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Tour de France 2018: Julian Alaphilippe wins stage 10, Greg van Avermaet extends lead

Julian Alaphilippe celebrates winning stage 10

Julian Alaphilippe put in a fine solo attack to win his first Tour de France stage

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe claimed an impressive solo victory on stage 10 of the Tour de France as Greg van Avermaet extended his overall lead.

Alaphilippe went clear with just under 30km to go and held his advantage over the final climb to take his first Tour stage win in Le Grand-Bornand.

BMC’s Van Avermaet got into the early breakaway and held on to finish fourth, behind Ion Izagirre and Rein Taaramae.

The Belgian now leads Britain’s Geraint Thomas by two minutes and 22 seconds.

Four-time winner Chris Froome is up to sixth overall, three minutes and 21 seconds back on Van Avermaet, while fellow Briton Adam Yates is seventh, on the same time.

Team Sky and the other general classification teams know Van Avermaet, who is not a pure climber, should still lose the race lead over the next two days in the Alps but this was a superb ride to keep his yellow jersey into an eighth day.

“We were expecting that from Van Avermaet, he did that last time he had the jersey in 2016,” said Thomas, who started the day 43 seconds down.

“It would have been nice to take the yellow jersey but it’s the Tour de France – it doesn’t come easily and doesn’t come just because you want it.”

Alaphilippe finishes what he started

Alaphilippe’s victory, the first by a Frenchman in this year’s Tour, was just reward for animating the race with a fine display of climbing and descending skills.

He attacked just 5.5km into the 158.5km stage from Annecy, helping to establish a breakaway that eventually swelled to 21 riders, before being first man to the summit of the relatively straightforward Col de Bluffy.

Despite slipping back on the more challenging Col de la Croix Fry, the 26-year-old Quick-Step Floors rider surged to the front again to take first place over the hardest-rated climb of the day – the Montee du plateau des Glieres, with a 11.2% average gradient.

By now he was having to forcibly rein himself in and wait for the rest of the remaining break to help him drive on in the valleys, but once back on the slopes, he kicked clear of everyone again, also taking the summit of the Col de Romme solo.

Again he briefly waited for Taaramae, but soon left the Estonian behind, taking a far more attacking line through the corners on the descent before dragging himself up the Col de la Colombiere to ensure he also took the polka dot king of the mountains jersey.

Once over that last climb, the pursuers had no chance of catching Alaphilippe, who began celebrating 3km from the line, with Izagirre rolling in one minute and 34 seconds down.

Van Avermaet honours yellow

It is a rare sight to see the yellow jersey up the road in a breakaway on a mountain stage.

The peloton let Van Avermaet go because the classics specialist, who was second on Sunday’s cobble stage, poses no threat to the overall title – indeed post-race he rated his chances of keeping the race lead after Wednesday’s stage 11 as “zero”.

But given BMC’s leader Richie Porte abandoned on Sunday after breaking his collarbone and nominal back-up Tejay van Garderen tumbled down the standings after also crashing on stage nine, this was gutsy ride by Van Avermaet to honour both his team and the leader’s jersey in the mountains.

Team Sky made a statement of intent to their rivals, riding a typically high tempo in numbers on the front of the bunch to dissuade attacks.

Most of the favourites matched them but Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who finished second overall last year, was dropped on the final climb and is now nearly four minutes back on Froome.

“For the first big mountain stage I think the guys showed exactly what we have been training for and it was great to see we had the numbers there,” said Froome.

A summit finish on stage 11

Wednesday’s stage 11 is the second day in the Alps and features four testing climbs, including an uphill finish at La Rosiere.

In his stage-by-stage guide for BBC Sport, Mark Cavendish said: “It’s the first mountain-top finish of this year’s Tour and it’s likely to be a grinding out on the final climb because it’s not steep enough to see people absolutely blowing. A group will get whittled down gradually.”

