What a weekend of cycle sport! Four Giro d’Italia stages and the Tour of Flanders – Results, reports and video. World champion Julian Alaphilippe ran into a motorbike – TOP STORY. Covid-19 update from the Giro, loads of news from la Vuelta a España, Gent 6 canceled, contract news from Ilnur Zakarin, EF Pro Cycling, Sunweb and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. l’Équipe Paule Ka finished and the Fundación Freno al Ictus and the Alberto Contador Foundation are promoting Pedalea contra el Ictus. Big read EUROTRASH Monday.
TOP STORY: World Champion Julian Alaphilippe pulled down the curtain on his season in an unwanted way
Part of a three-man move inside the last 35 kilometres of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Julian Alaphilippe crashed into a motorbike and had to abandon the race. The World Champion was taken to the hospital in Ronse, where the X-rays showed fractures of the metacarpal 2 and 4 on his right hand.
Alaphilippe, who was making his last appearance of the season in Flanders will be operated on Monday morning at the Herentals Clinic by Dr. De Schrijver.
Patrick Lefevere is used to standing up for his riders. Today, after Julian Alaphilippe’s collision with a motorcyclist, it was no different. According to the Elegant – Quick-Step team boss, the motorcyclist was to blame for the incident.
“I know, I always have the reputation of being critical,” Lefevere said to Sporza. “But isn’t a rider always looking for the shortest route? Perhaps the Shimano motard was instructed by the jury chairman to place himself behind the front runners. But the association’s moto (Belgian Cycling) had no business there.”
“It was a slight right turn. If you know a driver is always looking for the shortest route, then you know that he will drive by there. The engines must be on the outside. Wout van Aert will undoubtedly not have thought that this would happen. And you saw that Van der Poel was also shocked. He could still avoid him, Julian could not.”
That Alaphilippe was talking in his earpiece and therefore not fully concentrated, Lefevere does not entirely agree. “Van der Poel almost drove in it too and he wasn’t talking to anyone. No, those motards had no business there.”
Tour of Flanders 2020
Three of the best riders of the season where together for for the victory. World champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Elegant – Quick-Step) was taken out by a motorbike leaving Mathieu van der Poel (Fenix-Alpecin) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) to sprint it out, the Dutch champion took the victory.
A leading group of six riders formed: Dimitri Peyskens (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), Gijs Van Hoecke (CCC), Fabio Van Den Bossche (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Danny van Poppel (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Gregor Mühlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) and Samuele Battistella (NTT). Julien Vermote (Cofidis) tried to cross on his own, but eventually had to give up. On the cobblestones of the Lippenhovestraat and the Paddestraat 150 kilometres from the finish, the lead was 7:30 for the leaders. At the head of the peloton, Tim Declercq controlled the pace for the Elegant – Quick-Step team. Wout van Aert and Tim Wellens crashed before the Kortekeer with more than 115 kilometres to go, but could continue. On the Kortekeer Edvald Boasson Hagen decided to escape from the peloton, but his move was short-lived. The peloton had to stop at a closed level crossing.
On the Valkenberg Jasper De Buyst attacked, which ensured that the pace in the peloton increased again. A group formed, but because of the fast pace it failed to stay away. The lead of the front riders had now decreased to 3 minutes. Due to the slippery road surface, several riders including Jasper Stuyven and Sep Vanmarcke crashed. With Max Walscheid another NTT rider tried solo, but his attempt was also pointless. Just before the second passage of the Oude Kwaremont, Peyskens dropped out of the leading group. Just after the Paterberg, the escape was over 50 kilometres from the finish. On the way to the Koppenberg, Dylan van Baarle and Romain Bardet took off together, before Julian Alaphilippe put in a move on the Bult van Melden. On his initiative, the peloton was further thinned.
Towards the Taaienberg Alaphilippe tried again and it was Mathieu van der Poel who reacted. On the climb, Wout van Aert also managed to make the connection. For Alaphilippe De Ronde came to an early end when he crashed into a motorcycle 35 kilometres out. Van der Poel and Van Aert continued together, with a lead of three-quarters of a minute on the chasing group. The two worked well together, increasing the lead further. During the last ascent of the Paterberg, the two leaders did not give each other an inch. In the last 13 kilometres, the two stayed together so we would have a direct duel in the streets of Oudenaarde. Van Aert forced Van der Poel into the lead, so that after a true poker game the Dutch champion was the first to go. With a powerful acceleration he raced towards the finish. Van Aert failed to pass, so Van der Poel was the first to cross the finish-line with a very narrow difference.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Flanders Race Report’ with more photos HERE.
2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I have no words for it. I wasn’t sure. Normally I always know, but I was devastated after the sprint. Suddenly that line was there. I did a jump and didn’t look at Wout’s wheel anymore. We both didn’t know who won. I kept believing in it. I knew I had to do the sprint of my life to beat Wout. But I did everything perfectly. The longer he wanted to wait, the better it was for me. The fact that he did not engage was a sign to me that he was also on the limit. I caught him perfectly. He came halfway next to me. I was up to my ears in lactic but kept sprinting. I thought I was late. I also did not dare to cheer. I asked for confirmation ten times before it was clear. This makes up for so much.”
2nd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I think I will play that sprint again a few times. I raced the way I like to race, I cannot immediately catch myself making major mistakes. Mathieu was just a little bit stronger. I wanted to be the first, but waited just a little too long. Normally I have a little more length in my sprint, but I have not used that enough now. In the run-up to the Kortekeer, I already fell hard. I was on the right side of the road and at the front of the peloton there was someone braking. A few rows further it becomes a full stop and I couldn’t brake hard enough. I was quickly gone, but I lost the good feeling for a while. It is not ideal, but I was without damage. I still had good legs. When I came down the Stationsberg my chain came off. Fortunately, I was able to close the gap on the Taaienberg. I pass it quickly and if he (Alaphilippe) fell because of that, I have to apologise. As a rider you always have a reflex to seek out the slipstream of the bike for as long as possible. It looked painful. I hope he is ok. It is also a shame for the race, otherwise we would have had a final with three. We both understood that we were not going to knock each other off and trusted our sprint.” Cyclocross? “I have not set a schedule yet. All I know is that I’m going to put the bike aside for two weeks now. I will need the month of November to build up.”
3rd, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a good day and I’m happy to have made the podium. I had to do a very long sprint due to Asgreen’s attack, but still managed to hold-off Turgis and Lampaert. The front two had another gear today, they were the strongest. This is my favourite race and I’ve managed to get a lot of great results here over the years. I have been in the front in Flanders several times and you can take advantage of the slipstream of the many motorcycles around you. They would’ve had to have watched each other a lot more and played cat and mouse in the finale if we were to come back. They were the strongest on paper and they proved to be the strongest on the road today too.”
7th, Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a great race as usual. At one point the best three were in front and I was the fourth strongest, but unfortunately I was not at the front. I did everything to get on the podium, but it just didn’t work out. Third, it would have been really beautiful. I finished seventh … I was missing 500 meters to keep the group from catching me. Until that point, I really thought I would finish third.”
15th, Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “My second season half wasn’t great, so I felt some pressure to perform well. I was confident and knew that I was able to show something at this Tour of Flanders. We realised a nice collective performance by representing the team with two teammates in the main group of 18 riders. I was really empty for the sprint, but I’m happy about my day.”
Tour of Flanders Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 5:43:17
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
4. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
5. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Elegant – Quick-Step
6. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis
7. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb.
Giro d’Italia 2020
The Stage 12 victory went to Jhonatan Narváez (INEOS Grenadiers) ahead of an unlucky Mark Padun (Bahrain-McLaren). INEOS Grenadiers took their third stage victory in the 2020 Giro d’Italia as the Ecuadorian, Jhonatan Narváez, proved to be the strongest and the luckiest in a soaking wet Cesenatico.
