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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, January 24, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. - Samuel Beckett

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2021 Santos Festival of Cycling stage three report from Team BikeExchange

We posted the race organizer's reports with the results.

Here's the report from Team BikeExchange:

The men's race:

Race leader Luke Durbridge fended off the attacks up Willunga Hill to finish third on the day and maintain his overall race lead on stage three of the Santos Festival of Cycling.

The short, 88.2km stage saw a breakaway group of nine edge clear in the opening kilometres, and with none of the escapees a direct threat to Durbridge’s overall race lead, the break was allowed a maximum advantage of 2’30”.

The bunch were happy to allow the break to remain ahead until the foot of Willunga Hill, with Team BikeExhange pair Lucas Hamilton and Alex Edmondson taking turns on the front of the bunch as the climb approached. Just two riders remained from the original break as the attacks began on the lower slopes, with Richie Porte (Australia) the first to catch and pass the duo.

Durbridge was content to mark his rivals and when Luke Plapp (Australia) attacked across to his teammate Porte at the head of the race, the 29-year-old made sure he kept the pair in sight and crossed the line in third, a handful of seconds behind.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte and Luke Plapp finish stage three.

Luke Durbridge:
"The boys did a really good job and I’m really happy with that, actually. That’s probably the fastest I’ve ever been up Willunga in my life by about a couple of minutes, so it’s nice. I got a bit of support and I know it’s a smaller race, but you have to take the opportunities when you can.

"I’m really, really happy, Richie’s obviously the best up there and I wasn’t too far off, so I’m really happy with that performance. It doesn’t matter if it’s a club crit, an NRS, the Santos Festival of Cycling, WorldTour, it doesn’t matter, the quality and the depth is so high now all the way through Australian cycling.

"We’ll go in tomorrow and give it a crack with Kaden Groves, and I’m so excited and they’ve done a great job putting this on, a great race in such difficult times."

And here's the report on the women's race:

Double Herald Sun Tour winner Lucy Kennedy climbed to second place on stage three of the Santos Festival of Cycling as overall race leader Sarah Gigante (Australia) claimed her second stage victory in succession.

sarah Gigante

Sarah Gigante wins stage three.

The short stage always looked set to end in a battle up the famous Willunga Hill and so it proved. Numerous attempts to break away came and went over the 48.8km stage, but the peloton hit the lower slopes intact.

It wasn’t long before Gigante launched her attack and the 20-year-old quickly opened up a sizeable advantage over the thinning peloton. Kennedy settled into her own rhythm behind and saw off the challenge of Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) to claim second place and move into second in the general classification.

Lucy Kennedy:
"It was a really short, sharp stage today and up until the hill it was fairly uneventful, there quite a few attempts at little breaks but never really though too many of them would get away.

"The team looked after me really well, and I basically hadn’t seen a breath of wind until the bottom of the climb, so it was just game on from there.

"I really wanted to have a race with her [Gigante] today but when she went I just couldn’t respond to that and had to try and diesel my way up and just never saw her again, she was the strongest rider today."

Tom Dumoulin takes a recess from racing

Dumoulin’s Jumbo-Visma team sent me this:

Tom Dumoulin has left the training camp of Team Jumbo-Visma to consider his cycling future at home. The Dutch rider won’t participate in races for the time being.

Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic

Tom Dumoulin leads Primoz Roglic in stage 16 of the 2020 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

"I took the decision yesterday. And the team supports me in it, and it feels really good. It is really as if a backpack of a hundred kilos has slipped off my shoulders. I immediately woke up happy. It feels so good that I finally took the decision to take some time for myself. That says enough."

Dumoulin about his decision: "I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist. With the pressure that comes with it, with the expectations of different parties. I just want to do very well for very many people. I want the team to be happy with me. I want the sponsors to be happy. I want my wife and my family to be happy. And so I want to do well for everyone, but because of that I have forgotten myself a bit in the past year. What do I want? Do I still want to be a rider. And how?", he reacted.

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux ready to start 2021 season

Here’s the team’s release:

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will start the 2021 season, its first in the UCI World Tour, with a core of 29 riders. The full roster of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for the 2021 season consists of 10 different nationalities and displays a balanced mix of highly experienced leaders and road captains as well as young talents. Despite its new status, the team remained faithful to its fundamental principles, offering a platform for nine Belgian talents while internationalizing its squad.

This winter, the team welcomed nine new signings: Jan Hirt, Jonas Koch, Louis Meintjes, Riccardo Minali, Baptiste Planckaert, Lorenzo Rota, Rein Taaramaë, Taco Van Der Hoorn and Georg Zimmermann. With these additions, the team further enhanced its global reputation by snatching riders regarded as the most prominent figures in their respective countries and impressive pedigree of achievements in sprint finishes, classics and Grand Tours. 

Supported by its faithful partners and new brands, the World Team offers an opportunity for cyclocrossmen to express themselves on the road, with Quinten Hermans (BEL) and Corné Van Kessel (NED) sharing their trade between Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and Tormans Cyclo Cross Team for a second consecutive season. The fruitful partnership with local French club CC Etupes is also honored with the presence of Jérémy Bellicaud (FRA) and Théo Delacroix (FRA), who are also the youngest members of the squad.

Jean-François Bourlart (General Manager):
“When composing our team for 2021 we opted for stability by building on our current team and reinforcing it. We understand that it is our first year in the World Tour, but we intend to play a role throughout the whole season, in the classics as well as the Grand Tours. That is why we complemented the group with riders who offer new profiles compared to the ones we previously had, with the likes of Louis Meintjes, Jan Hirt, Rein Taaramaë and Georg Zimmermann who are highly motivated to chase the overall classifications.”

“We have definitely raised the level in every aspect of organization, starting with our training camp. We planned workshops meetings for riders, we allowed partners joining us in order to take on board the remarks so that the equipment fully suit the rider's needs and we have gathered a lot of information through our trainers' analysis. The quality of training is high, I can feel we are all set for our first season in the World Tour, starting next weekend at La Marseillaise.”

The line-up for 2021:
Jasper DE PLUS (BEL)
Odd Christian EIKING (NOR)
Alexander EVANS (AUS)
Jonas KOCH (GER)
Riccardo MINALI (ITA)
Lorenzo ROTA (ITA)

The Sportive Direction:
General Manager : Jean-François BOURLART (BEL)
Performance Manager : Aike VISBEEK (NED)
Head Coach: Frederik VEUCHELEN (BEL)

Sport Directors:
Steven DE NEEF (BEL)
Valerio PIVA (ITA)

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