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Stage 10 result

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Quick-Step Floors) 4hrs 25mins 27secs

2. Ion Izagirre (Spa/Bahrain-Merida) +1min 34secs

3. Rein Taaramae (Est/Direct Energie) +1min 40secs

4. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) +1min 44secs

5. Serge Pauwels (Bel/Team Dimension Data) same time

6. Lilian Calmejane (Fra/Direct Energie) +2mins 24secs

7. Dan Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) +3mins 23secs

8. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL-Jumbo) same time

9. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama-FDJ)

10. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky)

General classification after stage 10

1. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) 40hrs 34mins 28secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +2mins 22secs

3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 10secs

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

5. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +3mins 20secs

6. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +3mins 21secs

7. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) same time

8. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar)

9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +3mins 27secs

10. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL-Jumbo) +3mins 36secs

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44865009

Lizzie Deignan joins new Trek women’s team for the 2019 season

Lizzie Deignan celebrates victory at GP de Plouay last year

Lizzie Deignan hopes to return to training in December after the birth of her first child in September

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan will join the new Trek Factory Racing team when she returns to racing next season.

The 29-year-old former world champion is not competing this season as she is expecting her first child in September.

She was announced as the headline signing for the new UCI women’s WorldTour team at its launch on Monday.

“I chose Trek because rather than see me as a risk in pregnancy, they saw me as an investment and as a valued athlete,” said Deignan.

“For me that was the biggest sign towards truly believing in equality.”

Deignan is hoping to be back in training by December and will leave Boels-Dolmans, after five years with the Dutch outfit, at the end of this season.

Speaking in Aix-les-Bains on the first rest day of the Tour de France, she added: “My ambition is to always be with a team that supports you and gives you the environment that reflects what you put in.”

Deignan, who took silver at the London 2012 road race, won the Tour de Yorkshire and GP de Plouay last year, also finishing second in the Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege one-day classics.

The new team will receive support from Trek-Segafredo, the men’s WorldTour outfit that Trek took over in 2014, with the rest of the roster set to be announced in August.

The American bike manufacturer also co-sponsors Trek-Drops on the women’s WorldTour, though Trek president John Burke confirmed that relationship will end and the British team will have to find a new bike supplier for next season.

Elsewhere, BMC Racing has announced it will merge with Polish professional continental team CCC next season, ending doubts over its future.

Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, who is currently leading the Tour de France for BMC, has signed a three-year deal and will become team leader, with Richie Porte reportedly set to leave.

CCC, a Polish shoe and bag company, will be the title sponsor and the team will race at WorldTour level.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44845170

Degenkolb wins stage nine as Froome crashes but finishes in pack

Chris Froome

Chris Froome was caught up in a crash during the stage but got back up to continue

John Degenkolb won a dramatic ninth stage of the Tour de France that saw Richie Porte abandon and Greg van Avermaet extend his overall lead in a chaotic race across the cobbles.

Four-time winner Chris Froome crashed but recovered to finish with the other main general classification contenders.

Porte was forced out of the race with a fractured collar bone after crashing before the cobbles arrived.

Trek Segafredo’s Degenkolb outsprinted Van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert to win.

That trio broke clear with 20km to go and, although Van Avermaet had to settle for second, the Belgian now leads Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas by 43 seconds in the yellow jersey.

Degenkolb was forced to lead out the sprint but the German had enough power to hold off Van Avemaet and Lampaert and claim his first Tour stage victory.

The 156.5km stage across the north of France contained 15 cobbled sections, with Froome tumbling over his handlebars after hitting team-mate Gianni Moscon, who fell on the entrance to the eighth sector.

However, with 45km to go at that point, the Team Sky leader had enough time to rejoin the main group and is now up to eighth overall, while fellow Briton Adam Yates, riding for Mitchelton-Scott, is ninth. They are both one minute and 42 seconds behind BMC Racing’s Van Avermaet.

‘Everyone said I was done’

Degenkolb has pedigree on the pave. He won Paris-Roubaix in 2015, the famous one-day cobbled classic known as the ‘Hell of the North’, and this stage followed a similar route.

