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The rest days at the Tour de France offer riders a chance to recover from the intense racing but, in contrast, the days without racing are the busiest moments of the race for team managers and rider agents, as they work on deals for the next season. Riders transfers cannot be announced until August 1 under UCI rules but the rest day in Annecy saw a number of deals finalised, especially after Jim Ochowicz confirmed CCC as a replacement for BMC and Greg van Avermaet agreed to stay on-board for another three years. Ochowicz has lost stage race leaders Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis to Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain-Merida respectively but has moved quickly to build a strong Classics unit around van Avermaet. Polish CCC owner Dariusz Milek would apparently love to see Rafal Majka in the new-look CCC WorldTour team. Majka recently extended his contract with Bora-Hansgrohe but, according to reports in Poland, there is still a chance that Majka could become CCC’s GC rider.ADVERTISEMENT Roelandts to Movistar? Jürgen Roelandts will apparently not be joining Greg Van Avermaet at the new CCC team next season. Instead, as Belgian newspaper Het Laaste Nieuws reports, the Belgian will be headed to Spain and Movistar, where he will be captain for the Spring Classics. Roelandts joined BMC this year after spending his entire career with the Lotto organization. While he has never won a Classic, he has consistently brought in top finishes, finishing fifth at Milan-San Remo this year.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) was the only rider willing to attack the GC contenders on the opening mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France. The Irishman pushed clear of his rivals near the summit of the final climb of the Col de la Colombière, and although a headwind and Team Sky’s pursuit ended his time off the front, the stage 6 winner had no regrets. Martin’s acceleration provided a sharp contrast to what we saw for much of stage 10. Team Sky allowed a break that included race leader Greg Van Avermaet to go clear, and then shifted into their default mode of controlling affairs. Luke Rowe set the pace until the final two climbs, at which point the rest of the Team Sky collective took over. Their GC rivals patiently sat in their slipstream and although a handful of them – such as Rigoberto Uran and Ilnur Zakarin - faltered and lost time, the rest managed to remain in contention. The first day in the Alps was effectively a dead rubber in terms of the real fight for the yellow jersey. “I just thought that I’d test the guys and I was hoping that someone would come with me but I guess Team Sky were playing a bit of mind games,” Martin told Cyclingnews after finishing seventh on the stage at 3:23 behind winner Julian Alaphilippe.ADVERTISEMENT According to Martin the dominance Team Sky had in terms of numbers – they had five riders setting the pace on the final climb – was a psychological hurdle for a number of their rivals. At the Tour, defence seems to be the default tactic for a number of contenders who are willing to save their legs and race for a top-ten place rather than take a risk and look to gamble on a higher position. This was only day one of a trilogy of stages in the Alps, but Martin believed that Team Sky’s dominance acted a mind game in itself. “They had some many riders there that riders were afraid to attack, especially with a downhill finish,” Martin said. “I just thought that someone would come with me to the finish. It was also a case of testing guys out and seeing if anyone would get dropped. Even with some guys ten seconds off the back at the top of the climb, that could end up being a minute at the finish. I don’t know if guys were dropped but I thought that I’d open the legs anyway.”
