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The pre-Tour de France races are done and dusted. All that’s left are the national championships, and then it’s time for the Grande Boucle to begin on July 7. We look at who showed off their form this past month. Also, Coryn Rivera won the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and looks set to finally win her first professional U.S. national road championship. The American has 71 national championships to her name, but a professional title has eluded her.
Quote of the day:
”I dedicate this win to Andy.” — Richie Porte.
BMC Racing’s owner, Andy Rihs, passed away earlier this year. Rihs hailed from Switzerland and Porte dedicated his victory at the Tour de Suisse to him.
Story of the day: Who’s ready for the Tour de France?
On Sunday, a host of pre-Tour de France races finished and gave us a sense of who is coming into form and who is set to dazzle in July.
June’s winners often fare well in July, so our attention turns first to those who took home victories this week. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) sealed the overall win at the Tour de Suisse on Sunday. After losing the Criterium du Dauphine on the final day last year, Porte will enter the Tour with the confidence only a victory can bring.
Porte’s victory came after an intense week-long battle with Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Quintana lost over a minute to Porte during the final time trial in Switzerland, which doesn’t bode well for the Colombian entering the Tour. Quintana’s teammate, Mikel Landa, faired even worse. Landa lost nearly two and a half minutes to Porte.
Landa will be fighting for Movistar supremacy at the Tour with Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, but he looks to be on the back foot judging by results. Quintana won a stage and finished third overall at the Tour de Suisse, while Valverde won a stage and took the overall title at La Route D’Occitanie in France. Landa’s lone victory in 2018 came back in March at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Roglic beat last year’s Tour runner-up Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) at the Tour of Slovenia to become the first rider to win the race twice in its history. The Slovenian has been flying this year with overall victories at the Tour of the Basque Country and Tour de Romandie as well. He also won stage 17 into Serre-Chevalier at the Tour last year.
The 28-year old is a general classification threat with the way he has been riding this year and for his time trial ability. He finished second to Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) at the world championships in Bergen in September.
Rivera wins first WorldTour stage race, as Lepistö takes final stage
American Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) claimed her first Women’s WorldTour general classification title on Sunday at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in England, as Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) took the final stage sprint in Colwyn Bay.
Rivera took the leader’s jersey after winning stage two, but the final day of racing was not easy for the American and her team. Rivera entered the final stage with just a 14-second lead over Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) in the general classification. Vos would capture third on the final stage, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Rivera, who took the overall victory by 11 seconds. Vos’ teammate Danielle Rowe finished third overall.
“Being in the leader’s jersey is about being calm and in control and the whole team were exactly that throughout the whole week,” Rivera said. “Today was a difficult stage but we set the pace on the climbs and were in good position all day. This is something special and new for me. I’m really proud of the work that I’ve put in and the work that the team and staff have put in this week.”
— The Women’s Tour (@thewomenstour) June 17, 2018
Küng smashes final ITT at Suisse
Swiss national time trial champion Stefan Küng had all the motivation he needed with the home crowd behind him and blitzed the final individual time trial at the Tour de Suisse. Küng won the 34-kilometre stage with a time of 39:44, 19 seconds faster than runner-up Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb). Küng’s teammate Tejay Van Garderen finished third, 23 seconds back
Video highlights from the ninth and final stage of the Tour de Suisse
Roglic shines on home roads
Primoz Roglic took the final stage of the Tour of Slovenia and captured the overall title in Novo Mesto on Sunday. He won the final two days of the five-day race and claimed the overall title by 1:50 over Rigoberto Uran.
Video highlights from the fifth and final stage of the Tour of Slovenia
Valverde quietly takes overall victory in France
— La Route d’Occitanie (@RouteOccitanie) June 17, 2018
Alejandro Valverde was supposed to compete at the Tour de Suisse this past week, but a cold delayed him and instead he competed at the lesser known La Route D’Occitanie in France. He emphatically won the penultimate stage summit finish, which sealed his overall victory. Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ) won the final stage in Cazouls-lès-Béziers on Sunday out of a select group with Valverde finishing second.
Aussies and Americans shine at U23 Giro
The under-23 edition of the Giro d’Italia wrapped-up over the weekend with Australian Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) winning the ninth and final stage individual time trial. Stannard also finished the race third overall, behind race winner Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo).
After a morning road race, the final afternoon individual time trial had a unique format with the race leaders setting off first and everyone else following in running order of the GC, similar to a grid start seen in Formula One.
“I am really happy with how it went today, I was seventh at the start of the time trial and to have won the stage and also gained enough time to make the podium and hold onto the point’s jersey is fantastic,” Stannard said.
Stannard also finished second on the sixth stage of the race, behind American Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman Axeon).
Happy Birthday to…
Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all-time turns 73 today. The Belgian is the winningest cyclist of all-time with over 500 wins to his name. Merckx is most notably a five-time Tour de France champion, but he has also won the Giro d’Italia five times. He is one of three cyclists to have won all five of the monuments. He won Milan-Sanremo a record seven times and Liege-Bastogne-Liege five times.
Also to, Adrie van der Poel (59). The Dutchman is the father of Mathieu van der Poel and was a classic specialist in his prime with wins at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race, and Classic San Sebastian. He was also cyclocross world champion in 1996.