Monthly Archives: July 2019

‘I’ll be back’

Downhill mountain biking’s Rachel Atherton says she is devastated she will not be able to defend her World title this year but hopes to be fit early next year.

Wales-based Atherton tore an Achilles tendon during a practice run at the Downhill World Cup in Les Gets, France which has ruled her out for the rest of the season.

The 31-year-old, who has won World Championship gold five times, will miss this year’s event at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada but aims to be back to her best within six months.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/cycling/49150361

Tour de France: Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Egan Bernal will make for strong 2020 team

(l-r) Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal

Bernal (right) was a key domestique for Froome (left) and Thomas when he won his Tour title last year

Geraint Thomas expects Team Ineos to be even stronger at next year’s Tour de France with three winners in the squad.

The Welshman, who won last year’s race, believes Chris Froome will be chasing a record-equalling fifth title alongside this year’s champion Egan Bernal.

“If all three of us are there on the start line, jeez, we’re going to have questions about leadership,” he said.

“But other teams will have to answer those questions on the road. It will be great to have that strength next year.”

Thomas, Froome and Bernal all lined up for for Team Sky (who were taken over by Ineos earlier this year) at the 2018 race, with the latter riding as a domestique for his more experienced team-mates.

The 22-year-old Colombian showed his potential by pacing Thomas to victory on Alpe d’Huez and ultimately the overall title, prompting Froome to say: “There is a lot in Egan that reminds me of myself when I was younger. It’s great having him on the team and he brings a lot of young, new energy to the group.”

Froome, who missed this year’s Tour after suffering a broken neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs in an accident at the Criterium du Dauphine on 12 June, is ahead of schedule in his recovery, according to team boss Dave Brailsford.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sportsweek program, Brailsford said: “In typical Chris Froome fashion, he’s putting everything into his recovery.

“Hopefully we’ll see him back at the Tour de France next year.”

Froome is one of seven riders to have won all three Grand Tour titles and his haul of seven includes two Vueltas a Espana and one Giro d’Italia title.

“You know what he’s like,” Thomas said of the 34-year-old. “When he’s not on his bike, all his attention has shifted to his rehab and it’s remarkable to see how quickly he’s improved. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go and see him and catch up soon.”

Thomas arrived at this year’s Tour as the defending champion but had to settle for second place behind Bernal.

“To finish second behind a team-mate makes it OK,” said the 33-year-old Welshman.

“Two years ago I had my arm in a sling with a broken collarbone watching Froome win, wishing I was riding and I would’ve taken second then, but it just shows how time and expectations have moved on.”

His own preparations for the Tour were disrupted by a race-ending crash at June’s Tour de Suisse and he had three more minor spills during the three-week race around France.

However, he said anyone suggesting he might be beyond winning a second Tour only inspires him.

“I don’t read it, although certain stuff filters through to me and it spurs me on,” he said.

“I’m a lot closer to the end than the start: Me and Egan are on separate spectrums, but it’s great to be having this success.

“I’ve had my Olympic success and it’s pleasing to have some more on the Tour de France.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/49147253

Bernal completes Tour de France victory, with Thomas second

Egan Bernal with Ineos team-mates on the finish line in Paris

Bernal (centre) with the six team-mates who helped him win the race – GB’s Luke Rowe was disqualified from the race on stage 17

Egan Bernal became the youngest rider in 110 years to win the Tour de France after Caleb Ewan won the traditional sprint finish in Paris.

With the race leader not challenged on the final stage, 22-year-old Bernal became the first Colombian winner.

He crossed the line in the peloton, hand-in-hand with his Ineos team-mate and last year’s winner Geraint Thomas, who finished second this time.

“To finish second behind a team-mate makes it OK,” said Welshman Thomas.

“Two years ago I had my arm in a sling with a broken collarbone watching Chris Froome win, wishing I was riding and I would’ve taken second then, but it just shows how time and expectations have moved on.

“Egan is the future and when I’m 45 and old and fat and sat in the pub watching him win a 10th Tour de France I can say I told him all I know.”