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

The pre-race prediction ahead of stage 10 of the Tour de France on Tuesday was that Team Sky's Geraint Thomas would inherit the yellow jersey from Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). It was a sound hypothesis given that Thomas came into the Tour as the Critérium du Dauphiné winner and had not put a foot wrong during the opening nine days of racing. The Welshman – a superior climber to Van Avermaet on paper – started the first Alpine test 43 seconds in arrears, but ahead of the other GC contenders. However, a gutsy ride from Van Avermaet – in which he infiltrated the day's break and even extended his GC lead to over two minutes – ensured that Thomas would remain second overall and therefore miss out on the yellow jersey.ADVERTISEMENT Team Sky's tactics on stage 10 were clear for all to see. They kept the break at a respectable distance but never once set a pace that suggested that they wanted to propel Thomas into the lead. Their objectives at this year's Tour are based on long-term success – and that means yellow in Paris. The British team set a fast but not unmanageable pace on the final two ascents before the finish at Le Grand-Bornand, and while a handful of GC prospects struggled after Monday's rest day, the stage ended in a relative stalemate. "I said before, it's the Tour de France, so you can't have the jersey just because you want it. Fair play to Greg. He got himself in the break, and that’s what he did last time he had the yellow jersey [in 2016], so we expected it," Thomas told Cyclingnews as he freewheeled to the Team Sky bus after the stage.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) got through the first mountain test at this year's Tour de France on Tuesday. But the 30-time stage winner almost missed the time cut, coming over the finish line of stage 10 at Le Grand-Bornand with just 33 seconds to spare. Cavendish, like a number of other sprinters, struggled on the first Alpine test at this year's Tour, and was dropped from the main field. He made it into the gruppetto alongside fellow fast-men Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) but finished 34:02 down on stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step).ADVERTISEMENT This was Cavendish's first mountain test at the Tour de France since 2016, after he crashed out in the opening week in 2017, and he was asked if he had forgotten how tough the Tour mountains were. "Yeah, I really had. It's been a long time, but it's even rarer to have such a hard day as the first mountain stage. Usually you have one with a couple of mountains at the end, but we had them straight away," Cavendish said after a short warm-down. "Actually, we had those little climbs out of Annecy, and I was in the front group then. Then we had that long one, and I was way over my limits, or I felt it. I had Julien Vermote with me, and we were chasing and chasing and got to the gruppetto, and I finally came around. In the gruppetto, you stay together, so if one person is suffering, then everyone waits. That's how it works. We had a good group of people."
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

The Tour de France did not get off to the best of starts for Britain's Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) after he was caught up in crashes on both of the opening two stages, but things now appear to be moving in the right direction for the 25-year-old from Bury. After those difficult first two days, Yates and his Mitchelton-Scott teammates managed to steady the ship with their fourth-placed ride in the team time trial on stage 3, and Yates has steadily climbed the overall standings as the terrain has got tougher. He was nicely nestled in the group of general classification contenders as they rolled into Le Grand-Bornand on stage 10 on Tuesday, and is now in seventh place overall, equal on time with Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Mikel Landa (Movistar).ADVERTISEMENT "It was a hard day – a hard day after a rest day, and sometimes that catches people out," said Yates. "I was feeling pretty good, and I saw just before the end that some people were struggling, so I moved up just before the top, and then Dan Martin attacked almost right away. I was in a good position just as Sky started drilling it. "It wasn't really fast on the climb; Sky were just controlling it. They were never trying to bring the break back or go for any stage win – they were just riding to stay out of trouble. When Dan attacked, they had to chase him because he's a danger man, so in the last few kilometres, they went pretty hard." Wednesday's 108.5km stage from Albertville to La Rosière will be a different task for the overall contenders. Yates knows the route well after riding it at last month's Critérium du Dauphiné – a stage that Astana's Pello Bilbao won, while eventual overall winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) put time into Yates.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

