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More Giro d’Italia news and video, plus the Brabantse Pijl. Giro to change route due to snow – TOP STORY. Riders for Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Tours. Boasson Hagen to returning to INEOS Grenadiers. Contract extensions with AG2R-La Mondiale and Rally Cycling signs Magnus Sheffield. Big Giro cappuccino time.

top story
TOP STORY: The Giro organisation is considering scrapping Colle dell Agnello
The Giro d’Italia is thinking of changing the route of the penultimate stage by dropping the climb of the Colle dell’Agnello. The mountain pass, on the border between Italy and France, has a strong chance of heavy snowfall.

The Italian weekly L’Eco del Chisone, published in the Pinerolo region, that released the news. For the time being, the plan is that stage 20 will start in Alba and then head into the mountains with first the Colle dell’Agnello, the Col d’Izoard and after Briançon de Montgenèvre. The finish is in Sestriere after the final first category climb.

But it is reported that the Giro organisers are thinking about taking out the climbs of the Agnello, the Izoard and the Montgenèvre. From the start in Alba, the stage would then run via Vigone, Buriasco and Pinerolo to the Colle delle Finestre, which the Giro has already climbed four times since 2005. The finalé to Sestriere would still be climbed.

Snow on the Giro:
giro snow

 

giro
Giro d’Italia 2020
Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) won the first Giro’20 mountain stage on Mount Etna. The Ecuadorian champion was the best on the final climb of Stage 3. The big losers were Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers), who lost over 12 minutes, and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who finished 4 minutes down. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) lost his pink jersey to João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), who is on the same overall time as Caicedo.

Top favourite Geraint Thomas crashed in the neutralised zone. With a few scrapes and a torn shirt, he was able to continue on his way. The start was held back for a while. Shortly after the official start, eight riders escaped: Victor Campenaerts (NTT), Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Lawson Craddock, Jonathan Caicedo (both EF Pro Cycling), Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM), Francesco Romano (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Josip Rumac (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates). The eight took a lead of about 5 minutes. Mitchelton-Scott took control of the peloton. The team of Simon Yates allowed the difference to fluctuate around 5 and 6 minutes. Eventually Trek-Segafredo took the lead in the peloton and Vincenzo Nibali’s team reduced the difference to 3:30. Romano and Rumac were dropped from the leading group. The other six started the final climb with a 3 minute lead.

Geraint Thomas ran into problems before the climb of Etna started. The Welshman had to let go of the peloton, but with the help of Ganna and Rohan Dennis he returned towards the base of the climb, but Trek-Segafredo made it hard. Thomas was soon 1 minute behind and his Giro was as good as over. Caicedo and Visconti dropped Bjerg, but they knew the favourites were approaching rapidly. A serious acceleration from BORA-hansgrohe, at more than 13 kilometres from the finish, caused many riders problems in the peloton. Majka’s right hand man Matteo Fabbro put in such an effort that Simon Yates lost contact.

Jonathan Castroviejo was first to attack from the GC group. The INEOS Grenadiers rider saw his chance, but there were several attacks behind, including from Harm Vanhoucke. After the loss of Thomas and Yates, there was little control among the favourites. Their eyes were focused on experienced riders such as Jakob Fuglsang and Vincenzo Nibali, while Wilco Kelderman and Steven Kruijswijk were also close. Early breakaway Caicedo then dropped Visconti and started the last 3 kilometres with more than a minute on the chase group. Kelderman managed to break free with a strong jump. Kruijswijk then had a hard time when Nibali and Fuglsang accelerated, just over 2 kilometres from the finish. Initially, only Domenico Pozzovivo and Rafal Majka could follow, but the Jumbo-Visma leader recovered. Although a move by Fuglsang was too much for Kruijswijk.

Caicedo managed to hold off the riders from behind in the rainy conditions. Behind the champion of Ecuador, home rider Visconti finished second, just ahead of Vanhoucke, who had dropped Castroviejo and Kelderman. Fuglsang, Nibali, Pozzovivo and Majka crossed the finish line together. Kruijswijk managed to finish 5 seconds behind the Nibali group. Simon Yates lost more than four minutes to Caicedo at the line. Geraint Thomas had a loss of more than twelve minutes.

