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Tour de France 2017 - 05/07/2017 - Etape 5 - Vittel / La Planche des Belles Filles (160;5 km) - France

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Catch up with all the 2017 Tour de France action in EUROTRASH Monday as Chris Froome takes the yellow jersey after only five stages. Peter Sagan, right or wrong? – TOP STORY: In other news: Ion Izagirre and Kanstantsin Siutsou recovery, 2017 Paris-Tours start, Nippo-Vini Fantini mascot, 2017 Arctic Race of Norway with Thor Hushovd, Tour de Yorkshire news, contracts for Jasper De Buyst and Jelle Wallays, song for Qhubeka and video of Tour first timers; Nikias Arndt and Mike Teunissen. Coffee?

TOP STORY: SaganGate (or some other ridiculous name)!
By now you will have seen video replays of the finish of Tour stage 4 in Vittel from every possible angle, and argued/discussed the cause, outcome, who was at fault and the expulsion of World champion Peter Sagan, with everyone, face to face and on social media. So here is my two-penneth worth:

Sprinting is dangerous, crashes happen and if you don’t have that ‘throw caution to the wind’ attitude you will never be a successful sprinter.

Mark Cavendish is an uncontrolled rocket. He tried to go past Sagan, between the World champion and the barriers and there was no room. The Manxman rode into the back of Sagan hoping he would move to his left to give him a gap. But Saga didn’t move and Cav hit the barrier and fell.

What about the elbow? Sagan stuck his elbow out for balance as he was being pushed from that side. The elbow didn’t make contact.

Cavendish has history in this department. There have been many cases of ‘questionable’ sprints from the fast little man. Head butting, switching, elbowing, pushing, leaning on and closing the door are all part of sprinting.

Stage winner, Arnaud Démare, cut across Nacer Bouhanni only meters before the line in what could have been a dangerous move. Showing that Démare also doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, similar to Sagan.

Should Peter Sagan have been disqualified? No. A time, points and money fine would have done. Sagan is a good reason for many to watch the Tour, with him gone, many will switch off. It’s a lose, lose situation… unless you are French and think Arnaud Démare can hold the green points jersey all the way to Paris.

The Bora-Hansgrohe team issued this statement:
Protest to Result of Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2017.
The UCI World Champion Peter Sagan was disqualified today, according to article 12.1.040/ 10.2.2. (irregular sprint) in the result/communiqué. The team disagrees with the decision and protested it officially.

Peter Sagan rejected to have caused, or in any way intended to cause the crash of Mark Cavendish on the final 200m of the stage. Peter stayed on his line in the sprint and could not see Cavendish on the right side. The team applied for a redress of Peter Sagan’s result in stage 4.

“In the sprint I didn’t know that Mark Cavendish was behind me. He was coming from the right side, and I was trying to go on Kristoff’s wheel. Mark was coming really fast from the back and I just didn’t have time to react and to go left. He came into me and he went into the fence. When I was told after the finish that Mark had crashed, I went straight away to find out how he was doing. We are friends and colleagues in the peloton and crashes like that are never nice. I hope Mark recovers soon.”Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion.

Mark Cavendish said after he returned from hospital with the news of his broken scapula:
“I’m obviously massively disappointed to get this news about the fracture. The team was incredible today. They executed to perfection what we wanted to do this morning. I feel I was in a good position to win and to lose that and even having to leave the Tour, a race I’ve built my whole career around, is really sad. I wish the best of luck to my teammates for the rest of the race. Now, I’m looking forward to watching the race on TV, seeing the team fly the flag high for South Africa and raise awareness for Qhubeka.”

Dimension Data team doctor, Adrian Rotunno summed up the diagnosis:
“Mark suffered a fracture to the right scapula. Fortunately, no surgery is required at this stage, and most importantly there is no nerve damage. He’s been withdrawn from the race for obvious medical reasons, and we’ll continue monitoring him over the coming days.”

The loss of Alejandro Valverde, Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan has taken three of the most interesting riders from the 2017 Tour de France.

Peter Sagan leaves the Tour:
La Planche des Belles Filles - France  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -   Press conference of SAGAN Peter (SVK) Rider of Team Bora - Hansgrohe  after his disqualification from the Tour De France during stage 4 of the 104th edition of the 2017 Tour de France cycling race,  on July 05, 2017 in Vittel, France, 05/07/2017  Photo by Brian Hodes/Cor Vos © 2017

Tour de France 2017
A hot favorite for the uphill finish of Stage 3 in Longwy as the Tour de France returned to France, Peter Sagan claimed his eighth stage victory since he made his debut in the event in 2012. He out-sprinted arch-rival Michael Matthews who came second to him in the 2015 world championship. Geraint Thomas retained the yellow jersey while Chris Froome moved up to second in the overall ranking.

195 riders started stage 3 of the 104th Tour de France from Verviers, Belgium, to Longwy, France via the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Belgian riders were extremely motivated when the start proper was given but at km 10, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) and Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro) managed to ride away. They were rejoined by Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) at km 13 to make it a six-man group in the lead with no reaction from the peloton. However, teams Bora-Hansgrohe, Quick-Step Floors and Sunweb maintained the time gap around two minutes until the intermediate sprint at Wincrange, Luxembourg (km 89) where Politt crossed the line in first position while Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) made sure there was no threat for his green jersey.