However, he has struggled for form since nearly losing a finger after being struck by a car during a training ride with his then Giant-Alpecin team-mates in January 2016.

He was in tears after securing his biggest win since that accident, dedicating the victory to a friend who died last year.

“This is pure happiness. I was chasing this victory for so long, I’ve been through a lot,” he said.

“Everybody said I was done after the accident, that I would never come back, but I said I needed to get one really big victory for my friend.”

More heartbreak for Porte

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Porte was in tears as he was led to the side of the road after his crash 10km into the stage

This was the latest in a sequence of Grand Tour disappointments for Porte, who also crashed out of last year’s Tour on stage nine, fracturing his collar bone and pelvis on a high-speed descent.

The Australian, who saw his attempts to win the 2015 Giro d’Italia and 2016 Tour ended by mechanical issues and illness, fell with a big group of riders just 10km into the stage and was led to the side of the road in tears, supporting his right shoulder.

Having won the Tour de Suisse this year, Porte was among the favourites for the podium in Paris but, at 33 years old, he is running out of time to put together a Tour challenge free of bad luck or bad days.

There was more misfortune for BMC as Tejay van Garderen, who should assume the team leadership in the mountains, also crashed and could not chase back on, falling from third to 30th overall.

Bardet clings on

It was a fraught day for all the favourites, but most will know it could have been worse.

Aside from Porte, the only other main contender to lose out was Rigoberto Uran, the Colombian crashing at about 30km to go and unable to rejoin the main group, losing one minute 28 seconds to his rivals.

AG2R La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet had three punctures, including one with just 6km to go, but chased back on each time, despite Froome putting in a brief dig at the front late on in an apparent attempt to distance the Frenchman, who lost just seven seconds on the line.

Mikel Landa also lost seven seconds, having crashed while trying to take a drink from his bottle before being paced back by his Movistar squad as their other leaders, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, finished safely in the main bunch.

Ireland’s Dan Martin, who crashed heavily on Saturday’s stage eight, came through unscathed, even managing to grab a bonus second.

The Alps beckon

Monday is this Tour’s first rest day, with riders back in action on Tuesday in a 158.5km stage from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand, marking the first of three stages in the Alps.

In his stage-by-stage guide for BBC Sport, Mark Cavendish said: “It’s going to be the first fight between the general classification guys but I don’t see it playing a big factor in the overall result at this stage of the race.”

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Stage nine result

1. John Degenkolb (Ger/Trek-Segafredo) 3hrs 24mins 26secs

2. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) same time

3. Yves Lampaert (Bel/Quick-Step Floors)

4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step Floors) +19secs

5. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe) same time

6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

7. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors)

8. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto-Soudal) +27secs

9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Team Dimension Data) same time

10. Timothy Dupont (Bel/Wanty-Groupe Gobert)

General classification after stage nine

1. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) 36hrs 7mins 17secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +43secs

3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step Floors) +44secs

4. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +50secs

5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +1min 31secs

6. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1min 32secs

7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +1min 33secs

8. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 42secs

9. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) same time

10. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar)

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44840103

Tour de France 2018: Dylan Groenewegen takes stage eight for second straight win

Dylan Groenewegen celebrates victory on stage eight

Groenewegen has now won three Tour de France stages in his career

Dylan Groenewegen won his second Tour de France stage in as many days with another powerful sprint in Amiens.

The LottoNL-Jumbo rider kicked from deep to beat Andre Greipel and Fernando Gaviria, who were both later relegated after separate clashes.

That moved Peter Sagan up to second, with John Degenkolb third and Britain’s Mark Cavendish eighth.

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas remains second overall but is now seven seconds behind yellow jersey Greg van Avermaet.

The Belgian BMC rider attacked off the front of the peloton to take a bonus second with just over 20km of the 181km stage from Dreux remaining.

Four-time winner Chris Froome is up to 12th, one minute six seconds down on Van Avermaet, after overtaking fellow Briton Adam Yates because of better aggregate stage placings.

