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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, October 3, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Binckbank Tour stage four reports

We posted the report from stage winner Soren Kragh Andersen's Team Sunweb with the stage results.

Here's the report from GC leader Mads Pedersen's Trek-Segafredo team:

Pedersen started the day on equal time with Jasper Philipsen (UAE) after the pair both scored a first and second place finish across the two sprint stages. The former World Champion put in a solid ride to stop the clock in 10’08”, fourth position on the stage and just nine seconds shy of stage winner Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb).

Thanks to the time bonuses amassed in the first two sprint stages, where Pedersen took second place followed by a win, he started the time trial with a cushion over Kragh Andersen. Pedersen now leads the General Classification of the BinckBank Tour by seven seconds over compatriot Kragh Andersen with just the Queen Stage remaining. The final winner will be decided after a brutal classics-style battle between the two Danes, finishing on the infamous Muur van Geraardsbergen.

Soren Kragh Andersen

Soren Kragh Andersen on his way to winning the stage.

Despite conceding some time to his rival, Pedersen is confident his motivated Trek-Segafredo team can pull off the win tomorrow.

Mads Pedersen: “Definitely we know that Søren is impressively strong on time trials like this. I knew this morning that he would be the guy to beat. It was a good day for the Danish – a Danish win yesterday from me and Søren today.

We have a strong team and we really believe in it. I still believe we can win the GC and keep Søren behind. He’s really strong and the shape is good, but so am I. I came out of the Tour pretty good, so we hope for the best and we believe in it.”

Jempy Drucker's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this update:

The short but technically challenging 8.14 km-long race against the clock headed out from the Albert Canal near Kanne in Belgian and immediately led up the Slingerberg, a 600m climb with an average gradient of six per cent and nine bends in the road. From there, the course continued downhill towards Muizenberg to the finish line in Statieplein in Kanne. Martin Laas opened the race against the clock for the team, while his German teammate Pascal Ackermann, currently the best BORA- hansgrohe rider in the overall standings, was the last of the squad from Raubling to roll off the start ramp. Jempy Drucker reached the finish line in 10:44 minutes and was the highest-placed BORA - hansgrohe rider on the day, while S. Kragh Andersen stopped the clock in 9:59 minutes, a time that gave him the stage win.

"It was not necessarily easy to pace myself on this type of course. I didn't want to lose a lot of energy over the first part and perhaps I was slightly too careful, which may have led me to lose a few seconds. Over the second part, it was relatively easier and I'm actually quite happy with my performance. I had good legs and I regret that I didn't go a bit faster over the first part, because then I would likely have been able to achieve a better result." - Jempy Drucker

"We tried to have a chance in the GC with Jempy on today's stage so that he could go into tomorrow's decisive stage in a good position, and he had a solid time trial on a technically difficult course. We had changeable weather conditions with partly wet roads, but despite this, he was able to perform well and so we’re still in a good position ahead of tomorrow. For everyone else, today was a time trial just to maintain their standings and as such, we had no special expectations, so the team overall did well." - Christian Schrot, Sports Director

Giro d'Italia team updates

Here's Astana's post:

Tomorrow the 103rd Giro d`Italia will kick off with a 15km individual time trial in Sicily. The Kazakh team came to Italy with a mix of experienced riders and Grand Tour debutants to help leader Jakob Fuglsang reaching his main goal of the season, a spot on the podium in Milan. As well as team leader Jakob Fuglsang, Mont Ventoux winner Aleksandr Vlasov, Tour de France stage winner Miguel Angel Lopez, Jonas Gregaard, Oscar Rodriquez, experienced rider Manuele Boaro, Fabio Felline and Colombian Rodrigo Contreras build the roster for the upcoming 21 stages.