Fighting for the polka dot jersey, Brown and Politt rode away before the category 3 Côte d’Eschdorf where Brown virtually became the fourth American leader of the King of the Mountain competition in the history of the Tour de France after Greg LeMond (1986), Tejay van Garderen (2011) and Taylor Phinney yesterday. As the regrouping of the six breakaway riders occurred at km 123 and the peloton took it easy for a little while, a maximum time gap of 4.05 was recorded. The same teams Bora-Hansgrohe, Quick-Step Floors and Sunweb brought the gap down to two minutes again. With 57km to go, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) rejoined the six leaders. The group of nine split up 48km before the end with De Gendt, Calmejane, Hardy and Périchon forging on with determination.

The day after crashing along with defending champion Chris Froome, last year’s runner-up Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) was in trouble again but three of his team-mates brought him back to the pack with 35km to go. De Gendt, Calmejane, Hardy and Périchon arrived in France with an advantage of 1.25 and another 28km to cover. With just over 20km to go, Calmejane went solo despite the head wind. The Frenchman stayed away until the 10km to go mark. He was awarded the most aggressive rider price of the day. It went down to the highly expected uphill sprint finish. Hot favorite Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) unclipped his pedal as he launched his sprint from far out but he had enough time to make it up. Michael Matthews (Sunweb) tried to pass him at the very end but lost by a wheel while Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), another explosive uphill sprinter, had to be content with third place. Geraint Thomas (Sky) made the top 10 and retained the yellow jersey while Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) became the best young rider.

Stage 3 race report HERE.

Longwy - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) - Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 3 from Verviers to Longwy, 212.50 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and 4th overall, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “First I’d like to thank all my BORA-hansgrohe teammates – they did an amazing job today. They were pulling all day on the front and it wasn’t easy, with the headwind and the technical section at the end – it was really stressful in the peloton. Then in the end it was a pretty hard climb – BMC did a good job for Richie Porte who then attacked in the last 800m. He created a small gap and went to the front, then I decided to go for it, but we were still at 400m to go and it was too early. It was still far away and I said to myself that again I was in the wrong position. Then I started my sprint and I unclipped – again I thought ‘another mistake – what’s going on today?’ but I went ahead. Matthews nearly beat me, but I made it. I’m so happy with this victory – Thank you BORA-hansgrohe.”

Overall leader and 8th on the stage, Geraint Thomas (Sky) spoke on the Team Sky website: “We were a little bit far back going into the climb so we had to make a bit of an effort to move up before the corner just before Richie attacked and we stayed around that sort of position then. It’s a good day because it was stressful out there. Once the other three guys jumped across to the break it made the peloton really speed up then. It was left and right, there was a bit of street furniture… it certainly wasn’t a relaxing ride but I’m happy to have got through it unscathed with Froomey. Obviously from the time trial I’ve got decent power, but I’m just a little bit heavier than what I was going into the Giro. But I think I can still do a good job. I’ll probably still end up losing the jersey on that stage, hopefully to Froomey! It would be nice to pass it onto him. It’s another day down. It’s good to get through days like that unscathed because it’s certainly hectic out there. I’m enjoying racing my bike here at the moment, wearing this jersey.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Michael Matthews (Sunweb): “Today didn’t go as we had hoped, we got a little bit lost on the last climb and we had to revaluate and try something different. We’ll see what happens in the next stages, we have a lot more stages to come with more opportunities.”

3rd on the stage, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors): “Best way not to lose time is to go for the stage win. That’s what I tried today and I’m really happy with how it went. I found the first part of the climb not so hard, but things changed once Richie attacked and lined out the peloton. The sprint was very long and I knew it was very important to bide your time. So I sat on Matthews’ wheel and launched my sprint when I sensed everybody was in the red. I never thought I would sprint against those guys, so to get this result at the end of such a hard day makes me very happy and confident. A big shout out to my teammates, who did everything to bring me in the best position for this finish.”

4th on the stage, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “I think Richie did a hard job. Everyone was a little bit ‘à bloc’. Even Peter Sagan left a gap a little bit. Then, it was just about timing. I wanted to go a little bit earlier and surprise Peter a bit and take his wheel. But then he lost his pedal and he restarted his sprint again with me next to him and in the wind. This killed me a little bit I think. The team kept a good position for both of us, Richie and I. We had both options to play and I think this is the best approach to not lose time. Maybe you gain some seconds over the other guys if you are at the front of the peloton so for me it is the best solution to do what we did today. I felt great support from my team.”

5th overall, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): “The team was great today. They put me in the right position at the critical point just before the run-in towards the final. I was in the wheel of Sagan but I was at my limit as the climb maybe was a bit harder than we expected. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have the legs today because everything else came together well. I will try again though.”