João Almeida moved into the pink jersey due to the loss of Ganna with Thomas. He defended a 1:13 lead over stage winner Caicedo, who also earned a 10 second bonus at the finish. Almeida crossed the line at 1:03 behind Caicedo and so they ended up in the same time. Because Almeida was 28 hundredths faster in the time trial, he is the new overall leader.

Behind: Pello Bilbao is now third at 37 seconds from Almeida. Wilco Kelderman is fourth at 0:42, followed by Harm Vanhoucke at 0:53, Vincenzo Nibali at 0:55 and Domenico Pozzovivo at 0:59, all still within a minute. Jakob Fuglsang and Steven Kruijswijk are also in the ‘Top Ten’ and are at 1:13 and 1:15 of the pink jersey.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

caicedo

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling): “I can’t really believe it yet, it’s a dream that’s come true. Last year something like this just seemed out of reach, we were trying and following, but this year it’s good. When I attacked Visconti, he’s obviously a guy with a lot of experience, I tried to get as much speed as possible to try and overtake him whilst also trying to save as much energy as possible before I got there. I took advantage of the moment and attacked and then managed to have enough in me to take it to the finish. We’ve come here looking for stages, I’ve now taken a stage, it’s been a great one and we’ll just see what the body does and how it responds over the next few days, and we’ll keep trying to look for victories.”

Overall leader, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Leading a Grand Tour is a dream come true! This performance left me speechless, I can barely find the words to describe how I feel. The pace was high on the last climb, so I just tried to control my effort. When the wind began blowing hard close to the top, I did everything to just hang in there and make it through the pain. It was a sufferfest until the finish, but I emptied myself out there, because we are the Wolfpack and we always give our best. I am happy and proud to wear this iconic maglia rosa, which I will try to keep as much as I can, this I promise.”

3rd on the stage and 5th overall, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal): “Maybe I can make a goal out of the youth jersey. I have received a lot of criticism, but I kept believing myself. I am really happy. I didn’t expect this at all, although I felt pretty good all day long. I didn’t think they were riding that fast on Etna and when Castroviejo left, nobody came. I thought everyone was on their limit and wanted to try. Apparently I was pretty good today, because the Spaniard didn’t do much. I thought he was playing with me, but he had to let go. I knew I could do it and it would work out one day. I was just not allowed to overturn and I was not allowed to train completely. I should have a look at that classification. I feel pretty good and recover well. Maybe I can make a goal of the youth jersey.”

4th on the stage and overall, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb): “I felt very good. The weather was also a bit strange. At first it was very hot and clammy, and at the top of Etna it was cold and raining. That had some impact on the body. I saw that there was not a team that could control everything. There were a few guys in front of us so I took the plunge and wanted to see what was going to happen. Precisely because there was no control. It is only the beginning of the Giro. The final week is so difficult that a lot is going to happen. It is a shame for Thomas that he fell so hard, that is disappointing. I hope he is doing well. There is always something happening this early in the Giro, but there is still a long way to go.”

5th on the stage and 9th overall, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “It was actually a good day. The final was characterised by many attacks, but I felt good and was able to follow them all. It is a pity that Geraint Thomas fell so early, because this is not the way you want to take time on him. In addition, the weather suddenly changed. After the wind of the last days, we ended up in the rain today. The team were great today, especially Manuele Boaro who worked very hard. After two days of bad luck where we lost two strong riders (Miguel Ángel López and Aleksandr Vlasov), today was a good day.”

6th on the stage, Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe): “This is the first mountain stage of the Giro and test of my legs. The team did a very good job today, Matteo Fabbro and Pawel Poljanski pulled hard. It’s my first race after the Etna training camp, my shape is getting better and I hope I’ll have good legs in the next days.”

7th on the stage and 6th overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo): “I am very satisfied with my ride, but I also know that we have to keep both feet on the ground. I repeat, we are only on the third day. There is no need to be very enthusiastic now. Because of my experience I am not surprised that such a difficult climb in the first week causes so much damage. As classification riders we are still warming up and if you have a bad one day, it will cost you dearly. I got a glimpse of Thomas’s fall, but when he got back into the pack I didn’t think he was that bad, mainly because he was in good position at the front of the pack. That was also the case for Yates, but that was for other reasons.”