The Tour de France has only just started its second week, but already Fernando Gaviria has had one of the races of his life. The Colombian sprinting sensation, still only 23 years old and making his debut in the world's biggest race, won the opening stage to take the first yellow jersey of this year's Tour, spending a day in the maillot jaune before winning his second stage three days later. Procycling sat down with the rider who has long been hailed as sprinting's next superstar, and found that behind all his victories – 34 before the Tour began – Gaviria is a complex and enigmatic character. As well as discussing his competitive streak and acclimatising to being a Colombian rider far from home on a Belgian team, Gaviria also told Patrick Fletcher about coping with fame in a wide-ranging interview. "At the start, no one wanted an interview with me, no one wanted a photograph with me, because no one knew me. Now I have to take much more time out – time when I could be resting – to share out between journalists or fans," Gaviria says. "It's all time that I'm losing, but at the same time I understand that I'm winning because they're the people who allow us to grow as sportspeople."ADVERTISEMENT From one sprinter to another, Sam Bennett enjoyed his Grand Tour breakthrough at the Giro d'Italia this May, just as Gaviria did the year before. Bora-Hansgrohe's Irishman has long been a prolific winner, but has been hunting for the really big victories that would elevate his career to the next level. After repeatedly coming so close but falling short at last year's Giro, he finally got the monkey off his back on stage 7, sprinting to the win ahead of Elia Viviani, and would go on to end the race with three stage wins, including the final day in Rome. He tells Sam Dansie how he changed his fortunes. With the Tour de France in full swing, all of the riders on the start line will have hoped they got their training right, and have peaked their form perfectly for one of the biggest races of the year. But just how does a rider time their form so they hit their best at the exact right moment? Sam Dansie finds out how riders get the balance right when managing their condition. Geraint Thomas is one of those riders currently racing at the Tour. But before he arrived in the Vendée, Team Sky's Tour 'plan B' to Chris Froome's 'plan A' secured the biggest stage-race victory of his career to date at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Daniel Friebe was there to witness Sky's heir-in-waiting win, and to assess the significance of the result and what we can learn from the race itself.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Tuesday was not the first time that Julian Alaphilippe signalled his intentions on the Plateau de Glières. In September 2013, a youthful Alaphilippe scored the finest victory of his amateur career atop the mountain at the Tour de l’Avenir, before graduating to the paid ranks with Quick-Step Floors the following season. On stage 10 of the 2018 Tour de France, meanwhile, the Frenchman danced clear of the early break and led through the dirt and gravel road past the summit, a warning ahead of his winning attack in the finale. There were still some 90 kilometres of stage 10 remaining as the early escapees chased the plume of dust rising from Alaphilippe’s rear wheel on a mountainside renowned for its place in the history of the French Resistance, and many of their number must already have had a sense of how their afternoon would end. Alaphilippe’s decisive move came on the stiff Col de Romme with a shade over 30 kilometres to go, when he bridged up to Rein Taaramae (Direct Energie) and then punched away from the Estonian at the summit. Although Taaramae briefly got back on terms over the other side, he was irretrievably distanced on the sinuous descent, and Alaphilippe stretched his buffer over the Col de la Colombière to win by 1:34 in Le Grand-Bornand.ADVERTISEMENT “I only started to think I could win in the last kilometre of the Col de Romme when I saw the other riders in the group were in difficulty,” Alaphilippe said afterwards. “At the start of the day, it was hard to get into the break, but after that, it was about having the legs on the climbs.” Alaphilippe was expected to shine earlier in this Tour, on the puncheurs’ finales at Quimper and Mûr-de-Bretagne, when he was also within striking distance of snaring the maillot jaune, but he admitted that he lacked the strength to deny Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) on those occasions. In the Alps on Tuesday, however, he seized his moment. “Personally, I was a bit disappointed with my first week in Brittany. There was a lot of expectation around me, but – frankly – I just didn’t have the legs in Quimper and Mûr-de-Bretagne,” Alaphilippe said. “But you have to bounce back and I knew I’d have other opportunities: I took one today. It’s special to win my first stage of a Tour and to do it in this manner, too.” Character
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

LE-GRAND-BORNAND, France (VN) — Mikel Landa knows what it’s like to be inside Team Sky’s formidable train.
After racing two seasons inside the Sky machine, Landa is now on the outside looking in and vows to try to knock the Sky train off its rails.
“When you are part of that train, you see it differently; you are the strong one,” Landa told AS. “Now you’re on the outside, and you see Froome surrounded by four teammates.
“Sky perhaps commands respect with their numerical superiority. Nevertheless, we will try to take them on at the right moment. We want to knock them off their crown.”
Team Sky grabbed Tuesday’s first mountain stage of the 2018 Tour de France by the scruff of the neck. If anyone was wondering if its riders were somehow not up to the task, they found their answer.
Team Sky railed the GC group up and over the Tour’s first major climbs. No one dared lift a finger until Dan Martin (UAE-Emirates) tried a late-climb zinger that was quickly snuffed.
