Bonjour! It Is Le Tour In Photos (1)

Bonjour! Here we are again, another year gone. The Tour de France has just begun and the riders entered France today. The race started in Germany, where thousands of people came out and cheered for the riders. Last Thursday, the riders were presented and on that day the biggest circus of the whole cycling year officially began. Three weeks Le Tour de France. Three weeks in photos.


These are the riders from Team Movistar. They are ready for another Tour de France. But first they have to present themselves to the German crowd. Hola!


Bauke Mollema from Team Trek – Segafredo tried to make a selfie with his team just before the team presentation, but it was teammate Koen ‘rockstar’ de Kort who stole the show in this picture.


While waiting for the team presentation Esteban Chaves from Orica-Scott thought about some new goals to achieve in this year’s Tour de France. Although no one is really expecting that he will make that goal…


The riders of Cofidis are ready for another Tour de France. The team received a wildcard again and with sprinter Nacer Bouhanni they hope for a win in one of the sprint stages.


Roy Curvers from Team Sunweb just before the team presentation. There is no way back now. Three weeks of sprints, rain, crashes, bad days, climbs and hopefully some good days for his team.


Meet the oldies of the Tour de France.  Daryl Impey (on the left) is ‘just’ 32, but Mathew Hayman is one of the oldest riders participating in the Tour the France this year. He is 39 and with all his experience he will be of good help for the young boys in his team Orica-Scott.


Michal Kwiatkowski thinks he can beat his teammate Chris Froome. He will be faster in the sprints, but I am not so sure about the climbs. He will definitely not beat him there.


Simon Yates has some news for us. He thinks that he can run faster than Chris Froome. Who does not remember the running of Froome in the Tour of last year? Lets all hope that none of the riders has to run on the climbs, because that was one of the most awkward moments in the history of the Tour de France.


Before the race starts, every rider gets his own number. Simon Clarke from Cannondale – Drapac is showing his numbers and seems pleased with it.


The race took off on the first of July. The Tour started with a time trial around Düsseldorf. It is the first Tour de France for Thomas Boudat. He is only 23 years old, but the team management of Direct Energie decided to let him start the biggest race of the season. He is very talented and also very excited.


This is another great story. Taylor Phinney crashed hard in the year 2014, recovered and is now riding his first Tour de France. With already a great time trial (12th place) on the first day, he went in the breakaway in the second stage and scored enough points for the polkadot jersey.


He took too many risks, Alejandro Valverde. The time trial was ridden in the rain and the roads were wet. In a corner he crashed hard and in a split second the Tour de France was over and out. No podium chances for Valverde this year and a long recovery ahead. At least he can still smile in his hospital bed.


The team Wanty-Groupe Gobert also received a wildcard for this year’s Tour de France. After the third stage they were the best overall team. They were all happy with the cute cows and were glad that these cuddle toys are present again this year.

Go Gorilla

♫ André Greipel – Go Gorilla 

“Go Gorilla, rock your tool
You are the champion for us toujours
Go Gorilla, you are strong
And in the end you’ll be the number one”

Germany | YouTube – Sebastian Paddags | Tour de France 2017

Photos Dutch Road Championships 2017


Dutch Road Championships 2017 / 25 June / Elite Men

The Dutch National Road Championships took place in Montferland this year, an area in the east of the Netherlands, and the start and finish were in ‘s-Heerenberg. Quickly after the start, a head bunch was formed with the following riders: Robert Gesink, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Koen Bouwman (TLJ), Jetse Bol (MZN), Berden de Vries, Tim Ariesen, Martijn Budding (RNL), Albert Timmer, Tom Stamsnijder (SUN), Peter Koning (ABS), René Hooghiemster, Robbert de Greef (BDC), Boy van Poppel (TFS), Joey van Rhee (DJP), Stan Godrie (VWC), Roy Eefting (VCT), Lars van der Haar (TFL), Jasper Hamelink (MET), Maarten de Jonge (MCT) and Ike Groen (DCR).

The race was 231 kilometres long and took place on a circuit of 16,6 kilometres. After the start in ‘s-Heerenberg the riders went up north to Zeddam, then to Beek in the west and finally to Stokkum in the south, before heading back to ‘s-Heerenberg. The head bunch was very strong, but couldn’t stay away until the end. There were quite a few attacks from riders towards the end, but no one was able to stay away. From then on it was clear that the race would end in a sprint. Dylan Groenewegen (TLJ) – last year’s champion – wasn’t able to beat Wouter Wippert (CDT) and Ramon Sinkeldam (SUN). But who was the winner? Wippert thought that he’d won, but the jury saw it on tv: Sinkeldam was a bit faster.

Tom Dumoulin, the winner of the 2017 edition of the Giro d’Italia, had already prolonged his national time trial title on the wednesday before the road race. But he was also very happy after finishing the road race, because winner Ramon Sinkeldam is his teammate – they both ride for the German WorldTour Team Sunweb. Pieter Weening smiled along, because his team Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij also performed well during the day. Coen Vermeltfoort almost reached the podium – he became 4th behind Dylan Groenewegen (TLJ).