9th on the stage and 7th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT): “It was a hard stage, which passed through many small towns, with cobbles. The cobbles made it a bit difficult with my arm, but I know the roads well, so I could manage my position in the peloton. When it was a good moment, thanks to my teammates, I was in the front in the final. I had decent legs, but the headwind was strong, so I tried to attack when the wind wasn’t that strong. I am happy to be in the fight for GC now.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 3 Result:
1. Jonathan Klever Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling in 4:02:33
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabù-KTM at 0:21
3. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:30
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:39
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:51
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:56.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 3:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 7:44:25
2. Jonathan Klever Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:37
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:42
5. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:53
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:55
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:59
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 1:11
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:13
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:15.

Giro’20 stage 3:

 

A day for the sprinters finishing in Villafranca Tirrena on Stage 4. The photo finish equipment was needed to separate Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step). It was the French champion who was given the victory. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) added 2 seconds to his lead over Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) on GC, thanks to the intermediate sprint.

Geraint Thomas crashed on the stage to Etna on Monday and suffered a fractured pelvis and did not start stage 4. Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Kamil Gradek (CCC) and Marco Fverslagi (Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM) were the break of the day with a maximum lead of almost 5 minutes. Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ and UAE Team Emirates did the chase work for their sprinters. The lead of the early break fluctuated around 4 minutes to the start of the 20 kilometre long climb of the Portella Mandrazzi.

There was a crash of Ben Swift and a rider from UAE Team Emirates, but both riders were able to continue. Pieter Weening also crashed and looked bad at first, but eventually got back on his bike. BORA-hansgrohe decided to increase the pace on the climb. The German team wanted to get rid of the sprinters, Gaviria and Viviani were in trouble. The Colombian and Italian had teammates with them, but lost more and more ground on the ramps of the Portella Mandrazzi. Sagan and Michael Matthews had no trouble as did Arnaud Démare. The French champion managed to hang on to the top of the climb. In the break; Pellaud turned out to have the best legs and was first over the Portella Mandrazzi. On the descent, the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec rider dropped like a stone, his lead over the peloton at that time was 1:30.

Trek-Segafredo were in control of what was left of the peloton. From the early break, Rapporti and Gradek were caught, but Pellaud was still one minute ahead of the peloton with 30 kilometres to go. BORA-hansgrohe did not want the dropped sprinters to return to the peloton and rode flat-out again. Viviani managed to rejoining. At 26 kilometres from the line, Pellaud took three bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. João Almeida and Jonathan Caicedo fought for the remaining seconds and the pink jersey. Almeida was second for two seconds bonus which gave Almeida a two second lead on the GC.

After the intermediate sprint Pellaud was caught. With Démare, Viviani, Matthews and Sagan, most of the top sprinters were still at the front. Gaviria and Álvaro José Hodeg were at 30 seconds for a long time and gave up with 6 kilometres to go. With 5 kilometres to go, Groupama-FDJ pulled hard on the front, but Démare’s team was overtaken by Israel Start-Up Nation 2 kilometres later. Miles Scotson surprised the sprinters and had a gap on the peloton with 1K to go, but Cofidis pulled him back. Sagan started the sprint first, but the Slovak was beaten by Démare on the line, although the difference was very small. Démare was the winner, Sagan finished second, Ballerini had to settle for third.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “After I crossed the finish line I was not sure I had won. I saw Ballerini celebrating, so I thought I was second and could not celebrate until my success was made official on the podium. I am super happy. It was a special finish, we wanted to keep the high speed at the front as Gaviria and Viviani were 25-30 seconds behind. In the final kilometre, teammate Miles Scotson accelerated very fast and tried to go solo, Cofidis had then to work catch him and I could save some precious energy for the final sprint. Today I had good legs but also some luck on my side.”

Maglia Rosa, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “When I saw Caicedo trying to go for the time bonus at the intermediate sprint, I decided to react and beat him to take the lead. In the end I am very happy it worked and that I can wear the Maglia Rosa another day. Tomorrow we have more climbs to tackle, I expect some riders to attack. I hope I can follow then and be in the GC lead again tomorrow evening.”

