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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 4, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars. - Walt Whitman

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Vuelta a España stage 15 team reports

Stage 15 winner Miguel Angel Lopez's Astana team posted this:

The 15th stage of La Vuelta 2017 offered a great show all around the mountain of Sierra Nevada, in Andalucia. The great protagonist of this incredible stage has been our Miguel Angel Lopez, who won this way his second stage in this Vuelta and, one week to end of race and with so many climb to be done, looked like to strongest climber in the bunch.

Lopez won the stage and recovered four positions in the GC where he is now 6th at 2:51. Fabio Aru concluded the stage in 11th position and now in the GC he is 7th at 3:24.

Even Pello Bilbao ended the stage in the front positions with a 10th place. In the Teams Classification the Astana Pro Team reinforced the leadership and now we have 12:38 on the second.

“It has been incredible – said Lopez after the stage – I’ve followed Contador when he attacked at more than 20 km to go and I couldn’t know if it was too early to go but my legs were ok so I said to myself ‘let’s try!’ it went well…”.

“I have to thank all my team mates because I think we have ridden very well as a Team” continued Lopez.

Miguel Angel Lopez

Miguel Angel Lopez wins Vuelta stage fifteen.

Fabio Aru commented this way his stage: “We did the race for Miguel and I’m happy he was won, congrats to him!. It was another tough day, for sure I’m not at my 100% of the condition, but I keep fighting even because this is the first time in my career I’m racing in two grand tour consequently and, at least, this would be a very important experience for me even if it’s not easy: I’m taking confidence with this and I’m satisfied the way I’m managing myself.”

After the stage, even the sport director, Bruno Cenghialta, has spoken to the media: “We knew that Miguel Angel prepared very well the Vuelta but Fabio Aru is and remain our captain in this race”

“On the other hand, Lopez in this moment is probably the best climber of the race so why don’t try to win the stages? – continued the Italian sport director – Fabio is really strong but we have to say that he did a great Dauphine in June, he was at 100% at the Tour de France and now he is still fighting here at the Vuelta, we cannot ask him to be at 100% for the entire year.”

Tomorrow, second and last rest day of La Vuelta 2017, the riders will fly tonight to the North of Spain. Tuesday the race will restart with one the crucial day: the individual time trial Circuito de Navarra – Logrono, 40.2 km with some hills.

Ilnur Zakarin was second. His Katusha-Alpecin team posted this update:

A well-calculated surge of speed in the closing kilometers gave Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’S Ilnur Zakarin a second-place position on Sunday’s stage 15, but more importantly earned Zakarin a podium position in the general classification. Zakarin now holds third place in the 72nd Vuelta a España with one week of racing still to go.

“I am happy and I feel good, but I am so tired. A late attack was the best thing to do. It made no sense to attack Froome on the earlier Alto de Hazallanas as we all still felt the long, hard and windy stage of yesterday. The timing of my attack was perfect in my opinion. I know that climb and I know how dangerous the altitude can be. In the end it proved to be a good move,” said team captain Ilnur Zakarin.

“We are very happy. We were waiting for the last moment to attack because of the headwind. Once we saw that (leader) Chris Froome had only one rider with him, I asked Ilnur if he could attack in the last 3 kilometers and he did it, in a very good way. He got time on his competition for the podium. Kelderman was strong in his response, but Zakarin was stronger,” said sports director Dmitry Konyshev.

Ilnur Zakarin

Ilnur Zakarin finishes just a little after Lopez.

Attentive riding from Zakarin gave the Russian rider good timing to attack late in the race to take second on the stage and jump up to third place, despite a valiant effort from Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) to close the gap; he took third and dropped to fourth on the GC. A solo win by 36-seconds was earned by Miguel Ángel López of Astana on the 129k route from Alcala La Real to Sierra Nevada (Alto Hoya de la Mora), a move that originated when the Colombian rider responded to an early attack from Alberto Contador of Trek Segafredo.

The race lead still belongs to Chris Froome of Team Sky at 61-seconds ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team). Zakarin is third at +2.08. Two weeks of solid and steadily-improving riding put Zakarin in full control of his destiny for the final week of the last grand tour of the season.

“Now I am 3rd overall. Of course I will try to keep this until the end. In the 3rd week normally I feel even better but there are still hard stages to come. The third week can change a lot, but I will be very happy if I can start as 3rd in GC after the TT of Tuesday,” concluded Zakarin.

Monday brings the second and final rest day in the 2017 Vuelta a España with stage 16 on Tuesday a long individual time trial. At 40.2km, the course begins with Circuito de Navarra and ends in Logroño as the race moves to the northern end of Spain.

Caleb Ewan wins Tour of Britain Stage One

Ewan's Orica-Scott team sent me this report:

Giro d’Italia stage winner Caleb Ewan has kicked off the 2017 OVO Tour of Britain in style, taking a very close sprint victory after a fantastic ORICA-SCOTT lead-out.

The 23-year-old launched out from the wheel of Slovenian champion Luka Mezgec in the final few hundred metres and battled across the bumpy cobbles to steal the sprint victory in a photo finish and move into the overall race lead.

“We came through the finish line during the race so I got to look at the road surface and I knew it was going to be a pretty bumpy sprint,” Ewan said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to go down into my normal low sprinting position and I had to stay a bit more upright.”

“It was a tough day, it was really windy and some teams were trying to split it. It is great to take the win after our team controlled the race really well all day. As soon as the breakaway went the guys went up to the front and they basically controlled the race, almost from the start to finish, so hats off to them."

Caleb Ewen

Caleb Ewan (left) wins the Tour of Britain's first stage.

How it happened:

The riders assembled at the start line in Edinburgh ready for the first 190kilometre stage. The day began with a breakaway of eight-riders forming within the first 20kilometres.

The leaders quickly established a gap of two and a half minutes as ORICA-SCOTT and Team Sky sat at the head of the peloton controlling the distance.

With 58kilometres remaining, the peloton turned into a crosswind, the pace lifted and the main bunch fragmented. Eventually, the groups all returned back together again and six of the original breakaway riders were quickly swept up after the surge in pace, leaving just two riders one minute ahead.

With 24kilometres to go the leading duo were finally swallowed up and the sprint teams aligned at the front of the peloton ready for a fast finish.

ORICA-SCOTT led the way in the final kilometres, allowing Ewan a clear run to the finish line. He battled neck and neck all the way to the line and after a extremely close photo finish, Ewan was confirmed the stage winner for stage one in Kelso.


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