Froome encounters obstacle in Tour de France preparations
Chris Froome's return to earth after a record-equaling third Critérium du Dauphiné victory was swift with the Team Sky rider finding the road to Morzine under construction and un-ridable on a reconnaissance mission ahead of the Tour de France next month.
Froome was accompanied by several of his teammates for the Tour, who were forced to carry their bikes through the construction site instead of climbing the Col de Joux Plane. Froome has been training with Mikel Nieve, Wout Poels and Mikel Landa who are expected to support Froome in his bid for a third Tour title this July.
A new retaining wall and tarmac is being laid in time for the penultimate stage of the 2016 Tour from Megève to Morzine after heavy rains in May lead to a landslide that damaged the road.
The Tour last visited Morzine in 2010 when stage 8 finished above the town at the high-mountain ski resort of Avoriaz. In recent years, it also hosted stage finishes in 2006 and 2003.
Groenewegen set for Tour de France debut
Dylan Groenewegen is set to be rewarded for his strong first half of the season with a debut ride at the Tour de France, as De Telegraaf report that the 23-year-old has received the call-up from LottoNL-Jumbo.
The Dutch newspaper say Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants will also be part of the team and will form part of Groenwegen's leadout train for the sprint stages. The Dutchman has had a hugely encouraging start to life at WorldTour level - having been signed from Roompot - winning on five occasions, including his first bunch sprint of the season at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
Away from the sprints, Lotto were set to split GC responsibilities between Wilco Kelderman and Robert Gesink, though there is a doubt over the latter after he suffered a head injury at the Tour de Suisse.
"Today I talked to him and Robert told me that he had no more headaches. I think that's a good sign, '' said sports director Nico Verhoeven.
IAM pull Frank from Tour de Suisse
IAM Cycling have decided to pull Mathias Frank out of the Tour de Suisse as he continues to battle with illness. With the Tour de France fast approaching, the Swiss team wanted to err on the side of caution and allow the Swiss rider to fully recover from "a mix of bronchitis and a sinus infection" that he picked up at the Tour de Luxembourg.
Frank struggled as the Tour de Suisse hit the mountains on Wednesday, losing over a minute to the main GC favourites on the summit finish at Cari, with the team saying he was "still weak from the illness" and "in oxygen debt as soon as the pace accelerated" a few kilometres from the line.
"The sports management for IAM Cycling, headed by Rik Verbrugghe, concerned primarily with their athlete’s health, but also giving priority to Frank’s main goal of the season, the Tour de France, preferred to stop Frank from continuing the race rather than risk seeing his condition deteriorate," read a statement from the Swiss team. They also pointed out they pulled Frank from the Dauphiné in similar circumstances last year, allowing the rider to go on and finish eighth at the Tour.
Jarlinson Pantano is now IAM's best-placed rider at the Tour de Suisse, lying 10th overall.
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