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Egan Bernal storms into the Tour de Suisse race lead as Antwan Tolhoek wins stage 6, Tom Dumoulin will miss the Tour de France, Alejandro Valverde returns to racing with a victory. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Bernal storms to Tour de Suisse lead as Tolhoek wins stage 6
Egan Bernal (Ineos) stormed to the race lead at the Tour de Suisse after delivering a powerful attack on the final climb of stage 6.
Bernal rode to second on the day behind Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma), who delivered a solid attack of his own out of the breakaway to take the stage win, while breakaway rider Francois Bidard (AG2R La Mondiale) took third on the day.
The 120.2-kilometer stage from Einsiedeln to Flumserberg saw a big breakaway group jump clear early in the day. Although the escape’s advantage never grew to more than a few minutes, those still surviving in the move after the short but tough day would take enough time into the final climb to make things interesting.
Aggressive riding paid off for Tolhoek on the steep ascent. He attacked on the early slopes and opened up a gap. Before long, Patrick Bevin (CCC) and Lluís Mas (Movistar) bridged to the lone leader, but Tolhoek kept the pressure on and soon left them in the rearview mirror for good.
Ineos took up a high tempo in the peloton behind, sweeping up breakaway riders and setting up Bernal, who delivered a powerful attack with around one kilometer to go. None of his rivals could match the move.
Tolhoek took the win, and Bernal came across the line 17 seconds later to soar into the race lead. The 22-year-old Colombian will take a 12-second GC advantage over Australia’s Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) as the Tour de Suisse heads to stage 7, which runs 216.6 kilometers from Unterterzen to St. Gotthard.
Stage 6 results
1 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 2:43:34
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 0:00:17
3 François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24
4 Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana 0:00:29
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:31
6 Patrick Bevin (NZl) CCC 0:00:38
7 Rui Costa (Por) UAE-Team Emirates 0:00:44
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
9 Patrick Schelling (Swi) Switzerland 0:00:46
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 18:40:18
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:12
3 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:29
4 Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana 0:00:35
5 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar 0:00:41
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:50
8 François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:58
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE-Team Emirates 0:01:07
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb
Sometimes, you just need to vent—but Jaime Restrepo of Team Novak took it to the next level last week. Bike, barrier, road sign … nothing was safe from his frustration in the finale of a stage at the Tour de Hongrie.
Tom Dumoulin will miss the Tour de France
Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin, runner-up at the 2018 Tour de France, will miss the 2019 Tour.
After crashing in the early goings of the Giro d’Italia, the 28-year-old Dutchman has been unable to put lingering knee pain behind him with the Tour fast-approaching. Sunweb announced Thursday that he will miss the French Grand Tour.
“After what happened at the Giro I really wanted to go for it in the Tour, but this week I realized it’s just not realistic for my level to be there in time,” Dumoulin said in a team statement. “I’ve tried so hard to get there but I really have to listen to my body and release myself from chasing an unrealistic goal.”
Following his early abandonment of the Giro, Dumoulin looked to be a strong contender for a run at the Tour, but now he joins four-time winner Chris Froome (Ineos) on the list of star names forced to miss the race due to injuries. Dumoulin and his team ultimately decided it would be best to skip the Tour to focus on his recovery.
“Tom was really eager to be ready in time for the Tour and he tried all he could, but now the conclusion is that it’s simply not possible,” said team physician Anko Boelens. “We trusted in the process of rest, recuperation and a gradual return to racing but like in any recovery, there have been setbacks.”
Valverde returns to racing at Route d’Occitanie, wins opening stage
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is back in business. The reigning world road champion returned to racing at La Route d’Occitanie (formerly La Route du Sud) after nearly two months away from competition, and won the opening stage.
A training crash in late April left Valverde with a bone edema in his sacrum, forcing him to miss a planned start at the Giro d’Italia. He – along with other big names like Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) – headed to La Route d’Occitanie to tune up for his Tour de France campaign. Valverde topped Eddie Dunbar (Ineos) and Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) to win stage 1 and take the race lead.
Benoot reportedly looking to move on from Lotto-Soudal
Tiesj Benoot plans to leave Lotto-Soudal as his contract expires at the end of the 2019 season, Het Nieuwsblad reports.
The 25-year-old Belgian, who won Strade Bianche in 2018, has been with Lotto-Soudal since a stagiaire stint in 2014, turning pro with the team in 2015. According to Het Nieuwsblad, Benoot has had no shortage of suitors, with Ineos and Sunweb presenting the most tempting offers, which Lotto-Soudal cannot match.
EF signs U23 Gent-Wevelgem winner Rutsch
EF Education First has announced the signing of Jonas Rutsch, winner of the under-23 Gent-Wevelgem, for the 2020 season.
The 22-year-old German profiles as a strong prospect for the Classics. EF CEO Jonathan Vaughters offered strong praise for his talents in a team statement, calling him a potential Paris-Roubaix winner.
“The kid is a machine,” Vaughters said. “A well-tuned machine, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator.”
Rapha launches the Crit collection featuring transparent pockets
Designed for criterium racing, Rapha’s new Crit collection consists of an aero skinsuit, jerseys (men’s and women’s), and bib shorts. The reflective logos and silver fabric dye that resemble an oil slick are cool and all, but it’s the jersey pockets that stood out to us.
Made of a thin mesh, the see-through pockets are designed to hold race numbers and save you from having to fiddle with safety pins and ruined jerseys minutes before call up. It’s a feature we could see becoming quite popular (and copied) among club-level criterium and cyclocross racers.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Egan Bernal finishes second on stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse and takes the race lead. Photo: VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2019