Saturday, June 24, 2017

2014 Tour de France: Van den Broeck attacks in the Pyrenees

The second Tour stage in the Pyrenees was a tough one. With 124.5 kilometers it was the shortest stage, except for the time trial, but there were three climbs of first category to cover and the finish line was drawn at Pla d’Adet after an hors catégorie climb. Jurgen Van den Broeck attacked on the Col du Portillon and got in the front group. Rafal Majka turned out to be the strongest.

Van den Broeck in the breakaway

Immediately after the official start eight riders took off. Katusha made sure they didn’t get too much advantage. On the Col du Portillon several riders attacked from the peloton, one of them was Jurgen Van den Broeck. After the top a front group of 22 was formed. Van den Broeck had company of among other Kiryienka, Majka, Mollema, Rodriguez, Rolland and Schleck. Jurgen accelerated on the Peyresourde, while Kiryienka had gone solo. The White-Russian reached the top 1’13” before Herrada and Roche, the group with Van den Broeck followed at 1’48”. Herrada and Roche were caught on the next climb.

Van den Broeck lost contact on the Col de Val Louron-Azet, but could come back in the descent. In the meantime Kiryienka was reeled in. Moinard, Roche, Rolland and Visconti started the final climb to Pla d’Adet together. Visconti attacked first. Rafal Majka bridged from the background and would finish solo. Visconti became second. The group of favourites fell apart on the last climb and the yellow jersey group picked up almost all escapees. Nibali even got third. Van den Broeck crossed the finish line as 19th and moves up one place in GC, he’s now twelfth.

Jurgen Van den Broeck:  “I actually didn’t feel so well today. Beforehand I had the intention to join an interesting breakaway. As expected Movistar wanted to make the race hard and send a man in the break. On the way to the Col du Portillon I didn’t think I would succeed, but I could jump away after all. Majka and Rolland were the better riders in front. It wasn’t a surprise Majka won the stage.”

“I never had the feeling I was strong. Nevertheless I showed myself in a different way and animated the race. It wasn’t a surprise that I wasn’t 100% of course, now I know what’s the problem. It won’t be easy to recover during this Tour or even get better. Still I want to show myself instead of riding to Paris anonymously. Like I said before the GC isn’t a goal in itself anymore, but today I could maintain my position.”

Tour de France, Stage 17: Van Garderen Stays Sixth

Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team held onto his sixth place overall Wednesday after a summit finish to the shortest stage of this year's Tour de France.

Only Looking Forward
Van Garderen finished 13th in the 124.5-kilometer race, 1:40 behind king of the mountains classification leader Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), who soloed to win his second stage. With one day in the Pyrenees and four more of the race to go, van Garderen is 10:19 back from yellow jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team), who finished third on the day. "Yesterday was a pity, it was an off day," van Garderen said. "You can't change that. You can only look ahead." Asked if a podium finish is still a possibility, he said: "Anything is possible. If you would have asked me a couple days ago I would have said, it is really possible. Now, yes it is possible. But it will be hard." Van Garderen is 2:45 behind fifth-placed Romain Bardet and 4:11 back of Bardet's Ag2r La Mondiale teammate, Jean-Christophe Péraud, and 4:19 behind third-placed Thibault Pinot (

Two In The Breakaway
The BMC Racing Team placed two riders – Amaël Moinard and Peter Velits – in a 21-man move ahead of the peloton that eventually splinted on the third of four climbs on the day. Moinard, who has been in breakaways on Stages 9, 10 and 14 said having a teammate or two ahead of van Garderen was part of the plan. "There was a chance I could help Tejay on the top of the climb," Moinard said. "First, to help him pull back on guys like Bauke Mollema, who was a threat on the GC (general classification). And also to maybe make time against Alejandro Valverde (second in the overall standings). But unfortunately, Valverde came back at the top. But it is good for Tejay's morale for the last few days." Moinard went on to finish 20th, while Velits was 27th.

Hard Day Still Ahead
After Nibali surged away from him in the last seven kilometers, van Garderen said he still felt good enough to test himself against two of the three French riders ahead of him in the overall – Bardet and Pinot – who were with him. "I tried doing a little attack today but they are looking really strong," van Garderen said. "Obviously, if one of them has a bad day, I need to take advantage of it." BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said he was pleased to see van Garderen bounce back from a performance Tuesday that saw him concede more than three minutes to the top contenders. "After one hard day for him yesterday, today I think he was good," Ledanois said. "I have confidence in him for tomorrow. It is another hard day with the Tourmalet and the Hautacam."