14th on the stage and 20th overall, Richie Porte (BMC): “I was put in a fantastic position there in the final. I felt good but with 500 meters to go, I knew it was a bit too far out. I think it’s good for the team. They were really strong today so it’s a shame we couldn’t quite finish it off. For the last 40km it was a hell of a fight. It was a dangerous and tricky final so it was nice to get through that one unscathed. All of the guys chipped in today and they were really strong. It’s good for the confidence to have a bit of a crack.”

KOM, Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac): “If you had told me I’d be the one to take the jersey, I would have told you that you were crazy, even this morning. Obviously we had Phinney – if he had the aptitude to go into the break again today. It’s a tall task to ask someone to go into back-to-back breaks. Dylan [van Baarle] was our second guy. I was third on the list. The peloton completely blocked the field,” said Brown. “They weren’t going to let anyone by, but there was this Wanty guy that really, really wanted in on it, and I knew that. I stuck on his wheel. We got to this section where he could use a dirt road on the side to go around. I went with him, and we made it across. We each had one point, and I thought ‘Oh boy. The third climb really matters’, it was just the two of us away, and I didn’t trust my sprint. I knew if I took him to the very end he’d out-jump me. I went early, with two kilometers to go, maybe too early, but it didn’t matter. It paid off. I got the points. I had Charley [Wegelius] in my ear telling me that I had it. He told me that someone would need to win the category four sprint at 20 kilometers and the stage to take it from me. I was fairly confident that wouldn’t happen, but I wasn’t going to get excited until I reached the finish and stood on the podium. I’m overwhelmed with joy, I never though in a million years I’d be in the polka dot jersey at the Tour. I have no words. I’m speechless. I really don’t know what to say.”

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “Today was another day when it was very fast in the final. The legs were good, but I sit up three kilometers from the finish. Hanging on to a top 10 was not the goal. We played the card of Julien Simon but he was not very well placed. There will still be other stages to sign a big result. Tomorrow we arrive at Vittel, I will be a little bit like home. I really wanted to preserve myself to the max today by thinking about that deadline.”

Break rider, Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I was the first rider to try, but I couldn’t stay ahead. Guillaume (Van Keirsbulck) tried but he didn’t get away either. On the first climb three riders accelerated and the peloton blocked the road to let them go. I still was able to join them, but it took a big effort. Because of the head wind it was a difficult day for the breakaway. I managed to finish 2nd at the intermediate sprint and take the prize money. On the second climb Politt and Brown accelerated, I don’t know why. I have the feeling we didn’t do a smart ride. We have to adapt to the speed of the pack and not the other way. A tough day in the saddle all together!”

Tour de France Stage 3 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 5:07:19
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
5. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:02
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
9. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 3:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 10:00:31
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:13
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 0:16
6. Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:25
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:30
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:32
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb at 0:34.

Tour stage 3:

Summary – Stage 3 – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance_en

Arnaud Démare (FDJ) stormed to victory in Stage 4 of the 104th Tour de France as he fended off Peter Sagan and Alexander Kristoff in a bunch gallop in Vittel. Two crashes in the last kilometer prevented some sprinters from contesting the victory. Geraint Thomas retained the yellow jersey for the fourth consecutive day ahead of the first summit finish at La Planche des belles filles.

After the stage, the race jury disqualified Peter Sagan from the race as they considered his actions to have endangered the other riders in the sprint. The World champion would not be starting stage 5.

195 riders took the start of stage 4 in Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) attacked from the gun and there was no reaction from the peloton. He got a 13.15 advantage at km 59 before Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Julien Vermote (Quick-Step Floors) started setting the pace of the peloton after leaving the Team Sky of race leader Geraint Thomas regulating a slow tempo for the first hour of racing.

French teams FDJ with Arthur Vichot and Cofidis with Nicolas Edet, racing for their respective sprinter Arnaud Démare and Nacer Bouhanni, helped the two Belgian squads from half way into the stage. The gap was down to six minutes with 90km to go. At the intermediate sprint of Goviller with 50km to go, the deficit of the peloton was 2.40 and the fastest man was Démare who out-sprinted Peter Sagan, André Greipel and Marcel Kittel. Van Keirsbulck’s advantage was down to two minutes when he scored the only King of the Mountains up for grabs at the col des Trois-Fontaines 37km away from the finish in Vittel. Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac) remained in the polka dot jersey, becoming the first American to do so since Greg LeMond (in 1986), Tejay van Garderen (in 2011) and Taylor Phinney (yesterday) lost it after one day.

Van Keirsbulck was reined with 16.5km to go after 191 kilometers of a solo breakaway. He received the prize of the most aggressive rider of the day. A crash with one kilometer to go stopped Marcel Kittel. Démare made the right move to overtake Alexander Kristoff while Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish clashed and the Brit went down heavily. Démare is the first Frenchman to win a bunch sprint of the Tour de France since Jimmy Casper in Strasbourg in 2006. The last French stage winner wearing the blue-white-red jersey of French champion was Thomas Voeckler in Bagnères-de-Luchon in 2010. Démare also took the green jersey, which no Frenchman has done since Sylvain Chavanel, also in 2010. Geraint Thomas came home safely to retain the yellow jersey.

PEZ race report HERE.

