Jakob Fuglsang fought the elements and the Ardennes hills for a sound win in Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. All the rider quotes, results and video from the men’s and women’s ‘La Doyenne’ and the Tour of the Alps. Advice for Alejandro Valverde from Joop Zoetemelk – Top Story. In other cycling news: Bennati breaks collarbone, Flèche Wallonne’20 start in Herve, Cavendish for Yorkshire, Jumbo-Visma launches development plan, Panini Tour de France collection and Alejandro Valverde – The Pro’s Pro video. Monday EUROTRASH and coffee.
TOP STORY: Zoetemelk: “Valverde Should Listen to his Body More”
If you compare the 2019 Alejandro Valverde with the 2018 Valverde, you will see that ‘El Imbatido’ can be beaten. At the age of 39, the world champion appears to be either tired, unlucky or on the way out. Joop Zoetemelk, who, like Valverde, became World champion at the age of 38, advises that the Spaniard should “maybe listen to his body more.” Good advice for anyone who is getting older.
The Dutch Tour winner and World champion told De Telegraaf: “You will be enormously popular during your year as a World champion. At the time I wanted to take it a bit easier, but in that jersey you want to show yourself everywhere. I knew it wasn’t wise to go to the Tour de France that year, but as a champion you want to take your responsibility. You want to be that figurehead of the sport. This while you know that you should actually choose your program. You do not recover so well at that age and you have to choose your races more than before.”
In the first three months of Valverde’s season; the Movistar rider has already ridden 30 race days including top races like the Tour of Catalonia, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders. “Valverde is also someone who prefers to ride hard in all races. That is his attitude. Maybe he should listen to his own body more,” was Zoetemelk final bit of advice for the World champion.
Take it easy champ!
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) delivered on Sunday, capping off an impressive classics campaign with a solo win in the 105th edition of ‘La Doyenne’. The 34-year-old Danish champ made the most of the new route and built his victory on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons before soloing away from everyone with 13 km to go to claim his 20th professional win, the first one in a one-day race. Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second as his teammate, Maximilian Schachmann dominated the sprint from a small group to claim the third spot on the podium. Fuglsang is the second Danish rider to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 26 years after Rolf Sorensen.
The bad weather didn’t daunt the early attackers. Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ), Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert), Jérémy Maison (Arkéa-Samsic) and Dries Van Gestel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) attack from the gun. Dries Van Gestel is quickly dropped but Kevin Deltombe (Sport Vlaanderen Baloise) and Mathijs Paaschens (Wallonie Bruxelles) join the front of the race after 15 kilometers. Lilian Calmejane (Total-kilometersDirect Énergie) and Kenny Molly (Wallonie Bruxelles) also bridge the gap from the bunch to the pack to make it a 8-man breakaway after 25 kilometers.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step Put On the Pressure
The peloton only covered 30 kilometers in the first hour and the attackers build a 10:35 advantage before Deceuninck – Quick-Step with Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) pick up the pace. The gap was down to 6:40 at the summit of La Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne (km 75). Dan Martin (UAE TEAM Emirates), who won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2013. The gap stabilized between 6 and 7 minutes until Deceuninck accelerated after 140 kilometers and tore the peloton apart.
With the gap down to 1 minute when the riders reach the Wanne. Bernard went solo at the front on the Côte de Wanne. A strong group of 28 riders, including Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), got away on the Côte de La Haute-Levée, with 75 km to go. They catch Bernard 5 kilometers later but the main bunch reels them all in at the bottom the Col du Rosier.
Tanel Kangert (EF Education First), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida), Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott), David de la Cruz (Sky), Omar Fraile (Astana), Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal), Winner Anacona and Carlos Verona (Movistar) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) escape and open a 30 second gap at the summit, 61.5km to go. On the Côte de la Redoute Tanel Kangert broke free.
Fuglsang Goes Solo
Astana tried to control the race but attacks keep flying from the bunch. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) join Kangert before the final climb of La Roche-aux-Faucons. Fuglsang attacks on the steepest part of the climb and only Davide Formolo and Michael Woods (EF Education First) manage to follow him, but Fuglsang drops them with 13km to go and solo to the victory. Formolo holds on to finish second as his teammate Maximilian Schachmann took the sprint from a small group to join him on the podium.