Maglia Ciclamino and 2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “When I crossed the line, I didn’t know if I’d won or if I was second or third. I did my best. In such a tight sprint, sometimes I’ve won, sometimes I’ve lost. Our tactic was to make the race very hard on the climb. I’m satisfied with the team. They’ve done a very good job. I’m in the Maglia Ciclamino now, but only by a few points. I just hope it’s going to continue like this.”

4th on the stage, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Taking fourth today with this type of finish, I can only be happy with my ride. The whole team helped me perfectly all day, and I’m really happy with this result. Now I hope to do it again. I have checked a few of the stages that may be more my style with slightly more difficult profiles. But I know I have good form and that’s very encouraging.”

Maglia Azzurra Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling): “The truth is that sprinting is not my speciality. But I was in a situation of getting the lead of a very important race so I tried my luck in the intermediate sprint. It didn’t quite work out but I’ll keep fighting for the Maglia Rosa. I’m very motivated.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 4 Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:22:13
2. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
6. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
7. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
9. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
10. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 4:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 11:06:36
2. Jonathan Klever Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling at 0:02
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:39
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:44
5. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:55
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:57
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 1:01
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 1:13
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:15
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:17.

Giro’20 stage 4:

 

INEOS Grenadiers’ Filippo Ganna won the hilly Stage 5 on Wednesday. The young Italian went with the early break and then left them to solo to the finish. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) held the pink jersey, finishing in third place as the GC men.

INEOS Grenadiers riders Salvatore Puccio and Filippo Ganna joined forces with Jhonatan Restrepo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal), Héctor Carretero (Movistar), Valerio Conti (UAE Emirates) and Edoardo Zardini (Vini Zabù-KTM) after 45 kilometres. After 80 kilometres, the escape reached the intermediate sprint with more than 4 minutes. The race lost Pieter Weening, who was unable to continue after his hard crash on Tuesday.

The eight leaders started the Cat 1 Valico di Montescuro, while Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Sunweb set the pace in the peloton. On the steep first kilometres of the climb, Hagen and Restrepo were the first to be dropped. Thomas De Gendt attacked with the young climber Einer Rubio on his wheel. First they picked up Restrepo and Hagen, they also caught Puccio and Conti.

Carretero, Ganna and Zandini turned out to have the strongest legs at the front. Just over half-way up the climb, De Gendt and Rubio caught the front riders. De Gendt was on a mission, that was clear, and only Rubio and Ganna could follow the powerful pace of the Lotto Soudal rider. Five kilometres from the top, it was the Italian from INEOS Grenadiers who managed to drop his companions.

Ganna rode away from De Gendt and Rubio, in the shade of the Valico di Montescuro. With a lead of more than a minute, Ganna started the descent to Camigliatello Silano. On the descent, Vincenzo Nibali took the lead in the peloton, but was not given any space by Jakob Fuglsang. At the start of the final kilometre, Ganna still had 35 seconds, enough for his second stage victory. Thirty-four seconds later, Patrick Konrad finishing second ahead of João Almeida. The Portuguese rider gained 4 bonus seconds. Wilco Kelderman took fourth place. Due to Ganna’s first place at the top of Valico di Montescuro, the Italian took the lead in the KOM classification from Jonathan Caicedo.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

ganna

Stage winner, Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers): “There were strong riders in the breakaway, even riders who aren’t far down on GC. Our initial plan was not for me to go away today but I went with Salvatore Puccio and we managed to reach the escape. He has advised me all day. He doesn’t win races himself but he’s a real leader of the team. He’s like a brother for me. Yesterday I received a message from Geraint Thomas who told me to break away. With the advantage I had at the top of the climb, I tried to not take too many risks but in some curves in the downhill, I’ve seen the wall from too close.”

Maglia Rosa João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It’s a good day for me in the defence of the Maglia Rosa. I had good legs again in the finale today. I wanted to sprint, also to show that I’m here and not in the Maglia Rosa by chance. I’ll keep fighting for the jersey as long as I can. I knew that Caicedo was no longer with us but I also wanted more time bonus. I have a good gap now on GC. For sure the Maglia Rosa makes me stronger and gives me confidence. It’s an extra motivation to perform.”

