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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

God created man, but I could do better. - Erma Bombeck

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Giro d'Italia stage three team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Jonathan Caicedo's EF Pro Cycling team with the results.

Here is the report from new GC leader Joao Almeida's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

João Almeida kept hitting new heights, moving into the Giro d’Italia overall lead after the race’s first mountain stage, which took the peloton atop the mighty Etna. Almeida, who since the start of the season gave indications of his blossoming talents in several stage races, dazzled again, this time against a stellar field that included Grand Tour and Monument winners.

Joao Ameida

Joao Almeida is the new owner of the maglia rosa. Sirotti photo

Despite his young age and the lack of experience in three-week races, the strong winds and the powerful attacks made by the GC contenders inside the last four kilometers of the stage, João climbed exceptionally at the race’s sixth visit on Etna, the mountain where, according to the Greek mythology, Zeus trapped the monster Typhon who had challenged him for the supremacy of the cosmos.

Almeida began the day in the white jersey, which he had on loan, aware that he had a shot of donning the famous maglia rosa at the end of the day on the same ascent where his countryman Acacio da Silva became the first ever Portuguese to top the Giro d’Italia GC, 31 years ago. While Jonathan Caicedo (EF First) soloed to victory from the breakaway, the chasers had their own battle, and João showed incredible mental and physical resilience as he tried to stay with the best and limit the losses when cracks began to form in the elite group.

As he crossed the line in 11th place, one minute down on the winner, the 22-year-old was sure of a visit to the podium to collect the white jersey, but was soon announced that he is expected to take also the pink jersey, a huge but at the same time well deserved moment in the young career of the Caldas da Rainha native.

“Leading a Grand Tour is a dream come true! This performance left me speechless, I can barely find the words to describe how I feel. The pace was high on the last climb, so I just tried to control my effort. When the wind began blowing hard close to the top, I did everything to just hang in there and make it through the pain. It was a sufferfest until the finish, but I emptied myself out there, because we are the Wolfpack and we always give our best”, said the third Portuguese rider in history to lead a Grand Tour. “I am happy and proud to wear this iconic maglia rosa, which I will try to keep as much as I can, this I promise.”

Here's what Jakob Fuglsang's Team Astana had to say about the stage:

Today the first summit finish awaited the peloton with the iconic Mount Etna, which saw a first serious shake up on the overall. The Kazakh team showed a great display of teamwork, with Jakob Fuglsang finishing it off with a 5th place, which sees him moving up to 9th overall classification.

Jakob Fuglsang

Jakob Fuglsang winning this year's Tour of Lombardy. Sirotti photo

Stage 3 delivered the first mountain top finish in this year`s Giro d`Italia with the peloton heading up the Mount Etna.

Right after the start eight riders escaped and built the day`s break, while Astana Pro Team remained in the bunch, working for their leader Jakob Fuglsang.

The breakaway was gone for most of the stage, approaching the final climb of the day, the breakaway fell apart and only a leading duo was able to hold the rivals on a tight leash. Especially Manuele Boaro put in a tremendous effort in positioning his leader.

Jakob Fuglsang saw himself in the first chasing group, riding among the favorites of the stage win. The race headed up as the groups were riding up the final kilometres of the day. Attacks were flying and the Danish rider was able to follow all moves.

While the leading duo were making it to the finish, the first chasing group fell apart on the final metres with Jakob Fuglsang taking a great fifth place. Following this result, he moved up 9th on the overall ranking.

- It was quite a good day, actually. The final was marked by many attacks but I felt good and was able to follow all. Well, it is a pity that Geraint Thomas crashed that early, that is not the way you want to gain some time. Also, the weather forecast changed, from the last days of wind we came today into the rain. But the team was amazing today, especially Manuele Boaro worked tremendously for me. After the last two days of having bad luck with losing two strong guys, who we really miss here, of course, today went actually quite well. – Jakob Fuglsang

Tomorrow stage 4 will see another hilly stage. 140km with one category 3 climb awaits the peloton on their way from Catania to Villafranco TIrrena.

