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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 23, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. - Epictetus

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Sonny Colbrelli medical update

Here's today's post from Colbrelli's Bahrain Victorious team:

Following the end of Stage 1 of Volta a Catalunya, our medical team can confirm that Sonny Colbrelli suffered from an unstable cardiac arrhythmia that required defibrillation.

The cause is still to be determined, and the Italian rider will undergo further tests tomorrow at the Hospital Universitari de Girona.

The team would like to thank Borja Saenz de Cos – Emergency Nurse at Sistema d’Emergencies Mediques (Catalan Emergency Service) – for his prompt assistance at the finish yesterday and for supporting our medical staff in the management of the incident.

Sonny Colbrelli’s clinical situation is good, and we wish him a prompt recovery.

Volta a Catalunya stage two team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Kaden Groves' Team BikeExchange-Jayco with the race results.

Here's the report from second-place Phil Bauhaus' Baharin Victorious team:

Phil Bauhaus narrowly missed out on victory of Stage 2 of Volta a Catalunya, being pipped to the line by Kaden Groves (Bike-Exchange).

Kaden Groves beats Phil Bauhaus for the win. Getty Sport photo

The 202.3km stage from L’Escala to Perpignan was predicted to be a battle for the sprinters who could make it over the 2,400 vertical meters and not get caught out in the crosswinds. Luckily, most of the stage was a cross tailwind with only splits forming with 20km to go.

Bauhaus was able to stay in the first group with the support of Wout and Dylan, and in the last 500metres was positioned well between Matthews and Groves of Bike Exchange. Bauhaus launched his sprint with 150m to go but was just pipped to the line by Groves in the final 50m, missing out by less than half a wheel on the finish line.

Phil Bauhaus: “Today was an expected opportunity for me in the sprint. We had a few climbs in the middle part, but everything came back together. Then in the final, we were good together, but with 15-20km to go, there were crosswinds and a split, but Dylan, Wout and I were in the first group that was getting smaller.

"I positioned myself well for the final sprint and came through second in the last corner. Today, I expected a bit of a tailwind and a fast finish, but when I started the sprint, it felt like a slight headwind, so, unfortunately, Groves came across me in the last 50m, and I’m disappointed I couldn’t get the win.”

New GC leader Jonas Iversby Hvideberg's Team DSM posted this report:

After yesterday’s opening stage for the puncheurs, today’s finale looked more suited for the sprinters with 202 kilometres from L’Escala to Perpignan awaited the bunch. Sitting in third place overall and in the lead of the KOM competition, the team hatched a plan to see if the peloton were willing to let Jonas Iversby Hvideberg infiltrate the break and claim bonus seconds, to potentially move into the race lead.

With two riders rolling off the front immediately and the peloton fanning across the road, Iversby Hvideberg squeezed his way through a gap and launched across to the duo. The three riders worked well together and built up a lead that reached a maximum of five minutes, which ultimately allowed Iversby Hvideberg to bolster his lead in the KOM jersey and crucially, take five bonus seconds and move into the virtual GC lead.

Approaching the final 25 kilometres the race was all back together and there was a nervousness in the air due to the swirling winds, with the bunch splitting into three distinct groups. Iversby Hvideberg and Henri Vandenabeele made it into the front split for the team, with Vandenabeele doing a brilliant job of keeping Iversby Hvideberg safe. The sprinters in the group fought it out for the win with Vandenabeele crossing the line in ninth – his first WorldTour top ten – and with Iversby Hvideberg in the group; it meant he moved into the lead of all four jersey competitions for the team.

“It was another good day for me and the team here in Catalunya,” expressed Iversby Hvideberg at the finish. “We knew there was a chance I could take the GC jersey but we also didn’t know how other teams would react to it. I made quite a small break which then I knew I had a chance. We didn’t go too hard and I was able to save my legs and take the sprints I needed for the seconds. I also tried to stay as cool as possible and we could take some KOM points as well. We were caught inside 30 kilometres to go and we were then all in for making the first split in the echelons. I was able to get a good position for that with Henri helping me a lot to make the first split which was crucial to not lose any seconds. It’s an amazing day for me and the team and it shows that we’re here in a good way, and we can enjoy the last five days of racing. Tomorrow I’ll just try and enjoy the experience of being in the leaders jersey and everything around it.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts continued: “Today looked on paper to be a bunch sprint finish, with some challenges along the way including twisting coastal roads and wind in the final. Most teams were content to let a small group go in the beginning. With Jonas in the position he was in, we spoke about daring to try it and go with the group and look for the bonus seconds, and put himself in contention for the overall leaders jersey at the end of the stage. He dared to try and he could pick up the seconds to take it and consolidate the mountain jersey lead too. Coming into the final it was quite hectic with some crosswinds. Jonas did a great job and also particularly Henri who looked after him and put him in position there, keeping him in contention. As it panned out with the final bonuses on the line, Jonas managed to grab that leaders jersey overall. It’s a nice result for the effort him and the guys have put into it and motivates us for the stages to come.”

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Here's the Tour of Catalonia report from Team Groupama-FDJ:

As the Tour of Catalonia entered French territory on Tuesday, the wind did some damage after a 202 kilometres-long stage. Everyone expected echelons, and they did take place, as the various crashes also helped for it to happen. A very small bunch therefore reached the finish for the sprint, and Kaden Groves took the victory. Rudy Molard managed to take the right move while most of his teammates got to the line thirty-three seconds later. Consequently, Quentin Pacher is no longer on the GC podium before the first major mountain stage.

