Dan Martin leads UAE Team Emirates in Criterium du Dauphine - News Shorts

Quick-Step for the Dauphine, Dutch 2020 Worlds bid in trouble, Van der Poel takes Boucles de la Mayenne stage, Tvetcov leads in Korea

Irishman Dan Martin will hone his Tour de France form at the upcoming Critérium du Dauphiné, heading up the UAE Team Emirates charge in the French stage race.

Martin was third in the last two editions of the Dauphine, but is heading into this year's race with modest aspirations.

"The Critérium du Dauphiné is always a good test before the Tour de France, but given that this year there's an extra week between the end and the start of the Tour de France, I expect that my form will be slightly behind with respect to the past years," Martin said in a team press release.

"The training period leading up to this has gone well and my feelings are good, but it's true that this is a very different race. The most important thing will be to get rhythm in my legs, race freely and end it with a precise idea of my form for the Tour."

Martin is eyeing the Dauphine because of its 35km team time trial - the same distance as the stage 3 TTT in the Tour - and the penultimate stage to La Rosiere, which is almost identical to stage 11 of the Tour, only a few kilometres longer.

"The Dauphiné is important also because it's a mini-Tour de France, with an individual time trial, a team time trial – things that are hard to mimic in training – and because we race on some of the same roads that we are going to face in the 11th stage of the Tour," Martin says.

UAE Team Emirates for the Criterium du Dauphine: Sven Erik Bystrøm, Valerio Conti, Daniel Martin, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi, and Rory Sutherland.

Alaphilippe, Jungels head Quick-Step Floors for Dauphine

Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels will lead Quick-Step Floors at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

It will be the first race for Alaphilippe since his successful Classics campaign, in which he won La Fleche Wallonne and landed just outside the podium in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Frenchman won the best young rider's jersey in the Dauphiné in 2017, but skipped the race last year due to a knee injury.

"I am very happy to be at the start, it's always special to race in France, and being so close to the Tour, this will also serve as a nice tune-up for July," Alaphilippe said in a team press release.

"After the Classics I got to rest and go on an altitude training camp, and now I'm eager to resume racing. The parcours is very hard, and with so many climbs crammed in the second part of the week it could be a bit too hard for me, but I will see how I feel day after day, do my best and help the team get some nice results."

Quick-Step Floors for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Julian Alaphilippe, Laurens De Plus, Fabio Jakobsen, Bob Jungels, James Knox, Pieter Serry, Niki Terpstra.

Dutch bid for 2020 UCI Road World Championships in trouble

The Netherlands may have ruled itself out of organising the 2020 UCI Road World Championships. Accordig to NU Sport, the Provincial Council in Groningen voted against allocating the requested €5.8 million to help fund the race.

In the wake of the vote, the Provincial Executive of Drenthe has refused to put forward its share of €5 million.

Approximately €16 million is required to put on the race, but the WK2020 foundation is still hopeful it can find the funds. However, a €5 million deposit is required prior to the bids being examined by the UCI Management Committee at its meeting in June.

"We are not giving up and are busy looking for another sponsor," says Renate Groenewold, spokesman for the World Cup organization. "We now have to try to get four or five million out of a sponsor and then we can move quickly."

Drenthe is up against Veneto, Italy in the race to host the 2020 Worlds, but the Italian organisation is also suffering from political and financial issues.

Van der Poel wins stage 1 at Boucles de la Mayenne

Showing no ill effects of the crash that forced him to abandon the Cross Country race earlier this week at the UCI MTB World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) took out stage 1 of the Boucles de la Mayenne on Friday in France.

In his first road race of 2018, Van der Poel was second in Thursday's 4.5km prologue time trial and then won the bunch sprint on Friday in Gorron. He now leads the overall classification in the four-day 2.1 race by 11 seconds over Groupama-FDJ's Romain Seigle.

Van der Poel was second in the Short Track race at the World Cup in Nove Mesto on May 27, briefly taking over the series lead from world champion Nino Schurter, but he was forced to abandon the Cross Country race when he crashed out of the lead group. 

Van der Poel's left arm was clearly bothering him after the crash as he slowly remounted and rode for one more lap before eventually dropping out. The resilient Dutchman, who won the cyclo-cross Superprestige Trophy this year, has shown no signs of any injury so far this week in France.

The Boucles de la Mayenne continues Saturday with a 172km stage between St Aignan De Couptrain and Pré en Pail St Samson, and it concludes Sunday with a 182km stage from Congrier to Laval.

Serghei Tvetcov wins stage, takes Tour de Korea lead

Serghei Tvetcov (UnitedHealthcare) took the stage 3 win and overall lead Friday at the Tour of Korea, riding away alone on the final climb with 7km to go in the 192km stage from Yeongju to Jeongseon and finishing 18 seconds ahead of runner-up Stepan Astafyev (Vino-Astana Motors) and third-placed Matteo Busato (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia).

Tvetcov, who finished third on the opening day, now leads the general classification by 28 seconds over Astafyev and 37 seconds over Busato with two stages remaining. Tvetcov started the day third overall, six seconds behind stage 1 winner Hyeong Min Choe (Geumsan Insam Cello) and five seconds behind Ben Perry (Israel Cycling Academy), whose teammate Mihkle Raim won the stage 2 bunch sprint.

"The plan today was 'going for yellow','' said UnitedHealthcare director Hendrik Redant. "So we made the race hard in the 40km before the climb to give Serghei Tvetcov the opportunity to attack on the last climb. The boys did a great job in covering lots of moves and closing the gap on a four-man break.

"Serghei felt very strong," Redant said. "He did a move on the climb and managed to get away from a five-man lead group with 7km to go. A perfect move, which led to the stage win and the yellow jersey. The plan worked 100 percent."

Tvetvoc thanked his teammates for the win.

"To be in yellow and win the race today feels very good," said the two-time Romanian time trial champion. "I couldn't have done this without my team, of course, and all thanks goes to them. I'm confident we have more great days ahead at Tour of Korea." 

The Tour de Korea continues Saturday with a 156km road race from Jeongseon to Chungju and concludes Sunday with a 65km flat circuit race in Seoul.

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