“With their characteristic rhythm, so fast and so hard, no one even wanted to try,” Landa said.Team Sky controlled the race at the front end of the GC group. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images
Movistar didn’t dare challenge Sky’s dominance in Tuesday’s climbing stage. Most teams were wary of what the Tour’s first mountain stage might hold, especially following nine hard stages of racing, a long transfer and Sunday’s bumpy stage over the cobblestones.
Landa raced with bandages to his right side but said he was “OK” despite falling in the neutral rollout in Annecy.
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“The sensations were not bad. Sky set a very high rhythm and no one had the strength to attack,” Landa told VeloNews. “Today was a little bit complicated after the crash Sunday, but I arrived with the group. I am a little banged up but the legs are good.”
Movistar kept all three of its cards in play Tuesday. While it appeared Alejandro Valverde was dropped, he said his chain got stuck near the top of the Colombière and was otherwise able to regain contact to finish with the main GC group without too much drama.
Others in the peloton suffered as the Tour steered into the first major climbs after nine days of relatively flat terrain. A few top GC riders slipped back, including Rafa Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Rigoberto Urán (EF-Drapac).
Nairo Quintana admitted he felt some after-effects of Sunday’s pavé stage as he finished safely within the main contenders’ group.
“The body felt a little strange after the pavé and you always suffer a little bit after the rest day,” Quintana said. “We saw a few others struggling, but the bad luck hasn’t touched us.”
Like Landa, Quintana is bent on trying to knock Sky off its game. Tuesday’s stage wasn’t the right moment. Wednesday’s short and explosive stage will surely see more fireworks ahead of Alpe d’Huez on Thursday.
“These are three hard days where a lot of things can happen,” Quintana continued. “There is a lot of climbing ahead of us, and we have to search for the right moment to try to attack and play our cards.”
Read the full article at Landa wants to help Movistar derail Sky train on VeloNews.com.

On an otherwise measured day of GC racing at the Tour de France, Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) did what he could to spice things up with an attack on the final climb of stage 10.
The 31-year-old Irishman jumped away from the overall contenders near the summit of the category 1 Col de la Colombière on Tuesday, hoping to carry an advantage over the top and onto the descent toward the finish. Forging into a strong headwind, Martin was unable to open up much of a gap to the pack, with Sky setting a hard tempo at the head of affairs. The GC group caught back up to him at the summit, and Martin continued on with them to finish on the same time as Chris Froome (Sky) and a select few other GC hopefuls.
Nonetheless, the way Martin saw things, it was at least worth a shot.
“The day after the rest day, no one is ever sure how they are,” he pointed out after the stage. “The wearing-down on us has just begun.”
The move was a particularly good sign for the Irishman and his squad considering the hard fall he took in stage 8. Two days after he powered to his second career Tour de France stage victory atop the Mûr de Bretagne climb, Martin went down in a pileup on an otherwise innocuous day for the sprinters and rolled across the line with blood running down an arm and bruises on his lower back.
Fortunately for Martin, X-rays came back without any signs of more serious injury. His strong rides to finish with his main GC rivals in the cobbled stage 9 and Tuesday’s mountainous stage 10 suggest that he is not suffering too much lingering pain — or that if he is, he is not letting it slow him down. It wouldn’t be the first time Martin has pushed through pain in pursuit of grand tour glory. At last year’s Tour de France, he fractured two vertebrae in the stage 9 crash that knocked Richie Porte out of the race, but pressed on to finish sixth overall in Paris.Dan Martin was the victim of a crash in the closing kilometers of stage 8 but chased back to minimize his losses. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
“After his crash Saturday, we were very worried that he would suffer a lot on the pavé. The team supported him and we kept him out of trouble,” said UAE team manager Joxean Fernández Matxin. “The rest day came at a good moment, and now Dan is looking good coming into the mountains. We’ve already won a stage and we believe Dan and do a lot more in this Tour.”