Thirteen riders managed to escape: François Bidard, Simon Pellaud, Manuele Boaro, Mark Padun, Cesare Benedetti, Joey Rosskopf, Jesper Hansen, Simon Clarke, Albert Torres, Victor Campenaerts, Jhonatan Narváez, Maximiliano Richeze and Etienne van Empel. The peloton let them go and quickly increase the lead to more than 6 minutes. Hector Carretero had to try very hard to make the crossing to the front riders, but was stuck for a long time at 2 minutes and took full advantage of a very sticky bottle to close the last gap. In the peloton, Deceuninck – Quick-Step rode at a leisurely pace, allowing the break to gain more than 13 minutes and dream. With more than 120 kilometres ridden, NTT Pro Cycling decided to take the lead in the peloton and quickly managed to take 7 minutes from the leaders. Under the impulse of NTT, the peloton was decimated. The leading group exploded on the Madonna di Pugliano (9.1km at 5.5%). Rosskopf, Pellaud, Hansen, Narvaez, Boaro, Padun and Bidard were left at the front, followed by a brave Van Empel. The seven front riders still had a lead of more than 4 minutes at the top of the Pugliano with 60 kilometres to the finish.
On the descent of the Pugliano, Clarke shoot off the front. Clarke, Narváez and Padun started the Passo delle Siepi together, the penultimate climb of the day. Narváez and Padun decided to give everything for the finish. Clarke lost more and more ground. In the peloton two NTT riders were on the front for Pozzovivo. Most of the leaders were isolated and at more than 7 minutes. The fifteen riders most important classification riders kept the pace high. Pink jersey Almeida, Wilco Kelderman, Pello Bilbao, Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang had managed to survive the first serious selection. Just before the top of the Gorolo we had an acceleration from Pozzovivo. The Italian climber managed to drop teammate Ben O’Connor, who had been on the front for a long time, the other top-men could follow easily. The GC chase group started together on the descent of the Gorolo, 30 kilometres from the finish, 6 minutes behind the two leaders: Narváez and Padun.
On the descent Padun had a lot of bad luck due to a mechanical at an unfortunate moment. The Bahrain-McLaren rider lost half a minute. The promising Ukrainian was getting closer and closer, while Narváez tried to hold him off. Padun managed to cut the gap in half and was 13 seconds down in the last 10 kilometres on the INEOS Grenadiers rider. The Ecuadorian did not give up and eventually started to pull away from Padun, who was having more and more difficultly. Narváez doubled his lead and was on his way to his first stage victory in a Grand Tour. The 23-year-old Ecuadorian had plenty of time in the last kilometre to enjoy his Giro victory. A disappointed Padun crossed the finish line second, Simon Clarke third at almost seven minutes. The GC men all crossed the finish line together.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 12 Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner, Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez (INEOS Grenadiers): “I’ve won a good stage of the Giro d’Italia. Fortunately, I’m a rider who has no problem with the rain and the cold. It’s been a long stage but I did it! When Padun punctured, my sport director asked me to wait a little bit but with the adrenaline in the middle of the racing, I could feel I was going for the stage victory. I refuelled myself very well so I had enough to eat and drink in the last ten kilometres. It’s been a difficult year. We’ve stayed at home for a long time so I really enjoy the Giro. It’s a really nice race.”
Overall leader, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I have to say that it was another hard stage. We spent almost six hours in the saddle, had a lot of rain and low temperatures, but at the end of the day we retained the pink jersey, which is the most important thing. Despite everything this stage threw at us, I was very calm because I knew there was such a strong and committed team around me, an amazing bunch of guys who gave everything out there. Having such a great squad around me motivated me to do my best and keep the jersey for as long as possible. I never thought I would wear it for so many days when I pulled it on for the first time and I’m happy that I could do it for more than a week.”
2nd on the stage, Mark Padun (Bahrain-McLaren): “This is cycling, it’s difficult to be happy after a second place, but I know I did a good race, which proved to be very hard and selective. If I will try again? We are here to help our leader Pello Bilbao and, fortunately, my condition is growing day by day. I hope to have another chance.”
4th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling): “It was a hard day – featuring lot of rain and cold, as well as wind. As a team I think that we did a good a job. We were able to cause difficulties for a lot of riders in the peloton, while trying to stay safe in the 3km downhill on a very tricky parcours. There was no change in the GC in the end but it was excellent for the morale of our squad for the upcoming stages.”
7th on the stage and 6th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a long and hard stage, very wet and cold at times. Today, we didn’t take any initiative under these difficult conditions because the chances of losing time rather than gaining were higher. It was extremely important to stay warm and safe and try to respond to any movements, if they took place. The break won the stage and we’re happy that both Rafał and I finished again together, in the select group of favourites.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Result:
1. Jhonatan Narváez (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 5:31:24
2. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:08
3. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling at 6:50
4. Joey Rosskopf (USA) CCC at 7:30
5. Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 7:43
6. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 8:25
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling
9. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 12:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 49:21:46
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:43
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:57
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:15
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 1:19
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:21
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:36
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 2:20.
Giro’20 stage 12:
The flat Stage 13 to Monselice was flat, but had a sting in the tail. At the end it was the GC men who fought out the sprint after a strong ride from the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team to split the race. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) won from the pink jersey, Joāo Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), and Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe) in third.
Seven riders escaped early in the stage: Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Rodrigo Contreras (Astana), Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM), Simon Pellaud and Simone Ravanelli (both Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec). Their lead fluctuated around 2 minutes. The race really started in the final section. Under the initiative of the BORA-hansgrohe team, the pace increased and the escape was caught one by one by the peloton. About 17 kilometres before the finish, Tonelli was the last attacker to be caught. The peloton had already split into different groups.
After the top of the last climb at 15.9 kilometres from the line, Sagan and Démare had missed the move. A front group containing all the favourites then pushed on to the finish. Overall leader Almeida, had two teammates with him; James Knox and Fausto Masnada, who immediately went to the front of the group to set a fast pace to hold off the likes of Sagan and any other fast finishers. The stage would be decided in a sprint between this elite group riders. Ulissi started the sprint from afar with Almeida in his wheel. The Portuguese kicked next, but it was Ulissi who crossed the finish line first, less than a half wheel ahead of the pink jersey. Almeida took 6 bonus seconds from his second place, which means that he will start the individual time trial with a 40 seconds advantage over Wilco Kelderman.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 13 Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “We did a great job on the final climb to break away from the sprinters and arrive in a small group. We knew that if we could keep them away we would have a chance to fight for the sprint. I have to thank the whole team who set this up perfectly : first with Conti and then with a great lead out from McNulty who set me up in the final. Since we restarted the season I am going really well and I am so happy to have won two stages, which I can add to the my previous six wins here.”
2nd on the stage and overall leader, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I want to begin by saying a big thank you to my teammates, who did an incredible job for me today, just like in the past two weeks. The group was quite small after the final descent, I had three guys with me and we planned to go for the stage win. They rode their heart out in the closing kilometres, we would have loved to win, but one guys was faster on the line. Overall, it was a good stage for us and we can be satisfied. We took another top 3, I gained some bonus seconds and we showed an incredible team spirit. It’s incredible to have the maglia rosa on my shoulders for the 11th consecutive day and this boosts my confidence ahead of the weekend.”
3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “After yesterday’s very hard stage we had two options today. If Peter was able to go over the last two difficult climbs in a good position we would try to go for the stage win with him, if not, Rafał and I would need to respond to any attacks and moves in the GC group. The pace was strong on the last descent and the final flat kilometres to the finish, so it was going to be a sprint among the GC contenders. I had the position and legs to contest it and it was a very close finish. I took third place and got four bonus seconds, so overall I can be satisfied. It is another podium after my second place on stage 5.”
Maglia Azzurra, Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling): “It was a good day for the Maglia Azzurra but not for the stage. I wanted to win. In a small group I can sprint but I didn’t have a good position and I was blocked. We can’t have everything. I’m sure Joao Almeida will keep the Maglia Rosa tomorrow. He’s a very good at time trials and he has our whole country cheering for him.”
Maglia Ciclamino, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FJD): “Clearly, today it’s a draw between Peter Sagan and me. We knew he’d climb better than me and he was likely to crest the last climb in the front group to sprint for the win. We expected this scenario. Truly, the outcome is in my favour. It was already a big effort to come across between the two climbs. We would have needed three more kilometres of flat roads to hope to bridge the gap after the second climb. We were all riding flat out”.
Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 4:22:18
2. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Sergio Samitier (Spa) Movistar
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 13:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step in 53:43:58
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:40
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:49
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 1:03
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:07
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:17
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 1:25
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:27
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:42
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 2:26.
Giro’20 stage 13:
World time trial champion Philippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) took the Stage 15 win. With a phenomenal ride over 34 hilly time trial kilometres, the big Italian beat Rohan Dennis by 26 seconds. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) took time out of the other GC riders, except young American, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), who moved up to fourth place with third on the stage.
The GC was shaken up with the individual time trial to Valdobbiadene. Matthias Brändle, the Austrian time trial specialist from Israel Start-Up Nation was the fastest of the early starters with 45:23. Kamil Gradek (45:14) and Victor Campenaerts (44:46) managed to raise the bar a bit higher. Rohan Dennis turned out to be a lot faster than Gradek and Campenaerts at the first intermediate point. Dennis was challenged by his teammate and top favourite Filippo Ganna. The reigning TT World champion was all-out for his third stage victory. At the first intermediate time check after 7.4 kilometres, the difference between Dennis and Ganna was 1 second in favour of the Italian.
After the difficult part of the course, with the Muro di Cà del Poggio (1.1km at 12.3%), Ganna went further ahead of Dennis to finish 26 seconds faster on the line than his Australian teammate. After Ganna finished, the focus turned to the battle between the GC riders. The favourites for the overall victory were not much different from each other after 7.4 kilometres. Almeida set the fourth time (11:14) and was 14 seconds faster than Kelderman. Domenico Pozzovivo conceded 21 seconds to Almeida, Jakob Fuglsang (22 seconds), Rafal Majka (25 seconds), Pello Bilbao (26 seconds) and Vincenzo Nibali (28 seconds). The big loser was Jai Hindley, who was almost 40 seconds slower than Almeida with almost 30 kilometres to go.
It soon became clear that Almeida and Kelderman, first and second on overall, were well on their way to handing out a blow to the others. Kelderman managed to catch up a bit on Almeida at the second time check. Nibali, Pozzovivo, Majka and Fuglsang continued to lose ground. Kelderman seemed to be the big winner among the GC riders, but it was Almeida who managed to find his second wind and put in a very strong final. On the line he was 16 seconds faster than Kelderman, so the difference in the GC is now 56 seconds. Pello Bilbao is now third overall, but his gap has grown to more than two minutes. McNulty (+ 2:23) makes a huge jump to fourth, Vincenzo Nibali has to make up exactly two and a half minutes on Almeida in fifth. Majka (+ 2:33), Pozzovivo (+ 2:33), Masnada (+ 3:11), Konrad (+ 3:17) and Hindley (+ 3:33) are still in the top-10.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 14 Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner, Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers): “For sure today it was a more difficult time trial than in Palermo, because we were racing for more than 40 minutes and because of the hills as well, so I’m proud to have won again. Logically, with Geraint Thomas still in the race, my Giro would have been different but I’m happy about what we’ve been doing as a team since he crashed out. We haven’t had a single day without a top 10 finish. It’s a good to have another great leader like Rohan Dennis in the team. We’re friends but once we have a number on our back [in a time trial], we become rivals.”
Maglia Rosa, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I gained more time than I thought I would. I actually expected to lose some to Wilco Kelderman and be closer to Vincenzo Nibali. Therefore, I can look ahead to the mountains feeling very relaxed and with no pressure at all. I had a plan and it paid off today. I pushed on the climbs and tried to rest a bit in the downhills. In the middle I was struggling a little bit but that was also part of the plan. This was my longest ever time trial so far.”
3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “Warming up beforehand my legs felt really bad so I didn’t know how I would go. Then at the first split I wasn’t far off Ganna so I knew I was on a good day and just went as a hard as I could. Matxin told me last night that he thought I could move into 5th, I thought that if I did a really good day I could get 4th. For the rest of the race I think I stand a good chance on the climbs and then there’s one last TT in Milan so it’s another good opportunity for me. Everyday is a surprise to me because I’ve never done a race this long but so far I keep getting better so it it’s good.”
6th overall, Rafał Majka (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today, my goal was to ride as steadily as possible. I didn’t want to push in any part of the stage but instead I kept a steady pace, I didn’t exaggerate or go on the limit anywhere. It was all about maintaining my power. I didn’t lose any positions in the GC standings and I think that the days ahead on the mountains will be decisive.”
9th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “I gave it my all today but I didn’t have the best legs for this time trial. I did quite well on the first climb but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep the rhythm in the final part of the stage and I lost time. However, the Giro d’Italia is far from over and I feel confident about the upcoming mountain stages.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Result:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers in 42:40
2. Rohan Dennis INEOS (Aus) Grenadiers at 0:26
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 1:09
4. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:11
5. Josef Černý (Cze) CCC at 1:16
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:31
7. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling at 1:33
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:44
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 1:47
10. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-McLaren at 2:00.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 14:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 54:28:09
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:56
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 2:11
4. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 2:23
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 2:30
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:33
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
8. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:11
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:17
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 3:33.
Giro’20 stage 14:
Teo Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) won Stage 15. On the mountain stage to the ski resort of Piancavallo he beat the Sunweb’s Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman, who took 43 seconds back on the pink jersey, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
After 7 kilometres a leading group of twelve escaped, but they only managed to take a small lead. After 45 kilometres, the group was down to ten men and was allowed more time. Andrea Vendrame, Luca Chirico, Manuele Boaro, Mark Padun, Daniel Navarro, teammates Thomas De Gendt and Matthew Holmes, Davide Villella, Rohan Dennis, Giovanni Visconti and a little later Sergio Samitier. Visconti was able to collect points for the blue KOM jersey. On the first climb after 65.1 kilometres, Visconti was the first to cross the summit and took the lead in the KOM. The break had a lead of 6:30. Sunweb for Wilco Kelderman and NTT Pro Cycling for Domenico Pozzovivo took control. They slowly reduced the difference. On the Forcella di Monte Rest, after 105.2 kilometres, Visconti took full advantage and strengthened his KOM lead. The peloton followed at about 4:30. There was a crash involving Jhonatan Narváez, winner in Cesenatico, Jefferson Cepeda and Nicolas Edet. Cepeda was able to continue, Narváez and Edet had to retire.
The road started to climb the third mountain of the day, the Forcella di Pala Barzana, De Gendt thinned out the leading group and only Villella, Dennis and Visconti could follow, Dennis continued solo. The Australian reached the top with a 35 seconds advantage over De Gendt. The peloton was now more than 3 minutes behind. 41.6 kilometres remained, of which the last 14.5 kilometres were all uphill. With a two-minute lead, Dennis started the climb to the ski resort of Piancavallo. Astana and Sunweb led the pack up the first 6 kilometres, where the road averaged 9.4%. One by one, the early escapees were caught. Due to the fast pace of Sunweb, Dennis was the last to be caught 9 kilometres from the finish. The Kelderman train, which was driven by Jai Hindley and Chris Hamilton for a long time, also resulted in victims among the favourites for the overall in the first part of the climb. Pello Bilbao (third), Brandon McNulty (fourth), Pozzovivo (seventh), Patrick Konrad (ninth) and Fuglsang were all in trouble.
Vincenzo Nibali also had to let go on the steepest part and at 7 kilometres from the line, overall leader João Almeida also was dropped, while the very strong Hindley, Kelderman and Tao Geoghegan Hart took the lead together. The Portuguese pink jersey wearer refused to accept the situation and bit his teeth to keep the leading trio in his sights. He initially succeeded, but then he had to give up more and more time. In addition to the stage victory, the bonus seconds were also at stake at the finish for the first three riders. Kelderman had to let the full ten seconds go to Geoghegan Hart. The Briton gave his INEOS Grenadiers team their fifth success in this Giro. The Sunweb leader finished second and earned 6 bonus seconds.
