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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday October 26, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. - Dalai Lama

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2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 21 reports

We posted the report from stage 2020 Giro d'Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart's Team INEOS with the results.

Here's the report from Jai Hindley's & Wilco Kelderman's Team Sunweb:

A vision of pride and a result of hard work and dedication from the team on and off the bike, Team Sunweb wrote in their history books today as Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman stood together proudly on the podium at the Giro d’Italia in Milano, having taken second and third in the GC for the team.

Jai Hindley and Wilco kelderman

Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman with winner Tao Geoghegan Hart on the 2020 Giro's final podium. Sirotti photo

An incredible team effort positioned Team Sunweb perfectly for success in the general classification, with the team entering the final stage in first and third place.

It was an intense final showdown to three thrilling weeks of racing, with the final GC coming down to milliseconds today and the final 15.7 kilometre time trial set to decide who would take the coveted Maglia Rosa home.

Leaving nothing behind on the road, 24-year-old Jai Hindley rode the time trial of his life aboard his Cervélo P5 with Shimano Road disc brakes. With a perfect plan from the team’s experts, he left nothing to spare and rode the time trial of his life to secure a fantastic second place in the GC; an incredible result for Jai and the team. The icing on the cake was an incredible all-in effort from Wilco Kelderman, who fought for every last second to secure third on the podium – making it an unbelievable 2-3 for the team.

An emotional Hindley said after the finish: “Of course it’s super disappointing to lose the jersey on the last day like that and at the moment it’s pretty hard to take. I think when I look back, I’ll be super proud with how the team and I rode the past three weeks. It’s a massive step forward in my career and it’s three weeks I’ll never forget. I think as a team we actually didn’t put a foot wrong all race to be honest and we can be super proud of what we’ve accomplished. I’d just like to thank the guys on the team, the whole team actually – the staff, everyone involved. It’s a massive operation to get here and to be on the podium in Milan; a lot of work, effort and time has gone into it and I really appreciate what the team has done to get me here.”

Podium finisher Kelderman added: “I think we can be super happy as a team that we’re both on the podium. If we said upfront that we would both be on the podium, then people would have said we were crazy. What we achieved with the team together, it’s great. We were super strong, maybe the strongest team in the Giro, and that is something that we can be super happy about and proud of. We’ve been close in the past years, so we’re super happy to have achieved that now. Especially Jai, he showed his potential here and he stepped up to another level which is great for him and the coming years. He’ll be a bit disappointed but he can be really proud and he will have more chances to show what he can do.”

Team Sunweb’s Giro d’Italia coach Luke Roberts proudly added: “Today’s final stage of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, 15 kilometre time trial into the centre of Milan. Jai had the pleasure of wearing the pink jersey into Milan, however tied on time and everything still open for the overall victory. Unfortunately, we fell just short today but Jai did enough to maintain second place overall on GC with Wilco also third place on GC here. I think reflecting back on the race in general we can be really proud of how we’ve ridden here. The guys have really stepped up and ridden well as a team. All of the support staff have done a great job. We’ve had a lot of highs and lows throughout the three weeks but when we needed the guys then they were all there and rode strongly as a team together. I think we can be proud, we were up against a tough opponent. We can walk away happy from this race with the two spots on the podium, the stage win, some days in the pink jersey; it’s been a great race for the team.”

Here's the report from final GC 4th place Joao Almeida's Deceuninck-Quick step team:

João Almeida ended the Giro d’Italia on a high note, taking fourth on the flat 15.7km-long individual time trial in Milan and moving up one place in the general classification, a result which no one would have imagined when the race started in Palermo three weeks ago. A World Tour rookie who was originally supposed to race the Vuelta a España, Almeida was drafted into Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s team for the Giro d’Italia after an amazing second part of the season – garlanded with podium finishes at the Vuelta a Burgos, Giro dell’Emilia and Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali – and made the most of this opportunity.

Joao Almeida

Joao Almeida spent 15 days in pink. Sirotti photo

His stunning run began with an unexpected runner-up place on the opening stage and took on a completely new dimension when Almeida donned the iconic maglia rosa atop Mount Etna. From then on, he kept on hitting new heights while breathing panache and turning heads with his aggressive style of racing. To top it off, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Grand Tour debutant – just the third Portuguese in history to lead the race – wore the pink jersey for 15 consecutive days, an all-time record for an U23 rider in the entire history of the Giro d’Italia.

