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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 10, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. - Carl Sagan

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Vuelta a España stage fifteen news

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team:

Backing up from his victory yesterday, Simon Yates has finished third on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana to extend his overall lead heading into the second rest day.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider was involved in a cat and mouse game amongst the group of favourites on the final climb, eventually finishing behind Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) to extend his overall lead to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) to 26seconds.

After a 40km battle, a dozen riders formed the day’s breakaway with George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) the biggest threat to the general classification at just over 10minutes down.The gap quickly extended before Mitchelton-SCOTT worked on the front of the bunch to control the gap between three and four minutes.

As the race hit the first ascent of Mirador del Fito the gap extended over five minutes and Astana set off in pursuit, quickly reducing it back to three and a half minutes with 60km remaining.

Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain Merida) was the last man standing, starting the final climb two minutes 45seconds ahead of the peloton before being caught with eight kilometres remaining.

By the time the race was back together at the front, the group of favourites was already down to 20 riders, including Yates and twin brother Adam Yates. Lopez was the first rider to attack before Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) jumped across with Yates on his wheel. Pinot was the next to go and it proved to be perfectly timed as he went on to take the stage victory.

Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot wins Vuelta stage fifteen. Sirotti photo

Behind, Yates attacked and was chased by Valverde and then Lopez. With 3.5km to go Enrico Mas (Quickstep Floors) also put in a dangerous attack, followed by Lopez once again. At the end of the constant attacks, Pinot won the stage by 28seconds to Lopez and 30seconds to Yates.  Behind, Valverde and Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) lost a further two seconds, and Mas and Quintana four seconds.

Simon Yates:
“It was a very strong attack by Thibaut on the climb, he came from behind, went with speed and gained time. I can only congratulate him. It was difficult within the chase group, because there was almost zero co-operation and it was very difficult to do anything. There was a bit of a head wind so if you did gain a gap it became very hard to maintain.”

“Nothing much really happened in the end, my legs felt good and if I could hold the same form and the same legs then I will be happy. I am looking forward to the rest day now, we will prepare for the time trial and the rest of the race from there.”

And here's what Alejandro Valverde's Movistar team had to say about the day's racing:

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) continues to stand his ground in an enormous display of effort and character throughout the Vuelta a España. The Queen stage of the Spanish Grand Tour, over four rated climbs and lots of little ascents towards the legendary Lagos de Covadonga, witnessed another exhibition of course by the Spaniard, 4th in the day at just half a minute from winner Thibaut Pinot (GFC). The marvel from Murcia multiplied himself on the road to take care of the team’s chances, while recovering from several moments of difficulty to once again finish within the top contenders.

Astana’s enormous pressure through the last 80km of the stage led to an attack by Miguel Ángel López before the famous La Huesera straight, 7.5km from the end. The response to his attempt was a splendid turn at the front by Richard Carapaz -the most active from the Blues at the head of the race, following a long break by Imanol Erviti, neutralized into the opening slopes of Los Lagos-, who caught the Colombian and left room to a series of moves which Valverde countered, while Nairo Quintana stayed on the wheels.

An acceleration by Pinot and the hesitation between the other favourites awarded the Frenchman a famous victory, while Valverde, dropped back several times, joined the group once again and spent all of his energy on chasing down Pinot, race leader Yates (MTS, 3rd) and López, who got to the finish with a handful of meters over the GC group, also including Quintana (7th). ‘Bala’ and Nairo remain in second and third overall, half a minute behind Yates, in the eve of the final rest day of La Vuelta – prior to a crucial 32km ITT to Torrelavega on Tuesday.

Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde leads Simon Yates up the final climb of the day. Sirotti photo

REACTIONS:

Alejandro Valverde: “It was another tremendously difficult day. I finished again with the top contenders, happily I’m still there. Astana set a really fast pace from way before the foot of the climb, and made things really difficult for the rest. Miguel Ángel launched a strong attack from near the bottom of the ascent and added some extra pain – which I sort of enjoyed, despite the pressure. It was a beautiful day, all things considered. It’s the fastest climb I’ve done to this climb in my career, no doubt. I tried to keep a steady pace, push at the front for Nairo when I was keeping the group’s pace, then also attempting to lose not too much time. I also tried to close the gaps when they attacked, just like I did when Yates. Nairo told me: ‘Go for him! Go for him!’. I tried to have some air, went after Yates, but then struggled a bit more. As I once again got dropped, they continued to attack, but they stopped afterwards. I tried to continue going as steady as possible, and knowing the final part was less steep, made a final effort to bridge back.

“We lost basically no time, neither myself nor Nairo. The wear and tear, I think it was the same for everybody, though you all could see that Yates is the biggest contender, the strongest man on course. Enric Mas continues to improve with every day passing and it makes me so happy to see him up there.. Nairo is doing well, Pinot is also doing well even if he’s got more time to recover… It’s a really tight race at the moment. We’ll continue to go day-by-day, without getting too obsessed about the GC lead. The red jersey is not an aspiration ‘per se’, though I’m feeling strong and close to the top guys. Tuesday’s route shouldn’t be bad for me; hopefully I can have a good day. I still think it will be tough for anyone to make a real gap in the GC to win this one.”