Vittel - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Arnaud DEMARE (France / Team FDJ) - Alexander KRISTOFF (Norway / Team Katusha - Alpecin) - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 4 from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel, 207.50 km - foto Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and 9th overall, Arnaud Demare (FDJ): “It’s amazing, it’s wonderful, a dream since I turned pro. In 2014, I experienced very tough debut in the Tour. This year, I have a very strong team with Mika Delage who is devoted. And Kono. And Arthur Vichot. And Rudy Molard. And my Italians. I lost Jacopo Guarnieri at 600 meters in a fall, I was a little worried that it was very hard for the victory but I had good legs. I’ve won some great races already, but this one is huge because the Tour does not just touch the world of cycling but the general public. To participate is good but to win is strong. I thank my team, I thank Marc Madiot who took guys for me. It’s perfect. Anyway, I knew I was going to win a stage… “

2nd on the stage, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin): “There were many teams there and I said to the guys it would be better to take control at the end so we could have some help before the end when it would be man-against-man. I think our team did a good job, especially Marco Haller at the end – he was fantastic for me. I missed Rick at the end, maybe with him in front I could have come a little bit closer but I think Démare would have beat me anyway. I’m happy with today. This sprint was way better than my last one and shows improvement. I hope to get better in the next days. For sure this course was a challenge and very technical. I heard the crash behind me. I hope everyone is OK. Everyone is always fighting for position in a sprint like this and it’s always dangerous for crashes.”

3rd on the stage, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “Before the stage, it was our goal to be at the front of the peloton on the uphill slope between kilometers four and three from the finish line. We succeeded and at two and half kilometers from the end, we were still with four riders behind the sprint train of Dimension Data. It was another strong performance by Tiesj Benoot and Marcel Sieberg also bridged a small gap. Jürgen Roelandts did the perfect lead-out in the final kilometer, but I hesitated a second too long to start my sprint. I might have lost the stage victory at that moment, but Démare was also very strong today. I am happy with the solid performance of the team in the finale and this gives enough confidence for the next sprint stages. Immediately after the finish, I was very angry about the crash of Cavendish, after the maneuver by Sagan. I think that sprinters should have respect for each other, which does not mean that I think Sagan meant to cause a crash today. However, the maneuvers that you make in a sprint should remain accountable. According to me, this was not the case today, nor during yesterday’s intermediate sprint, the jury should act against such behavior.”

4th on the stage, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “It was nervous. I was in the ideal position in the last few kilometers. I knew this final by heart. But 150 meters from the line, while I’m in the wheel of Alexander Kristoff, Arnaud Démare cut me up on the road and I touched his rear wheel. From then on, it was over. If I do not brake, I fall. I had a heart to shine at home, we must now erase this disappointment, there are still many sprints.”

13th on the stage, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors): “Today we were well-placed and ready to do our sprint, but then that crash happened and I had to break. There was no way I was coming back after such an incident on that slight uphill. The result we wanted to get today wasn’t there at the end of the stage, but I’m sure there will be other opportunities and we are confident”

Overall leader, Geraint Thomas (Sky): “Luckily I’m okay. I managed to scrub off a lot of speed but there was nowhere to go really. That’s the way it goes. I’m used to crashing so it’s fine! I’m all okay. Froomey is fine and he managed to miss it all. It was a good day in the saddle for him. It wasn’t nice to ride past Cav though still on the floor. These sprints are just always hectic.”

2nd overall, Chris Froome (Sky): “I’m really looking forward to it, especially seeing as I’ve got really good memories from this stage back in 2012. I’m looking forward to it more because it’s the first mountaintop finish and hopefully the race will settle down more once we get that done. It’s only a 6km climb so I wouldn’t say there will be massive [time] differences. I wouldn’t saying anything more than 20-30 seconds between the main guys. But let’s see, the race is wide open.”

19th overall, Richie Porte (BMC): “It wasn’t so hard but it was pretty stressful there in the final. There were a couple of big crashes. Thank god for the three kilometer rule. I’m super motivated for tomorrow. All of the guys in the team are motivated for tomorrow as well. I think we just have to see how the race goes but I expect it to be absolutely full gas. It’s the first big test of the Tour de France in 2017.”

Solo rider, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I said this morning that I wanted to be part of the breakaway, and that was the case. Hilaire told me to continue my efforts, and that others would join me in the lead. But I have not seen anyone all day, that was not ideal! The wind was not ideal. I was waiting for the last climb to give full gas and then I did not have much energy anymore. I would rather have had some company, but it is the 1st Tour for Wanty Groupe Gobert so that’s great. I’m going to sleep well this night! I want to try again later, but now I’ll do some slightly less intensive stages.”

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “In the sprint I didn’t know that Mark Cavendish was behind me. He was coming from the right side, and I was trying to go on Kristoff’s wheel. Mark was coming really fast from the back and I just didn’t have time to react and to go left. He came into me and he went into the fence. When I was told after the finish that Mark had crashed, I went straight away to find out how he was doing. We are friends and colleagues in the peloton and crashes like that are never nice. I hope Mark recovers soon.”

Tour de France Stage 4 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ in 4:53:54
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
6. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:07
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
8. Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
9. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 4:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 14:54:25
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 0:16
5. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:25
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:30
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:32
8. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ at 0:33
10. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:37.