2nd on the stage and 9th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a hard stage but really under control. The team worked well together, we were brought into a good position for the climb and then focused on the descent. We were at the front, we didn’t have to take any risks and, in the finish, I was able to take second place.”

2nd overall, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren): “It was a challenging stage, both for the final climb and the weather conditions. We have gone from 30 and more degrees in Sicily to 15 today. I took another small step in the standings, and this comforts me on my good shape and condition. I want to thank my teammates because they always work hard and help me a lot during the race.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 5 Result:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers 5:59:17
2. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:34
3. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
5. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb
7. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 5:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 17:06:23
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:48
4. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:59
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 1:05
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:19
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:21
9. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:26
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:32.

Giro’20 stage 5:

 


Brabantse Pijl 2020
One year after finishing runner-up in Overijse, Julian Alaphilippe took the spoils at Brabantse Pijl, adding the Belgian one-day race to his ever-growing palmarès. Making just his second appearance since becoming World Champion at the end of September, Alaphilippe lined out in Leuven, supported by a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team, as one of the main favourites, and he didn’t disappoint.

Determined to make amends after last Sunday’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Julian ignited the race with 60 kilometres to go, when he plugged away from a stunned peloton, which needed some time to organise itself before making the catch. The Frenchman immediately sent his team to the front to set a searing pace and bring back the original breakaway, before doing another move, this time 35 kilometres from the finish.

Only Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) could match the World Champion’s acceleration, and the duo began working together, opening a 20-second gap which saw them stay at the front until 25 kilometres to go, when the bunch got back on terms. On the Mosskestraat, one of the last hills of the day, Zdenek Stybar came to the front and drove a huge tempo, setting up another attack of Alaphilippe. The Frenchman lit up the race again, this time being joined by the same Dutch Champion, but also by countryman Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), together with whom he forged a 20-second advantage that proved too much for the chasing group.

On the Schavei, no attacks came from the trio, who preferred to wait for the final 200 meters to battle for victory. Alaphilippe patiently bided his time as Cosnefroy led out, and came around with just 100 meters to go, crossing the line ahead of last year’s winner Van der Poel for a tyre’s width and putting his name on the race’s roll of honour.

brabantse alaphilippe

Race winner, World champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “This win makes me happy as it came at the right moment after the disappointment of last Sunday. I took some time to think about what happened there and I arrived here without any pressure, just to have fun and enjoy the experience. I am grateful to the team, which was very strong, and always by my side. Dries played an important role today; he is indispensable to me, has a lot of experience, works hard for the team, is always calm and knows what to do in the important moments. In the final I took the responsibility and attacked several times to make the difference. Going into the last kilometre, I had some pain in the legs, but gave my best, and although it was really close again, I’m delighted that I came out on top. I didn’t expect to win today, but I believed in my chances and I couldn’t be happier with this victory.”

2nd, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I made a mistake that I normally never make. I’m not going to sleep tonight, I’m sure of that. I already knew when Alaphilippe passed that I had already waited too long. Then I’m actually half freewheeling between the two of them. It’s my own stupid mistake. I was planning what he did, sprint against the fence because then the rest had to come through the wind. That in itself was not a problem. I can really kick myself for not turning on at that time. That was a big mistake and I am really disappointed in myself. I had already done the sprint here last year, so I knew how. I knew if I got into the last straight line, when I saw the line, I was going to be close. But I can’t forgive myself to screw it up like that. I certainly had a sprint. It is your own mistake if you cannot do your sprint. I should have just turned on earlier. I really see this as a missed opportunity. I was keen to win here and it was certainly there.”

3rd, Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Against Julian and Mathieu, I didn’t have a lot of options. I tried to start the sprint first to try to get the jump on them, but I knew it would be difficult for me to out-sprint these two. I tried my best. It was important for me that the three of us came to the line together especially if I wanted to get on the podium. If the group behind us came back, it would have been more complicated. And I would rather be on the podium than be fifth.”

4th, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-McLaren): “What a race. It was very hard. In the finale, I was dropped for about 20 meters on the new cobblestone climb on the course. Then Dylan did a great job pulling for me, helping me to sprint to 4th place. I’m satisfied with my race today and I consider it a good experience and preparation ahead of the Gent-Wevelgem.”

