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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 24, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. - Heraclitus

Story of the Giro d'Italia volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 2: 1971 - 2011 is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Vuelta a España stage four reports

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

Here's the update from stage winner and new GC leader Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has won the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España in a convincing way. On the steep final climb, the Slovenian outsprinted the competition and clinched his tenth Tour of Spain stage victory. Roglic also took over the leader's jersey from teammate Edoardo Affini.

Primoz Roglic is back in red. Sirotti photo.

The 32-year-old Slovenian is now the fourth Team Jumbo-Visma rider to hold the red leader's jersey in as many stages in this Vuelta. "A dream scenario for the team”, Roglic said a few minutes after his victory. "Today, things were in my favour. The team has my sincere gratitude for that. Everyone has worked hard. The stage win is the finest way to reward that."

With this victory, the triple Vuelta winner took his fifth win of the season. It meant the 41st win of the season for his team.

Roglic looked sharp throughout the stage and left nothing to chance. He took ten bonification seconds on the finish line and in addition, he also took three extra seconds along the way, increasing his advantage. "The Vuelta has only just begun, but I think it's better to gain seconds now than to ignore them deliberately. I am thrilled with this victory. The entire day the pace was very high. In the final phase, I took my chance to fight for the stage win. Fortunately, I was successful”, Roglic concluded.

"It's nice that I have this jersey now, but the big goal remains to get on the highest podium step in Madrid”, the new classification leader said. "The atmosphere around the team is very positive. It started with the team time trial victory. We have had some great days. So far, everything is going crescendo."

His Tour crash no longer has an impact on him. "I have recovered completely. It doesn’t bother me anymore.”

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Here's the report from points classification leader Sam Bennett's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

After the flat opening weekend in the Netherlands and yesterday's rest day, the Vuelta continued today in the Basque Country. 152.5 km between Vitoria Gasteiz and Laguardia and an uphill finale had the chance of being ideal terrain for the puncheurs in the peloton. After nearly 120 km of racing, Sam Bennett, the current green jersey, secured 10 points in the only sprint classification of the stage. The peloton thinned out on the penultimate climb, before it came to an exchange of blows on the steep final climb.

Sam Bennett remains in green.

With Primoz Roglič taking the win, Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley took ninth and tenth place respectively. There was a seven-second gap from 13th place onwards, with several GC favourites losing time. Sam Bennett also defended his lead in the points classification and will wear the green jersey again tomorrow.

"The first day in Spain was hot and fast. Jonas and Ryan set a solid pace to control the breakaway so we could fight for the bonus sprint for Sam. After that, we focused on the final uphill sprint. Unfortunately, Sergio was not at his best today, and normally such a finale would have suited him very well. On the finishing straight, I tried to help Wilco as much as possible and in the end we were both in the top 10." - Jai Hindley

"Our plan was to take points for Sam at the intermediate sprint. Unfortunately we were a few meters short of being able to fight for full points. Nevertheless, Sam still scored points that might end up being important in the final standings. Then our second goal was to bring our three GC riders safely to the finish. We can definitely be satisfied with ninth and tenth place, especially since there was a small gap behind Jai and Wilco. We’ll continue to stay in the green jersey tomorrow, so that went according to plan, and we’ll keep looking for more opportunities to defend the jersey." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

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Here's the report from stage four second-place Mads Pedersen's Team Trek-Segafredo:

Four stages into La Vuelta a Espana and three consecutive 2nd places for Mads Pedersen have put him solidly into the fight for the green points jersey.

Finishing runner-up to Sam Bennett in the opening flat sprint stages was already impressive for the former World Champ going against, on paper, faster men, but Mads surprised everyone – and maybe even himself – with his third straight second place in a finish that suited the climbers.  

But what’s scripted on paper in cycling is never written in stone, especially when you have a red-hot Mads Pedersen. 

“I know I can do finales like this, and it’s tough in a quality peloton like this one, but if you never try, you never win. Today we tried, and we finished second, and again we got some points in the green jersey, so I think we are pretty happy with today’s result,” said Mads.

You can see Mads Pedersen just behind Primoz Roglic. Sirotti photo.

Stage 4 was far from straightforward. The finale included a seven-kilometer climb followed by a long descent and a one-kilometer steep kicker to the line.

To get Mads to the bottom of the finish climb Julien Bernard and Dario Cataldo picked up where they left off in Stage 2. First Julien, then Dario set a hard and steady pace for the first kilometers of the long climb. Then the climbers Kenny Elissonde and Juan Pedro Lopez assured Mads stayed near the front over the top and into the fast descent.

“The last climb was pretty tough,” admitted Mads. “The boys set a tempo at the bottom so I could survive the steep part. After that, we just wanted to cruise in with the peloton over the top.

“We had a big gear on for the downhill so we could really gain the speed and follow. Then we just hoped for the best for the last steep part to the finish.”

At the back and able to survive the climb was tall man Daan (Hoole), who came to the front in the final kilometers to lead Mads into the last steep uphill.

The final meters were up to Mads, and he was remarkable. Only Primoz Roglic – a pre-race GC favorite and probably the best uphill finisher in the pro peloton – was better. 

“It was clear [Roglic] was the strongest, and to lose to him on a climb like this is okay. I hoped to do a top-10, so I am pretty happy with today’s result.”

To overtake fast sprinters for two stages and a day later do the same to some of the best uphill punchers in the peloton is impressive. And while finishing runner-up for three straight days may seem demoralizing, for Mads and the Team, it’s all serving a bigger purpose.

“My shape is good,” agreed Mads, “and we are really here to win this green jersey, and every day we are aiming to get points, and today we did it again. Thanks to the whole team – they were really impressive today.”

And when you have a red-hot Mads, a win is just a matter of time.

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And here's the report from Best Young Rider Ethan Hayter's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Pavel Sivakov and Ethan Hayter recorded strong finishes during an exciting finale to stage four at the Vuelta a Espana, moving up the general classification.

The pair came home fifth and seventh respectively as the race resumed following an early rest day. Sivakov demonstrated his strong form on the kick up to the line in Laguardia and now sits fourth overall, one place behind teammate Hayter.

Retaining the white young rider jersey on the day, the Brit jumped up to third overall in his debut Grand Tour. Tao Geoghegan Hart was also well placed during a tricky finale, and sits fifth on a GC still shaped by the opening team time trial.

Ethan Hayter is still in white. Sirotti photo

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) pushed clear to win the stage in the Basque Country and move into a 13-second lead. Hayter, Sivakov and Geoghegan Hart sit 26 seconds back on the red jersey, with Richard Carapaz and Carlos Rodriguez a further seven seconds behind.

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