Nairo Quintana: “I got less benefit than benefit (sic) from this stage. We were pretty equal against each other, but in the end, López got some more seconds on us. It was a race full of nerves up the climb. Yates and López were quite close in strength to myself, which Pinot took advantage from to attack and take the stage. Astana was really focused, had this stage marked down as a chance and made a really nice effort, putting us all under pressure, but another rival profited from that. We’re still in contention, we’got great condition and now we hope to do well in the TT, hopefully better than our rivals.”

Tour of Britain stage eight news

We posted the final report from the organizer with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Caleb Ewan's Mitchelton-Scott team:

Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan claimed a much anticipated stage victory on today's final stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain around London city centre.

Mitchelton-SCOTT used their lead-out experience, waiting patiently in the wheels as they headed around the fast final lap, before moving to the front of the bunch to set Ewan up to take team's second stage victory of the 2018 edition of the British tour.

The final stage was a fast and technical 77km circuit race in London city centre which saw action from the start, with the peloton in one long line thanks to the high pace with a constant stream of attacks. With the tight turns and no place to hide, it proved hard for any riders to gain a gap over the bunch until almost half-way through the stage.

With 45km to go, Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) and Emils Liepins (One-ProCycling) were finally able to open up a small advantage. Liepins dropped off the pace, leaving the Sky rider to continue ahead solo, hovering just 20seconds in front.

With 20km remaining, Mitchelton-SCOTT sent Mikel Nieve to the front of the bunch to pick up the tempo and lead the chase. Shortly after the race was all back together again with other teams trying to take control and set their riders up for a sprint finish. The Australian outfit sat in formation towards the front end of the strung out peloton, before stage two winner Cameron Meyer made one big effort to move Ewan up to the front with just one and a half kilometres remaining.

Dropping Ewan off into a good position, Roger Kluge took over and powered down the final straight. Ewan launched from out of the wheels and to the stage victory, which makes it a stage win in each of the past three editions of the British race for the 24-year-old.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan grabs the Tour of Britain's final stage.

Caleb Ewan
"This year hasn't been great for me so I really wanted to finish off with a good result. I was so motivated to win this stage and I am just happy I had the strength and legs in the end.

"It was really hectic in the end and I was just lucky my team put me in perfect position. Not many guys had lead-outs in the end, I could pick the wheels that I wanted to be on and I had a really good run to the line and I felt really good as well. To finish off with a win means a lot to me and it gives me a bit of confidence."

Geraint Thomas re-ups with Sky

The team sent me this news release:

Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas has agreed a new deal with Team Sky.
The 32-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the Team, extending his stay until the end of the 2021 season.

Speaking exclusively to TeamSky.com in the wake of agreeing his new deal, a delighted Thomas said: “I’m pleased it’s sorted – and delighted to be staying with the team. It’s been a great journey for me with Team Sky and obviously the last few months have been crazy.

“It’s working really well for me here and I’m excited about what’s still to come.”
Having joined the Team in 2010, Thomas has been a mainstay ever since, and admits he ‘feels at home’ with Team Sky. It really is one big happy family where my relationship with Team Sky is concerned, so I couldn’t be more delighted,” he said.

“I feel at home with the Team. I’ve known Dave (Brailsford), Rod (Ellingworth) and Fran (Millar) for years, since I was 17, so it’s great that I’ll be continuing to work alongside those guys and the rest of the Team.”

Geraint Thomas

Yellow Jersey Geraint Thomas finishes the 2018 Tour de France's final stage.

Upon signing his new deal, Thomas was keen to pay tribute to the Team Sky fans, who have backed him ‘every step of the way’ in his time with the Team. From when I first started this journey in 2010, the Team Sky fans have been amazing with me,” he said. Their support has been phenomenal and grows year by year – they’re the best supporters around.

“I can’t speak highly enough of them – both in terms of their support when we’re on the road and via social media. They’ve backed me every step of the way and it’s massively appreciated.”

2018 has been Thomas’ finest season to date – winning the prestigious Critérium du Dauphiné in June, and then taking the victory in the Tour de France. In doing so he became the first Welshman to win the event and only the third British rider after Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

Team Sky Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, believes Thomas will continue to go from strength-to-strength with the Team over the coming years, adding: “What Geraint has achieved with this team is nothing short of remarkable. It’s a brilliant story. He’s been with us since the start of our journey and he’s continued to develop and improve year-after-year. He’s worked tirelessly for such a long time to improve. He’s made sacrifices to get to the top of the sport – and it’s all proved to be worth it.

“He’s never looked too far ahead. He’s always had his goals. His first road goals were geared towards the Classics, where he performed very well and got some great results. Then he decided to shift towards being a Grand Tour rider. He did the week-long stage races and then stepped up towards Grand Tours in support of the other guys.

“Winning the Dauphiné earlier this year gave him the belief and determination that he could win the Tour de France and it’s all credit to him. He just keeps on improving through commitment and hard work and now he’s at the very top table as a Tour de France winner. He’s achieved his dream of winning the Tour, but there’s so much more ahead for him. He has the pride, passion and commitment to continue to go from strength-to-strength and we’re delighted that it’ll be with us.”

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