13th, Ide Schelling (BORA-hansgrohe): “Actually I didn’t have good legs today and was supposed to help Lennard and the others. It was really a hard race with plenty of attacks on the last 50 kilometres. We tried it also with Lennard and Marcus, but missed the decisive split. I was on the limit for the last 60km or so, but found myself in the second chasing group in the end. We pushed hard to catch the front group, but that didn’t work out unfortunately. Still I am happy with my performance and the result.”

Brabantse Pijl Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:36:52
2. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:13
5. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
9. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

Brabantse’20:

 

uae
UAE Team Emirates to Gent-Wevelgem
On Sunday 11th October Alexander Kristoff will lead the team at Gent-Wevelgem in defence of his victory from last year’s edition.

Alexander Kristoff: “Since the Tour I took a bit of a break and then started to build up again to the classics. Obviously the team came out of the Tour on the big high and we want to continue that into the next races. Brabantse Pijl will be a bit of a tester as it’s my first race back since the Tour and then I’ll go to Gent-Wevelgem and Flanders aiming for good results like last year.”

Gent-Wevelgem [1.UWT] – 11-Oct-2020:
Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)
Edward Ravasi (Ita)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Cristian Muñoz (Col).

uae wevelgem

 

sunweb
Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields
Marc Reef – Team Sunweb coach: “Gent-Wevelgem is a tough and long classic, and the first of a series of big Flemish races. Compared to last year’s route the first part of the day is different, but the Kemmelberg and the Plugstreets will still play a central role in shaping the finale of the race. After a successful period in the Ardennes, we want to continue that good momentum here. We will aim to have several riders in the finale to give us multiple options to play on the attack, with Tiesj showing that he has good legs coming out of the Tour. The race can also potentially come back to a reduced bunch sprint like we saw last year and if that happens we’ll work to set up Cees for the fast finish.”

Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Cees Bol (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Max Kanter (GER)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER).

Cees Bol:
bol

 

ag2r
Gent-Wevelgem (October 11th)
Oliver Naesen took third place at Gent-Wevelgem in 2019. He finished sixth in 2018. This year will be his sixth participation.

Oliver Naesen: “Whether the Classics take place in April or October doesn’t change anything for me. This remains the most important time of my season. Last week at the BinckBank Tour, I went through all the emotions after my crash and knee injury on day one. From the first stage I believed that everything was over. But then I was able to take second place in the last stage which covered the roads I know by heart. Although the knee is still a little sore, I am confident for the period ahead. I’ve been on the podium before, now I want more.”

ag2r

 

paris tours
Paris-Tours 2020: Another Year for the Dames?
Whatever Paris-Tours may hold in store, the joy of raising one’s arms aloft on the Avenue de Grammont is a privilege reserved only for the very strongest riders. This is true when the race culminates in a sprint – be it one contested by a small group or a bigger peloton – and even more so when a rider succeeds in eliminating the competition with a solo break, a scenario that has unfolded twice since the vineyard tracks were first introduced in 2018. On that occasion Soren Kragh Andersen, who had already claimed notable successes including stage wins in the Tour of Oman and the Tour de Suisse, demonstrated a potent blend of racing instinct and strength as he rode to victory in Tours. Two years down the line, his formula continues to bear fruit, as shown in his two wins at this year’s Tour de France, and the Dane’s style appears once more to be perfectly suited to the challenge presented by the autumn vineyards. Having claimed an imperious victory ahead of Stefan Küng in the time trial stage at the recent BinckBank Tour, the Danish rouleur arrives in fine form and with the favourite’s tag firmly attached to his No. 1 bib. He nonetheless faces stiff competition from Valentin Madouas, in impressive form at the World Championships and in the Ardennes, Evaldas Siskevicius, a rider built for Roubaix-style challenges, and Romain Bardet, who is no stranger to descending from the mountains in search of the classics (3rd at Liège and 2nd in the Strade Bianche in 2018), like Warren Barguil, 4th of Flèche Wallonne and 9th in Liège last week. Alternatively, any prospect of a sprint for the line, regardless of the number of riders involved, could play into the hands of Bryan Coquard, who finished in the top ten at each of the seven sprints contested by the peloton at this year’s Tour de France (including 3rd place in Lavaur) or Nacer Bouhanni, who would dearly love to follow up his overall triumph in the Coupe de France series by claiming victory at one of the crucibles of sprinting.