Almeida kept the damage limited to 37 seconds and kept his jersey. Kelderman is now at 15 seconds on GC. Hindley and Geoghegan Hart climbed to third and fourth place respectively thanks to their performance on the stage. Further back the damage was worse. Bilbao, Nibali and Fuglsang, lost a minute and a half and are now fifth, seventh and twelfth. For McNulty, the loss was more than two and a half minutes, dropping him out of the top ten. Majka, Pozzovivo, Konrad and Masnada also lost time.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 15 Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers): “We came to the Giro with a clear plan as Geraint Thomas was in amazing shape. It didn’t go as we envisaged, especially because of the nature of his crash in the neutral zone of stage 3 in Sicily, but we’re trying to make the most of what remains of this incredible year. All my teammates have been a great inspiration for me in this Giro. I’m not thinking of the GC. I just know that the big names in this race will try something spectacular in the final week. Everyone knows what a great influence Nico Portal had on the team and for me in particular: everyday we ride, we are remembering him.”
Maglia Rosa, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I’m very happy to have kept the Maglia Rosa, for a moment on the last climb I thought I was going to lose it. Overall it was a positive stage for me: I feel pretty good today, it’s just that there were riders stronger than me. Now we have 6 stages left in this Giro, I look forward to discovering how far I can go. I have never done such a long race. But first I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day, I definitively need to rest my mind a bit.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb): “When we started to ride everyone was just super, that was really not normal actually. When we did the final climb everyone did their job. It was a super fast pace. Jai Hindley really did a perfect job, he was really super, super strong. It is a pity that we cannot win the stage and are just short for the pink. But it was really great how we raced. So I didn’t really have anything in the legs to sprint, so it was just full to the finish. It was actually a very difficult day with many narrow roads, winding down and up. If you then race in control from the front, it saves so much the whole day. At this rate it was actually quite a bit of wear and tear. We knew he was breaking, but that’s not enough. He’s just really strong. It is a pity that we did not manage to take the pink today. But if you see what course we are riding, it is just great, also with Jai now in third place. Next week will be difficult with all stages longer than two hundred kilometres and with finishes uphill. There is still so much going to happen and there are still going to be minutes. This was just one of the stages. I feel super strong and so is the team. So it gives a lot of confidence.”
Maglia Azzurra Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabù–KTM): “A stage win is currently my main goal. However, I’m very happy to have the Maglia Azzurra at the moment. It was very difficult to break away without Guerreiro because he was following me all the time. At the start my teammate Zardini tried for me. With 12 riders in the lead, we went very fast for the first 30km. We managed to form a breakaway but the peloton chased us very hard. I’ll try again for sure. I want to win a stage.”
5th on the stage and 6th overall, Rafał Majka (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today was a day to grit my teeth and hold on during the last climb. After yesterday’s time trial my legs were in good shape and I was able to stay close to the GC leaders. I kept my position in the overall standings and I was in the front on such a hard climb.”
6th on the stage and 9th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today’s stage was full-on right from the start and, in my view, it has been the hardest one so far in the Giro. Our focus was on the final climb and I think Rafał and I did well, we managed to drop some of the main GC contenders. I look forward to tomorrow, a rest day.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Result:
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:58:52
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:02
3. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 0:04
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 0:37
5. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:22
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:29
7. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 1:36
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 15:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step in 59:27:38
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:15
3. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 2:56
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:57
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:10
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:18
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 3:29
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 3:50
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 4:09
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 4:12.
Giro’20 stage 15:
Covid-19 Giro Up Date
EF Pro Cycling has sent a letter to the UCI and other key organisations within cycling, asking them to end the Giro d’Italia after two weeks. However, the International Cycling Union has rejected the request.
According to the American team, there is a damaged cycling bubble, after several positive corona cases from riders, staff members and motorcycle police. Eurosport reported that the team has sent a letter to the UCI, Giro organiser RCS Sport, the cycling teams and other important stakeholders within cycling.
EF Pro Cycling states the following: “It would be wise to end the Giro early, both before the race itself and the entire WorldTour. It is expected that more positive corona cases will come to light. We’d better stop in a clear way, otherwise teams will get out of the Giro themselves.”
The team proposes to take two PCR tests with the riders before the second rest day, when large-scale testing for the corona virus will again be carried out. If positive cases are added before the rest day, the Giro must be stopped after the stage 15 (with finish at the top of Piancavallo).
If it is up to EF Pro Cycling, a final classification will be drawn up after two weeks. However, the UCI does not agree to the request. “We realise it is a challenge to end the cycling season in a good way, but we can only do this if we accelerate and work together.”
UCI president David Lappartient announced that all riders will be tested extra today and tomorrow, in addition to the mandatory test round on the second rest day. “We hope to bring the Giro to a successful conclusion with these measures. We will determine whether we need to take additional measures based on the results.”
One thing is certain: EF Pro Cycling will exit the Giro if it has a positive corona test. Thomas De Gendt, who rides for Lotto Soudal in the Giro, said he felt unsafe. “Things are going badly in this Giro. I feel like the organisation is hiding things. There are riders who would rather not start, others would.”
Jonathan Vaughters, manager of the EF Pro Cycling, Tweeted:
“To give this some colour: We aren’t threatening to leave. Just making a suggestion that we feel is correct given the situation. We’d rather race all the way to finish in Milan. And if the next round of tests show it’s safe to do that; we will.”
There was also this Communication from the Polizia Stradale:
With reference to the stories that appeared in the press relating to the Coronavirus status of Polizia Stradale officers at the Giro d’Italia, it must be highlighted that the reported cases only concern personnel exclusively engaged in the escort at the Giro-E, an event with organisation, logistics, hotels, timetables and starting locations completely separate from those of the Giro d’Italia.
It was found that the cluster would have originated in the technical escort team. As for the escort policemen on the Giro d’Italia, who follow autonomous prophylaxis dynamics, the recent Covid tests carried out have all returned negative responses.
Joint RCS Sport-UCI Announcement Regarding the 15th and 16th October Testing Campaign
RCS has introduced additional saliva antigen controls at the Giro d’Italia, in agreement with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the teams, to reinforce the health measures provided for in the UCI protocol in compliance with the measures of the Ministry of Health of Italy. In the event of a positive salivary test result, a PCR test is carried out to validate the result.
A total of 512 tests were performed:
No rider tested positive for Covid-19.
No team’s staff tested positive for Covid-19.
In line with the UCI protocol, a new series of PCR control tests will be carried out on the second rest day on 19 October.
Primoz Roglič Will Wear Bib Number “1”
The list of pre-registered participants for the 75th edition of La Vuelta shows that the Tour de France favourites will be coming to Spain, starting with the winner of La Vuelta 19, Slovenian rider Primož Roglič, who was the big favourite to win the Grand Boucle from start to finish, before ceding the yellow jersey to his countryman Tadej Pogacar, in the second-last stage, just 24 hours from the arrival in Paris. He will be leading the Jumbo-Visma team featuring the strongest line-up with Tom Dumoulin as co-leader and his luxury team mates: Robert Gesink, George Bennett and Sepp Kuss. The latter won stage 15 of La Vuelta 19 in the summit of the Acebo Sanctuary.
Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) and Dani Martinez (EF Pro Cycling), winners of mountain stages in the last Tour de France, are also pre-registered in La Vuelta 20, as are the protagonists of the Tour de France’s general classification: Enric Mas (5th), Tom Dumoulin (7th), Damiano Caruso (10th), Guillaume Martin (11th), Alejandro Valverde (12th), Richard Carapaz (13th) and Sepp Kuss (15th). For most of them, La Vuelta is a new chance to improve on this season’s performances.
La Vuelta is also a good opportunity to make amends for the frustrations they encountered during the Tour: Thibaut Pinot and his compatriot David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) and David de La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates), who began injured and ended up becoming one of the most valued collaborators of the final winner, Tadej Pogacar. The Tour de France revelation had already made an impression in last year’s edition of La Vuelta (3rd in the general classification and winner of three mountain stages).
Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) is feeling positive: 8th in the Tirreno-Adriático (and a stage win), 3rd in La Flèche Wallone and 7th in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The winner at the Balcón de Bizkaia summit in 2018 arrives fresh for La Vuelta, a race he particularly enjoys. Among those pre-registered are also great stage hunters such as Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren), leader for one day in La Vuelta 19, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and young prodigies such Andrea Bagioli and Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step).