Thomas went into the three-week race as joint leader with Bernal but his preparations had been disrupted when he crashed while travelling at around 50mph in the Tour de Suisse in June.

He had to abandon that week-long race and then he had three minor crashes during this year’s Tour.

Thomas led Bernal for much of the race but his team-mate was stronger in the final week in the Alps, and ended up winning by one minute 11 seconds, with Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk 20 seconds further adrift in third.

“Thanks to all my team and thank you G [Geraint Thomas] for giving me the opportunity,” said Bernal. “I’m the happiest guy in the world. I have just won the Tour de France and I can’t believe it.”

Bernal’s victory is the seventh in eight years for a British-based team, after Ineos took over the ownership of the Team Sky squad earlier this year.

Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the race in 2012, with Chris Froome triumphing in 2013 and then claiming three in succession from 2015 before Thomas took last year’s title.

Bernal is just the third Colombian to win one of cycling’s three Grand Tours. Nairo Quintana won the 2014 Giro d’Italia and 2016 Vuelta a Espana, while Luis Herera won the Vuelta in 1987.

How the final stage unfolded

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Caleb Ewan’s victory was his third stage win of the 2019 tour

A largely pedestrian 60km ride from Rambouillet to Paris saw Bernal and his Ineos team-mates sipping a celebratory glass of champagne.

As the riders entered the capital city, the race crossed the river Seine via Le Pont Neuf, close to the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame – French television chose not to show the building that was ravaged by fire in April – before the riders swept through the grounds of the Louvre.

Last year’s champion Thomas was given the honour of leading the peloton through the Place de la Concorde and up the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees for the first time.

The pace increased with the passing of each 7km lap, which saw the riders swing round the Arc de Triomphe before hurtling back down the Champs-Elysees at speeds approaching 50mph before heading off back towards the Louvre.

Julian Alaphilippe, who led the race for 14 days, giving French fans hope of first home win since 1985, led the peloton on to the Champs-Elysees for the final time, trying to set up a victory for his Deceuninck Quick Step team-mate Elia Viviani, however, the Italian was nowhere as Lotto Soudal rider Ewan proved quickest in Paris.

The Australian, who timed his charge to the line to perfection, edging out Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen to win his third stage on his debut Tour, said: “It was quite messy I went down the right, I’d been told to avoid there and it is quite bumpy but luckily I had enough speed to come through at the end.”

For Alaphilippe, who finished fifth overall, there was the consolation of being named the race’s most combatitive rider, while his compatriot Romain Bardet claimed the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey.

Slovakia’s three-time world champion Peter Sagan won the green points jersey for a record seventh time.

Why Bernal’s victory is not a surprise

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Bernal (right) was a key domestique for Thomas when he won his Tour title last year

The climbing specialist, who was born on 13 January, 1997 in Zipaquira in central Colombia at an altitude of 2,650m, showed his potential at last year’s Tour, when he rode as a domestique to Thomas and four-time champion Chris Froome.

After pacing Thomas to victory on Alpe d’Huez and ultimately the overall title, Froome said: “He’s got an amazing engine. You only have to look at what he did on Alpe d’Huez, for a 21-year-old, that’s amazing.

“There is a lot in Egan that reminds me of myself when I was younger. It’s great having him on the team and he brings a lot of young, new energy to the group.”

He joined Team Sky for the 2018 season, after winning the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir – a stage race for under-23 riders that has seen many of its winners go on to Tour de France success.

He won the Tour Colombia and Tour of California last year before making his Tour de France debut as a domestique to Thomas and four-time winner Froome.

This year, three crashes helped Bernal arrive at the Tour as joint leader of the Ineos team, formerly Team Sky.

The first was his own, on a training ride in Andorra, and it ruled him out of May’s Giro d’Italia, where he had been due to lead the team for the first time in a Grand Tour.

Froome’s season-ending crash at June’s Criterium du Dauphine then pushed Bernal up the Ineos pecking order for the Tour de France, while Thomas’ spill at the Tour de Suisse later that month saw Bernal take over as the sole leader of that team and he went on to win the race.

