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Volta ao Algarve: Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas loses on last Algarve stage

Geraint Thomas (right) with Chris Froome (left)

Geraint Thomas (right) has played an important role in helping Chris Froome (left) win four Tour de France titles

Geraint Thomas missed out on a third Volta ao Algarve title on the last stage of a race won by Team Sky colleague Michal Kwiatkowski.

Welshman Thomas, who went into the final stage with a 19-second lead, finished second overall.

Pole Kwiatkowski started the stage a place behind Thomas, who won the event in 2015 and 2016.

It was a second Algarve win for Kwiatkowski after his 2014 success.

Thomas told BBC Radio Wales: “It was a good day for the team.

“It’s just a shame I didn’t get the chance to defend the jersey. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.

“I’m taking the positives from it. At least I’ve been feeling pretty good this week and better than I thought I would, so that’s all good.”

Elsewhere, Team Sky’s Chris Froome finished 10th in the Ruta del Sol – his first race since his adverse drugs test was made public.

Stage 5 result

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Team) Sky 04:18:02

2 Ruben Guerreiro (Por/Trek-Segafredo)

3 Serge Pauwels (Bel/Dimension Data)

4 Stefan Kung (Swi/BMC Racing Team)

5 Cesare Benedetti (Ita/Bora-Hansgrohe)

6 Dion Smith (Nzl/Wanty-Groupe Gobert)

7 Simon Geschke (Ger/Team Sunweb)

8 Julen Amezqueta (Spa/Caja Rural Seguros RGS)

9 Ben Swift (GB) (UAE Team Emirates)

10 Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert

General classification

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Team Sky 18:54.11

2 Geraint Thomas (GB/Sky) +01:31

3 Tejay van Garderen (USA/BMC Racing Team) +02:16

4 Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo) +2:22

5 Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +2:33

6 Jaime Roson (Spa/Movistar Team) +2:49

7 Maximillian Schachmann (Ger/Quick-Step Floors) +2:50

8 Serge Pauwels (Bel/Dimension Data) +2:50

9 Felix Grosschartner (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2:51

10 Nelson Oliveira (Por/Movistar Team) +2:54

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/wales/43063624

Ruta del Sol: Chris Froome falls to 14th as Tim Wellens takes lead

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I don’t see why I shouldn’t race – Froome

Britain’s Chris Froome has fallen to 14th place at the Ruta del Sol after a puncture on the fourth stage.

The four-time Tour de France winner trailed in one minute 19 seconds behind Saturday’s stage winner Tim Wellens, having started in seventh overall.

Lotto-Soudal’s Wellens and Movistar’s Mikel Landa broke away from the pack and it was the Belgian who prevailed by five seconds to claim the red jersey.

Froome’s Team Sky colleague Wout Poels, who led after three stages, was fourth.

The Briton is competing for the first time since an adverse drugs test was made public.

He has to explain to cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, how he returned double the allowed level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine during his Vuelta a Espana victory in September.

Stage four result

1. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) 4hrs 36mins 23secs

2. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +5secs

3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +12secs

4. Wout Poels (Ned/Sky) +13secs

5. Floris de Tier (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) same time

6. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +17secs

7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) +20secs

8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana) same time

9. Simon Clarke (Aus/EF Education First-Drapac) +21secs

10. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita/Wanty Groupe Gobert) +24secs

General classification

1. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) 17hrs 24mins 25secs

2. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +7secs

3. Wout Poels (Ned/Sky) +11secs

4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +14secs

5. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana) +20secs

6. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +32secs

7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) +58secs

8. Simon Clarke (Aus/EF Education First-Drapac) +65secs

9. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa/Euskadi-Murias) +74secs

10. Sergio Pardilla (Spa/Caja Rural-Seguros) +84secs

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/43099933

Ruta del Sol: Chris Froome stays seventh after third stage, Wout Poels leads

Chris Froome

Chris Froome received a gift from the Mayor of Mancha Real, Maria del Mar Davila, before stage three

Britain’s Chris Froome remained seventh after stage three of the Ruta del Sol, as Team Sky team-mate Wout Poels retained the leader’s jersey.

Four-time Tour de France champion Froome, 32, finished safely in the pack on the 165km third stage from Mancha Real to Herrera.

The final kilometres were left to the sprinters, with Italian Sacha Modolo beating Spain’s Carlos Barbero by a bike’s length to snatch victory.

Colombia’s Nelson Soto was third.

Dutchman Poels leads by two seconds from Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez and Lotto Soudal’s Tim Wellens.

Former Sky rider Mikel Landa, now at Movistar, is five seconds back, alongside Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang.

With Saturday’s fourth stage likely to be another bunch finish, the five-day race will be settled in a 14.2km time trial around the coastal town of Barbate on Sunday.

Froome, who is 28 seconds back adrift of the leader, is competing for the first time since an adverse drugs test was made public.

He has to explain to cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, how he returned double the allowed level of legal asthma drug Salbutamol in his urine during his Vuelta a Espana victory in September.

Team Sky have said Froome’s next race will be at the Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy in March.