There are two stars among the pre-registered sprinters: Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the man who dethroned Peter Sagan in the battle for the green jersey in the Tour de France, and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), winner of the points classification in the Giro 2019, during his very first participation in a Grand Tour. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) and Magnus Cort (Astana Pro Team) are among the candidates to challenge the supremacy of these two sprinters.
Key points :
· The winner of La Vuelta 19, Primoz Roglic, will wear bib number “1” in the official departure of La Vuelta 20 on the 20th of October in Irun.
· Jumbo-Visma will be participating with one of the strongest teams, and with Tom Dumoulin as co-leader along with other favourites including Enric Mas, Thibaut Pinot, Richard Carapaz and Chris Froome.
· Sam Bennett and Pascal Ackermann are the main candidates for sprint victories.
UAE Team Emirates announce squad for Vuelta España
Dynamic, ambitious team for the final Grand Tour.
UAE Team Emirates have named 8 riders for the final Grand Tour of the year – La Vuelta España. The Emirati team experienced a breakthrough showing at the 2019 edition of the Spanish race, with Tadej Pogačar claiming three stage wins and third overall in Madrid, as well as the white jersey for best young rider.
The shorter than usual parcours (18 stages rather than 21) will start in the Basque Country and skirt the North-western peninsula before heading south to finish in Madrid.
The team goes into the race with a dynamic squad who will focus on stage victories, with De La Cruz and Formolo also capable of a strong showing in the GC. Jasper Philipsen will lead the line in the sprints.
Team Manager Matxin Fernandez (Spa) along with Sports Directors Neil Stephens (Aus), Aurelio Corral (Spa), Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and assistant director Manuele Mori (Ita) will lead the following 8 riders :
David De La Cruz (Spa)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
Rui Costa (Por)
Sergio Henao (Col)
Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)
Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager): “We expect an intense race from the beginning with just 18 stages and we have accounted for that in our team selection. The team is a balance of younger riders who are getting their first opportunity at a Grand Tour, mixed with more experienced riders who will take on more responsibility. David De La Cruz is racing on home turf in Spain and he deserves a chance to show what he can do after a solid Tour de France. Formolo is also coming in fresh after recovering well from his crash at the Tour. Rui Costa and Sergio Henao are our veterans who offer huge experience and will have their own opportunities.”
“For the few sprint stages we have Jasper Philipsen and he spearheads the block of four young talented riders: Covi, Riabushenko and Ivo Oliveira . Our philosophy is to bring-on these young guys and to also fight and be present in every stage of the race.”
A Solid Line-Up for the Challenging La Vuelta 2020
Saturday, 17th October 2020 – 75th edition of the Vuelta will be different in many ways, mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has a huge impact in every industry. Nonetheless, Team Bahrain McLaren is making the best out of it with a strong team to support Wout Poels in General Classification, and Matej Mohorič in stage wins.
The Spanish tour will take off in Irun on Tuesday the 20th of October, and will conclude in Madrid on Sunday, the 8th of November. The legendary Vuelta is, of course, not an exception when it comes to the impacts of the world health crisis – because of the Covid-19 pandemic, for the first time in history, the Vuelta will have only 18 instead of the usual 21 stages and the start will not be in the Netherlands as was planned in the beginning. But, as with everything in sports, we have to take these changes as an opportunity and make the best out of it. So, Team Bahrain McLaren line-up and the strategy were prepared with the same dedication and high goals as with every other race.
Gorazd Štangelj, one of the team Sports Director at Vuelta, says the team is ready for the race: “This year’s Vuelta will be a tough challenge, because of the general Covid-19 situation. Our primary objective in this view will be to keep all of the riders and staff safe and healthy. Another factor that will have a tremendous effect on the race, will be the expected cold, wet, and rainy weather, which is traditional for this part of Spain during this time. But despite all these challenges, we will make the best out of it. In the race, our key objective will be to give enough support to Wout. And I think that despite all the restrictions and the busy calendar we were able to bring together a strong team to do that.”
The race will be extremely mountainous until the 15th stage, with the 6th stage being one of the most striking ones as riders will cross the mountain range to finish atop the Col du Tourmalet in France. Also, the 12th stage will be a brutal challenge. Though just 109 km long it has five categorised climbs, with the steepest sector of 23,5 %, 3 km before the top of the mythical Alto de El Angliru, for many the toughest climb in Spain. Unfortunately, access to both of those passes, together with seven others, will be restricted to the public, due to the current epidemiological situation in Spain.
“The first three stages will be tough, with uphill finishes, so there will be little room for alternative strategies, but later on, the race will be more open and other riders will have their chances to prove their shape,” continues Štangelj. “Mohorič is good at taking opportunities on any race and I am sure that he will find his place also here. Buitrago is a real talent and we’re looking forward to see him on the hills, for Davies and Williams this will be the first race after a long time, so we’ll see what they will show. Inkelaar showed really good performance in Belgium and he will get his chance to do the same in Vuelta. And Wright is one of the most talented young riders in our team and there will surely be a stage or two, where he can show his best.”
Matej Mohorič is feeling good about the race: “My goal will be to win at least a stage. There are a couple of stages that suit me well, 2nd and 5th stage, already in the first week. I felt good in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and I am very motivated to achieve a good result here.”
Wout Poels is also looking forward to the start: “I’m always excited about Vuelta, I have some really nice memories of this race. This year is of course different, also very late in the season, but I’m looking forward to it. There will be some tough stages, especially Stage 12 that finishes on top of Angliru. But right now I feel good, optimistic, and ready to go.”
Line-up for the Vuelta 2020:
Wout Poels, Grega Bole, Santiago Buitrago Sanchez, Scott Davies, Kevin Inkelaar, Matej Mohorič, Stephen Williams, Alfred Wright.
Roglic and Dumoulin Lead Team Jumbo-Visma in Vuelta a España
The 75th Vuelta a España will start on Tuesday 20 October. Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin are the leaders of Team Jumbo-Visma and will try to win the general classification.
Roglic took the victory in last year’s edition. After eleven days in the red leader’s jersey, the Slovenian was crowned overall winner in the Spanish capital Madrid.
Sports director Grischa Niermann indicates that the division of roles between the two leaders will gradually be determined in more detail during the Vuelta a España. “During the Vuelta it will become clear who will be our main man. Our team is at the start with two favourites for the final victory, one of them is last year’s winner. That ensures that other teams will watch us. We are aware of that. We have to come up with a good plan to achieve a good performance. I think we have a very strong team with two riders who are our absolute priority. The other boys can optimally support Primoz and Tom. Jonas Vingegaard is at the start of a grand tour for the first time. This fits well with his development. He will probably have to do a lot of work, but that is a good learning process.”
The German thinks that his riders will face a tough course. “The first three stages are mountain stages. So we have to be strong from the very start. The sixth stage will follow soon after that. In my opinion, the sixth stage is the Queen stage, given the finish on the Col du Tourmalet. Of course there will be some tough stages, but in my opinion, the most important week of the Vuelta is the first week.”
Line-up Vuelta a España (20/10/2020-08/11/2020):
Primoz Roglic, Tom Dumoulin, Lennard Hofstede, Jonas Vingegaard, George Bennett, Paul Martens, Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss.
2019 Vuelta winner, Primoz Roglič:
Movistar Team Towards La Vuelta, Final 2020 Challenge
Telefónica-backed squad travels to Irún, start of the Spanish GT (October 20 – November 8), with a roster almost identical to the one finishing the Tour on the Paris podium; Mas, Valverde, Soler headline eight-man team.
Following three months packed with the most relevant events in the 2020 season after racing resumed in July, the Movistar Team will be putting an end to its 41st consecutive season in the peloton with La Vuelta ciclista a España, starting in Irún on Tuesday 20th October and scheduled to end in Madrid on Sunday 8th November.
The squad managed by Eusebio Unzué, with sports directors José Luis Arrieta, Patxi Vila and Pablo Lastras, will line up at their home GT with Spaniards Enric Mas, Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler, Carlos Verona, Imanol Erviti, José Joaquín Rojas and Jorge Arcas, who conform, together with Portuguese Nelson Oliveira, a fully Iberian roster.
