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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, July 27, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

There is no greater harm than that of time wasted. - Michelangelo

Important upcoming racing, according to the UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Wout Van Aert to ride Strade Bianche, Dylan Groenewegen in Heistse Pijl

Team Jumbo-Visma sent me this:

The adjusted classic season will start on Saturday 1 August with Strade Bianche. On the same day, Heistse Pijl is on the program in Belgium.

Wout van Aert is part of the line-up for Strade Bianche. The Belgium rider is happy he can pin the bib numbers again. “Since the beginning of June, I’ve worked specifically towards the restart of the season. So for me, it can start again”, he said. “During the training camp in Tignes, we’ve put the finishing touches. My goal is to ride well immediately and to keep this as long as possible. Strade Bianche is a very nice race to start with. In the past, I rode good races after a training period, so that’s what I’m hoping for. After two podium places, I’m aiming for a top result again.”

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert wins stage 10 of the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

In the Italian World Tour race, a big part of the classics team will start, for example Mike Teunissen and Amund Jansen. “They are all strong men. That’s why I think that not only I should be ambitious, but also riders like Mike and Amund. We will do everything to get a good result”, Van Aert, who became third last year, said.

Line-up Strade Bianche (01/08)

Heistse Pijl
In Heistse Pijl, we’ll start with a mix of World Tour and Development Team riders. Sports director Sierk Jan de Haan: “After a good training camp and a long break because of the coronavirus, we’re happy we can race again. The course has ten local laps of sixteen kilometres. After the finish line, it goes slightly uphill for 600 metres. During this race, we have to be focused all the time.”

Line-up Heiste Pijl (01/08)

Annemiek van Vleuten makes it a hat-trick of victories in Northern Spain

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

World champion Annemiek van Vleuten was too good once again, claiming her third-consecutive victory in four days, with a solo win at Durango-Durango this afternoon.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten in pink, racing in the 2019 Giro Rosa.

However, the win didn’t come easily for the 37-year-old with her Dutch rival, Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), hot in pursuit during the final 10kilometres, hovering just 10seconds adrift.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider gave it everything to keep her compatriot at bay, crossing the line to make it a straight run of four-from-four wins in the rainbow jersey so far this season.

Fast first hour
The peloton was clearly keen to begin racing, completing the first hour with a fast average speed of 42.6kilometres. Various riders tried to break away, but the pace proved to be too hard and they were almost immediately brought back.

Mitchelton-SCOTT remained active towards the front of the bunch throughout the first, fairly flat 70kilometres, which subsequently saw Amanda Spratt and Moniek Tenniglo claiming points in intermediate sprints along the road.

Climbs shake up the bunch
On the approach to the penultimate climb, Goiuria Gaina, Mavi Garcia (Ale-BTC Ljubljana) attacked and opened up a small advantage which saw the peloton string out as the road headed north.

Up and over the top of the climb, a select group of 15riders formed, catching Garcia just before the summit with Van Vleuten taking maximum points on the mountain prime.

The final battle
In her signature style, Van Vleuten left the front group and went for it solo. Quick to respond, Van der Breggen was rapidly on her tail, dangling between 10 and 20seconds behind as Van Vleuten crested the final ascent.

It was touch and go as to whether the world champion could hold off the Olympic champion, making for an exhilarating finale, with Van Vleuten doing just enough to hold off the fierce chase and add another victory to her extending list of palmares.

The victory today makes it a second-consecutive victory for the Mitchelton-SCOTT in the event, after Lucy Kennedy claimed a solo victory in 2019, and wraps up a successful return to racing for the women’s team in Spain.

Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I cannot remember winning four-races in a row, actually five, because the world championships started it.

“I don’t want to be arrogant; it is unbelievable for me to win these three races; I cannot have believed this would have happened.

“I have to say Friday was the biggest surprise but today I knew the final so I knew if it stayed together then it would be good for me. It was a super steep climb which I know really well.

“Going into the final the team did a super good job with Moniek and Georgia (Williams) all the time controlling the bunch and that really helped me, so I didn’t have to-do any effort before the climb. Also, a big shout out to Amanda Spratt today, she was always offensive always there and it is always nice to see her there and we can go to Strade Bianche now with confidence.