His race was already immense coming into the final day, but João was motivated for one more strong showing and he delivered it in Milan, confirming he was one of the Giro’s stars. Fifth overall at the start of the time trial, Almeida produced a flying ride, concluding the day just outside the podium, further underlining his unbelievable consistency, which saw him place inside the top 30 on all 21 stages of the race. This tremendous performance helped him overcome a deficit of 23 seconds and lifted the 22-year-old to fourth overall – Portugal’s best ever result at the Giro d’Italia.

“I can’t put into words how happy I am, this is incredible, something I would have never dreamed of. My goal three weeks ago was a top 10 finish, so the be fourth on the GC of this beautiful race is simply mind-blowing! This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates and staff, who have shown at all times the amazing Wolfpack spirit and to whom I am very grateful”, an over-the-moon João said in Milan.

“I discovered a lot of things about me here, I pushed myself mentally and gave everything every single time. I leave this hard race with many beautiful memories, the best of these being the day when I seized the maglia rosa on the Etna. I am still young and will see what the future holds, but what I can tell you now is that one day I hope to wear this iconic jersey again.”

Almeida was one of the three Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders to finish the race in the top 15 overall. Newcomer Fausto Masnada was ninth – his best result in three participations – while James Knox took 14th, their results helping our squad cement its position at the top of the World Team Ranking.

Patrick Konrad's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this final 2020 Giro report:

It was going to be about all-out speed on the individual time trial that would draw the 2020 Giro d’Italia to a close. Starting on the outskirts of Milan and making its way into the centre, the roads were completely flat and, with very few twists or turns to slow them down, riders would have a chance to reach high speeds on the 15.7km parcours, that is, if they had the legs after three hard weeks on the road.

For some it would be a chance to go for a good time and maybe a stage win, for others they would be looking to take extra time in the GC standings but for most of the peloton it was a chance to reflect on the previous twenty-one days. Peter Sagan was able to celebrate his first win at the Giro on stage 10, completing his hat-trick of Grand Tour wins with not only one of the most exciting wins of this year’s race, but of the race’s history.

For Rafał Majka and Patrick Konrad there were a series of strong performances that saw them place well both in the GC battles and in the overall standings throughout the race, with the whole team riding well to provide support and ensure everyone was protected. Back on the roads, on a course that suited his riding style, Maciej Bodnar went hard and finished in a time of 18:20, a performance that saw him take second on the road for a time, ending the day in fifteenth when all the riders had come home.

On a day they could have taken it easy, the entire team worked hard on the road, not easing off until the finish line was behind them, bringing the stage and the race to a close. Finishing the stage in 36th position, Patrick confirmed his 8th place in the General Classification after just under 3,500km of hard racing.

Patrick Konrad

Patrick Konrad racing in the 2020 Giro's 14th stage. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"The Giro d'Italia is now over and I think the whole team did a good job. We won a stage with Peter, we were always there in the fight for the ciclamino jersey, we had a good result in the GC. The team was always present, fighting for stage wins. That was my third Giro d'Italia and I really enjoyed it. It was nice being with this group for three weeks. The season is ending as well and I'm happy to be able to enjoy some time with my family after the difficult period everybody went through because of the virus." – Patrick Konrad

"With his 8th place in the general classification, Patrick Konrad fulfilled his goal of a top ten result, and we are very happy with his performance. Unfortunately, he missed the victory on stage 13 only by a few centimetres, which would have been another great result for him and the team. Rafał was on track for a top five result in the overall classification until he got sick in the last week which was also very unlucky. Peter scored an impressive victory on stage 10 and four second places. However, we missed the points jersey which we had won last year. That's why I'm drawing a mixed conclusion: Compared to the two previous editions where we had won three stages each it was not our best performance and we definitely have to analyse in the upcoming weeks what the reasons for the missed goals were. However, it was still a good Giro and the whole team can be proud of its achievements." – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

2020 Vuelta a España stage six reports

We posted the race organizer's stage six report with the results.

Here's the Vuelta stage 6 report from stage winner Ion Izaguirre's Team Astana:

On a very cold rainy day in the Pyrenees Ion Izagirre took a beautiful victory atop the famous climb Aramón Formigal. The Astana Pro Team rider made a strong attack from the breakaway group with some 3 km to go, taking a good gap enough to take his debut stage win at the Vuelta a España. By winning today’s stage Ion Izagirre became the 100th rider in cycling history, who won the stages of all three Grand tours!