2019 Liège winner, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “It’s fantastic, I’m so happy. It’s the biggest one-day victory in my career, to finish this great week with this result is very special. The team positioned me perfect for the final climb, on the important moment they were there for me. They did an amazing job, because for me the finish line was at the top of this climb, so I gave it all. At one moment I looked back and then I knew it was possible and I tried to keep going. There was one scary moment in the downhill, but luckily I was able to get my bike back under control. I was feeling good all day and I tried to stay out of trouble and to stay warm. It was the perfect scenario for me because it was a very hard race. I look forward to a small break now, but this gives a huge motivation for the next races this season.”
2nd, Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I think the result of this Monument speaks for itself and reflects the strong performance of the team! Patrick Konrad attacked with 40km to go so that Max and I could save our legs for later. Then, on the last climb, everybody was waiting for the start of the real race. Fulsgang attacked and I quickly jumped, reaching him. I was able to stay with him after the top but he was the strongest today. It was a good race for us.”
3rd, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Horrible weather, I think this was one of the most difficult days in my professional career but with a very good finish. At one moment after Bastogne I was thinking we had lost the race because we got dropped in the crosswind but we made it back to the group. I was able to save energy and I knew the squad was there with me. The whole team did a brilliant job today, we raced in a smart way, we were there when it mattered and we still had five guys in the finale. Davide showed his class in the last climb while I stayed at the back of the chasing group, saving my legs for the sprint to third. I think that second and third place in a Monument such as the Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a big success for Bora-Hansgrohe.”
4th, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “It was a tough day, all-day in the rain. In the final there I was doing ok and there were three stronger guys ahead of me. I improved on my eighth place from a couple of years ago, it’s fourth now. Fourth was pretty much the best I was going to come from in that group, so maybe in the future I can go better, but fourth right now for me is pretty good. Fuglsang went at the right time on the steep bit and at that point in the race you kind of gamble a little bit, but really everybody is on their hands and knees and he was by far the strongest today.”
8th, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “I was feeling good, but there were others who were feeling better than me. The key was the Roche aux Faucons. It was important to be at the front there. We were there, but Fuglsang speeded up and it was impossible to close the gap with such a finish. The team was perfect, we worked very well. In the finalé we were Dylan and me. We knew that there were riders faster than us.”
11th, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “I felt good today but unfortunately, Deceuninck-Quick Step lit up the race a long way from the line, just at the moment when I wanted to dispose some clothing and would have a final pee break. That way, we needed to chase and I already had to make a serious effort to get back to the front. I knew that I needed to go on the attack to get rid of some guys. I went over La Redoute quite comfortably and afterwards, I attacked. I felt good but I needed some more advantage at the summit of the Roche-aux-Faucons, because Team Astana was there in full strength to close the gap. That was the end of my story. I can’t be completely satisfied with the past Ardennes Classics. The Brabantse Pijl went well, I had an off-day during Amstel Gold Race and the result in Flèche Wallonne did not match the good sensations. Today, I tried to obtain a nice result by riding aggressively. Then, you just know it might fail but I can’t be unhappy about today’s performance.”
19th, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “When I see that I finished with favorites like Alaphilippe, Bardet and Kwiatkowski, I cannot be disappointed even if my sprint could have been a little better. I made a big mistake in the middle of the race. I was caught in a break shortly after Houffalize because I was in the cars to change clothes when it was edged. I can thank all my teammates who brought me back in the second and the first peloton, but I have inevitably left a big cartridge in the adventure. This mistake may have cost me the energy to attack in the end. I recovered well, and I was even surprised by my feelings on the final weather conditions. I finish these classics with two tops 20, it’s better than last year. I raced with the best, I lacked explosiveness and experience but I learned for the future. Now place at the Tour de Romandie, where the two individual time trials complicate my mission. I will adapt my goals from day to day.”
Break rider, Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal): “The tank is completely empty and due to an upcoming cold, I knew it would be difficult to battle until the very finale. But when the peloton split into different groups, I was part of the first one. Afterwards, I think that I’ve created a good situation by joining the nine other riders on the Col du Rosier. When we got caught, I hoped to be up there for a little longer to maybe end up in a first group, but at that moment, it went so fast that a nice result wasn’t possible anymore.”