Yates remains 13th after Quick-Step Floors’ Julian Alaphilippe, who started the day fourth, was caught in a late crash and dropped out of the top 10.

Ireland’s Dan Martin, who won stage six, fell heavily in that crash with just over 15km to go and lost one minute 16 seconds to drop to 31st overall.

The UAE Team Emirates leader suffered a cut on his elbow but an X-ray later confirmed he had not broken any bones.

Groenewegen calm in the chaos

This was the last chance for the sprinters until Friday’s stage 13 as they now have to hang on through Sunday’s cobbled route and three challenging days in the Alps.

It led to a frenzied finish in Amiens for most, although Groenewegen once again showed remarkable calm, waiting until he had a clear line before displaying a superb turn of speed to draw level with Gaviria, swing round Greipel and win by a bike length.

“Sagan started very early and it was a bit messy, but I surged ahead – it was a good opportunity and I seized it,” said Groenewegen.

He now joins Gaviria and Sagan on two stage victories in this year’s Tour, with three more sprint stages to come – including the final day on the Champs Elysees, where Groenewegen will try to make it back-to-back wins in Paris.

Sagan is a more versatile rider than those two, who are pure sprinters, however, and could well challenge on Sunday’s cobbled stage, having won this year’s Paris-Roubaix.

He faded after leading out the sprint, but Gaviria’s relegation ensures he extends his lead in the points classification, with the world champion already looking on course for a record-equalling sixth green jersey.

When Tour debutant Gaviria found his way blocked by Greipel on the left he side-swiped the German with his head, while Greipel was penalised for leaning his head into compatriot Nikias Arndt earlier in the sprint, leading to both Gaviria and Greipel being relegated to the back of the front finishing bunch.

Familiar woes for Cavendish

Cavendish, 33, has proven to be adept at winning bunch sprints both from the back of a dominant lead-out train and by picking the right wheel to follow during his 30 Tour stage victories.

However, both skills have not been evident as he struggles to close in on Belgian great Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage victories.

Again the Dimension Data train broke apart after leading the race into the final stages and again Cavendish found himself swamped, despite having been on Sagan’s wheel.

He has been unlucky too – briefly touching wheels with Groenewegen here – but he was already out of contention by then and is running out of time in this Tour to add to his tally.

Critical cobbles on stage nine

Sunday’s stage nine sees the race tackle 15 cobbled sections totalling 22km, including sectors that feature on the Paris-Roubaix one-day race, with the stage also ending in Roubaix.

In his stage-by-stage guide for BBC Sport, Cavendish said: “This is a stage for one of the one-day classics specialists in the peloton.

“We don’t do any of the hardest five-star sectors that feature in Paris-Roubaix but there are definitely some four-star sectors. Every one of the general classification favourites will be up there with their teams trying to not lose time.”

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Stage eight result

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) 4hrs 23mins 36secs

2. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto-Soudal) same time

3. Fernando Gaviria (Col/Quick-Step Floors)

4. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe)

5. John Degenkolb (Ger/Trek-Segafredo)

6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Team UAE Emirates)

7. Arnaud Demare (Fra/Groupama-FDJ)

8. Thomas Boudat (Fra/Direct Energie)

9. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Sunweb)

10. Mark Cavendish (GB/Team Dimension Data)

General classification after stage eight

1. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) 32hrs 43mins 00secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +7secs

3. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +9secs

4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step Floors) +16secs

5. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +22secs

6. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +49secs

7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +55secs

8. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +56secs

9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +57secs

10. Richie Porte (Aus/BMC Racing) same time

Selected:

12. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 6secs

13. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) same time

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44833658

Groenewegen sprints to victory on stage seven

Groenewegen had enough of a cushion to celebrate as he crossed the line

Dylan Groenewegen had enough of a cushion to celebrate as he crossed the line

Dylan Groenewegen took an emphatic win in a bunch sprint finish on stage seven of the Tour de France as Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas stayed second overall.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Groenewegen pulled clear of Fernando Gaviria to win comfortably and deny the Colombian a third stage win at this year’s race.

