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The contenders for next month’s Tour de France are coming out to play. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) didn’t hold anything back in Switzerland and if Friday was any indication, the Tour is sure to produce fireworks. Also, away from the limelight at the lower-level Tour of Slovenia, last year’s Tour runner-up Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) sprinted to victory.
Quote of the day
“I had a few tears, which I’ve never had before.” — Sarah Roy after winning stage 3 of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.
Story of the day: Quintana and Porte are ready to take it to Froome and Team Sky in July
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) faced off at the Tour de Suisse on Sunday and it was a spectacle. The duo weren’t just head and shoulders above the rest of the general classification contenders on Friday, but their teams looked incredibly strong as well. Has Team Sky finally met its match? Quite possibly, and with Chris Froome coming to the Tour with the Giro d’Italia in his legs, the Briton could finally be knocked off the top step of the podium.
Quintana has been criticized in the past for watching and waiting too much, but on Friday he took the race by the horns. The Colombian launched a daring long-range move on the massive 30-kilometre final climb to the Alpine ski village of Arosa. He quickly swept through the remnants of the breakaway, while Porte chase valiantly behind. Quintana leapfrogged from teammate-to-teammate up the climb, as the squad had put riders in the day’s breakaway. It seemed Quintana’s attack was most certainly pre-meditated.
Porte was briefly on the back foot, but the Tasmanian recovered and chased well. He infamously faltered on the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine last year while wearing yellow, but he looks to have matured from that. He’s kept his cool all week in Switerzland and has ridden steadily, not the least because he has such a strong squad behind him.
Porte kept the gap close enough, in the end, to still retain the yellow jersey by 22 seconds. An overall win in Switzerland would be great for Porte’s head as he looks to unseat his friend, Froome. It would also be a mental win against Quintana as well.
BMC looks sprightly heading into the Tour
BMC Racing looks ready to guide Richie Porte to the maillot jaune in France. The American team looked extremely strong on Friday’s final finishing climb at the Tour de Suisse. Now that they have finally abandoned the co-leader GC tactic with Tejay Van Garderen, they have a real shot at the overall title.
Tejay Van Garderen took a massive pull in support of Porte on the final climb, as Quintana became the virtual race leader on the road. Van Garderen and Porte have entered the Tour as co-leaders a number of times, but BMC has elevated Porte and made van Garderen a super domestique this year.
BMC has often left Porte isolated late in mountain stages at the Tour, but with Van Garderen fully in a support role, Porte should have a right-hand man when it counts. Luckily, the American also seems to be in flying form at the moment.
Another rider that was mighty impressive on Friday was Greg van Avermaet. He joined Porte late on the final climb after being in the day’s breakaway and rode his heart out for his team leader. His sacrifice not only showed his commitment to the team, but also the respect he has for Porte. BMC Racing’s future is in doubt, so it’s great to see the squad working together instead of everyone riding for themselves.
Uran gets confidence boost with Slovenia victory
Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) won the third stage of the Tour of Slovenia over Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) on a tough uphill sprint. While many other Tour de France contenders went to the Dauphine or Suisse, Uran has opted to quietly race into form in Slovenia and may have the element of surprise in July.
Roy takes Mitchelton-Scott’s second victory of the week in England
Australian Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) sprinted to victory on stage three of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in Royal Leamington Spa. She beat Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance) and Marianne Vos (WM3) in a reduced bunch sprint.
It was a long and fast stage with the women spending nearly four hours in the saddle. An undulating route saw numerous attacks throughout the stage, which eventually split the peloton near the finish. It is Mitchelton-Scott’s second victory of the race after Jolien D’hoore won the opening stage.
“I really didn’t expect this today and as always the whole team was amazing,” Roy said. “Alex [Manly], Georgia [Williams], and Gracie [Elvin] were all with me in that leading group and did such a great job of shutting moves down and then Alex produced a super strong effort to get me into a perfect position for the sprint.”
Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) finished fourth on the day to retain the leader’s jersey.
Video highlights of stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse
Stage 19 of the Tour de France could be rerouted due to road damage
Flash floods in the Pyrenees have taken out one of the descents used in stage 19 of the Tour de France. It’s possible that the Tour will need to reroute the stage.
SRAM trickles 12-speed Eagle down to NX mountain bike groupset, priced at just US$375
Just weeks after Shimano announced its first 12-speed groupset in the form of [XTR M9100], SRAM released news of its most budget 1x-specific drivetrain, NX, going to 12-speed. Offering full cross-comparability with other 12-speed Eagle groupsets, NX Eagle brings the single-ring-specific drivetrain, with its enormous 11-50T or 10-50T cassette range, to an astonishingly low price of US$375 / €410 / £365 / AU$580. Yes, that’s for the full drivetrain, including shifter.
Featuring a fair amount of steel where more expensive groupsets offer carbon fibre and machined aluminium, NX Eagle surprisingly holds onto the majority of features that the far more expensive versions offer, including the new DUB crank spindle sizing, direct-mount chainring and clutch-equipped rear derailleur. The most noticeable difference is seen on the scales, with NX Eagle carrying some serious heft in certain parts, such as its PG-1230 cassette, it alone weighing 615g (compared to 350g for a SRAM X01 Eagle cassette).
Given Shimano’s roughly equivalent Deore groupset is still at 10-speed, we anticipate the new SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain to be extremely popular on entry-level mountain bikes in 2019.
November Bicycles Center Lock disc shims let you swap wheels without pad rub
Road cyclists are more likely to have multiple wheelsets than mountain bikers, but yet flat-mount disc brakes have the same tight tolerances between the pads and rotors as to post-mount ones. Given that, wheel swaps often require adjusting the caliper to keep the pads and rotors from rubbing, even when using hubs from the same brand.
Micro-thin shims made of stainless steel have already been available for six-bolt rotors (such as these 0.2mm-thick ones from Syntace), and now November Bicycles has introduced 0.25mm-thick ones for the Center Lock formats more often used on the road (but still very commonly found off-road). The shims install between the hub and rotor, and with a bit of careful setup, they ensure that the rotors on multiple wheels will end up in the exact same place between the pads, each and every time.
Retail cost is US$13 for four shims, and they can be purchased directly from November Bicycles.
Meet the Man with 170 Cycling Kits
How many cycling kits are too many? Well, Melbourne’s Lee ‘Hollywood’ Turner seems to follow the N+1 rule. Turner is highly regarded in Melbourne’s cycling scene and he lights up the local scene with his colourful personality and unique cycling kits. Take a tour of his closet with the following video from Cam Nicholls.
Happy Birthday to…
Toms Skujinš (27), the Latvian emphatically won the third stage of the Amgen Tour of California in May and great an internet frenzy with his crazy victory celebration. The victory came a year after he crashed heavily on the third stage of the 2017 edition and suffered a severe concussion and broken collarbone.
Happy birthday to Peter Kennaugh as well, who turns 29.