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 6:37:37
2. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:27
3. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:57
4. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
6. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:00
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 1:05
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 1:26
Women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2019
The Côte de la Redoute was the climb chosen by Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) to launch a superb solo effort that eventually saw her fly to a first ever victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Dutch rider managed to power away from the pack on the penultimate climb of the day, never to be caught. The time-trial World Champion wins this 3rd edition of the race with a lead of close to two minutes on Floortje Mackaij (Sunweb). Another Dutchwoman, Demi Vollering (Parkhotel Valkenburg) wins the bunched sprint to capture a fine third spot.
2019 Liège winner, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott): “Sarah Roy and Moniek Tenniglo did an epic lead out into La Radoute, I was super safe there, I didn’t have to do anything, then when we hit the bottom, I knew some girls were maybe out of position and I just went! My words for today were ‘when I go, don’t look back, attack, commit and go’ and that’s what I did. I can’t control what the others were doing behind, so I just had to commit, and I know that I can do a 30-kilometre time trial. The weather was a hard one, it was cold and I just had to focus myself and think ‘it’s my day’. I learned from the last two races, Amstel Gold and Fleche Wallonne that I have to believe in my own strength, the longer it is, the better it is and the harder it is the better it is for me. Shout out to my team because they made it hard on every climb, we took responsibility of the race to make it hard, so it was a real team effort which makes this win more beautiful. This was really high on my list and to finish off my spring with another win and three second places after my knee injury, I’m super happy.”
Women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:42:10
2. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Sunweb at 1:39
3. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 1:43
4. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale-Cipollini
5. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb
6. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
7. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo
8. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM
9. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla.
Tour of the Alps 2019
Vincenzo Nibali put on a major show in Tour of the Alps Stage 4, putting in attack after attack, but the Sivakov-Geoghegan Hart Sky duo duly responded, and the Brit eventually clinched a second stage win.
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Sky) was the winner once again, and his teammate Pavel Sivakov took another big step towards a possible final victory in Bolzano/Bozen, but Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) was certainly the star of the day. Nibali rediscovered his aggressive and exciting racing style that characterized the best parts of his career. On the Predaia Pass, after the day’s breakaway was reeled in, Nibali attacked five times in the space of 2km, tearing apart the top favorites’ group, and forcing Chris Froome to an extra effort, once again in a super-domestique role.
Nibali’s forcing reduced the lead to just five riders, including three from Team Sky – Froome, Sivakov and Geoghegan Hart – and another main character of the race, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), also back on the level of his best days.
Nibali’s fourth attack ended Froome’s work, opening a duel between the Sky couple and the Italian and the Pole, allies for a day, that characterized the race until the last uphill drag of the day, the steep “Pontara” ascent. After another of Nibali’s accelerations, Majka put down the hammer, opening a 100 meter gap that was brought back by the chasing trio with a push by Geoghegan Hart. The 24-year-old Brit launched the sprint in Cles, holding off Nibali and raising his arms under the banner. Majka was third ahead of Sivakov, who will start the final stage with a 27-second lead on Geoghegan Hart, 31 seconds on Rafal Majka and 33 on Vincenzo Nibali. Chris Froome was fifth on the day, leading home an 11-man group at 40 seconds and climbing to the overall 9th place.
Sivakov defended his fuchsia and white (Youth GC) jersey, whilst Matthias Krizek (Felbermayr-Simplon-Wels) succeeded in taking the intermediate sprint’s red jersey. Spaniard Samitier (Euskadi-Murias) held on to the KOM green jersey, passing first over the summit of the feared Forcella di Brez, and after being part of the 8-man break that escaped 40 km into the race, and stayed away until the early kilometers of the Predaia Pass.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Sky): “The sprint was great. I felt really good all day and comfortable on the climbs. So the finish was always in my mind. With the plan being a defensive one and simply consolidating Pavel’s lead then I knew we’d arrive in a group, so I was obviously thinking about that for most of the stage. Pavel knew what he had to do once we got to 500 to go. And he did it perfectly. So I’m really grateful to him. I think we worked really well together the whole final, with myself covering the moves between the two last climbs and marshalling the downhill, and then using our resources perfectly in the final kilometers to manage the situation and keep it under control, avoiding a situation with lots of jumping around. This stage has give me lots of confidence, I felt great on the climbs and very comfortable so that’s nice. Both the guys with us tried pretty hard to do some damage but I felt completely in control so that’s a great feeling to be honest. Froomey has been great. I can see him improving every day, and it’s a huge honor to have him helping. It’s a big opportunity for myself, to do my first race with him and learn from him, so I’m really grateful for that.”
Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Pavel Sivakov (Sky): “Nibali was really aggressive today, both him and Majka attacked several times, and Tao and I opted to keep pacing and control rather than respond to the acceleration. In the finale, our rivals rode together, but Tao and I responded as a team, as we are stronger this way. And we also got Chris Froome on our side: having him in the team is amazing, his experience is invaluable for us. On paper, controlling tomorrow’s stage should be easier, mostly because we won’t find a climb in the final like today. Still, we will need to stick to the plan to secure a victory that would be very important.”
2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “Victory ran away again, but morale is good because the sensations are the right ones. Day after day, I feel that the condition is growing and I am leaving for the Liege-Bastogne-Liege with a good spirit.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Well, I am a little bit disappointed with third place after being at the front solo but I gave it a try. My shape is good and I felt I should give it a go today, therefore I went on the attack on the final climb of the day. Once again, huge thanks to Pawel for helping me. I moved up to third in the overall, I think all in all it is a good sign ahead of the upcoming Giro d’Italia.”
Break rider, Antonio Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “We left the peloton after 35km with the idea of forcing the other teams to work as much as possible. I am very happy with my condition after the altitude training camp and it will be even better in two weeks when the Giro d’Italia will start.”
Tour of the Alps Stage 4 Result:
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky in 3:26:32
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Sky
5. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 0:40
6. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo
8. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
10. Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana.
Tour of the Alps Overall After Stage 4:
1. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Sky in 14:53:40
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky at 0:27
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:31
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:33
5. Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana at 0:48
6. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:03
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 2:04
8. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 2:30
9. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 2:34
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 2:39.
Sivakov sealed Tour of the Alps victory in a breathtaking finale in Bozen. The Russian secured his first career GC in Team Sky’s final stage race in cycling, but needed every bit of effort to do it after stage winner Masnada and Nibali put his lead under threat until the last meters
You can never take anything for granted, and it proved it again in Friday’s Final Stage 5 of the 43rd edition of the Tour of the Alps, running through Südtirol from Caldaro/Kaltern to Bolzano/Bozen (147,8 km). At the end, Pavel Sivakov (Sky) deservedly achieved his win, and his rivals made sure he had to earn every bit of it, ending Team Sky’s legacy in stage races on the highest possible note.
The biggest threat to his dream was an unexpected one: Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec Fausto Masnada did much more on the day than just securing a second stage victory with a gutsy attack from quite a distance out, which made him virtual leader on the road into the final 20 km of the race.
A 18-man group got away early in the stage, then splitting into two as the Collalbo/Klobenstein ascent started hitting hard on the legs of the escapees. The rain in the first half of the stage induced Team Sky to a more cautious approach, that eventually led a 9-man selected group – Cataldo, Stalnov, Masnada, Cuadros Morata, Thalmann, Quintero, Bizkarra, Velasco and Vuillermoz – to gain over 7 minutes, giving Masnada (back 3:37 at the start) a virtual 3:30 advantage on GC over Sivakov. Masnada himself attacked and left the company along with Colombian Quintero
That’s when Team Sky had to pull out a joker, and they found it once again in Chris Froome. The four-time Tour de France winner pulled the leaders’ group up the San Genesio/Jenesien climb, cutting down the gap to 4 minutes. Again, it was Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) who pulled the trigger and attacked twice, and only Sivakov remained in his wake. Geoghegan Hart, Cattaneo (Androni-Sidermec) and Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale) got back to the two rivals, but the gap was already back under the risk threshold, and the quintet eventually remained together until the finish. Meantime at the front, Masnada used a late attack with 1km to go to distance Quintero and taking a second stage victory. Velasco (Neri-Selle Italia) was third at 1:30, whilst Nibali and Sivakov’s group ended at 2:14. The final podium was Sivakov 1st, Geoghegan Hart 2nd and Vincenzo Nibali 3rd.
Sivakov was the first ever Russian to win the Tour of the Alps, and one of the youngest at 22 years of age, he also won the Youth Classification’s white jersey. Spaniard Sergio Samiguer (Euskadi-Murias) won the best climber’s classification, whilst Felbermayr-Simplon-Wels Austrian Matthias Krizek was the winner of the Intermediate Sprints’ red jersey.