Listen to complete comments from Ledanois, Moinard and van Garderen on the BMC Racing Team's Tour de France Audio Line:

BMC Racing Team Reveals Tour de Wallonie Roster

Past world road champions Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd are part of the BMC Racing Team's seven-man roster for the Tour de Wallonie. The five-day race begins Saturday.

Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Dominik Nerz (GER).

Sport Directors:
Rik Verbrugghe (BEL)
Valerio Piva (BEL)

Giovanni Ruffini (ITA)

Bus Drivers: Freddy Viaene (BEL), Andoni Sanchez (ESP). Mechanics: Aaron Fairley (USA), Jürgen Landrie (BEL). Press Officer: Isaura Van Lancker (BEL). Soigneurs: Dirk Leenaert (BEL), Antonio Marron (BEL), Marc Paeme (BEL), Freddy Viaene (BEL).

Rafal Majka takes second stage win in 2014 Tour de France

Today’s 124 kilometer rather short 17th stage of Tour de France was packed with climbs. No less than four category 1 climbs and an uphill finish to the HC climb to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet offered several opportunities to attack and to gain points for the king of the mountain classification, which Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka was leading before taking off from Saint-Gaudens. His goal today was the stage win.

The first part of today’s stage was a rather flat stretch but as soon as the pack hit the foot of the first climb to Col du Portillon, Katusha’s and second in the KOM competition was on the attack and he was followed by Tinkoff-Saxo’s Nicolas Roche but the Spaniard took maximum points crossing Portillon first and took over the lead in the mountain classification.

On the following the descent and entering the legendary climb to Col de Peyresourde, Vasil Kyrienka (Sky) managed to create a gap to Roche and his companion on the chase, Jose Herrada (Movistar) while the group with Rodriguez and Rafal Majka was chasing behind. In the peloton, Astana were in charge of the pace making.

Between Peyresourde and the third climb, Roche and Herrada were brought back by the chasers and Roche went to the front of the chase group and started the diesel engine to reel the Sky rider back in and he did he so a few hundred meters before reaching the summit of the penultimate climb. Cresting the climb, Rodriguez was first while Majka was second.

On the early slopes of the uphill finish, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Niclas Roche worked up a promising gap with Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Amaël Moinard (BMC). With 7.5 kilometers to go, teammate Rafal Majka launched an attack from the chase group and crawled his way up the road to bridge to Roche. Further up the road, Visconti was punishing himself onwards soloing his way up the mountain.

Soon, Rafal Majka had enough of the pace and jumped away narrowing down the gap to Visconti while behind, Nibali was on the chase. With less than 2 kilometers to go, Majka took off and flew towards the finish line to celebrate his second stage win and an extension of his lead in the mountain classification.

Rafal Majka says:

"I'm just so happy about this result and these results that we have accomplished in the last couple of days and today, me teammates really worked hard for me and especially Nico (Roche) was digging hard to set me up on the final climb. I wasn't so sure about how managing the stage at first but Bjarne told me to go for the stage and if we take the stage, we will have the jersey and here we are," said a very happy Rafal Majka.

DS, Philippe Maduit was just as content:

"Rafal did such a fine job out there. He was very composed throughout the day and tactically, he rode the stage perfectly. But you can'r underestimate the support from his teammate Nicolas Roche who paced him up the final climb", says Mauduit.

Vincenzo Nibali still leads overall.

Stage result

1 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 3:35:29
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:29
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
4 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00
5 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:49
6 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:52
7 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:12
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:25
10 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:35


2014 Tour de France Stage 17 Preview

A short but tough Stage 17 awaits the riders on Wednesday in the 2014 Tour de France.  While they will only cover a lateral distance of 124.5kms, there is quite a bit of challenging climbing for some already tired legs.

Tour organizers were nice enough to “dispense” of the intermediate sprint before the climbs after just 31kms in Saint-Beat, giving the sprinters a chance to get a little glory before dropping off the back and hoping to survive the time cut.  But then…4 huge, hard climbs await as we enter Spain:

  • Km 57.5 - Col du Portillon (1 292 m)8.3 kilometre-long climb at 7.1% - category 1
  • Km 82.0 - Col de Peyresourde (1 569 m)13.2 kilometre-long climb at 7% - category 1
  • Km 102.5 - Col de Val Louron-Azet (1 580 m)7.4 kilometre-long climb at 8.3% - category 1
  • Km 124.5 - Montée de Saint-Lary Pla d'Adet (1 680 m)10.2 kilometre-long climb at 8.3% - category H

This should be a good stage for anyone wanting to move up on GC.  It will also be another good challenge for those seeking the KOM jersey. 

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