Peter Sagan was third as the sprinters tussled in a late frenzy in Chartres after 231km that lacked drama.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish appeared in contention but slipped to 10th late on.

Cavendish, who is chasing a 31st stage win to close on the Tour record of 34 held by Belgian Eddy Merckx, said a late collision hampered his finish but conceded other teams are in better form.

“I was following quite good wheels but it was choppy,” said Team Dimension Data rider Cavendish, 33.

“I went to go but Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe just seem to have another level.

“I kicked but couldn’t match them. I had a little coming together at the end, it may have been my fault and it stopped me dead in my tracks.”

Welshman Thomas is now six seconds behind Greg van Avermaet in the leader’s yellow jersey after the BMC rider surged off the front of the peloton to take three seconds at a bonus sprint point.

“It was a long day in the saddle – the final was super fast and stressful but that’s another day done,” Thomas told BBC Radio 5 live.

“The first week has been good but it would have been nice to wear the yellow jersey. I could have not asked for much more, though.”

Fellow Britons Adam Yates and four-time winner Chris Froome finished safely in the bunch and remain 13th and 14th respectively, one minute five seconds behind Van Avermaet.

The new school

Dutchman Groenewegen, 25, proved himself as one of the most talented young sprinters by winning the final stage of last year’s Tour on the Champs Elysees but had struggled so far this year.

“It was very difficult, I didn’t have good legs in the beginning of the Tour and my timing was missing but I did it here,” he said.

The manner of his second Tour win was particularly impressive, not needing a lead-out man and swinging round the outside of Gaviria to beat him by two bike lengths.

If he maintains his form, Groenewegen could establish a new dominant sprint trio alongside Gaviria and the reliable Sagan in this Tour.

In contrast, Cavendish was again boxed in even before he clipped wheels with Alexander Kristoff, while of the Briton’s previous main rivals, Andre Greipel faded to eighth and Marcel Kittel, who won five stages last year, could not contest the finale.

Should stage lengths be capped?

This was the longest stage of this year’s Tour and clearly one the peloton had marked out as a chance to have a relatively sedate day, the stage ending about 15 minutes after the latest scheduled finish time.

Two groups tried and failed to break clear before Frenchman Yoann Offredo hit out alone, only to be caught with 90km to go. His compatriot Laurent Pichon then attacked but was reeled in with ease 50km later.

The only other moment of note before the sprint finish was AG2R La Mondiale attacking to briefly to split the peloton into three groups in a rare crosswind, but the race came back together quickly once the wind changed direction.

“Maybe they should just have the stages at less than 200km in Grand Tours, it would be more exciting for everyone,” Thomas told ITV4.

Another sprint on stage eight?

Saturday’s eighth stage takes the race 181km from Dreux to Amiens with another bunch sprint finish expected.

In his stage-by-stage guide for BBC Sport, Cavendish said: “Another bunch sprint, although this time it’s a bit more of a technical finish.

“It’s a difficult sprint to get right when you have a corner with 600m to go but it’s one I’ve done before and the sprinters will be looking forward to it before we have to take a back seat for a few stages.”

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Stage seven result

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) 5hrs 43mins 42secs

2. Fernando Gaviria (Col/Quick-Step Floors) same time

3. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe)

4. Arnaud Demare (Fra/Groupama-FDJ)

5. Christophe Laporte (Fra/Cofidis)

6. John Degenkolb (Ger/Trek-Segafredo)

7. Daryl Impey (SA/Mitchelton-Scott)

8. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto-Soudal)

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

10. Mark Cavendish (GB/Team Dimension Data)

General classification after stage seven

1. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) 28hrs 19mins 25secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +6secs

3. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +8secs

4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Quick-Step Floors) +9secs

5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel/Quick-Step Floors) +15secs

6. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +21secs

7. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education First) +48secs

8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +54secs

9. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +55secs

10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +56secs

Selected others:

13. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +1min 5secs

14. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) same time

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44823987

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