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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 28, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

I feel coming on a strange disease - humility. - Frank Lloyd Wright

Current racing:

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World Road Championships news:

We posted the UCI's report with the results.

New World Champion Julian Alaphilippe's Deceunink-Quick Step team posted this:

Julian Alaphilippe ended France’s 23-year drought in the men’s road race and won the famous rainbow jersey on the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari after more than six and a half hours in the saddle. The win came thanks to a huge surge on the toughest section of Cima Gallisterna, the last climb of the day, with about 12 kilometers to go.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilppe crosses the line with no other riders in sight. Sirotti photo

Unsurprisingly, the main moves of the 258.2km-long race came on the 2.7km ascent which featured some biting gradients of up to 14%, and it was with 200 meters from the top that Alaphilippe took off and opened a ten-second gap over a select chasing group numbering five riders. The man who thrilled an entire nation at last year’s Tour de France carried a ten-second lead over the chasers as he crested the hill and continued to ride imperiously and dug deep on the rolling sections, taking to the motor circuit which last hosted the Worlds in 1968.

As he entered the famous race track, Julian knew that he was getting closer and closer to a memorable victory, and after a short glance over his shoulder, he powered towards the line, which he crossed with tears in his eyes. Sunday’s dazzling win, which came after another huge display of panache, cemented the 28-year-old’s reputation as one of the peloton’s finest and most complete riders.

“At this moment it’s really difficult to say something. First and foremost, I want to say thank you to all my extraordinary teammates, who believed in me today, rode at the front and chased down all the attacks, and really believed in me. Becoming World Champion was one of my biggest wins. In the past, I came close, but I was never on the podium. Today, everything went perfectly and I could turn into reality this dream of mine”, a visibly emotional Julian said before the podium ceremony.

Alaphilippe, who became the fourth different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to win the World Road Race Championships – after Tom Boonen (2005), Paolo Bettini (2006, 2007) and Michal Kwiatkowski (2014) – dedicated Sunday’s triumph to his late father: “It’s hard for me to describe how I am feeling right now, there are so many things I think of now, so many feelings. This is my greatest victory, a win which I promised to my father I will get one day. Once I attacked with 12 kilometers to go and opened a gap, I was focused on staying at the front and going close to my limit. When I arrived alone at the finish, I couldn’t believe that my dream came true. The coveted rainbow jersey is the most beautiful one in cycling and to know that I will wear it for twelve months gives me huge pride.”

Here's the report from 2nd-place Wout Van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

After his silver medal at the World Championship time trial, Wout van Aert has also taken the second place in the road race. Van Aert showed he was very strong, but had to watch how the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe became the new world champion.

On the hilly roads around Imola, Italy, the race broke open at about sixty kilometres from the line. After the early breakway had been caught, the pace picked up. There were several attacks during the race. Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic and Wout van Aert rode in the front. On the last climb of the day, Alaphilippe attacked, after which Van Aert had to settle for second place in the sprint for the other podium places.

Wout Van Aert

Wout Van Aert wins the sprint for second place. Sirotti photo

Van Aert was proud of his Belgian team, but he was disappointed with the second place. “I don’t have to blame myself or the team. We rode the way we wanted. When Alaphilippe attacked, I could not join him. He was the strongest. He showed that on the climb. Primoz did his best in the chase, but we all were on the limit. This second place is painful. Just like Friday, one rider was better than me. I would have liked to give the team more than this silver medal.”

Dumoulin was unable to catch up with the chasing group on the last climb. “If I had only been half a percent better, I would have joined the group with Wout and Primoz. During my attack I hoped to get a few more riders along, but unfortunately that did not happen. Nevertheless I can be satisfied with the shape I am currently in.”

Fourth-place Michal Kwiatkowski's Team INEOS-Grenadiers team posted this report:

Michal Kwiatkowski came within centimetres of a podium after a gutsy ride at the World Championship road race in Imola.

Riding in the colours of Poland, Kwiatkowski found himself sprinting for the line as part of a five-man group, 24 seconds back on solo victor Julian Alaphilippe (France).

The INEOS Grenadiers rider had accelerated hard on the race's final climb, the Cima Gallisterna, as the lead group splintered after nine laps and over six hours of riding.

At the line on the famous motor racing circuit it was Marc Hirschi (Switzerland) who prevailed in the photo finish, denying the 2014 world champion another podium. Ahead Wout Van Aert (Belgium) comfortably took second, but the group had no answer for the long-range move of Alaphilippe.