Whether Martin’s stage 10 attempt succeeded or not, it was a clear sign that he intends to be aggressive in the mountains this July.
“My plan from the start was if guys were five, 10, 15 seconds at the top, at the finish, it could be one minute. So I wanted to make it hard and make a little sprint, and that could people into the red, and maybe get dropped,” he said. “It didn’t do any damage, but I was also in good position for the downhill. What little energy it costs, it was actually good for me.”
Martin won’t have to wait long until he has another shot at leaving his GC rivals behind on the steep stuff. Stage 11 features two hors categorie climbs and ends with a summit finish at La Rosière. Stage 12 closes out with Alpe d’Huez. Expect to see Martin — whose attacking style earned him monument wins at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2013 and Il Lombardia in 2014 — on the move again when the road goes up.
“I always try when I feel I have the legs,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more guys attacking tomorrow.”Andrew Hood contributed to this report from Le Grand-Bournand, France.
Read the full article at Tour de France: Martin makes intentions clear with stage 10 attack on VeloNews.com.

LE-GRAND-BORNAND, France (VN) — Rigoberto Urán is recalibrating his Tour de France goals after slipping backward Monday as the race titled upward.
Dreams of becoming Colombia’s first Tour winner started to unravel with a late-stage crash in Sunday’s day on the cobblestones. Banged up and bruised, Urán put on a brave face Tuesday in the 2018 Tour’s first major mountain stage, but Urán ceded another 2:36 when he couldn’t keep pace. He sunk to 34th at 5:59 back.
Urán challenged Chris Froome all the way to Paris in 2017. The Sky leader took his fourth Tour by his smallest winning margin. However, Urán admitted he won’t be winning the Tour this year.
“Of course I won’t be leaving the Tour,” Urán told journalists Tuesday who wondered how serious his injuries were. “It’s obvious that when you have a crash like this you have to reconsider your options.”
Two days of costly time losses were in sharp contrast to Urán’s otherwise near-perfect start of the 2018 Tour. The veteran Colombian came into the race hoping to better his runner-up status of last year by making history as Latin America’s first yellow jersey.Team Education First rode flat out to bring Rigoberto Uran back into contention but the Colombian would ultimately lose nearly two minutes. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com
Things were relatively going well Sunday until he slid out on a corner after coming out of a cobblestone sector about 30km to go Sunday. It appeared Urán was struck from behind and the blow sent him toppling hard onto an asphalt section.
EF Education First-Drapac rallied around Urán and the team managed to limit the damage though it was clear Urán was hobbled. With bandages covering his wounds, Tuesday’s entrée into the Alps for the Tour’s first major climbs were doubly hard for Urán. He struggled to keep pace as Team Sky turned on the turbos and the elastic eventually snapped.
“I tried to stay at the front today, but the blow from Sunday was pretty complicated,” Urán said. “Today in the race I was suffering, with some pain in the back, and we lost a bit of time. Now we are behind quite a bit and we’ll regroup as a team and see what we can do.”Rigoberto Uran had a lonely ride home in stage 10. Photo: Tim de Waele | Getty Images
This is not where Urán and EF were hoping to be nearing the Tour’s midway point. Last year, Urán had already won a stage and was emerging as a GC threat.
EF came to this Tour with a team fully committed to Urán. On Sunday, riders such as Sep Vanmarcke and Taylor Phinney sacrificed their chances to win the stage to help Urán. On Tuesday, the team did the best it could to keep Urán close as the GC favorites tested their collective mettle for the first time on the climbs.
“When you hit a stage like today on the back foot after a crash like that is not ideal,” said EF’s Simon Clarke. “Winning the Tour now is going to be a little more difficult.”
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Tour de France: Martin makes intentions clear with stage 10 attackDan Martin's late attack in stage 10 amounts to nothing, but it was a shot across the bow as more big climbs loom.
Urán was more impacted by Sunday’s crash than perhaps he wanted to admit. On Tuesday, as the speeds ramped up on the Tour’s first major climbs, pain in his back and over the rest of his body made keeping pace nearly impossible.