3.497km awaits the peloton in this year´s Corsa Rosa before arriving for the final time trial in Milano where the winner will be announced. Il Lombardia 2020 winner Jakob Fuglsang is looking forward to lining up at the second Grand Tour of the season, “I am happy to be here in Italy and to finally start this big loop. For everyone, this season isn’t that easy to handle, and we also had some last-minute changes in our line up but I am confident that we have a really strong team here. After Tirreno – Adriatico, which I took as preparation for the Giro, I spent some days at altitude and now after spending some time with my beloved family at home, I am ready for the next three weeks. It won´t be easy, as many strong riders are here and everyone will fight from day 1 for the best ranks on the overall. We will see how everything goes but, of course, I will use any chance to reach the best result possible here and I think with the help of my team, which is super strong here, it could be possible.” 

Jakob Fuglsang

Jakob Fuglsang winning the 2020 Tour of Lombardy

While Jakob Fuglsang will face his second Giro d`Italia participation, it will be the first participation for Aleksandr Vlasov, Jonas Gregaard, Oscar Rodriquez, and Rodrigo Contreras at the Corsa Rosa.

Third on the overall ranking in 2018 and Tour de France stage winner, Miguel Angel Lopez returns to racing after the Tour de France to help Jakob Fuglsang on the overall classification and he will also be free to hunt for stage wins. Aleksandr Vlasov will also get his chance to win the Maglia Bianca, as the best young rider. Nevertheless, the main goal of the team will be supporting Jakob Fuglsang to reach his main goal of the season, a spot on the podium of the overall ranking.

Here's the INEOS Grenadier Giro preview:

Geraint Thomas, Rohan Dennis and Tao Geohegan Hart give their pre-race thoughts.

Geraint Thomas:
“It’s nice when you hear people say I’m the favourite but I don’t think about any of that really. The main thing is getting here in the best shape I could and then racing as well as I can. I just hope they’re all right.

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas at the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo.

“Training has been going well, I felt like I was getting stronger through Tirreno, the Worlds TT went well, I feel like I am in the shape to be competitive. I’ve done all the hard work - that’s all I can control really. I am hopeful that I can be in the mix.

“It will be different to normal - it’s October, not May. The last week could be affected by the weather but from a rider’s point of view you just have to take it stage by stage.

“The three time trials may help me, but it’s a a tough race and the weather will add to that. So it’s a big challenge, and one I’m looking forward to. I’ll be expecting attacks from the climbers, but it’s not just me against them, everybody has their strengths.

“It’s definitely a big, big challenge, but one I’m looking forward to.”

Rohan Dennis:
“Obviously, it’s been a different lead up with the World Championships just before the race. When we were at Tirreno I felt pretty good on the bike, and I was able to do my job better than I expected, so I am looking forward to it.

“I am gonna go all in tomorrow. It’s only 15 kilometres, so it won’t change how I feel in the third week or even in the first, so I think it is worth having a crack and we'll see how it goes. Whatever happens, team GC could be looking pretty good!

"Ganna absolutely smashed us at worlds, so he is the out and out favourite. It starts with one kilometre uphill and although it’s not going to determine the win, I hope it will help my chances a little bit. But the last 6kms are pretty much flat, so it will come down to who has the best power and whose got the legs really – which is Filippo at the moment. As much as he is my teammate I would still like a win! GC-wise I think it’s really good for G as well.

"I think that if I do get the maglia rosa, I will probably lose it on day two. There’s no need for us to do any more work than we will have to do for G, and on the third stage we will be at the front helping him, so I am not going to waste my energy - even in the second TT. I am just going to cruise that second TT and then for the third – well, it’s the last stage so might as well have another crack."

Tao Geoghegan Hart:
“I am relaxed and happy. This will be my last race of 2020. It has been a very strange and unexpected year for us all, but I would like to use this opportunity to have something great to reflect upon come November. The Giro is a beautiful race and ultimately I am looking forward to the journey the next three weeks will bring.

“I definitely feel more prepared than for previous Grand Tours. Especially with the lessons I’ve learnt from the adversity of previous Grand Tour experiences. No doubt there will be many unexpected situations across the next few weeks, but we are here with a great team and I am looking forward to it.

“The main aim is to be there to support Geraint throughout the race, along with my seven other teammates. He showed in Tirreno the direction he is headed with his form and we all believe in him 100%."

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