Final overall winner and 10th on the stage, Pavel Sivakov (Sky): “That’s incredible, I must say I feel this like a team victory rather than mine. My teammates were amazing throughout the week, and helped me hugely once again today, when we were put under big pressure. Even when we were seven minutes down, I just remained confident that we would have made it back, not contesting the stage maybe but enough to defend this victory. I am delighted to have won this great race: I enjoyed it very much, though it was full-gas really from start to finish. That’s a success that rewards me of every effort.”
Stage winner and 5th overall, Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec): “I am very happy that the stage went exactly to plan for me. I hoped to be in a big breakaway, and I found the right one. Even when I knew we had a big gap, I still thought that the GC would probably be still out of reach, so I focused only on the stage victory. Now I am heading to the Giro with increased confidence – both for a GC placement and a stage win.”
7th on the stage and 3rd overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “On the last climb I tried several times to attack to see if the race leader was loosing ground but he always responded well. These five stages served to verify my condition. I’m obviously happy because from day to day I’ve always been better. Tomorrow morning I leave for Belgium and on Sunday I will be at the start of the Liege, one of the five Monument that I have always liked. I went once close to winning and I think I’m ready to do better.”
Chris Froome (Sky): “It’s special to go out on such a high note. It’s nearly 10 years now that Sky have been a sponsor of the team and it’s fitting that one of our future generation, one of our young guns, has won our last stage race as Team Sky. It was great for me to be there with the younger guys and help them as much as possible where I could. It’s been a great week of racing. Tao and Pavel have ridden amazingly and showed a lot of maturity in quite high pressure situations. They’ve definitely proved that they’re ready for the Giro d’Italia which is their next big goal, alongside Egan Bernal. Personally this race will really help me to move forward. I’m feeling a lot better than I did at Catalunya and it was great for me to be there with the younger guys and help them as much as possible where I could. I’d be lying if I said it was completely under control! There was definitely a few moments in the final when it could have gone either way, especially as the breakaway went into the last climb with over six minutes on us. We really had to step up and chase and pull back some time to make sure the jersey stayed on Pavel’s shoulders. I’m definitely feeling better and I feel as if I’m on track for July. I’m where I need to be. Hopefully I can build on this momentum now and have a good race at the Tour de Yorkshire next week and then on to the Dauphine before the Tour.”
Tour of the Alps Stage 5 Result:
1. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec in 4:02:06
2. Carlos Julian Quintero Noreña (Col) Manzana Postobon at 0:07
3. Simone Velasco (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM at 1:31
4. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
5. Roland Thalmann (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 1:33
6. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:14
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
9. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky
10. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Sky.
Tour of the Alps Final Overall:
1. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Sky in 18:58:00
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky at 0:27
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:33
4. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:03
5. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:13
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:46
7. Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana at 2:03
8. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 2:58
9. Roland Thalmann (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 3:14
10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 4:27.
Bennati Breaks Collarbone in Castilla y León
Italian veteran from the Movistar Team crashed hard in the stage three finish in Villafranca del Bierzo, still finishing 4th overall. Carlos Barbero also involved: elbow contusion, no fractures
Movistar Team suffered a double setback with its two main performers, Daniele Bennati and Carlos Barbero, down just before the finish in the 2019 Vuelta a Castilla y León, which crowned Davide Cimolai (ICA) as overall victor on Saturday at the end of the 151km stage three, from León to Villafranca del Bierzo.
After hard work from the Blues to reduce the bunch on the climbs of Foncebadón (Cat-2) and Onamio (Cat-3), the peloton came back together later on. The dangerous, twisty narrow final kilometer saw Bennati and Barbero both crashing on one of the final turns.
Bennati suffered a deep blow to his right shoulder, while Barbero hit his elbow, both requiring further exams at a hospital in Ponferrada. The scans confirmed a collarbone fracture for Daniele, with Barbero not suffering any broken bones despite a significant contusion.
Since the crash – which also split the sprint and gave Enrique Sanz (EUS) the day’s victory – happened inside the last 3km, the GC positions didn’t change, with Daniele still in 4th overall.
