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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, October 22, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause. - Victor Hugo

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Gianni Moscon wins Tour of Guangxi

Here's the report from Gianni Moscon's Team Sky:

Gianni Moscon ensured Team Sky ended the season atop the podium as he won his first World Tour race at the Tour of Guangxi. Moscon won the race by nine seconds overall following a strong team performance on stage six to protect the leader’s jersey in difficult conditions in Guilin.

Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors) took the stage win following a bunch sprint, which saw Moscon finish in the top 20 to ensure he held onto is lead to win the race overall.

Earlier on, a breakaway of six had a strong lead of 3’20” until the two categorised climbs towards the end of the stage which saw their lead start to dwindle with around 35 kilometres to go.

It was at this point that the dangerous Andriy Grivko (Astana), just 30 seconds behind Moscon on GC, attacked from the bunch and attempted to bridge to the escapees. However, Team Sky worked well on the first climb to nullify his threat and bring him back to the field.

And as the end of the final stage of the WorldTour season approached, the sprint teams came to the fore to shut down the breakaway and setup the bunch sprint.

Gianni Moscon

Gainni Moscon ealier this year. Sirotti photo

Final overall standings:
1. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) 20:39:56
2. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +9"
3. Sergei Chernetski (Astana) +14"
4. Remi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors) +17"
5. Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-Scott) +21"

Here's the report from stage winner Fabio Jakobsen's Quick Step team:

Fabio Jakobsen takes our team's 73rd win of 2018, wrapping up the points classification at the Tour of Guangxi.

What a way to round off a superb year for Quick-Step Floors! The Tour of Guangxi was the season's 37th and final World Tour event and our squad made sure off going out with a bang, after Fabio Jakobsen capped off the perfect job of his teammates and blasted through the rain to a clear victory in Guilin, where the second edition of the Asian race concluded.

"It's been an amazing season for me and the greatest year in the history of Quick-Step Floors, so to put an end to it like that gives me huge joy! If you win as a neo-pro seven times, you have to be happy, and I am delighted with how things went this season. These results only motivate me even more for 2019, when I hope to continue my development, become faster and get more victories for the team", said Fabio, whose roll of achievements since turning pro includes also Scheldeprijs and a stage at the BinckBank Tour.

On Sunday, after Rémi Cavagna's early attempt to go clear was thwarted by the peloton, Quick-Step Floors moved to the front of the peloton and controlled the six-man group which eventually broke away after 30 kilometers, clawing back time on the hilly part of stage 6 and drawing closer to the escapees, before mopping them up inside the final ten kilometers.

Already a stage winner at the race, Fabio Jakobsen was once again put in a perfect slot by Davide Martinelli when it came down to crunch time and delivered another fine sprint to see off the challenge of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) and take a victory that sealed his triumph in the points classification, which Quick-Step Floors won for the second consecutive year at the Tour of Guangxi.

"The stage wasn't easy, with the rain and the two climbs we had in the last 50 kilometers, but the guys were always by my side, while making sure they reel in the escapees before the closing kilometers, where the speed was really high", said 22-year-old Fabio. "I had Philippe and Davide with me, who did a great lead-out, leaving me on the wheel of Pascal with 300 meters to go. I just did my sprint and I am happy for having managed to notch up not only the win, but also the points classification, as this marks my first jersey at World Tour level."

Besides taking the 2018 tally to a monumental 73 UCI victories, Quick-Step Floors also placed two riders in the top 10 overall at the Tour of Guangxi – second-year pro Rémi Cavagna and Dries Devenyns – who concluded the race in fourth and ninth, respectively.

Simon Yates and Annemiek van Vleuten finish season at top of World Tour

Here's the release from their Mitchelton-Scott team:

Mitchelton-SCOTT riders Simon Yates and Annemiek van Vleuten have finished successful seasons as the top men’s and women’s WorldTour riders for 2018.

The duo, who won Mitchelton-SCOTT’s first Grand Tours this season - Van Vleuten the Giro Rosa and Yates the Vuelta a Espana - along with 16 other WorldTour victories between them, were awarded as the Individual UCI WorldTour Classification Winners at the UCI Gala Dinner in China today.

Van Vleuten also claimed the general UCI world number one ranking, whilst Yates finished second behind world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).

Annemiek van Vleuten:
In a season boasting a total of 13 wins and 32 top-ten finishes in 45 race days, it’s hard to pick apart a year with so many highlights.

After working for her teammates throughout the Australian season, podium places at the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege and fourth at La Fleche Wallonne, Van Vleuten set her sights on the Giro Rosa – the target of a two-year plan with team director Gene Bates.