“I attacked at the start with the first steep part of the final climb and then Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) surprised me with a really, really big attack, but actually I could follow her, then she blew half-way up the steep climb, so I could take over and go my own speed to the top.

“Anna (Van der Breggen) was just behind me between 10 and 15 seconds so I had to go full gas on the descent. I had a bit of a flashback to La Course and last year in the Giro, so it was a really interesting fight between Anna and me. I could not relax on the descent or really enjoy it, but it was a beautiful final.

“To win every race in the jersey; for sure I cannot keep this record but for now it is nice. At first, they wanted to interview me about the curse of the rainbow jersey, but I am really happy I don’t have that curse."

Durango-Durango Results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2:51:17
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) +0:18
3. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) +1:05

Pascal Ackermann and Gregor Mühlberger double up on stage wins while Mühlberger also takes Final GC at Sibiu Tour

Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

The final day of the Sibiu Cycling Tour saw two stages. An ITT with a hard, steady uphill finish, and another sprint stage. The time trial was dominated by Gregor Mühlberger who topped the timetables from the beginning. Overall leader Patrick Konrad pushed hard to defend his yellow jersey, but Mühlberger was outstanding today. He finished the 12-kilometre-long race against the clock with a time of 26:11 over a minute ahead of M. Badilatti, while Patrick Konrad took third. With this impressive effort Gregor also took over the overall race lead from his teammate.

Gregor Muhlberger

Gregor Mühlberger at the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

While the GC remained unchanged in the evening, it was still another battle for the stage win. On a slightly undulated parcours all came down to another bunch sprint on an cobbled uphill stretch in Sibiu. BORA – hansgrohe timed their lead out to perfection and Pascal Ackermann took a second stage win ahead of his teammate Michael Schwarzmann. This means the team from Raubling won four out of five stages in Romania this week and also took one and two in the final general classification.


Stage 3A
01 G. Mühlberger             26:11
03 M. Badilatti                   +1:02
02 P. Konrad                      +1:04

Stage 3B
01 P. Ackermann              2:15:38  
02 M. Schwarzmann          +0:00
03 E. Grosu                        +0:00

Final General Classification
01 G. Mühlberger             11:36:44
02 P. Konrad                      +1:01
03 M. Badilatti                    +1:52

From the finish line:
"Of course, I am super happy with this second win. Our lead-out worked really well today, therefore it wasn’t as hectic as usual. Schwarzi launched the sprint on the cobble section and I had a perfect line into the final corner. Basically, I just had to cross the finish, while Schwarzi was able to take second." – Pascal Ackermann

"It was a nice week of racing with great success for us. I am really happy how my legs turned after that period without racing. Especially in the ITT I felt really good. I think we are well prepared for the upcoming weeks. We started quite early to train together at our camp in Ötztal in June and that might pay off now." – Gregor Mühlberger

"In general, I am happy with my performance this week. It felt great to be back to racing again and I think the whole team showed that we did our homework the last weeks. In the TT today I didn’t feel as comfortable as on the mountain stage, but that’s ok, it is early days in our new season. Congratulations to Gregor, he was really impressive today. Now we can celebrate a lot of wins and jerseys." – Patrick Konrad

“In the TT this morning Gregor and Patrick battled out the GC, with the better end for Gregor today. But both showed that they are already in good shape ahead of the first big races. We knew that the time limit won’t be easy and told our sprinter to push. Gregor was that fast that 18 riders missed the time cut. I think there is not a lot to add.” – Jens Zemke, Sport Director

"It was a brilliant last day for us here in Romania. In the afternoon the guys showed yet again great team spirit. Patrick worked a lot to control the break and also Gregor was pulling in our lead out in the end. Then Schilli and Rudi stretched out the bunch already before the last uphill meters where Michael Schwarzmann launched the sprint for Pascal, who again finished off the job in superior style. I really want to point out that this week everybody worked perfect, the sprinters helped the climbers and vice versa. But also congratulations to the organizer. All measures worked out well and we always felt safe. Like this, we will be able to enjoy lots of cycling during the next weeks." – Christian Pömer, Sport Director 

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