After riding away from Thomas on the Tourmalet on stage 14 in the Pyrenees, he did so twice again in the Alps in the final week to position himself as Ineos’ strongest rider at the Tour and secure his first Grand Tour win in only his second attempt.

Bernal is the third youngest winner of the Tour. The youngest is France’s Henri Cornet, who was 19 when he was controversially awarded victory in the second edition of the race in 1904, while Luxembourg’s Francois Faber was a few days younger than Bernal when he took the 1909 title.

Final general classification standings:

1. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos) 82hrs 57mins 00secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos) +1min 11secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 31secs

4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1min 56secs

5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/ Deceuninck-Quick Step) +3mins 45secs

6. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 23secs

7. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +5mins 15secs

8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +5mins 30secs

9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +6mins 12secs

10. Warren Barguil (Fra/Arkea-Samsic) +7mins 32secs

Stage 21 result:

1. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal)3hrs 04mins 08’secs

2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) Same time

3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita/Total Direct Energie)

4. Max Richeze (Arg/Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Dimension Data)

6. Andre Griepel (Ger/Arkea-Samsic)

7. Matteo Trentin (Ita/Mitchelton-Scott)

8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

9. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Sunweb)

10. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-hansgrohe)

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/49145747

Joint leadership ‘worked to perfection’ with Ineos set for Tour one-two

Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas celebrate as they approach the finishing line at the end of Saturday's penultimate stage of the 2029 Tour de France

Egan Bernal (left) is riding in only his second Grand Tour

Having Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas as joint leaders of Team Ineos has “worked to perfection” at the Tour de France, says boss Sir Dave Brailsford.

Bernal is poised to become the first Colombian to win the race, while defending champion Thomas is set to finish second after the processional run into Paris on Sunday.

“You can’t get better than second and first,” Brailsford said.

“In the end it was all about the team winning.”

With four-time winner Chris Froome absent after fracturing his femur, elbow and ribs in a high-speed crash in June, Bernal who finished 15th at the Tour in 2018, was promoted alongside Thomas in only his third year as a professional.

And the Colombian, who acted as a domestique 12 months ago, belied his lack of experience to excel on a route that favoured his prowess in the mountains.

A strong performance on the Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, where Welshman Thomas faltered, underlined his credentials as a potential race winner before he claimed the yellow jersey with a superb attack on the Iseran in the Alps.

“A lot of people may have questioned having two leaders, were we hedging our bets and whether it was going to work. It’s worked to perfection,” Brailsford added.

“We knew we had a group of older guys who were performing well, but we looked very hard to find the new generation and decided that it was going to be Egan.

“We fought pretty hard to get him and he developed fantastically well. The advice that Geraint [Thomas] has given [Bernal], he knows what he’s doing, he’s generous with his advice and a generous person in that regard.”

Despite enjoying unrivalled success as Team Sky – winning six of the last seven races – Brailsford says this year’s triumph has arrived in the “most exciting” edition of La Grande Boucle that he has taken part in.

“Credit to Julian Alaphilippe as he died for that [yellow] jersey every stage and he made a lot of people second guess what they thought they knew, and I think [Thibaut] Pinot did the same in the Pyrenees.

“He was aggressive, he was brave and he took the race to us.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/49140853

Stage 20 of Tour cut by 71km due to landslides & weather warnings

Julian Alaphilippe

Alaphilippe climbed into his team car after learning the stage had been cancelled

Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Tour de France will be shortened by 71km because of landslides and severe weather warnings.

The leg will start from Albertville at 13:30 BST, instead of 11:30 BST, and conclude with the final 33km ascent to Val Thorens – a total distance of 59km.

Friday’s stage was halted by a hailstorm and a landslide about 20km from the finish.

Ineos rider Egan Bernal leads the Tour by 48 seconds from Julian Alaphilippe.

Bernal’s team-mate and defending champion Geraint Thomas remains third overall.

The stage will skip one major climb – the Cormet de Roselend, a 19.9km ascent at 6%.

Race organisers said: “Following difficult weather and landslides forecast for tomorrow [Saturday], the route of the 20th stage of the Tour de France has been modified.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/49134648

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