Valverde, a seven-time GC podium finisher -2nd in 2019- and winner in 2009; Mas, 2nd overall in 2018; and Soler, 9th in last year’s race, will thus enjoy strong, respected, well-known support, a team almost identical to the one which stepped onto the final podium of the Tour de France in Paris. Arcas, who replaces Dario Cataldo -currently racing the Giro- will be the only change.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Vuelta a España
Sam Bennett will race his second Grand Tour of the season between 20 October-8 November.
In terms of number of stages won throughout the years, the Vuelta a España is our team’s second most successful Grand Tour, and the Wolfpack will go there next week determined to add to the exploits of the previous editions, which have seen twelve different Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders claim at least a victory. The course will be again tilted towards the climbers – with Tourmalet and Angliru just two of the highlights – but also the sprinters and puncheurs will have their chances to shine at the race which this year will have 18 stages.
Tour de France green jersey winner Sam Bennett will make his second consecutive appearance at La Vuelta, where he’ll be supported by a strong lead-out train featuring New Zealand Champion Shane Archbold, Michael Mørkøv and Zdenek Stybar, a stage winner at the race in 2013. Another rider bringing a wealth of experience to our team will be Mattia Cattaneo, the soon to be 30-year-old Italian who is set to return to racing for the first time since his injury at the Giro dell’Emilia, two months ago.
The eight-man squad traveling to the Basque Country for the start of the 75th edition will feature also three young riders who will make their Grand Tour debut: Andrea Bagioli, a stage victor at this year’s Tour de l’Ain and Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, US ITT Champion Ian Garrison, and Tour of Slovakia winner Jannik Steimle.
“We are looking forward to the last Grand Tour of the season, which we are happy that is going ahead, considering all the circumstances. Our team is a mix of youth and experience, who can deliver some really nice results in Spain. Sam is going there after a great Tour de France, and he’ll count again on a strong lead-out train, Styby was very motivated to race a Grand Tour this year after dropping out from our Le Tour squad due to that knee injury, while the three young guys on the team – two of whom are neo-pros – will make another important step in their development. We will give our best out there and hopefully have a good and rewarding three weeks”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Rik Van Slycke.
20.10–08.11 La Vuelta ciclista a España (ESP) 2.UWT
Shane Archbold (NZL)
Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Sam Bennett (IRL)
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA)
Ian Garrison (USA)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Brian Holm (DEN) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).
Vuelta a Espana (October 20th – November 8th)
Geoffrey Bouchard won last year’s Vuelta a Espana King of the Mountains classification (2019), securing the jersey at the end of stage 16 to wear it all the way to Madrid.
Stéphane Goubert: “The AG2R La Mondiale team must be opportunistic at this Vuelta a Espana.
We have created a united group. Helping each other will be essential to channel a strong collective and to seek victories. At times, it’ll be up to us to try things that may seem crazy to make a proper impact on this race. Risk-taking and a strong state of mind will be two important factors for a successful Grand Tour. Every day we will have to have a battle-ready mindset in order to go chasing stages and to achieve our goals.”
Stéphane Goubert introduces us to the team’s riders for the Vuelta a España:
“Clément will race his first Grand Tour. This Vuelta will allow him to throw himself into the deep end, with the aim of slipping into the breakaways and playing a leading role on certain stages. We are going to see the extent of his talent and the different facets of this rider. He is certain to achieve great victories in the future.”
“Axel is a very good cyclist and a very nice person. He will be keen to end his adventure with AG2R La Mondiale during this Vuelta by going for a big result. I know he is very motivated to be racing with the team and he remains ambitious to meet the final goals of this 2020 season.”
“Originally scheduled for the Giro d’Italia, Mathias will compete in the Vuelta to perfect his physical condition which has not been optimal so far. It is important for him to accumulate racing days. He is keen to thrive within the team in order to find good sensations and also to seek a stage victory.”
“It’s a great satisfaction to see him again at a Grand Tour. He has had great success and great victories in this race (3 times the winner of stages). And in 2018, he earned himself a superb 11th place overall in the Giro d’Italia. When Alexandre has the determination, he’s a formidable rider when going for the win in a breakaway.”
“Dorian gave us great joy last year in the Vuelta a Espana with a 3rd place in the 6th stage. Now he has to aim higher to win. It’s up to him to be aggressive like he was this year at Paris-Camembert (victory). Dorian has a very good mindset to complete the objectives with flying colours.”
“Quentin is a rider who has improved tremendously in recent years. He will once again participate in a Grand Tour, which will strengthen his physical potential and his good form at the moment. With his qualities, he can do great things. Like the rest of the team, his goal will be a stage victory.”
“La Vuelta a Espana will be his 2nd Grand Tour this year after taking a great stage victory in the Tour de France. It’s a great reward for a very motivated rider. Nans is important to the atmosphere of the group. And now he has a great challenge ahead of him: to get a stage win and thus score a stage victory in all three Grand Tours, all in less than a year and a half!”
“A last minute call-up, Harry has raced very little in 2020. He is extremely motivated and that can make the difference at the end of the season. He wants to show the extent of his talent as a rouleur, and it is up to him to seize the opportunities! He will be able to launch himself into the breakaways, fight for the win on each stage. The best is yet to come for this rider.”
CCC Team with a mix of youth and experience at Vuelta a España
CCC Team will line up at the Vuelta a España targeting stage results with a diverse team of Grand Tour debutants and experienced stage winners.
Sports Director Piotr Wadecki said the team will focus on giving every rider the chance to take an opportunity across the 18 stages, without a General Classification contender in the ranks.
“The Vuelta a España will round out the season for our eight riders so it is their last chance to make a good result this year and finish their seasons on a high. We know it is a tough race and racing in November will be a new experience for everyone but as a team we are motivated. The advantage of not lining up with a GC rider is that we have the freedom to jump in breakaways and race aggressively every day,” Wadecki explained.
“With the experience of guys like Simon Geschke, Jan Hirt, Fran Ventoso, and Łukasz Wiśniowski, our young riders will be in good hands out on the road. Michał Pauta and Georg Zimmermann are set to make their Grand Tour debut while Will Barta and Jakub Mareczko will build on the experience they have.”
CCC Team at the Vuelta a España (20 Oct – 08 Nov)
William Barta (USA):
“I am really looking forward to taking part in my second Vuelta a España. First, I would like to say thank you to the team for giving me this opportunity. I really enjoyed my experience racing my maiden Grand Tour at the Vuelta last year and so I am hoping to build on that experience this year. It is quite different to be racing the Vuelta into November, but I think it will be a great race nonetheless. I am really looking forward to the time trial as I think it fits me well, and I would like to take my chances on the climbing stages and go for some stage results.”
Simon Geschke (GER):
“I was a late call up for the Vuelta a España so I didn’t really have the race in mind as a big goal at the beginning of the season. I have been in good shape since the Tour de France and I kept training until now in case I had to go. Now that I am, I am keen to make it a good race as it will be my last of the season, like everyone else there. I am motivated to push one more time and hopefully I can still carry my form from the Classics into the race.”
Jan Hirt (CZE):
“It has been a busy second half of the season and I’m starting to feel it but I am looking forward to seeing what I can do at the Vuelta a España. No one really has any experience racing this late into the year so I think it will be interesting to see how the race plays out. I will take things day by day and see what we can do as a team.”
Jakub Mareczko (ITA):
“I’m very happy to start my first Vuelta a España and discover a new Grand Tour. The sprint stages will be my target so I hope to be up there. I’ve had a good block of training and racing and I’m feeling good. We have worked well with the team to prepare for the Vuelta and we believe we can get some good results.”
Michał Paluta (POL):
“I’m very excited to race the Vuelta a España as since I started cycling it was always a dream to race a Grand Tour, and I was always looking forward to getting this chance one day. As the pandemic began I was worried we wouldn’t have any races during this season and, of course, the racing looks a little different now with the restrictions. But after a mentally tough time, it’s already October and performing in the Vuelta has kept me very motivated for a couple of months. My first goal is to finish my first Grand Tour and I’ll do my best to accomplish this goal but I’m ambitious and I’m eager to get some nice results in the stages. I‘ve never raced for three weeks in a row so I’m very curious how my body will be after this kind of race load. Moreover, racing in November is a new experience for me as well. There are some stages I like the look of but really the race situation will write itself so we will have to see.”
