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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, February 6, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. - Immanuel Kant

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Etoile de Bessèges stage one team reports

We posted the report from winner Alexys Brunel's Groupama-FDJ team with the results.

Here's the post from second-place Benoit Cosnefroy's Ag2r team:

Benoit Cosnefroy: "I had Clément Venturini with me in the final, and we had to make some decisions. We couldn't follow Alexys when he went. But I thought I would try to make the difference in the final climb and catch back up to him, but that was not possible. I really thank my team after such a day. Echelons like that are not my favorite exercise, and without my team, I could not have finished in second place today. They saved me quite a few times. It’s definitely this kind of day that we especially see the importance of a strong team. The hardest part of the race is yet to come, and it’s always better to be ahead of the game after a crazy stage like this one today.”

Alexys Brunel wins stage one.

Alexys Brunel wins stage one. Sirotti photo

THE NUMBER: 10
For his first race wearing the AG2R LA MONDIALE jersey, Lawrence Naesen took 10th place in the first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

THE NEWS: Cosnefroy on fire
Having won the Grand Prix de la Marseillaise on Sunday, Benoît Cosnefroy has earned a victory and a second place in his first two days of racing this season.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage one team reports

We posted the report from winner Dylan Groenewegen's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Second-place Fabio Jakobsen's Deceuninck-Quick Step team posted this report:

Created in 1929, when Spain’s Santiago Cardona surged to overall victory, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana rolled out Wednesday with a 180km-long stage between Castellon and Vila-Real, one of the towns which have featured on the race also at the inaugural edition. It was a quiet and uneventful day up until the last kilometers, when lead-out trains began jostling for position at the front, on the technical run-in to the finish, which included several roundabouts.

First race of the season on European soil for Deceuninck – Quick-Step had our team in the spotlight from the very outset, Tim Declercq and Stijn Steels puting in an outstanding amount of work behind the four riders who animated the stage, keeping the gap in check and bringing them back with ten kilometers to go. Rémi Cavagna and Yves Lampaert then stepped in, controlling the finale, before Davide Ballerini decided to wound up the speed for Fabio Jakobsen on the finishing straight.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen wins the first stage.

Launched by the Italian at 200 meters to go, the 23-year-old Dutch Champion delivered a strong sprint in his first outing of the season, being just pipped on the line by countryman Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and narrowly missing out on what would have been his 15th pro win. Despite this, Fabio still took to the podium, where he donned the best young rider’s jersey, which he’ll display on stage 2, when a shake-up of the general classification is expected.

And here's what third-place Alexander Kristoff's UAE-Team Emirates had to say about the day's racing:

On the first day of racing under the Spanish sun it was a fast and technical finale for the riders.

Jan Polanc made a move off the front inside 4km to go forcing the pace to rise and lining out the peloton.

Kristoff latched on to the wheel of Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck Quick Step) coming into the line though it would be the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen who would take the stage with a throw a bike in the dying metres.

Stage 2 tomorrow from Torrent to Cullera (181k) will be a different story and will see the climbers come into play as the race finishes with the last 2km at an average of 8%.

Kristoff : “It was a hectic final with lots of roundabouts on the run-in. For the sprint I did a good job and was able to get in a good position, maybe even the best position. I got a bit boxed in with 600m to go and was stuck on the wheel of Jakobsen. Third is a good result today and marks a good start to the season. I felt good which is important and will look for chances again this week. I would like to get my first victory of the season sooner rather than later.”

Here's the report from Team Astana:

With the first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (Castelló – Vila-Real, 180 km) Astana Pro Team has opened its 2020 European season. The stage ended with a massive sprint, won by the Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen. All Astana Pro Team riders, including the defending champion Ion Izagirre, finished safety in the main group.

- We are happy to be here in Valencia. We don’t have a sprinter in our roster, so we did not plan something special for this stage. The main goal was to do a good start without any troubles and to see our feelings in the peloton since this is the first race for almost all guys from this team. So, everything went good and now we are looking forward to the next days. Tomorrow is the stage, where we could do something nice and we will try to show ourselves, - said Bruno Cenghialta, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

Stage 2 of the race will be held tomorrow: the peloton will face 181 km from Torrent to Cullera with a short but steep climb in the final (2 km, 8%).

Team Movistar posted this update:

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (TJV) claimed the day’s honours at the opening stage of the 2020 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, a flat 180km course from Castellón to Vila-real with several technical sections near the end and an inevitable bunch sprint at the final straight.

Fabio Jakobsen (DQT) and Alexander Kristoff (UAD) completed the podium of a stage which the Movistar Team covered with no setbacks and good order. The work by Arcas, Rojas, Samitier, Villella and Cataldo all day helped Alejandro Valverde and Marc Soler, the Blues’ main GC threats for the week, to finish inside the main group.

The squad conducted in Spain by Chente García Acosta and Patxi Vila -first race as the Blues’ DS for the Navarran- will tackle the first of two key GC stages on Thursday. A demanding start through the hills of the interior of Valencia and a final 2km at 9% average in the mountain over the coastal city of Cullera will set some early gaps preluding Saturday’s Queen stage atop Altea / Sierra Bernia.

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