Six Grenadiers took part in the event – with Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) also active, following moves in the closing stages on the way to an eventual 22nd position. Dylan van Baarle (Netherlands) was the next home in 35th after working for Tom Dumoulin deep into the final lap.

Luke Rowe put in a very impressive ride, protecting and helping to position Great Britain team leader Tom Pidcock heading into the final laps. Ethan Hayter also gained great experience as part of a youthful GB set up. As always Michal Golas (Poland) worked hard to support his friend and compatriot Kwiatkowski on the way to a top result.

Deceuninck-Quick Step headed to La Flèche Wallonne

Here's the team's update:

Julian Alaphilippe returns to Flèche Wallonne, where he triumphed in the past two seasons, becoming one of the few riders in history to rack up back-to-back wins. The 28-year-old, who once again animated the Tour de France, taking a stage victory and wearing the yellow jersey for three days, will lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the prestigious Belgian Classic, which has made new tweaks for this 84th edition, set to start from the small town of Herve for the first time in history.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe on his way to winning La Flèche Wallone in 2019. Sirotti photo

Côte de Ereffe will still feature three times, but Côte de Cherave has been replaced with Côte du Chemin des Gueuses, a 1.8km hill averaging 6.5% which is set to be topped just eight kilometers from the bottom of the day’s last and main difficulty. Together with the iconic Mur de Huy (1300 meters, 9.6%), which will once again be tackled on three occasions, the last time after 200 kilometers, these climbs will make the race more difficult and could very well alter its dynamic, especially if some riders decide to throw caution to wind before the final ascents.

Julian Alaphilippe will be joined at the start of Flèche Wallonne by Andrea Bagioli, countryman Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Ian Garrison, Bob Jungels, and Mauri Vansevenant – a solid squad that Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels is confident can feature in the business end of the race: “Flèche comes after a really busy month, with the Tour de France and the World Championships, and awaits with one of the hardest finishes of the whole season, so the legs will be important on Wednesday. On the other hand, we have a strong team and we hope to come out of the race with a good result.”

And here's CCC Team's Flèche Wallonne roster:

The Ardennes Classics begin next week with La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday (30 September) which will see Alessandro De Marchi and Simon Geschke headline CCC Team’s rider roster.

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke at the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Sports Director Valerio Piva said that CCC Team is taking a mix of youth and experience to the 202-kilometer race.

“This is the start of a big block of one-day Classics and, like everyone, we are all looking forward to it. For La Flèche Wallonne, we have a strong team with riders who have lots of experience as well as some who will be racing here for the first time. Our ambition is to be active right from the start of the race and I think Alessandro De Marchi and Simon Geschke will be our leaders on paper. Alongside Jan Hirt and Jonas Koch, both of them head to the race after the Tour de France and I think this race suits their styles more so, while I don’t necessarily want to sacrifice any rider, we will try to save De Marchi and Geschke for the finale. The circuit is different from previous years but with the finish staying on the Mur de Huy, the race will still be hard. Overall, I think we have a good team for this kind of parcours and we will aim to continue racing aggressively,” Piva explained.

De Marchi and Geschke are looking forward to the start of the Ardennes Classics after a demanding Tour de France.

“I am happy to be back racing in the Ardennes and it will definitely be interesting to see how these races change now they are taking place at a different time of the year and also, now that most of the bunch will probably be coming out of the Tour de France. I think this is maybe the first time we will race these particular Classics after a Grand Tour and that will definitely change the type of racing we see but I am looking forward to it. Personally, I am coming out of the Tour feeling good and confident in my shape so I am also curious about how I will react to these races with a Grand Tour already in my legs but I am ready for them, starting with La Flèche Wallonne, and I hope that I can find a good result out on the road,” De Marchi said.

“The Tour was obviously pretty tough for us all and now the rest of the season is coming up really quick so, it’s a new situation for everyone with these races at this time of the year. I think everything will depend on how fresh you are feeling and how well you have recovered from the previous races. I can take some confidence out of how I am feeling now and also that last year after the Tour, I was also racing well so I am hoping for the same thing this year. The Ardennes Classics were one of my main goals for the season at the start of the year so, even though they’re happening at a different time, I want to make the most out of them and I hope that I can perform well and get some good results,” Geschke added.

La Flèche Wallonne (30 September)

Rider Roster: Will Barta (USA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Simon Geschke (GER), Jan Hirt (CZE), Jonas Koch (GER), Michał Paluta (POL), Georg Zimmermann (GER)

Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA)

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