Stage 4:

Summary – Stage 4 – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance_en

Three years after Vincenzo Nibali imposed himself on the Tour wearing the Italian champion jersey, Astana’s Fabio Aru soloed to victory in Stage 5 at La Planche des belles filles. In the overall ranking, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome swapped positions. The three-times winner is back in the yellow jersey.

193 riders started stage 5 in Vittel. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) was the only non-starter after he fractured his right shoulder blade. Eight riders went clear from the gun: Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Mickaël Delage (FDJ), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Oscaro). Tsgabu Grmay (Bahrain-Merida) rode in between for a while before he was instructed to wait for the peloton. From km 20 to km 30, the time gap was 3:30 but at the difference of Team Sky who let them go, BMC Racing Team decided to chase the breakaway down. After 50km of racing, the deficit of the peloton was stabilized at 2:30.

Boasson Hagen won the intermediate sprint (km 102.5) in which Michael Matthews (Sunweb) started to regain points in his duel with green jersey holder Arnaud Démare (FDJ). Bakelants sped up to take two KOM points at the côte d’Esmoulières (km 107.5). Delage and De Gendt couldn’t hold the pace of the group on the uphill. The six remaining leaders had the same advantage over the peloton with 45km to go: 2:30. Inside 20km to go, some teams finally joined BMC in the chase: Astana, AG2R-La Mondiale… Gilbert and Bakelants rode away with 14km to go, approaching the final ascent to La Planche des belles filles.

Team Sky took the command of the peloton just before the climb started. They reeled Gilbert and Bakelants in with 4km to go. Fabio Aru (Astana) attacked with 2.4km to go. He took the right moment. Chris Froome (Sky) reacted, followed by Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Richie Porte (BMC). Froome took the yellow jersey from his teammate Geraint Thomas. Five years after taking his first Tour de France stage victory at La Planche des belles filles, Froome is back into the lead of the overall ranking.

Stage 5 PEZ race report.

La Planche des Belles Filles - France  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Fabio ARU (Italy / Team Astana)  pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 5 from Vittel to La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.50 km - foto  Poolphoto/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and 3rd overall, Fabio Aru (Astana): “Before the start I had a plan to attack with more or less 3 km to go, I thought it was the best moment in the race. I felt really good, so when we reached that point in a quite small group, I decided to go away. I did my all during these kilometers and I succeed. At the final km I realized that I still have a good gap, so for the first time I started to believe I can do it till the end. This is something unbelievable! My dream came true with this win. I have stage wins at the Giro and Vuelta, but I always wanted to take a victory here at the Tour de France. Last year gave me a lot in understanding of this race. And today this experience helped me a lot. I am very happy to win in the Italian champion jersey, especially in such a nice jersey! I had some hard periods in this season, but my team was next to me, supporting all this time, and I thank Astana for it. Today I won, but almost the whole race is still ahead. So, I will do it day by day. While today we can celebrate a bit!”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors): “Tough day out there, I felt the heat on the final climb and at times you had the impression you were glued to the road. Fabio was strong, so congrats to him, but despite coming second, I am satisfied. I’m very confident, as I really enjoy racing here and don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. The team is on a roll, we are the best squad in the world, which you can see by taking a look over the victories and list of results since the start of the season. Of course, it’s still early and a lot can happen in the Tour, but so far I’m happy of how things went.”

3rd on the stage and overall leader. Chris Froome (Sky): “It’s an amazing feeling to be back in yellow. Having said that I know the race is far from over. It’s only just begun for me. I think as a team we’re in a great position, first and second. We can take confidence away from that and I think it gives us options going forward in terms of being able to play both cards. Today went really well. The team did a great job, keeping me out of trouble and then setting that pace on the final climb. If anything we made a little mistake in the final giving Aru that much space to go. But with it being flat before that final kick, I think no one really wanted to be left pulling at that point. Aru showed already at the Dauphine he’s in great form and today just confirmed that.”

4th on the stage and 5th overall, Richie Porte (BMC): “I can’t say anymore for my teammates. They were incredible today, and I think we took it to them [the peloton]. In the final there, Aru slipped away. I’m still happy with my ride for the first mountain stage. I kind of expected a little more but there’s a long way to go. As a unit today, BMC Racing Team were the team that made the race. Michi Schär and Stefan Küng basically rode the whole race on the front and then the rest of the guys towards the end. I thought we were going too fast and told them to slow down, but they actually kept it up and that’s testament to how strong they are. Chris Froome is obviously going stronger than when we saw him at the last race but I think Team Sky weren’t quite what they were last year. Still, I think they have a lot of pressure coming up.”

12th on the stage and 10th overall, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I felt good when I got into a rhythm, but I didn’t have the punchiness to stay with the GC contenders when they started attacking. I think my legs will become better throughout this Tour. There are stages still to come that will suit my climbing style better, so all in all we’re in a good place and are going to aim to improve in the other mountain stages now.”