Key points:
Ø
The 114th edition of Paris-Tours, which starts on Sunday morning in Chartres, will be raced over 213 km, with a final 50 km featuring nine vineyard tracks totalling 9.5 km.
Ø These gravel sections were first introduced in 2018, when they were mastered by Soren Kragh Andersen, who will start Sunday’s race as favourite. The Dane will face strong competition from a varied list of contenders that includes Romain Bardet, Valentin Madouas, Warren Barguil, Evaldas Siskevicius, Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard.

The main contenders (as at 06/10):

Belgium
Alpecin-Fenix: De Bondt (BEL), Vakoc (CZE)
Circus-Wanty Gobert: Vliegen (BEL)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: Deltombe (BEL)
Bingoal WB: Vanendert, Ista (BEL)

Denmark
Riwal Readynez Cycling Team: Jensen (NOR)

France
AG2R La Mondiale: Bardet, Godon (FRA)
Groupama-FDJ: Madouas, Molard (FRA)
Cofidis: Vanbilsen (Bel), Berhane (ERI)
Total-Direct Energie: Hivert (FRA)
Team Arkea-Samsic: Bouhanni, Barguil (FRA), McLay (GB)
B&B Vital Concept P/B KTM: Coquard (FRA), Slagter (NLD)
Nippo Delko Provence: Siskevicius (LIT), Combaud (FRA)
St Michel-Auber 93: Maldonado, Hurel (FRA)
Natura4ever-Roubaix Lille Métropole: Vermeulen, Levasseur (FRA)

Germany
Team Sunweb: Kragh Andersen, C.Pedersen (DEN)

Norway
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: M. Hoelgaard (NOR)

Russia
Gazprom-RusVelo: Canola (ITA), Kuznetsov (RUS)

Spain
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA: Aberasturi (ESP), Aular (VEN)
Burgos-BH: Gibson (GB), Molenaar (NLD)
Euskaltel-Euskadi: Aristi (ESP), Zhyhunou (BLR)

USA
Team Novo Nordisk: Planet (FRA), Kusztor (HUN)
Rally Cycling: Carpenter, Colin (USA)

Paris-Tours 2019 winner Wallays:
paris tours 19 wallays

 

ineos grenadier
Edvald Boasson Hagen Returning to INEOS Grenadiers?
Six years after he left Team Sky, Edvald Boasson Hagen may be on his way back to the squad now called INEOS Grenadiers. Sports director Gabriel Rasch as well as the rider himself confirmed to Norwegian broadcaster TV 2 that there has been contact between both parties.

After the 2014 season, Boasson Hagen left Team Sky, where he was under contract for five years. At the time, the Norwegian wanted more opportunities to race for himself and moved to MTN-Qhubeka (now NTT Pro Cycling). With that team he achieved victories in the Dauphiné, the Eneco Tour and the Tour de France, but now that the main sponsor is leaving, the riders have been given the freedom to look for a new team.

Boasson Hagen’s future may now lie with INEOS Grenadiers. When asked, sports director Gabriel Rasch confirmed to TV 2 that there has been contact between both parties. “A dialogue has taken place. Edvald and Dave Brailsford spoke directly to each other in the Tour de France.” Reportedly, the team manager of the British team wants the Norwegian rider, who was partly responsible for the team’s successes.

Boasson Hagen confirmed to the Norwegian broadcaster that he spoke Brailsford. “I know this team very well and have a good relationship with the riders and the staff, so it would be nice if I could return. I had a good time there. Sometimes it is said that I was stagnant there, but I disagree. I have developed in many areas. But the road from a dialogue until something actually happens is still a long time.”