Francisco Ventoso (ESP):
“It is always nice to race on home soil so I am excited to be lining up at the Vuelta a España for the seventh time in my career. I don’t have too many race days in the legs so we will see how my form is when we start racing. I will enjoy the race and try to help our young riders as much as possible.”
Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL):
“I am happy to be back at the start line and able to race again one more time this year. I have now had a long block off since Tirreno-Adriatico but I have been able to get back into training and build my form for the Vuelta a España. Because it has been a while without racing, I will take things day by day and do what I can to help the team and see how quickly I can get back into the race rhythm. This will be my first Vuelta so I am looking forward to discovering the race.”
Georg Zimmermann (GER):
“The team already enabled me to race some of the most prestigious one-day-races like Il Lombardia, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Gent-Wevelgem and I learned a lot about these races, how my body handles 6-7 hours of bike racing, and the importance of teamwork and positioning. Now I also get the opportunity to race my first Grand Tour as a neo pro. I feel grateful for all the races I have been selected for and I am definitely excited about the Vuelta. The longest stage race I have ever done was half of the distance of the Vuelta so I am looking at it as a big challenge. I am not just starting the race to reach Madrid. I would like to go home with a result and the team will give me the chance to do this occasionally so we will see how the race goes.”
Sports Directors: Piotr Wadecki (POL), Marco Pinotti (ITA).
La Vuelta a Espana: Lineup
The final grand tour of the season, La Vuelta a Espana is set to get underway on Tuesday in Irun. The Spanish grand tour, shortened to 18 stages in this Covid-19 affected season, will conclude with the final stage in Madrid on 8 November.
The 2020 Vuelta a Espana will be a unique edition of the race, taking place a month later than usual. With the final stage set for 8 November, it will also bring the 2020 professional cycling season to a close.
NTT Pro Cycling line up for the Vuelta a Espana still without a title partner for next year but look forward to the opportunity the Spanish grand tour presents, to fight for its future.
NTT Pro Cycling’s La Vuelta lineup includes 3 South Africans; Nicholas Dlamini, Stefan de Bod and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg. For de Bod, La Vuelta will be his debut grand tour.
Our lineup includes two more debutants as Gino Mader and Benjamin Dyball have also been selected to represent the South African UCI World Tour Team.
Completing our roster will be Carlos Barbero, who starts his 2nd La Vuelta, and the experienced duo of Enrico Gasparotto and Michael Valgren.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It is great that the Vuelta a Espana has finally arrived, albeit later in the year and under these very different circumstances. Also, for our team, without a title partner announced for next year yet, we start the Vuelta knowing it is the last race of the year and the final opportunity for us to showcase ourselves and the purpose we race for. The team we have for La Vuelta is aligned to race with this sense of freedom, without a GC leader, but with fighters who can target stage wins. We are motivated and excited and hope the race can run its course in a safe way all the way to the end.
I’m very happy to start the 2nd grand tour of my career, after being at the Vuelta last year already. It’s been a tough year for everyone and the fact that we still get to start grand tours is awesome. I gained a lot of experience from last year’s La Vuelta and I look to use all that I’ve learned last year, and this year, to get the best out of myself for the team. The guys at the Giro d’Italia have boosted and motivated us with the way they’ve been riding, so we want to try and continue with the momentum that they have got going, here at La Vuelta too.
Stefan de Bod
I am looking forward to this Vuelta a Espana. I missed out on my first grand tour last year due to visa issues, so I am very excited about being on the start line with the team on Tuesday. I just hope that the race will not be disturbed by Covid-19 any further and that we can race to end the season on a high.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
The Vuelta is the final grand tour and final race of what has been very busy and reorganised season. Michael Valgren and I will be racing Tour of Flanders on Sunday and then head straight to Spain to start Vuelta on Tuesday. We are really looking forward to this challenge and together with the team we will be looking to make the most of it, searching for opportunities, and fighting for stage victories.
This will be a different Vuelta without fans on the road, but it is necessary to adapt to the circumstances and make the race as safe as possible for everyone. The race itself will also be very different because of the time of year and the weather this brings. Personally, I hope to play a strong role on the stages where the parcour will suit me and then in the mountain stages to help the young climbers in our team.
Team Sunweb Present 2020 Vuelta a España Line-Up
Team Sunweb are pleased to announce the riders that will compete at the 2020 edition of the Vuelta a España. Bringing a well-balanced and youthful squad to the race, the team aim for day success whilst focusing on rider development and core processes.
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef: “The Vuelta is the final Grand Tour of the year and the last race of our season to get underway, and after the team’s successes of late, we are keen to continue in that flow as we head to Spain. Our focus will be centred around a day-by-day approach, where we will chase stage success over the three weeks. With a young but very talented group we will not only be on the hunt for results, but also equally look to our riders’ development. A Grand Tour is the perfect environment to focus on the core processes of cooperation for young guys and implement the various areas of expertise that the team has, with no pressure. For five of our riders; Thymen, Mark, Max, Martin and Ilan, it will be their first Grand Tour. Jasha brings his Grand Tour experience whilst also making his debut at the Vuelta, and we conclude our squad with Robert and Michael who were part of our successes in Spain last season. Motivations are high and we look to bring our great season to a close with some nice performances in the Vuelta.”
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Max Kanter (GER)
Robert Power (AUS)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)
Ilan van Wilder (BEL).
Total Direct Energy to La Vuelta
Niki Terpstra and Pim Ligthart will participate in the Vuelta a España on behalf of Total Direct Energie. The presence of Terpstra is particularly striking, since the North Hollander can still be found in Belgium for the Tour of Flanders two days before the Vuelta start.
Terpstra is not the only rider to venture into the Tour of Flanders-Vuelta a España combination. For example, Tim Wellens will also travel to Spain after the finish of “Flanders Most Beautiful” to participate in the last big round of the season.
The Belgian from Lotto Soudal received permission from the UCI to have the mandatory blood test for the Vuelta carried out in Belgium. It is still unclear whether Terpstra will also have a blood test performed in Belgium. The selection of Total Direct Energie includes a second Dutchman with Pim Ligthart.
The French formation also counts on the French Valentin Ferron, Jonathan Hivert, Lorrenzo Manzin, Paul Ourselin, Romain Sicard and Julien Simon.
Total Direct Energy team for Vuelta a España (October 20 – November 8):
Valentin Ferron (Fra)
Jonathan Hivert (Fra)
Pim Ligthart (Ned)
Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra)
Paul Ourselin (Fra)
Romain Sicard (Fra)
Julien Simon (Fra)
Niki Terpstra (Ned).
Six Days of Gent is Canceled This Year
The organisers of the Six Days of Gent have decided not to run the event this year. The track spectacle in the Kuipke will be postponed for a year, from 17-22 November 2020 to 16-21 November 2021.
“In the current circumstances, the health risks cannot be sufficiently avoided without touching the essence of the event,” wrote the organisers of the Lotto Six Days of Flanders-Ghent. “A month of November without a Six Days in ‘t Kuipke, it hurts, but we promise you (under healthy conditions) that 2021 will be an edition that will be even more atmospheric and sportier than ever,” said Golazo, one of organisers of the popular 6-day.
The people who had already bought tickets for this autumn’s edition can also use those tickets next year. Due to this year’s cancellation, Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys remain the last winners of the Six Days of Gent.
Ilnur Zakarin to Join Gazprom-RusVelo in 2021
The Russian team Gazprom-RusVelo and Ilnur Zakarin have signed a two-year contract. Major professional achievements of Zakarin include stage victories at Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and a third place in general classification at La Vuelta.
Grand Tour and stage-race specialist Ilnur Zakarin is glad to return to the team where he competed for two seasons in 2013 and 2014: “I had an offer to stay in the World Tour, however when Renat (Khamidulin) contacted me and offered to join Gazprom-RusVelo I changed my mind. It is an exciting feeling to return to the team which played a vital role in my cycling career and where I would feel like home, because I know almost every teammate in person. The same applies to team Sport Director Dmitry Konyshev with whom we have worked and achieved great results together.”