19th on the stage and 22nd overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I finished where I hoped to be. I think my place is in top 20, I hope to remain there till the end. It was a very fast stage thanks to the pace of BMC. There was no quiet moment. We had to stage vigilant and thus it was collectively a difficult, but very strong day of the team! I want to thank each teammate today. They were very important by providing me in the heat and to bring me to a good position. Only on the last climb I was alone. If I have a negative point it is my bad placing at the foot of the final climb. That wasn’t catastrophic, but I still spilled some energy. I had to pass a lot of dropped riders. But all together it was a positive day! This is only the beginning, the battle now continues!”

Break rider and birthday boy, Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors): “The breakaway comprised many strong and experienced riders, so I guess that’s why the bunch didn’t give us too much space. Still, we worked together very well and pushed the peloton really hard. It’s nice to be on the podium here again and overall I can say it was a beautiful way to celebrate my birthday. I’m convinced there will be other opportunities in the upcoming stages, so I’m ready to try again.”

Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data): “The idea was to get a rider in the break as we thought it might go all the way to the finish. We had Edvald [Boasson Hagen] up there, which was really good, but BMC took control of the race and the break had no chance of making it. I tried to test my legs on the final climb to see how far I could go with the best riders. I stayed up there for quite a while so I’m really happy with my shape.”

Tour de France Stage 5 Result:
1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 3:44:06
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 0:16
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:20
4. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24
6. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:26
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:34
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:40.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 5:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 18:38:59
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:14
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 0:25
5. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 0:39
6. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:43
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:47
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 0:52
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:54
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:01.

Stage 5:

Summary – Stage 5 – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance_en

Ion Izagirre After Surgery
Düsseldorf, Monday 3rd July – After the unfortunate crash on the Opening Stage of Tour de France, Bahrain-Merida’s GC rider Ion Izagirre had to stay in Düsseldorf hospital, with the lumbar vertebral fracture.

Team’s doctor Luca Pollastri informed us in the afternoon: “This morning Ion went under surgery for decompression and stabilization of lumbar vertebral fracture, which he suffered in the crash on Saturday. The surgery went well without any complications. Ion will remain in Germany (University Hospital of Düsseldorf) for at least 4 days before returning back home to Spain to start his recovery. Recovery is expected to take a few months. The team’s medical staff is in close contact with the surgeon, who performed the operation, and is satisfied with all the feedback. They will accompany the rider through his road to recovery.”

The whole team wishes him a fast recovery and that he soon returns on the bike. His teammates miss him very much on each stage of Tour de France but they will fight even harder to win a stage for him. If on that rainy start day of Tour de France, on that tricky curve, there were some safety hay bails, all could turn out different. But we don’t want to stay concentrated on the past, the future is more important. We will help and do all possible to make Ion feel safe and comfortable in this unfortunate situation and that he will be able to return as soon as possible to the job he loves the most – cycling.

Paris Tours 2017: Departure at Brou (Eure-et-Loir)
It has become a tradition, the 111st edition of Paris-Tours will start from the department of Eure-et-Loir. For the first time, the riders will start this year from Brou on October 8th.

“The classic of dead leaves” is the last major event of the cycling season. Last year the Colombian Fernando Gaviria took the win ahead of Frenchman Arnaud Demare. The city of Brou has already seen the riders of Paris-Tours cycling on its streets, however this year, and for the first time, the peloton will start from this town of the department of Eure-et-Loir.

As for several years, the riders under 23 years will leave Bonneval for the 75th edition of Paris-Tours Espoirs.

Nippo-Vini Fantini Mascot Awarded to Fata
On the occasion of the Italian Road Racing Championships, a nice extra-sports event animated the start at the Nippo-Vini Fantini bus. Following the contest conducted on Facebook, in collaboration with the sponsor “L’Isola dei Tesori” was awarded “Fata”, the new “Mascotte” of the Nippo-Vini Fantini team. About 250 photos and over 4,000 votes received on the tab created and made by the Sun-TIMES communication agency.
Thanks to the contest produced in collaboration with “L’Isola dei Tesori”, the No.1 pet shop in Italy, at the start of the Italian Championships was officially awarded the new #OrangeBlue Mascot. The winner of the contest was selected by fans of Nippo-Vini Fantini and “L’Isola dei Tesori” from over 250 photos uploaded and with over 4,000 votes received altogether.

A double win for “Fata”, the team’s new Mascot, who, besides meeting all the Italian team athletes while enjoying a day at the race with the team, received a “good deal” for use at the L’Isola dei Tesori worth 500 euros. The initiative titled “A Treasury of Mascots” is in its second edition, increasing its results both in terms of participants and voters compared to 2016, a symbol of a successful partnership between Nippo-Vini Fantini and the brand L’Isola dei Tesori.

The competition took place entirely on Facebook, thanks to a special tab designed and realized by the Sun-TIMES communication agency.

2017 Arctic Race of Norway Come Onboard with Thor Hushovd
Returning to the island of Andørja will take the Arctic Race of Norway back to its roots for its fifth edition. For the occasion, the course will once again feature splendid scenery but also a tougher race than in past years. The route that will lead the riders to Tromsø will not be easy and three stages should be best-suited for punchers who can thrive on short uphill finishes.