Ion Izaguirre

Ion Izaguirre takes stage six. ASO photo

- It was a very tough stage. We knew that bad weather will hit the stage and that at the whole second part will be really wet and cold. We are in the Pyrenees and here the rain always brings the cold. But we were ready for that. From the start I was able to go in a breakaway together with Gorka and it was a good moment for us. Thanks to attack of Gorka I just stayed on the wheel in our chasing group, saving some energy for the final, - said Ion Izagirre.

- I attacked on the steepest part and shortly opened a gap. I looked back and saw that nobody really followed me, so I continued pushing hard until the finish. It was a tough way to the top with raining all the time, but I managed to stay in front and to win this stage! I want to thank my team for the work done today and of course I want to thank my brother Gorka, who was phenomenal! Gorka was really strong and on the descent he did a powerful attack. I think, he could win today. But, when our group caught him back I knew that it was my turn to attack. Gorka provided me with good help on the climb and with 3 km to go I found a moment and just went away. This victory means a lot for me and I am happy to bring it to Astana Pro Team. After my crash at the Tour de France I was able to recover well, the team was always next to me during this time and I am happy that I came here at the Vuelta a España. I want to thank also all our sponsors, especially Samruk-Kazyna for a great support during this super difficult season, - added Ion Izagirre.

After the French part of today’s stage has been cancelled due to COVID-19 alert, the organizers have changed the route. Thus, after start in Biescas, the peloton covered 146.4 km to the top of the first category climb Aramón Formigal. A group of 23 riders went away shortly after start with Ion and Gorka Izagirre among the escapers. The group worked well together and on the bottom of the second climb of the day Puerto de Cotefablo the break took over 4 minutes of advantage. Gorka Izagirre made an attack on the descent from this climb and was able to stay alone in front until the last 6 km, when the chasing group caught him back. With 3 km to go it was Ion Izagirre, who attacked, and this move brought him stage 6 victory.

- After we missed a chance yesterday, we were motivated to try again and to fight for a stage victory today. It was our plan to have two riders in the break and when Ion and Gorka went away together we realized that this could be our day. They worked really well in the group and in a moment it became clear that the break will stay away until the end. Both, Ion and Gorka did an excellent race, they both deserved the victory, but in the end of the day it was Ion, who realized his chance. It is a very beautiful victory on a very difficult day. This success brings us some additional motivation for the next two weeks and for sure, we will keep on fighting, - said Dmitriy Fofonov, sports manager of Astana Pro Team.

Behind the breakaway, there was a big battle among the GC contenders. A few riders attacked from the group of the red jersey, opening a good gap. Finally, the Ecuadorian rider Richard Carapaz, who finished 12th today, 55 seconds behind Ion Izagirre, became the new overall leader, taking the red jersey from Primoz Roglic.

Astana’s Aleksandr Vlasov suffered a lot from the cold and finished 28th, 2 minutes behind stage winner. In the general classification Vlasov, however, moved up to 20th position, +6.34 behind the new race leader.

Gorka Izagirre after a good race in the break and a 9th place at the finish, moved up to 12th place in the general classification (+3.19).

Tomorrow the Vuelta a España will hold its first rest day.

Here's the report from new GC leader Richard Carapaz's INEOS Grenadiers:

Richard Carapaz continued a landmark day for the INEOS Grenadiers by riding into the race lead at the Vuelta a Espana.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz after stage 16 of this year's Tour de France. Sirotti photo

An inspired performance from the Ecuadorian saw him push on up the final Formigal climb, distancing a number of key rivals including overnight leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

Finishing 12th on the stage amid a breakaway group that contained teammate Dylan van Baarle, Carapaz elevated himself into an 18-second overall race lead as the Vuelta arrived at its first rest day.

On a cold and wet day, Roglic was unable to follow moves from Carapaz and Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling), eventually dropping 43 seconds to the Grenadiers rider. Ion Izagirre (Astana) held on from the breakaway to win the stage, with Van Baarle coming home in 14th.

The result capped off a superb day for the team, with Tao Geoghegan Hart clinching overall victory at the Giro d'Italia.

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