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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, May 20, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. - Rudyard Kipling

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage nine team reports

We posted the organizer's & stage winner Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Here's the report from second-placed Victor Campenaerts' Lotto-Soudal team:

Victor Campenaerts finished second today in the over 34 kilometres long hilly time trial between Riccione and San Marino. Despite a bike change at the very end, Campenaerts set – with an impressive time of 52’03” - an early mark. For a long time, no one was able to beat the time of the European champion against the clock. Only the Slovenian Primoz Roglič – who, just like the other general classification contenders needed to ride his time trial in soaking wet conditions – was faster than Campenaerts, he won with a time of 51’52”. A strong Thomas De Gendt finished eighteenth, Valerio Conti held on to the pink leader’s jersey.

Victor Campenaerts

Vitcor Campenaerts on his second-place ride. Sirotti photo

Victor Campenaerts: “Beforehand, I said that this time trial did not suit me perfectly and that winning wasn’t possible but as a time trialist, you are obliged to optimally prepare for a test against the clock and to go full gas. During the second Giro time trial last year, I was constantly fighting myself but today I immediately felt that I had good legs.”

“The plan was to ride just below threshold until the climb and then ride above threshold; a strategy similar to the one I used during the world championships in Innsbruck. As a time trialist, it is very frustrating when you get a mechanical. Eventually, it was good that - like we had agreed - the mechanic opted for the road bike. We did agree beforehand - if I would have a mechanical on the climb - we would change to the road bike. The change did not go fluently and due to the adrenaline, I was a bit frustrated after the finish. Then, I thought that there would still be five to ten general classification riders who would improve my time, but one after another, they didn’t succeed.”

“I had mixed feelings then. If I would have won, the bike change would have been immediately forgotten. If not, I would be cursing. Unfortunately, it became the latter. Eventually, I lose the time trial with eleven seconds, so without that mechanical it would have been a victory. But those are the hard laws of the top-level sport and I have to live with that. I don’t blame anyone. The final time trial should suit me even better. I hope to survive the mountains without too many troubles and energy losses to battle for victory in Verona.”

The final stage win in the 4 Jours de Dunkerque was decided in a bunch sprint. The Dutchman Mike Teunissen - who started the final day as the leader - brought Jumbo-Visma a fifth stage win. Lotto Soudal rider Enzo Wouters sprinted to sixth place. Jens Keukeleire completed the top ten and secured his third place in the general classification.

GC leader Valerio Conti's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this report:

UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti will remain in the Pink Jersey at the Giro d’Italia, taking it into the first rest day.

Today’s stage, a 33.4km Individual Time Trial (ITT) saw Conti finish with a time of 55:26, in what were difficult conditions for all riders. The Italian finished 3’34” behind the stage winner, Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma), who climbed to second place in the General Classification (GC) standings and closes the time gap to Conti, which now sits at 1’50”.

Valerio Conti

Valerio Conti had a wet ride. Sirotti photo

There were also positive individual performances from UAE Team Emirates’ Jan Polanc (1’55”) and Diego Ulissi (2’08”) – who finished the stage 12th and 15th respectively, and both climbing in the GC standings.

Commenting on the stage, Valerio Conti said: “As planned, I did not take any risks, especially with this unbelievably bad weather. I raced the entire time trial in the pouring rain. It was hard to see, I tried to keep focus and to push hard on the climb. My goal was to retain the pink jersey and I achieved it; I made that promise to my teammates. We will spend the rest day in pink, which is great”.

Riders will now take a day to rest, before hopping back on their bikes for Stage 10 on Tuesday morning. The 145km route is almost completely flat and a bunched sprint finish is the most likely outcome.

And Rafal Majka's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this update:

The 34.8 km-long ninth stage from Riccione, on the Adriatic coast, to the small state of San Marino, brought with it the second individual time trial of the Giro d’Italia. Initially the route ran along the coast before the riders reached the border to San Marino. After 22km came a climb with an average slope of 4.5 per cent, in one section of even 11 per cent. After a short descent, the course climbed again in the last two kilometres, before reaching the finish line in San Marino.

At around midday the first rider took to the start of the individual time trial and set a bench mark of 59:36 minutes for the riders to come. Shortly after his arrival at the finish, it began to rain heavily and the riders had to contend with a more difficult road surface.

The first BORA - hansgrohe rider to roll out of the start house was Cesare Benedetti who started the race against the clock 40 minutes later and completed the course in 58:50, followed by teammates Rudi Selig and Michael Schwarzmann. At this time, the European time trial champion V. Campernaerts had set a new best time of 52:03. Pascal Ackermann, the leader of the points classification, started his race shortly afterwards and took 58:39 minutes to complete the course, setting the the best performance of any BORA-hansgrohe rider yet. Pawel Poljanski subsequently reached the finish line in 59:00 minutes while Jay McCarthy arrived in 56:50 minutes.

Rafal Majka and Davide Formolo, who were both placed in the top-20 in the General Classification, started as some of the last riders in the field. The Polish BORA - hansgrohe rider needed 53:56 minutes to complete the time trial while his Italian teammate took 54:44 minutes to arrive at the finish. At the end of the day, P. Roglic won the race against the clock with a time of 51:52 minutes, with Rafal taking 14th place was the best rider of the squad from Raubling.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka hammering through the rain. Sirotti photo

After his ride today he now sits in 18th position In the general classification while Davide is placed 17th, with the mountains still to come in this year's race. 

From the finish line:
"On the wet and slippery roads I did not want to take many risks, particularly in the curves, and there were a lot of corners today. I was riding the whole time in the rain and I started with full rain as well, and this was certainly not an ideal situation. But all in all I am still satisfied with my result."
- Rafal Majka

“After the first nine stages, our tally at the Giro d’Italia has been outstanding, with two stage wins, three third places and seven days in the points jersey. Our two GC riders had to take on today’s time trial in very difficult weather, which were, with 11 degrees and pouring rain, very unfavourable. Despite that, Davide and Rafal put in a solid performance and are in a good position for the upcoming mountain stages.”
- Jens Zemke, Sports Director

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