Tour de Pologne (st. 5) / TDF (st. 14)
Hellish stage five at Tour de Pologne -seven Cat-1 climbs under cold, rainy conditions- forces Andrey Amador to abandon; no serious injuries for him. Rubén Fernández takes fine 8th after early break; Castroviejo 20th as Wellens (LTS) completes big exhibition
Under intense rain and with temperatures close to 10ºC in the Tatr mountains, stage five of the Tour de Pologne (225km between Wieliczka and Zakopane) forced Andrey Amador to abandon around halfway through Saturday’s route. Costa Rica’s idol suffered a crash into the descent of the first climb in the day, Koscielisko Butorowy Wierch (Cat-1), leading him to a medical center nearby. Checkups ruled out any major injuries, with some bruises and pain in his shoulder and hip apparently not implying any fractures.
It wasn’t until 80km into the stage when the initial, 18-man break formed, including three from the Movistar Team: Giovanni Visconti, Rubén Fernández and Jonathan Castroviejo. The squad directed by Laguía and Jaimerena saw the front group breaking up into the final circuit, with ‘Visco’ joining Tim Wellens (LTS) into a short-lived front duo that the Belgian turned into an amazing solo action, rewarded with the yellow jersey. Spaniard Rubén Fernández gave his all to stay into an elite GC group, 5’ from the lead, to finish 8th in the day, showing his excellent, team-best legs he had already proven all over this Tour de Pologne.
Castroviejo, 20th, and Visconti, 22nd, completed a notable performances from the Blues in awful conditions, provoking more than 80 DNFs. Sunday’s racing could get even grittier, as no less than 15 rated ascents are covered in the 194km course in Bukowina Tatrzanska.
Tour de France: Long journey towards Jura climbs
Stage 14 of the 2016 Tour de France (206km between Montélimar and Villars-les-Dombes) gave he riders some respite when it came to climbing. However, race conditions were still difficult as strong headwinds forced organisers to move the start time forward, and caused the peloton to barely reach 36kph average -less than 30km over the first hour-. In the end, it was a calm day for Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, who remain 4th and 5th overall after no changes were seen in the GC, thanks to good teamwork from Erviti and Oliveira at the front of the bunch.
The ‘Grande Boucle’ has in store one of its most beautiful stages in the Jura Mountains tomorrow. In just 160km of racing, between Bourg-en-Bresse and Culoz, the route includes -leaving aside any non-rated ascents- the climbs of Berthland (Cat-1), Seppel (Cat-2), Pleseloup (Cat-3), La Rochette (Cat-3), Grand Colombier (HC) and Lacets (Cat-1), the latter just 14km from the end. Nairo and ‘Bala’ will come there with an aim of turning things back in a race where they’ve deserved way better luck.