“It hurts, yes, my back, my knees, a little bit all over, and during the race, it’s not so easy to keep a high rhythm,” Urán said. “Today we really noted that. When it was a big group, it cost me a lot to stay there, so I was really feeling it out on the road.”
Urán vows to keep fighting, but everyone knows that Wednesday’s even more explosive climbing stage could see even more losses.
“The Tour de France isn’t easy. It isn’t meant to be easy,” Clarke said. “We’re fighting, and we’re going to keep fighting. All the way to Paris.”
Urán echoed the determination: “We are here until the final. We are not giving up.”
Read the full article at Urán resets Tour goals but promises ‘we’re not giving up’ on VeloNews.com.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) and the majority of his GC rivals came through an undramatic first day in the Alps after a headwind and cautious tactics dictated stage 10 of the Tour de France. Froome's only moment of concern came when the peloton reached the 1.8km stretch of gravel road that leads to the Plateau des Glières. This was nothing like the dirt roads of the Finestre in the Giro d'Italia, but the profile and terrain were enough to disrupt Team Sky's autopilot after Froome punctured and then needed another wheel change soon after. "I had a little bit of a Wacky Races moment," Froome said after the finish, referring to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. "I had a puncture on the dirt section and I got a spare wheel from a teammate only to find out it was flat as well."ADVERTISEMENT With Dick Dastardly, Muttley and Penelope Pitstop inexplicably left off Team Sky's Tour team, it was up to his seven teammates at the race to help Froome back. They duly knocked off the pace before a rider eventually waited and helped the defending champion back to the main field. "It was a bit of a comedy of errors, but I got a wheel from the neutral service," Froome said. "Thankfully it was a long way from the finish so things weren't too crazy and I was able to get back in." Froome was never tested during the remainder of the stage, with his team only forced to chase once, when Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates) had the temerity to attack on the crest of the final climb. The Irishman's move helped drop a number of potential top 10 contenders, but Froome, Geraint Thomas and the core of Team Sky's climbing unit held firm.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

After keeping their noses out of the wind on stage 10, Mikel Landa believes that he and his fellow Movistar leaders, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, will have a chance to really take on the Tour de France on Wednesday's stage to La Rosière. The ascending will start almost immediately on the 108-kilometre day, which has packed in four classified climbs, including the 17.6-kilometre first category summit finish. The short, yet relentless, nature of the parcours will make it much harder to control, says Landa, and therefore favour the Spanish team as they to try and put a cat among the pigeons. "Tomorrow's stage should be better for us, as it's one where it's difficult to keep such a strong group together and could be good for us three," Landa told the press as he warmed down outside his team bus in Le Grand Bornand.  "It will be already a difficult stage, with some moves from the first climb, so we'll see how we can manage our efforts over the route."ADVERTISEMENT Landa enjoyed an uneventful day on the bike, which will be a welcome break to him after he hit the deck quite hard during Sunday's stage to Roubaix. The Spaniard had been drinking from a bidon when he ran over a drain cover and lost control of his bike. He lost just seven seconds, after a mighty effort from his team to bring him back, but suffered a lot of abrasions as a result of the incident. On the rest day, Landa said that he was back to normal but said on Tuesday that he had some pain in his back. "After the Roubaix stage and the rest day, and the crash on Sunday, I think the best thing for me was to relax a bit and save myself," he said. "My back hurt a bit at the end of the stage, but I think it's just normal after such a hit; my legs feel good. Sky set a very hard pace, probably trying to defend their position, and I think no one really was willing to burn themselves out by launching a real attack in this situation." Heading into the second of a tryptic of mountain stages, Valverde is currently the best placed of the Movistar trio in the overall classification. The elder statesmen of the GC riders is currently 11 seconds up on Landa, who is on the same time as Froome. There were a few moments of stress for Valverde when he had issued with his gearing as Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) attacked over the top of the Colombiére, but that was it.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com