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

On today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, it was all about Etna. From the start of the 150km stage, the first category climb on which the finale would take place was looming large on the horizon. The course itself circled the famous volcano and then climbing it from the east.

Wasting no time after the stage started, a group of six attacked and built a healthy advantage over the peloton, taking more than five minutes as the day went on. With riders saving their energy for the final climb, it was quiet in the bunch until they hit the lower slopes of Etna, slowly taking seconds off the escape. Here, Matteo Fabbro, Rafał Majka and Patrick Konrad took to the front as the peloton worked to draw back the break, with Matteo driving the pace hard until a small group split off from the main bunch.

A light rain fell on the riders as they entered the final 5km and as the rain fell harder, the attacks came thick and fast, with several riders surging off the front and Rafał working well to stay in touch. Six groups were dotted over the climb, with the remnants of the break scattered ahead of the select GC group. This group shrank to five riders, but the Polish rider was still in the mix.

While the victory went to the break, a solo rider taking the stage, Rafał crossed the line in sixth position, his strong performance over his GC rivals seeing him jump to eleventh in the GC, tying in the overall standings with BORA-hansgrohe teammate Patrick Konrad, who finished in 14th on the stage after crossing the line a little less than forty seconds behind Rafał’s group.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka at the 2019 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

"This is the first mountain stage of the Giro and test of my legs. The team did a very good job today, Matteo Fabbro and Pawel Poljanski pulled hard. It's my first race after the Etna training camp, my shape is getting better and I hope I'll have good legs in the next days." – Rafał Majka

"We had two plans for today. The first one was to go for a stage victory with Rafał Majka and the second one to help Patrick Konrad move further up in the GC. Unfortunately, the stage victory didn't turn out as hoped but we had a very good day. I have to point out that Matteo Fabbro did a fantastic job in the final climb, pulling while helping our guys advance in the GC. I think we can be very happy with today's stage, we are sitting in 11th and 12th, and if we continue like this for three weeks it will be excellent for us. In addition, thanks to Matteo's action we also inflicted some damage to a number of GC contenders, so overall good teamwork, the Band of Brothers worked well. Tomorrow is a day for sprinters and we'll see whether we are in the mix or not." – Christian Pömer - Sports Director

Garrett Lai, longtime industry writer, dies at 54

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this heartbreaking news:

Note from Bill McGann: I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate to have known Garrett Lai. He was brilliant, kind, demanding and good. The world is much the less for his passing.

Also, here is a lovely piece on Garrett by Patrick Brady posted on his web site, Cycling Independent.

(BRAIN) — Longtime industry writer Garrett Lai passed away suddenly early this week, due to natural causes.

He began magazine work straight out of college, as a staffer for Road & Track magazine. In 1993, he turned his writing and editing skills to another one of his passions and was hired by Bicycle Guide magazine. He rose to become editor-in-chief of the publication.

In 1999, he moved to Bicycling magazine as technical editor, heading up the West Coast editorial office for the title. After leaving Bicycling, he put his skills in editorial and audience engagement to new use: as a partner forming an advertising agency, Perfect Pitch Creative, which worked with numerous companies in the bike industry. Lai also contributed freelance writing to Outside and Men’s Health, was a ghostwriter for famed car designer Carroll Shelby, and provided marketing and communications services to major automakers like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

Naturally, Lai was an avid cyclist and competed on the road and in the velodrome. A regular on Orange County’s Food Park rides in the 1990s and 2000s, he was a formidable sprinter. He went on near-daily rides from his home in Southern California, with a selection of classic handmade steel road bikes including a treasured custom Serotta. Since the COVID outbreak, he did much of his riding indoors on the rollers, saying he didn’t want to risk a crash on the road and possibly use up medical resources.

You can read the entire story here.

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