most Aggressive Rider Award of 195km Le Tour de France Stage 12, from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille, on Thursday. He was selected for the award after entering into a large breakaway, going ahead with two other riders with 75km to go, and then pressing on alone on the HC Plateau de Beille (15.8 km, 7.9%) with 13.6km remaining in the race. 

The peloton remained more than 10 minutes behind inside 12km left to race. The Polish rider of Etixx - Quick-Step emptied the tank on the final climb, but was unable to stay away on the steepest slopes. Kwiatkowski was eventually caught by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who initially chased with several other riders but attacked to bridge by himself, with 7.6km to go. Rodriguez went on to win the stage solo.


Read more: Kwiatkowski Wins Most Aggressive Rider Award Again

2015 Tour de France: Stage 12 Preview

A third hard day in the mountains will face the riders on Stage 12 of the 2015 Tour de France as they tackle 195kms from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille.



The intermediate sprint occurs early—20kms in in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges.  After this, the sprinters will probably be at the back of the pack for the rest of the day as the road tilts upward for the 4 categorized climbs:

  • Km 57.5 - Col de Portet-d'Aspet (1 069 m)4.3 kilometre-long climb at 9.7% - category 2
  • Km 93.0 - Col de la Core (1 389 m)14.1 kilometre-long climb at 5.7% - category 1
  • Km 144.0 - Port de Lers (1 517 m)12.9 kilometre-long climb at 6% - category 1
  • Km 195.0 - PLATEAU DE BEILLE (1 780 m)15.8 kilometre-long climb at 7.9% - category H

Col de Portet d’Aspet, while short, is the second-steepest mountain in this year’s Tour and is just the start to what’s sure to be an incredibly tough day, especially if it’s as hot as Stage 11! However, anyone wanting to do any damage will attack on the final climb—the Plateau de Beille, first introduced to the Tour in 1998.  It is here I am guessing anyone who has anything left will try to gain back some time on their rivals.  

BMC's Tour de France, Stage 12: Van Garderen Keeps Pace

 Tejay van Garderen maintained his grip on second place overall at the Tour de France Thursday by keeping pace with race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) during a third straight challenging day in the Pyrenees mountains.

Van Garderen placed 13th and in a group of nine riders that arrived at the summit finish 6:47 after Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) won his second stage of the race. Rodriguez soloed out of what began as a 22-man breakaway early in the 195-kilometer race that included four major climbs.


Read more: BMC's Tour de France, Stage 12: Van Garderen Keeps Pace

Rafal Majka hits back with grand solo win in the Pyrenees

Rafal Majka powered his way to a great solo win on the mountainous stage 11 to Cauterets. Bearing a great resemblance to his two memorable solo wins of the 2014 edition, Rafal Majka put the hammer down on the penultimate climb to Col du Tourmalet. Peter Sagan picked up points in the fight for the green jersey and now leads the classification with 7 points, while Daniele Bennati sadly had to abandon the race due to a crash.


Rafal Majka made his move from a seven-rider front group on the slopes of Tourmalet, 48km from the finish. After the impressive effort in the Pyrenees claiming a notable solo win, Majka dedicates the win to his teammates.


Read more: Rafal Majka hits back with grand solo win in the Pyrenees

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The final stage of the 2017 Tour de France covers 103kms from Montgeron to the Champs-Elysées in Paris.  There are no categorized climbs, and the...
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