Stage three result

1. Sacha Modolo (Ita/EF Education First) 3hrs 48mins 18secs

2. Carlos Barbero (Spa/Movistar) Same time

3. Nelson Andres Soto (Col/Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) Same

4 Oscar Gatto (Ita/Astana) Same time

5. Moreno Hofland (Ned/Lotto-Soudal) Same time

6. Jon Aberasturi (Spa/Euskadi-Murias) Same time

7. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rou/ Nippo-Vini Fantini) Same time

8. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned/Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) Same time

9. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita/Wanty-Groupe Gobert) Same time

10. Colin Joyce (US/Rally Cycling) Same time

General classification

1. Wout Poels (Ned/Sky) at 12hrs 48mins

2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana) +3secs

3. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +3secs

4. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +5secs

5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +5secs

6. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +18secs

7. Chris Froome (GB/Sky) +28secs

8 Mikel Bizkarra (Spa/Euskadi-Murias) +35secs

9. Amaro Antunes (Por/CCC Sprandi Polkowice) +39secs

10. Jelle Vanendert (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +39secs

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/43090527

Chris Froome seventh after stage two of the Ruta del Sol

Chris Froome

Chris Froome is competing for the first time since September 2017

Chris Froome finished seventh on stage two of the Ruta del Sol, as Team Sky team-mate Wout Poels won the stage.

The four-time Tour de France champion is competing for the first time since his adverse drugs test was made public and admitted he will not be challenging for the title in Spain.

Froome, 32, finished 27 seconds behind Dutchman Poels, with Luis Leon Sanchez in second and Tim Wellens third.

“I’m not feeling my absolute best and it’s my first race,” said Froome.

  • Froome’s high-profile return in a low-key race
  • Adverse drugs test will not affect Tour de France plans – Froome

Speaking to Sky Sports after the 140km stage from Otura to La Guardia de Jaen, he added: “I wasn’t coming here expecting to smash the whole race.”

Wellens broke clear inside the final kilometre but the Belgian faltered on the gruelling climb.

Poels and Spain’s Sanchez fought for the line, with the 30-year-old Dutchman prevailing by two seconds to win the stage and take the overall lead.

Stage two result

1. Wout Poels (Ned/Sky) – 3hrs 38mins 04secs

2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana) +2secs

3. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +2secs

4. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +4secs

5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +4secs

6. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +17secs

7. Chris Froome (GB/Sky) +27secs

8. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa/Euskadi-Murias) +34secs

9. Amaro Antunes (Por/CCC Sprandi Polkowice) +38secs

10. Jelle Vanendert (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +38secs

General classification

1. Wout Poels (Ned/Sky) – 3hrs 38mins 04secs

2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana) + 2secs

3. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +2secs

4. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +4secs

5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +4secs

6. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +17secs

7. Chris Froome (GB/Sky) +27secs

8. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa/Euskadi-Murias) +34secs

9. Amaro Antunes (Por/CCC Sprandi Polkowice) +38secs

10. Jelle Vanendert (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +38secs

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/43077746

Froome fever in the Costa del Sol – a high profile return in a low

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I don’t see why I shouldn’t race – Froome

Winning four Tour de France titles, the Vuelta a Espana and two Olympic bronze medals does not necessarily make you famous on the Costa del Sol.

After Chris Froome led out the peloton on Wednesday at the start of the Ruta del Sol, his first race since his adverse drugs test was made public, the crowd quickly dispersed.

Outside an Irish pub near the start line, one woman returned with a photo of Froome, only for her friend to ask: “Who’s that? Is that Bradley Wiggins?”

Even the highest profile riders in cycling can be mistaken for someone else in a low-key Mediterranean coastal village.

That confusion aside, Froome’s presence has undoubtedly raised the profile of this edition of the Ruta del Sol – a five-stage race in Andalucia, which the Team Sky rider won in 2015.

Organisers said they have supplied around 150 media accreditations for the event, six times more than usual.

About 30 of us were duly gathered outside the Team Sky bus in a car park on the outskirts of La Cala de Mijas on Wednesday morning, joined by fans and recreational cyclists.

After leaving the bus, Froome signed a few autographs and posed for photos with fans, thanking them for their support.

Most were offering unconditional support, calling the name “Froomey” as he emerged. Others I spoke to were more guarded, saying they wanted to believe the Briton had done nothing wrong and could clear his name.

When speaking to the media, Froome’s answers were concise and confident, often referring to “the process” as he tries to explain to the UCI how he returned double the permitted level of legal asthma drug salbutamol in a urine test during his Vuelta victory in September.

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Chris Froome and former teammate Mikel Landa, of Movistar, before the first stage of the race in Andalucia

Any sense of frustration only became apparent when he said there was “a lot of misinformation out there”, dismissing the “opinions of people who don’t quite fully understand the process”.

The questions will keep coming, likely even after that process is done, but Froome appears determined to shut off the scrutiny when he is on the bike.

He relaxed once he was on the saddle and able to focus on the race ahead, chatting with team-mates as he warmed up on his turbo before proceeding to the start line.

There, the 2015 winner spoke to former team-mate and now Grand Tour rival Mikel Landa – the Spaniard said before the race that Froome was welcome, while others like Tony Martin have criticised his decision to compete.

The talking done, the flag dropped and the peloton and media circus left town, allowing the expats and tourists to return to their coffees or beers and the race itself to become the focus, if only briefly.

France’s Thomas Boudat won the first stage to take the leader’s jersey, beating Italian Sascha Modolo in a dramatic sprint finish in Granada.

Modolo raised his arms after crossing the line, but the photo showed Boudat had edged it.

Do not celebrate too early. If Froome continues to race and wins while his case is unresolved, many cycling fans could be left wondering whether they should salute those victories.

And what if that includes a first Giro d’Italia or fifth Tour win this year? Froome told BBC Sport he hopes his case does not drag out that far, but that he is prepared to ride them because he is allowed to race.

For now, Froome had a solid day on the bike, rolling in with the main peloton in 57th place in the same time as Boudat.

A low-key end to an unusually high-profile day at the Ruta del Sol.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/43065956

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