Thor Hushovd recceed the four stages alongside Arctic Race of Norway founder and director, Knut Erik Dybdal: “The finish in Narvik might suit a sprinter, but a puncher or even a climber could put in a successful attack and hold on to a slender advantage until the finish line”. Before this, the venue for the start of the Arctic Race of Norway will be the island of Andørja, where the idea to create one of the northern-most professional races in the world first emerged. Furthermore, the Norwegian Air-Force will be in action the following day during the sprinter friendly stage two, with an air show near the finish at Bardufoss airport.

During stage three, the riders will have to stay focused and not be distracted by the wonderful Lyngen Alps as they near the uphill finish at Finnvikdalen. This last climb could go a long way to determine the general classification but the finish in Tromsø will be the final decider for the GC battle, according to the former World Champion from Norway. “The race will be hard to control, the riders will be tired and the difficult climb to the finish line will determine who will wear the leader’s jersey on the final podium of the race.” There is little doubt that the large crowd will show its unique enthusiasm and cheer the riders on as it did in 2014.

As the Arctic Race of Norway crosses the Norwegian fjords, the peloton will be in awe of the spectacular scenery. What better way to remember a fantastic race, especially for one rider, who will leave Norway with… 500kg of Norwegian salmon!

Route of the 2017 Arctic Race of Norway:
Ø Thursday, 10 August — Stage 1: Engenes (Andørja) – Narvik (156.5 km)
Ø Friday, 11 August — Stage 2: Sjøvegan – Bardufoss (177.5 km)
Ø Saturday, 12 August — Stage 3: Lyngseidet (Lyngen Alps) – Finnvikdalen (Tromsø) (185.5 km)
Ø Sunday, 13 August — Stage 4: Tromsø – Tromsø (160.5 km).

Route presentation – 2017 Arctic Race of Norway por arcticraceofnorway

Tour de Yorkshire Boosts Economy by £64 Million
The 2017 Tour de Yorkshire boosted the economy by almost £64 MILLION, independent research shows today.

The race weekend from 28-30 April saw a record 2.2 million spectators line the route and spend 8% more than last year. Accommodation spend was UP 6.5% year on year and non-accommodation items such as food and drink, souvenirs and transport was UP by 9%.

The race was televised in 180 countries and watched by some 9.7 million global TV viewers across Eurosport and ITV4. 34 global broadcasters covered the action, UP from 22 in 2016 and there were over 140 hours of TV coverage shown, UP 178% on 2015 according to an independent survey by Nielson Sport 2017.

The economic impact study, carried out by Leeds Beckett University, showed that the majority of spectators were from Yorkshire (86%) while 14% from elsewhere in the UK and abroad. Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is marvelous news for Yorkshire and the public support this year was truly overwhelming.

“Since we launched the race in 2015 it has grown year on year and is now regarded as one of the biggest and best supported races in the sport.

“People have really taken the Tour de Yorkshire to their hearts and we’re working hard to get it extended to four days in 2018 so we can to bring it to more parts of the county and generate even greater benefits.”

This year’s race attracted a stellar field and Welcome to Yorkshire are confident of enticing more big names for the next two editions as the world’s best riders look to visit the county in preparation for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

The word is already out on the unprecedented reception the riders receive when they compete in Yorkshire, and 2017 winner Serge Pauwels said: “I’ve cycled all around the world and my favourite three crowds are for the Classics in Belgium, those in the Basque Country, and here in Yorkshire.

“Over the winter my team wanted me to take part in the Tour de Romandie to warm up for the Tour de France but I said no, I want to do the Tour of Yorkshire.”

The official Tour de Yorkshire website can be found at www.letouryorkshire.com
More information on Bike Libraries can be found at https://bikelibraries.yorkshire.com
To apply to be considered as a Tour Maker visit https://letour.yorkshire.com/tour-makers

Siutsou Recovering Well
Kanstantsin Siutsou from Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team is recovering well after his injury on the 2nd stage of Tour of Slovenia on 16th of June.

On that unfortunate stage, Kanstantin badly fell on the descent of the second climb. Accompanied by the team doctor, Marjan Koršič, he was immediately taken to local hospital. They confirmed that the rider suffered a complicated fracture of the left femoral bone and took him to urgent surgery. After recovery from surgery, he was taken to home care and now he is starting his rehabilitation.

Dr. Emilio Magni, a member of Bahrain-Merida medical staff, explained Siutsou’s condition: “Yesterday Siutsou has started rehabilitation. He will undergo physiotherapy treatments for 15 days with both aquatic activities and exercises outside the water. Then we scheduled a follow-up x-ray to be done a month after the accident and an orthopaedist examination with Dr. Terragnoli at Poliambulanza Hospital in Brescia. Kanstantsin is relaxed and very happy to have started physiotherapy exercising. He’s working very well and everything is going as planned.”

Contract extension for Jasper De Buyst and Jelle Wallays
Lotto Soudal has extended the contracts with Jelle Wallays and Jasper De Buyst. Jelle Wallays (28), who rides for the team since last year, signed for three years, until the end of 2020. Jasper De Buyst (23) joined Lotto Soudal in 2015. He stays with the team until the end of 2019.

Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “Jelle Wallays and Jasper De Buyst are two riders whom we definitely wanted to keep in the team, that’s why we extended their contracts for three and two years respectively. Jelle came over from Topsport Vlaanderen. It is not easy to set the step to the WorldTour level, but he coped well with it. We already knew he has a big engine and he is versatile: he works for the team, has a role in one-day races and he can perform well in stage races. Last year he rode the Vuelta, his first Grand Tour ever. He learnt a lot during those three weeks. This year Jelle just missed out on the Tour selection, but the fact that he was so close, proves that he is moving in the right direction. Also in the one-day races Jelle can become even stronger.”

Jelle Wallays: “There aren’t many riders who have a contract until the end of 2020, this is wonderful. It proves that the team has faith in me. This security gives me mental rest and that will have a positive influence on my performances. Both the team and I know my capabilities and together we look for the best possible race program. I don’t mind working for the team, but if I am part of a breakaway I can finish it off too. I can contribute to the team in both ways.”

“I have learnt a lot the since I’ve been riding for this team. Last year I rode my first Grand Tour and also this year I will go to the Vuelta. That will do me good. I am still becoming stronger and want to continue to set step forwards. I am grateful to the team for the opportunities I get.”

Marc Sergeant: “As of this season Jasper focused only on road cycling. That has turned out to be the right choice. It was his first winter without track races. He was very strong in the first half of this season. So far Jasper finished nine times on top ten, of which five times on top five. At the beginning of June he won the Heistse Pijl, his first pro victory on the road. Nice results for such a young rider. Let’s not forget that he is only 23 years old. He can still make a lot of progression. Jasper isn’t slow at all and he can win sprints in a small group. In bunch sprints he can work as a lead-out. He can also time trial rather well. If he continues to grow, he will definitely be able to set good results in stage races of a few days.”

Jasper De Buyst: “I feel that there are chances for me to develop myself within this team, so I am very satisfied with this contract extension. I have found my place in the team and feel the appreciation. This is the first season without track racing. I can be satisfied with the season up till now. I won a race in June and I am very happy with that. I had already come close a few times before, but at certain moments I missed the experience. That are lessons for the future.”

“I am looking forward to the next two years with Lotto Soudal. I feel really good here. I know which opportunities I get and what to do on other occasions, that can be doing a lead-out or work for the teammates during the Classics. This combination is fun.”

Jasper De Buyst:
Heist op den Berg - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jasper DE BUYST (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during Carrefour Market Heistse Pijl 2017 - Napoleon Games Cycling Cup - photo Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2017

Qhubeka releases KubaKuba, its new official song by Mark Cheyne and Monde Msutwana, at TdF
Qhubeka is thrilled to release its anthem, KubaKuba, Qhubeka’s new official song, during the team presentation of Team Dimension Data at the Tour de France.

The anthem was created by South African musicians Mark Cheyne and Monde Msutwana. KubaKuba is a simplification of Qhuba Qhuba, meaning ‘pedal pedal’. It’s derived from Qhubeka’s name, an Nguni word that means “to progress” or “to move forward”. It was chosen because of Qhubeka’s belief that bicycles help people move forward – with a bicycle, a person can travel faster and further, and carry more.

“You can’t be involved in cycling and not know about Team Dimension Data and Qhubeka. I had dreamed of writing a song that Qhubeka would love,” says Cheyne, music composer, producer and a keen cyclist.

Cheyne paired up with friend and singer/songwriter Msutwana, who is currently voice coaching for The Voice SA, and the duo has produced a song that is Pan-African and very catchy. KubaKuba can be purchased for download on iTunes and is also available as a ringtone on the Apple store, with 50% of profits going towards funding bicycles for Qhubeka’s learn-to-earn and work-to-earn programs. Supporters can also enjoy the YouTube video here.

“We were thrilled to hear our song would be played on the global stage at the Tour de France,” says Cheyne. “We hope it will bring more awareness to what Qhubeka and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is doing to change people’s lives using bicycles.”

“It was good fun making this track, and it’s special to make music that is part of a bigger purpose,” says Msutwana. “We believe pairing our passion for music and for Africa with Qhubeka’s vision of changing lives with bicycles is a winning combination.”

Team Principal at Team Dimension Data, Doug Ryder, says sports and music have a shared ability to move, inspire and unite people. “Our team is proud to support Qhubeka, and it was an honor to let cycling fans around the world hear KubaKuba for the first time during our team presentation today.”

Riders at Team Dimension Data have had the opportunity to visit Qhubeka’s programs to see the difference bicycles can make.

Daniel Teklehaimanot, Team Dimension Data rider from Eritrea, says, “This is a really nice song. It makes you smile when you listen to it and it is a special that this song is about our team and Qhubeka. I am sure it will give the guys good motivation at the Tour, but we will listen to it at all our races because every day we ride for Qhubeka.”

Qhubeka KubaKuba (Qhubeka™ Official Song):

Team Sunweb’s Le Tour Debutants Nikias Arndt and Mike Teunissen:
Feature video with the team’s two Tour de France debutants Nikias Arndt (GER) and Mike Teunissen (NED), about the magic of their first Grand Départ.

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