Alaphilippe takes Dauphine win; Tour de Suisse preview: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Chris Froome’s solo 80km ride might not be as impressive a physical feat as we think. A sports scientist dove deep into all of Froome’s available power data (which isn’t much, to be honest) from stage 19 and the results are rather intriguing. Plus, Julian Alaphilippe sprinted to victory in the Dauphine and we look at all the heavy hitters headed to the Tour de Suisse.


Alaphilippe quickest of the climbers in France

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step) had the most powerful sprint at the end of the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine to take the flowers over a select group of climbers. This is Alaphilippe’s fourth WorldTour win this year and fifth overall. Gianni Moscon (Sky) donned the maillot jaune as the new race leader. The Italian finished ninth on the stage, eight seconds behind Alaphilippe.

It was utter heartbreak for Dario Cataldo (Astana). The Italian was caught a mere 300 metres from the line after joining a breakaway late in the day and then riding the final 30 kilometres alone through an intense rain shower as well. At least, he pulled on the King of the Mountains jersey at the end of the stage as a consolation for his day-long effort.

“I gave everything till the end but it wasn’t enough. With 15km to go, I’ve believed I could win, Cataldo said. “But just before the last climb, I took some headwind and the tarmac at that point made it very hard to ride. It slowed me down. I realized it’d be hard to maintain my lead up the hill. I fought as much as I could.”

INSCYD view: A scientific analysis of Chris Froome’s Giro d’Italia performance

Sports scientist Sebastian Weber used the INSCYD metabolic analysis software to examine whether Chris Froome’s solo ride was within the realm of possibility or not.

Weber used the limited data of the ride that has been released by Velon, as well data from Froome’s Stage 14 win atop Monte Zoncolan and data from his stage 20 defense of the maglia rosa. He examined these figures against the data from the lab test Froome did in August 2015.

While a number of assumptions had to be made with the analysis, not least because of the limited data Velon published. Weber concludes in favor of Froome’s ride being plausible and not out of the question, but the way in which he comes to this is remarkable. When one looks underneath the surface, it appears Froome’s solo jaunt wasn’t such an incredible athletic achievement as it may seem.

Read the full story about the scientific analysis of Froome’s performance here.

Chris Froome en route to stage victory atop the Zoncolan on stage 14 of this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Race Radio


Froome decision is the UCI’s to make says Prudhomme

It’s up to the UCI to determine the fate of Chris Froome in his Salbutamol case, Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme said in a recent interview with Australia’s SBS.

Prudhomme seems to be backing down from barring Froome from the race if no decision is made by the UCI come July. The Tour de France has language in its rules that would allow them to bar Froome the race on grounds that it would hurt the race’s image. This so-called nuclear option was threatened multiple times by Prudhomme in recent months, but now he has put the pressure on the UCI.

It remains to be seen how this will play out with the Grande Boucle starting a month from Saturday.

Preview: Tour de Suisse attracts the stars and offers balanced route

In the battle to attract the pre-Tour de France stars, the Tour de Suisse handily beat out the Criterium du Dauphine this year. The race runs June 9-17 and with just three weeks to the start of the Tour de France after the final stage, riders will honing their form and looking for a confidence boost during the nine-stage race.

Video: 2018 Tour de Suisse preview
The likes of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), and many others will go head-to-head in the bunch sprints. Stages two, three, four, and eight are probably circled on the aforementioned rider’s calendars. However, the sprint days are not completely straightforward with rolling terrain and a late tough climb occurring on most of the mentioned stages. This could turn out to be the Gaviria vs. Sagan show, so keep a close eye of those stages.

Stages five, six, and seven are for the climbers and GC contenders, which the race has a plethora of as well. Movistar’s Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana are in attendance along with BMC Racing’s Richie Porte and Tejay Van Garderen. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), and Steven Krujiswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) will also animate the race.

The fifth and seventh stages are true summit finishes with category one and hors category climbs to the finish line respectively. Stage six has two hors category climbs, but 60 kilometers separate the second hors category ascent from the final category 3 climb to the finish. The sixth day of racing has breakaway written all over it.

The other two summit finish days will see the pure climbers fight it out and while a rider won’t want to be in peak form for Tour de Suisse, a solid result or stage win is a great moral boost ahead of Grande Boucle.

A short team time trial opens the race, while an individual time trial finishes over the week-long event.

Full route:

Stage 1: Frauenfeld to Frauenfeld, 18.3km TTT
Stage 2: Frauenfeld to Frauenfeld, 155km
Stage 3: Oberstammheim to Gansingen, 182km
Stage 4: Gansingen to Gstaad, 189km
Stage 5: Gstaad to Leukerbad, 156km
Stage 6: Fiesch to Gommiswald, 186km
Stage 7: Eschenbach/Atzmännig to Arosa, 171km
Stage 8: Bellinzona to Bellinzona, 124km
Stage 9: Bellinzona to Bellinzona, 34km TT

Lotto-Soudal becomes New Lotto-Soudal

Every year just before the Tour de France multiple teams announce new title sponsors, name changes, and rider contract extensions. Lotto-Soudal has become the first team to do so in 2018.

The Belgian squad will be known as New Lotto-Soudal with the Belgian National Lottery rebranding itself as “New Lotto” in honor of its 40th anniversary. Thomas de Gendt will also stay with the squad through the end of the 2020 season.

Coming up

The Criterium du Dauphine continues its trek in the mountains on Friday with a 131-kilometer stage from Grenoble to Valmorel that is sure to shake-up the general classification. The final climb to the finish is a 12-kilometer hors category jaunt that has an average gradient of seven percent.


Tech news


Lights, camera, action! Have it all with the new Refactor Fitness RF-1 GPS computer

There are all sorts of devices strapped to rider handlebars these days, such as GPS computers, daytime running lights, and high-resolution cameras — and sometimes, all three. All of them are nice to have for different reasons, but it also amounts to a lot of visual clutter.

Startup company Refactor Fitness aims to combine all three of those functions into a single device called the RF-1. The Android-powered GPS cycling computer includes full navigation capabilities, dual front-facing LED flashers for daytime visibility, and a 1080p camera that records on a loop and provides critical visual evidence in the event of a crash. Battery life is claimed at up to nine hours when everything is running. There’s also built-in WiFi, ANT+, and BTLE wireless capabilities for a wide range of connectivity options.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it might be. Refactor Fitness has introduced the RF-1 as a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, and with 18 days to go, it’s currently well short of the heady US$250k goal.


Moving pictures

Roadtripping New Zealand: Across the North Island’s lush eastern cape

Opotiki, a little coastal town, acted as our gateway to three days of exceptional riding across the eastern cape of the North Island to Gisborne, before pitching back inland to our final destination – the natural hot springs of Kerosene Creek, just outside of Rotorua.

Check out our entire Roadtripping New Zealand feature here.


Happy Birthday to…

Steven Kruijswijk turns (31) today. The Dutchman famously crashed into a snowbank at the top of the Colle dell’Agnello while wearing the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia in 2016. He had a tough final two days in the mountains and ended the race off the podium in fourth.

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