2020 Flèche Wallonne to Start in Herve
Hours after the peloton clambered to the summit of the Mur de Huy on Wednesday, the Province of Liège is already focused on the next edition of the Flèche Wallonne. In 2020, Herve will host the start of the male version of the Ardennes classic, which saw Julian Alaphilippe take the crown for the second time running this year. It will be the first time that this town of 18,000 inhabitants, perched on a plateau between Liège and Verviers, hosts the start or finish of a WorldTour race.
The partnership between the Province of Liège and A.S.O. for the Ardennes classics is set to last until 2024. Both the men and women’s versions of the Flèche Wallonne will continue to be decided at the top of the famous Mur as part of the deal with Huy.
In keeping with tradition, the men’s race will continue to start from a different Walloon town or municipality every year. After Ans in 2019, it will be Herve’s turn to host the start of the Flèche Wallonne in 2020.
Flèche Wallonne still to finish on the Mur de Huy:
Cavendish Confirmed for Tour de Yorkshire!
The star riders are coming thick and fast with Mark Cavendish the latest cycling legend to confirm he will be riding the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire.
Cavendish is a true icon of the sport who has won no-less than 30 Tour de France stages in a glittering career that also includes the 2011 UCI Road World Championships title and a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 33-year-old Manxman, whose mother lives in Harrogate, received a hero’s welcome when he competed in last year’s race and it is that reception that has influenced his decision to compete again between 2-5 May.
He said: “I’m really excited to heading back to the Tour de Yorkshire along with my Dimension Data for Qhubeka team-mates to race in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“I really enjoyed the tough but beautiful parcours last year as I rode the race for the first time, and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for us in the 2019 edition.
“Over and above the racing though, it always blows my mind to see the incredible support of the fans. With some of my family in Yorkshire, it makes it so special and I can’t wait to see them all again.”
Cavendish will be joined in a strong Team Dimension Data line-up by Nic Dlamini, Bernhard Eisel, Mark Renshaw, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Rasmus Tiller.
Those riders join four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, Marcel Kittel and Lizzie Deignan who have already announced they will be competing in the 2019 edition. Cavendish will join that trio onstage at the Tour de Yorkshire Eve of Tour celebrations in Millennium Square in Leeds between 6-7pm on Wednesday 1 May. This free event offers fans the perfect chance to get close to the riders before racing begins.
Full details on the Eve of Tour Celebrations and all things Tour de Yorkshire can be found at http://letouryorkshire.com
Cav in Yorkshire 2019:
Team Jumbo-Visma Launches State-Of-The-Art Development Plan
Team Jumbo-Visma has launched an initiative that aims to get more young people involved in cycling and to develop talent into a successful professional cyclist. The plan, which was presented to the media this morning at the Shimano Experience Center in Valkenburg, includes school projects, club support and a new development team for cycling talent under 23 and cyclocross riders. Jumbo and Visma support the new youth program as an extended part of the sponsorship.
“We aim to create a sustainable cycling program where we inspire people to join sports and develop talents on their way to the top, contributing to building a healthier and more active society”, said Richard Plugge, managing director of Team Jumbo-Visma. “Our plan is based on two pillars: training and growth. Do not recruit from the same pool but expand the pool. It has to be a pyramid. From bottom to top: schools, above that the cycling clubs, then the development team and a few might be able to join our World Tour team.”
Collaboration with local communities, schools and cycling clubs are essential stepping stones in realizing the full youth plan. The initiative sheds light on important issues such as rising health costs, an increase in obesity among adolescents and a decrease in sports and cycling participation among youth in the Netherlands.
“By focusing on grass root activities, we hope to connect young people to the sport of cycling from the ground up. A wide range of activities in local communities all over the Netherlands, aiming to inspire and attract youth to the sport at an early stage, are part of the program”, Plugge continued.
Innovative digital activities such as VR cycling and stationary bike competitions with television screens will be part of engaging youth in the program. More traditional cycling activities, aiming to get young people familiar with race bicycles, will be held in collaboration with teachers in selected schools. These activities will also be held at Jumbo shops or in their immediate vicinity.
Apart from the focus on grass root activities, promoting activities in schools, cycling clubs and local communities, there will be a development and cyclocross team. It will consist of twelve to sixteen international and mainly Dutch riders. The under-23 team starts at January 1st. It will benefit from a performance program following the same principles as the World Tour Team. The other initiatives will be launched in the course of this year like a program to inspire 15 to 18 year olds to start cycling.