Zakarin continues: “Speaking about my goals, I would like to be straight on the point — my aim is not to only share my experience, but to demonstrate maximum and achieve new victories with the team. We have already talked with team management about the race calendar of 2021. The stage-races in the first part of season will be my main focus and I will do my best to be at my peak form in spring.”
Hideto Nakane Joins EF Pro Cycling
EF Pro Cycling is proud to announce Hideto Nakane as its newest member. The Japanese rider will join the team in 2021.
“I am very glad and thrilled that I will be riding for this wonderful team,” said Nakane. “I understand that the mission of a WorldTeam is extremely difficult, but I am ready for that. I will do my best to make the best use of my own strengths and contribute to the success of the team.”
Nakane first caught the eye of EF Pro Cycling team CEO Jonathan Vaughters at the Japan Cup in 2019, where he finished an impressive 6th in a star-studded field. “I noticed him when he was climbing in the lead group at the Japan Cup, and I took note,” said Vaughters. “I’m excited to welcome him to our team — I think Nakane will make a great addition to our multicultural crew of riders and staff and bring his own style to the table.”
Hideto grew up in Nagoya, Japan where he played soccer as his main sport. A late comer to the sport of cycling, he didn’t start riding until he was eighteen. “I started cycling after my dad got involved in a continental team,” explains Nakane. Since then, his love for the sport has only grown. “The bike has allowed me to ride around the world on my own two legs and has also given me friends in many countries,” said Hideto.
Having raced for an Italian team in the past, Nakane feels a special bond to Italy. He loves to ride his bike on the Stelvio Pass because of its “magnificence and beautiful scenery” and is looking forward to the Italian classics.
Along with his impressive showing at the Japan Cup and one-day races last year, Nakane comes to us as an accomplished climber and GC rider in week long stage races where he has accumulated a slew of top ten finishes on the UCI Asia Tour. His most recent victory came at the Tour de Langkawi where he took the win on stage 6 in a drag race to the finish line after he broke away from the peloton with 10km to go.
Nakane most recently rode for NIPPO DELKO One Provence, a French UCI ProTeam where he has spent much of his time as a professional rider. “This is all thanks to the experience in the NIPPO DELKO One Provence team in France and Vini Fantini team in Italy,” said Nakane. “I am very grateful for training me in a tough and competitive racing environment in Europe.”
Team Sunweb Strengthen Climbing Block with Romain Combaud
Team Sunweb are happy to announce that French climber and puncheur, Romain Combaud, joins the team in 2021 on a two-year deal.
Hailing from Saint-Doulchard in central France, Combaud has spent all of his professional career riding for teams from his home nation performing well in the French cup, where he has delivered a bundle of consistent results. His standout performance was a great second place in the 2019 GP Cycliste la Marseillaise where as part of a two-rider breakaway, he rode strongly to hold off a determined chase from the peloton. Good on the short and hilly parcours, Combaud will help bolster the team’s ever-growing WorldTour climbing armada.
On joining Team Sunweb, Combaud said: “It’s a pleasure for me to join one of the best teams in the world at Team Sunweb. I find we share similar values in our way of racing, focusing on good teamwork and fighting spirit. I felt the time was right to move and on a personal level I needed to challenge myself and discover other cultures. I’m definitely sure I will enjoy the next two years with Team Sunweb.”
Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Romain is a good rider who has shown himself to be strong on the short climbs and hills. We think he will fit in well within our team, with both his qualities on and off the bike. His ability on the ascents helps to complete our climbing block for the tough and hilly WorldTour level races. With Romain, we feel we have found another piece in the puzzle for our next goals as a team.”
Josu Etxeberria will debut as a professional with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
The prolific subsidiary team of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA continues producing professional cyclists. The long list of riders who change the under 23 squad for the first team grows with Josu Etxeberria (Iturmendi, 2000), after only two seasons in the amateur category, enough to earn his promotion.
The Navarrese already left good impressions in his debut season in the category, adding a valuable stage victory in Vuelta a Palencia or a second place in the general classification of Vuelta a Cantabria. However, its breakthrough came this summer with the return of racing. Etxeberria prevailed in the general of Vuelta a Zamora after offering a magnificent exhibition in the queen stage. After that, a crash in the Giro d’Italia under 23 weighed down his final part of the year and his experience as a stagiaire in three Italian races.
Josu Etxeberria: “I am very happy, it’s a dream that I have been looking for since I trained in schools. Every time I was taken to see professional races as a child, I returned with more desire to train to become one of them and that day has come. It has been a rare season marked by the Covid. I knew that the opportunities were going to be less. That is why I worked hard to take advantage of them and I was able to leave a quality detail. After the victory in Zamora, I made some mistakes, added to two falls that prevented me from performing as I would have liked as a stagiaire.”
“Being in the subsidiary team of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA has helped me a lot to develop myself as a cyclist, to know the professional field already since this year and to learn from mistakes. For next season, I hope to become a regular and consistent professional. Not everyone has this opportunity and I hope to seize it.”
Jokin Murguialday becomes professional with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
The professional squad of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA for 2021 continues growing with the confirmation of the signing of Jokin Murguialday (2000), who promotes from the U23 team to join the recent confirmation of Josu Etxeberria. It is a new commitment to youth, key in the development of talent in lower categories.
The opportunity comes to Jokin after two outstanding seasons in the amateur team becoming a reference in the category in this atypical 2020. His two victories last year in Berriatua and Irún laid the growth that he has confirmed this season with a consistency difficult to see in his twenties. The two silver medals in the Spanish Championships, the eighth place in the Giro d’Italia sub23 or the sixth place in the general of the Tour of Bulgaria -riding among professionals- have been sufficient credentials for the technical staff to provide him the opportunity to upgrade.
Jokin Murguialday: “Before confinement I did have the objective of trying to reach professionals, but after confinement I had doubts and my only objective was to take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves, especially in the important races. I was able to do some good Spanish Championships and Giro d’Italia Sub23 and both have helped me to fulfill my dream of becoming professionals. Now it’s time to keep working to be there and keep improving.”
“I consider myself a complete cyclist, especially on the climbs. I also like to prepare the time trials, and fight for general classifications since every day that passes I am going to more. Being in the U23 team has been the closest to feeling professional. They take care of you like a professional, you participate in the best races in Spain and even with professionals abroad. They provide us with the best material, they teach us every day and I consider myself to be lucky. I hope to continue learning, improving and why not let me see. I have special illusion to participate in the Itzulia, I hope the opportunity will come to me one day. It is the home race and the one that I have been to see since I was little.”
La fin de l’Équipe Paule Ka
It is with great regret that Équipe Paule Ka announces the immediate cessation of its racing season and, unfortunately, the closure of the team – currently ranked fourth in the world with over 3000 UCI points – due to the absence of sponsor payments since August.
After late payment of its first instalment in July, the French fashion company Paule Ka then failed to pay the team in the months of August, September and October, despite multiple assurances that the payments were on their way.
This is an extremely sad moment in the 15-year history of this squad, which prides itself on the development of exciting young talent within the peloton. The team’s riders and staff were looking forward to spending several more years together in the pursuit of sportive success, having already recommenced the season with a series of victories and top results, including an emphatic Giro Rosa stage win, silver at the UCI World Championships, bronze at the European Championships, as well as multiple national championship titles.
However, this can regrettably no longer be our shared goal, with the team being forced to dissolve after a decade and a half in the peloton. Now, our main aim is to find both riders and staff new teams to secure their futures.
We would like to extend sincere thanks to cycling fans all over the world, followers of the team, and our competitors within the peloton, who have reached out to us during this challenging time to let us know that our presence in the peloton is one that would be sorely missed.
The Fundación Freno al Ictus and the Alberto Contador Foundation are promoting ‘Pedalea contra el Ictus’
Pedalea contra el Ictus
From 24th October to 1st November
The Fundación Freno al Ictus and the Alberto Contador Foundation invite you to pedal against stroke in the first social, family and sports walk in our country in the fight against the disease. This first edition of ‘Pedalea contra el Ictus’ is organised in a virtual format that seeks a massive participation of the society to improve the situation of this pathology in Spain.
Click here for more information.
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