According to the Norwegian rider, INEOS Grenadiers’ explanation is similar to other teams. “They have to find out whether they can find space in the team and the budget.” Rasch also does not know whether the transfer will actually take place, because the team is in principle ready for 2021. But he is open about the fact that the name of Boasson Hagen has been discussed with the team management. “It would be nice if we could help him back to his old level.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen:
boasson hagen

 

ag2r
Andrea Vendrame Extends Until 2023
Andrea Vendrame: “When I joined the AG2R-La Mondiale team, I immediately felt at ease! And it has given me the chance to learn French! I had originally signed a two-year contract, and so I am pleased with this proof of confidence from the directors. This extension allows me to continue working calmly. We are going to become AG2R CITROËN TEAM and I can’t wait to see what happens. I have racked up many places of honour (thirteen top tens in 38 days of racing), so now I really hope to turn those placings into a victory. And why not while I’m racing at the Giro. Last year I finished second on a stage. I really want to win this year and finish this first season with AG2R-La Mondiale on a high.”

Vincent Lavenu: “From his first year in our AG2R-La Mondiale team, Andréa Vendrame has shown a fighting spirit and great foresight in racing. He is very versatile, a good puncher, a good climber. Despite the language barrier at first, he integrated perfectly. He is happy with us, it was natural that we extend our commitment to him.”

Andrea Vendrame:
Andrea Vendrame

 

ag2r
Hänninen Extends Contract Through 2024
Jaakko Hänninen, a professional since August 1, 2019, is the first rider on our team to extend his contract until 2024. Before his time racing with us as a professional, Jaakko Hänninen wore the colours of the Espoir Cycliste Saint-Etienne Loire club. He notably won the bronze medal at the Worlds in the U23s in 2018.

Jaakko Hänninen: “I am very happy to extend my contract until 2024. The team is showing their confidence in me over the long term, which is a great compliment. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, but extending my contract allows me to continue working with serenity. I am from northern Finland, but France means a lot to me. When I arrived I had to adapt to a new culture, but today I have found my place in France and in the team. When I’m away from home, the team is my second family!”

Vincent Lavenu: “Jaakko is a talented rider and we wanted to retain him over the long term. He is a pure climber and he feels good in the team. We have plans for the future with him to help him reach a very high level. He has our long-term confidence, and we have a nice journey to write together. He has a long history in France, first with the Club de l’Espoir Cycliste de Saint-Etienne Loire chaired by Gilles Mas, then within our ranks. He has physical and personal qualities that attracted us, which is the reason that our partnership has been extended until the end of 2024.”

Jaakko Hänninen:
Jaakko Hänninen

 


Rally Cycling Signs All-Round Phenom Magnus Sheffield
18-year-old American, third at 2019 Worlds, continues team’s development tradition.

Rally Cycling has signed Magnus Sheffield for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. The 18-year-old from Rochester, NY will be the youngest rider on the team’s roster.

Sheffield skyrocketed through the junior ranks and won a bronze medal at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in the junior road race at just 17 years of age.

“I first spoke to Jonas [Carney] in March,” said Sheffield. “The more we talked, the better a fit I thought it would be. Rally Cycling really stood out as a team that was in between the U23 and the WorldTour ranks, and so the race schedule that Jonas and I talked about had a really good balance.”

Sheffield blasted onto the world cycling scene in 2019 when he took control of the rain-soaked Worlds course in Yorkshire, England to set up Team USA for a one-three finish.

“Last year, Magnus showed himself to be one of the strongest juniors in the world at 17 years old. It will be exciting to see how he develops over the next couple years and what he is capable of,” said performance director Jonas Carney.

It’s clear that Sheffield has his sights set on the big time when he mentions a couple of former Rally Cycling riders who have gone on to the WorldTour.

“The team has had Brandon [McNulty] and Sepp Kuss both in the past. I think a lot of people try to compare me, like ‘the next ‘McNulty’ but we’re very different riders.”

With Rally Cycling, Sheffield will still have the opportunity to race with the US national team, but the move means that he can also focus on developing in 2.HC and 2.1 races.

Sheffield has already proven himself at the elite level, setting a new course record during February’s Valley of the Sun stage race in Arizona. He did so on junior gearing.

The young man from New York is looking forward to being based in Europe full-time in 2021, a bold step for a rider who just graduated from high school but one that shows his total commitment to a career on the bike.

Rally Cycling looks forward to welcoming Magnus Sheffield and the previously announced Arvid de Kleijn to its ranks for the 2021 season.

rally sheffield

 

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