“There will be some kind of roadshow, we will go into the country”, says Merijn Zeeman, sportive director of Team Jumbo-Visma. “Talent development is important to us: we are a Dutch team; we want to develop good Dutch riders. At the same time, we exist by the grace of fans, of everyone who cares about cycling. The intention is that all Dutch cycling will benefit. This is the start of a project with a lot of ambition. We don’t have the pretense that we’ll be able to solve the problem of growth for a while. We welcome any initiative to encourage cycling. This is our way to take responsibility.”
“We are excited to take part in such an important and inspiring initiative. As a large corporation, we believe it is our responsibility to contribute positively to the societies where we operate. By supporting the youth program, we take part in promoting a healthy lifestyle and encouraging sports participation among young people, issues that are close to our heart”, said Visma CEO Øystein Moan.
Panini Introduces a Tour de France Collection
The Only Official Collection
Panini sets off on the roads of the Tour! With this brand-new collection, millions of fans who passionately follow this legendary race will get even closer to their favorite champions. An officially sanctioned album will present the 22 teams that will compete for the Yellow Jersey. Riders, managers, statistics, race-route, stage towns and cities, climbs and records… You will find everything you need to stay up to speed on the 2019 edition!
Stickers… And Cards
In all, there are 352 stickers to collect, including 32 specials. For each of the 22 teams, you have to find – and paste – the 14 riders who could be the major contenders of this competition. But the Tour de France is not just about the cyclists! Above all, it is a journey through the most beautiful towns and mountains France has to offer. Panini hasn’t forgotten and is reserving several pages of the collection to the 21 stages that will be contested this summer. Not to mention the 42 new maps presenting the main mountains, the highlights of the history of the Tour or the bikes and jerseys of the different teams.
Legends, Memories and an Anniversary
In addition to celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Yellow Jersey, this 106th edition will start in Brussels, which will be an opportunity to pay tribute to Belgian legend Eddy Merckx, who won the Tour de France five times. Two pages of this album will be dedicated to the “Cannibal” in addition to other sections focusing more on the history of the race. Who is the youngest winner? Who claimed the most podiums? Who won the most stages? Who are the other five-time winners? This ESSENTIAL album answers all these questions!
The Pro’s Pro
It took Alejandro Valverde almost two decades to finally win the Rainbow Jersey. As the second oldest World Champion in cycling history, he shows no signs of slowing up. This is the story of the pro’s pro.
Roll the clock back to 2002. Helmets were optional, styles were questionable, nobody had even heard of “marginal gains”, and Alejandro Valverde made his professional debut.
Across a career that has seen it all, from Monument milestones to Grand Tour glory, Valverde seemed destined to always fall short of one key objective – the Rainbow Jersey. 2003 marked the first of six visits to the World Championship podium before, at long last, he finally earned his stripes last September in Innsbruck.
Pro Wins: 123 – Worlds Podium: 6 – Monuments: 4 – Grand Tours: 1 – Rainbow Jersey: 1.
Bala’s successes are as much down to his tenacity, timing and tactics as they are to his physical strength. As a rider, his consistency is second-to-none, a trait he has possessed since his amateur days when he earned the title, ‘El Imbatible’. Mr. Unbeatable.
Within the peloton he has earned the respect of riders who single him out for his exemplary manner in the bunch. Away from races his meticulous preparation and commitment underline his status, the result of an undying passion towards his profession. Always in form. Always a threat. Valverde is the pro’s pro.
The Rainbow Jersey singles Valverde out as more of a marked man than ever, but that hasn’t affected his appetite for competition, nor for new challenges. His first attempt at the Tour of Flanders at age 38 could hardly have gone better, calmly surfing the front of the pack all day and mixing it up with the cobbled specialists to finish in eighth. An unknown entity in an unknown race, his competitive instincts shone through.
Down The Road
As Valverde advances towards 40, it’s still anyone’s guess as to when he will finally hang up his wheels. A challenging World Championships in Yorkshire await, providing the stage for him to defend his world title. Next year could see into a final hit out for an Olympic medal in Tokyo, the ultimate curtain-closer perhaps? Whenever that day comes, the pro’s pro will remain a protagonist right till the very end.
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