After a momentary lapse of concentration cost her the win in 2017, Van Vleuten started the only women’s Grand Tour with the target of ‘favourite’ on her back, but withheld the pressure to claim three stage victories on her way to a historic first Grand Tour victory for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

The 36-year-old backed the result up with a stunningly ambitious victory on the line at Le Course by Le Tour de France, once again capturing the attention of the world for her tenacious heart, before also winning the Veenendaal Classic and three stages plus the overall at the Boels Ladies Tour.

Back-to-back world time trial championships, by a winning margin of 30seconds, showed her class before a seventh place in the road race championships despite a fractured knee sustained in a crash early in the race perfectly demonstrated her spirit.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Van Vleuten at the 2017 Giro Rosa

Van Vleuten:
"I always want to win, I am very proud of my results this year winning the Giro-Rosa, La Course, the Boels Ladies Tour and winning the WorldTour is nice because you show you have had super good results all year round. I have very proud of my achievements and to win the time trial at the world championships again but I was actually a bit surprised to still be number one ranked rider after not being at the top level in the road race after the crash.

"It makes me proud to be number one ranked rider because before I always had a teammate Marianne Vos and she was always number one and so it is nice to see your name at the top of the list for both ranked number one and the WorldTour and I think for the team it is important."

Van Vleuten – 2018 WorldTour Victories:
- Emakumeen XXXI Bira – Stage 2 (TT)
- Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile – Stage 7 (TT)
- Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile – Stage 9
- Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile – Stage 10
- Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile – General Classification
- La Course by Le Tour de France
- Boels Ladies Tour – Prologue
- Boels Ladies Tour – Stage 2
- Boels Ladies Tour – Stage 6 (TT)
- Boels Ladies Tour – General Classification

Simon Yates:
A different season plan and debut at the Giro d’Italia seemed to bode well for Yates in 2018.

After stage wins and second and fourth overall at Paris-Nice and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in the lead up, the 26-year-old was primed for the first Grand Tour of the season and an aggressive approach by the Briton and his Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates saw him win three stages during a 13-day stint in the Maglia Rosa jersey.

Back in action after a rest period, Yates finished second at Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika before claiming another stage and second overall at the Tour de Pologne.

Despite a more ‘conservative’ approach for his second Grand Tour of the season, La Vuelta a Espana, Yates still managed to take a stage victory and spend 10 days in the jersey – all on the way to claiming his first Grand Tour general classification victory and the first for an Australian men’s team.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates at the end of the 2018 Vuelta

“After a week or so off the bike to reflect, it’s been an amazing year and one I will always remember.  The results have been special but also results that I feel I have been working towards and getting closer to every year since becoming a professional and to finish at the top of the WorldTour rankings just tops it off.

“Of course, the Vuelta is the highlight as my first Grand Tour victory, and how we pulled together as a team to get everything right for that month of racing was incredible. But, despite the disappointment in the final days, I also look back at the Giro with a lot of pride of how we raced and what we achieved there.

“I like to race on my instinct, I think that’s what works best for me and what fans want to see, and I hope that I continue to do so and achieve more big results in the coming years.”

Yates – 2018 WorldTour Victories:
- Paris-Nice – Stage 7
- Volta Ciclista a Catalunya – Stage 7
- Giro d’Italia – Stage 9
- Giro d’Italia – Stage 11
- Giro d’Italia – Stage 15
- Tour de Pologne – Stage 7
- Vuelta a Espana – Stage 14
- Vuelta a Espana – General Classification

Tony Martin moves to LottoNL-Jumbo

LottoNL-Jumbo sent me this:

Tony Martin will switch to Team LottoNL-Jumbo next season. Being a part of the Dutch team of manager Richard Plugge, the four-time world champion time trial is convinced he’s in the best environment to excel again in the races against the clock. Especially in team time trials Team LottoNL-Jumbo expect him to do well. In addition, the 33-year-old German gets an important supporting role.

“Tony was the missing link. He brings in a boatload of experience and he’s a professional in every way. He can be of great value in the support of our leaders. His signing is a confirmation of the development we’ve been through in recent years”, Plugge believes.

Tony Martin

Tony Martin in 2017. Sirotti photo

Martin has signed a two-year deal with the Dutch squad. “I’m looking forward to join Team LottoNL-Jumbo. I share their philosophy”, Martin says. “The riders are a unity and the staff work on every detail to support them. Especially their approach of time trials is appealing to me. It’s known that the team put a lot of efforts in that direction. My ambition is to become a prominent team player by supporting the leaders and being successful in the time trials.”

Previously, it has been announced that Mike Teunissen, Taco van der Hoorn, Lennard Hofstede, Laurens De Plus and Jonas Vingegaard will make the switch to Team LottoNL-Jumbo. Gijs Van Hoecke, Robert Wagner, Enrico Battaglin, Lars Boom and Bram Tankink are leaving the team.

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