They were so close, but the red-white-blue jersey was for Ramon Sinkeldam. But Wouter Wippert and Dylan Groenewegen could still smile, because together with the new national champion they showed once again that they are the best sprinters of the Netherlands and that they belong to the sprint top of the world. Ramon Sinkeldam and Dylan Groenewegen will be present in the Tour de France this year, so the Dutch national colours can be spotted in the Tour peloton again.

MORE DUTCH ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS ELITE MEN
PHOTOS IN OUR RIDE ON! PHOTO GALLERY

The Road To Düsseldorf

In the year 2008 German television dropped the live coverage of the Tour de France. There were too many doping scandals and the German broadcasters thought it was the right thing to do. German rider Erik Zabel had announced the year before that he used doping during his career and in 2008 Bernhard Kohl and Stefan Schumacher both tested positive. In 2011 the decision was made to not broadcast any footage of the Tour de France anymore.

However, German riders were doing quite well in the Tour de France after 2011. There were three stage wins for Andre Greipel in 2012 and in the year 2013 there were four stage wins for Marcel Kittel, one for Greipel and one for Tony Martin. In 2014 there were four stage wins for Kittel, two for Tony Martin and one for Greipel. The public television broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, started to doubt their decision. These riders stated that they were racing without doping and would do anything to make cycling attractive again for the people in Germany. In 2015, the German broadcasters announced that they would be present at the Tour de France and even start to broadcast live again.

At this point there are hardly any professional cycling races in Germany. One of the biggest races of the country, the Deutschland Tour, got cancelled in 2008 due to the many doping scandals in Germany. It is strange to note that in one of the largest countries of Europe there are practically no WorldTour races. In a country with beautiful flat areas, great rivers, historical cities and wonderful high mountains. Hosting a cycing race in Germany would not only be good for cycling itself, but even better for the German tourist industry.

A change has come since last year. The German Cycling Federation (BRD) and the ASO are working together since 2016 in order to promote cycling in Germany. In a statement they released, it was said that they have signed “a long-term agreement to revive the Deutschland Tour and establish it as a top event over a ten-year horizon. Both partners are aiming to put the Deutschland Tour back on the calendar over the coming two years, as soon as all the key assets for a great stage race and a top-notch organisation are put in place.”

With new German sponsors entering the cycling world (Bora, Alpecin) in the last couple of years, it was only a matter of time until it was announced that the Tour de France would take off in Germany in 2017. Although many expected that the city of Berlin would host the Grand Depart, it was the industrial city Düsseldorf that made the right bet at the right time. The riders will start on Saturday with a time trial, a day later the riders will leave Germany and make their way from Düsseldorf to Liège. The hosting of the Tour de France this year is the first step to the goal of the ASO and the BRD to make cycling huge again in Germany. For the German people, the start of the Tour de France is not only just a couple of ‘cycling days’, it is a celebration of the re-birth of cycling in Germany.

Twenty Years Later


27 June 2017

A dad and his son. It is the year 1997 and the dad and his son are in Paris. The dad, Erik Zabel, just finished another Tour de France. He just won the green jersey for the second time. He also won three stages that year. He is one of the favorite riders of the peloton and very popular in his home country, Germany.

Who could have guessed that the little boy he is holding will start his first Tour de France this Saturday? Of course, it is special to be the son of one of the best sprinters in the peloton. But it is even more special to start this Grand Tour in your own country. The boy, Rick Zabel, is excited and he cannot wait to take off in Düsseldorf. He probably won’t win any of the sprint stages, but he could get away in one of the flat stages and who knows what might happen then…


Erik and Rick Zabel / © Tim De Waele

Giro di Tom


31 May 2017

Did we not all think that he was a specialist? A time trial specialist. That Dutch guy from Maastricht, he could not possibly climb the mountains with the best climbers of the peloton. At least, that is what I thought a couple of years ago. It was in the Vuelta a España that I was forced to change my mind. In a mountain stage Tom Dumoulin beat the most steady climber of the peloton: Chris Froome. You could still say that this was just a ‘one time thing’, but he came so close to winning the Vuelta. If it was not for that bad day in the last week, then he would have won the Vuelta in 2015.

The Vuelta in 2015 made Dumoulin more ambitious. He began to think about his goals. Could it be possible that he was not just a time trial specialist? Could he change his goals and focus on mountain stages? Or even the general classification? Wearing the pink jersey in 2016 made him think even more about it. He decided to come back a year later, with an ambitious goal: a place in the top-ten of the general classification. 

We all know how that played out. He showed us, the other riders and himself that he was one of the strongest riders in the mountains. He made the 100st edition of the Giro d’Italia a special one. The rivalry with Quintana and Nibali, the ‘poo-accident’, and not to forget the time trial on the last day. The organisation could not have wished for a more nervous-wrecking finale. He made it through the finale and rode an excellent time trial. Enough to take back the pink jersey. A Dutch guy from Maastricht wins the Giro d’Italia. Now on to the next ambition.