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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, September 5, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. - Dalai Lama

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Vuelta a España stage eleven news

Here's the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

The red jersey of Primoz Roglic was never in danger during the eleventh stage of the Vuelta a España. The race from Saint-Palais to Urdax Dantxarinea was won by the Basque Mikel Itturia, who was part of the day's 14-rider breakaway.

After lots of attacks, Team Jumbo-Visma allowed the 14 escapees a big advantage. The breakaway got a maximum advantage of 18 minutes, but none of the riders presented a danger to the red jersey of Roglic.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic remains the Vuelta's Red Jersey.

The leader of the Vuelta survived the stage easily. "It was a dangerous and fast start, but the team did a lot of good work. I am happy with the way that we raced. Everything was under the control of our team. We showed everyone how strong we are. Also, the boys who crashed during the first week are back on track. We have to be focussed and do our absolute best. Tomorrow will be another tricky day, with a short but steep finish. We will see how the race flows. I hope that I can keep the jersey until Madrid. I am feeling good."

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

Half of La Vuelta has been covered and today’s 11th stage brought the peloton back to Spain. The start was in France and took the riders over 180 kilometres back to Spain, to the finish in Urdax-Dantxarinea. With only three categorized climbs, one category two and two category three, and one intermediate sprint, it was again a stage for a breakaway.

As expected the attacks were launched right after the start and 14 riders were able to join the day’s break with an advantage over more than six minutes. BORA – hansgrohe remained in the pack and set the pace.

The race situation was unchanged for plenty of kilometres until three riders tried to go clear with 45 kilometres remaining.

The race had its showdown as one rider broke clear and was able to take the stage win with some seconds gap over the chasing group. All BORA – hansgrohe riders finished safely in the peloton. On the general classification there was no change with Rafał Majka still sitting seventh.

Mikle Itrurria

Mikel Iturria wins stage 11.

From the Finish Line:
“We knew today would be a day for the breakaway, and of course our plan was to be part of it and therefore we tried. Unfortunately as the final move went, we were involved in a small crash and following this, we missed the opportunity to be part of it. But we stayed together in the peloton with the leader's jersey and haven't lost any position on the GC. Tomorrow will be a different kind of stage.”– Patxi Vila, Sports Director

Annemiek van Vleuten retains race lead despite crashing in stage one of the Boels Ladies Tour

Van Vleuten's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

Race leader Annemiek van Vleuten remains top of the general classification despite crashing on the opening road stage of the Boels Ladies Tour.

The world time trial champion hit the deck when several riders came down in front of her and had to chase hard to make it back to the bunch. But the defending champion made it safely through the rest of the stage to retain her lead at the top of the standings heading into stage two.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten racing in this year's Giro Rosa.

It was a fast and dramatic start to the race as former Boels Ladies Tour stage winner Sarah Roy was caught in a crash and was forced to abandon the race inside the opening 30-kilometres. Despite several crashes, the pace didn’t relent and the bunch split into three groups, with a large group of 40-riders heading the race.

However, it was all back together after the first hour of racing apart from a handful of riders who were caught at the wrong side of a level crossing. After the early drama, the peloton seemed to settle down and as the stage reached the halfway point it was still all together.

But there was more misfortune for Mitchelton-SCOTT as race leader Van Vleuten hit the floor when she was unable to avoid several riders crashing in front of her. The prologue winner was quick to get going again and made it back to the bunch but opted to sit at the back of the field, out of trouble.

With a lull in the pace, Ashleigh Moolman (CCC-Liv) attacked as the first passage of the finish line approached. The South African quickly established a 30-seconds lead around the tricky finishing circuit before upping her advantage to over 45-seconds as she passed through the finish for the second time.

Former world champion Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) was caught between the bunch and the lone leader as she attempted to chase down Moolman, while Mitchelton-SCOTT sat tucked away in the peloton. Moolman was eventually caught as the bunch raced onto the final lap with local rider Moniek Tenniglo and Australian Amanda Spratt assisting with the chase.

The day looked set to end in a sprint finish, but with 1.6-kilometres to go Tenniglo jumped off the front through the twisty street on the run to the finish. But the Dutch rider couldn’t hold off the sprinters as she was caught inside the barriers, with Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) taking the win.

Annemiek van Vleuten:
“There were so many crashes today but if you have races like this when it’s not selective, everyone gets nervous, especially with a bit of wind today it was very nervous. I think for our team we can lose more on these kinds of stages, there’s not much to win without having a sprinter.”

“Roy had a crash, so hopefully she’s ok. There were so many more crashes and I found myself in one. Some riders crashed in front of me and I just went over the top of them, it was big pile-up, I couldn’t avoid it.