Quentin Pacher racing earlier this year at the Trofeo Laigueglia. Sirotti photo

After his fine third place on Monday, Quentin Pacher got to wear the points classification jersey this morning at the start of L’Escala. Like his teammates, he then enjoyed quite a calm beginning to the stage since the day’s breakaway immediately went with Jonas Hvideberg (DSM), Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Adria Moreno (Burgos- BH). The fugitives’ advantage quickly reached five minutes while the leader’s team soon handled the chase. “The first part of the race was rather easy”, testified Rudy Molard, who’s making his come-back into racing in Catalonia. At the halfway point, the terrain changed a bit and so did the bunch attitude. “The second part was very difficult, and very tiring by the sea, with the cross wind, and a series of climbs/descents on winding roads”, said Rudy.

Due to the growing tension within the bunch, the breakaway obviously lost ground as many crashes occurred along the way. With fifty kilometres to go, the peloton entered in France and the profile became less tortuous. The breakaway was caught twenty kilometres further, but the riders soon faced another obstacle: wind. “It was not a surprise, we talked about it this morning”, said Philippe Mauduit. “We knew there were going to be echelons, and we knew where”.

The peloton then split about fifteen kilometres from the finish, following consecutive turns and accelerations, as well as crashes. “Eventually, the bunch broke quite quickly”, added Rudy. “It’s a shame because we tried to be well positioned all day, to ride together and we missed it for almost nothing in the very end”. “They prepared well for this final, they were committed to fight for it”, confirmed Philippe. “However, when it all happened, Rudy launched thinking he had his mates in the wheel. Unfortunately, they did not immediately follow him and found themselves in the back of the first echelon. And this first echelon split again with ten kilometres to go”. The Frenchman was therefore the only Groupama-FDJ rider to remain in the front group, which went on to fight for victory in a sprint. “I finished in front, but it’s not the most important”, he said. “The goal was for our leaders not to lose time. We are a bit disappointed with the result today because we got involved but we are not rewarded for our efforts. We will still have to work on that so as not to be caught behind in the future. From a personal point of view, I am quite satisfied with my first race. I have a decent level and I manage not to suffer too much. Above all, I’ll need to see how I recover over the days”.

On Tuesday evening, Quentin Pacher dropped to thirty-sixth in the general classification, forty seconds behind leader Jonas Hvideberg. His teammates Sébastien Reichenbach, Attila Valter and Michael Storer are just four seconds away, as the first mountain stage will reach the top of La Molina on Wednesday. “It’s a terrain that suits us more,” concluded Philippe. “We lack a bit of power horse on the flat here, but we should be able to do well in the next two stages”.

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Coppi-Bartali week stage one team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Mauro Schmid's Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Edward Dunbar's INEOS Grenadiers:

Eddie Dunbar put in an excellent, attacking performance as he finished second, with Ethan Hayter third, on the opening stage of Coppi e Bartali.

Mauro Schmid take the first stage ahead of Edward Dunbar. Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images

Dunbar was edged to the stage victory by Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), with the pair having attacked the bunch in the closing stages.

The duo worked well together after Dunbar escaped the peloton, attacking on the Montefiore Conca climb, to create an unassailable lead heading towards the finish.

Schmid then was able to out-sprint the Irish rider in the closing metres, with Hayter bringing home a small chase group behind to make it two Grenadiers in the top three.

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Here's the Coppi-Bartali report from Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Five tough stages await the peloton this week in Italy at Coppi e Bartali and

BORA – hansgrohe takes on the upcoming challenges with a team of only four riders after some illnesses and injuries the last weeks. Still, the squad is highly motivated to show some inspiring racing in Italy. Today’s opener around Riccione was a quite undulated one on small roads especially in the last third of the parcours. After an early break was caught, on the last 30km the pace went up and rider after rider lost contact to the front group. Cian Uijtdebroeks managed to jump into a strong 24-men group on the last climb, before M. Schmid and E. Dunbar attacked to battle out the stage win. While Schmid took is first ever pro victory, Cian crossed the line just a few seconds behind in the first small chasing group.

“I am happy how the first day went here for me. On the last climb it was up to the legs, and I was there, even my position was not perfect after the last downhill. I missed the decisive move, but our group was strong, and we only lost a few seconds. For me this week is again about gaining experience. Of course, I also want to show myself with some results, but I’ll take it day by day. It is important to have Gampi here to help me with the positioning. He did a great job at halfway through the day where there was an important point before the first climb on narrow roads. If we work together like this the next days, I am quite optimistic that I can have some more good results” – Cian Uijtdebroeks

“Given the fact we only have four riders here, the boys did a great job. Cian rode a strong race and was able to follow the race favorites on the last climb. Frederik was in the first bunch, but he is not at his best after the crash on Sunday, so we can be happy with his performance. Gampi is important for positioning, and he did his job really well. On the last climb the pace was high and the best riders have been in front. Cian was up there, and he proved to have the legs, so I think we can be also optimistic for the upcoming stages. But the quality of the bunch is quite high with some big names, so let’s see what’s possible.” – Rolf Aldag, sports director

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