“I have a sore wrist, so I decided to just stay at the back of the peloton and get to the finish and Gracie (Elvin) was really good in helping me in the last four or five kilometres to get me safe to the finish.”

Martin Vestby (Sports Director):
“Sarah is ok, she hurt her knee a little bit and banged her head, so she wasn’t good enough to continue the race, but nothing serious. Annemiek is ok, she hurt her wrist a bit, but it shouldn’t be a big problem.”

“We looked at today to be a sprint finish and we would be supporting Roy, but with Roy out it opened it up for us to be a bit more aggressive in the final and Moniek took a good chance in the final kilometres. She was caught around 400-metres to go, but with a bit more luck she could have had it.”

“Hopefully tomorrow we can get a little bit more wind with longer crosswind sections that creates some harder racing. It was sort of hard and fast today, but hopefully tomorrow can be a bit less stressful than it was today.”

Boels Ladies Tour 2019 Stage 1 Results:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) 2:59:02
2. Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) ST
3. Letizia Paternoster (Trek-Segafredo) ST
16. Moniek Tenniglo (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Boels Ladies Tour 2019 General Classification:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3:04:06
2. Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) +0:03
3. Letizia Paternoster (Trek-Segafredo) +0:04

UAE Team Emirates take on Brussels Classic and GP Fourmies

The team sent me this:

Weekend race split in Belgium and France for UAE Team Emirates, beginning Saturday, September 7 with Brussels Cycling Classic (190.5 km) followed by Sunday, September 8th at the GP de Fourmies (205 km).

Director Sportif Allan Peiper (Aus) to guide seven riders:
– Matt Beers (RSA)
– Tom Bohli (Sui)
– Nicolas Della Valle (Ita)
– Roberto Ferrari (Ita)
– Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– Jasper Philipsen (Bel)

Alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff winning stage five of this year's Tour of Norway.

Kristoff goes in with good ambitions: “At the Deutschland Tour I felt good, even in the toughest parts. They are very interesting signs for me ahead of the season finale and the world championships.

For the Brussels Classic and GP Fourmies, I will try to be in the thick of the action, aiming for good results. The team will be competitive, with a good group of riders to prepare for the sprint “.

Chris Lawless signs two-year contract with Team INEOS

The team sent me this release:

Chris Lawless’ reward for a fine season which saw him clinch Team INEOS’ first-ever victory has arrived in the shape of a new two-year contract.

The 23 year old, who memorably triumphed in the team’s first race under new ownership at the Tour de Yorkshire in May, has agreed a contract extension until the end of 2021.

Chris Lawless

Chris Lawless wins stage three of the 2019 Coppi-Bartali race.

The British rider believes that victory on home roads just days after the team’s launch in Yorkshire helped paved the way to securing a new deal, commenting: “Obviously after the Tour de Yorkshire, the team were happy with me and it’s nice that they have put their faith in me for another two years.

“I think the win in Yorkshire showed what I am capable of. Of course, it was our first race as Team INEOS and all eyes were on the team, so it was a massive boost to win the race. I look back on that race with really fond memories.”

Lawless, who joined the team in 2018, said he will now use that victory as motivation with the aim of going on to achieve even better things over the next two years, pinpointing the Classics as an ongoing key area of focus, as well as highlighting his dream of riding a Grand Tour in the not too distant future.

“I just want to carry on trying to win bike races and see where that takes me,” he said. “I stepped up quite a bit in the Classics this year and I want to continue to do that again over the next two years – to go further in those races and maybe challenge in some of the smaller Classics too.

“I also really want to put myself in the frame to ride a Grand Tour over the next few years. It’s not easy to get selected to ride one of the three big races of the year, because the depth of talent we have in this team is incredible, but that’s got to be one of my aims.”

The Wigan-born rider believes young British riders are enjoying a ‘really positive period’ at the moment, and he is excited to see what he and his fellow Brits can achieve in the years to come.

“It feels like this is a really positive period for young British riders – not just on this team, but for British cycling in general,” he said.

“There’s a really strong group of young riders and I’m personally excited about seeing what we can all achieve over the next few years – and obviously I want to play a big part in that myself.”

Team INEOS coach, Conor Taylor, said: “Chris’ win at the Tour of Yorkshire was the biggest of his career to date and it highlighted his potential to build on this and win many more races with us in the future.

“We have also seen a step up in his Classics performances this season and his versatility as a rider. We believe he can play a key supporting role for our leaders in the coming seasons.

“This contract extension underpins the team's faith in him and the progression he has made over the last year. We believe he is in the right environment to help support his development and achieve his ambitions in professional cycling.”

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